A week had passed, and the day had finally come when I was going home to Emery and Bass. Jane had taken her home the second day after I was admitted and said she would stay there and take care of her and Bass until I was able to come home. I got up, dressed, and headed home. As soon as I turned my key in the lock, I heard Emery running toward the door,
"Dr. Maura!" she cried out excitedly, running into my arms. "You home! You came back!"
"Well, a promise is a promise, baby girl," I said, giving her a hug. "Where's Auntie Jane?"
"In the kitchen, Maura!" she called out to me over running water.
I started to go toward her voice, but Emery had a good hold on my leg, so, very carefully, I gathered her into my arms. "Come on, let's go see what Auntie Jane made for dinner, huh?"
"Yeah, yeah!" She wrapped her arms around my neck, allowing me to balance her on my hip, and we went into the kitchen, where we found Jane putting pasta on plates.
"is that spaghetti, Auntie Jane?" Emery asked her.
Jane smiled. "Yep. Hey, how are you feeling, Maura?"
"A little sore, but much better." I said, giving my good friend a hug. "Thanks for watching her. Where's-" I was cut off by Bass rubbing up against my leg. I looked down and smiled. "Bass," I said, bending to give him a stroke, "there you are."
Emery petted him, too. "I missed you, Dr. Maura," she told me."
"I missed you, too, baby girl."
"Dinner's ready," Jane told us, so we went to the table.
After dinner, we all played hide- and- seek, and Jane won. Then, I got Em into the bath.
"Watch our, Dr. Maura, the shark is coming!" she squealed playfully as she made her toy shark look like he was going to bite my arm.
I screamed as if I were really in pain, which made her giggle. I smiled. Nothing made me feel better than being able to make her laugh. Nothing was more pure or honest than that sound. Later, I dressed her in her favorite kitty pajamas and read her the story of Cinderella, which was her favorite for me to read. "Sleep tight, baby. I'm gonna go downstairs with Auntie Jane, but just call me if you need me."
She smiled. "Okay. I love you, Dr. Maura," she whispered as her eyes closed.
I smiled and kissed her head. "I love you too," I said as I closed her door. I went downstairs to find that Jane was sitting in one of my brown recliner in front of the chess board.
"Wanna play?" she asked me.
"Sure," I agreed.
I sat down, made the first move, and Jane followed. We laughed over old times long after I won the game.
"I'm glad you're finally home," she said.
"Thanks, Jane, so am I, and thanks for taking care of things here."
She hugged me. "That's what friends are for," she said, patting my shoulder.