Authors: Anna Kristell
written by Anna Kristell
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It was late afternoon in the small Mississippi river town of Clinton, Iowa
and as the last patient of the day walked out the door of Dr. Thomas Rose’s office, a tired Sunny Drake quickly ran to the door to lock up for the evening. But before she could get the task accomplished, a man rushed in with a small child in his arms.
“My son was just injured, is the doctor still in?” The man was visibly upset as he cradled the small boy
whose forehead sported a blood-soaked bandage.
“Yes, sir, follow me to the exam room. We’ll get this little guy taken care of. What happened?”
Sunny asked as she removed the bandage gingerly. Tears were rolling down the chubby cheeks of the boy, but he allowed her to look at his injury.
“He was playing at the playground and fell off
the swings. His nanny should have been watching him instead of talking on the phone.” The child’s father was visibly agitated with the nanny.
“Let me just get it cleaned up
so the doctor can get a better look at it.” She smiled down at the little boy. Turning to his father, she said, “I’ll need for you to fill out some forms while we’re waiting for the doctor.”
“Whatever, just see to my son.”
Sunny hurriedly cleaned the nasty gash. Realizing it would need sutures, she prepared everything for the procedure before leaving the room to summon Dr. Rose.
When she returned
and handed the man the necessary paperwork, he was whispering to the little boy. As he rocked the child he said, “It’s all right, Bricey, Daddy’s here. You can be a big boy for the doctor. Daddy’s right here with you, every step of the way.”
The boy had stopped whimpering, seemingly content to be in his father’s strong arms.
Sunny’s heart leapt at such a display of fatherly love. What a lucky woman his wife must be.
“Can you set him on the table
…?” Sunny pointed to the exam table in the room while glancing at the chart for a name.
“Dupont, Chase Dupont. And this little trouper is Brice.” Mr. Dupont stood up and walked to the table, gently putting his son down. The boy clung to his father, but after some reassuring words were whispered, he agreed to stay put.
“Well, Brice, you certainly are a little trouper. I’ll have to see if we can find some stickers for you.” Sunny patted a chubby clenched fist. “Relax, sweetheart, your daddy is right here and so am I. My name’s Sunny.”
Dr. Rose entered the room. “What have we here, young man? It looks like you might have had a run in with a swing or a slide and you didn’t come out the winner.”
The boy giggled as his father explained what had happened. “I’m in town on business. My son was at the playground with his nanny. She was apparently not watching him as she should have been. Brice fell out of the swing and cut his head.”
“I see. Well let’s take a look. I won’t hurt you, Brice. I just want to have a look.” The kindly doctor carefully examined the wound. Dr. Rose was an old
-fashioned family practitioner having been in practice for several years.
Is it bad?”
He’ll need some stitches, but he’ll be fine. Sunny, could you help me? Sheila’s already gone.”
Dr. Rose. I think I have everything ready for you.”
“Excellent. Mr. Dupont, if you’ll stand right over here you’ll be out of the way, but still close enough to hold your son’s hand for moral support.”
Sunny assisted the doctor, smiling at the father and son duo while the doctor expertly stitched the child’s head. The small boy smiled up at her with tears rolling down his little boy cheeks once again. What a little charmer, she thought as she reached down and patted the hand his father wasn’t holding.
“Take him to your
family doctor in a few weeks to have the sutures removed. There shouldn’t be much of a scar, just a small line. It shouldn’t be very noticeable at all.”
“Thank you so much. With Brice’s mother gone, I try my best, but sometimes the children just have to be in the care of someone else. It’s never the same as a mother.”
“Well, I’d say you’re doing a good job. Brice is a lucky little boy.”
Mr. Dupont walked out to the reception desk
, where Sunny made a copy of his insurance card. As she handed it back to him, he smiled at her. She hadn’t noticed before how handsome he was. He was a tall, muscular man with dark brown hair showing the slightest hint of gray at the temples and the most beautiful green eyes she’d ever seen. He looked the part of distinguished businessman, but when he smiled his whole face lit up. And when he looked at his son a different side of the man was revealed. He was quite evidently a devoted father. Obviously this man knew how to balance the priorities in his life.
“I’d like to thank you, ma’am
, for helping us tonight. I know I’ve kept you late. Could I make it up to you by inviting you to have dinner with us tonight?” Chase flashed a smile that would melt any woman’s heart, especially one that had been badly broken. Brice was giving her a similar, little boy version of the heart-melting look, making it even more difficult to resist the two.
Her heart skipped a beat as she looked up at the gorgeous man standing in front of her. Every sensible bone in her body was telling her to decline the invitation, but her
heart was telling her to accept. What else did she have to do anyway besides
go home to another lonely night in her apartment and eat a frozen dinner in front of the television, until she was so bored she went to bed. Alone. Dreaming of a life that just doesn’t seem to be within her grasp.
…I don’t know.” She looked at him in surprise.
“I’m sorry, I guess I should have asked if you were married, but I didn’t see a ring.”
The man apologized, flashing a smile once more that made it very hard for her to say no.
“No, I’m not married. And yes, I would like to have dinner with you and Brice.” Sunny finally
gave him an answer, as she smiled back at him.
“Actually, I have a daughter, too.
Allison’s back at the hotel with the absent-minded nanny. I hated to leave her with that woman after what happened at the playground, but I just grabbed Brice and ran when I got the call.”
“In that case, I’d like to have dinner with the three of you.” Sunny laughed as she looked from father to son. Brice had stopped crying by now and was busy looking at the stickers she’d given him. As his father held him in his arms, he clapped his hands, apparently happy that she’d said yes.
“Great. Would you mind meeting us at the hotel? I want to get Brice back there and check on Allison. I need to have a few words with my nanny, as well.”
“Tell me where and when and I’ll be there. I need to finish just a few things here and run home to freshen up a bit first.”
“We’re at the Country Inn. Come by in about an hour or so, don’t rush yourself. Whenever
you’re ready will be fine. I’ll leave word at the desk to let me know when you arrive.”
“Okay, I’ll be there. See you soon, Brice.” She looked at the sweet little boy who was shyly smiling up at her.
The Duponts left, waving to her as they walked out the door. Sunny locked the door behind them before she finished closing up for the night then Dr. Rose walked her out.
“Do you know who that was, Sunny?”
“No, should I?” she asked as she unlocked the door to her gray Camry.
Chase Dupont is one of the wealthiest businessmen in the state. He owns a chain of restaurants. The
Li’l Taste of Heaven
, I believe they’re called.”
“Are you serious? I just agreed to have dinner with him and his two children.”
Surprised, Dr. Rose said, “That’s unlike you, Sunny, to go out with someone you’ve just met, isn’t it?”
“Yes, but he was so nice and so concerned for his little boy. He said he wanted to thank me for staying late.”
“His wife passed away about two years ago, if I remember correctly. It was a tragic accident.”
“I remember reading about that now that you mention it.”
“Well, have fun, Sunny. I’m sure he’ll treat you to a nice meal. Just be careful.”