The blue van skidded across the wet pavement to the wrong side of the road over the screams of two little girls. Frightened, Rebecca Bradley saw a car swerve to avoid hitting them. With the force of the van dipping into the ditch, her left arm smacked hard against the door handle. Miraculously, the vehicle bounced back onto the road.
Her legs trembled as she turned to look at her girls. "Are you okay?"
Although stunned, they seemed all right. She saw the other driver walking toward them. He's probably upset that he burned rubber to avoid a collision. Her arm throbbed as she opened the door to talk to him.
The man, built like a linebacker, asked, "Is anyone hurt?"
Rebecca stared at him. Where did this good-looking man come from? He wasn't from her neighborhood. "We seem to be all right. Just shaken. I'm so sorry.”
"I want my daddy," three-year-old Caitlyn Bradley wailed.
He gave a kind look at Rebecca. "I can call your husband for you."
Jenna, eyeing the stranger, said, "You look like our daddy. He has reddish brown hair, too."
"Mommy, my head hurts."
"Caitlyn, honey, let me see," Rebecca said, sliding open their door.
Jenna said, "Caitlyn’s bleeding. She needs to go to the hospital."
Rebecca's blue eyes widened at the sight of a cut on Caitlyn's forehead. She crawled inside the van and smelled urine. Without feeling Caitlyn's seat, she knew that the accident had shocked her daughter into wetting her panties. She saw a clean napkin on the floor from their recent fast food stop, and with an unsteady hand pressed it on the cut. Suddenly it was all too much, and she sobbed, "I can't believe this happened. They have been through so much."
He stuck his head in the van. "My name's David Hennessey. I'm a doctor."
"I'll move so you can look at it." When Rebecca attempted to give him some space, Caitlyn grabbed her hand. Rebecca gave him a sympathetic look since she was pressed against him.
He smiled at her. "It's okay. I've been in tight spaces before."
Rebecca's foot bumped into Caitlyn's dollhouse as she watched him examine the cut. "Is it very bad?"
"She does need stitches, but my office isn't far from here." He looked at Jenna and Caitlyn. "I have some neat toys."
"Caitlyn pees her panties all the time," Jenna said. "Can you fix that, too?"
* * * At Dr. Hennessey's family practice office, Rebecca held Caitlyn while he put the last stitch in.
"Caitlyn, I have a basket of treats for good patients. Since you were so brave, you get to choose two things." With a smile still on his face, he turned to Jenna. "I bet you're a mommy's helper, aren't you?"
Jenna nodded. "I help with Caitlyn."
"Well then, you get to pick something out, too." He looked at his nurse. "Lisa, please show the girls where the basket is."
After they left, Rebecca put a lock of blonde hair behind her ear. "It's my fault that Caitlyn got hurt. I let her take the dollhouse. She had it on her lap. I bet that's what she got cut on."
"But you had her in a car seat, so she wasn't seriously injured. I'm glad I didn't hit you."
"I go on that back road all the time and I wasn't going fast."
"There was probably still oil on the surface with the first rain we've had in a long time." He grinned. "That was something how you got the van to bounce back onto the pavement."
"It surprised me but I'm not going to try and figure it out. I'm thankful we didn't collide. I better go so you can see your patients." Bending to pick up her purse, she winced.
"What happened to your arm?"
"When the van dipped, my arm hit the door hard."
He moved closer. "I better examine it to see if you need X-rays."
While he gently probed her arm to see the extent of the injury, she studied his concerned face. I wonder if he has a wife. If he does, she’s a lucky woman.
Jenna entered the room. "Why is Dr. Hennessey holding your arm?"
"I hurt it a little when we had our accident."
"Mommy, look what we got." Caitlyn showed off her jewelry. "And Jenna got a purse."
"Nothing seems to be broken." His eyes met hers. "But it's badly bruised. Let your husband do the cooking for the next few days."
"Daddy's in heaven," Jenna said. "Mommy cries all the time and Caitlyn pees her panties now. And I'm going to start kindergarten."
* * * A few days later, David called Rebecca about her arm and Caitlyn’s forehead. After Rebecca told him that they were fine, he asked, “How about I take all of you to Chuck E. Cheese for pizza and games to celebrate?"
"That's kind of you, but I have a website I need to finish for a client."
“You have to eat, so I'll be saving you time in the kitchen."
"Okay, but we can't stay too long."
Within a short time, David arrived to take them to the children’s pizza place. While waiting for their food, the girls tried out some of the rides.
As Rebecca watched Caitlyn ring the bell on a fire truck, David asked, "How long has your husband been dead?"
"Adam died eight months ago in a boating accident. I stayed home with the girls because they were sick.”
"I'm so sorry."
The waitress brought an order of breadsticks to their booth. Rebecca said, "Come on, girls. Let's eat."
Jenna and Caitlyn sat together, so Rebecca slid in on the other side. David grinned at Rebecca as he sat next to her.
Jenna asked David, "Do you have a girlfriend?"
"Shush, Jenna," Rebecca said.
"It's okay. I was supposed to get married, but my bride decided to run off with the best man."
Even though she missed her husband, Rebecca enjoyed being with David. She gave him a shy look. "I guess we've both had losses."
“I’m glad your van almost collided with my car so that I met you and the girls.” He grinned. “I hope we’ll be eating a lot of pizza together.”
About the Author: Diane enjoys her life with her husband and six children in southwestern Ohio. Her husband of thirty-three years is very supportive, as well as her awesome children. She writes contemporary romance, inspirational romance and chick-lit mystery. Learn more about Diane Craver and her books at www.dianecraver.com or read her blog at www.dianecraver.com/blog