At the hospital, David and Estelle stand beside Mark's bed, leaning against each other for moral support. David's arm is around his mom's shoulders, while his own shoulders tremble with the effort to hold back tears.

Mark is wearing an oxygen mask, but the gentle movement of the covers show his shallow breathing. He is hooked up to a heart monitor, a blood pressure machine, and and  an IV drip is mounted on a pole beside the bed.

Estelle holds Mark's hand as she weeps silently, watching this beloved man closely. She watches every movement in case he should suddenly need her in her capacity as a nurse more than in her capacity as his loving wife. He sleeps fitfully, groaning and moving occasionally.

"It's a good thing that you were right there to give dad CPR, mom. You're a terrific nurse. You saved his life."

David whispered. He didn't want to wake his father. More than anything else, Mark needed rest. Estelle kisses her husband's limp hand and speaks quietly, almost to herself.

"I may have saved his life, but for how long?" The doctor says that his heart is damaged. I'm glad he retired a year ago. Now he can take it easy, regain his strength."

"Now that I've graduated from school, I can stay home and help you take care of dad."

"The doctor says that he can go home in a couple of weeks. You'll have all December with him before you go to Orillia to begin your police training."

"Mrs. Maxwell told you about that? I wasn't going to say anything for now. I might put off going all together."

"That's about what Colleen Maxwell thought. She felt I should know anyway, so she told me. I'm glad she did. Now I can prevent you from doing something truly foolish. I will not allow you to give up your dream of becoming a cop. Your dad would not want that either."

David rubbed his chin reflectively over the stubble of beard that had already started.

"I suppose I could go to Orillia, unless dad..."

David choked back the words and the idea that Mark might not make it. David cleared his throat.

"Orientation is only for a week, then I'll be back home and on the job as a cadet. Still, I'll have to go to Aylmer to the Police College for various related courses. Then I'll have to take a final exam in a year's time. I don't like to spend so much time away from home when dad is so sick."

Estelle hugged him briefly, as she used to do to comfort him when he was little.

"I know you don't honey, but he's a strong man with an extremely strong will to live. That makes a huge difference in situations like this. He will fight tooth and nail to see you receive your badge. Becoming a cop is not only your dream, but our dream as well. It is a noble profession, and we couldn't be prouder of you. Your dad will just be thrilled to learn that you've been accepted."

Mark moves in the bed and slowly removes his oxygen mask.

"David was accepted?" he says weakly.

Estelle leans over the bed and kisses him softly on the forehead.

"You're awake. Oh thank god! We've been so worried about you sweetheart. Yes, David was accepted."

"That's my boy! Congratulation's son."  Mark looked up at David proudly.

"Thanks dad, but we can talk about that later. Right now you need rest. You scared the crap out of us!"

"I'm fine. I have lots of time to rest."

Mark shrugs, then flinches. A sudden grimace of pain crosses his face. He lifts his blanket and looks under it."

"I've had surgery." He remarks bluntly.

Estelle nods.

"Double bypass. Your surgeon told me that your artery was so clogged with cholesterol that it looked like a corroded iron pipe! Cheese and butter are off the menu for you for now."

"That's a small price to pay for staying alive."

Mark grins then glances up at the bag of IV solution hanging from the pole.

"It looks like everything is off the menu for awhile. I don't suppose there's any way of squeezing a milk shake into that IV bag?"

Estelle and David laugh as Mark chuckles weakly.

"All your friends down at the train station came in to give blood dad, just in case you needed it. Most of Mr. Maxwell's detachment gave blood too. The police chief really appreciates what you've done over the years to help the police. You've transported troops and police and emergency personnel to trouble spots all over Canada.!"

"The head nurse in charge of the blood bank said that you brought in more units than last year's blood drive. Even at your sickest, you have the power to inspire and assist others."

Estelle said as she turns away and rummages for a tissue in her purse. Her shoulders shake, fighting off tears. David puts his arm around her.

"We're going to let you rest now dad. There are a lot of people out in the waiting room that are anxious for news about you. We'll be back later."

Estelle kisses Mark's forehead, and David gently squeezes his shoulder. He escorts his mom to the door.

The End

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