Hillman Homecoming: Whitley (Part II)


This is a continuation from a series I started back in November entitled Hillman: Homecoming 2015.  Read that first then, read this. Enjoy!  

July 11th, 1996
Richmond, Virginia
“So when are you and Dwayne going to move back to the states?” Marion asked as she poured Whitley another glass of lemonade.  They were sitting on the back porch of Whitley’s childhood home – a home that Marion had won in her divorce from her Whitley’s father almost 10 years ago.  The home was befitting of a Southern Princess.  A Victorian-style Tudor nestled in the hills of Richmond, the “Marion Estate” as it came to be known soon after her divorce sat on 15 acres of plush, green farmland.  The immaculate home, designed by Marion herself, boasted 6 bedrooms and 8 and a half baths; more than enough space for her, her two dogs, and the occasional visit from Whitley, Dwayne, and their 2 children.  The porch was enclosed with floor-to-ceiling glass panels that overlooked a beautiful garden in the backyard.  Marion had always admired nature, but loved doing so from indoors. It was one of the first projects she dedicated herself to after the divorce was final.

“I don’t, mama,” Whitley replied as she took a sip from her glass.  “Dwayne is doing really well and it’s all the kids know. It’s home for them.” 
“And what about you my dear?” Marion asked.  Now in her mid-50’s, Marion was still a strikingly beautiful woman – and she knew it.  It was late morning and she was dressed in a soft pink and white fur-lined house coat.  She required little make-up and very little maintenance on her hair. 
“What about me, mama?” Whitley asked. 
 “Oh, darling….” Marion’s voice trailed off.  Whitley’s body language signaled that there was something she wanted to say, but couldn’t quite find the words to say so and Marion knew her only daughter – her only child – very, very well.  “Can you honestly look your mother in the eyes and tell me that Tokyo is where you want to be? Are you honestly happy with where you are?”  Whitley took a sip of her lemonade.  She thought about the question intensely.  She knew she couldn’t get away with hiding something from her mother.  She knew her inside and out and even as Whitley approached 30, her mother still knew.  “Now, now darling,” Marion said, interrupting Whitley’s train of thought, “A mother alwaysknows.”   Whitley put her glass down and stared at her mother. 
“Mama,” Whitley began, looking deeply into her mama’s eyes. 
“Yes, my baby,” her mother said, grabbing her hands. 
“I don’t know how to tell you this, but…” Whitley’s words trailed off.  She dropped her head.
“What? What is it, baby? You can tell me!” Marion’s angst grew. 
“I don’t know how to tell you this, but….”
“But what?” Marion hurried.
“I love Tokyo!” Whitley shouted.
Marion’s amusement was non-existent.  “Oh, child,” she huffed as she took a sip of her lemonade.  “I don’t know where you insist upon graveling in the dramatics but it is truly a habit that you must have inherited from your tender footed father. “
“Really, Mama?” Whitley said sarcastically. “You think I get all of this from daddy?”
“Why, yes!” Marion exclaimed. 
Whitley took another sip of her drink.  “I really do love Tokyo, mama,” she told her.  “The fashion, the food, the art. Dwayne is really making a name for himself and is sliding up the corporate ladder quicker than either one of us expected.”
“How much money is he making, darling?” She asked, peering over the top of her glass at Whitley.
“Oh, Mama that is so ta-“
“Oh girl, please.” Marion interrupted. “Have I taught you nothing? How much is the man making?”
“$138,110 with a housing allowance and sales bonus.” Marion grinned with pride. “That’s my Dwayne! I always knew he would be something!”
Their conversation was interrupted by the screams of Marion’s house servant. 
Whitley became so startled that she spilled her lemonade.  “Roberta!” Marion yelled as she hurried through the dining room and parlor.  Whitley was close behind.  When they met Roberta in the foyer, she was holding Zeecia – just a year old.  The front of her pale blue skirt was stained with blood.  Whitley surveyed the room quickly.  Jeremiah was nowhere in sight.  
 “Where is Jeremiah?” Whitley managed to ask as calmly as she could.  Roberta’s sobs became so uncontrollable that Marion had to take the baby out of her arms.  “Oh Ms. Gilbert! I am so sorry! I am so sorry! I took my eyes off of him for just a minute to change Zeecia’s diaper and when I looked up…” Her voice trailed off and she dropped to her knees in sobs.  
 “For Goodness sake, Roberta!” Marion screamed, “What happened and where is Jeremiah?”
Her voice was now booming through the 20 foot-high ceilings of the foyer. Zeecia began to cry.  Whitley was now shaking.  She knew that something was wrong.  “Mama,” Whitley said calmly. “Take Zee upstairs.”
“Nonsense! Not until I know what -” Whitley waved her away. “Take the baby upstairs, Mama.” Marion, now hysterical herself and with Zeecia in her arms, whisked up the winding staircase and into the baby nursery.
Whitley kneeled down on the floor next to Roberta.  She grabbed her face with both hands and looked her square in the eyes.  “Roberta,” her voice was steady and stern, “What happened? Where is my baby?”
“Mrs. Wayne….” She managed to say between sobs. “He’s….in……the hospital.” That was all Whitley needed to know.  “Give me the keys,” she said putting on her sweater. “Go and get Mama, and stay here with Zeecia.  Do not let her out of your sight.”
“Mrs. Wayne! I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry! I just turned my back for a minute and he wandered into the street….I am so sorry!”  Roberta became hysterical all over again but Whitley was having none of it.
“Roberta!” She screamed. “Now is not the time to lose it.  Go and do exactly as I said, I’ll be in the car. Tell Mama to hurry.” With that, Roberta gathered herself off of the floor and hurried up the stairs.  Whitley went outside and got into the car.  Her hands were shaking so terribly that putting the key in the ignition became an impossible task.  Marion, still dressed in her floor length housecoat, had managed to grab her over-sized Louis Vuitton duffle and wide-rimmed aviators. 
“Whitley! Whitley, baby! You’re in no condition to drive! I’ll drive, baby!” Marion slung open the driver side-door. Whitley, still in shock, calmly stepped out of the car and walked around to the passenger side.  Marion jumped in, cranked up the car and headed to Richmond Memorial Hospital as quickly as she could.
************************************************************************************
“I thought this was America! Why on earth have we been waiting for so long? We have insurance and we have money!” Marion grew irate with the nurse at the ER counter.  “Mam,” the woman – beyond irritated – made no attempt to hide her irritation. “It’s been 20 minutes.  You need to have a seat. The doctor can come out here and talk to you now but then there would be no one to tend to your grandson.”
“Young lady, you should take the minimum wage out of your voice when addressing me!” Marion screamed. “Your tone is above yourpay grade.”
Whitley could hear the commotion but was still paralyzed with fear.  All she could think about was all of the blood on the front of Roberta’s shirt – blood that now stained some parts of her own skirt.  Every terrible scenario that could possibly go through her head, ran through her mind.  Was my baby dead? Did he fall out of a tree? Why was there so much blood? How do I tell Dwayne that his son is dead? What will Mama Wayne think? All of those questions flooded Whitley’s mind.  The thought of calling Dwayne and telling him that his only son is dead sent a sharp pain up Whitley’s chest.  She cried out for her mother who by now, was threatening to tell the Hospital Director’s wife – a good friend and frequent lunch buddy of hers – just how uncooperative the nurse at the front desk was being.  Marion heard the wails of her daughter and quickly ran to be by her side.  “I know, baby!” Marion said, holding Whitley in her arms.  “It’s alright. Everything is going to be alright.” Whitley cried in her mother’s arms until her mascara began to run down her face and stain Marion’s house coat.  Two other women in the waiting room silently bowed their head in prayer for her.  With each passing second, Whitley’s uneasiness grew more and more. 
“Excuse me, Mrs. Dwayne?” Whitley looked up and saw a tall slender brown-skinned man with a baby-face and dark brown eyes.  He was wearing a white lab coat and had a stethoscope around his neck. “Young man, now is not the time to earn your internship hours! Marion screamed. “I demand that go and get the doctor this once!”
“Mam, I am the doctor,” he said calmly showing Marion his ID.  Marion read his name and looked at his face again.  She read his name again. She then looked in his face again.  “Baby,” Marion said calmly as she pulled a napkin out of her purse. “The doctor is here.” 
 Whitley sat up immediately, drying her eyes with her hands. “Is my baby okay? Is he going to be alright? What happened?”
The doctor put one hand on her shoulder.  “Calm down, Ms. Dwayne,” he said very calmly.  “Jeremiah was struck by a car. and his injuries appear to be very serious.” Whitley felt like her heart had been ripped out of her chest.   She began to sob again, burying her head into her mother’s lap.  “Is he going to be okay?” Marion asked as she patted Whitley’s back.  By now, the tears had begun to well up in her eyes. “It was touch and go there for a minute but we are stabilizing him,” the doctor said. “He does have a broken collarbone, dislocated shoulder, and some pretty deep gashes on his legs, arms, and hands that will require stitches. But-“
“But, what do you mean ‘but?” Marion asked.  “Is it worse than that? What is it Doctor?” Marion lifted Whitley’s head slightly.  “I know this is hard baby, but you need to hear this.”  Whitley grabbed the tissue from her mother and wiped her face.  “What is it Doctor?”
“Well,” he began, adjusting the tone of his voice.  “We are still doing some tests but it looks as if Jeremiah may have some internal bleeding.  He has lost a lot of blood and may need a blood transfusion.”
“I’ll do it!” Whitney exclaimed.
“No, baby, you can’t do it,” Marion reminded her. “You’re anemic.”
“She’s correct,’ The doctor chimed in.  “Is the father available?”
“What about you, mama?” Whitley asked.
“No, baby. Who do you think you inherited anemia from?”
“The father?” The doctor reiterated, “Is he available?” 
Whitley froze.  “The father is out of the country” Marion answered. 
“No, he isn’t,” Whitley whispered. 
“What?” Marion asked puzzled.  You mean to tell me that Dwayne is here in the states?”
Whitley looked at her mother. Marion searched Whitley’s face for answers but there were none. “Doctor, is there a phone I can use somewhere private to call his father?”
“Yes, there is,” he answered. Follow me.”  Whitley exited the emergency room and walked down a long corridor.  Her mind went through scenario after scenario of how she’d explain this to Dwayne when she got the chance.  The doctor led her into a small room with a desk and a table phone. 
“May I have a little privacy please?”
“Certainly,” he said exiting. “But time is of the essence.  If he there is internal bleeding and he does need a blood transfusion, we need to do it as soon as possible.”
“I understand,” Whitley answered. 
The doctor closed the door behind him, leaving Whitley in the room alone.  Her hand trembled as she reached into her purse to search for her address book.  With each page she turned, her heart beat faster and faster.  She located the number and stared at it for a moment.  Time is of the essence is all she could hear in her head.
She dialed the number.
“Hello?” She asked, her voice trembling, “May I speak to Byron?”

3 Comments

  1. This too was well written. I love how you captured Whitney and her mothers television interaction. I could honestly hear Whitney and her mother interacting with each other. However, these two post are not continuity of each other. Nor are they set on the timeline of the show sequence of events of episodes. It was highly inconceivable that Whitney could have been pregnant by Bryon unless she was still seeing & sleeping him on the side after the EPIC disgrace she showed him at their wedding. I'm a Different World Fan and this is does not compute lol.

  2. Donald,

    There are the first two parts of a series of posts. These two specifically don't fall in sequence but you have to pay attention to the dates and times. Yes, I am aware of the show's sequence of events; you'll just have to wait and see how this all goes along! Thank you for reading though!

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