She pulled into the swanky office building about 10 minutes later and went up to the 6th floor. She turned left and went down to the end of the hallway to the door labeled ‘Michael Doogan, Esq.’. She went in to see Trish, Mike’s secretary of 20 years on the phone. Trish saw her and waved to her. She mouthed that she could go in and Sammy whispered her thanks back. Sammy knocked and then entered.
“Sammy! How are you Sweetie?” was called as she entered.
Sammy smiled and looked at the good looking older gentleman as he rose from the chair and came over to envelop her in a big bear hug. Hugging Mike Doogan always made you feel better. He just had a way of wrapping you in comfort and security.
“Hi Mike, I’m ok…” she replied.
He pulled back from the hug and looked at her, “What’s wrong? You don’t look so great, Sweetie…”
She sighed as he directed her to the large leather couch he had to the side of his office. She sat down and looked at him. He was a good looking man in his early 50’s with just a few grey hairs scattered in his dark brown hair, bright blue eyes, a charming dimpled smile and well-kept physique. Being a very smart and brilliant attorney was also a draw for women; the man couldn’t help but make buckets of money. Also being a widower pulled on the hearts of the many women who tried to catch his eye. Mike never remarried after his wife died 12 years ago; he loved his wife even in her death.
“You’re right Mike, I am not feeling well. But that’s not why I am here...I just came from a meeting with the principal and preschool director of Gracie’s school.”
“Is Gracie ok?” he asked, very concerned.
“Oh she is fine-actually she is better than fine,” Sammy said and explained the meeting to Mike and how they think she is gifted.
“Gifted? Well, it does stand to reason. Her mother is a math whiz and her father has an amazing mind-when he pulls his head from his ass.”
Sammy laughed and thanked him, but continued, “But in all seriousness, can you come with me to tour the school? I would like your opinion on it and want another person’s perspective.”
“Of course! You give me the date and I will be there.”
“Thank you...But here’s the other thing, paying for it. It is really expensive and I can’t do it on my present salary. So can you put my name out there if anyone needs their books done or anything like that? I need to bring in some more, especially since my brother is nagging me about the state of my jeep; I need to look at a new car…”
“Sammy, please let me take care of tuition!” Mike said.
“Oh Mike! I can’t do that! It is way too much money!”
“Samantha, you do EVERYTHING for that little girl and do it with dignity and love, without asking for help. PLEASE let me pay for this! You don’t need to work more! That will just take away time that you get to spend with Gracie. Please…”
Sammy looked at the sweet man sitting next to her as she teared up. He was such a great man and she loved him dearly and so did Gracie. She nodded to him as he smiled and pulled her in for a hug.
“Sammy, you are burning up! Go home and get some rest! How is Gracie getting home today?”
Sammy wiped her eyes and replied, “Kate is picking her up from school and taking her and Emma to dance class. She will bring her home later.”
“Good! Go get some sleep,” he said as he kissed her forehead.
She thanked him again and zipped her coat up again and told him she would call him with a time to tour when she had it set up. She waved to Trish and went home. She texted her brother and sister in law that she wasn’t feeling well and was going to bed. She barely made it home, changed into sweats and a hoodie then climbed into bed and was instantly asleep.
She awoke a few hours later and ran to the bathroom to throw up. She felt like she had been hit by a truck when she stood up to rinse her mouth out. She reached in the medicine cabinet in her bathroom and took out the thermometer and read her temperature. ‘102.4? Seriously?’ she thought to herself. She stumbled back into her room and picked up her phone. She called Derek and told him she thought she had the flu and asked if he could get Gracie dinner and a bath for the evening. He told her to look at the clock and was shocked when it read 7:30.
“Sammy, you have been out for hours. She is watching a princess movie, already ate dinner and had a bath. Sis, I tried waking you up a few hours ago and you were all but unconscious and burning up with fever. I left you some meds on your nightstand. Take them; Lynn has Gracie in the morning. We will figure out the rest later. Stay in your room! Don’t contaminate the house!! I don’t need your germs!” he responded back.
“Jerk, thanks. Give Gracie my love,” she mumbled back to him and then hung up. She saw the meds sitting there along with a bottle of some sports drink. She took the pills, lay back down and didn’t hear anything until someone knocked on her door the next morning.
“Sammy, I will be at the barn. If you need me, just call or text,” Derek said through the door.
She sat up and saw that it was after nine in the morning. Damn, she thought, this was not good. She stumbled to the bathroom again and took her temp. It was down some, but she still had a fever. She looked horrible as she went back to her bed. She took another set of pills and turned on the TV, sleeping on and off the whole day. She was sleeping so deep at one point and missed a phone call from Gracie’s school.
Derek answered his cell phone, “Mr. Hills, This is Janet from Stepping Stones Preschool. We have Gracie in the office; she is running a fever and not feeling good.”
“Oh man, she must have what her mom has. Umm...Someone from her emergency list will be there in a few minutes. Thanks for the call,” and they hung up.
‘Shit’, he thought as he checked his watch. He had two lessons, an interview for a new handyman and a large shipment of hay coming in. He knew Lynn was on a deadline for 2oo cupcakes for a wedding by 6pm tonight and couldn’t get away. It was times like this that he really wanted to punch Gracie’s dad right in the nose. He loved his niece with all his heart, but he was tired of the man getting off scot free while everyone else took care of his daughter. He sighed and went with the next option. He punched a number on the screen and waited.
“Hello this is Michael Doogan.”
“Hey Mike, it’s Derek.”
“Hey Derek, how are you?”
“In need of a favor.”
“What can I help with?”
“Gracie is sick, the school just called me. Sammy is sick too and missed the call so she must be sleeping. I have three appointments this afternoon and Lynn is on a deadline. Is there any way that you can pick up Gracie and take her to Sammy?”
“Absolutely! Do you need anything from the store?”
“Oh damn, yes. Can you get some sports drinks, children’s fever reducer and some jello mix? You know what Gracie likes.”
“I am on my way; I will be there in fifteen minutes.”
“Thanks so much Mike!”
“I would do anything for my granddaughter, you know that.”
“That I do,” Derek bid him farewell as he rushed off to his next lesson. ‘If only your son wasn’t such an asshole’, he thought as he went.
Mike grabbed his keys, told Trish he was leaving for the day, explaining about the call and sped off to the store to get the requested items and was at Gracie’s school in 20 minutes. He signed her out and went to pick her up, noticing how warm she was. She cried a little as she saw him and he rocked her.
“Grampy, I don’t feel good! I wanna go home!”
“I know doll baby, I am going to take you to Mommy right now.”
She laid her head down on his shoulder and grasped his neck as he went to the car. He buckled her in the car seat and took her home. She was asleep by the time they reached the ranch and slept while he brought in her and her backpack. Sammy had given him a key a long time ago for times like this. He climbed the stairs and went to Sammy’s room and knocked.
He heard some rustling and called her name as he opened the door. Sammy was lying in bed, waking up as he called her name again. She looked over at Mike and he noticed how terrible she looked.
“Sammy, sweetheart, Gracie is sick too. Derek called and asked me to bring her home.”
Sammy sat up some and had Mike put her sweet child on the bed. He took off her coat and shoes then went to get her pajamas. Sammy went to the bathroom and got the thermometer and saw she had a fever just like hers. She looked in the medicine cabinet and saw she was out of fever meds. “Damn it!!”
She went back to the room again and Mike had her changed into pajamas and had even remembered to bring her stuffed bear in. She told him the dilemma of the medication and said Derek told him to get some since they were out. She almost wept at hearing the news and he told her to wait while he got it out of the car. Sammy took a minute to take another drink and some pills for herself. Mike came back up and measured what was needed as Sammy woke up her daughter a little so she could take it and was immediately back asleep.
Sammy thanked Mike up one side and down the other and he told her to stop, that this was no big deal. He was going to make some jello for them downstairs and then head out. She nodded and lay down with her daughter tucked close to her. Mike went down the stairs and made Gracie’s two favorite kinds of jello and set them in the fridge. He went back up to check on the two beautiful redheads and found them out cold. He closed the door, texted Derek as he went downstairs telling him what he did and went home to start his own dinner.
He got in his car and said out loud, “My son is the biggest idiot on the planet for leaving her.”
He drove back down the road to the highway and headed home. He got home, called Trish about his plans for tomorrow, took out some fish for his dinner, and then went to his home office to do some more work on his next case. ‘What a day’ he thought to himself.