“I’m glad you called me, Josephine,” said Dr. Rocco Bianchi, “Ya know, I don’t make house calls for just anyone.”
Josephine Falcone lay in her bed wearily, much as she had been doing for the past few days. The wrinkles that lined her face seemed more twisted and tense, though not because of some scheme or vendetta. For the first time in a long time, Josephine Falcone was battling her age.
“I know, Rock, I know…I only called you because I don’t have anyone else, you understand? I need you to check me out, just tell me I’ve got a cold or something, then throw me a few pills, okay?” said Josephine sharply.
The elderly doctor pulled up a chair alongside the old woman and placed his bag on his lap. “Have you given any more thought to the conversation we had the other day?”
“Don’t even start with me! I’m feeling under the weather, that’s all,” said Josephine.
“Tell me how you’ve felt the past few days,” said Dr. Bianchi efficiently.
Josephine, with a grunt, replied, “I don’t know, all I know is I don’t have enough energy to even get out of bed other than to use the bathroom. I’ve been getting the chills and sweats on and off for a while now…I feel dizzy now and then…not to mention I have absolutely no appetite!”
“Unusual, in this house, I’m sure,” said Dr Bianchi. Leaning in, he placed his hands at Josephine’s neck. “Does that hurt?”
Josephine shot back impatiently, “No, why?”
“It’s just your neck looks a little swollen.” The doctor paused and furrowed his brow. “Josephine, I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but after running those tests last week and seeing you like this now, I’m certain. Josephine, it’s as suspected. It’s lymphoma.”
Josephine stiffly reclined in her bed, scowling. “You can leave Rock, thank you.”
Steven Bains awoke from a nap to a loud pounding on his apartment door. Running to answer it, he had no sooner turned the doorknob and in flew Louise Falcone.
“How could you? How could you!” shouted Louise, violently pushing her brother with every word, You son of bitch! You’re supposed to be dead! We buried you God damn it!” She began to break down into tears as Steven tried to subdue her. “Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me!”
Stumbling over to the couch, Louise was overcome by a fit of sobbing. Steven began to console her. “Louise, Louise, I’m sorry, I’m sorry! Please, stop crying, please! Louise get a hold of yourself! Stop!”
Louise managed to compose herself just enough to speak. “Get a hold of myself, Steven? Are you serious? Do you know, that for the past two years, mom has picked up that picture of you on the piano and talked to you every day? Do you? Or, did you know that for the first three months after you ran off a friggin’ cliff, Annette and I went to your grave every day? And where the hell have you been! You abandoned us!”
Abandoned. The word stung Steven Bains. “Abandoned? You think I abandoned you? For God’s sake Louise the only reason I went off that cliff in the first place was to protect all of you! You know that father-in-law of yours? Blame him. Blame that family you married yourself into!”
“I wish someone would just tell me what the hell they mean when they talk about God damned family! I know what you told Michael about the Falcones, but how the hell does that affect us?”
“Because I’m in a position to put this all behind us,” said Steven coolly.
Louise stared at her brother in utter confusion. The meeting had taken an unexpected turn.