Chris and Richard’s Serendipitous Romance

Chapter 7

The next morning was a school day for Steven. We climbed out of bed, showered and dressed. During a quick breakfast of warm organic oatmeal and freshly squeezed orange juice, we looked out the window to see the storm that blew through last night left a blanket of snow under gray overcast skies. I drove Steven to school in my truck. The roads were slippery but with the heavy-duty all-terrain tires the truck had no problem safely getting us to our destination. I gave Steven a loving goodbye hug, told him to do a good job in school today and returned home to call the hospital. The nurse in charge said Richard was conscious and having tests done as we spoke. She would have more information that afternoon and suggested I call back after 1:00 P.M.

I remembered Earl mentioned he was coming to town this morning to pick up supplies and feed. I called his cell phone and asked him if I could ride to the ranch with him to pick up Grandma's Cadillac. I know it's my Cadillac now, but it was Grandma's all my life and it will take some time to get used to calling it mine. Earl was in his usual good mood. He said he had just arrived at the hardware store and had a couple more errands to do. He would be finished with them and could be at the house at 10:30.

Earl was on time, pulling in front of the house in his green 4-wheel drive pickup truck precisely at 10:30. The snow that had accumulated on the freeways during the night had by then melted in the warmer morning temperatures. We arrived at the ranch about a half-hour later. I helped Earl unload the supplies from his truck and visited with Hank and Mr. Lester for a while before taking off the blue cotton car cover I had bought to keep dust off the Cadillac, and drove home. I pulled in the driveway around noon. When I walked the front door, the phone was ringing.

It was Dr. Keely. "Hello Mr. Davis, Richard is doing well this morning. He was conscious when I visited him a few minutes ago. As I mentioned last night, Richard had a moderate concussion. Additionally, Richard fractured two ribs and has several bruises on his torso. Although most of the tests results look good, I have concerns about the one test result that was marginal, and I'd like to continue monitoring him. I'd like him to stay a few more days."

I was sad to hear Richard couldn't come home right away but at least Steven and I could visit him. For the next few days, Steven and I managed on our own. Steven was a big help around the house, helping me clean. After school, I sat with him while he did his homework and tutored him a bit with his lessons. He wanted to work together making our meals, so I taught him a few rudimentary cooking skills. Steven is a bright young man, and he learned quickly. For the next couple of nights after dinner, we visited Richard in the hospital. Richard said he looked forward to coming home and being with us. The hospital was noisy, making it nearly impossible to get much sleep. The food was dreadful. One night he opened the cover of his dinner and showed me what looked to be a filet of fish that had been laid out on the sidewalk, and then walked on by a crowd of people. Steven, and I smuggled healthy salads and sandwiches from Antonio's Delicatessen into the hospital for Richard to eat. Those had to be healthier than the institutional stuff they called "food" there.

In the morning, three days after Richard was admitted, Doctor Keely called me and gave me the good news. "Mr. Davis, we performed a follow-up test on Richard and the results look good. I'm going to release him, and he can come home. He should be ready to go within the hour."

"I can come right over. Thank you, Doctor Keely."

"Okay, I'll leave instructions for Richard's care to the nurse on duty to give to you."

I thought Richard would be in less pain on the drive home if I drove the Cadillac, since it was the nicest riding car we had. Thirty minutes later I arrived at the hospital. I walked into Richard's room, not knowing what to expect.

 Richard was sitting on his bed, shirtless and straining to his jeans on. "Well, you are a welcome sight for sore eyes. I'm sure glad to see you."

I gave him a soft loving kiss. "I'm sure glad to see you too. It will be good to have you back home. Let me help you get dressed. How are you feeling?"

Richard sat up a bit and winced as I helped him with his pants and shirt. "I'm pretty sore. I was hoping you got the license of that tractor-trailer that ran over me."

I smiled. "I promise we'll find him. Are you ready to go home?"

Richard nodded. "Ready to go home, have some lunch and go to bed."

The nurse on duty, a young man with an athletic body under his nurse's garb, entered the room a few minutes later. "I see you are all dressed and ready to go. I just need to go over a few things and we'll send you on your way. Doctor Keely says you should stay in bed as much as possible over the next few days. It's important you not exert yourself and keep physical activities to a minimum for the next two weeks. The doctor has prescribed a painkiller to keep you comfortable."

He turned to me. "Make sure he has plenty of water to keep him hydrated and he should be fed relatively bland food for a few days. No jalapeño peppers or Sriracha sauce. He shouldn't drive or fly for at least two weeks. He'll recover fully but I'd recommend he keeps a low-key regiment and avoid physical and mental stress as much as possible. Dr. Keely has scheduled a follow-up appointment in two weeks. Will you be available to make sure he doesn't exert himself?"

I nodded. "Our nephew and I can take care of him and make sure he stays in bed."

The nurse gave me Dr. Keely's contact information, wished Richard good luck and called for an orderly to take Richard to the lobby. While they waited at the entrance, I brought the Cadillac around. After a stop at the pharmacy to fill Richard's prescription, I drove us home. Richard smiled, put his hand on mine and thanked me for retrieving him with the Cadillac. I carefully walked Richard from the car to the house. He sat comfortably on the couch in the living room while I made a roasted turkey sandwich and carrot soup lunch for us. Richard slowly ate the sandwich and drank the soup. He finished and was ready to get some sleep. I slowly walked him to the bedroom, undressed him and put him in bed. As soon as his head hit the pillow, he was asleep.

I spent the next two weeks settling into my new home while caring for Richard and Steven. Living with Richard and Steven was as great as I imagined it would be. The love we shared as a family was clearly in abundance. Every day after school Richard or I would tutor Steven with his homework. Steven did well in school, making high marks. Steven and I would do little things for Richard to prevent him from straining and injuring himself more.

In the evenings after dinner the three of us would snuggle on the couch, and watch movies or TV. At times Richard's impatience with being homebound, and inactive showed, but I made sure he was connected to the Internet; and able to check-in at his office by phone to keep up to date on events there.

By the end of the second week, Richard had healed nicely. Dr. Keely was pleased with Richard's rapid recovery and approved for Richard to return to work and perform light duty functions. Soon we were a fully functional family.

One morning, while Richard and I were having coffee at the breakfast table, Richard's cell phone rang. He answered the call. "Kyle, it's good to hear from you. Oh, I'm fine. Chris and Steven made sure I behaved and healed quickly. Have you had any news about the plane?... Oh really? Mmhmm …So the mechanic is on the hook for the problem?... What's going to happen with the plane?... I see. … Yes, I can understand that…. Of course, let me know when and I'll be there. Okay, Talk to you soon. Bye."

Richard hung up the phone and explained the phone call. "As you probably heard, that was Kyle. The crash investigators determined the cause of the engine failure was a wire that was shorted out. Apparently, when the mechanic worked on the plane, he jury-rigged the wire using an unapproved fastener. After a while but vibrations caused the wire insulation to wear, shorting out both magnetos. The engine died and was impossible to restart."

"It was a good thing you guys spotted that Jeep trail to land on. Was the plane moved from the trail?"

"Yes, the Department of Transportation moved the plane to Reno-Stead Airport, where they examined it. Also, Kyle said the Department of Transportation will have a hearing next week and he's asked me to be there. It looks like they could possibly fine the mechanic. We'll know more after the hearing."

Several weeks later, on an early Friday afternoon, Richard was at the office and Steven was in school. I was outside washing Grandma's 1962 Cadillac when my phone rang. I recognized Grandma's number on the display. It was good to hear from her. We talked for 20 minutes, catching up on events. She was glad to hear Richard had recovered from the rough landing and was back to work. She mentioned she had a business meeting in Reno on Monday and wanted to talk with Richard and me about some personal business. Richard and I had talked about inviting Grandma to come for a visit so I invited her to stay with us, given there was a guest room that wasn't being used and we could spend more time together. She agreed and would drive to Reno on Sunday and arrive after lunch. She would be staying just two nights and drive home to Bishop on Tuesday. I knew Richard and Steven would be excited to have her visit. The three of us pitched in and had the house spit-spot, at the English say, by Sunday morning.

Grandma arrived right on time, after lunch on Sunday in her big 1976 Cadillac. The three of us welcomed her with hugs, helped her with her suitcase, showed her the guest room and sat in the living room for rose tea and sugar cookies. Grandma wanted to know all that has happened to us starting with how Steven was doing in school. Steven told her he was getting mostly A's and one B. When she asked what the B was for, he blushed and told her P.E. and all of the kids always got B's because the teacher didn't believe in giving A's for that. Richard made a mental note to have a conversation with the teacher and principal about that. Grandma asked Richard about this recovery from the rough landing. Richard assured her he was feeling back to normal and thankful for the doctors and healthcare workers diligence and dedication. Steven's cell phone dinged. He received a text from a schoolmate and neighbor, Joshua. Joshua invited Steven to go for a bike ride. Richard told Steven to have fun and make sure he wore his helmet. Richard told him to be home in two hours because we may go for a car ride.

After Steven left Grandma said she had something important to discuss with us. She went to the guest room and brought out a large accordion file of papers and sat with them on the sofa. "Boys, I think it's time we talked about my estate and what I want to do with it. This folder contains copies of all of my accounts. My attorney's name is Robert Gifford, who is in Bishop. My financial planner is Kevin Chang, whose office is in San Francisco. I would like you two to meet them, as they are the invaluable professionals you'll need with these matters. Their contact information is here in the first compartment of the folder. If you have any questions, please talk to either of them. Most of the accounts are pretty typical investment accounts, but there is a special account I'd like to go through with you boys."

She pulled a manila folder from the larger accordion folder. "Richard, I think you'll be particularly interested in this. Before my husband died in 1989, Edward befriended some young brothers who were starting their own air cargo and passenger service. He was impressed by their endeavour and became a partner in the business. He contributed his time and contributions to the business and it grew substantially. When Edward died, I became a partner in the air service business with a forty-nine percent interest. I visited the brothers about five years ago and they are absolutely delightful people. I'm sure you'll find you and the brothers have much in common. Their contact information is on the inside cover of the manila folder. You may want to arrange a visit to meet them in the near future."

Richard seemed to be as confused as I was about why Grandma was sharing this information with us. "Grandma, why are you telling us about your estate now?"

Grandma laughed. "I'm sorry, I just jumped right into the water without explaining why, didn't I? I have made you two the trustees of my personal trust. Mr. Gifford recommended the trust be transferred out of the ownership of the estate to trustees before I die, so now you two will be handling the trust. It will be an easy task, I assure you. Mr. Gifford will stay on as the attorney and Mr. Chang will continue as the financial planner. The rest is effortless."

Grandma went through the other accounts with us. They were simple, straightforward and easy to understand. She suggested calling Mr. Gifford and Mr. Chang at our earliest convenience. As Grandma was finishing, Steven came through the door a few minutes before he was due back. He gave us all hugs. Grandma asked how his bike ride was and Steven said it was fun. He and Joshua rode their bikes to a little neighborhood park where they threw Joshua's Frisbee and played on the swings. Grandma listened lovingly to Steven's detailed accounting of his outing.

Grandma wanted to know if there was a department store nearby. Some friends of hers in bishop asked her to pick a few things up for them when she was in Reno and she agreed. We decided to visit the mall, where she could find everything she needed. Grandma insisted we take her 1976 Cadillac. She joked that since I was now a hotshot Cadillac owner, I should drive. I gladly obliged. Grandma found everything she needed plus a few extras at the mall. Richard, Steven and I discovered men's and boy's clothes were forty percent off at one store and we found several items for each of us. By the time we finished shopping, it was dinnertime. We asked Grandma what sounded good to her, and she suggested Italian food. Richard told her we know just the place for the best Italian food in Reno. After a short drive, we entered Mama Angelina's.

Mama Angelina saw us as she was serving some delicious-looking food to an older man and woman. She finished with them and greeted us with open arms and hugs. "How are my three handsome boys, hmmm? And who is this lovely lady with you?"

Richard introduced Grandma and Mama Angelina held her hand. "It's so nice to meet you. These boys, they are lucky to have you to keep them in line, but they are good boys, no?"

Steven giggled and Mama Angelina pinched his cheek. "This one, he's going to grow up and shame all the other boys with his looks."

Mama Angelina led us to a nice table and gave us menus and talked with her broken Italian accent. "Just like before, I say you can look at the menus, but the special tonight is best. Today Chef John he make a Chicken Taglierini with homemade marinara sauce. I promise it will be the best chicken dish you ever have."

Grandma wanted to look at the menu, but we all decided to take Mama Angelina's advice. Within minutes she brought our dinners to us and she was right. The fragrant aroma of the marinara sauce bathed our olfactory senses in ecstasy and the beautiful food was mastery on plates. The first bites were practically orgasmic. All of us commented on how delicious the meals were. The dinner conversation was lively. Steven told Grandma about his projects in school and we could tell she was proud of her new great-grandson. The portions were too large for us to finish so Mama Angelina packed leftovers in small paper cartons for us. As a treat, she brought each of us a small cup of chocolate yummy mint gelato. Grandma complimented Mama Angelina on her delightful presence and thanked her for the wonderful food. After warm hugs and goodbyes, we drove home. Steven had done his homework assignments Friday evening, however he wanted to practice some math problems. Grandma had some personal things to do in her room and Richard and I cuddled on the couch in front of the fire before bedtime. We talked about how wonderful it felt to be a family.

Monday morning came quickly. After a quick but healthy breakfast Richard left for the office, Grandma left for her business meeting and I drove Steven to school and went to the auto parts store to pick up some parts Richard had ordered for the Ford truck. While I was loading the numerous parts into the back of my truck, my phone rang. It was Mr. Lester asking if I could help him, Hank and Earl with a four-man project they wanted to complete. I said I would drive to the ranch as soon as I finished up at the auto parts store. I arrived at the ranch thirty minutes later. After shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries, we went out back, where there was a harrow bed, a piece of farm equipment used to pick up bales of hay from the fields and neatly stack them. Hank explained it would take three of us to lift the stacking plate and one man to crawl under the frame, align the mounting holes in the frame with the threads in the platform, and secure the two with bolts. Earl was picked to align the twelve mounting holes, and bolt the frame, and platform. The platform was heavy, but the three of us managed to lift, and maneuver it on the frame, while Earl guided us from under the frame. We accomplished the job of mounting the platform within the hour, and broke for lunch. The four of us sat at the kitchen table and had a nice conversation over delicious fresh chicken sandwiches. After lunch, Mr. Lester wanted to pay me for helping them with the harrow bed. I refused his generous offer, telling him I was happy to help in a neighborly way. We said our farewells and I was getting in my truck to drive home, when Richard called. He received a call from a client in Carson City who was disabled and not able to go to the post office to send a document to Richard's company. I told Richard I was at the ranch and could make the quick drive to Carson City, pick up the document, and deliver it to him. He was happy to accept the offer, gave me the client's name and address, and said he would give me special thanks upon delivery. How could I refuse that? It was a fifteen-minute drive to the client's house, on the east side of the city. I knocked on the door and a boy with short dark brown hair and big brown eyes, who looked about five-years-old, opened the door and looked up at me.

I smiled at him. "Hi, I'm Chris. I'm here to pick up documents from Florence Conyers. Is she home?"

"She's my Grandma."

From inside the house, an older lady spoke. "Freddie, let the nice gentleman in. I am expecting him. Freddie held the door open for me and I stepped inside.

Mrs. Conyers sat in a wheelchair in front of an older console TV. She smiled and handed me an envelope. "I appreciate you coming all this way, young man. I had no way to get these documents to the administrators in time. I didn't know what I was going to do if I missed the deadline. Thank you so very much."

"I was close by when Richard called and asked me to come pick them up and I am happy to do it. I'll deliver these to him directly."

Freddie stood in front of me. "Are you going to help my grandma, Mr. Chris?"

I squatted to his height. "Yes, Freddie, these papers are important to your grandma and she needs to get them to my friend, Mr. Goodwin. I'm going to take these papers to him for her."

Freddie turned to his grandma, who nodded in confirmation. Satisfied with the answer, he smiled at me. "Do you have a little boy, Mr. Chris?"

Mrs. Conyers admonished Freddie. "What did I tell you about asking people too many questions, Freddie?"

"Oh, I don't mind, Mrs. Conyers. Freddie, it's a little complicated, but I have a nephew who maybe one day will be my little boy, and you know what? I love him just like he was my little boy."

Freddie was intrigued. "How old is he and what is his name?"

"His name is Steven. He's a little older than you, seven-years-old, and just as cute too."

Freddie blushed and giggled. "I'm five and a half and I think Steven is lucky to have you. I wish I could have a daddy like you."

I suddenly felt my heartstrings being pulled.

 Mrs. Conyers apologized. "I'm sorry, Chris. Freddie has never had a daddy, and his mother passed away recently. That's why he is with me now."

Freddie put his arms up to hug me and I gave him a warm, caring hug. He held on for a while. I could tell how much he would love to have a daddy.

"Thank you, Freddie. That was a nice hug. I'm happy to know you."

Mrs. Conyers encouraged Freddie. "What do you say, Freddie?"

Freddie wiped a tear from his eye. "Thank you, Mr. Chris. I'm happy to know you too."

Ms. Conyers was concerned about keeping me too long. "Freddie, Mr. Chris needs to do things today. We need to say goodbye to him."

"That's right. I need to get these papers to Mr. Goodwin as soon as I can. You have a good day, Mrs. Conyers. You too, Freddie."

Freddie asked one more question. "Mr. Chris, would you please come see us again? You can bring Mr. Goodwin and Steven too, if you want."

Mrs. Conyers smiled. "It would be very nice to have you visit again, perhaps for lunch. I make a tasty barbeque breaded chicken sandwich. Please do come again."

I promised I would, thanked her, and gave Freddie another hug. "You be a good boy for your grandma, Freddie. See you again."

I thought about Mrs. Conyers and Freddie during the drive to Richard's office in Reno. I felt fortunate to have met such nice people. Within a short time, I was in Richard's office with the envelope holding the documents from Mrs. Conyers. As promised, he gave me a special thank you kiss that had me dizzy and practically floating off the ground. The kiss was so good, I considered asking for a position as a runner with his company to reap the special benefits after each delivery. After we caught our breath, he excused himself and took the documents to one of the administrators to process. He asked her to expedite the claim promptly. She set another account she was working aside, and began processing the claim immediately.

Richard returned to his office and thanked me for retrieving the documents. "Hopefully, the insurance company will approve payment for Mrs. Conyers' treatments. She's been through the mill, dealing with psychopathic health care and pharmacy care companies. She doesn't need any problems from her insurance company."

I told Richard about my visit to Mrs. Conyers and her grandson, Freddie. "She was one of the kindest ladies and Freddie was a sweet boy. I hope things go well from now on for them. They had more than their share of bad luck."

Our growling stomachs told us it was about time for lunch. We decided to eat at Antonio's Delicatessen downtown, the deli where I bought Richard sandwiches while he was in the hospital. It was a quick drive there and because we arrived before noon, the lunch rush hadn't yet started. Richard ordered the pastrami on rye, chips and a bottle of root beer and I ordered the brisket of beef on rye, chips, and cream soda. The temperatures had warmed up over the weekend and the sunny day was perfect for a picnic. We took our lunches to the little park next to the deli, overlooking the Truckee River and ate on one of the picnic tables. Eating the delicious sandwiches in such a perfect setting with the man I loved was almost sensory overload for me. Could life get any better?

After lunch, Richard returned to the office and I drove home. After doing some chores around the house, I noticed it was about time for Steven to be let out of school. I grabbed my truck keys and went to his school to pick him up. When I arrived he saw me and got in the truck, giving me a big hug before I drove off.

On the way home he excitedly told me about his day. "This morning we had a math test and I got 100% on it. Only Becky Massey and I got 100s. We saw a movie about the Netherlands, and the canals there. At recess Arthur Page, and I played a fun new game called airplanes that he made up. After lunch, we had a history test, and Jennifer Peterson, and Alice Blakely, got in trouble. The teacher caught Alice showing her answers to Jennifer. They had to go to the principal's office. If they did that, I don't think they are very smart."

I thought about how wonderful it is to have a great, nephew as Steven. We pulled in the driveway, parked the truck, and walked to the front door. As we stepped into the house, neither of us noticed the man hiding behind the tree in the front yard. Before we knew it he rushed to the front porch and shoved his way into the house behind us, pointing a gun at Steven and me.

He shut the front door behind him. "You two even twitch wrong and you're dead, do you understand? Now, into the kitchen, move."

We were faced away from him and didn't see who he was, but the voice sounded familiar. We carefully made our way into the kitchen as he ordered.

He followed us into the kitchen and directed us to sit at the table. We did so. We turned to see Lawrence, Richard's former boyfriend, standing a few feet away, aiming a pistol at us.

"What do you want, Lawrence? Why are you doing this?"

I noticed Lawrence's pupils were dilated, perhaps indicating he was under the influence of narcotics. "Shut up, just shut up. I'm in charge here. I don't have to tell you anything."

I could see Lawrence was not only under the influence of narcotics; he was irrational and not thinking logically. I didn't want to provoke him to fire the pistol but felt the only way out of this was to try to reason with him or at least patronize him.

"Lawrence, please tell me what you want. Maybe we can help."

He was livid. "You help? You two stole him from me. You somehow managed to make him stop loving me. Why did you try to do that? Richard is mine, not yours. No one is going to steal him from me. Now I have to kill you and then he'll want me back. Face the window. Go on, look the other way."

Steven and I slowly turned away from Lawrence toward the window, fearing for our lives. We heard the pistol cock. I could feel the sweat pouring from my skin and I could hear my heart pounding. My first instinct was to protect Steven, but how? Lawrence was at point-blank range. Any fast movement might risk one of us getting shot. I waited for the shots; instead, there was a loud thump. We turned to see Lawrence drop to the floor unconscious. He released the pistol and it slid across the floor. We looked up to see Grandma standing behind him with a determined expression, holding a cast iron frying pan, bending down to pick up the gun with a napkin, by the end of the barrel. She put the gun on the kitchen counter and looked down at Lawrence, who was still unconscious.

"Never mess with a Grandma who is a former WAC, Bucko." She looked at us. "Are you two alright?"

We assured her we were fine, just terrified at what happened.

"Do you know if Richard keeps any plastic twist ties we can use to tie his hands and feet until the police get here?"

Steven stood there in shock for a brief second, looking at Lawrence on the floor. He looked at Grandma. "Uncle Richard has some twist ties in the garage. I'll go get them."

Steven ran to the garage and in a flash was back with the twist ties. Grandma and I bound Lawrence's hands and feet while Steven dialed 911. If he were to become conscious, he wouldn't be able to move. Soon the police and an ambulance arrived. While the E.M.T.s placed Lawrence on a stretcher, a police officer took statements from the three of us and stated Lawrence would be under arrest when he regained consciousness. Richard arrived before the police left and gave them what information he had about Lawrence, together with a brief history of their relationship. The police officer gave Richard his business card, told him they would be in touch and left.

After the police left, the four of us sat in the living room discussing what happened. Richard explained to Grandma who Lawrence is and why he stopped seeing him. "It was obvious he was self-centered, but I never thought he was desperate enough to do something like that. Hopefully, he'll be spending many years in prison and never bother any of us again. I'm so sorry to have to put you all in danger."

I could see Richard was taking at least some responsibility for Lawrence's actions. "Richard, there were no warning signals and there was no way for you to know just how crazed he is. You made it clear he wasn't welcome in your life anymore. You did everything you reasonably could."

Steven made his opinion known. "Uncle Richard, you and Uncle Chris are the best family I've ever had, you too, Grandma. Please don't think you've not been one of the best two uncles ever. Lawrence is just a mean bully. Maybe he is sick and needs to see a psychiatrist."

Grandma smiled at Steven. "Are you sure you're only seven-years-old? You sure are wise for your age. He's right, Richard. Anyone in their right mind never would have done what he did."

I nodded in agreement. "This has been quite an afternoon, hasn't it? I think we have learned there are some crazy people in this world, and some take a little longer than others to figure out just how crazy they are."

Steven smirked. "I've learned something else, Uncle Chris. It's never a good idea to make Grandma mad or you better expect a frying pan to knock you out."

Grandma took Steven's hand. "You are indeed a smart young man. I still remember back during the war. Florence Conyers, my girl buddy and I ranked highest of all the WACs in our outfit. Why together, we could defend ourselves against four men if we had to."

Grandma paused to reflect her younger years. "Those were the days. Florence and I kept in touch for a number of years. After a while eventually lost touch with each other."

Richard and I looked at each other and Richard leaned over to Grandma. "Did you say, Florence Conyers?"

"Yes, why?"

"Mrs. Conyers is a client of mine. Chris met her this morning when I asked him to pick up some papers from her. She lives in Carson City with her grandson."

"Oh my, after all these years she has been so close after all. Would it be possible for me to talk with her somehow?"

I retrieved the note pad that had Florence Conyers' contact information, copied the information on a clean sheet of notepaper and gave it to Grandma. She thanked me and said she would call her in the morning.

Later that night, after everyone said our goodnights, Richard and I were in bed before going to sleep. I could see Richard was in deep thought. I turned to him and caressed his cheek. "How does the old saying go, a penny for your thoughts"?

Richard returned the caresses. "I was thinking about Lawrence and what he did today. He could be found guilty of forcible entry, and attempted murder. He may be behind bars for quite a while. He could also post bail and be out to seek revenge for what happened today."

"Do you think he would really do that? Why would he want revenge?"

"Keep in mind, Lawrence is never going to take responsibility for his actions. In his mind, everyone else is to blame. He could cause more problems. For example, he could anonymously call County Family Services and tell them we have been neglectful, abusive, or worse to Steven. Who knows what lies he could make up?"

I thought about what Richard had said and it made sense. "What do you think we should do?"

"I'll call my attorney first thing in the morning and ask him to file a restraining order against Lawrence. I'll also ask him if we can attend Lawrence's bail hearing. Perhaps he can convince the judge Lawrence isn't stable and presents an unreasonable risk to us."

"One thing is for sure; we need to pay attention to what is going on around us at all times."

Richard agreed. "We pilot's call that situational awareness and it's a good thing for everyone to practice. With all the technology around today, a lot of people walk around deaf, and blind to what is going on around them. We can't let ourselves fall into that mindset."

The next morning over breakfast with Grandma and Steven, we had a family talk that included telling Steven about situational awareness. He understood what we were saying. We agreed we would be careful, pay attention to what was happening around us, and not be distracted by our phones, and neglect paying attention to our surroundings. Grandma told us before cellular phones most people paid more attention to what was going on around them.

After breakfast, Grandma called Florence Conyers. The ladies were delighted to reconnect after so many years. They tallied on the phone for more than an hour. Mrs. Conyers invited Grandma to stop in Carson City on the way home and visit. She accepted the invitation. After the phone call, Grandma asked us to let her know of any developments with Lawrence. If she needs to come testify, she'll be happy to do so. She gave us all hugs and left for her journey back to Bishop with a stop to see her rediscovered friend.

When Richard arrived at his office he called his attorney, Mr. Sawyer and informed him of the events that occurred yesterday. Mr. Sawyer said he would get right on it, look into the case and be at the bail hearing. He'd inform Richard of the hearing date and progress of filing a restraining order.

Since the incident with Lawrence, our lifestyles changed. We paid more attention to what was going on around us and didn't allow ourselves to be distracted with our phones and electronic devices. It took a few days but we fell into the habit of being more cautious.