It had been three years. Three years since Thomas received word that Lucien was taken as a prisoner of war. Three years since his near fatal heart attack, which he suffered days after receiving that word. Three years praying to God that he would see his boy again and be able to work through their issues, righting his wrong. Almost three years since he took on a housekeeper and receptionist, Jean Beazley, and her two boys, Christopher Jr. and Jack. Coincidentally, it had also been just over three years since his housekeeper had lost her husband to the horrid war.
They were good for each other, Thomas and Jean, and had become very good friends. He had become somewhat of a father figure to her and a grandfather to her boys. They were able to help each other through their grief. As such, Jean had learned all about Lucien and what caused he and Thomas' strife. There wasn't a day that went by that Thomas didn't think about Lucien. That's how Jean had found him out in the garden, staring at nothing particular. His thoughts were of his son. She had been calling for him. It wasn't until she was standing in front of him, handing him a letter, that he realized she was there. "Doctor, this telegram just came for you." She looked anxious.
He took the telegram and his heart sank when he read who it was from, fully understanding the reason for Jean's anxiousness. He stared at the envelope for a moment, trying to gather the courage to open it. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Jean put a supportive hand on his shoulder as he tore the envelope open. Tears fell down his face as he read the note. He began sobbing as he raised his hands to cover his face, dropping the telegram to the ground. Jean quickly grabbed the paper and raised her fingers to cover her mouth as she read. 'Pleased to inform you your son, Major Lucien Blake, has been sent to Melbourne National Hospital to recover from time spent as POW. In stable condition. Will be there indefinitely.'
Jean dropped the telegram and hugged Thomas until he calmed. When he regained his composure, he pulled back from Jean to look at her. "This is it, Jean. I'm going to get my son back. If it's the last thing I do."
She smiled brightly at him. "Do you want me to go with you? I can get my sister to look after the boys."
"I'd hate to have to ask that of you, but if you wouldn't mind…"
"You're not asking. I insist." Thomas hugged Jean again, unable to contain his excitement. "Okay, you go pack a bag. I'll go get everything else figured out. We should be able to leave in about an hour."
"Thank you, Jean."
"Don't mention it at all. Will you be okay getting up by yourself?"
"Yes. Yes, I just need a minute."
"Okay, take your time." With that, Jean left Thomas so that she could call her sister and get things in order.
The drive to Melbourne was fairly quiet. Jean was glad she was driving so that she had something to focus on. Every time she stole a glance at Thomas, he had his eyes fixated on the dash. She parked in the hospital parking lot and waited for him to be ready. She could see him shaking. He tried to calm his hands and laughed nervously. "I'm not sure if this is due to not knowing quite what to say or not knowing what state I'm going to find him in."
She put a hand over his hands, knowing it was a little of both. "Doctor, the words will come to you. Be firm but loving. The telegram stated he is in stable condition. Just hold on to the fact that he is on the road to recovery."
He put one of his hands on her hand and smiled. "What did I ever do without you? Thank you so much, Jean." He took a deep breath and after a long moment he said, "It is time."
They were able to find his room easily. Doctor Blake stopped abruptly as he saw his son through the window. Jean heard his gasp and she looked in the direction he was staring. Lucien was lying in the bed without a shirt. This allowed them to see just how very thin he was. It also allowed them to see the scars and bruises which covered his torso. Jean was thankful that he was sleeping. It gave Thomas some time to process his thoughts and feelings. Once he had himself together again, he nodded toward Jean and walked in to the room. Jean held her breath until Lucien woke. Seeing his dad, tears sprang to his eyes and he spoke with barely a whisper, "Father? How?"
Tears rolled down the elder Blake's face as he reached for Lucien's hand. "I'm here, son. Rest. We'll talk later. I'm not going anywhere." His voice broke as he finished speaking. Lucien gripped his hand as tight as he could, not fully believing his dad was there, but closed his eyes nonetheless. Thomas sat next to his son, not losing contact with his hand. Jean was pleased with what she saw and proceeded to the waiting area. She pulled her knitting out and smiled. She knew Thomas and Lucien had a lot to work out, but she had faith they would be okay.
When Lucien woke again, he was more alert. Thomas had drifted off and was slumped a bit in his chair. Lucien looked down to their joined hands. He was amazed that this was the same man that wouldn't even hug his ten-year-old son goodbye. He was holding onto his hand in public and had cried at the sight of him. I guess people change. I know I have.
Lucien squeezed his father's hand, effectively waking him. Thomas smiled at him as Lucien asked, "How did you know where I was?"
"I received a telegram this morning from the army." This morning? He had to of dropped everything. A change indeed.
"Well, it's good to see you father. I didn't think you would ever want to see me again since I went ahead and married Mei Lin." The bitterness coming through in his words. "Since you disowned me."
"I was a bloody fool, son. I was so wrong and I cannot apologize enough. I thought I was doing the right thing but…" He choked on his words and tried to keep it together, knowing how badly he needed to get this out. "Just as I sent you away when you were ten. I thought I was doing what was best for you." Lucien's eyes were watering as he listened to his father's confession. Closing his eyes, Thomas continued, "Looking back I know I was just scared." He squeezed Lucien's hand. "Please forgive me, son. I want you back in my life. I want us to mend our relationship."
Lucien was conflicted. He was bitter but he knew how difficult it must be for his father to admit any wrongdoing. Truth be told, he wanted his father back too. He's always wanted it, but never thought it would be possible. Swallowing his pride, he nodded and tried to lean forward. Thomas realized what his son was trying to do and helped him sit up.
"Thank you, father." They embraced in a much needed hug. Thomas sat on the side of the bed as his son wept on his shoulder.