I closed the door on Tyler and sank down onto my staircase; I rested my head against the banister and concentrated on breathing. Moments later there was a knock on the door, I peaked through the hole to check it wasn’t Tyler and opened the door to Josie. She smiled and watched my face, neither of us said anything. I stepped aside and allowed her to come in, she picked up the newspapers and threw them into the recycling basket I kept by the door.
“I brought croissants,” she smiled handing me the bag, I took it and smiled, “and coffee,”
“Thanks Jo, you mind if I go change quickly?” she shook her head and I ascended up the stairs, I threw on a smart shirt and jeans and came back down. Josie was cleaning up the counters in the kitchen, I rolled my eyes. “You don’t have to clean,” I told her,
“I want to,” she smiled. I ate the croissant from the bag whilst sipping the coffee, Josie meanwhile cleaned my entire kitchen.
“I love you,” I told her as she rung out the dishcloth and put it by the sink, she turned suddenly,
“You do?” she asked surprised,
“In the friendly sense, yes, you’re my best friend Josie,”
“Right the friend sense, I thought you meant in the lover’s sense and I was like ‘what?’ I mean that would be weird and it took me by surprise because I was like, hey I thought you were still in love with Mollie but then I thought…”
“Josie,” I butted in,
“Yeah?” she asked breathless after her rant,
“You’re ranting again,” I smiled, she sighed and took a sip of my coffee. “For the record Mollie isn’t stopping me from moving on,”
“What do you mean?” she asked coming to sit beside me,
“There will always be a special place in my heart for Mollie but it’s not going to stop me from falling in love again, I’m just waiting for the right person,”
“The right person…” Josie raised her eyebrows, “who might that be then?”
“I’ll let you know when I find her.” I replied. Josie took my empty cup and paper bag and threw it away, I stood up and checked my watch, “Ten minutes,” I muttered to myself.
“When I came by I saw Tyler on your porch,” Josie said conversationally, “what was he doing? Wasn’t bothering you was he?” she checked.
“He came to ask me about investigating Mollie’s death,” I told her whilst battling with the dull, empty feeling which surrounded the subject. “He wants to find out who did it,”
“Did he tell you he was innocent?”
“Of course, but then he went on to ask for my permission to investigate the death,”
“What did you say?” Josie asked interested,
“I told him no, but he said he was going to anyway so I don’t get why he asked me,”
“Why didn’t he do this four years ago? Why wait until now?”
“I don’t know…” I told her, “whatever he digs up, it’s going to be ugly,”
“Why do you say that?” she asked,
“Let’s just say the night of Mollie’s death, I know where a good few people were and they weren’t sitting on their porch drinking lemonade.” The clock in the hallway struck nine and I got up, it was time to head out and serve the community. Josie stayed sat on her stool and watched as I went to the door, “You coming?” I asked,
“I’ll be right out, I’ll lock up.”
“Morning Doctor Hastings,” the mayor nodded towards me, I was sat in my first aid tent doing a crossword. No one ever got hurt at these festivals, the only time I had helped someone was when Nyree Palmer walked across the cocoanut shy and got hit by a cocoanut on the head – and that was three years ago.
“Stanley,” I smiled, “How’s Leigh and the Mrs.?”
“They’re both good thank you,” he replied, “how are you holding up?”
“I’m great,” I put on a smile, “never been better,” I lied,
“I’m pleased to hear that.” He shook my hand and moved onto the next stall to make small talk with Ellen Kirtle. I went back to my crossword. Half an hour later I completed the crossword and threw the newspaper onto the floor, I decided to take a stroll around the stalls and games. I made a sign reading ‘If you need medical assistance, ring bell’ and caught up with Charli Greene.
“I’m sure the number of stalls grows every year,” she told me,
“My tent is bigger this year,” I said pointing at the large green thing with a red cross on it,
“I’m jealous,” she smiled,
“She’s on the stall; it was quiet so I thought I’d take a look around before the lunchtime rush,”
“Good plan, you mind keeping back some food for me?”
“Why not go over there now and get some?” she offered, “I’m sure Josie will be thrilled to see you,”
“Why do you say that?” I asked,
“No reason…” Charli walked off before I could ask anymore questions. I headed to the ‘food court’ and Josie made me a BLT and gave me a chocolate brownie on the house. I smiled and went back to the tent where I ate my sandwich and waited for something to happen. Surprisingly something did happen…
“JOSHUA, JOSHUA!” Meghan Tate came running over, I got up and moved towards her, “The mayor’s collapsed,” she grabbed my arm and began pulling me away from the tent. I quickly grabbed a first-aid kit and ran after her; I overtook her as soon as I saw the crowd of people surrounding Stanley.
“Move back!” I called, the crowd obeyed. I knelt down and checked Stanley’s heart, it was beating and he was breathing but he was unconscious. “How long has he been down like this?” I asked,
“About ten minutes,”
“Why didn’t someone call me quicker?” I demanded getting him into the recovery position.
“Tyler was doing CPR,” Meghan explained,
“Tyler Hanson?” I asked, Stanley’s eyes flickered. “Hello Mr. Weilert, it seems you had a mild heart attack,” I checked his pulse and counted it to the minute, it sounded strong and regular. “Some one bring me Tyler,” I called, seconds later Tyler appeared at my side, “what did you do?” I asked him.
“He collapsed, I checked his pulse, it wasn’t there, I did CPR, simple as that,”
“Where did you learn CPR?” I asked whilst helping Stanley out,
“I took a first-aid course last year,” he muttered,
“Well it seems like you saved his life.” I told Tyler, “Well done.” The crowd cleared away as an ambulance came and took Stanley to the hospital in the next large town, Tyler was left standing where he’d collapsed. I offered my hand and he shook it, “You saved a life today,” I told him, “you’re not a bad guy Tyler, just misunderstood.”
“So you don’t think I killed her?”
“No, no I don’t. Not anymore.” Tyler beamed and dug his heel into the dirt,
“That’s a start,” he smiled, “a very good start at that!”