Family Business Part 22

Family Business Part 22: Rose is stuck in NZ while the family gathers at Intensive Care.  
To: Rosa
From: Laura
Date: Tues 25 March
Subject: Dad!
Dear Rosie
I wish I had good news for you, but there’s not change, and dad’s consultant says it could be days or even weeks before he regains consciousness. 
What I can tell you is more of the circumstances in which he was found.  It was all rather confused yesterday, and Lorenzo’s still in a dreadful state.  Apparently, he did exactly the right thing in calling the emergency services and not trying to move the boxes. He of course, thinks he should have got dad out from under them, but realistically, it takes a forklift to move one of those cartons of stackable aluminium patio chairs and it was a job for properly trained firemen who had all the right lifting equipment.  He could have done more harm than good. 
Things would have been far, far worse if he hadn’t be at the warehouse by chance – and god knows what dad was doing there late on a Sunday night.  Mum was utterly flabbergasted – she thought dad was in the snug watching the rugby highlights.  What on earth was he doing sneaking off to the warehouse, after all the trouble he’s caused recently?
What I can’t get my head round is how such a fluke accident happened at all.  Those cartons are really heavy – there are 8 cast aluminium chairs in each one – the superior range, so each one weighs a ton.  They were stacked three high but really stable.  How could one have wobbled off the top just like that?  It doesn’t add up.  Lorenzo couldn’t possibly have disturbed the boxes when he got there – dad had clearly been lying there for a while, so what else would cause a huge heavy cardboard carton to simply move through the air and down onto unsuspecting dad?
Seems as if the police don’t like this either – the officer in charge of accident investigation has turned it into a crime scene.  The warehouse is in lockdown.  The guys can’t get into work, so we’ve sent them home.  Thank god this isn’t peak season and we haven’t got Mr Angry from Bromley screaming for delivery of his metal garden furniture! 
I’m just grateful that Lorenzo’s so uptight that he needed to check his paperwork at 10pm on a Sunday evening.  The warehouse guys wouldn’t have found him till 8.00am and there’s a very good chance that he wouldn’t have survived the night. 
I wish you were here, sis xxx
To: Laura
From: Rosa
Date: 26 March
Subject: Coming back
Oh Laura
I wish I was there too.  I feel so cut off and helpless and the time difference to NZ really doesn’t help.  I did manage to Skype the consultant and he’s explained that they’re keeping dad in a medically induced coma because of the breathing difficulties he was having and that there’s no point in coming back at present.  He’s promised to keep me informed and to let me know when and if I need to fly back early.  
He’s rather a good egg, isn’t he?  I understand he’s bought metal garden furniture from mum and dad for years, so he’s definitely onside. 
God dad’s in a bad way – three broken ribs and bleeding from his lung, as well as a smashed pelvis.   I can’t see how he’s ever going to recover.  Whatever he was up to in the warehouse, sneaking out after lights out, he surely didn’t deserve that!
Can’t say it’s much fun here – I’d much rather be there with you all, but Nick’s being difficult about it, and I do understand that intellectually, I can’t be much help at the moment. Just another body getting in the way at the hospital.  Perhaps, it will be helpful if I step in when everyone’s exhausted by it all in a week’s time.   How’s poor old mum?  And Petra?  Has anyone told her?  I suppose it’s the decent thing to do, though no one wants her swooping down on the hospital bed.
X Rose
To: Rosa
From: Laura
Date: 28 March
Subject: ER – Berko-style
Hey lovie
You wanted to know how everyone is, and about Petra.  Carla went round with Herb to see her.  The ghastly trout was right in her element, having all the details straight from Lorenzo.  Fortunately, Herb is not actually a total flake.  Remember Daisy hearing him and Petra arguing and him telling her to stop playing around?  Obviously, he’s always known about her and dad and that was about him telling her to stop mucking around with Massimo.  He can see that it would be disastrous for all concerned to have her at the hospital.  Awful if the tabloids got hold of the story and a nightmare for the rest of us. 
It actually looks as if we’ve got away with keeping the scandal in the family, but dad’s accident has got the local paper sniffing around again so we need to be discreet.  Anyhow, Herb’s suggested that Petra leave Hollybush Cottage and go to stay with some friends of his in London.  That way, she’s out of the picture, but near enough to be kept informed. 
This really has shaken everyone up – Ant says the talk in the Buck & Fart is all wild speculation – especially now the police are treating it as possible foul play. 
Lorenzo & Carla have gone into competitive relative mode and barely leave the hospital – or mum’s side.  Poor mum, she’s got enough to deal with without those two!  Mum is staying there, but Frank and Pearl did manage to take her off for lunch somewhere.  Bless her, Pearl came back to the farm with me to pack some bits up for ma, and her idea of what’s appropriate or necessary for a hospital vigil isn’t quite mine!  I couldn’t lift the bag she’d packed, so had to remove 3 bottles of gin (different ones, for different moods apparently), 200 ciggies (tho mum hasn’t smoked for at least twenty years as far as I know), an ice cream tub full of assorted tranquilizers (I’m sure she’d be better having something from the hospital, if she needs it, rather than the licorice allsorts that Pearl’s picked up in Goa over the years), a large bottle of Opium and half the beauty counter of Fenwick’s – approximately 1.5kg of Elizabeth Arden.  She’s also chucked in a slinky wrap dress in bright leopard print that was one of hers since she didn’t think mum had anything suitable for all those dishy doctors!
Xxx Laura
To: Laura
From: Rosa
Date: Sun 29 March
Subject: Return flight
Hey Laura
You can always make me laugh!  Thank goodness.  I’ve decided I’m going to get a flight next weekend, leaving Nick and the boys here for the last week alone.  There’s nothing worse than being literally on the other side of the world when I just want to connect with everyone.  Actually talking to Massimo convinced me.  I think dad’s accident has made Massimo realize he’s well and truly over Petra, so some good’s come out of this.  I guess it was his pride that took a blow more than his heart.  
It’s taken this to make him realize how much he loves the old devil and I suppose that goes for me too.  I’ve been nursing my anger about Petra and how he treated mum for long enough.  It’s time to come back.   
And I have now spoken to the police too.  That Detective Inspector Carly Wood that you mentioned.  I agree; she doesn’t come across like my image of a detective at all.  At least she seems nice and I get the feeling she gets results.  Doesn’t seem any doubt in her mind  – this was attempted murder.  Feels so odd to write that.  We all know dad’s annoyed plenty of people to say nothing of how he’s treated his nearest and dearest, but would anyone seriously want to bump him off?
Counting the days,
Family Business Part 22

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