Chapter Five: A Reason to Stay
Sully turned to look at Michaela. She was standing at the desk with tears in her eyes. Sully's heart started to break for her. He didn't want to leave her, and he was relieved to hear her tell him not to go. Sully walked over to her and he took her hands in his.
"Don't go?" he asked. She looked hopefully into his eyes. "Give me a reason to stay."
"Sully, I've never done this before," she replied gently. She wanted to say the words; tell him she loved him, but she was afraid of what it would mean for her and for him.
Sully wanted to hold Michaela in his arms, but he too was afraid of what it meant. He knew he loved her, but he wasn't quite sure how to go about telling her. Should he tell her? Was it the right time? Maybe they shouldn't tell each other and go on their own separate ways.
"Never done what?" Sully asked. Michaela shrugged and swallowed hard. It was a perfect time to tell him, so why couldn't she? Maybe it was her fear of rejection. She had never taken no for an answer before, but when it came to matters of the heart, she couldn't force him to care for her. She realized that she couldn't tell him because he was about to leave. He certainly wasn't saying anything, so maybe she was getting her hopes up. She decided that it would be best not to say anything and just let him go. At least he could go away without any worry or guilt on his conscience.
"I want to learn more about the Cheyenne medicine." Michaela sighed, knowing she needed to tell Sully, but the moment had passed. It wasn't the right time anymore. She knew he didn't belong in Boston. Sometimes she felt as if she didn't belong there either.
Sully knew Michaela wanted him to stay for more than talking about Cheyenne medicines because he had told her he only knew what Cloud Dancing had told him. But, he knew that if she couldn't say the words, she probably wasn't ready to. It was time to go. It was going to hurt, but it was the only way to keep things the way they were. He'd go back to Colorado Springs to try to keep the peace while she would stay in Boston to continue practicing medicine. He raised her hands up and gently kissed them.
"Goodbye, Dr. Mike." Sully left quickly and Michaela began to sob. She couldn't help it. She left her first and probably last chance at love walk out the door.
Josef returned, expecting to see his daughter happy and in the arms of the man she loved, but he found her sobbing and trembling in his desk chair instead.
"Mike? You're just letting him go?" Josef's words made Michaela cry harder. "Oh, Mike."
"I feel so stupid! I couldn't say it. I should have said it."
"I know my dear. Your love has left. Why don't you just go after him?"
"I can't do that. We're from two different words."
"You're going to let that stop you?"
"It's not really that. He lives halfway across the country."
"Then why don't you go with him?" Michaela's eyes widened at her father's suggestion. She had never thought her father would just tell her to run off and chase someone, although he had told her to chase her dreams of becoming a doctor if that would make her happy.
"I beg your pardon?"
"Mike, I have been thinking about retiring for the past few years. The only reason I didn't was because of you. Mr. Sully told me that Colorado Springs is desperately in need of a doctor." Michaela couldn't believe her ears!
"Father, you're shutting down the practice?"
"Only if you go to find the man you love. Only if you'll be happy."
"I don't know what to say!"
"Say you'll go to the train station, get yourself a ticket, and be happy with Mr. Sully."
"I can't just leave! You and mother may need me."
"Believe me, Mike, I'm perfectly capable and qualified to take care of my family. But, I can't be happy unless you are."
"You used to tell me that all the time as a child."
"It's still true. You'll always be my little girl. But, will you please make up your mind?" Michaela laughed with tears in her eyes and hugged her father, kissing him on the cheek.
"I'll go pack my bags. I think I'll have time to make it. Sully's train doesn't leave for an hour."
"Well come on then! Let's get you home and packed."
"Michaela, you are not leaving this house!" Elizabeth exclaimed as she barged into her daughter's room. Michaela was frantically packing her suitcases, knowing she had a very limited time to pack a lifetime into just two cases.
"You aren't stopping me, mother. I am going after the man I love."
"You've known him for three days! That's not love!"
"Maybe not to you. You don't know how I feel. You don't know Sully's heart." Elizabeth sighed heavily.
"Your father says this was his idea, but he says that all the time so I won't be angry with you."
"Mother, I don't have time for this!" Michaela pushed her way past her mother and threw some of her nightgowns into one of the suitcases.
"This is ridiculous."
"Maybe to you, but not to me."
"It's dangerous out there, Michaela. I don't want you to get hurt." Michaela turned and her anger toward her mother lessened a bit.
"I will be fine. You have to trust me."
"I do trust you. I don't trust Mr. Sully's world, however." As soon as Michaela's bags were packed, she picked the two of them up and headed out into the hall. Elizabeth followed, her footsteps full of heavy frustration. Josef was waiting downstairs at the door with his pocket watch.
"The train departs in twenty minutes, Mike," Josef warned as his daughter descended the staircase. She handed her suitcases to her father and rushed off to the carriage. Harrison helped Josef throw the suitcases into the back. Josef got into the carriage and Elizabeth stepped up to the side.
"Michaela, you can't do this! Josef, how could you let her do this?"
"Because, my dear, our daughter is a grown woman who needs to be happy. She can't be happy in Boston because you won't let her be." The carriage drove away and Michaela watched her mother who slowly turned and walked back into the house. She felt guilty, but she knew that she had to break away from her family at some point.
"Don't worry about her, my dear. I'll talk with her when I get home. I have the same effect on her as I have on you. I always manage to cheer her up." Michaela smiled and took a deep breath. A mass of emotions were bundling up inside of her, and she wasn't sure which one to focus on. She was scared, nervous, happy, excited, and a bit nauseated at the same time.
The carriage seemed to be moving in slow motion, and Michaela was worried that she and her father wouldn't get to the station on time. Her heart was pounding wildly in her chest, worry gripping her heart.
Fifteen minutes later, they arrived at the train station. Michaela ran ahead to get her ticket while Josef took care of her luggage.
"I need the train to Colorado Springs."
"You're in luck. We have one ticket left." She handed over some money in exchange for the ticket, ran toward the train where her father was loading her luggage. He smiled at his daughter.
"You had better get on that train before it takes off without you." Michaela smiled at her father and hugged him tightly.
"Thank you, father," she whispered, tears springing to her eyes. "Thank you so much."
"I love you, Mike. You better come and visit."
"I will. Give my love to mother?"
"I will." Michaela gave him another hug.
"All aboard!" Michaela and her father pulled away from each other.
"You send word when you get there, alright?" Michaela nodded Josef helped her up onto the first step of the train. "Good luck, Dr. Quinn." Michaela smiled and went to find her private compartment. She knew she couldn't look for Sully until they stopped at the first depot. She hoped that would be sooner rather than later, because she couldn't wait to tell him she loved him, because she was certain that he loved her too.
Cloud Dancing and Sully sat in their compartment on the train. It had just pulled out from the station and they were on their way home. Home. Sully didn't really consider Colorado Springs his home. It hadn't been anything to him since Abagail and the baby died. Before he met Michaela, he had thought that he'd never give Boston another thought as soon as he and Cloud Dancing left. But now he had a reason to think about it; to think about her.
"You are sure you did the right thing?" Cloud Dancing asked, breaking the silence. Sully had only spoken a few words since they left the hospital, and that was to the man in the ticket booth. Sully sighed.
"No. I didn't do the right thing. If I'd done the right thing, I wouldn't be sittin' here right now. I'd be with Dr. Mike."
"Now I think you are a fool."
"You didn't follow your heart."
"Love is complicated, but telling someone you love them isn't."
"That's easy for you to say. You have a wife and a family."
"You too had that once."
"That's gone now."
"You can have it again."
"Not anymore. I can't change it anyway. We're goin' home." Cloud Dancing didn't say anything else because he knew Sully was going to beat himself up for leaving. He figured he wouldn't help Sully do that, but he would try to convince him to take the train back to Boston once they arrived at the first depot.
Sully stared out the window and looked out at the world he would never see again. Boston was definitely not what he wanted, but Michaela was. He started to wonder if he could have lived in Boston just for her. What if they had admitted their feelings to one another? Would he have stayed or left and broke her heart?
It was then that he began to realize that he probably did break her heart by leaving anyway. Sure they hadn't confessed their true feelings, but it was obvious how she felt. He hadn't wanted to see her heart break, but it was too late to fix it now. He pondered sending her a letter when he got back to Colorado Springs. But what would it say? He could think of nothing to say that could help fix what he had done.
Hours passed and Michaela was becoming restless. She had heard that they would be stopping at a depot in a few hours to rest and to switch conductors. Michaela couldn't wait to be able to stand up and stretch her limbs, perhaps get something to eat as well. But her top priority was to find Sully. She couldn't wait to see his face, to hold him in her arms again, if he'd have her.
Several thoughts had been running through her mind. What if he left because he really didn't love her. But she quickly scolded herself and reassured herself that he did love her. She had seen it in his eyes; felt it in his kiss.
A few minutes passed until Michaela heard the screams of a woman in another compartment. She stepped out of hers and saw a man looking around frantically from his seat.
"What going on?" Michaela asked.
"My wife! She's having a baby!" The man was young, and from what Michaela could see of his wife, she looked rather young as well. They were dressed nicely, probably from Boston and wealthy families. "We need a doctor!"
"I'm a doctor," Michaela replied.
"You're a lady doctor!"
"But a doctor nonetheless."
"Please Charles! Let her help!" the panicked woman exclaimed. Charles stepped away to let Michaela pass. The young woman was very frightened and lying on the floor of the compartment.
"It's alright. I can help you."
"You have to help her!"
"What's your name?" Michaela asked the young woman.
"Alright Anna. I have to check to see if I can see the baby's head." Anna nodded quickly and let Michaela check her. "Yes. I can see your baby's head. I need you to do me a favor. I need you to hold your husband's hand and push hard."
"Charles!" Anna exclaimed.
"I'm here, honey," he replied. He knelt beside her and gave her his hand. Anna squeezed it hard and pushed with all of her might.
"I need a blanket for the baby."
"In the overhead compartment," Charles replied.
"I'll get it," said a lady from nearby. She pulled it out of the overhead compartment and handed it to Michaela.
"Is there anything onboard that I can use to cut the cord?"
"I have a brand new pocket knife," another man said, pulling it from his back pocket.
"That'll have to do," Michaela replied. "Can we get a little privacy?"
"Lady, this is a train. We don't have much space." The men did do their best to turn the opposite way and not look. Michaela helped Anna through the contractions.
"Come on, Anna! One more push and the head will be out. Come on!" Anna pushed harder and harder until she felt like she couldn't push anymore. "Okay. Stop pushing. The head's out." A smile spread over Michaela's face and she sighed heavily. "Okay, now give me a few little pushes." Two seconds later, the cries of a healthy baby girl filled the train car. Michaela wrapped the baby in the blanket and handed her to her mother. "Congratulations. You have a baby girl!" Michaela watched as Charles and Anna celebrated the birth of their newborn baby together. Everyone cheered for the doctor and for the new parents. Michaela couldn't help but think about what it would be like to be a mother for the first time. She smiled when she felt one of the ladies patted Michaela's back.
"Thanks doctor," Anna whispered.
"I appreciate what you did for my wife and daughter," Charles said with a smile.
"There was nothing to it," Michaela replied. "Congratulations to the both of you."
The train stopped a few hours later, and Charles took his wife and child to the nearest hospital. Michaela went into the depot to clean up in the ladies' room. She cleaned up quickly, hardly being able to stand the anxiety she was feeling. She couldn't wait to see Sully. The feelings inside of her had nearly reached a boiling point.
As soon as she exited the depot, she saw a crowd of people standing outside of the train. It wasn't due to depart again for another hour, so Michaela knew she had plenty of time to find Sully. The only problem was that she didn't know where to start. She had no idea what car he'd been in. Maybe if she could spot Cloud Dancing, she could find Sully too.
Sully and Cloud Dancing were sitting on a bench outside of the depot. There was a large mass of people walking around, but Sully wasn't focused on that. He was fiddling with his necklace, thinking about Michaela. Cloud Dancing noticed this and he cleared his throat.
"I am going to go make sure the train will be leaving on time." He got up and walked away. Sully stood up and he shook his head. It was going to be a long trip home. He was seriously considering jumping on a train leaving for Boston. He saw that a train was about to depart in five minutes. He wanted to go so badly, but he knew that it couldn't happen. He couldn't live there. He was a stranger to that place, and it was a stranger to him.
Something caught his eye, a flicker of sunlight on her beautiful golden brown hair. His heart skipped a beat and he turned to see her beautiful face. At first he thought he was seeing things, but after blinking a few times, he realized that the vision before him was real. Michaela was at the depot with him! She hadn't spotted him yet, but he could see her eyes roaming the crowd. She turned away from him and started off in another direction. He couldn't let her get away this time! He knew that if she was there for him, he couldn't let her go again.
"Michaela!" he called out above the crowd. The crown around him continued on as if they hadn't heard him shouting out.
Michaela could hear something in the distance, but she could barely make out anything through the mass of people that surrounded her. But something inside of her told her she had to turn around.
As if in a slow-motion moment, Michaela turned and saw a brief glimpse of Sully on the other side of the sea of people that separated them. Her heart nearly stopped beating, and she could barely believe her eyes. But that sensation quickly left and was replaced with tears of joy. She started to run toward him, trying not to trample anyone in the process. She couldn't let Sully get away this time.
Sully saw the look of joy on her face, and he knew this was right. She was the love of his life, and he was the love of hers.
"Sully!" she exclaimed with utter astonishment. Sully began to make his way through the crowd to get closer to her. As soon as a barrier broke, they were feet away from each other. They stood; staring in amazement that they were in the same place together when they had worried they would never see each other again.
A few seconds passed and the tears in Michaela's eyes broke their dam and flowed freely.
"It's really you," she whispered.
"I didn't think I was gonna see you again. But I'm sure glad you're here."
"You wanted me to give you a reason to stay in Boston." Sully swallowed hard and nodded. "I can't do that because I know you don't belong in Boston. But neither do I. I don't belong there anymore. I wasn't cut out for the life my mother wanted for me. I couldn't even attempt to have that kind of a life. I need to be a doctor and I need to see the world. I need to treat patients who need me. But most of all, I need to let the man I love know how I feel about him before I let him get away again." Hope filled Sully's heart and they both smiled. He pulled her into his arms and twirled her around, raising her up a little. He kissed her softly but passionately, letting her know his feelings. "I love you, Sully. I know we've known each other for three days, but I feel like I have known you forever. What I don't know about you, I'd like to learn. I just want to be with you."
"And I want to be with you," Sully whispered, kissing her again. "I want to show you my world if you'll let me."
"I'd like that." He hugged her tightly, not wanting to let her go. She hugged him back just as tightly, afraid that this wonderful moment might turn into a dream.
"And just so ya know . . . I love you too." Hearing those words from Sully lifted something inside of Michaela, making her feel happier than she ever thought she could be.
While the entire crowd moved around them, Michaela and Sully stood still as if time had frozen just for them to capture this amazing moment. Michaela wasn't sure what her new life with Sully would bring, but she knew that it had to be better than a life in Boston.
Sully, too, was unsure of what lie ahead for him in his life with Michaela, but he was glad that he was able to love again; able to start to share a part of himself that he was quite sure he hadn't even shared with Abagail. Michaela and Sully had their whole lives ahead of them, and that was just the beginning.