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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15. Chapter Fifteen: Love Blossoms

Chapter Fifteen: Love Blossoms

 

 

     Travis sat in the reception area of Dr. May's medical office waiting very impatiently as the doctor stitched up James' moderately cut leg. The wait seemed to take forever. Finally, Travis heard the sound of the large wooden door opening in the silent room as James limped out of the examination area door. The second Travis had seen James he bolted straight out of his chair and past James in order to find Dr. May. James looked behind him and was flabbergasted when he heard Travis yell out for the doctor. "Wait for me in the lobby." Travis said quickly to James, "I have some business with the doc that I need to take care of first." James headed over to a nearby bench and sat down to wait as Travis walked down the narrow hallway towards the room he knew to be Dr. May's office. Giving a slight knock on the door, Travis did not wait for an answer as he opened it up and walked inside. "Where is my wife?" Travis demanded without so much as a greeting. Dr. May stood there knowing the gig was up. "Please," Dr. May said solemnly, "have a seat so we can talk calmly about this." Travis reluctantly took a seat in one of the chairs facing the doctor's desk, "I want to know where my wife is and I am thinking you know the answer to that question." he said without further delay. The doctor grew visibly uncomfortable which made Travis even more irate over the situation. "Well?" Travis asked, "I don't have all night. What's going on?" "First of all," Dr. May began, "there is a patient confidentiality policy that I must adhere to." "Oh cut the crap already! I want to know where my wife is and you're going to tell me!" Travis barked at him. This was the first time Dr. May had seen Travis this worked up since after his first wife Rebecca had died and he started seeing him as a patient. "I can't tell you Mr. Ewing. I am sorry. I have a code of ethics that I have to follow with all of my patients, including your wife." Travis glared intently at the doctor. This man knew exactly where his wife was at. "So you can safely say that my wife is a patient of yours?" "Yes." Dr. May replied, "I can safely say that she is." "Can you safely say where she is currently at? I know she isn't in her hotel room right now and hasn't been since yesterday morning. At least she hasn't been there since I was there last. The clerk at the reception desk has already informed me that he hadn't seen her since yesterday morning either when she left there. According to him she was seen leaving with Elsie Prescott which I find a bit odd." The look on Dr. May's face answered that question. "Mr. Ewing, please, I cannot say anything else on the matter. If your wife wanted you to know where she was at she would have told you." Travis sat in the chair for a few more moments thinking about what his next course of action would be. Thinking back on yesterday morning, he realized that he knew exactly where his wife was most likely at. Elsie Prescott had lied straight to his face when she said Sophia wasn't with her! Something happened to Sophia and he knew right then and there that she must be over at the hospital. Either that or she was still with Elsie somewhere else. Nothing else made much sense to him. "Thank you for your time." Travis said abruptly as he got up from the chair and left the room. Once he got to the reception area he looked over at James and nodded his head for him to follow. Travis was already on his horse by the time James had limped his way outside. "You go on ahead to the ranch," Travis said to him, "I have another stop to make before I head back there." James stood there very perplexed and watched as Travis led his horse away in a hurry.

 

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     Travis arrived at the hospital several minutes later and headed up to the third floor where he had found Elsie Prescott sitting on a bench yesterday. There was a man sitting at the reception desk who was asleep in his chair. Travis pounded his fist on the wooden counter in order to wake the man up. Startled from his sleep, the man looked at Travis in confusion. "I'm looking for my wife. Mrs. Sophia Ewing. I believe she is a patient here on this floor and I would like to see her. Now!" Travis said rather harshly. All this running around was beginning to get tiresome especially after the long day he had already had thus far. He was exhausted, hungry, and his nerves were pushed to the limit. He had no more patience left in him. The man began to look through the papers on the desk and when he spotted the correct name he looked up at Travis saying, "Yes sir, she is here. Room 308. I can take you there if you'd like." "Finally! Someone who was actually helpful." Travis thought gratefully. He forced himself to smile back at the man in gratitude. "I can find her room but thank you for being so kind and helpful. Travis took out his billfold from his back pocket, pulled out a two dollar bill and handed it to the man. "Thank you sir!" the man said excitedly. Two dollars would feed him and his family for a week! Travis went over to the door and went inside. Room 308 wasn't hard to find at all. It was located right across from the nurse's desk which was unoccupied at the moment. The door to Sophia's room had been left slightly opened and it was fairly dark inside with the exception of the light from the hallway where he was standing spilling in. She was asleep in her bed. "Why in the hell was she even there to begin with?" Travis thought to himself. He went inside trying to walk quietly on the wooden floor with his boots so as to not wake her. There was a chair sitting empty on the left side of her bed so he took a seat. She was sleeping but her eyes were scrunched up as if she were in pain. Every so often she would moan a little. He felt conflicted as he watched her laying there so helplessly. His gut instinct told him that something was seriously wrong with her.

 

     After a while Sophia began to moan even louder which woke him up. He hadn't even realized that he had fallen asleep! His exhausted body must have caused him to pass out. Her eyes fluttered open and once she was fully awake she winced in pain but this time it was much louder. She was startled after her hand touched his shoulder while trying to reach over the bed for the little bell. "Travis!" she exclaimed in a raspy voice, "Wh-what are you doing here?" He smiled at her, "I might ask the same question of you." "Can you hand that bell to me please? And that glass of water?" she asked. The pain was almost too much for her to bear. He reached over to the table and grabbed the items she requested, handing them carefully to her. She put the bell on her lap and drank thirstily from the cup. Once it was empty, she handed the cup back to Travis and he set it back down on the small table. Sophia had tears pouring from her eyes by the time she rang the little bell. "Do you need me to do something for you?" Travis asked her. She shook her head no. A few seconds later a nurse came in the room. "How can I help you Mrs. Ewing?" the woman asked. Sophia looked at the woman and realized she wasn't the same nurse she had earlier. "I ne-ne-need pain--" she started to say when the nurse realized what Sophia needed and finished her sentence for her. "You need your pain medicine?" she asked her. Sophia nodded her head yes. "One moment. I will be right back with it." the kind woman replied as she left the room. Sophia was full-on crying now in silence and it broke Travis's heart to see her like that. He grabbed a hold of her right hand and held it in his own. A lock of her dark hair fell over her eyes as she turned her head to look at him. She used her left hand to push it aside. "H-how did you find me?" she asked Travis. Her pain was bad but seeing him there was the actual reason why her heart was now racing. "It wasn't easy I'll admit." he said in a husky drawl. Even now as she lay there looking pitiful, Sophia was still so beautiful. Her long dark eyelashes framed her light aqua eyes and her tears gripped the edges of them as if they were glistening diamonds. His own heart raced just looking at her knowing how badly she was hurting. "I am sorry." she croaked out. It was hard for her to talk while the pain did nothing but consume her body. "Sshhh." he whispered as he raised her hand to his mouth where a single kiss from his lips touched it gently. "Just relax darlin'. I'm not going anywhere. We can talk later." Her eyes searched his own in confusion for a few moments trying to figure out how he came to be there. Even though she wasn't pleased with whomever had shared her secret with him, she was also thankful that in this moment he was there with her. His presence was surprisingly comforting. Minutes later the nurse returned with an amber colored glass vial and she gave Sophia two droppers full of laudanum to her. Within moments she could feel the laudanum as it traveled through her blood stream which began to mercifully ease the pain. The nurse then gestured for Travis to hand her Sophia's cup and he handed it her so she could go refill it with some more water. By the time she returned a second time with the cup of water the laudanum was fully doing it's job. The nurse handed the water to Sophia who drank from it once more. It not only quenched her thirst but it helped take away the taste of the very bitter medicine. "Thank you." Sophia said gratefully, smiling weakly at the nurse who had begun to check her blood pressure. "No problem Mrs. Ewing. It looks like your blood pressure is slightly elevated but that's most likely from your pain. I see from reading your chart when my shift started that you ate a decent amount of your supper this evening. That's a good sign. If you need anything just ring your bell and I will be right here." With that, the nurse exited the room. 

 

     Sophia was feeling so much better now that the pain medicine was in her system. She looked over at Travis who was staring intently at her. "I suppose Dr. May told you where I was?" she asked him bluntly with a sheepish smile on her face. Travis gave a little chuckle, "No, actually he didn't want to say much about your whereabouts. I figured it out on my own if you want to know the truth." Sophia was confused, "But if he didn't tell you then... how.... how could you possibly have known?" "I saw you walking in here yesterday morning with Elsie Prescott. Later that morning I found her and confronted her about seeing you with her and asked where you were. She said you had left. I also saw you go in to see Dr. May the other day after Hope got her stitches out. Remember that? You told me you had errands to run and you would meet me for lunch but I stood outside the window with the kids and seen you go in to talk with Dr. May. I put two and two together when you weren't in your hotel room this evening. I had been there yesterday and left you a note. When I came back this evening you still weren't there and the note was unopened. I had to take one of my men to see Dr. May earlier and finally confronted him about where you were. But no worries darlin', he didn't spill the beans. I am just glad I was able to figure it out so I can be here for you now. What on earth is going on?" She remained quiet as her hands played nervously with the white sheet that covered her body. She became scared as a feeling of panic took over her. She did not want him to know the truth. It was bad enough that he didn't want her as his wife anymore but to have him find out that she was sick.... that she was.... dying.... well, that would just be the icing on the cake right there! Once again, tears began it's siege over her eyes. Travis sat there watching her as her emotions got the better of her. "Please," he urged her, "tell me." "I can't!" she cried out, "I just... can't!" "Why can't you tell me? You're my wife! I deserve to know what's going on with you!" His eyes pleaded with her own. She sighed heavily. The medicine was beginning to make her quite drowsy again and this was not the conversation she felt like having with him right now but all of a sudden words began pouring out of her mouth of its own accord. "Travis, you forget yourself. You don't even want me as your wife, remember? There is no point in telling you anything now that you are having our marriage dissolved. Soon enough you will be rid of me. That's what YOU wanted need I remind you? I came here to start a new life with you. To have a new beginning. The chance to have a family that I so craved and desired my whole life! I took a chance on you! I left my whole life behind. My family. My best friend! Ever since the first moment that I had arrived you have treated me with nothing but impatience and disdain! No matter how hard I tried, nothing, NOTHING was ever good enough for you! So I can assure you, SIR, that once I am properly healed you will be well rid of me!" Her eyes were now bright as her anger began to seep out in her harshly spoken words towards him. Travis was stunned into a momentary silence as his brain tried to process what she had just said to him. Of course she was angry with him. He never told her.... he didn't have the chance to..... she never got to read the note. No wonder why she was so hurt and angry. The last she knew he was dissolving their marriage. His heart sank. Not only was she in physical agony over whatever it was that was going on, but she was also in emotional distress thinking he didn't want her anymore. This poor, brave, beautiful woman who took a chance on him by traveling all the way down here to start a new life with him. This trusting woman who unknowingly created a whirlwind in his heart by stirring up long lost feelings that he never knew he would feel again for another living soul. She had counted on him and he had let her down. Repeatedly and in so many ways since she had arrived here. It had begun when they had met upon her arrival. He didn't even have the simple courtesy as to welcome her properly and he barely even spared a glance at her during their quick courthouse wedding ceremony. When he took her back to the ranch there had been many times he could have done things differently. But he remained hardened towards her. So many wasted chances that he threw away when he told her he wanted their marriage annulled by thinking she had been dishonest with him. He could see it all so clearly now. Even more clearly than when he was in his lawyer's office. She had been scared and brave and so passionate by driving herself into learning how to be a proper wife to him. Of course she didn't know that he had changed his mind about the dissolution because she had been here! He then drew up images of the other night when they had joined their bodies. He had taken her virginity without so much as a word of caring from him. This woman had every right to be angry with him right now! He was angrier with himself. He felt like a jack-ass. A complete and utter jackass! Scratching his head, he tried to find the right words to explain but as he looked over at her all's he could see was her back turned to him as she had rolled over slightly on her left side. "Sophia." he said quietly as he stood up. He reached over with his hand and began to touch her shoulder but she used her shoulder to shrug it off of her. "Leave me alone Travis." she cried softly. "Please, just leave. Me. Alone."

 

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     He fell back asleep in that hard chair by her bedside refusing to leave her. The laudanum had caused her to fall into a deep and painless sleep and he was sorely in need of some more shut-eye himself. They never did finish their conversation. He felt so guilty that even when he was asleep, it was plagued with dreams that weren't very pleasant. The next morning he awoke to the sound of voices in the room. It was Sophia talking to the nurse from last night. His eyes fluttered open to a brightly lit room. The curtains were opened which allowed the sunlight to pour in. Sophia was sitting up in the bed eating her breakfast. At once the smells from the food made its way to his nostrils where he breathed in the aroma of what smelled like... oatmeal. Looking over at her, he saw a tray that held a small bowl of what was, indeed, oatmeal and a smaller sized plate that had some toasted bread on it. "If you need anything else Mrs. Ewing just ring your bell. My shift is almost over but Dora will be coming in soon to take my place. She was the nurse who was taking good care of you yesterday." Sophia smiled, fondly remembering the nurse she had nicknamed penguin. "Yes, I do remember her. Thank you for your help. I am feeling much better now that I have had my medicine." The nurse smiled back and left the room, closing the door behind her. "Good morning darlin'" Travis said the moment the door clicked shut. Sophia took a bite of her toasted bread and looked over at him. "Good morning Travis." she said politely. Her gaze went back to her food which she ate without further ado. He stood himself up in order to stretch his sore body. Between all the work he had done yesterday with cutting that willow tree up and having fallen asleep in that uncomfortable wooden chair last night, his body was definitely protesting now. He walked over to the side of her bed and planted a little kiss on her forehead. "How are you feeling today?" he asked. She refused to meet his look but replied simply, "Much better so far. Thank you for asking." There was a quick knock-knock at the door and it opened up as Dr. May walked inside. "Nurse Patty told me you were up and eating. I am glad to see it with my own eyes. You look so much better than you did at this time yesterday." he said brightly. He walked over to her bed and used a stethoscope to listen to her heartbeat and to check for any wheezing in her chest. "Everything sounds good in there." he quipped, "How is your pain this morning?" Sophia finished chewing her bite of food before answering. "When I woke up I was still hurting pretty bad but the nurse came in and gave me some of that medicine. Now I am feeling much better." Dr. May looked over at Travis but said nothing as the two exchanges knowing glances. "Good morning to you Mr. Ewing. I am guessing you slept in that chair all night?" Travis gave a sheepish grin, "I sure did," he chuckled, "and my body hates me for it now." That made Dr. May laugh, "That is why we ask visitors to sleep at home during the night. Tonight you will need to follow the rules. There are visiting hours for a reason Mr. Ewing." he mockingly chided Travis. "No worries Doc. I'll be in my own bed tonight. In fact, I need to head back to the ranch here in a few minutes. I never went back there last night and I am sure Mr. and Mrs. Cox, not to mention my kids, must be wondering where I am at." Travis looked at Sophia then continued, "I don't want to leave right now but I must get going. I have to bathe and change into new clothes, get some grub in my stomach, do some things around the ranch, and then I will head back up here. Can I bring anything back for you?" Sophia shook her head no. She was still pretty angry with him and wasn't in the mood for conversation right now. Travis looked at the doctor, "When do you expect she will be able to go home?" he asked. Dr. May promptly replied, "As long as she continues to improve and there are no signs of infection, then perhaps we can let her go the day after tomorrow." Travis smiled at the doctor and said, "Great. Then I will be back up here later this afternoon." He walked over to Sophia's bedside and once again kissed the top of her head. He used his hand to gently cup her chin and raise it up so she would meet his eyes, which she reluctantly did with a bit of a pout on her closed mouth. "I am really sorry for having to leave you like this but I do have to get back to the ranch. I will be back up here later though." Sophia's demeanor melted a little as she seen his eyes searching her own. He was genuinely tore up about having to leave. "Travis, really, you don't have to come back up here later. I understand your responsibilities. Just give the kids a hug for me please. That's all I ask." Travis bent down to give her a warm kiss on her lips that instantly gave her the feeling of butterflies in her stomach. The kiss was simple and yet it conveyed such a deeper message. He was coming back for her. She watched him in a slight daze as he ended the kiss, turned around, and walked out the door. She hadn't even realized she was smiling until Dr. May cleared his throat to get her attention. Sheepishly, she looked over at him as her cheeks took on a deep blush. Dr. May chuckled loudly then turned and walked out of the room himself. He closed the door behind him and thought quietly to himself, "Well I'll be damned if those two aren't plum in love with each other!" With a spring in his step, he continued on to make the rest of his morning rounds as Sophia finished eating the food on her breakfast tray, contemplating what the rest of the day would bring once Travis came back. Perhaps it was the laudanum taking over but she sure felt giggly over the prospect of her temporary husband coming back. Even if he didn't want to be married to her for much longer, she couldn't help but at least enjoy the view of his rugged good looks while he was around. "Yes," she thought with twinkling eyes, "the view was mighty fine!"

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