Author's Note: I guess you could consider this a continuation of the book, so that means Fairlight and Lundy and Tom McHone are dead and Christy has barely survived typhoid fever. Sometime I will also attempt to wrap up the TV series if I can do more than one story at a time. Hopefully I won't get too confused. I will post whatever I have done whenever it gets done, hoping for a chapter a day. This one is probably going to be slow at first. Please review. It's my first try.
Disclaimer: This is a fan fiction work. I by no means own the rights to Christy the novel, TV series, or movies. I have just borrowed the characters. These characters belong to the Marshall-LeSourd family. This story is for entertainment purposes only and I do not seek any profit. This is strictly for personal enjoyment only.
I fluttered my heavy, gritty eyelids open, tried to focus on the man who loved me. His joyful exclamation had brought a thunderous noise from behind the door to my room. The door burst open with a loud bang, nearly like a rifle shot. I tried to turn my head to see who had approached in such haste but the movement was too much. It seemed to take a tremendous effort to move my head more than a little.
" Neil, what is it? Is she..?" It was Miss Alice. She sounded almost terrified.
" No, she's going to be fine. She's just woken up." Doctor MacNeill sounded as if he was in shock. Miss Alice's face hovered close to mine. I wanted to talk to her, to tell her I had see Fairlight and I was going to join her, but someone called me back because I was loved. I tried to open my mouth to speak but my mouth was so dry and I was so weak no sound came out.
" It's alright, don't speak just yet. Thee needs thy rest, Miss Huddleston." she said soothingly and placed her hand lightly on my shoulder. There was another voice behind her, talking now in a loud, booming voice. David.
" She's out of danger then, Doc?"
" No, no there's still risks, remember Lundy?'' Doctor MacNeill sounded again very professional. " There's also a risk of a relapse, but after about two weeks she should be well enough…" His voice trailed off. Well enough to do what, I wondered. The doctor was moving out of my line of vision, running his fingers through his hair in his characteristic way of his.
"Perhaps we should discuss these things out in the hall." He motioned to the door. Miss Alice rose from my bed. " Rest, Christy. We will return soon," she said as she softly closed the door behind her.
My eyelids were starting to droop closed again. I did not want to sleep. I needed to say so many things. I needed to tell Dr. MacNeill thank you for saving my life. It was his prayer, his love for me that brought me back. My heart was beating faster. It was so exciting. I had to tell him I loved him too, but I was so tired. I let my eyelids lower; it was no use fighting them any longer. I could still hear their voices in the hallway behind my door. They really were not trying to be too quite. The voices were charged with so much emotion, I couldn't help but listen.
"She was dead, can't you understand that. There was no heartbeat, no breath, nothing! I've seen it happen so many times before. She was dead and she came back. I couldn't do anything for her but pray, and she came back!" Dr. MacNeill's voice sounded frantic and emotional.
" You prayed and she came back to life." It was David's voice now. He sounded flat and almost sarcastic. " Really. It was just a coincidence. You probably just missed something. You haven't slept in days. You probably just imagined someth.." David's sour voice was cut off mid sentence.
"No. She was dead!"
"I believe you Neil. Something had to move you to pray and it would have to have been God Himself to bring thee to thy knees. We should go back in and tend to Christy. " Miss Alice was always the voice of reason.
I wondered why David refused to believe Dr. MacNeill. A believer not believing and a non- believer believing, how odd? I heard the door open again, much more softly this time. I heard David's footstep retreat down the steps.
" Neil, I'll tend to her now. Rest and I'll get you when thee are needed." Her voice was tender and I could imagine her resting her hands on the Doctor's broad, muscular shoulders.
"I can't leave her." Neil stated simply.
"Please rest. It is in God's hands now as it has always been. Thee knows that now and has seen His work firsthand many times before."
"I have been too blind or unwilling to see it, but I saw clearly for the first time today. I …" He stopped, his voice too thick to continue.
"Rest Neil, please for her sake." I heard his hesitant footsteps retreat to the door and down the stairs.
Miss Alice sat down on the chair beside the bed. "Christy Huddleston thee are a miracle. Sleep and get well." She smiled down at me and I drifted off to sleep.
The days melted into each other because I slept so much. Alice or Doctor MacNeill was usually by my side when I was awake. Occasionally, Miss Ida was there with a bowl of broth or gruel in her hands. She seemed so much gentler and less agitated for some reason. Surprisingly, David only visited me a few times and he stayed only briefly. He must be busy, I thought, but it sure was a strange way to act toward someone you considered yourself engaged to. I wanted to ask him. I wanted to ask so many things. I got so tired so easily that I still didn't talk much. The effort to talk for long drained me. Many times fingers were placed on my lips to keep them from moving.
Eventually, I woke one morning feeling truly rested and refreshed. I found I was able to sit up in bed on my own. I peered out the window to see the sun high in the sky. It was afternoon, I guessed, since my clock had been moved from my night table. I longed to get some fresh air and debated if I should try to open the window. I held my breath listening. It seemed that I was alone for the moment. Gingerly, I swung my legs off the side of the bed. I stopped and listened for anyone coming up the stairs. Still no one so I slowly stood up, hanging on to the chair beside the bed. Gradually I made my way to the window and pushed it open a bit. I filled my lungs with the cool mountain air. The leaves were nearly gone from the trees. They were starting to color the last time I remembered. I heard hoof beats approaching the mission house and saw Dr. MacNeill's horse approaching. As swiftly as I could I made my way back to bed and pulled the covers up to my chin and closed my eyes like a naughty child who has been watching for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Minutes later I heard him greet Ida, who must have been in the kitchen and had not heard my movements, and then his footfalls on the stairs. Seconds later the door swung open and he entered my room. I dared to open my eyes. I could finally speak to him about what I overheard in his prayer.
"Good afternoon, Miss Huddleston. Pleasant sleep?" He dropped his saddlebags by my bed and swiftly sat down in the chair by my bed.
"Yes. I did sleep well. I feel so much better. What day is it? How long have I been ill? When can I get up? When can I teach school?" I burst forth with all the pent up questions.
Dr. MacNeill smiled, his hazel eyes sparkling. He ran his hand through those unruly golden red curls of his before he answered me.
"Well now one at a time. Let's see…" he paused thinking, "I think you fell ill on October were sick for…eleven days. You've been fever free for eight days making this November 8th. And no, you cannot be out of bed until you've been free of fever for two weeks. You've made it about halfway so far. As for teaching school, I'll have to talk to Alice about that." He finished crisply. Reaching down into his saddlebags, he removed his stethoscope and thermometer. He placed the thermometer in my mouth before I had the chance to ask any more questions.
As he pulled the covers down off of my chest, I blushed and turned my head away from his face. He laughed suddenly, "Now there's nothing to be embarrassed about. I have seen nearly everyone in this Cove in various states of undress, its part of my job description. It doesn't bother me in the slightest."
I turned my head back towards him and thought I saw the faintest hint of a blush on his lined cheeks. Did I make him blush? I stared at him puzzling over this as he removed the thermometer from my mouth, looked at it, shook it and cleaned it on an alcohol- laden cloth. "No fever, very good, Miss Huddleston. If you'll excuse me, I have some more patients to check on here and there. I'll be return later this evening." With that, he picked up his saddlebags and went out the door. I looked at the door stunned and confused. Neil MacNeill was always so confusing to me. I sank back on my pillows, suddenly tired.
Later that evening, I could hear voices in the parlor. I couldn't make them out clearly, but I just had a feeling that they ere talking about me. I crept quietly out of bed, out the door and to the top of the steps so I could hear them better.
"I think we need to send her back to Asheville." It was Doctor MacNeill. I thought I heard a sigh and I could imagine that he was now squeezing the ends of his hair. "She's going to try to do too much too soon. I really think its better that she leave here." He didn't sound so convinced of that idea, I thought.
"I agree, Neil. We have already cancelled the start of school because of the typhoid fever outbreak and until Christy gets well enough to teach it will nearly be time for the holiday break. I think we should just keep the school closed until after the New Year." Miss Alice sounded as if she had already made up her mind.
They couldn't really be discussing this without me. I didn't want to go back to Asheville. I belonged here with them, with my students. They must be so worried about me. I shuddered, suddenly chilled. I wondered how many students would be coming back to me. The voices below me continued on.
"Somebody will have to accompany her. I'll do it." David volunteered. "I'm not needed here nearly as much."
"No need to hurry about whom will take her. We still have almost another week yet to see if the fever is going to come back. I'll take her. How could you help her if she fell ill again? You barely could bring yourself to her side when she was lying on death's doorstep." Doctor MacNeill was starting to sound angry.
"Perhaps if you weren't beside her every waking minute like a lovesick schoolboy, I would have been there for her. Honestly, you have been spending a lot of time alone with Christy even before she was so sick. It's almost inappropriate for a friend." David retorted tersely.
"What is it exactly that are you implying man?!" Doctor MacNeill was shouting now.
Why wasn't Miss Alice calming them down? I wish they would stop arguing about me. Why was David so jealous about Doctor MacNeill's relationship with me? I had to stop them before one of them got hurt. I moved forward to go down the steps when everything lurched forward and spun crazily. Before I knew it the floor rose up to met me.
Strong arms lifted me from the floor and carried me back to my bed. I opened my eyes and Doctor MacNeill's face swam before mine with thermometer ready to thrust in my mouth. I heard shuffling from the door and knew that Alice and David and probably Ida were waiting there. Doctor MacNeill removed the thermometer, looked at it and scowled.
"She's got a fever of 102 degrees. Ida, bring me some fresh cool water and some clean rags." Doctor MacNeill said tensely. I heard the group at the door move into action. Doctor MacNeill turned his attention back to me
"What in did you think you were doing out of bed?" He started to say angrily. He stopped and the anger in his eyes was replaced by concern.
"I sorry, but I heard shouting. I had to see what it was about." I was nearly choked up.
"That's Grantland's fault. Don't worry about it now." He stopped talking as Ida entered the room. He gave her his instructions and left. Maybe he doesn't love me. Maybe I was still delirious from fever when I heard him saying he loved me. I drifted off to sleep.
The next morning I awoke to see Doctor MacNeill looking out the window. He turned when he heard me stirring. He crossed the space between the window and my bed in two quick strides to take my temperature.
Taking the thermometer and looking at it he said lightly, "Better than last night but still not great. When you're better, you are going back to Asheville so you can rest." His last words came out almost as a sigh and perhaps I imagined it, but it looked like there were tears in his eyes.
"But I want to stay here. I can't leave yet, I've got so much to do." I said helplessly. Doctor MacNeill had returned to the window, his back towards me. He was silent for a while. Finally he said, "It is because you are stubborn and won't listen that you are going back to Asheville. You'll get in less trouble there than here." I sighed. I did not want to fight with him. Reluctantly I gave my consent.