The reception was held at Sardis, in honor of their first dinner together. The next two hours were taken up with dinner and a renewal of old acquaintances. It seemed like everyone was there-Mia, Claire, Sandra, and Natasha; Ray, Curtis, and Coop, and several from other teams.
Lindsay had a long, fun visit with Colleen and Jenny, and another with Mia and Claire, then looked around and saw Connor on the other side of the room, chatting with Ray Donahue and L.Q. Cooper.
"May I join you, Lindsay?"
She smiled up at Anton. "Of course! As a matter of fact, I’ve been wanting to talk to you!"
"Oh? About what?"
She looked around at the activity. "Could you come over to Peter’s apartment tomorrow? We’re staying there until Monday morning. I was hoping you could guide us through some hypnosis techniques for when I’m in labor. Drugs aren’t ideal, and I want to avoid them if I can."
"Yes, I think I can figure out something; teach Connor some ways of helping you."
She smiled at him. "Thank you, Anton."
He smiled back. "I’ll see you tomorrow."
He left and she leaned back in her chair, briefly closing her eyes. Suddenly she was startled by the hairs rising on her arms, and she became aware of a presence nearby.
Opening her eyes, she saw a tall, thin, pale-faced man in front of her.
"Mrs. Doyle?" The voice was quiet, deep, genteel.
Lindsay frowned in puzzlement. "Yes. Do I know you?"
"Not directly, no."
Lindsay remained silent, waiting for him to take the lead. As she did, she tried to figure out what was different about her surroundings.
"I am–an associate–of your husband’s."
She smiled. "Oh! You know my Connor?"
"In great detail."
"An odd phrase," she thought.
The man’s voice continued. "You must no longer worry about his remembering his time away. All traces of it were removed with his cure."
Lindsay’s eyes snapped wide, her breathing a little ragged. "What do you know about that?"
"It was I who cured him."
Lindsay thought back to that night a few months ago, when the nurse had said she had seen a tall man by Connor’s bedside.
"What is this? What do you want?" Panic edged her voice.
The man’s smile was thin. "Merely to reassure you. I know that you fear his memory returning. But rest easy. He is safe. The One who has hurt him will not hurt him again."
The next moment she was aware of what was puzzling her–it was the lack of surrounding noise. In the next instant, the man was gone and the noise was back.
Connor had come to stand beside her.
"Lindsay?" he repeated, and she turned her eyes toward him–dark, unrecognizing eyes, and he felt an icy chill shoot through him. "Lindsay!" he hissed frantically, and dropped to the chair beside her.
He saw her blink and her eyes clear. "Why, darling, there you are. What’s the matter? You look scared half out of your wits!"
"Honey, are you all right?"
"Why, yes, darling. What’s wrong?" Her eyebrows knit in worry.
"N-nothing. It’s just that–when I came up, you were–preoccupied."
"I was? Funny. I don’t remember. I just closed my eyes for a moment, then–" she shrugged. "Then you were here."
Bewildered, Connor throttled his fear and smiled. "I heard that song" – they were playing Anne Murray’s "Can I have this Dance?"– "and came over to ask my wife to dance with me. I’ve scarcely had a moment with you all day, and you look so beautiful."
"And so do you." She raised her hand to him, smiling. "As long as we take it very, very easy, darling. I’m terribly tired." She went into his arms, and they held each other, eyes closed, swaying gently to the music, matching looks of bliss on their faces.
Across the room, Peter and Megan were having a pleasant conversation with his father. Laughing, Peter glanced at the dance floor and saw Lindsay and Connor. Turning to Megan, he said, sotto voce: "Ladies and gentlemen, the Doyles have left the planet." Holding out his hand, he added: "Shall we join them, my dear?"
Megan laughed, and they rose. Peter turned to his father. "Excuse us, dad," he smiled.
Raymond Axon nodded, smiling in return.
It was another half-hour before Megan threw her bouquet (Mia caught it) and summoned Lindsay to help her change.
"Where are you going?" Lindsay asked. "I forgot to ask you."
"Somewhere I’ve always wanted to go–the British Isles."
"Oh, how lovely! It’s wonderful over there."
"Raymond will be traveling with us as far as Newfoundland. He’s such a darling, Lindsay."
Lindsay smiled. "There. I think you’re ready." They hugged each other. "Be happy, Megan. May you both be happy." She was silent a moment. "I was just remembering a line from a movie: ‘Hold his heart gently in your hands.’"
This threatened to undo both of them, and they swallowed their tears in laughter.
§§§Peter's Wedding Pt. 5