Fire in the Furnace©

Free Online Short Love Story

Written by American Author Sky Taylor

“Been waitin’ two hours and eight minutes,” Jedadiah complained, working his mouth like a den of worms in soft soil Lisa decided as she delivered another grimace to her fussbudget of a grandfather.

“The doctor had an emergency,” she eased out, trying her best to remain calm.

She had enough on her shoulders right now and an another argument with him wasn’t going to help matters. They had fought enough today to last them a lifetime.

Why was he so difficult? Seventy-two was old, but it wasn’t that old. If fifty was the new forty, then certainly seventy was the new sixty, right?

Even so, at his tender age a temperature of one-hundred and two required attention from a doctor - even if the doctor was new in town.

Lisa flinched as Jedadiah complained again, his thoughts paralleling with her own but taking a side-street as he told her, “Why did Doc Marvin have to retire? Just don’t trust these newbies when it comes to health issues. Child, I’d be better at home in bed. This waiting is pure-d miserable!”

“Tut, tut - calm yourself,” Lisa advised, rearranging the wool blanket she had draped around his knees, her grandfather too wrapped-up in his scattered thoughts to issue further complaints in that area. Yes, he loved her, but he didn’t like anyone fussing over him.

In a soft voice she tried to reason with him, “Grandfather, Doctor Marvin was well into his nineties. Recall your last visit with him - when you got that bad bruise when the fence collapsed - the bruise that was as big as a horse apple.”

“Yeah, it was at that.”

Lisa nodded, then continued, “And when you showed Doctor Marvin the bruise, he asked ‘what bruise?’. Thank goodness you didn’t require stitching. He may have enclosed something….important.”

Jedadiah waved his arm and told her in a cranky voice, “Ah, I don’t want to hear it. You just don’t understand. And all this waitin’ is for the birds. I’m leavin’!” he suddenly announced, tossing the wool blanket into the empty chair beside him and then walking to the door, although it was more of a fast scoot than a walk. Too many falls for the old cowboy had taken their toll over the last few years.

“Grandfather, no!” she protested, her voice a shouting whisper as she didn’t want to draw attention from the receptionist.

She was mortified as he continued towards the door that exited the doctor’s office, Lisa managing to grab his pants, her grandfather refusing to change his mind about leaving.

The further he scooted along, Lisa’s hold loosened and she was slowly sinking, then drug across the floor as Jedadiah plunged forward.

“Please, stop this,” she hissed, realizing she had underestimated the strength of a broken-down cowboy with a one-hundred and two fever.

He stopped dead in his tracks as a deep voice from behind them drawled, “When you’re finished playing wheel barrel, I’ll see you in my office.”

As Lisa instantly released her hold on Jedadiah, he twisted around, his dark eyes connecting with a young man dressed in a white top and black slacks. Doctor Luke no doubt, he silently mocked.

His gaze suddenly moved to Lisa who was struggling to get up from the floor and he reached down and jerked her up rather unceremoniously, challenging, “Why in the devil are you down there?”

She sputtered, her thoughts scrambled as she tried to recover, hugely embarrassed by the scene, particularly in front of the new doctor. To add wood to the already-roaring fire, he was quite handsome. Dark hair, dark eyes, muscular build.  

As Lisa continued her frantic search for her tongue, her grandfather waved his arm at her and said, “Just forget it.” Then, “Let’s go home.”

Her eyes widened and at this point, she just wanted to find a large rock to hide under.

“Look, I apologize for the lengthy wait,” Dr. Luke attempted, studying her grandfather at length, elbow bent - thumb beneath the chiseled chin and an index finger on his set of full lips.

“Don’t think so, son,” Jedadiah told him. “Come on, Lisa-”

“Get your rusty ass into the exam room asap,” Dr. Luke instructed, Lisa straightening in the process, actually thrilled that the good doctor was taking a firm stance.

Jedadiah’s head went back as if someone had physically slapped him, his mop of white hair frayed about his head.

“Well, that’s more like it, son,” he told him, Lisa delivering a satisfied smile as he started making tracks through the door leading into the examination rooms, Lisa and Dr. Luke following him.

“Any room will suffice,” Dr. Luke told him, a vanilla-colored file in his hands, quite worn from age; Lisa assuming it was her grandfather’s medical records.

He nodded towards the chair to the side of the table where her grandfather was planted and as Lisa settled, Dr. Luke began examining the difficult patient.

“One-hundred and two fever; sounds fun,” he told Jedadiah. Then, “On a scale of one to ten with ten being the worst, how do you feel?”

“How do you think I feel? I’m seventy-two years old, son! I always feel like hell, fever or not,” Jedadiah snapped.

Dr. Luke shared a glance with Lisa and she flinched as he delivered a wink. She managed a wan smile, not used to being winked at, even innocently winked at.  

Her grandfather was still gabbing and complaining, then suddenly gagged as Dr. Luke took a throat swab, which made her giggle to herself.

“Well, how bad is it?“ he then asked, Dr. Luke busy writing.



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