Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Huge Roses: Chapter Four, part five

American nurse Tory Bird, visiting Amsterdam with her sister Jane, meets Dr. Maximilan van den Nie whilst giving first aid to an injured English tourist.  After a lovely weekend, Tory returns home to the United States, daydreaming of the handsome Dutchman.  To her surprise, Max arrives in Tory's New Hampshire village a few weeks later!

Installment One - Installment Two - Installment Three - Installment Four - Installment Five - Installment Six - Installment Seven - Installment Eight - Installment Nine - Installment Ten - Installment Eleven - Installment Twelve

THE HUGE ROSES (working title)
copyright 2014 by Betty van den Betsy; not for reprint or publication without permission

Chapter Four, part five:

They headed back south and east making occasional, disconnected comments in place of their usual easy conversation.  As they made the turn onto route 104 for the last leg of the journey, the doctor cleared his throat and, eyes on the road, asked, “Tory, have I said or done something to offend?  I’ve had a sense of constraint with you tonight that I haven’t experienced at our other meetings.  And I think I heard you refer to me as ‘Dr. van den Nie.’”
“Oh, no,” she assured him, sitting up straight with surprise.  “Not at all.  But I didn’t know before how many papers you’ve published, and all the awards the dean mentioned.  I guess I’m a bit intimidated.  You just seem a bit more... you know.  Higher stature, maybe.  Not the normal guy in Dad’s waders throwing snowballs for the dogs.  I’m just feeling like I didn’t realize how impressive you are.”
After that mish-mash of burbling, Tory wasn’t surprised to hear the doctor’s shout of laughter.  “Please, please, please, call me Max and think of me in waders,” he begged.  “By the way, I believe I have never won an award that I didn’t share with others, and I know I’ve never published a paper without co-authors.  And your dean dug up some citations that really don’t warrant a mention anymore.”
Tory settled back in to the comfort of the now-warm leather.  “Okay, okay.  You were really nice to take us all out to dinner.  And I think you’re wonderful to thank your interns and everyone who’s working on the research with you.  Not many people do that.”
“Yes, I know; I think it’s a shame.  I’ve worked with people who go so far as to believe that they could have done all this work on their own, and the critical contributions of others are just a bit of window-dressing.  I decided early in my career that it’s worthwhile to remind ourselves regularly that our work is always a group effort.”
“See, you are impressive,” Tory pointed out.  “Speaking of groups, you were very good to put up with ours tonight.  I hope you and – is it Jaap?” – Max confirmed his housekeeping friend’s name – “will enjoy Thanksgiving with us.”
“My family is large, also,” Max explained.  “Both Jaap and I are accustomed to spending holidays feeling like we’re in the middle of a flock of birds, augmented with a large litter of puppies, not quite housebroken.  I quite enjoy it, actually.  And I was very happy to meet your brother.  Your sister, also.”
“Family’s wonderful, isn’t it?” Tory replied.  “I can’t wait until they start having kids, and I can be an aunt.  Ooh, I wonder how Diana’s doing with her baby.  That’s the woman Dr. B left to deliver,” she reminded him.
“Do you not want children of your own?” Max asked.  “Or is your ambition solely on aunt-hood?”
“Oh, I would love to have kids.  Three or four, maybe.  Close in age, or maybe spread out like we are.  I love baby smell, and that first time they hold onto your finger, and then when they’re two or three and they’re learning so fast.  I know it’s supposed to be horrible to have teen-agers, but I kind of think I’d like that, too.  So the maternal juices are all there, all right.  It’s just the... well.  You know.”  Tory sputtered to a stop, horrified by how close she’d come to saying ‘paternal juices.’
“It’s not easy to find the right person to share your life,” Max commiserated, his broad grin hidden in the darkness.
“Do you ride?  Horses?” Tory asked abruptly, desperate to change the subject.  He did, of course, and they discussed horse breeds, jumping and the difficulty of keeping horses, with their sudden and expensive ailments and injuries.  “Still, I think I’d like to have one of my own someday,” Tory declared.  “That feeling you get when you meet a jump just right, and everything unfolds like it should, and the horse feels happy and you’re happy and you think you could do this forever.”
“I sometimes feel something like that playing rugby.  The team is like that other intelligence with which I have to align myself, and when we all come together to be in the right places, heading in the right directions, to make a pass successfully or score a goal, it’s amazing.  ‘Elation’ is the word, I think.”
“Yes.  I played lacrosse, and catching that ball and passing it off to the next person, without missing a step.  It’s great.  Falling down in the mud, however... you do a lot of that in rugby, too.”
“But mind it less, perhaps, because the mud coating makes me harder to tackle,” Max chuckled, and Tory joined him.  Laughing together, they pulled up to the family farmhouse.  Her earlier constraint had vanished entirely with Max’s easy conversation, their shared views, the warmth of the car and the late hour.  Forgetful of his old-fashioned courtesy, she opened her own car door, only to find Max standing ready with a hand out to help her from her seat.  Tired by her long day and the relaxing ride home, Tory stumbled a half step, and banged against his solid torso.  Max’s arm tightened around her, and Tory drew in her breath sharply.  Despite their two coats, she could feel his warmth against her cheek, her shoulder, her chest.  For a moment, he held her against him, and she buried her face against the cashmere of his overcoat, then looked up.  He gazed back at her, and his head swooped down, his lips catching hers in a firm, warm kiss that sent heat through her whole body, radiating to her scalp, her toes, the tips of her fingers, and she kissed him back with ardor.
The dogs’ barking broke into that moment of passion, and Tory and Max pulled their heads apart.  Muttering, almost angrily, “A very normal guy,” Max pushed her toward the door.  “You have your key?”  Tory pulled the ring from her pocket, jingling, and he took them from her and inserted the largest one into the front door lock.  He opened the door and handed back the keys.  “Sleep well, Tory,” he said, dropped the gentlest kiss possible on her tingling lips, then turned and strode back to his car.  Tory collected just wit enough to call, “Jennet!  Hal!” and shut the door as the jubilant animals, ignorant of what they’d interrupted, gamboled around her.


  1. Very nice! Love the way the story is progressing. Waiting for the next one :)

  2. His resolutions crumbling, his defenses breaking down ...
    Looking forward to Thanksgiving!

  3. Have been waiting a while for the next installment and I have not been disappointed! Fabulous story, great progression, and lovely characters. Can't wait to read the next chapter. :0)

  4. Swoop and kiss, indeed. Swooping must be one of Betty's favorite words. Tall RDDs are prone to swoop down for surprise kisses. Bentleys swoop silently around corners, past articulated lorries, and down hills into the village. Swooping. I love it!

    Thanks for another encounter. Lovely story.

    Catherine (A Betty van den Wasatch)

  5. I still miss the Recent Comments/Top Comments widget. Sigh.


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  6. I loved it as usual. That was a great kiss, especially that she kissed him back with ardor. I can't wait to see what happens next.

  7. re: the Dutch spam

    True to his promise to his mother, the Professor had asked Wim to drive Emily from Amsterdam to his mother’s house near Dokkum in Friesland for the weekend. Emily was looking forward to her stay in the country. The Professor’s elder sister Wiebke had come over at eight o’clock in the morning on Saturday to look after Nanny who despite her eighty years was beginning to recover really well from broncho pneumonia. She was still weak but the Professor deemed her well enough to allow her nurse a weekend off and his mother had been badgering him for weeks now to send Emily over for a short visit.
    Just as Emily was explaining Nanny’s medication, diet and gentle exercises to the Professor’s sister there was a loud crash to be heard from the hall below and a loud anguished shout. Emily made for the stairs in a flash leaving Wiebke with Nanny. As she reached the last turn of the stairs she could see Professor van Kampen bent over Wim’s prostrate form.
    'Ah, Nurse Hart, it seems Wim has sprained his ankle. I shall take him to hospital for x-rays to make sure there are no bones broken. I’m afraid your departure will have to be postponed for a couple of hours. I cannot drive you to my mother’s myself as I am expected at the hospital for a meeting of the board of governors, later today. But I will call a friend of mine, Marcus Mathijssen, to send over one of his chauffeurs. He will take you safely to Huize Kampen.'

  8. Tory sputtered to a stop, horrified by how close she’d come to saying “paternal juices.”

    I laughed so hard. I’m still chuckling. Thank you Betty van den Betsy. Love the story.