A few days later she was sitting in her office when the phone rang, the caller ID told her it was long distance; she thought the area code was California. "Hello, Catherine Woodward speaking."
The person on the other end responded, "Catherine, its Lizzy. I saw you on the news. You got married?"
"Oh, Lizzy; what a surprise; yes, to a wonderful man. We need to talk when I don't have a procedure to do, call me at home tonight."
"I'll do better than that, John and I will be in New York tomorrow, can we all meet somewhere?"
"What if Robert and I meet you at the airport and then we can decide what to do? What time do you arrive?"
"Great see you then, bye."
That evening, she told Robert all about Lizzy. That they had been friends since medical school; that Liz never thought she would get married until five years ago she was swept off her feet by a man she met at a hospital fundraiser.
"We haven't seen each other recently; the last time was at a conference shortly before Tom got sick."
"Catherine, we have plenty of room, they could be our first guests."
"Yes, that would be wonderful."
Liz and John's plane was right on time. Liz hadn't changed a bit still her same bubbly self, always talking.
After introductions, Robert asked John where they were staying. John explained that they didn't like staying in the city and Elizabeth had found a hotel in Connecticut, in a small town called Riverside.
"You must be kidding, that's near us. Catherine, did you hear that? They have reservations in Riverside."
"Liz, John, we'd love you to stay with us; we have a new house; we have plenty of room. It isn't too late to cancel."
Robert got them out of the city before the major traffic left. Liz and Catherine sat in the back and talked almost non-stop. John and Robert just listened. Robert could tell they were very good friends.
As they got close to home, Robert asked, "What does everyone want to do for dinner?"
"Robert, let's stop at Romero's, I'm sure these two haven't had much to eat since leaving LA." Liz and John agreed.
Liz wanted to know all about the RMD House. Catherine and Robert told them all the details from finding the house, to the Patriots connection, and the gift they gave to the hospital.
After leaving Romero's, they drove by St. Mary's and the RMD House. Liz asked, "You said you moved into your house a year ago; where were you living?"
"In a vacation cabin." Robert answered.
"We'll tell you all about it after we get settled in the house, here we are." Catherine continued.
Robert and John took their suitcases up to the larger bedroom with the ensuite bathroom. The guys went back down so Robert could show John the property before it got totally dark.
"Okay, Catherine, tell me about Robert. I can see that you two are totally in love. Not to put Tom down, but I don't remember you looking like this with him."
"You're right Liz, I loved Tom, but not the way I love Robert; I can't explain it."
How did you meet?"
"By accident, I was still grieving, Liz, it was Thanksgiving. I was at the hospice and so was Robert; he had sent his family home because of the blizzard and he couldn't get a taxi. I offered him a ride; we skidded on the ice and landed in the ditch. Our first impression of each other was not good.
We found a cabin to spend the night in. Liz, the most amazing thing happened; we started to talk; deep down he was a soft gentle loving man. His wife was dying from heart disease complicated by Alzheimer's; she didn't know him anymore and yet he went to see her faithfully every day. I fell in love with him; but I knew our love had to wait, he would never be unfaithful.
I didn't see him again until another accidental meeting here at the cabin. Robert had bought the place and I came upon it accidentally. We talked and I found out his wife had died the Sunday after our first meeting. We started a relationship, but soon realized we were in love. We married on December 27th. Our love just keeps growing."
"Whoa! Catherine, that's a story for the movies."
Then they heard Robert, "are you ladies going to talk all night up there?"
Without answering they scampered down the stairs. Each greeted their mate with a kiss.
After sitting and talking for a while, Liz and John decided to turn in; it had been a long day for them.
Robert made a fire in their bedroom; they sat for awhile and talked. "I can tell, you and Liz are very good friends. I'm surprised that John calls her Elizabeth."
She told me he just likes it." Catherine laughed, "You want to hear something funny, her given name is Elizabeth Catherine."
"Hmm, I think that's why we became such good friends."
"Tomorrow, let's have breakfast at Murray's and take them out to the cabin."
"That's fine, now I want to neck with my wife." Catherine laughed.
Soon, Robert smothered the embers from the fire and took his wife to bed.
Robert and Catherine greeted their guests as they came down the steps. Liz and John remarked about the wonderful view from the bedroom, "the lake looked like glass it was so calm." Asked how they slept, they responded "just like babies."
"We're going to have breakfast at our favorite place, Murray's; and then we want to take you to the cabin. Liz, I assume you've told John our story."
"Yes, and we can't wait to see this magical place." John answered.
First, Robert drove straight to Shelby Manor and then started back to town using the route that Catherine had taken that day.
Catherine and Robert elaborated on the story Catherine had told Liz; the exact spot the car hit the ice, the place where Catherine fell on her face, the tractor ride and Catherine tying her scarf to the tree branch where she thought she had lost her necklace; the place where they spotted the cabin.
They went inside the normal way, no breaking any more windows. They told them a little more about their conversation on Thanksgiving; how Robert learned her husband had died, why she had given him a ride; they called a truce and tried to make the best of an awkward situation.
"But why did you decide to live here? Liz asked.
"That's a difficult question to answer, we just felt comfortable here, and it was special. I knew I couldn't live in my house, too big and too many memories, even though most of them were happy ones.
When a new doctor started, he couldn't find a house for his family, I decided it was time to sell and I haven't regretted it. We knew we needed a home in the city eventually. We had been snowed in a couple weekends in February. So Robert built our house and now it's special."
On Monday, Robert drove Liz and John back to the city for his meeting. They would take a taxi to the airport. Catherine and Liz promised to stay in touch and hopefully visit more often.