Elaine Gardner looked at her mother with an air of excited uncertainty. She had thought that she and Teddy would not be married in sixth months from now, let alone two weeks. However, there was no reason to delay. She had waited long enough.
“Well, Mom, I didn’t think it would happen so quick…”
“Oh honey that’s the best kind of wedding! A whirlwind romance! Imagine the stories you can tell my grandchildren!”
Elaine shot her mother a hard look, “Now Mom, let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet. Teddy and I haven’t even gone on our honeymoon!”
“Oh yes, yes, you’re right, “said Laura. “I’m sorry dear. So, what do you say? Shall I tell Betty we’re going to have a wedding?” Her face was bright with excitement. Laura Gardner loved weddings–anyone’s wedding.
Elaine put a big smile on, “Well, yes! Yes!” She stood up and hugged her mother, jumping up and down, “I’m getting married! I’m getting married!” Such emotion was not typical of Elaine. Her excitement was usually over the White Sox, not white dresses.
Without hesitation, Laura flew to the phone, “Hello? Betty? Laura Gardner. We’ll take it! My daughter’s getting married!” She hung up without bothering to say goodbye. She was so easily distracted; it was endearing.
Elaine paused with shock. “Oh Mom! What have I done? I didn’t even ask Teddy!”
“Oh dear, I–I’m not feeling very well. Would–would you excuse me, Josephine? I’d like to–” Louise Falcone fell to the floor, hitting her head on the table that held the poisoned pastries.
Josephine smiled at her daughter-in-law. Her body was convulsing. A pool of blood began to appear beneath her head.
“Michael! Michael! Come in here!” shouted Josephine Falcone as she bent over Louise. This was not what she had expected. The poison was only meant to make her mildly uncomfortable for a while. The blood was more than a mild discomfort. Josephine had the gall to pat herself on the back before her son entered the room.
“Ma! What’s wrong? Oh my God!” shouted Michael.
“Michael, call an ambulance! She tripped and hit her head on the table! Go quickly!”
Louise was still breathing. Josephine was unsure of how she felt about that.
“The ambulance is on the way. Oh my God, my God!” shouted Michael, returning, leaning in to prop up Louise’s head.
“Don’t! You shouldn’t touch her. Let the medics take care of her,” said Josephine with veiled happiness. “We should give her some room to breathe.” The last word rolled off Louise’s tongue in an odd way. Michael shot his mother a look, which she dismissed with acute forgery of grief.
Take care of her they did. She was rushed to the hospital and placed in Urgent Care, while the Falcones waited outside, wringing their hands with grief. Josephine, too, acted the part of distraught mother-in-law.
“Mr. Falcone?” said Doctor Baker, with a kindly, efficient look, “Your wife has fallen into a coma. It appears, for the moment, to be because of her fall. We’ll have to run some more tests to be sure, but the good news is, that for the time being, she’s relatively stable.”
Michael Falcone breathed a sigh of relief. His mother put a begrudgingly comforting arm around him.
“Well that certainly is wonderful news, doctor,” said Josephine with a convincingly sincere tone. “When may we see her?”