Joel Ward sat in his plush office chair, going over some hospital paperwork, when the telephone rang shrilly in his ear. He jumped slightly and then picked up the phone.
“Yes, Tina, what is it?”
“Dr. Ward, there is a call for you from a Mr. Julian Crane.”
“Put him through, Tina, and please hold all my calls.”
“Yes, Dr. Ward.”
With a click, Joel had Julian Crane on the line. “Julian, I have been expecting your call. How are things going?” He made an attempt at small talk.
“I was hoping that you would tell me, Doctor,” Julian replied cheerfully. “Is everything all set?”
“Yes it is, but I am warning you, this plan of yours will take some time. These things cannot be rushed,” Joel advised.
“I am willing to wait, whatever it takes to get this rolling. I will keep in touch,” Julian promised and hung up the phone.
Leaning back in his large leather chair, Julian laced his fingers together and put them behind his back. Leaning back comfortably, he placed his feet on the edge of his desk and crooned in satisfaction. “Soon, my dear, soon - very soon…”
6 months later….
It was a chilly but beautiful December day. Snow, light and fluffy, was falling gently, giving the air a magical charge, the kind that only came around once a year. It was time to celebrate the birth of Salvation, Jesus…the Hope for mankind, Transformer of the heart, and Savior of the soul; it was Christmastime, Eve’s favorite time of year.
Stepping out on the third floor hospital balcony, Eve warmed her hands on her coffee cup, loving the crisp, clean air that filled her lungs. Looking down, she took in the spectacular lights decorating the streets below.
She remembered not so many years ago when she and Julian used to love to drive the streets of Boston, pointing out the scenes that were their favorites. After a few times around, they would playfully argue about their choices. Eve always favored the simpler displays, while Julian, being the Crane that he was, loved all the brilliant, extensive ones.
“How can you want to have that many lights?” Eve argued. “It must cost a fortune to keep up.”
“Alas, you forget, my dear, money is not an issue with a Crane. I could easily afford to pay this city’s hydro for the entire year, much less a few measly lights,” he stated arrogantly.
“Well, I think it is a waste in any case,” she countered.
“Yes, you are probably right, love, but I still enjoy seeing the artist’s handiwork. After all, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without them, don’t you think?” He leaned over and kissed her.
“Mmmm, I think having these moments with you is the best part of Christmas,” she purred against his lips.
“It’s official then: limo, lights, champagne, warm jackets, and incredibly sexy lips…they win, hands down, no doubt about it.” Julian pulled her closer and snuggled deeper into the comfortable seat, leaving no doubt at all in Eve’s mind as to who was the star of the evening.
Shaking her head at the vivid memories, Eve scolded herself for her lack of self control when it came to her thoughts of Julian Crane. ‘Girl, you have got to snap out of it. Thinking about him is only going to cause you more pain. Besides, you are not likely to see him again,’ she assured herself, believing wholeheartedly that her passionate plea that they could never be together actually convinced him to stay away. ‘Well, it has been six months since that totally unexpected, shocking run-in with him. And he hasn’t shown up since, so I guess he took you seriously,’ she mused, feeling more depressed than relieved.
Somehow though, in the back of her mind, she couldn’t help but wonder why he never pursued her after she ran out on him. She knew him all too well to think that he gave up on her that easily. ‘I wonder what you are up to, Julian Crane. You are not acting like I expected. This is not like the Julian that I once knew and loved.’ She suddenly got uneasy. ‘Well, I can only hope and pray that you stay away from us. Our lives depend on it.’ If Alistair Crane were to discover that Julian was pursuing her again, the consequences, Eve feared, would be deadly.
A sudden gust of wind caused Eve to shiver when the door opened, and Joel Ward stepped out to join her. “Eve? Are you all right?” he asked, concern masking his face.
“Y-yes, why do you ask?” She smiled weakly.
“Because you looked… I don’t know, scared maybe. Are you afraid of heights?” he asked.
Grateful for the escape, she stammered, “Yes, that’s it. I leaned out a bit too far, and it left me kind of breathless.”
“Why would you do that?”
“Crazy, I guess. I thought maybe I could conquer my fears.” She laughed nervously.
“Well, you could have fallen,” he stated.
“I know; it was dumb of me. It won’t happen again…promise.” She gave the scouts’ honor sign.
“Good!” He smiled in relief. “Since we are alone, Eve, there is something that I want to discuss with you.”
“OK, I’m all ears.”
“Eve, you are doing really well academically, and your ‘hands-on’ approach with the patients is to be envied. I wish all my students were as caring as you, Eve.”
“Thank you, Joel. It means a lot to hear you say that.” Eve beamed happily.
“Well, we feel that you are extremely talented, and staying here is not the best place for you. You need to go somewhere people can truly benefit from your skills, where you will be the most effective. So…we have decided to transfer you.”
Suddenly, Eve felt like her world came crashing down. “I appreciate your faith in me, Joel, but I have a life here. I wanted to stay in this city and was hoping that you would support me in this when the time came. I just didn’t think it would be so soon.”
“I support you one hundred percent, Eve. I have your best interests at heart. And I promise that you will be better off as a doctor where you are needed most.”
Eve turned and looked out over the city that she had come to know and love. Tears filled her eyes at the thought of having to start all over again. ‘Well, at least I can be sure that I won’t run into Julian here again,’ she realized, a worry that was always on her mind.
“Well, promise me, Joel, that you won’t tell anyone where I am - especially Julian Crane. Promise me, please,” she pleaded.
“I know, dear, that you had a bad run-in with him the last time you met, and I am sorry that I was the cause of your pain. I promise from this day on, I will never speak to him of you again,” he lied, feeling bad for having to do so. But he knew that she loved the guy, and who was he to stand in the way of ‘true love?’ In fact, he was glad to help it along.
“Well then, now that that is settled, where am I going?” Eve asked in relief.
“A small town in New England, a place called Harmony!” He smiled widely, feeling justified that he was doing the right thing for her.
“Harmony, I think I have heard of it somewhere,” she replied thoughtfully, “but I am not sure where. Anyway, when am I leaving?”
“Well, you may as well get packing. You are going right away.”
A few moments later, Eve was alone again. ‘Harmony, where have I heard that name before?’ The thought was nagging in her mind. ‘I just can’t put my finger on it,’ she mused thoughtfully. ‘Well, I’m sure it’s not important.’ Harmony, it had a nice ring to it. ‘I am sure I’ll love it.’ Feeling better, she returned to work.