REGINALD & JILLIAN’S
HOME – LIVING ROOM/FOYER
you be careful and watch your step,” Reginald cautioned as he helped
through the open door. “I don’t
want you tripping on a rug or anything and taking another nasty spill.”
“And I’ve got your bags.”
Leticia came in right behind them, setting Jillian’s things down by the
front stairs before closing the door. “I’ll
just leave them right here for now and I’ll take them upstairs and put them
away for you later.”
“Honestly, Mother, I wish you two would stop
fussing over me. I feel fine.”
Jillian pushed her husband’s hands away as she asserted her desire to
be allowed to stand on her own. “I’m
not going to collapse into a heap simply because I’m walking in my own
“Darling, you know what Dr. Campbell said –
you’re supposed to take it easy.” He
again took her hand into his and began to lead her towards the living room.
“That means that my number one job in this home is to make sure that
you don’t as much as lift a finger.”
makes it our job, too,” Jillian’s
Lamont, spoke up as Reginald, Jillian, and Leticia entered the
room. “If you need anything at
all, you make sure and telephone me.”
“Or me,” Jillian’s other sister, Judith
Linford, cut in, making sure to step between Janet and Jillian.
“I know how much this baby means to you – to both of you – and if there’s anything I can do….”
what are you doing here?” Jillian
pulled away from Reginald’s protective grasp and went to hug each of her
sisters. “You didn’t have to
come all the way over here just to hold my hand.
“They’re here because I phoned them,”
Leticia spoke up, coming to her youngest daughter’s side to help her sit down.
“It’s important that everyone around you does whatever needs to be
done to make sure that you don’t get carried away with yourself.
I’ve already filled them in on everything Dr. Campbell said and I’m
certain that between the four of us, you won’t have any shortage of family to
look after you.”
That’s really not necessary.”
I heard exactly what Dr. Campbell said and I know exactly
how stubborn you can be.” Leticia
sat down on the sofa next to Jillian and clasped her daughter’s hand tightly.
“You’re going to feel fine. You’re
going to think that nothing is wrong with you at all and then you’re going to
get some silly little notion in your head that you can do something that you
really have no business doing in your condition.”
“You should listen to your mother,” Reginald
grinned. “She’s a very smart
woman. Besides, between me, your
mother, and your sisters, we’ve got you more than outnumbered.”
Jillian’s eyes moved from her husband, to her
mother, and then to her sisters as she slowly began to grow resigned to her
unavoidable fate for the next several months.
“I’m surprised your mother hasn’t weighed
in on this group effort,” she muttered.
He paused and bit his lip, anxious over the next piece of news he had to
deliver. “Actually, she’s in the
“Oh, Jillian, you’re home!” Francis
Callison exclaimed as she carried a tea tray into the room followed by a woman
with whom Jillian was not familiar. “I
wanted to have all of this set up and ready before you got here.
Reginald, darling, you should’ve phoned to let me know….”
“Francis, you really shouldn’t have gone to
so much trouble.” Although Jillian
was smiling warmly at her mother-in-law, she couldn’t help but focus her eyes
on the strange woman who was standing slightly off to the side while wondering
who in the world she could be.
“It was no trouble at all.”
Francis sat down on the sofa next to Jillian on the opposite side of
Leticia and then began to pour everyone a cup of tea.
“As soon as your mother phoned me to let me know that Dr. Campbell was
letting you come home from the hospital today, I came right over to get things
ready for you.”
several, long moments of awkward silence during which Francis finished serving
tea, Jillian decided that she could no longer wait to address the obvious….
“I’m sorry,” she smiled as she looked up at
the unfamiliar woman, “but clearly no one is going to make a proper
introduction. I don’t believe
we’ve met. I’m….”
“I’m quite familiar with who you are, Mrs.
Callison,” the woman nodded curtly. “Your
mother-in-law has given me quite the thorough briefing on your condition as well
as a tour of your home.”
“Be that as it may….”
Jillian exhaled slowly as she began to fully realize what was going on.
“I still don’t know who you are.”
forgive me, Mrs. Callison. My name
Whitehead. You may address
me as ‘Mrs. Whitehead.’ I’m….”
“She’s your new housekeeper,” Francis
interrupted, taking full control over the situation.
“As soon as Reginald told me about how difficult your condition was
going to be, I knew that you were both going to need more help around the house
than any of us could give you. Mrs.
Whitehead comes highly recommended with excellent references."
“I told all of you time and again that I don’t
want a housekeeper!” Jillian snapped angrily.
“I want to be able to….”
“We know, dear, we know,” Leticia sighed.
“You want to do everything yourself, but you heard Dr. Campbell.
You have to take it easy and running a household all by yourself isn’t
an easy job, even with Reginald helping. Besides,
none of us are able to be here with you as much as you’re going to need.”
“I never understood why anyone would want to
make do without a housekeeper if they didn’t have to anyway,” Judith
grumbled with a roll of her eyes.
“Of course you wouldn’t,” Janet muttered
under her breath, “but I’m doing just fine on my own keeping house for Burt
Judith shot her younger sister an icy glare.
Leticia knew that the last thing Jillian needed was her two sisters
bickering with one another. “We
need to focus on what’s best for your sister right now.”
“And that’s Mrs. Whitehead,” Reginald spoke
up. “In addition to being a
housekeeper, she has extensive nurse’s training.
Dr. Campbell even suggested her by name.”
I just don’t think….”
“And it’s not open for discussion.”
The look in her husband’s eyes told Jillian that he was serious and
there was no chance to change his mind. “Mrs.
Whitehead will be here to take care of you and help you out around the house
“Mrs. Callison, I’m certain that if we do our
best, we should get along with minimal effort.”
With a look of steadfast determination, Jillian
sat up tall in her seat on the sofa. Of
course, she understood everyone’s concerns – they were the same concerns
about the welfare of both her and her baby that she had – but for a young
woman as fiercely independent as Jillian tried to be, she was well aware that
the constant hovering of not only her husband and family but also this new
presence in their home was going to be something she was going to find very
difficult to deal with. As she
inhaled deeply, she prepared to stand her ground.
She would accept Reginald’s constant hovering.
She would accept both her mother and mother-in-law’s constant concerned
meddling. She would also accept both
Judith and Janet’s genuine attempts at assistance.
What she would not accept, however, was a stranger’s presence in her own home –
and she was prepared to fight for what she wanted no matter what anyone else