As the minutes and hours ticked by so quickly they seemed a blur, Nikki paced the living room at the ranch worrying. “Why isn’t Victor answering at the office, or at least his cell phone?” she asked, trying her best to come up with a plausible explanation.
“Mom; you know how Dad is when he’s got work to do. He won’t stop until he gets it done. How many times has he stayed late to work on some proposal, or look over some contract that needed his attention?” Victoria tried her best to keep her mother calm, in spite of the worries slowly worming their way into her mind.
“Maybe I should go looking for him.”
“Mom, no. That’s the last thing you need to do right now. It’s late, you need to just stay calm and stay here! You won’t do him any good getting yourself all worked up like this. Come on, just come and sit down. I’ll get you some tea so you can relax.”
“Victoria, I don’t need tea, I need to know what’s going on with your father!”Nikki snapped impatiently.
“Mom, come on, relax. Please? All this worrying isn’t good for you, or the baby,” Vicki tried her best to reason with her mother.
“And what exactly am I supposed to do, Victoria? Just sit around and wait?”
“I know it’s hard, but yeah, that’s exactly what you need to do.”
“Mom, hear me out, okay? We don’t know anything for sure. If you go out looking for Dad at this time of night, you’ll only end up getting yourself in trouble. The best thing to do is just sit and wait for him to come back.”
“And do what, exactly?” Nikki asked sarcastically.
“Why don’t you tell me about the plans for the nursery?” Vicki put in hopefully.
“What?” Nikki asked, not believing she was having this conversation.
“I’m serious. Come on, Mom, just humour me, please?” Vicki pleaded.
“Oh alright!” Nikki pouted. sullenly.
Satisfied she’d been able to stop her mother from leaving the house, Vicki sat back and started asking all kinds of questions.
At Dr. Cornwell’s office, Victor, being his usual stubborn self, said, “I really don’t know why I’m still here. There’s nothing wrong with me, but, try telling Nikki that. She’s been hounding me nonstop about this appointment, she even tried to get me to take time off work. Can you believe that?”
“Well, knowing you as well as I do, and knowing her, yeah I can. And, frankly, I think it’s a good idea.”
“What? What are you talking about? I’m fine!” Victor argued.
“Victor, I didn’t say otherwise. All I’m saying is that maybe, just maybe you should give her feelings some consideration here.”
“Dr. Cornwell, my wife is being ridiculous! I’m fine, why can’t she let this go? There’s nothing wrong with me for heaven’s sake!”
“Victor, she loves you. Just try and remember that, okay?” Dr. Cornwell tried her best to reason with him.
“She can do that at home without driving me crazy!” Victor exclaimed stubbornly.
The doctor just chuckled and shook her head.
“Once she sees these test results come back negative she’ll see that she has nothing to worry about where my health is concerned.”
“And I suppose you’ll gladly tell her ‘I told you so’?” Dr. Cornwell asked, knowing full well what the answer was, but unable to help herself.
“You got that right!” Victor confirmed with a bright smile.
“Okay, let’s get started, shall we?”
“That’s a very good idea, the sooner we get started, the sooner I can go home to my wife.”
Dr. Cornwell sat behind her desk silently, intently studying the man in front of her. ‘How do I tell him this? How do I tell him the one thing he doesn’t want to hear? God only knows what he’ll do when he finds out what’s going on,’ she thought to herself as she took a deep breath and prepared to deliver the news. “It’s a good thing you got here when you did.”
“Why is that?’ Victor asked, confused. ‘Then again, I’m not sure I want to know why,” he thought to himself trying to ignore the prickle of fear working its way down his spine. Ignoring it, he told himself, ‘It’s better to know what I’m dealing with.’
“There really is no easy way to say this, Victor.” The apologetic note in the doctor’s voice couldn’t be ignored.
“Just say it!” Victor bit out angrily, impatiently.
Swallowing hard and searching for the strength to say what needed to be said, the doctor continued. “We found several blockages in you heart. Although, we don’t know how serious they are, so there isn’t necessarily a reason to panic, yet. We need to do more tests.”
“Alright, let’s get this done so I can get home to my wife, I don’t want her worrying about me anymore than she already is.”
“Victor, like I said before, she loves you, that’s the only reason she’s doing this.”
“And like I said before, she can damn well do that just as well at home, without driving me crazy!” Victor insisted on maintaining his macho bravado at all costs!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, since Vicki had a phone call to make, Nikki was left alone to speculate on Victor’s whereabouts. “Wait a minute, Victor had his physical today. Could that be why he isn’t home yet, is there some problem they found? No, he would’ve called me if there had been some kind of problem.” Nikki firmly dismissed the thought almost as quickly as it had crossed her mind.
Back at the doctor’s office, a quick glance at his watch told Victor it was getting late. Pulling out his cell phone, he made a decision. “I need to call Nikki, the last thing either one of us needs is for her to start worrying about where I am.”
“Hello?” Nikki said, hopefully.
“Hello, my darling, I’m just calling to let you know I’ll be home late. Traffic is pretty backed up,” Victor said, clearly preoccupied.
“What do you mean, you’ll be home late?” Nikki asked, starting to get disappointed.
“Exactly that, I’ll be home late. I’m not too far from the office.”
“But, I thought we were going to have a nice quiet dinner here at home, I have everything I need to make you dinner.” Nikki tried her best to hide her disappointment.
“I know my darling, but it can’t be helped. I’ll tell you what? We’ll do it tomorrow night, alright?” Victor asked apologetically.
“Okay.” Nikki didn’t sound convinced.
“Okay, I’ll see you later, don’t wait up. You need your rest.”
“Victor, I’m not going anywhere until you come home,” Nikki replied stubbornly.
“Nikki, you know you need your rest. I’ll see you when I get in. Just don’t wait up for me!” Victor remained adamant. Calming down a little, he continued. “I’ve got to go. I love you.”
As she hung up, Nikki considered his strange tone of voice. “Something’s not right here, but what?”
Back at the doctor’s office, she was back with the test results. “I’m sorry, Victor.”
“What do you mean you’re sorry?” Victor asked confused.
“I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Victor. The blockages we found are much more extensive than previously thought.” The sad, sullen look in her eyes made Victor’s blood boil!
‘I don’t need anybody’s pity, what I need is answers!’ Victor thought to himself enraged.
“With all due respect, Dr. Cornwell, save your pity for someone who needs it!” Victor exclaimed acidically. “Just tell me what that means. What exactly am I dealing with and how much more extensive are the blockages?!”
“Well, I’m not sure. But, I need to stress, we can’t panic, that would be the worst thing to do under the circumstances. I think the best way to find out exactly what we’re dealing with and what we can do to fix this is by doing exploratory surgery.” Dr. Cornwell tried her best to offer some hope, without offering false hope. ‘That would be the worst thing I could do for him at this point,’ Dr. Cornwell thought to herself sagely.
“Is that really necessary?” Victor questioned, a note of fear creeping into his voice. ‘This can’t be happening, not now.’
“I’m afraid it is.”
Taking a deep, fearful, and sullen breath, Victor agreed. “Alright, if that’s the only way to get this handled so I can put it behind me, let’s do this.”
“Excellent, I’ll have my nurse schedule the operation for you on your way out,” Dr. Cornwell replied, offering Victor a small, guardedly optimistic smile.
Before leaving the office, Victor warned, “Nobody is to know about this, especially not my wife. Clear?”
“Victor, are you sure that’s wise, under the circumstances? You need all the support you can get right now.”
“Nobody finds out about this, not anybody, especially my wife! You got that?!” Victor barked insistently.
“Very well, if that’s the way you want it.”
Satisfied he’d gotten through to Doctor Cornwell, for now, and still in shock, Victor headed home.