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A Daisy for Hannah Jane: Chapter XVIII

From the ongoing novel A Daisy for Hannah Jane.

Art+by+Rachel+St.+Louis.
Art by Rachel St. Louis.

Art by Rachel St. Louis.

Rachel St. Louis

Rachel St. Louis

Art by Rachel St. Louis.

Rachel St. Louis, Reporter

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 A Daisy for Hannah Jane

Chapter XVIII

The doctor finally arrived.

He was a neat man by the name of Handen, carrying a briefcase large enough to hold Africa and constantly adjusting his wide-rimmed spectacles. Jamison prayed he fit his job title they way his wedding ring squeezed his pale finger.

Dr. Handen was seemingly nicer than anyone would’ve thought, asking questions gently and adding a nice tone to the air. Even Mrs. Chauldings seemed a bit less frazzled.

“And who are you, miss? One of the family?” he asked, turning to Janie.

Jamison watched Hannah Ja — Janie — answer him without fault. “No, sir, I’m not related to her by blood, but she was my caretaker for about a decade.” Her eyes drifted pointedly to her grandmother, who blushed out of the doctor’s sightline.

“And where were you when she had taken ill?”

“At my window. I saw her fall, half of her face twisted, and I climbed down the tree to help her. Caleb was with her at the time.” She nodded to modest Caleb, who watched the physician from the corner of the room.

“I see,” Dr. Handen said after making a short examination. “Miss Harriet Kimbley has suffered from a stroke.”

Guilt swept Jamison. I should’ve known. I should’ve helped more. Depressed, he ran his fingers through his short hair and tugged on it viciously. Why was I so blind? It was obvious. I should have known! I should have!

It was all fine and dandy from there on. Jamison didn’t know what happened exactly in the midst of it all, but at some point the iron-stomached Caleb fainted and Janie knocked over a full glass of water. That caused a maid to be beckoned, the same maid Jamison had told to fetch Mrs. Chauldings earlier. She came into the room, took one look at Harriet’s poor condition and rushed out the back door to lose her lunch.

After helping Caleb back into reality, Jamison led Janie out of the room. They sat down in the nearest parlor to get air and some food, though either of them ate. Janie kept wringing her hands. For once, she was speechless.

“How are you?” he asked, tentative.

She let out a blustery sigh. “I want to crawl into bed and wake up to Harriet ringing that blasted bell of hers in my ear.”

“That’s how you wake up?”

She blushed. “If I don’t get up by myself.”

He couldn’t help laughing. “You two have a real bond, don’t you?”

“Of course.” She nodded vigorously. “What’s a fake bond?”

“Unfortunately, I’d say the one you have with your grandmother.”

She didn’t pout or get upset. “I know. I’ve been trying to fix it, but it’s been broken for too long.”

“Time isn’t her barrier.”

“She misses my parents.”

“Still?”

“Yes, though it’s been fifteen years since they died. It pains her to look at me. She sees them in my features, I guess, and I think she blames me in her heart. She loved both of them so much more than she’s ever loved me. She even called my father ‘Son’ from time to time.”

Jamison rubbed his hands together, seeing the painted layers finally being chipped. But Jamison heard no emotion in any of her words.

“Does it hurt you to talk about it? I won’t continue this discussion if — ”

Janie put her palm on the back on his hand. “You are very kind. In fact, actually talking about it makes the pain go away a little.”

“What’s the pain from?”

She drew back. “Losing my parents and Raymond. And I’ve practically lost my grandmother already. I don’t even know who she is to me anymore.”

“She birthed your mother.”

“She loved her.”

“And your mother birthed you.”

“Nice genealogy lesson.” She looked to the parlor window wistfully and said, “If only the love was passed down with the genes.”

“I wish I could make you happy.”

“You already have.” Janie looked at him and smiled. “For once since Raymond died, I’ve seen all the real love others have for me. The love from you, Caleb, and Harriet have for me.” Her tone dropped to a serious note. “I want to be called Janie from now on.”

“Why?” he asked, though he had no opposition to the idea.

“Because that’s what my mother used to say. Caleb and Harriet have called me Janie for years, too. Then Raymie — Raymond — caught on. It’s not that I don’t like my regular name, but somehow,” she sniffed, “I felt it would honor Harriet if…”

Jamison leapt from his seat, taking her hands firmly. “She is not going to die. Say it, Janie. She is not going to die, right now.”

“She is not going… to die.” Tears trailed her cheeks.

“Good girl. Now do you want to go back into the room?”

“No.” She scrubbed at her wet eyes. “I want to tell you something.”

Jamison relaxed and sat down, though his mind was screaming at him to go back into the bedroom to help Harriet.

“Caleb was asking Harriet to marry him right before her stroke.”

Jamison gaped at her.

“I know, I was so happy. They’ve been in love for such a long time.”

“The Lord must’ve had a reason to keep them from marriage until now.”

“That’s the other thing. Jamison, do you truly believe the God you pray to can heal her?”

He leveled his eyes with hers, heart drumming, blood racing. “He is able and He can.”

“I know you don’t lie.”

He swallowed. “And?”

“I prayed today. For Harriet. I haven’t prayed since I last knew Raymond was alive, I think. I asked Jesus to change me the way He’s been working on Harriet.”

“You believe,” he breathed.

“I feel so weightless. Like my burdens were physically taken off my shoulders. Now I know why my parents were always so happy. They had this amazing Jesus. I know you believe in Him, too, so I guess I’m a Christian now, like you. Am I being mushy?”

Jamison’s eyes grew moist. “Never. You have no possible idea how glad I am.”

“Really?”

He got up and gave her a bear hug, overcome with immense peace and happiness. It was reconciliation for both of them. “Really. I like you a lot, Janie Lulu.”

She laughed. “Now don’t turn into Harriet. She doesn’t seem to understand my last name is Lewitt, not Lulu.”

“Did you hear what I said?”

She answered slowly. “You like me.”

“A lot.”

“I am grateful and return the affections,” she replied playfully, sitting like an imperious monarch.

“Oh, stop being such a Chauldings.” He hugged her again.

Their joy could be heard down the hall. Caleb cracked a grin while Mrs. Caroline Chauldings sighed in annoyance.

But when the sound of glee reached her ears, Harriet surprised Doctor Handen by using both sides of her face to smile.

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1 Comment

One Response to “A Daisy for Hannah Jane: Chapter XVIII”

  1. Mary Mace on April 16th, 2018 2:51 pm

    Rachel,

    You continually surprise me with these characters. It’s been interesting watching these characters evolve.

    Keep up the good work, you always keep me wanting more, which (for me) is a sign of a good writer.

    Your Loyal Reader,
    Mary Mace

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A Daisy for Hannah Jane: Chapter XVIII