[From time to time, I will illustrate my story characters with: Richard Armitage as Sam Wakeforest, Marcia Gay Harden as Sam’s older sister Tessa Wakeforest Shoop Delaney, and Emily Deschanel as Tessa’s sister-in-law Olivia Delaney, Viola Davis as Pauletta Perkins, Cicely Tyson as Nellie Newton, and Anna Sophia Robb as Alice Trent, Kevin Spacey as Roger Delaney, Sam Heughan as Todd Wakeforest, Idris Elba as Dominic Perkins and others as noted.]
Authors Content Note: “Love in the Great Pine Woods” is a mature love story with dramatic themes of love and relationships. It will mostly be at the PG and PG-13 movie levels. Specific chapters or passages may have a further rating of: L for language, D for dramatic emotions, and S for sensual themes. And I will rate the chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide for a chapter, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer. And as is my habit, I will summarize the previous chapter’s events at the beginning of the next chapter.
Authors Recap from the Previous Chapter: After a lovely Sunday morning cuddling nap–and then some–with Olivia Delany, Sam Wakeforest was feeling even more positive about his growing relationship with her. And Olivia is slowly coming out of her shell, but she is still shy and reserved. However Sam likes that about her. But then, we discover that we love the qualities of our loved ones because we love them. And though Sam and Olivia will have to be apart for a few days while he stays with his brother Todd during his ankle operation to repair the damage wrought by the rabbit claw trap Todd stepped into on Saturday, they will come together again in three days time. They just have to be patient.
“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 9 (PG-13, D): From the Heart
Todd Wakeforest’s ankle operation to repair the damage he sustained from the rabbit claw trap, went well the Monday November 30th after Thanksgiving–and he is recovering nicely. Everyone in the Wakeforest and Delaney families are greatly relieved. Todd will still have months of recuperation and then physical therapy, but he should be able to walk again.
And with this good news, Todd’s brother Sam Wakeforest relays to Olivia Delaney Tuesday–through his sister Tessa–that he plans to join her them for dinner at the Delaney home the evening of Wednesday December 2nd. And then Sam plans to have that further discussion with Olivia about their hoped for shared futures together. Sam has hinted that he might propose tonight. And Olivia is thrilled, excited, nervous, and anticipatory.
Olivia decides to go home a little early today from the Wakeforest Orphanage–thanks to the Director Pauletta Perkins–so that Olivia can make herself pretty to see Sam tonight. Olivia has a bath, washes her hair and sets it with poofier rollers–since Sam has told her that poofier hair looks good on her–then she even paints her nails a demurely pale shade of pink.
Formerly, Olivia never wanted to stand out nor draw attention to herself–she lacked confidence. But Olivia is finally having her long standing crush and admiration for Sam reciprocated by him. And she feels on top of the world. So Olivia is wearing her new knee length black cocktail dress and pink plaid jacket from Tessa’s shop, with some extra makeup on her eyes [(2) right] with some assistance from Tessa. Olivia’s natural beauty is even more enhanced. She looks stunning!
Around 3:30pm Wednesday afternoon–after Kevin Wakeforest drove his brother Sam’s car one town over to the Valley View Hospital with his own belongings to stay with their brother Todd for the next few days–Sam drives home the hour from Valley View to Wakeforest. Sam will have to make up lost time to get home and showered, dressed, and then over to his sister Tessa’s home for dinner by 6pm. So he drives a little faster than he might normally in these icy road conditions. Sam is eager for tonight to begin and he plans to propose to Olivia after dinner in the gazebo where they had their first kiss–a nice romantic touch of his.
However, just inside of the town limits of Wakeforest around 5:00pm–with the creeping darkness lessening visibility–Sam’s car hits an icy patch and it begins to skid on the icy road. At first, Sam reacts quickly and gently pumps the breaks to try to slow down the car–and to keep it from going into an out of control spin. Sam avoids sending the car into a spin, but his efforts to slow down his car’s icy slide are futile as he watches in horror as he and his car hurtle toward disaster and his car slams into a tree at the far end of the mostly empty Wakeforest post office parking lot. Though wearing a seat belt, that can’t completely protect Sam from the full force of the collision.
Sam has a large Oldsmobile 88 sedan [(3)], and it nearly knocks over the tree it hits. Still, Sam’s car is a mess–and Sam is, too. Sam had been propelled forward in the accident and hit his head upon the top of the windshield where the sun visor hinge is and giving him a nasty gash on his forehead. Sam is dazed and disoriented at first, him not focusing on what just happened. Then a few moments later, when he does focus, Sam slowly unbuckles himself and he has to shove the car door hard before it will open for him to get out. But the door finally gives way. Then Sam tumbles awkwardly out of his car–because when he hit his head in the crash, he sustained a concussion. So Sam feels as if his arms and legs won’t do his bidding. And the ground is snow covered and icy, so Sam slips and falls down, still bleeding from his forehead gash. He tries to stand and walk a few feet, but then Sam collapses unconscious onto the ground several yards from his car, still clutching his car and home keys on the same key ring.
People rush out of nearby Wakeforest downtown businesses that are just closing up–including the Post Office. When they stop to help Sam, they realize that his car is now on fire. So two big guys pull Sam safely further away from the car wreckage just in time before his car’s gas tank explodes. The explosion rocks the small town and even more people in the area of downtown turn out to see what has happened. The plume of smoke billows high into the air like a calling card for disaster.
Sam’s brother-in-law banker Roger Delaney–and Dominic Perkins also from bank and good friends with Sam–rush over to the Post Office that is one block down from the bank, just as the local fire truck arrives and the fire fighters put out Sam’s smoldering car. Their medic also revives Sam with some oxygen. Yet Sam is so annoyed with himself for even having the car accident–and the loss of his poor car–that he characteristically refuses an ambulance trip to the hospital, saying that since he survived WWI, he can survive a car accident. Actually, Sam served in WWII–his misspeaking is a first indication that his mind is still fuzzy from the concussion.
Unfortunately, the interior of Sam’s vehicle is a burned beyond recognition–melted and crispy is how the firefighters describe it to him. The car is a total loss. However amazingly, the car’s trunk remains intact as firefighters pry it open and remove its contents–including Sam’s suitcase of clothes that he had with him at the hospital when he stayed with Todd.
Dominic runs back to the Bank after Roger tosses him his car keys. Then Dominic drives Roger’s car over to the post office and Roger insists on taking a now more alert Sam to the Wakeforest County Hospital just five blocks away, while Dominic closes the bank for the day. Sam is muttering and acting annoyed, but Roger will not budge about Sam needing to seek medical treatment. In that regard–being stubborn–Sam thinks that his brother-in-law Roger and his sister Tessa are well matched. Whereas Roger would classify Sam as being the obstinate one.
As the doctors examine Sam in the Emergency Room, they clean his 3 inch long forehead gash but don’t stitch it up right away to avoid enclosing any infection in the wound. And if Sam has any bleeding on his brain and they have to operate, they might as well use an existing cut–or gash in this case. With Sam having a probable concussion [(4)] –the doctors are worried about brain swelling and complications, which might necessitate surgery. So they send Sam for further tests in order to make sure that he doesn’t have any other facial injuries. And Roger calls home to let Tessa an Olivia know what has happened.
The Delaney Manor and estate is several miles outside of the town of Wakeforest on a large piece of property, so Tessa and Olivia and their staff do not hear the explosion from Sam’s car accident, nor do they see the plume of smoke. As of yet, Olivia and Tessa are both unaware of what has happened to Sam as they set the dining room table with crystal and silver and candles to make their dinner extra romantic since Sam had indicated that he would be proposing to Olivia. The table looks beautiful with its sparking crystal goblets, glistening sterling silver flatware, and fine bone china plates. Tessa doesn’t do romantic dinners by half measures.
It is now 5:30pm–thirty minutes after the explosion and Sam being rushed to the hospital with head injuries. Then as Olivia lights the dining room candles, a phone call comes for Tessa that she leaves the room to take. When Tessa returns, the blood is drained from her face and she looks worriedly at the happy Olivia.
Tessa: “Olivia, that was Roger.” Tessa tries to maintain an even sounding voice, but that is hard to do when she is trembling so much. With a second brother injured in the span of only a few days, Tessa is feeling quite overwhelmed.
Olivia: Olivia is fixated on carefully lighting the candle tapers and asks without looking at her sister-in-law, Tessa. “Oh? Is he going to be late for dinner again? Roger needs to get home early today, he knows that tonight is special for me.” Olivia frets.
Tessa: “Olivia, there’s been a car accident–and he was hurt badly.” Tessa blurts out without preamble–nor clarification about the pronoun.
Then Olivia whirls around and sees the distress on Tessa’s face.
Olivia: “Tessa? Who’s been in an accident?” Olivia’s mind races as to which man in her life she would fear finding out that there were hurt–her brother Roger or her love Sam. She can’t choose.
Tessa: “Sam’s car hit a tree and he hit his head on the windshield. But he stumbled out of the car in time before it exploded.” Tessa’s tears start to fall.
Olivia: “What?” Olivia’s heart is pounding and her breathing quickens as she races to her sister-in-law Tessa’s side. “Is Sam alive? Where is he now?”
Tessa: “Sam’s alright, he’s alright! Roger took him to the hospital to get his head looked after. Sam will need stitches. And he may have a concussion. Roger said Sam was babbling nonsensically about not needing medical treatment. He is so stubborn!” Sam would say it runs in the family. “Roger called me while the doctors have taken Sam to xray.”
Olivia: “I have to go see Sam!” Olivia clutches Tessa’s outstretched arms.
Tessa: “Me, too! We’ll have to take the kids with us, since I don’t want to leave them alone here.” Even though there is a houseful of servants, Tessa is a hands-on foster mom. “Thankfully, Alice and Bobby have eaten already. But we’ll have to bring along some of Bobby’s baby supplies–in case we’re there at the hospital for a few hours.”
Olivia: “We’ll take my car.” Olivia insists. Tessa has a little sports car that Roger bought her–that doesn’t fit more than 2 people in it. Olivia’s Nash Rambler car is more spacious.
Olivia begins to walk to the foyer to get her coat from the coat closet. She doesn’t bother with changing out of her cocktail dress to go to the hospital. Her shoes click as she walks across the black and white marble stone floor. Then Olivia looks down at her impractical high heels and she ditches them in the hall closet in favor of her snow boots over her silk stockings as Tessa goes to get Alice and Bobby. Fifteen minutes later, they are all driving to the Wakeforest County Hospital as calmly as they can muster–so as not to alarm Alice and Bobby. But Alice being 14 years old understands that Sam was hurt in a car accident. And she feels badly for him since he is the kind man who got them food and shelter and a kind foster family when they needed it most.
After returning from x-ray, Sam dozes in his hospital bed in a private room of Wakeforest County Hospital. He might walk around in old dungarees and a plaid flannel shirt most of the time, but he doesn’t scrimp on healthcare–that is, when he is convinced it is warranted. In the hour since Sam arrived, he has been poked, prodded, xrayed, and embarrassed when the orderly helped him change into a too short hospital gown because he wasn’t wearing his underpants since he ran out of clean ones staying at Valley View Hospital by his brother Todd’s side after his surgery. But the hospital has some fresh underpants for Sam, and he elects to put his t-shirt back on and wear a hospital robe over it as a compromise. Because there is no way that Sam will agree to being naked underneath the hospital bed covers with people and medical staff coming and going in his room all the time–even though he doesn’t wear anything when he sleeps at night at home. And now the tables are turned and Sam is the one in the hospital.
Sam’s brother-in-law Roger Delaney sits in a nearby chair–waiting for his wife and sister to arrive.
Roger: “I called Tessa. She and Olivia and the kids are coming over right away.”
Sam: “The kids?” He asks quizzically as he rubs his jaw reflexively–as a self comforting mechanism.
Roger: “You know, our foster kids–Alice and baby Bobby.”
Sam: “Crap! Why is she bringing them here?” Sam scowls at his brother-in-law. “They should be at home in their beds asleep.”
Roger: Noticing Sam’s unusually angry tone, Roger responds cautiously. “They will be. But Tessa doesn’t like leaving them alone without one of us with them. Our arrangement is all so new. I expect that Tessa will mellow out soon.”
Sam: Closing his eyes in fatigues, Sam sighs wearily–the effects of the concussion. “Roger, you married the most enervating woman on the planet–my sister Tessa. She doesn’t do mellow.”
Roger: “Ha ha ha! That’s where you’re wrong. Tessa is the calm center of our family. You’re her brother and see her one way. I’m her husband, and I see very different side to Tessa than you do as her brother.” Roger says a bit huskily.
Sam: “Sheesh, Roger! Did you have to put that image into my head?” Sam instinctively puts his hand to his forehead. But he inadvertently does so, on the injured side of his head. “Oww! Damn cut.” Sam squints.
Roger: Treading carefully, Roger gently admonishes Sam. “I’m sorry that you’re hurt, Sam. But can you nix the swearing until the kids go home? They’ll be here any minute.”
Sam: “Sure!” Then it occurs to him. “Lord! When Olivia and I have kids, I’ll have to curb my cussing then, too.” It’s not that Sam cusses much. It is just knowing that he can’t, that makes it seem like an imposition to him.
Roger: “Oh? This is the first I have heard of you wanting kids–let alone, with my sister. Is there a request you forgot to make of me? As Olivia’s much older brother–and since our parents are dead–I am her defacto parent.”
Sam: “Olivia is 35 years old! I don’t need to seek your permission to marry her.”
Roger: “Still, I would like to know your intentions toward Olivia.”
Sam: “I plan to marry her, give her a passel of kids, and end up in side-by-side rockers when we’re old and gray.”
Roger: “But I want to know that you will treat my kind and loving sister well, and as an equal. She may wish to continue on as a teacher at the orphanage, for example.”
Sam: “I have no problem with that. It is her choice to work outside of our home or not. I make a good living–in addition to my savings and stock portfolio being considerable.” Sam was a lawyer in New York City for ten years before the war. And Sam does not need to speak in particulars about his finances to Roger, since most of his liquid funds are in his brother-in-law Roger’s bank.
Roger: “And when you have kids? Will you expect her to give up teaching then? She loves it so.”
Sam: “Look, Roger. I appreciate that you’re only trying to look out for Olivia. But once she and I marry, that will be my job. And she and I will work it out together.”
Roger: “Well, I…”
But Roger in interrupted by a flushed and wheezing Olivia dashing into Sam’s hospital room. She had sprinted ahead of Tessa and the children when they entered the hospital.
Olivia: “Sam! Oh Sam!” Olivia calls out to Sam as she races to his bedside and leans down and gives him a careful hug.
Sam: Whispering. “See, Olivia? You can say my name with passion.” But then Olivia leans back from him so she can look at his forehead wound and bump. The unbandaged gash and the reddening bump around it alarms Olivia. And Sam sees the tears pooling in her eyes. So he tries to comfort her. “Shhhh! Shhh! I’ll be fine. It’s just a scratch.” Though Sam hasn’t seen a mirror and can’t see the gash in his forehead, he can feel the pain from his injuries–of the cut and the throbbing concussive bump on his forehead.
Olivia: “But your car! They said that it burned up!” Olivia gently checks Sam’s face and arms for burns and other injuries.
Sam: “Unfortunately. But I’m still in one piece.” Sam drawls with a smirk–one part bravado and one part injury fatigue
Olivia: “Barely. Sam Wakeforest, you nearly gave me a heart attack!” Olivia huffs, but that is all–no fainting.
Sam: Trying to soothe her so that she doesn’t have a panic attack, Sam apologizes. And Sam rarely, if ever, apologizes. “I’m sorry, Olivia. But I hit an icy patch of road and slammed into a …” He catches himself before he cusses “ big tree.”
Olivia: “But why were you hurrying? We would have waited dinner for you.” Olivia fusses as she holds his hand and squeezes it.
Sam: “I know. But I wanted to get home in time to shower and get all spiffed up so I could sweep you off your feet and romantically propose to you in the gazebo–where we had our first kiss.” Sam winces earnestly.
Olivia: “Ohhh!” Olivia smiles shyly, but brightly at Sam.
Roger: “You’ve kissed my sister already?” Roger interjects with astonishment into this tender moment.
Sam: “Yes, twice! And we would like to do more.” Sam smiles lovingly at the shy Olivia. “Kissing that is.” Sam clarifies to redirect Olivia’s brother Roger’s thoughts that had trodden down another path. Then Sam turns back to Olivia and sighs lovingly. “You look exquisitely beautiful today, by the way, Olivia.” Olivia blushes prettily.
Roger shakes his head. He knew that this day would come at some point–that Olivia would marry. He just thought that he would have more time to prepare himself for it. As if her being thirty five years old hasn’t given him enough time.
Now Tessa enters Sam’s hospital room–with Alice and and Tessa carrying baby Bobby in tow.
Tessa: “Oh Sam!” Tessa wails, going to Sam’s other side of his hospital bed. “How awful for you to have a car accident. My brothers are dropping like flies.”
Sam: “Now Tessa and everybody, I’m not going to die–nor is Todd.”
Alice: Alice sighs in relief as she hovers next to Tessa. “That’s good. Sorry that you had an accident.” Alice says politely.
Sam: “Thank you, Alice. That’s kind of you to say.” Sam smiles cordially at their newest family member–his foster niece Alice.
Tessa: “But …?”
Sam: Sam holds his hand up. “People, you’re breaking my stride. Roger, would you please hand me my overcoat?”
Roger: “You are not checking yourself out of the hospital. They want you to spend the night for observation for your concussion.”
Sam: “Yes, of course. Give me some credit. I’m staying overnight at the hospital. Just hand me my coat, please. I need to get something out of it.”
Reluctantly, Roger complies. Sam unzips his interior coat pocket, and removes a small worn gray velvet jewelry box and opens to reveal the sparkling one carat D flawless diamond in a platinum filigree setting ring inside. Everyone gasps and leans forward. Olivia smiles with tears in her eyes. Holding the small but delicately detailed diamond solitaire between his fingers and toward Olivia, Sam gazes at her expectantly, hopefully. Tessa is tearing up because she has seen that ring before.
Sam: “Olivia, please sit down.” Sam [(5) right] pats the side of his hospital bed and smiles tenderly and lovingly at Olivia. And Olivia perches on the mattress–with Sam taking her left hand in his. “This was our mother’s engagement ring. I asked Kevin to bring it to me from our safety deposit box before he picked me up at Valley View Hospital. This ring was first given by our father to our mother at the start of a long and very happy marriage. I hope that our marriage will be the same for us–long and very happy.” Then Sam asks. “Olivia, I wish our surroundings were more conducively romantic–I had planned on proposing in the gazebo tonight, where we had our first kiss. But after my car accident today, I’m not waiting any longer.” Sam takes Olivia’s hand in his as he places his mother’s ring on her left finger. It fits perfectly. “I love you, Olivia. You are sweet and funny and kind and beautiful! And I’m so glad that we found each other. Olivia Marie Delaney, will you marry me?”
Her eyes brimming with tears of joy, all Olivia can do is nod yes. Then as their family erupts with cheers, Sam gently pulls Olivia’s face down to his for a kiss.
Olivia: “I love you, too.” Olivia sighs with a loving smile.
Sam: “Well then, it works out nicely that way.”
Sam grins and sweetly kisses Olivia–while her brother Roger covers his hands over his eyes again. Tessa’s eyes are also brimming with tears as she holds a sleeping baby Bobby and has her arm around Alice’s shoulders. Roger has come to stand beside them. Alice looks up at Roger and Tessa and her baby brother, and then over at Sam and Olivia–and Alice smiles. Somehow, she and Bobby have become a part of a family again.
And life will only get better for everyone as Sam and Olivia fast track their wedding plans. But of course, as the old Yiddish proverb suggests, “Man plans, and God laughs” [(6)].
To be continued with Chapter 10
“Love in the Great Pine Woods” Ch. 09, by Gratiana Lovelace, December 10, 2015 (Post #842)
1) The “Love in the Great Pine Woods” story cover is a composite of two images by Grati:
a) the Richard Armitage portrait is from the 2011 Project Magazine photo shoot and article interview, that was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/ProjectMagJuly2011/album/slides/ProjectMag-05.html;
b) the snowy Pine forest vertical image was found on Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/62/fa/ff/62faff1253d55f571eb3659cc7661e73.jpg
2) Olivia Delaney smiling-is Emily Deschanel Nov2715 found at formulatv.com
3) For more on the Oldsmobile cars, please visithttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldsmobile
4) “A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that alters the way your brain functions. Effects are usually temporary but can include headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance and coordination.” For more information, visit http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/concussion/basics/definition/CON-20019272
5) Sam Wakeforest (with gash manip) is Richard Armitage portrait from 2014 found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Theatre/Crucible/album/slides/LefterisPitarakis5-26Jun14.html
6) “Man plans and God laughs” is a Yiddish proverb found at https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Yiddish_proverbs
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