“He’s going to be OK, Miranda. He’s going to be OK.”
There was silence at the other end of the line, then a sound halfway between a laugh and a sob.
“David-are you sure? Really sure?”
“Yes. They say he can come home in a couple of days.”
Starsky sagged against the wall, closing his eyes. Until he had actually said the words aloud to Miranda Hutchinson, he had not really believed it, and he felt like sobbing himself. But that wouldn’t do- he was a rough, tough police officer and there were people watching.
“Tell me how he is.”
“He’s as weak as a kitten and so tired.. Still coughing and getting muscle cramps and headaches, but he’s better all the time. Maybe the worst thing is his skin- it’s really sensitive and fragile after the fever. It’s so sore and everything feels rough and hurts him. But they say that’ll get better too.”
“Tell him that as soon as they allow travel to LA we’ll be there.”
“He’ll be so pleased to see you. He’s kinda starved of love at the moment.”
“Well, I’m sure you’re giving him plenty. Remember to take care of yourself too.”
“Oh I’m surviving.”
“I saw you on the TV- you looked as if surviving was all you were doing. You need to be thriving.”
“I will-once he’s home.”
“Me too, David. Me too.”
Starsky hung up, and did a few tango steps across the squad room, to the sympathetic amusement of his colleagues.
The next day, there was a special delivery letter with a Minnesota postmark waiting for him on his desk which released a strong herbal scent as he opened it. A bunch of what looked like dried flowers and a letter fell out- and a cheque for an astonishing amount of money. Whistling in shock, he opened the letter.
“Dearest David. I can imagine your face when you see this cheque, but I want you to go to Akron and buy the most expensive, highest thread count Egyptian cotton sheets and pyjamas they have (yes, they will cost that much!) and make up Kenneth’s bed for when he comes home. And put the lavender under the pillow. His grandmother always dried her linens with lavender. It will bring him sweet dreams and soothe his skin. With love, Miranda.”
Ps. Buy some pyjamas for yourself as well. Blue ones. Green for Kenneth if possible.”
Smiling, he folded the cheque into his wallet, and went off to get Hutch some long distance mother-love.