Read Part Nine First!
It was nearly a month before Detective Douglas was able to
free himself for a trip to Harmony.
Sean's name had faded from the news media, and it seemed as though the child had vanished. Yoko's relatives in Japan had been questioned and authorities had been satisfied that they knew nothing of the boy's whereabouts. No ransom demands had been made, and while speculations had run wild for a time, not once had anyone suggested that his father could have had anything to do with his disappearance. After all, as far as the world knew, John was long dead.
On the day Detective Douglas arrived on the island, John and Mavis were hosting a wedding reception at the pub for a young local couple. The celebration was in full swing when Robert walked in unnoticed. The first thing he saw was Sean, dancing happily with a group of children his own age. The little boy did not appear to have a care in the world.
Robert scanned the room until his eyes came to rest upon John, who was laughing at something a young man with waist-length hair had said. John's eyes were sparkling when he turned his head and saw the policeman, but as soon as he recognized Robert, the glass slipped from his hand and the carefree smile died upon his lips. His face drained of all color and he grabbed the edge of the bar to steady himself. Excusing himself hurriedly, John went quickly to the men's room. The detective followed him.
"Hullo, John," Robert said as he closed the door behind himself.
John was leaning over the sink, rinsing his face with cold water, looking wan and shaken.
"Hello to ye, Robert, what're ye doin' here?" he replied.
John pushed himself back from the sink and met the detective's eyes levelly. He leaned against the wall beside the open window and waited expectantly for the policeman to speak. For a long moment, Robert said nothing, so John cleared his throat.
"I've sort o' been expectin' ye, truth be told," he added, wiping his hands on his sweater before reaching to shake with the younger man. "I suppose I know why ye've come, but why don't ye tell me just the same, to make sure we're clear."
"I came because I thought I might find your son here, John. I saw him out in the barroom -- he looked happy enough. That was a nice disguise you were wearing when you took him from the hospital, by the way. Very creative, I didn't know you were so talented in the art of makeup. You did forget to age your hands, though--plus I knew you were alive and living here with access to a private plane. That all made it pretty easy to put together. I take no credit for figuring the situation out," the detective said.
He looked at John and smiled. "Do you happen to have an extra cigarette?" he asked.
"Yeah, sure," John replied, producing a pack from his pocket, "Here ye go, Robert."
Both men lit their cigarettes and smoked for a moment in silence.
Finally, John asked, "So what're ye gonna do, Robert? Are ye gonna take the lad from his home, or will ye just go back to the mainland and leave things as they are?"
"Well, I guess I have to say that it all depends upon you, John," the detective answered slowly. "I suppose it's my duty to solve the case, but I can't help thinking that it wouldn't really help anyone if I was to do that." He crushed his cigarette out and tossed it through the open window over John's shoulder.
"Then, of course, there's the rest of your family, and Yoko's, too. They're worried about the lad and want to know what's become of him. That's never going to change, and do you really think it's fair to let them just worry and wonder forever? Plus, there is the little matter of more than two hundred million dollars. If Sean isn't found, I don't know what happens to that. Yoko made him her sole heir."
"Money doesn't matter to me anymore, Robert," John said. "I brought enough with me to easily last the rest o' me life, both for meself and Sean, for Mavis and Adam and any other children we may have. Ye don't need a lot o' money here."
"I'm glad to hear it, and that's all very fine for you, John, but what if Sean decides he wants to leave this island when he grows up? He'll need money to live in the outside world. Are you sure you want to take his inheritance away from him?"
"O' course I don't wanna do that, but what choice do I have? He's best off here with me and Mavis, Robert, ye've gotta be able to see that. I'm his father, and he needs me, now that his mum is gone."
"He needed you before that happened, too, John, but he got along all right without you, didn't he?"
John nodded. He was clearly miserable. "But he's me son," he said softly. "I know yer only tryin' to do right by him, Robert, but so am I. I really believe that he's best off here with Mavis, Adam, and me. He doesn't even really know any of his other relatives. Isn't it better for him to be here with people who love him and less money than he would be with millions of dollars among strangers? Especially since he's now grown to think of the island as his home-- isn't this better for him, Robert, honestly?"
John's eyes, which had been brimming with tears as he spoke, now overflowed and he uttered a hoarse, choked sob. "I missed him so much for these past few years," John went on, struggling for control. He wiped his eyes and drew in a long, shuddering breath. "Now we're together again, and we've been happy here--the whole family. Sean adores his little brother, and Mavis loves him as though he were her own. He has friends here, and more than enough of everything he needs. I take him with me when I go to see Paulie and the lads, and they all love him, too. Except for all the money, there's nothing he doesn't have--and there's nothing he needs. Please, Robert, don't say anything about finding him here. Just let our family be."
"I'm inclined to listen to you, my friend, but I'll need some more time to think about it. I'm taking the ferry back to the mainland tonight, and I'll get back to you as soon as I make my mind up. Meanwhile, how about a pint? I'm a bit parched."
John allowed himself a slight grin and opened the door. "Sure, come on and join the party," he said. "I expect they'll be carryin' on for a few hours yet. And thanks for not sayin' anything yet, till ye have the time to think it over. Just remember this--if it comes down to it, I'll fight for me lad. No one's gonna just waltz in here an' take him from me."
"Fair enough. We'll both do whatever it is we have to do."
That evening after Robert had gone and the children had been put to bed, John and Mavis lay awake in the darkness.
"What do you think is going to happen, John?" she asked, laying her head upon his chest. His heart beat steadily beneath her cheek, and he was silent for a time.
"I dunno," he finally replied. "He did promise to call when he'd made his decision, though. He didn't say as much, but I suspect that's to be his way of givin' me a chance to get away before the police come in case he decides he has to tell them where Sean is."
"Baby, if you have to go, you will take me and Adam with you, won't you? You wouldn't leave us behind?" Mavis' voice trembled as she asked
John turned and took her into his arms, holding her close against himself.
"Mavis, love, o' course I would," he promised. "I was separated for so long from Sean and Yoko; I wouldn't want to put you and Adam through that-- or meself either, for that matter. No, darlin', whatever happens, we're gonna stay together. Things'll work out somehow."
Mavis put her arms about his neck and pressed closer still, and despite the worry and the fear in his head, John could not help responding to her. He kissed her deeply, his hands running almost of their own accord over her lush softness.
Mavis caught her breath, astonished by the heat and desperation of his lovemaking. Before she knew it, she was more ready for him than she would have ever dreamed possible under such conditions. She moaned softly and opened herself to him with eager abandon.
John slipped easily into her warm, hungry body and together they fell into the familiar rhythm of the most ancient dance. She clung to him, trembling with pleasure and anticipation, and he drove himself deep again and again, seeking to put everything out of his mind except for the mad joy of their furious, all consuming coupling.
There was suddenly nothing else in all the world but the two of them and the feelings they were experiencing. Everything receded and they were alone in the cosmos, two desperate, ecstatic creatures slamming together again and again, each seeking to please the other, and in the process spiraling upward towards ecstasy together, breathing hard, losing their minds.
At last, he could wait no longer. Mavis felt his body tense and a deep growl resembling her name tumbled from his lips. His face was unbearably beautiful in the slice of moonlight coming through the curtains, and the sight of him sent her over the edge upon which she had been balanced so exquisitely. She cried out and let the wave of pleasure sweep her away and leave her to join him in the delicious feeling of satisfaction now overwhelming both of them.
His weight, now relaxed upon her, was comforting, and he covered her face and neck with kisses. Both of them sighed happily, and Mavis felt a small pang of loss when he softened and slipped from her. With a final kiss, he rolled away and settled beside her. She resumed her place with her head upon his chest and listened to the sound of his heartbeat as it gradually slowed to normal. Finally, his breathing told her that he had fallen asleep, and she looked at the slice of moonlight on the wall.
What would it be like to live somewhere else, she wondered. Mavis could not remember her life in Ireland, she had been so young when her parents had brought her here. Harmony was her home, and the only people she really knew were here.
She was still thinking about this when her eyes drooped and she slipped into sleep.
Days passed, and there was no word from the young officer who held their fate in his hands.
John did not mention anything to Mavis, but every night when he slipped into bed he felt more and more certain that everything was going to be all right.
A month passed before Sycamore came into the pub one evening and pulled John aside. "Hey, John, ya know that police detective who was here to see you, the one who investigated that kid Joshua's death? Well, I was over on the mainland this afternoon, and I saw him on the telly."
"What was he sayin'?"
"Not a thing, and he's not likely to ever say any more," Sycamore replied, smiling at his own cleverness. "He's lyin' in the hospital over there at Campbelltown as we speak, his head bashed in proper. He's in a coma, and he's not expected to live."
John stared at the young man, almost unable to believe what he'd ben told.
"Who hurt him?" he finally asked.
"No one in the world. He was goin' into an abandoned building-- in pursuit of a suspect was how they put it-- and the stairs gave way when he was up by the fifth story of the fire escape.
He grabbed the rail and hung on, but it broke away in his hand, and down he went to the back garden. His head hit a big rock and they took him right to the hospital, but he never woke up and they don't think he's gonna. Ever."
Sycamore finished his pint and rose to leave. Tell Mavis my goodnight," he said as he headed for the door. "I need to get some sleep. I've gotta fly to the mainland again tomorrow, and I'm leavin' early."
John was numb. He raised a hand to Sycamore in response and just sat there as the younger man left. He could hear Mavis upstairs putting the children to bed, and he resisted the impulse to fly up the stairs and tell her what he'd just learned.
When she finally came down, Mavis went straight to her chair by the fireplace.
"It's almost too warm for a fire tonight," she said. "Just a slight chill in the air. Pretty soon it will be summer again, and I'm looking forward to it, short as it is."
John wandered across the room and sat beside her, his face solemn as he fished his cigarettes out of his pocket.
"Officer Robert is dyin'," he told her as he selected one and lit it.
Mavis stared at him, stricken. "Dying! Whatever do you mean, John? Who told you that?"
"Sycamore. He was in Campbelltown today and he saw it on the telly. He fell off a fire escape and hit his head on a rock, and he's in the ‘ozzie with a coma he's not expected to wake from."
John took a deep drag on his cigarette. "I can't decide how to feel about it," he said softly. "I'm inclined to feel relieved, but I'm uneasy about that. First off, he was sort of me friend. I liked the guy. Then there's me concern that he might have had somethin' about me down in writin', and what if someone finds that? Do ye think he might have done that, Mavis?"
"I doubt it," she replied. "He told me that he worried sometimes about how dangerous his job was, and he said that he wondered if he shouldn't be more concerned for his soul. I think he was a lapsed Catholic--or he is; I suppose it's wrong to speak of him as if he were dead when he's still alive, even if he never does wake up. Did Sycamore say anything else?"
"No, just that he needed to get to sleep 'cos he's goin' back to the mainland tomorrow mornin'."
"John, I want to go with him. You can manage here without me and take care of the children, and I'll get Sarah to take the breakfast and lunch shifts. I'm going to that hospital to talk to Robert's doctors."
"Are ye sure that's such a good idea, Mavis? They might not tell ye anythin', seein' as how yer not a relation o' his." He tossed his cigarette butt into the fire. "In fact, I doubt they will."
"Who's to know I'm no relation?" Mavis countered with a mischievous grin. "I think he's my uncle on my father's side."
"Oh, it's a naughty wench ye are, Mavis," he told her. "Right then, ye go on and do what ye have to do. I'll hold things together here."
Mavis was nervous as she entered the hospital the next day. It was midmorning, and there weren't many people in the lobby.
"I'm here to see my uncle," she said, approaching the desk where a pretty, young nurse sat looking at her questioningly.
"And the patient's name?" asked the nurse.
"Robert Douglas," replied Mavis. "He's in a coma."
"Oh, I'm sorry, but Mr. Douglas passed away early this morning," the nurse said. "Just the same, I'll call his doctor for you, and you can speak to him."
Mavis nodded and sat in the nearest chair. The man who held their future in his hands was dead. She turned the information over in her mind and didn't notice the tall man standing in front of her until he cleared his throat.
"Excuse me, Miss-- I was your uncle's primary physician," said the man.
"Oh, I'm sorry-- I was just thinking about him. This was rather a shock," Mavis told him. "My name is Mavis; did you know my uncle before his accident?"
"Yes, but not well. He didn't really have any health problems in general. I'm so sorry for your loss, Miss--"
"Evans," Mavis supplied without thinking. "Mavis Evans."
"Miss Evans. No one else has been to see about his personal effects. Might I hand them over to you?"
"Oh, well--yes, I suppose so," she responded. "I hadn't really thought of that."
"Just wait here, and I'll collect them for you," said the doctor, and off he went.
Mavis sat quietly, wondering whether she dare carry out the plan now forming in her head. By the time the doctor returned and handed her the large plastic bag marked 'PATIENT'S BELONGINGS', she had decided that she would.
Mavis thanked the doctor and left the hospital. Outside, she sat on a bench and opened the bag. Robert's wallet was on top, along with a set of keys. She opened the wallet and took out the driver's license.
"231 Willow Terrace," she whispered. She put the wallet back into the bag and went to a nearby phone booth to call a cab.
Twenty minutes later, Mavis was standing outside the door of Robert Douglas' modest house, his keys in her hand. She took a deep breath and let herself in.
The house was spotless, the furnishings sparse. There were few ornaments, but there was a full wall of heavily laden bookshelves in the sitting room. Mavis set the bag from the hospital on the couch and went to the desk. She rolled back the front and began to shuffle through the papers inside.
It was dark by the time Mavis left the little house and got into a second taxi, which took her to the docks. She waited there alone for the ferry back to Harmony, which was predictably late.
There was no one else going to her island, but there was a family headed for Goatsglen, a neighboring island, and she smiled as she watched the children play on the deck as their parents talked quietly together.
When she stepped off the ferry at Harmony, John was seated at the edge of the pier waiting for her.
"Where are the children?" she asked.
"With Sarah. She stayed through the supper shift and I put them to bed. She's knittin' by the fire now with an ear out for 'em." He tossed his cigarette into the sea and patted the wood beside him. Mavis sat and nestled her head on his shoulder.
"Did ye find anything out?" he asked.
"He died, John. Early this morning, before I arrived."
"I'm that sorry to hear it. Why were ye gone so long?"
"I went to his house, John, to see if I could find anything he might have written down. His little house was so empty, neat, and sad. There wasn't anything about you, though. After I'd gone through all his papers, I had missed Sycamore, so I took the ferry home, and here I am."
"Yeah, he told me he'd left word at the airport for ye to come back on the boat. He waited for ye for a while. I guess we're in the clear, then, me gurrl. I've been thinkin' o' what I would do if things turned out this way, and I've made me decision."
John got to his feet and pulled her up beside him. Mavis stood looking up into his eyes.
"What decision?" she asked, her heart turning over in her breast. There was something about the way he was looking at her, something in the intensity of his gaze, that frightened and excited her at the same time.
"I'm gonna make an honest woman of ye, Miss Mavis. That is, assumin' ye'll do me the great honor o' becomin' me wife."
Mavis swayed in his arms, and he caught her to himself firmly.
"I wondered if you were ever going to ask," she said, her voice wavering. "I'd begun to lose hope."
"Let's go home, darlin'," he said softly. "We'll work out all the details, set the date, then we'll really celebrate."
She nodded, her heart too full to allow her to speak.John put a warm arm about her waist, and together they walked home through the sleeping village, home to their children.
Angel Godiva was actually was given that nickname by John Lennon, whom she met in L.A. in 1974 on her 21st birthday. She had yards of hair back then. She lives in Northern Connecticut with her second husband, and has been a Beatles fan since 1964, when she was 11. The high point of her life was meeting and getting to know John (though she never saw him again after he returned to NYC). She also writes poetry, and is currently working with an editor friend on her first novel.
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