"You can come in and see him now, Mr. Stanley. Right this way."
"Thank you." Miles followed the nurse down the hall. Once she had left him with his grandfather he sat down on the edge of the bed, and gently took the wrinkled hand in his own.
"Well now, who is this?" Angus's voice was as creased as his hand, but it was laced with love.
Miles chuckled gently. "Take a guess, Pops."
The older man sighed with contentment. Although his bandaged eyes couldn't show it, you could still sense the loving pride in them. "Batman, you've finally come. I knew you would."
Miles grinned out of one side of his mouth, and patted the hand that rested on the bed where he sat.
"Of course I've come; I always do."
"What good deeds have you done while I was gone, Batman?" Angus held on to Miles' fingers with his own and smiled contentedly.
"I talked to a young lady in the waiting room, and then I spent some time in prayer."
"Ooh, a young lady. Was she pretty?" His eyes twinkled mischievously under the bandages. Miles faked off-handedness.
"Oh, I don't know. I didn't really notice."
"Oh is that the nurse I hear telling me to let you rest? I'll go grab some coffee and then I'll be back."
He grinned again, and the old man chuckled while Miles walked down the hall. He muttered to himself.
"How is it getting to me this time? It never did before."
Jules poured over the pages of her Bible nearly two hours before she heard Margaret wake up.
"Margaret! Shh, Martin will be here just as soon as he can."
Margaret reached for Jules' hand. "Where am I?"
"You're in the hospital, dear. You had a stroke. Martin was worried about you, and he had Mr. Anderson check on you. Shh, you should try and get some rest. I'll sit right here."
She closed her eyes wearily. "Sing to me?"
Jules held Margaret's hand between her own, squeezing softly. "Great is Thy faithfulness, oh God my Father! There is no shadow of turning with Thee. Thou changest not Thy compassions they fail not: as Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be. Great is Thy Faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy Faithfulness Lord unto me." Jules sang softly for several minutes, thinking of all the sweet, old hymns this dear lady must love. She sang until the hand she held was relaxed, and the worried wrinkle had smoothed away from the forehead that rested on the soft pillow. She sat very still, keeping faithful watch until it was time to go to the airport.
"Yes dear, I'm here."
"Where are you going?"
"I have to go pick up Martin from the airport. I'll be back with him before you know it. Try to sleep, dear."
"Thank you, sweet angel."
Jules waited a few minutes until she was sure that Margaret had fallen back asleep. She told the night nurse where she was going, and then slipped out into the parking garage. She climbed into her car, suddenly realizing how tired she was. She turned on some music, cranking it up a notch or two. "Lord, please keep me awake." As if on cue, Avicci's Wake Me Up began to play. Jules sang along while she drove.
"There he is." She pulled up to gate three and put the car in park, waving. Martin walked up right as she was opening the trunk.
"Do you want me to drive, Jules?"
"No, I want you to take a nap while I drive."
"It's only thirty minutes to the hospital from here, Jules."
"I know, but you just got off of a plane and you're about to spend the next who-knows-how-long in a hospital. Not to mention you look really tired. Are you okay?"
Martin sighed. "I don't know. I've been worried sick. It's been a relief to know you've been here, though. I don't know what I'd do without you."
She smiled. "Well, I'm just glad I could be here. Now try and at least rest while I drive. I'll turn on some quiet music." She turned on some classical music, and within minutes Martin was asleep. Jules used the quiet time in the car to pray, asking God for protection, and thanking Him for His provision.
Once they were back at the hospital, Jules showed Martin to his mother's room. It was still very early in the morning, but people were just beginning to stir and wake. The sun was just starting to peep in through the windows. Jules made sure that Martin would be fine before she turned to head back home.
"Thank you. Again."
"You're more than welcome. Would you like me to bring you some coffee before I leave?"
"If you wouldn't mind."
"What do you like in it?"
"I like mine black."
"One black coffee, coming up." She walked to the cafeteria in almost no time, and returned holding two large paper cups full of coffee. "Here you go. Call me if you need anything, okay?"
"I will. Thank you."
"I'll see if I can get your car over here this afternoon."
"That would be awesome. Goodbye, Jules."
Jules headed down the hall, sipping her coffee while she walked. She had her backpack and purse slung over one shoulder, with her Bible tucked snugly under her arm.
She turned to see who was speaking. "Oh, good morning, Miles. How is Mr. Stanley?"
"He's recovering well, thank you. And how is your friend?"
"She's stable. She had a stroke, but she seems to be doing alright under the circumstances. Her son just got here, so I'm off duty for now."
He looked at her, some concern showing in his eyes. "Ah, I see. Well, tell your grandfather I said hello. And get some rest."
"I will, on both counts. See you later."
"See you later."
Miles went on his way towards the cafeteria, and Jules walked the opposite direction. She made her way to the parking garage, tiredly moving towards her car. She crawled into the drivers seat and leaned her head on the steering wheel, slowly exhaling. "What a day. What a night! What a morning... Lord, help me get safely home. Thank you that Martin got here without any difficulties. Please be with Margaret, and heal her body if it's Your will. In Jesus' name, amen."
Jules pulled into her driveway at seven o'clock, just in time to see Duncan walking into the kitchen.
"There my girl is! I won't ask for any updates until you've had a chance to rest. Do you want anything to eat, or would you like to seep first?"
"You're the best Grandad in the world." She set her keys and bags down on the counter. "I ate a granola bar at four, so I'll wait to eat until after I've slept. Will you wake me up at noon?"
"Of course, dear." He patted her on the cheek. "Now go get some rest. I'll be here if you need me."
"Thanks, Grandad. I'm too tired to go upstairs now, so I'll just curl up on the couch in the library if that's okay..." her voice trailed off as she walked down the hallway.
After fifteen minutes had gone by, Duncan tiptoed into the library and peeked in on Jules. He found her sound asleep with her head pillowed on her elbow and her Bible clutched to her chest with her other arm. He gently took it from her and set it carefully on the coffee table, then covered her with one of the soft blankets she liked best. He turned off the lights and then tiptoed back out, softly shutting the door behind him.
Duncan was sitting at the breakfast table with a book and a mug of tea when Jules walked. She rubbed her eyes and sat down across from him. "Grandad, it's two o'clock."
"Mm." Duncan grunted.
"I thought you were going to wake me up at noon."
"I was, but you looked so exhausted that I decided to let you be."
"Hmm. I'd better call Martin and see if he needs anything."
"First you'd better eat. There's chicken salad in the fridge, and I put water on for tea or hot chocolate. It's pretty nippy today."
"Thanks." She walked over to the fridge and started looking for the chicken salad. It was a nippy day, even though the sun was shining brightly in the windows. Spring was almost there. Jules made herself a sandwich before pulling her favorite mug off the shelf. "I think I'm gonna have hot chocolate today. Oh, Grandad?"
"Guess who I saw in the waiting room yesterday?"
"Miles Stanley. I guess Angus is having surgery done on his eyes. Anyways, Miles and I were in the waiting room at the same time for several minutes, so we chatted. He seems pretty nice. I hadn't noticed that he had hazel eyes when we met him at church."
Duncan's own blue eyes twinkled as he chuckled. "I don't suppose his eyes are the quality that makes him seem nice, are they?"
Jules laughed. "Not exactly, but at the same time, yes. They conveyed sympathy as well as strength, and I appreciated that about him."
Duncan gave her a look. "I see."
"Now, don't go getting any ideas, Grandad. I'd better call Martin." She picked up her phone and walked into the family room. "Hey Martin, I was just calling to see how things are going over there."
"Mama is awake, and seems to be doing okay, though she's pretty weak. Pastor Dave just left a few minutes ago."
"Do you want me to come take a turn watching her so you can get some sleep?"
"Aren't you exhausted?"
"I took a seven hour nap once I got home, and I've eaten, so I'm good for a while. You want me to see if Mr. Anderson can come get you in your car while I sit with your mom for a while? That way you can go home for a few hours and get some sleep."
"Jules, it's a two and a half drive here."
"I know that, but you need your rest. Look, we at least need to get your car to you."
"Or I could get an Uber and go home."
"If that's what you want to do, okay. I just need to know if you need me to take a turn with your mom."
"I guess that would be great, sure. What time do you want to get here?"
"I can leave right now, Martin."
"Okay. I'll see you soon."
Jules grabbed her backpack and Bible from the library coffee table. "Grandad?"
"Martin is gonna go home and sleep for a few hours, so I told him I'd stay with his mom. I probably won't be back until late tonight. Will you be okay here without me?"
"Yes, I'll be just fine. Jules, I'm glad you can do this. You're a Good Samaritan." He gave her a hug.
"Thanks, Grandad. There's a pizza in the freezer."
"You got it! I love you."
"I love you too. Say hello to Miles for me if you see him."
"Will do. Toss me the keys? Thanks. I'll see you later."
"Yes sir." Jules walked out the door and down the sidewalk to her car. "Here I go again, Lord. Please keep us all safe, and please help Margaret continue to heal. Amen." She cranked up the music and sang along as much as she could, humming when she couldn't remember the words.
After she pulled into a parking space she sat still in her car, steeling herself to go in. She reached up to pinch her left earlobe. "Jules, come on. Stop being nervous and just go love them. They need you, and you're here. Get out of your comfort zone and worry about keeping them in theirs, just like Grandad always says." She stepped out of the car and made her way to the entrance. "I don't know why hospitals give me anxiety, anyways. It's not like I have any bad memories associated with them yet. Yet. I shouldn't even say that."
"Hey Martin. How's your mom doing?"
"She's sleeping right now. The doctors say she's recovering well, but I don't know."
"What do you mean, you don't know?"
"Well," Martin scratched the back of his neck, his brow furrowed. He frowned. "She sleeps all the time. When she is awake she's confused, and she won't eat much. I gotta say I'm worried. I really don't feel good about leaving."
"Martin, I-I don't know what to say. I'm not gonna push you to leave, but you really do need to get some rest. Maybe we can get you a cot set up in her room?"
"If I could borrow your car I'd run to the home improvement store and rent one."
"Here's my keys." She put them in his hand. His eyes went wide, surprised at her lack of hesitation.
"Thanks, Jules. You're the best."
"There's a blanket and pillow in the trunk, too. I wasn't sure if I'd need them or not, and you're more than welcome to use them."
"Thanks. For everything. I won't be gone long."
"Okay. I'll be with your mom the whole time. I promise."
"Okay. I trust you, Jules."
Martin turned to leave, and Jules sat down in the burgundy chair beside the hospital bed. Margaret was sleeping, and there weren't many nurses around. Jules pulled out her Bible and began to read.
I'm really far behind. This is as far as I've written (chapter-wise; I have an epilogue already), so please be patient with me while I begin to work on chapter five. :)