by Sarah Heard
A Dr Quinn Fan Fiction Story
A slight warm breeze blew through the trees of Colorado Springs as the Cook family stood on the train station platform waiting for the afternoon train to arrive from Denver. Seventeen-year-old Kendra was returning from Nursing school in New York City.
“It’s hard to believe she was gone for a whole year, Andrew,” Colleen mentioned as her husband took her hand.
“Yes, it will be good to see her again.”
Colleen nodded as she watched her younger children play and rubbed her swollen belly as their newest little one who was due soon, kicked.
“Look mama...here it comes!” eight-year-old Michaela exclaimed.
Colleen turned to see the train come around the curve, “Stay back away from the tracks, boys,” she called to five-year-old David and two-year-old Byron as Andrew snatched up the youngest.
Kendra looked out the train window and then back to her companion. She absentmindedly played with a strawberry blonde curl that had escaped her bun.
“What if they don’t approve?” she questioned.
“Why do you worry so, my darling?” the young man beside her said as he squeezed her hand gently.
“I just don’t know how they’ll react to our news...,” Kendra said as she looked out at her family again, "especially papa," she added as passengers started disembarking the train.
“So we won’t tell them yet,” he kissed her, “We should however go greet your family.”
“Kendie!!!” Nine-year-old Rebekah exclaimed as her big sister stepped off the train.
“Oh my, you’ve gotten taller, little sister!” she exclaimed as Rebekah slammed into her for a big hug.
Colleen and Andrew hugged her next as Ryan Hawthorne stepped off the train and stood beside Kendra.
“Ryan?!” Andrew exclaimed.
“Surprise!” Ryan grinned.
“A surprise indeed!” Andrew hugged his friend.
“What brings you to Colorado Springs?” Colleen asked.
“Your daughter told me so many wonderful things about it, I just had to see it for myself,” Ryan said smiling. He took Kendra’s hand and briefly squeezed it, before walking off with Andrew.
“You and Ryan arriving together, what a surprise,” Colleen took her daughters arm and following the children who skipped off after their father.
“Ryan and I have been spending a good deal of time together since I’ve been staying with Great Uncle Cyrus and Aunt Rose when I’m not at school.”
“Are you two getting serious, Kendra?” Colleen asked in a hushed tone.
“Don’t tell papa?” Kendra asked looking at Colleen.
“Ryan and I are getting married.”
Colleen stopped, grabbing Kendra’s arm to stop her, “Kendra, that’s very serious! When are you gonna tell your papa?”
“Soon...” Kendra looked at her father and fiancé walking ahead, “He’s not gonna take it well.”
“Let me talk to him,” Colleen smiled.
“Oh, thank you!”
“They’re what?!” Andrew exclaimed from inside the stable.
Andrew and Colleen had gone out to the stable to brush the horses when Colleen decided to break the news to her husband.
Colleen nodded, “Kendra is afraid you won’t approve,” she said as she brushed a chestnut colored mare.
“Colleen, she’s right, I don’t.”
“She’s just a child.”
“She’s not a child anymore, Andrew, she’s seventeen.”
“Yes, and she’s much too young to be married.”
“She’s not much younger than I was when we were married,” Colleen began, “And only a year older than her own mother was when you two were married.”
“Exactly my point, that’s much too young!”
“They are in love,” Colleen said.
“Yes, but Ryan? He’s my best friend, Colleen...how could he do this to me?!”
“Do what, Andrew?”
Andrew was quiet. He looked at his wife and then turned his attention back to his horse.
“Fall in love with our daughter,” he said finally.
Colleen sighed, “Can you try to be happy for them?”
Andrew nodded, “I will try.”
“Get your things, Ryan, I’ll take you out to the Chateau to get settled in,” Andrew said walking in the door.
“Actually, papa...I was hoping Ryan could stay with Andy in his room,” Kendra said with pleading eyes.
Andrew moved away from the door as Colleen came inside, “No. Ryan will stay at the Chateau,” he said.
Ryan nodded, “It will be fine,” he said squeezing Kendra’s hand. He picked up his suitcase and followed Andrew outside.
“When did you plan to tell me that you intend to marry my daughter?” Andrew asked when they were in the wagon and on the way to the Springs Chateau and Health Resort.
Ryan looked at Andrew in shock, “I...I mean, we didn’t know when we would find the right time,” Ryan said, “You don’t approve?”
“She’s just a child,” Andrew said.
“She’s seventeen, hardly a child.”
“Ten years your minor, Ryan!”
“I love her, Andrew...and she loves me!” Ryan declared as Andrew pulled the wagon up to the Chateau.
Andrew nodded, “Meet us in town tomorrow at the hospital.”
Ryan nodded before climbing down with his suitcase, “Thank you,” he turned to say, but Andrew had already driven off.
Colleen and Kendra walked together from Grace’s Cafe when a wagon came racing down Main Street.
“Watch out!” Colleen exclaimed pulling Kendra to the sidewalk.
The two watched as the wagon pulled up to the hospital in a cloud of dust.
“I need a doctor!” the driver of the wagon yelled as he climbed down from the drivers seat.
Andrew and Michaela came outside as Colleen and Kendra reached the hospital.
“Mr. Jensen?” Michaela asked.
“It’s my boy! He’s awful sick, Dr. Mike!”
“Bring him into the hospital,” Andrew opened the door to the Josef Quinn Memorial Hospital as Mr. Jensen carried his son inside.
Colleen and Kendra followed Andrew and Michaela inside.
“He’s awful sick!” Amos Jensen began, “At first it was just a sore throat, but last night he had an really high fever and today he was itchin’ somethin’ awful.”
Andrew looked up at Amos, “Itching you say?”
“Yeah, especially around his stomach and sides,” the father said, “What’s the matter with him?”
Andrew unbuttoned the top of the five-year-olds shirt, then froze. “Colleen, get out of here immediately!” he said looking up at his wife.
“Scarlet Fever,” he diagnosed as Colleen walked outside, “Excuse me.” He washed his hands and then dismissed himself from the room leaving Michaela to work on the patient.
Colleen felt Andrew come up behind her and put his arms around her, interlocking his hands with hers, “The boy has Scarlet Fever, Colleen.”
“Andrew, there’s no known cases of Scarlet Fever having any ill effects on pregnancy.”
“Yes, Colleen, but you are very close to delivering and if you contracted the illness who’s to say you won’t pass it on to our baby?”
Colleen nodded, “So I guess I could go get Byron from Graces and go home then.”
“Andrew, Mr. Jensen has six other children who attend the school that should be brought to the hospital and examined for any signs of the illness,” Michaela said coming outside.
Andrew looked at his mother-in-law and then nodded.
“I’ll go,” Colleen said to her mother, “Andrew won’t let me back into the hospital right now anyways.”
Colleen walked in as Theresa Slicker stood at the chalkboard teaching World Geography to her thirty students.
“Can I help you, Dr. Cook?”
“Can I speak with you in private?”
Mrs. Slicker nodded her head, “Alright class, time for recess,” she said as she put the chalk on her desk and brushed the chalk dust off her hands.
The students quickly filed outside, but not before each Cook child and some of their friends hugged Colleen first.
“What can I do for you?” Theresa asked after all the children had left.
“Lewis Jensen has Scarlet Fever.”
“I have six of his siblings in my school,” the teacher looked at Colleen with worry on her face.
Colleen nodded, “They need to go to the hospital immediately to be examined.”
“It might be good to close the school until this passes, no?”
“It probably would be a good idea.” Colleen thought of her children who played outside, what would she do if one of them became ill?
Theresa Slicker went to the door, “Children, come inside and gather your things!” she called.
“Are we goin’ somewhere?” Grace and Robert E’s nine-year-old son Lawrence asked.
“School will be dismissed until further notice,” the teacher announced once the students had all come inside, “Please go home right away,” she added.
“Jensen children, I need you to come with me to the hospital,” Colleen said.
The students got their things together and started leaving.
“Oh boy, no school till further notice!!” Jake and Theresa’s six-year-old son Joel exclaimed as he skipped off.
“Go right home, mejo!” Theresa called after her son as Colleen started walking off towards the hospital with six Jensen children in tow. She told her own children to go right home with their brother Andy.
When Colleen got back to the hospital, Ryan had arrived and was waiting outside for her and the children.
“Come inside with me children,” Ryan said, “Andrew told me to tell you to take Byron and go home, Colleen.”
Colleen sighed, then nodded. She walked off toward Grace’s Cafe to retrieve her youngest son.
“What do you mean School is out till further notice?!” Colleen overheard Hank Lawson ask as his daughter Annie walked up to her father.
“Dr. Cook came and said that the Jenson children needed to go with her to the hospital and then Mrs Slicker told us all to go home.”
Hank looked up from his seven-year-old as Colleen walked past, “What’s the school closin’ for, Colleen?”
“You should go talk to Dr Mike or Andrew about it, Hank,” she said as she reached Grace’s Cafe.
“What’s this about school bein’ cancelled?” Grace asked as Colleen walked into the restaurant.
Colleen glanced over at a table to see Byron sitting on Lawrence’s lap giggling at something silly eight-year-old Madya had just done. “There’s been an outbreak of Scarlet Fever,” she whispered in Grace’s ear.
“Scarlet Fever?!” Grace exclaimed, to which Colleen shushed her.
“We don’t need to cause panic! I’m sure Dr Mike will call a town meeting to discuss it with everyone,” Colleen picked up Byron and gave him a tight hug, “You ready to go home little one?”
Byron shook his head and reached for Grace. Both women giggled, as Grace took the toddler and gave him a tight squeeze before handing him back to his mother.
Byron whimpered his protest, his little lip quivering as Colleen left and headed home to their homestead just outside of town.
“Michaela, why is the school closed?!” Hank Lawson yelled as he pounded on the now locked door of the hospital. Towns people began to gather, also wondering why their children were suddenly home from school.
Andrew opened the door and squeezed out of a small crack, “Lower your voice Hank, there’s no need to yell,” Andrew said, then looked up to see the gathering crowd. He sighed, “Great, this is the exact situation I was hoping to avoid!”
“Well? What can you tell us?” Hank questioned, throwing his long hair behind his back.
Andrew nodded, “There’s been an outbreak of Scarlet Fever...”
“Scarlet Fever?!” Hank interrupted.
“Symptoms to watch for in your children include a sore throat, fever, nausea with vomiting, a red or white splotchy tongue and an itchy rash developing on their abdomen, back and sides,” Andrew said before going back into the hospital and locking the door behind him.
“Unbelievable!” Hank stormed off towards the Gold Nugget Hotel.