Chapter 18 – Summons From A Far

The following morning Milly and Brad awoke with a start. Someone was pounding on their bedroom door. Milly was the furthest away from the door so it fell to Brad to answer the door.

“See who it is Hon. I’m too busy studying the inside of my eyelids,” said Milly.

As Brad opened the door a few inches he saw Fergus, remembered about Herman, and the promise to demonstrate the Foster Knot.

“C’mon you two. Let’s go see Herman. Anybody want a ride in my new Jaguar?”

This was something a car enthusiast like Brad couldn’t resist. Jaguars were few and far between back home mostly because they were manufactured in the United Kingdom, and any replacement parts had to come from the UK.

Milly was still on her side and faced away from the light streaming in from the hall. Unknowingly she made things a little difficult for Brad when she reached for the clock on her side of the bed and discovered it was only 6:15 AM.

“Tell whoever it is to buzz off and that we gave at the office. Come back to bed. I want you to warm me up.”

It was obvious to Fergus that Brad had just woken up, and Milly, who was nowhere to be seen, was probably still in bed.

“Give us ten minutes Fergus. I assure you we’ll both be ready in ten minutes.”

Brad gently slapped Milly’s rear end, something he knew Milly would not appreciate. “Get up Kitten. This what we came to Scotland for. We’re going to fix Herman.”

As Milly sat up most of her hair fell in her face.

“Who the hell is Herman and why did you slap my rear end?”

“Sorry about that Kitten. It was the only way to get you to sit up. Herman is a medical assistive device. We’re going to show off the Foster knot today.”

Milly got out of bed and pulled the shades back.

“See anything outside the window. No? I’ll tell you why. It’s DARK outside. See the clock. It’s 6:15 in the friggin’ morning. Those two things should tell you something. It’s still Night!. And at night I sleep. I don’t do early morning house calls and you should already know that.”

Milly wasn’t wearing any clothing at all. Brad tossed her robe at her.

“Put something on. Somebody outside might see you. Stop prancing in front of the window. And for heaven’s sake get dressed. Fergus is waiting!”

“I’ll have you know I have never “pranced” in my entire life. Who is this Fergus fellow? I thought we were doing something for somebody named Herman?”

Brad started growling. He looked upwards and said, “Why me Lord?”. He darted into the bathroom for a quick shave. He decided to brush his teeth as well. Milly sat on the edge of the bed in her robe. She looked at Brad and marveled as he shaved with one hand and brushed his teeth with the other. She ran her tongue along the inside of her mouth and didn’t care for the taste. She went into the bathroom and put some mouthwash in her mouth. As Brad bent over to spit in the sink Milly spit the mouthwash out. And covered the back of Brad’s head in mouthwash. Milly’s eyes became as big as saucers and she covered her mouth with her hand when she realized what she had done. As she toweled off the back of Brad’s head he made a suggestion.

“To avoid this happening ever again I’d like to suggest getting two sinks in the master bathroom. Now let’s hustle Kitten!”

******

As Fergus drove the short distance to the hospital he sniffed the air in the car. “Does anybody else smell Scope in my car”. Milly looked at Brad and Brad at Milly. Without warning, Brad offered a possible reason. “Maybe it’s a new air freshening system.”

******

Since Herman was non-human there was no need to scrub vigorously or put on surgical scrubs. But Herman was programmed to be sensitive to touch and temperature. And was more than able to say something that might put the surgeon off his or her game. When Brad put his hands inside Herman his touch sensors registered something new. “Looks like we have a lefty folks. Watch out for this guy. He’s new around here. Oh, that knot feels strong.” When it came Milly’s turn to demonstrate the knot she provided a small commentary. “When you’re tying the artery be sure to use a surgeons knot first then put an ordinary reef knot right on top of it.” All of a sudden Herman spoke up. “Oh, you have such tiny fingers. I suspect you’re new here too. You can dance through my insides anytime.” Herman now became aroused at Milly’s delicate touch. Milly was ready with a verbal response nobody expected. “Herman you’re a typical male. How would you like it if I did this knot around both your cogs?”. Herman suddenly became silent. After the faux operation was completed the videotape was checked and the recording of the Foster Knot demonstration was digitized and sent to every doctor and nurse in the hospital. As Milly was taking her gloves off she said her goodbyes stating she had yet to choose a wedding dress.

******

The plan was for Milly to arrive at the bridal store, Strathpeffer Bridal, before her mom and Jessica. Kendra was supposed to arrive shortly after Milly’s arrival since her duties at the bakery were almost over. But dealing with Herman and the hospital took longer than she had anticipated. She quietly departed while Brad basked in the glow of unexpected attention and adulation from the immediate medical community. Just before she departed Fergus let it slip that the cottage she and Fergus had discussed could be rezoned and retrofitted. She decided not to tell Brad, and to let him have his fifteen minutes of fame. Milly walked from the hospital to Strathpeffer Bridal. When she arrived she found that her mother and Jessica had already arrived. As Milly approached the store Kendra called out and soon joined her.

“I’ll do it,” said Kendra

“Do what?” asked Milly

“I’ll cater the wedding. I meant to phone Brad but I wanted to tell you first” added Kendra.

“Oh thank you. I know we should have talked about this but I need to know how much this is going is going to cost us?” asked Milly as she hugged Kendra.

“You know. I shouldn’t say this as a businesswoman or as a Scot, but I haven’t the slightest clue what the cost will be. But since there are only ten or so guests why don’t you pay me what you think it’s worth. That’ll be my wedding gift to you and Brad. I rarely, if ever say this to a client, but I wish you two could be my neighbors.”

Milly told Kendra about Brad thinking about moving to Strathpeffer, the estate agent next door to her, and about Foster Cottage. All of a sudden Brad appeared. Milly told him that Fergus said the cottage could be refurbished. Brad added one detail that Milly didn’t know about.

“He also said that refurbishing the cottage and retrofitting the cottage with everything we’d need would take almost a year Kitten. But he did talk to the dragon lady. In one years time, our new employer will be Fergus. Same rate of pay just a new employer. In short, we’ve been traded!”

Milly hugged Brad so hard his back felt a twinge. Then she asked him to translate everything he had just said.

Brad held Milly by both shoulders and smiled.

“The dragon lady just sold our contracts to Highland Central effective June 30 at 11:59 PM next year. As of July 1, our new employer will be Fergus! So you get a husband, a cottage we can help design, new boss, new neighbors, and a new country” said Brad smiling from ear to ear.

All of a sudden Kendra hugged the pair. “I’m so happy for both of you.”

“I guess you’re getting two new neighbors and two more relatives, Kendra,” said Milly with a wide, wide smile.

Kendra started smiling and the smile got bigger and bigger. “Don’t be so sure. Some nights here get pretty cold and pretty dark.”

“What you talking about Kendra?” asked Milly who was now thoroughly lost.

“Let me try and put this in terms you’ll understand. What usually happens when there’s power outage in your country?”

Then Milly’s smile widened as she realized what Kendra was talking about.

“You’re being bad Kendra Foster!” Milly covered Brad’s ears. “Imagine saying such a thing in front of this healthy young male.”

“I’m just saying that at certain times 1 + 1 does not always equal two and things can happen rather…unexpectantly,” said Kendra.

Brad roared with laughter.

“We’ve already talked about that. We don’t plan to add to the Foster population for a couple of years,” said Brad.

Kendra then pointed two fingers in their direction. One pointed at Milly and the other pointed rather pointedly at Brad.

“All I’m tryin’ ta say Dr. Foster is that frequently the plans of what you want to have happen have a habit of going poof, and what actually happens can be quite different from what you had originally planned.” When Kendra finished she laughed and entered the store.

Milly stared at her, her mouth agape, her hands on her hips.

Brad put his hands on Milly’s shoulders then gently turned her head towards his.

“She can be kind of spooky at times, and this is definitely one of those times” indicating Kendra with his thumb. “I wonder if she’s had any experience with babies?”

Milly put her finger under Brad’s jaw and brought his face closer to hers.

“Just what are you saying, Brad Foster?”

Brad leaned toward the side of Milly’s head and quietly whispered what he was thinking. Milly put both arms around his waist and looked into his eyes. “Maybe we can talk about this some more. But back to more pressing matters. Gil. Today or tomorrow?”

“You deal with the dress first. And after that, we drive to Bosworth Market. Specifically Bosworth Hall. Where you have a date with a tub I know you adore. I suggest we go to the hospice in the morning. Gil will be more chipper then. If we see Hamish we can find out if he’s willing to bury the hatchet and come to the wedding. Do you remember that sexy purple number-”

“I forgot to tell you. Mother Natures finished with me for this month. So get a good supply. I’m going to put you through your paces tomorrow. And just in case Kendra is right, make sure they’re silky smooth but super strong. The purple number makes its debut tonight! Now scoot. I’m not going to try on one single dress with you here. Go play in the traffic or build a better mousetrap. Now shoo!”

As Brad departed and Milly entered the store she saw Jessica and Kendra prowling through prospective wedding dresses. Her mother, Tilly, stood between Milly and her friends. Her expression told Milly a number of things. That she wanted to talk to her daughter, the matter was of great importance, and that it was D-E-O meaning daughters ears only. Milly went to the back of the store where Jessica and Kendra were and talked to them.

“I think my mother wants to say something to me. Probably about the wedding night. Can you give us a little privacy, please? It’s not inclement weather and it’s not cold. I really appreciate you being here and doing what you’re doing but could you wait outside for a short bit.” asked Milly

Jessica replied for herself and Kendra. “Take all the time you need. We understand. We’ll be outside if you need us.” The two got their coats and went to the front of the store. They exited the store via the doors at the front. When they closed Milly turned and faced her mother.

“What color do you plan to wear?” asked Tilly in a sharp almost biting tone.

“White of course. But if this is one of those pre-wedding talks mothers give their daughters about the wedding night I should remind you I’m a doctor and I know what to expect.”

“Are you pure?” she asked almost choking on the words.

“What do you mean by asking “Am I pure?”. What are you getting at mother?” asked Milly who was now scratching the side of her head.

“I think the world of Brad, you know I do. I’m sorry but I have to ask. Have you two been together?”

“Is that blasted HRT Therapy acting up because doesn’t this doesn’t sound like you at all. I’m a grown woman and your questions are becoming uncomfortably personal.” Milly’s frustration was starting to show.

“Have you and Brad been intimate? When a woman gives herself to a man in this manner it’s the most special kind of communication there can possibly be. Are you still a virgin? In my day when you got married, you had to be a virgin. Is Brad expecting his wife to be a virgin?”

Milly started to pace the store width. And the more she paced the angrier she got.

“It’s none of your damn business if I’m a virgin! For your information, Brad doesn’t care if I am or not. This the 21st century! People just don’t care about that anymore. And for your information when you got married it was the seventies and people cared even less then they do today. Were you a virgin mother?”

“We’re not talking about me. We’re talking about you. I-.”

Jessica and Kendra could hear raised voices and see Milly gesticulating this way and that. But one thing was clear. Milly was shocked and extremely upset. Jessica got worried about Milly when she started to turn red. She looked at Kendra and pulled out her phone.

“I canna take this anymore. They’re about to come to blows. I’m calling Dr. Shine to come and collect his wife.”

“What are you going to say” asked Kendra

“That things are not at all well and unless he wants to be a widower he better come double quick because Milly is about to murder his wife.”

Within minutes Tyler appeared on the scene. He asked that Jessica and Kendra corner Milly in the store while he got his wife out of there before she had her head handed to her. Fergus acted as the getaway driver and was most concerned. When Fergus ushered Tilly away Tyler went into the store to find out what was going on. Tyler asked very calmly what questions Tilly had asked. He also made an emphatic plea that he didn’t want to know the answers. He agreed with his daughter. The questions were none of her business. He too thought her behavior was way out of character and possibly HRT related. When Jessica and Kendra entered the store they asked Milly what was going on. Both were thunderstruck and dumbfounded. Jessica was furious. “If my mother had asked those questions of me I’d be furious.” When Milly calmed down the owner of the store approached her.

“I’m not used to speaking English. And there are some phrases that I’m not familiar with. A phrase your father said is one of them. Just before he left he said, “anything goes”. Do you have any idea what he meant?”

Milly thought for a while then gave her reply.

“That was my father’s way of saying he’ll pay for anything and everything despite what my mother may have said. And I’m still his little girl.”

“What do you plan to do about photos, flowers, and your make-up?” asked Jessica.

Those items that had completely slipped Milly’s mind. The woman who owned the store, Mrs. Carter, offered a solution.

“Strathpeffer Florist has joined forces with a photographer. He normally works out of Bosworth Hall but I’ll give Hamish a call and see if he’s available.”

Milly crossed her fingers and had a consultation with Jessica and Kendra.

“If this is the fellow I hope it is it may be Fergus’s son. Brad and I wanted to invite him to get Fergus and Hamish together again.”

“If it is you’ve pulled off a major coup. My Jamie hasn’t seen his brother in ten years” said Jessica

Milly laughed. Jessica mispronounced the word coup.

“The word is pronounced “coo”. You only pronounce the “p” when you’re talking about a car.”

“What do you plan to do about your makeup?” asked Kendra.

Again Mrs. Carter saved the day. “Our make-up artist will come to the venue and do the bride, the brides mother, and all your bridesmaids.”

Just then Hamish texted that he was available. “He’s asking about the venue,” said Mrs. Carter.

“May I” pointing at the small keyboard.

Milly texted Hamish.

Dear Hamish,

Fergus MacTaggert is allowing my fiancée and I to get married in his

home. My name is Dr. Milly Shine. You met Dr. Brad Foster at Bosworth

Hall when he wanted to propose to me.

There was a pause while Hamish composed his reply. Finally, his answer came.

My father…is he mellowing?

Milly answered enthusiastically.

He has mellowed a lot. You’ll see a real difference.

Still another pause. Only shorter.

I’ll be there. I have to see the woman a man would wear a kilt for.

Milly texted thank you and the time 1: PM.

Milly explained to Kendra that Brad proposed wearing a kilt. Jessica added that she almost ruined the engagement.  She asked Mrs. Carter if she had a dress that reflected the Celtic theme of the wedding. She said that a dress had just come on the market that just might work. Milly took a look in a catalog and announced she had found her dress. Mrs. Carter promised to have the dress ready for delivery that very evening.

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