The Final Goodbye By: J.L. Jacobs © 2015 (Full Length Book)

Out of sheer desperation, Sophia Lancaster flees her small town of Wellington, Ohio in order to become a mail-order-bride. Naive and full of hope, her world is shattered once again as she is quickly wed to Travis Ewing who seems to despise her from the moment they meet.

Over time, they fall madly in love with each other but Fate has other plans in store for them. This is a suspenseful and very emotional love story that is set in the 1890's where history comes alive. You will laugh and cry over Sophia's journey through hell and back as she fights for the only thing she truly believes in: Love.

*I love to hear your comments and feedback but please DO NOT POST ANY SPOILER ALERTS OR GIVE AWAY STORY INFO. This ruins the reading experience for others.* This is a rough draft version. This book is for mature readers over the age of 17 only. It does contain some profanity and a few graphic love scenes. The synopsis will be re-written, and I will be updating the book with edits.

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28. Chapter Twenty-Eight: Togetherness

Chapter Twenty-Eight: Togetherness

 

 

     Just as Travis had suspected, Sophia's mother, Lucinda, arrived at the ranch just under a week after the baby had been born. At first, she had been worried half to death not knowing if Sophia was actually there or not. But after Travis brought her up to the bedroom where Sophia had fallen fast asleep while breastfeeding the new baby, Lucinda had quietly hugged Travis out of relief. Now that she had seen for herself that Sophia was not only there, but that her new grandchild had also safely arrived, she felt so much better after the weeks worth of worrying Sophia had put them all through. Travis gestured for Lucinda to follow him back downstairs. It was just past nine o'clock at night and he didn't want to wake Sophia and the baby nor Mikey and Hope. Sleep had been in precious supply since the baby had made its appearance into the world. Travis had almost forgotten how often a newborn had to feed and even Mikey and Hope were more tired than usual. But despite everything, the home and its occupants had never been happier. Lucinda sat down in a chair at the kitchen table while Travis poured them each a glass of sweet tea and took a seat himself. "I cannot believe how warm it is here in Texas at this time of the year!" Lucinda gushed, "Up north the ground is still partially frozen! I am half tempted to move down here. I think it would do my old bones some good!" Travis smiled fondly at his mother-in-law then drank some of his sweet tea. "The weather is really nice here most of the year. Except during summer where it's scorching hot most days. It was hard for me to get used to the snow and cold when I was up in Ohio this past January." he commented through a big yawn. He wanted nothing more in that moment than to crawl into bed with his wife and get a few hours of much needed sleep. Between the new baby and all the work he had to do around the ranch, he was plumb wore out. "When did Sophia arrive?" Lucinda asked Travis directly. "On the sixteenth of April. When she showed up in the hackney, she had already been in labor for over six hours. I think she planned on delivering the baby here at the house but I elected to take her into Dallas to the hospital. With her cancer and the bleeding issues she's had in the past while being pregnant, I just didn't want to take any chances. Other than her having a lot of pain, the delivery went really well. She gave birth a few hours past midnight on the seventeenth. Of course, she did yell and curse at me during most of it." "As well as she probably should have Travis Ewing! How could you have just left her like that? I should box your ears for what you have put my daughter through! For what you put all of us through for that matter! Sophia had been such a mess during those three months! I'm still angry with you!" Lucinda said glaring him down, "You're mighty lucky that she didn't lose that baby! She had a real close call after you took off on her like that! You should also consider yourself lucky that Sophia even came back to you after everything! That just goes to show you how much she loves you!" Travis had the sense to blush deeply out of genuine remorse over his actions. Lucinda was correct; he deserved to hear every word she was saying to him and more. "Pardon my language, but I have admittedly acted like a complete ass. I cannot say how sorry I am enough. To her and to the rest of you. Life hasn't been easy for me here after I left her. The kids and even the Cox's were mighty displeased with me and made it known every single day. I cannot even begin to explain my actions. But I want to assure you that I will never do anything so damned stupid ever again. I love her and she is my entire world. I cannot imagine her not in it here with me and our little family." Lucinda stood up and gave him a hug then kissed the top of his thick, dark hair. "I can see it in your eyes. Now that I said what I needed to say, how does her health seem to be faring?" she inquired rather somberly. Travis replied warmly, "She has bounced back from the birthing much quicker than I had thought possible. Of course, Dr. May wants her to take it easier for a few more weeks. Her body has been through a lot since last summer. Just before I brought her and the baby back home from the hospital, I made a stop at the telegraph office and did send you guys out a wire to let you know Sophia had the baby. Of course, you weren't in Wellington when I had sent the one saying Sophia had finally arrived here and was in labor. You were on the train by then I suspect since you are here with us now. Now that I think back on it, I never did get a response back from anyone in Wellington. I have been so busy here that it actually slipped my mind to send out another wire to make sure you all had received the news to begin with." Lucinda smiled, "I have a strong feeling that Louis, Rachel, and her baby are all on their way out here now. When Sophia hadn't arrived when we thought she would've, we all decided we would come down here. Except, I had been so panicked over her that I left before they could. Louis had to make arrangements at the bank so that he could leave. Originally Joseph was going to head down here as well but he offered to stay so that he could run the bank in order to give Louis one less thing to worry about. If they haven't responded to your wires then I am positive they are on a train coming here as we speak. I hope you aren't too cross with us. We were just so worried. We felt like we had to be here!" A few tears sparkled within Lucinda's eyes as she gave him a tremulous smile. Travis picked up her hand and patted it lovingly, "I am honored that you have come. The timing is perfect because now you can visit with your newest grandchild. As for Louis and Rachel, they are more than welcome to stay here as well. Unfortunately, I don't have an extra room in this house for you all to stay in but I do have a cabin here on my property that will accommodate you all perfectly. In fact, first thing on the morrow I will have Mrs. Cox make sure it's aired out and made ready for your use. With Rachel bringing little Jocelyn, I will need to get a cradle in town for her tomorrow and bring it back here. I am actually really glad you have come Lucinda. I cannot wait to see Sophia's reaction when she learns you are here!" "Oh my goodness!" Lucinda exclaimed as a thought had just occurred to her, "I didn't even think to ask if the baby is a boy or a girl! I don't even know its name yet!" Travis chuckled; he had noticed that himself but purposely didn't comment on it. Now that Lucinda was here, he wanted Sophia to be the one to tell her that bit of news. "How about I let Sophia tell you tat herself?" he suggested warmly. "I suppose that's acceptable." Lucinda grinned back.

 

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     Sophia woke up after the baby began to stir and fuss within her arms. She was very shocked that they had both fallen fast asleep like that. She smiled down at the baby who was looking back up at her with its light blue eyes. "Well hello there my little darling." she said lovingly. It was already dark outside and she briefly wondered where Travis was at while she put the baby to her breast. She heard some sounds coming from downstairs. It almost sounded as if Travis was talking to someone. Not giving it much thought since it was more than likely Mrs. Cox, she laid her head against the headboard while the baby ate hungrily. Sophia yawned several times as she tried to force herself to stay awake. After the feeding was finally done, she burped the baby then changed its soiled nappy. She re-wrapped the baby inside its knitted blanket and headed downstairs to see what her husband was doing. As she approached the kitchen, she about fainted on the spot when she saw her mother sitting at the kitchen table while talking to Travis.

 

     "Mother!" she exclaimed excitedly as she ran over to her. Lucinda hastily got up from her chair as they embraced each other in a long hug, careful to not squish the baby. "What are you doing here?" Sophia asked after they had parted, the quickly said, "When did you get here?" Lucinda smiled warmly and gently took the baby out of Sophia's arms to hold it within her own. The small baby looked up at her with light blue eyes. Lucinda's heart melted on the spot. "First, why don't you introduce me to my newest grandchild? Travis here wouldn't tell me whether it is a boy or a girl!" Lucinda commented. She just couldn't take her eyes off of the precious baby. Sophia looked over at Travis who stood up and gave her a quick kiss on the lips. "Mother, I'd like you to meet your granddaughter, Madeline Rose Ewing." Sophia said proudly. "Madeline Rose. What a beautiful name for such a beautiful baby!" Lucinda beamed, "Now both you and Rachel have given your daughter's a middle name after your Grandmother. How proud she would be if she were still alive." "Yes," Sophia said taking a seat in one of the chairs, "Rachel and I both decided after Granny passed that if we ever had daughters of our own, their middle names would be Rose after her. So tell me, when did you get here? I had no idea you were even coming!" "I've only been here for about an hour or so. I fear I shocked poor Travis by my intrusion but I was so worried about you. I should also warn you that your Father and Rachel should be here in a few days themselves. Joseph stayed behind to manage the bank so that your Father could come down." Sophia's face lit up even more upon hearing that news, "This is wonderful news indeed! I am so thrilled that you are here! I cannot wait to show you around the ranch and there is so much to see in Dallas. I still cannot believe you are here!" Travis went over and poured a glass of sweet tea for Sophia then walked back over to the table and set it down in front of her. "Thank you." Sophia smiled up at him lovingly. He sat back down in the chair he had been sitting in and said, "I will move Hope so that she can sleep with Mikey tonight. Your mother can make use of Hope's bed until I can get the extra cabin aired out and freshened up in the morning. Or rather, until I can get Mrs. Cox to do so." "That sounds like a great idea." Sophia mused out loud, "Oh Mother, I cannot wait for you to meet Mrs. Cox! I am sure you and her will get on famously!" "I must admit that I am rather eager to make her acquaintance after all you have written and told me about her." Lucinda replied truthfully. The three of them continued to talk for another hour before they all headed off to bed. As promised, Travis carried a sleeping Hope into Mikey's room and tucked her in bed with her brother so that Lucinda had a bed of her own to sleep in for the night. When Travis walked into his own room, he noticed that Sophia had already placed little Maddie in her cradle and the end of the bed and was laying down in their bed herself, already half asleep with a smile on her face. He undressed then climbed into bed where he drew his wife into his arms. It wasn't long at all before they both fell into an exhausted sleep.

 

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June 21, 1891

It was been such a wonderful couple of months for me! Father, Mother, Rachel, and Jocelyn's visit has been so much fun and I am enjoying the time with all of them immensely. Originally they had all planned to leave last week, but after one of my weekly visits with Dr. May, he had informed me that Dr. Halsted was arriving back in Texas soon and they both would be doing that other exploratory surgery to see if my cancer had improved or worsened. The surgery is actually being done early tomorrow morning and I am admittedly very scared. So once I told everyone what Dr. May had said last week, they decided to extend their stay here for a little while longer. I am glad they have done so. Having them all here after my surgery tomorrow will be such a big comfort to me. Let's see.... Oh! Mother and Mrs. Cox have gotten on quite well with each other like I have predicted and have become fast friends. Mrs. Cox has even been teaching Mother how to cook! I never thought I would live to see the day where Mother was able to prepare meals! In all fairness though, I am sure she has thought the same of me. At least, that is until I married Travis. It may have taken me some time to get acclimated to being the wife of a rancher by getting up every morning at the crack of dawn, learning how to cook three meals a day, learning how to do the wash and other household duties, but I am able to do it all now! Mrs. Cox still comes to help me though. I think she gets bored and enjoys my company as I enjoy hers. I have discovered that she loves the feeling of being needed since she is so far away from her own daughter. I think that whenever Mr. Cox feels ready to retire, that they will both end up moving to San Francisco to live with their daughter and grandchild. But now that Mother and Rachel are also here, we all help each other with the work that needs to be done around here. It takes us no time at all and we are left with plenty of time during the day to enjoy playing with the children. We have gone swimming almost every day for the last few weeks when it started to become scorching hot during again. The pond has been thoroughly enjoyed by us all! Travis has taken Father under his wing and those two, along with Mikey, spend their days doing work around the ranch. Father absolutely loves it out here. Once or twice I have overheard him talking to Mother about him possibly retiring from the bank so that they could move out here semi-permanently. I honestly have no idea how serious he is about that though but I know Mother would do so in a heartbeat. She loves it here just as much as I do. She has told me on a few occasions that if she never saw another day of snow again that it wouldn't be too soon for her! I must end this journal entry now. It's time for me to get to bed. I have a long day tomorrow and I am not looking forward to having another surgery to recover from. At least I can do it knowing that I have plenty of help for myself and Madeline, and I will finally know whether or not this cancer will kill me or if it has gone away.

 

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     Sophia, Travis, Louis, Lucinda, and Rachel had all just arrived at the hospital and nervously waited in the waiting room after Sophia checked herself in. They arrived early after anticipating heavier traffic on the busy Dallas streets, but ended up making better time than they had assumed. Mrs. Cox stayed behind to care for Jocelyn and Madeline so that the rest of the adults had one less thing to worry about. Even Elsie Prescott had just arrived to wait with them while Sophia was in surgery. Before Sophia was called back, she gave each of them long hugs. For Travis, she also added in a few deep kisses. "Hey you's two! Save it for the bedroom!" Elsie called out jokingly. Travis and Sophia parted from each other only after Dr. May had come out to the waiting room to get Sophia. "It's time." the doctor said to her with a warm smile. Sophia quickly introduced him to her family and as she followed him to the surgical area, she looked behind her once more to see just how concerned all of her family members had looked. Even though Elsie was worried herself, she made sure to give Sophia a bright smile of encouragement. Sophia gave a little wave and proceeded through the door with tears in her eyes. How much different this surgery was going to be considering the last one almost a year ago. Back then, she had kept it a secret from everyone except for Elsie. This time, she was going into it knowing she had lots of love, hope, and encouragement from all of her loved ones. Dr. May led her to the very same room that her previous surgery had taken place in last summer. She smiled as Dr. Halsted walked up and embraced her into a hug. "It is so good to see you Mrs. Ewing!" he smiled, "I have heard from Dr. May here that you have given birth to a healthy baby girl with no complications. Congratulations!" Sophia smiled fondly at the doctor, "Yes, her name is Madeline Rose. She is such a joy for both Travis and I. And of course Mikey and Hope. They love having another sibling in the house!" "I am so happy to hear it!" Dr. Halsted commented happily, "Dr. May has told me that you still haven't been experiencing much pain since I have seen you last December. That could be an encouraging sign. Are you ready to get this over with?" Sophia solemnly nodded her head yes and she was directed by Dr. May to lay herself down upon the wooden table. A nurses had walked in to assist the doctors. "I am sure you remember that we will be putting a mask over your nose and mouth so that the gas can put you to sleep. When you wake up there will be some pain from the incision site. We will make sure you are properly medicated to help with that much like I did for you last summer. Have a good sleep Mrs. Ewing and we will see you when you wake up." Sophia smiled at Dr. May as the now-familiar mask was placed over her nose and mouth. She could immediately taste and smell that awful gas which made her eyes water and her stomach tighten up. It didn't take very long before everything got blurry, then within several seconds more everything went black.

 

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     It had been a little over two hours since Sophia had been brought back to surgery and there was still no word from the doctors. Elsie was now describing to everyone about last year when she had been waiting alone during Sophia's first surgery. This was the first time that Travis had heard this portion of the story and he sat there feeling more and more awful as Elsie talked. "Of course Travis found me sitting here alone and he confronted me about where Sophia was at. I had never been so scared or nervous in all my life! I felt awful about having to lie to him but Sophia made me swear that I wouldn't say anything to him. She even made Dr. May promise not to do so! So I think I made up some story about me being the one who was being seen and that I had sent Sophia on her way. I could tell Travis was very concerned over where she was and he stormed back out of here just as quickly as he had arrived. Travis, you don't know this but not even two minutes after you had left, Dr. May came out to the waiting room. Now that I look back at everything, I am sort of glad you weren't here when that happened. Dr. May led me to a small office and that's when he told me about Sophia's cancer. He and I talked about whether or not to tell Travis what was going on but we ultimately decided that we shouldn't because we had both promised Sophia that we would keep our word. At the time, it almost seemed better that way since you had filed to dissolve your marriage with her." Elsie said the last part giving Travis a knowing look. He felt his heart ache knowing how awful he had treated Sophia in the beginning of their marriage and how she had been too worried to come to him about such a scary thing like being in pain, having to have major surgery, and having to keep the cancer diagnosis a secret out of fear of what he'd think or do. Elsie continued talking. "It took Sophia longer than normal to wake up so I went home that night. I couldn't sleep a wink. I remember getting out of bed the next morning feeling exhausted. There had been a really bad storm now that I think of it. Even though I don't live very far from here, it took me longer than usual to get here. I had planned on arriving first thing in the morning but the storm didn't clear until the early afternoon. Then there was all the muddy streets to contend with so I finally got here in the late afternoon sometime. When I went to go see Sophia in her room, she had been awake but was in pain, so I came out into the hallway to get a nurse. Then Dr. May showed up and I took the opportunity to talk to him privately out in the hall which was directly across from her room. At first, he had told me that the cancer had spread so much that there wasn't anything he could do for Sophia. But I was adamant that he at least try to find another doctor who could at least try something to help her. He sent out many wires to major hospitals all over the country. That's when Dr. Halsted responded. His specialty is cancer and he only works with cancer patients. I offered him a very handsome fee to come down here and treat Sophia. He agreed and came a few weeks later. I don't know much else except that Sophia began to see both the doctors on a weekly basis and they were doing some sort of treatments on her. She has told me that her pains have pretty much gone away with the exception of a few other times she had them late in her pregnancy. However, after the baby was born, she realized those were actually contractions she was getting and not the cancer pain. I am really sorry that I didn't tell anyone about all of this back then but you have to understand that she was being overly stubborn about not wanting any of you to know. As a friend, I only wanted what she felt was best. I realize now that you all deserved to know the truth. I hope you can forgive me."

 

     It was Lucinda who spoke up next, "I know Sophia can be very strong willed. We tried our very best to prevent her from coming down here in the first place to marry Travis thinking she was making a rash decision and a terrible mistake. She mentioned a few times that she felt compelled to come here for some reason and believed that Fate was the force compelling her to marry him. I think now that she was right. It does not surprise me one bit that she forced you to keep quiet about her surgery and cancer. I am thankful that she at least had you to confide in instead of going through all of that on her own. We did eventually find out when she came up to Wellington last January but it was Hope who had spilled the beans. I forgive you Elsie. Don't stress yourself over this any longer. We all need to move forward since we cannot change the past." Elsie gave Lucinda a tentative smile and whispered "Thank you." with tears in her eyes. What a relief it was to get all of that off her chest with them and to be forgiven!

 

     Travis was about to speak up when Dr. May came out to the waiting room. At once, everyone peeled their eyes on him. He walked over towards the group and began talking in a loud whisper so that the other people in the waiting room could not overhear the conversation. "First of all, Sophia's surgery is done and she is in her room recovering. She will be unconscious until her anesthesia wears off some more. I am not sure how long that will be. The last time it took well over nine or ten hours so if she doesn't wake up right away there is no cause for alarm." The doctor rubbed at the bridge of his nose as he closed his eyes to prevent his tears from coming. It took a couple of moments before he could compose himself enough to continue speaking. When he looked back at the group, he could see their worry and concern. "Dr. Halsted and I opened her up and I am sorry to say that the cancer is still present. There has been no improvement. In fact, it has only spread all the more. Dr. Halsted was able to remove what he could. But to be honest, he has told me that this is not something that will go away. Many of the tumors have grown into her organs. Since last summer there have been more growths. She will not recover from this and it's now definitively terminal. We do not know how much time she will have left. The cancer can grow slowly or very rapidly. It's different for each person that has it. Either way, it's up to her body as to how long she can hang on and fight it. We will continue her weekly treatments to help prolong her prognosis, but you must prepare yourselves now because she will die from this." At that point, he could no longer hold back his tears. In the time he had known Sophia, she had really become special to him. He had admired her strength, tenacity, and her loving heart. It broke his own heart when Dr. Halsted told him that there was nothing he could do for her other than to make her as comfortable as possible. As he watched the faces of Sophia's family go from hope and concern to horror and shock, he truly felt awful over having to be the one to have given them such bad news. Travis wailed out so loudly that every set of eyes in the waiting room had looked over at him. "No!" he cried out hysterically, "NO!" Seconds later Rachel, Lucinda, and Elsie all caved into their own heartache. Louis sat there stunned, unable to move from the shock of this horrible news. "Oh my GOD!" Lucinda cried out as her and Rachel grabbed onto each other sobbing uncontrollably. Dr. May's own tears fell down his cheeks. He took a seat next to Travis and pulled him in for a hug. Travis's chest heaved in and out rapidly as he was consumed with grief. Elsie had her head in her hands as she was racked with sobs of her own. "Oh my God. No! Not Sophia! Why God? Why?" Lucinda shouted at the ceiling in anger, "WHY?!?"

 

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     It took over a half of an hour's time before everyone calmed down enough for Dr. May to continue speaking with them, himself included. He stood back up on shaky legs and said, "I know this is all hard for you to take in. I am really sorry there is nothing that can be done to help her. However, it is crucial that you all try your best to keep your emotions at bay once she is awake. She will need all of you more than ever when she learns of her prognosis. Like I mentioned before, I cannot give you a timeline of what to expect. That will be up to her body to decide but I will know when it's getting closer for her... her.... her passing. Dr. Halsted and myself will continue to see her every week until that time comes. It could be weeks or it could be years. I suggest that you all help her make the most of the time she does has left. Fill it with happy memories. Be there for her. Love her. She's.... she's g-going to really ne-need you more than ever now." At that point Dr. May lost it again as he was overcome with another wave of grief. It didn't help that Sophia's family was all sitting there sobbing again and looking back at him with looks of sheer devastation. Rachel's body was wracked with heavy sobs and she was having a difficult time breathing through her heavily stuffed up nose. Travis, already having lost one wife, was feeling horribly bereft knowing that Sophia wasn't going to make it. Sophia had been so hopeful all this time! How would she even take the news once she learned of it? Should she even learn of it? Perhaps it was in her best interest that she not be told. But Travis was too broken up that he could not even utter those thoughts and words to the doctor. Like everyone else sitting near him, he was sobbing uncontrollably again. By this time, even Louis's face was a deep red as he cried like a baby but he spoke up in a choked sob voicing what Travis was already thinking, "Doctor, should we t-tell her what's going on? Maybe s-she shouldn't know. If she doesn't, then perhaps she will last l-l-longer?" No one had even realized that Dr. Halsted had been standing there until he chose that moment to speak up, "I actually think that might be best. I had already been considering the same thing myself. If she is told that she is dying, then perhaps she will only fall into a state of melancholy and her disease might progress even faster. I've actually seen patients who have had that happen. I think given the new circumstances that she should be able to spend whatever time she has left feeling happy and free of worry. She should live life as normally as possible as her body allows. She has that new daughter of hers to enjoy as well as her other step-children, and the rest of you all of course. I think it would be best for you all to make that decision together though, and if you all decide that she shouldn't know, then you need to remain strong when you are around her. It won't be easy to do but think of her. Give her as many happy memories as you possibly can. Not just for her but for all of you to treasure and look back upon after she is.. is gone. I am sorry that there is nothing that we can do for her. I really was hoping for a miracle. I will remain here to treat her weekly like I have been doing. Hopefully she will be none the wiser. I just want you all to know that I, personally, know what you are all feeling and going through. I lost my own wife to this horrible disease and that's when I decided to make treating cancer patients my specialty. I keep up with all of the new studies and have even conducted some of my own. I have spent thousands of hours doing nothing but research. Unfortunately, there is still no cure. I will spend the rest of my days trying to come up with one so help me God!" With that, Dr. Halsted left the waiting room in a hurry and headed straight to Sophia's room where she was still unconscious. He looked down upon her and began to sob. His wife had died when she was Sophia's age and Sophia actually reminded him of her. This case had been so hard for him to work on, especially now that he knew there was nothing he could do to save this poor woman's life. Sometimes he really hated his job! Now this damned cancer would be claiming another victim like it had claimed his own wife! Life could be so cruel sometimes!

 

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     Sophia slowly allowed her eyes to open up. She was in so much pain that she wanted nothing more than to fall back asleep and to not feel anything. She could hear her mother talking quietly with Travis and looked over to her right side where they were spotted standing in the corner of her room near the closed door. Their discussion looked quite intense. They both had reddened faces and were crying silently as they talked to one another in hushed whispers. Sophia tried to concentrate on what they were saying but her pain was so bad that she couldn't. "Pain." was all she could manage to say through her parched throat. They looked over at her in shock, completely unaware that she had woken up. They each briefly wondered if Sophia had overheard anything they had said. Travis crossed the room and went to his wife's bedside. "You're having pain?" he asked gently. Sophia could now clearly see that he was crying. She weakly nodded her head yes. He immediately left the room in search of the nurse so he could get Sophia's pain taken care of. Lucinda was now at Sophia's bedside. She looked down upon her eldest daughter and forced a smile on her face, "Travis is getting you some pain medicine sweetheart." Sophia looked up at her mother and was unable to say anything. She felt like the pain from this surgery was actually much worse than it had been from the last. Travis returned rather quickly and a nurse came in right behind him. It was one of the same nurse's she had the last time around. Nurse Penguin. "Open up your mouth Mrs. Ewing so that I can give you your pain medicine." she told Sophia gently. Sophia forced open her mouth and the nurse dropped liquid down her throat. Then she handed Sophia a glass of water and Sophia took several sips of it to help rid her mouth of the awful taste of the medicine and the awful taste of the anesthetic gas that was still residually present. Immediately she felt her body heave as the liquids tried to come back up. "Try to keep it down Mrs. Ewing." the nurse said patiently. As Sophia's body heaved while it tried to retch the medicine and water back up, Sophia's pain hurt even worse because it was agitating her incision site. She couldn't hold it in any longer as a small amount of vomit sprung forth from her mouth. The nurse grabbed a handkerchief from the pocket in her white uniform and cleaned up the vomit. She then had Sophia drink a few more sips of water and gave her another dose of the laudanum. This time the medicine stayed down but just barely. Within minutes, the pain slowly began to subside and Sophia started to feel better even though the nausea was still present. "More water." she said to the nurse who quickly complied with Sophia's request. Sophia drank from the small glass until it was empty. "More please." she asked quietly. The nurse nodded her head in acknowledgement and waddled back out of the room which made Sophia begin to giggle. Travis and Lucinda exchanged amused looks as they smiled, each wondering what had made Sophia giggle like that. Out of curiosity, Travis walked over to the bedside and took a hold of Sophia's hand. He brought it to his lips where he kissed it gently. Then he asked, "What do you find so amusing darlin'?" She looked up at him with dopey eyes, "Nurse Penguin." she giggled, "Haven't you noticed that she waddles like one?" With that, both Travis and Lucinda burst into laughter.

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