This is the sequel to 'Consequences'; you need to read that first.
Summary: Doc Martin has to treat Bert for stress after something unexpected happens but can he find out what the underlying cause is?
Author's note: I have no medical knowledge so I've tried to look things up on the internet, otherwise I've just made them up.
Disclaimer: Doc Martin is the property of Buffalo Pictures. I own nothing.
Bert Large had many faults, he was lazy, he lacked willpower when it came to food, he loved to gossip and he tended to rush in to new business ventures without checking them properly beforehand, but he was a gentle, caring man. Which is why he found himself hesitating at the Oakwood's front door. Teri Oakwood had been distraught at Sam's funeral and hadn't been seen since and it had now been four days. He couldn't imagine how she must be feeling; he practically had a nervous breakdown every time Al was ill and if he died, well it didn't bear thinking about!
So, Bert had decided to get Teri Oakwood to come and have a coffee at his restaurant (and if this meant that all the busy-bodies in the village came for a coffee too then everyone would benefit). Summoning up his courage, Bert rang the bell. There was no reply. Bert rang again and without waiting, opened the door and walked in, calling,
'Mrs Oakwood? It's Bert Large.'
In here was the lounge. Teri Oakwood was sat on the sofa, knees together and hands resting neatly on her knees. As Bert came in she raised her face to his and Bert felt his heart wrench at the anguish in her eyes. Unconsciously lowering his voice, Bert said,
'Hello, Mrs Oakwood. I wondered if you'd care to come and have a coffee with me?'
'Yes. I'm paying.'
'I'm not sure…'
'It would do you good to go out and get some fresh air.'
'There were some dolphins in the harbour earlier.'
'Yes and the tide's still in so they might still be there.'
Teri Oakwood hesitated,
'But Anthony won't know where I am.'
'You could leave him a note.'
Bert felt as though he was coaxing a child but he could tell that she wanted to come really.
Having made her decision, Teri Oakwood was ready surprisingly quickly. In less than five minutes she had written a note for her husband, put on her coat and gloves and picked up her handbag.
Three hours later Bert was congratulating himself; not only had his restaurant been swamped with people 'wanting a cuppa to get warm', but Teri Oakwood had been easier to deal with than he'd expected. She'd been subdued and quiet but the frozen anguish that he'd seen when he arrived at her house had eased. The dolphins had come in to the harbour again and she'd turned to Bert and asked,
'Do you believe in reincarnation?'
'Ah, well, that's a tricky one. Not sure whether you come back or not really. Just have to wait and see, I suppose.'
'I do. I'm sure Sam will come back as a dolphin. Swimming free in Mother Nature's wonderful oceans.'
'Ah…um…I'm sure you're right.'
Bert had a feeling that reincarnation didn't work like that even if it was real but he was too kind-hearted to point it out when it clearly gave Teri so much comfort.
Once the dolphins had gone, Teri had become fidgety and nervous. Eventually, she turned to Bert, saying,
'I'd like to go home now.'
'Of course. Let me just give this tea to Mrs Wilkins and I'll walk you home.'
When they got back to the cottage, Teri hesitated before inviting Bert in.
'I ought to get back really,' said Bert, awkwardly.
'Please. I don't want to be alone.'
Helplessly, Bert followed her indoors. Hanging up her coat, Teri said,
'Come into the kitchen. I've got some home made cakes in the cupboard. People keep bringing us food but I haven't felt like eating.'
Bert decided that Al could cope without him for a bit longer and happily followed Teri into the kitchen.
It was a decision that he regretted for a long time.
Authors love feedback – please let me know what you think.