Love at the Wheel Part 2, sequel to a live story began in 2010.
It's the next journey in Charlotte White and Robert Swift's life as they now try to learn how to be in a relationship together now that their feelings for each other are revealed. But it is challenging since Charlotte's mother is gravely ill, and also the antagonist that they vanquished in Part 1 is now seeking revenge.
Love at the Wheel Part 2: The New Journey Begins
The police car arrived at the jail with Steve still in handcuffs. The officers got out of the car and then opened the door, ordering him out. As he stepped out, an officer on each side, they walked him to the entrance to booking, where he was fingerprinted. After he had been booked and photographed, he was taken to inventory, where he surrendered all personal belongings on his person, in exchange for an orange jumpsuit.
“Damn orange monkey suit! I’ll look like a damn carrot!” The officers smirked and pushed him down the hallway to the cells.
The next morning Charlotte’s assistant, Laura Juniper came up to Charlotte and sat down next to her. Charlotte and Laura had grown up together as neighborhood children, the two having matching hair color and brown eyes that strangers thought they were sisters. Eventually, Charlotte hired Laura to help with the paperwork, errands and other tasks that Charlotte did not have time for.
“Charlotte, why were the police here last night? Was there a break-in?”
Charlotte blushed in embarrassment and then looked up at her co-worker and confidant.
“Well, had…it’s a little embarrassing…I won’t blame you if you judge me…I think I know what you’ll say…”
Laura placed a hand gently on Charlotte’s.
“Char, I am not just your coworker, I am your friend. You can tell me anything. I tell you everything don’t I?” and she smiled in encouragement.
Charlotte smiled back.
“Well…I was dating this guy and my parents wanted to meet him, so we invited him for dinner. I thought he was special but…he turned out to be just a guy. Actually worse than just a guy. A…criminal.” And she hung her head down.
“What do you mean, criminal? You didn’t tell me you were dating anyone. I thought you didn’t want to date anyone, because they would only be interested in your parents company.”
Charlotte eyes began to water, a tear tracing a wet trail down her pink cheek and falling to the floor as she hung her head.
“I…made a big mistake, forgetting that part…I felt…like I could trust him, like he…he really liked me, for myself. Not just because of my parent’s wealth. But at least…I found out something in the process.”
“What lesson could you possibly learn from making that kind of mistake?”
Charlotte grabbed a tissue from the desktop and wiped her eye. She blushed again.
Laura looked at her friend with concern, she had never seen her friend look so confused and emotional like this before.
“Well Laura, they say that…one can find love in unexpected places. It hits you when you aren’t looking for it.”
“What do you mean. Steve was unexpected?”
“No, if anything he was…he made everything seem planned and expected. Too expected. He was all fake. No, who I am talking about is…well…you might be shocked…”
Suddenly the office door opened, and there was Robert. Laura saw Robert then turned around to look at her friend, and was amazed to see Charlotte’s mouth half open, her eyes sparkling and staring at Robert, and her blush glowing in her cheeks like a blooming rose. Suddenly Laura knew what her friend was going to say before Robert came. It was Robert!
She turned back around again, and saw the same thing in Robert’s face: his eyes wide with pupils dilated as he stared at Charlotte, and his smile beaming. The fireworks were happening on both sides! Laura smiled.
“You’re right, very unexpected!” and she patted Charlotte’s hand, and winked when her friend came to her senses and looked at her.
“I’ll leave you two alone. Bye!”
And she went around Robert and shut the door behind her, smiling.
"How did you sleep last night?”
"Robert, would you please close the window blinds?”
He walked up to the window and closed them.
"Thank you. Now, would you tell me something please?”
"Sure, what is it?” rubbing his chin.
"Was that just a dream or did it really happen last night on my driveway?”
"Yes, of course, it happened.” He walked closer to her.
"Not here, we are at work…”
"It should not matter where we are to be romantically involved with each other. People will catch on soon enough. Are you embarrassed?”
"No, no… it is just that I don't want to mix business with pleasure.”
"OK, what were you talking about with Laura Jupiter? Why was she looking at me funny?“
"I… I was telling her about a movie I saw last night before I went to bed."
"Are you sure? She kept smiling at me and turning to you and then left when I came in."
"Yes, I am sure don't get suspicious."
"I am not, I am only wondering."
"Ok can't I speak to her with you thinking something? "
"Ok sorry Charlotte, I didn't mean to jump the gun."
"Next time trust what I say."
"Charlotte, I don't want to lose you for someone else's love. No one else can compare to you. Can you please just accept that I want to be your boyfriend? Can we please start…being together? In the open?"
Robert put his arms around Charlotte’s waist and slowly pulled her into himself. She could feel his warm body, and he kissed her lips very gently.
But then: A knock on the door!
Charlotte and Robert stopped kissing each other and turned to face the door.
“Ahem. Come in!” When the door opened Charlotte's mom was standing there, with folded hands and came in looking at them with curiosity.
“Am… I… disturbing you guys? If so I'll come back later."
The couple looked at each other in agreement then turned back her mother.
"No, not really mom. We… are just discussing the bus tour for the next few days."
Robert looked at Charlotte. He desperately wanted to get back to their interrupted kiss. He wanted to keep romancing her now that they were open with each other about their feelings. Her mother was…in the way.
"OK Charlotte, I just wanted to make sure you know how to file papers in the cabinet. (Cough cough)"
"Mom, are you ok? I hope you’re not getting sick. I know you get sick easy."
"I have had this for a while now my dear. I have been coughing up some mucus with a little blood. I may have a cold and running out of air at times."
“I may not be a doctor but that does not sound like you have a cold to me at all. It sounds like it’s more than a cold. Mom, you should go to the doctor and get meds for your coughing and breathing problems and then stay home resting so you will get better quickly.”
"I don't want to go to the doctor at all because I can make this coughing go away with drinking tea with honey and lemon."
"But mom! Blood? You need to stop being afraid of going to the doctor. What if…what if you are really sick one day?"
"Charlotte don't worry dear. I’ll be fine in a week or so."
“Your health is more important mother, please don’t neglect it!”
“Charlotte I am going to be ok, honest! It’s just a cold.”
“Thank you, mom.”
The next morning Elizabeth White walked into the London medical clinic build feeling very nervous as she walked into the elevator. As the door closed, she pushed the button for the second floor, and when she got out, she walked to the door. She stood for a moment and briefly thought about turning around and leaving but then remembered her daughter’s concern. She opened the door and went inside, where there were a lot of people filling all the seats, waiting to be called by the nurse. Oh no, this will take a long time. I should have made an appointment. As a walk in I will have to wait until the others go in first.
“Hi, I am here to see the doctor.”
“Do you have an appointment?”
“No, I don’t.”
“ Ok sign your name right on this paper and take a seat.”
“How long is this going to take?”
“It depends on how busy the doctor is with each patient; you could read a magazine and the daily newspapers. Sorry, the kids keep putting them everywhere.”
Once she was seated she looked around and saw all the babies and children with their parents. Some old people were waiting too. She took out a tissue and coughed, which made everyone around her feel very nervous because they didn’t want to catch anything.
One hour passed, then the nurse finally called her to come in. After she was inside the hallway nurse Pam began checking her vital signs.
“Please stand on the scale, so I can check your weight and height.”
Charlotte took off her purse and stepped up.
“Your weight is 110 pounds. Would you please give me your arm so I can check your blood pressure?”
She presented her arm, and the nurse checked it.
“Very good heart rate.”
The nurse brought her into room four.
”Please wait here for the doctor. She will be right with you as soon as she can.”
Eventually, Dr. Richards walked in, and she closed the door behind her and sat down with her folder, quickly looking through it. She looked up at Elizabeth.
“What seems to be the problem, Ms. Elizabeth?”
“Well I been have been coughing with yellow stuff coming out and…and blood… and it comes out when I sneeze. And I am also not breathing well when I lay flat on my bed. I start coughing so much lately I’ve been sleeping in a folding chair.”
“Do you know your family medical history?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean what kind of illnesses your family had in the past. Like heart problems, kidney, diabetes, lung cancer and any cancers they may have had? These sort of things run in families and if your parents or grandparents had them, you may too.”
“Ummm… as far as I know my grandfather had some kind of illness, but I was too young to know what was going on with him.”
“OK. Now let me look into your throat and listen to your lungs. Breathe deeply. OK now breathe out, slowly and all the way. Uh huh. Hmmmm.”
The doctor grabbed a notepad and pen and began writing.
“I have to give you a referral to go to the royal national throat, nose and ear hospital on 330 Gray’s Inn Rd. Kings Crossing, London. Go to the hospital as soon as possible before it gets worse. I’ll also give you a prescription for oxygen tanks.”
I remember it like it was just yesterday. The memories…the feelings are still there.
Charlotte came home from working at the tour company all day long. She went upstairs to her bedroom and put her purse on the nightstand next to her purple canopy bed, and drawing back the white drapes she sat down on the edge of the bed and sighed, kicking off her work shoes and rubbed her feet. It always took her a while to get her “land legs” as she joked sometimes, she was used to the side to side and stop and go of the bus, she always held the vertical chrome bar at the front of the bus to hold herself steady.
She changed her clothes into a white shirt and blue shorts to be more comfortable. Then she walked into her parents room, and saw her dad sitting in the black office chair in the bedroom retreat. He was watching the discovery channel but it did not look like he was paying close attention to what he was watching, he seemed to be looking into space. Her father finally did notice Charlotte’s presence in the room but said nothing. Charlotte started looking around the room and saw the folding chair with pillows and one light cover with a lion face on it, and beside that was their small white refrigerator on the end of the bed, with no sign of her mom around.
After a few minutes of waiting for him to say something, Charlotte spoke first.
“Where is mom? Where did she go?” She placed a gentle hand on her father’s shoulder.
“Is she going to be ok father?”
He slowly looked up and answered.
“Your mother went to the London Medical clinic, to check why she keeps having continuous coughing. I really don't know if she will be ok."
Charlotte started crying.
Suddenly, but gently he grabbed her arms. He was firm and now the father she knew returned.
"You’ve got to be strong for her, do you understand? You MUST be strong! If she sees your fear, she’ll…do you want her to die?”
"No! How can you say such a thing?"
"Then stop crying. If she sees your confidence, she will pull through. We must be strong for her. If we show doubt…she may give up. We must not let her give up! Do you understand?"
“But father… I…I am scared! And don’t want her to suffer. "
"You think I am not scared either? Now wipe your sad face off!” He handed her a tissue.
“I don't want your mum to see you have been crying.”
Once Charlotte was back in her room, she closed the door, sat down on the bed… and cried, cried so hard.
Because I have no idea what will happen to her… when she was finished, she wiped her eyes with her shirt. She felt like she could not face her mum without shedding a tear of sadness, and so decided to lie down and go to sleep, but before sleep came...
After a short time her mother must have come home from the hospital. She could hear them talking about her having to take medicine's and inhalers and about going to the other specialist. She lay there quietly and she could hear mom asking where was Charlotte. Father replied.
“Oh maybe she’s tired now, she went to bed. You know she had a long day working.”
Charlotte’s mother decided to go to the River Thames for her morning walk, this time with her air tank. It was less crowded there with few people. Some were walking by with their dogs and jogging around, while she was walking on the sidewalk. She had to slowly walk around so she did not run out of energy, she tired easily now days. While walking she started thinking of what the doctors said, that she should go to the specialist right away. As she was walking around she started crying, thinking oh this cannot be happening to me I am so young still! I want to be around when my only daughter gets married, and has kids, I want to hold my grandkids! Why is this happening so soon? I don’t want to go yet...
People walking by her were thinking why is this crying lady holding an air tank? Was she born with that or illness has hit her?
She had to stop walking in the middle of her walk, she suddenly felt light-headed, and her body weakening. She looked around for somewhere to sit but then she was far off from any bench. She felt herself starting to slowly fall down. She saw two women approaching that was wearing jogging clothes.
As she stared at them with a strained face, the joggers stopped and watched with surprised concern as she suddenly collapsed.
The y ran up and asked her “Are you ok ma’am?”
“I think I am ok?”
“Wait rest a little bit before getting up.”
As she tried getting up, she fell back down only making it worse, because she fell on her arm, and new it was cut or bruised.
People around her asking themselves what’s wrong with this lady? Someone called for an ambulance…
They watched her some more but her face was still pretty pale and she could not move much, they decided to call the emergency personnel.
Emily took out her phone called saying. “We need an ambulance here at once women passed out here a few minutes ago but don’t see any improvement in her.”
“Were you there when she first passed out miss?”
“Yes. I was I was the first one at the scene when It happened, there were some other people.”
“Can you tell me what she looked like when you saw her and what she was wearing? But please keep calm.”
“Well it all happened so fast. I saw her walking one minute and then all of a sudden she passed out right in front of my face! I have no idea who she is. She is wearing a blue shirt with black pants with an air tank attached to her nose.”
“Can you ask her what her name is? But please stay on the phone, so I can hear too. Help is on the way.”
“Ma’am? What’s your full name?”
Speaking with a weak voice and laboring to breathe in and out she whispered hoarsely.
“My name is Elizabeth White. I was just diagnosed with lung cancer stage three.”
Emily looked at her and picked up the phone.
“Did you hear that clearly?”
“Yes, and I did let her know she’s in good hands.”
“OK, I will need you to stay on the phone still. We have the location where you are.”
Once the ambulance got there they opened the back of the car and took out the gurney, and wheeled it up to them, but now more people were walking around, crowding in to see. Some people stopped in the middle of their walk to see what was going on, and some of the people realized they had seen her here before, taking her morning walks before heading out to do her daily routine of the day. Those that recognized her were shocked to see something happen to someone they know, she was like family to them in a way.
“Miss? What hospital do you want to go to?”
“I want to go to Royal London Hospital. Please, I need a blanket, I am cold.”