Squire’s Isle Created by Geonn Cannon

Sundays on Squire’s Isle: Sunday, July 22 – Open Doors

April 16, 2012

“Ah.” Beverly stayed perfectly still, staring at her left hand in that dumb, frozen-time moment where the brain tried to convince her body it wasn’t really hurt. But then the blood began to well up, running from the middle of her wrist up to the meaty heel of her hand. “Damn it. Keith? Are you still here?” Her voice echoed through the studio as she grabbed a clean cloth and pressed it against her wound. Asking had been stupid; she knew Keith was gone. She’d heard the door close when he left, but she held out hope.


The reception area was empty, as she knew it would be, and she cursed quietly. They had a small public restroom next to the office to wash the wound and wrap it more securely. She locked the door behind her and went to her car, watching as the towel slowly reddened. For a moment she considered calling someone to give her a ride, but the hospital was just down the road from her studio. It would take longer for someone to come pick her up than it would to just drive herself.


She drove to the hospital and parked near the Emergency doors, lifting her arm to see blood was smeared on her arm and the hem of her shirt. “Ah, great.”


The nurse checked her in and told her a doctor would be with her in a moment. She barely had time to settle on the foot of the exam bed before a woman in a white coat was in front of her. “Hi. I’m Dr. Tom. You cut yourself?”


Beverly nodded and gingerly lifted the towel. “I’m Beverly Meade. Just a stupid accident.”


“You can tell me if it wasn’t.” She was examining the wound. “People come in with cuts on their wrist, we have to make sure.”


“Oh. No, it was definitely an accident.” She smiled self-consciously. “Job hazard. I’m a wood carver. One of my tools got away from me.”


Dr. Tom nodded. “I’ll say it did. This isn’t too bad. I can go ahead and suture it, set you up with a nice bandage.”


“Some people like the drugs, but I come here for the service.”


The doctor smiled. She looked for a cart and stretched for the nearest one, pulling it close. Beverly looked away as she worked, unable to stomach the sight of her flesh being poked and prodded and stitched. “It’s okay,” Dr. Tom said. “Just relax. I’ve done this hundreds of times. Thousands if you count teddy bears when I was a little girl.”


“Ever lost a patient with this treatment?”


“Suturing? No. Well, a couple of teddy bears suffered massive padding loss. Very sad. My Little Ponies couldn’t make it through the funeral.”


Beverly chuckled.


“So what kind of wood carving do you do?”


“Doors.” She cleared her throat, grateful for the distraction.


Dr. Tom tilted her head. “Doors? What do you mean?”


Beverly cleared her throat. “The things you open to get into rooms.”


“Hey, I didn’t have to numb this.”


“Sorry. I carve designs into them. Usually something simple like leaves, vines, fleurs-de-lis. But a couple of people want something more ornate. I’ve done mountains, animals, people. I’m not terribly good with people. But I make nice doors.”


“That sounds very cool. You do designs?”


“Yeah. I got into it in college. Art major, Dad was a woodworker, so the two went together well. I found a way to make it work.”


“Do what you love, right?” Dr. Tom smiled at her and finished bandaging the wrist. “There you go, almost good as new. Hopefully it won’t affect your work.”


“Not so long as I keep the chisel on the wood and not my skin.”


Dr. Tom grinned. “That’s the preferred way, I hear.”


Calmer now, Beverly gently massaged the clean gauze that covered her wound as she slipped off the edge of the bed. She expected Dr. Tom to leave, to move on to other patients, but she lingered and seemed to be contemplating something. Finally she said, “About how long does a project take? You probably have a few projects in the pipeline, and then the actual work probably takes… a while. Would you be able to do a custom job by late July?”


Beverly did the mental mathematics. “It would depend on how ornate you’re thinking, and how this heals, but I think I could get something ready by then. What did you have in mind?”



Alex’s knee was sore. Even though she’d been dealing with messes for the past twelve hours, she was certain her pain was mostly in her head, stemming from the fact she had reduced their anniversary dinner to a quick lunch together and a promise of sex that night. It wasn’t their actual anniversary, the real date they became lovers, since that time period was all tangled up in horrifying death and destruction. Instead they celebrated the day Alex had moved to the island and taken up residence in Rachel’s home.


And they honored it by meeting for lunch at a café on Spring Street while tourists swarmed around them like gnats. Hardly what Alex really wanted, miles from what Rachel deserved, but two of her volunteer firefighters had quit and the department was running low on funding. She knew that Patricia Hood-Colby, if elected, would make things a little easier, but the election seemed so far away.


Now she was finally home, too late to actually treat her partner to a night out, and her knee was throbbing as if to remind her of how far she had once gone. Like Wonder Woman through a skylight. Now you chain yourself to a desk and give her the bare minimum. It wasn’t true, it wasn’t fair, and yet she still couldn’t make the little voice shut up. She took off her shoes in the hallway, one hand braced against the wall as Rachel came out of the kitchen.


“Hey. I’d ask how your day was…”


“Same as every other day. Tedious, with beauty at the end of it. Hi, baby.” They kissed hello, and Alex realized she smelled something delicious. “Are you cooking dinner?”


“It is our anniversary. I wanted it to be a surprise.”


“I didn’t want you to be put out. I wanted to take you out, I wanted–”


Rachel put a finger on Alex’s lips. “And I wanted to pamper you. I have someone I love, who loves me back, and who appreciates when I make her food. I love cooking for you, Alexandra. It still has some time before it’s done, so why don’t you hop in the shower and change into something a little less… worn.”


Alex bowed her head to sniff herself. “Bad?”


“Nah, but… shower, babe.” She patted Alex’s rear end and pulled away from her.


Alex smiled, the stress of the day already fading as she turned to go down the short hall to their bedroom. She almost didn’t lift her head when she gripped the knob, but she noticed the door seemed to be a different color than she remembered. She stepped back, fingers resting limply on the knob as she focused on it.


“What do you think?” Rachel asked from behind her.


The door was blonde oak, with four panels. The top panel on the left showed dancing flames, while the right had a caduceus. In the panel below the fire were the letters AC. The letters under the caduceus were RT. Alex moved her hand to trace one of the flames, breathless as she backed up to get the full picture. She bumped into Rachel, who put her arms around Alex’s waist.


“This is amazing. How…?”


“There’s a woman in town who carves doors. I treated her for a cut on the wrist a few months back, and I checked her catalogue, and I decided this would make a good anniversary gift for you. For us.” She kissed Alex’s neck. “It’s been done for a few weeks. It’s been driving me crazy not to say anything.”


“The flames. You… having flames on your bedroom door won’t be a little strange for you? Considering…”


“I’m not scared of fire anymore, Alex. Not since you came along.”


Alex turned around and kissed Rachel. “Thank you. It’s really gorgeous. You’re really gorgeous. But you’re more gorgeous than the door.”


Rachel smiled. “Glad we have that clarified.” They kissed again, slowly, and Alex pulled back. “Are you really cooking dinner?”


“I am. And you really should shower. We have plenty of time for anniversary stuff after we eat.”


Alex nodded and stepped back, letting her hands trail down Rachel’s arms to prolong contact. They finally had to separate, and Rachel went to tend to the food. Alex turned and looked at the door again. She traced the smooth, curved lines of the caduceus, unable to believe it was actually their bedroom door. It looked like something that belonged in a palace or some museum display. Just the sight of it made her feel calm, and it made her feel like the room was more special than it already was.


Not just their bedroom, their sanctuary. Their safe place. Already vastly more relaxed than she’d been when she got home, Alex finally turned the knob (also new, and antique-looking) and let herself into the bedroom to prepare herself for a proper anniversary celebration.

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