The Cup Bearer

by DJ

Chapter 75

Manuel watched Shana's hopeful expression change to one of despair and disappointment as she realised the enormity of the situation. She looked down at her hands while she collected herself, and he hoped she knew he was letting her down in the gentlest way possible. He waited until she raised her head again to look at him with tear filled eyes before he spoke again. "Percival Rosscroft wants Gypsy transferred to the London Rosscroft where they have a team that specialise in brain injuries. Edward has been in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service and the police. So far they see no reason to refuse our request as it will be to their benefit; the sooner he recovers the sooner they can proceed with the trial. Percy Rosscroft Senior has offered George his old residency back. It was there, at the London Rosscroft, that George learned his profession. His father, Bill Sherbourne, was an officer in the United States Army, based in England. He married an English girl and applied for British citizenship. Percival was a good friend of Bill's, and sponsored the application then took George on at the Rosscroft as soon as he completed his studies. Naturally George wanted to see something of his father's home country. He liked what he saw, and Percival used his influence to help him set up his own practice in the States. It wasn't a coincidence that Gypsy came to be living in Trentham. George and Edward arranged it all with Percival once the Graftons had found the Gomez family; which is how Gypsy came to be a patient here in the first place. Fortunately, Percival is willing to co-operate fully with the police and provide a secure unit where the police can put a guard on him if necessary.

"Gypsy needs expert therapy and George is prepared to return to the UK for at least a year to supervise the treatment himself, so I'm taking up Percival's offer; we've had one experience of delegating to someone else and I don't want to make the same mistake again. Edward is sorry Gypsy didn't make his reasons for disliking for Bryn Adams clearer. Some of his problems might have been avoided, but Edward was not to know what Adams would be up to."

"Such a long way away," Shana said almost to herself as she tried to understand what Manuel was saying.

"The therapy will be pretty intense, and there wouldn't be much point in moving the family down there yet." Shana's face filled with a look of pain and Manuel caught her hand in his. "I know you love him, Shana, and only want the best for him, but I asked him if he knew who you were, and he said he didn't."

"So why did he call me by my name?"

"We don't know, he might have heard one of the nurses, or even me, calling you by your name. Once we have him responding to the therapy, we will use photographs and things like that to reintroduce him to his past life, just one person or event at a time. This is what George and Tony did when he was rescued from the sex club; it worked then so there's no reason why it shouldn't work now although, this time, the problem is of a more serious nature. What we have to prepare him for is the fact that he killed Guido and will have to face the consequences. Everything has to be done slowly, taking a step at a time, and at a pace set by Gypsy himself."

Shana's tears fell as she nodded her head, seeming to accept the inevitable. She reached into her bag to pull out a tissue. She blew her nose and dabbed he tears away. "Will you keep in touch and let me know what's happening?"

"Of course." Manuel felt a sense of relief sweep through him. At least she had guessed what he was hinting at without him having to say it. "I'll write to you often and keep you fully informed with a progress report, and as soon as it's okay for you to visit I'll send for you."

"What about the family?"

"That's all taken care of." Manuel smiled as he thought of the plans that had been quickly made. "Barry and Perquita have decided to get married as soon as possible and I am applying to adopt the other children with Perquita and Barry as their carers. As the job of minding Gypsy is no longer a necessity, I have asked Barry to run the garage instead. That way he'll still have an income and can watch over the family for me. I'll sell the Visick Street house as soon as the police release it, but Barry says he has enough capital from the sale of his own house in Cardiff to buy one for him and Perquita where they'll look after the children till I can provide a home for them. Perquita understands that Gypsy is my first priority. Edward is going to help me find a house near the London Rosscroft. George and I are already planning a program of therapy, which will include reintroducing Gypsy to all the activities he's been wrapped up in for the last four years – dance, music, singing, and martial arts, even his skating. We might have to take everything from stage one, including speech therapy as a priority, so the house will have to pretty big to accommodate all his needs."

"That's going to be expensive."

"Yes, I know, but it's the only way. I am standing security for the police bail Edward and Thomas have applied for, which means the police and not the court decide how Gypsy is to be supervised. We have the support of Inspector Rudkin in our favour. That is why I have to buy a house large enough, not only for the family and staff but to create a secure unit the police will approve of once he is out of hospital."

"But where will you find the money for this? Houses are twice the price near London than they are up here."

"So Edward tells me. Don't worry, I'll find the money even if I have to go back on tour again. At least I have my musical talents to fall back on, and I can teach guitar, and music theory. There is also a sizeable portion of Tony's estate to fall back on as a reserve, and the trust can be released as this crisis comes within its rules."

" And Lucia? "

" Ah, Yes. Lucia! George thinks Grey Rabbit is the key to opening Gypsy's mind and that canny little lady is not going to be easily parted from him or the toy, which means I will have to take her with me. Perquita has already agreed. Lucia's old enough to start nursery school this year and I'll see she is well placed, unless I have her home schooled for the time being."

Shana looked directly into Manuel's, searching for the truth, and he knew he could not deceive her when she asked, "Will he recover completely?"

"George and Percival don't give any guarantees; it will take some time to monitor the full extent of the brain damage. It is as if he has had a stroke, and parts of him don't work properly anymore. It may take only weeks, it may take years, so if you do meet someone else, then no one will think the worst if you grasp the chance of happiness. You have to think about your own future."

Shana's chin came up, signalling her resolve not to break down. She swallowed back her tears and rose to her feet. Looking down at Manuel she said, "I'll never find anyone else, Manuel. When are you moving Gypsy?"

Manuel stood up and took hold of her hands again, and said, "As soon as possible; tomorrow perhaps. Thomas should hear something from the court this afternoon."

"May I see him before I go home?" Shana didn't wait for an answer, adding quickly, "I'd rather not be here when you and Gypsy leave. I don't think I could bear that. It's a busy time for Jo and Ed. They have the van to strip down and repair; the equipment to overhaul and the Health Authorities inspection to get ready for. They don't give you a date, they just land on you and we have to be ready. So much to do before the new season starts; that's the catering trade for you; always something to do." She walked to the door with a determined step. "Then there's the house to spring clean and redecorate. It all takes time, and money, so I'll have to look for work. In any case I'm not one for sitting twiddling my thumbs. I like to keep busy, you know?"

"Will you let me help?" Manuel stood and pulled out his chequebook and a pen.

Shana shook her head. "No thanks, we'll be okay. We've managed before; we'll manage again."

"This isn't charity, Shana." Manuel wrote a cheque for three thousand pounds and handed it to her. "This is my own way of thanking you for giving my son a few months happiness he might not otherwise have had. If you need more money for anything, don't hesitate to let me know, all right?"

Shana nodded and accepted the cheque. "Thank you, Manuel. I'll get in touch if I need anything."

Manuel watched her walk out of the room, knowing she would never ask for help from him, and he felt he had let her down. He walked out of the clinic and wandered about the grounds to give Shana time to be with Gypsy, and wondered how she would cope without him now that their plans for breaking into the entertainment world had been shattered.

Thursday 20th February. 1996

Dear Shana.

Here I am, writing to you as promised. I am happy to say that there is a marked improvement in Gypsy's condition. He is out of bed now, and able to walk a few metres supported by myself and another person, but most of the time he sits in his wheel chair or lies on a padded play mat with Lucia. He seems reluctant to give up Grey Rabbit so they share him. He is very much like a little child and seems happier when Lucia is with him, and they have afternoon naps together on his bed. Apart from George and I, he seems frightened of being in male company, which is not surprising. This was discovered when a senior nurse from the children's department was passing by Gypsy's room and Gypsy was showing hostility towards a male nurse. Sister Pat Johnson is everyone's favourite grandma and would have been matron by now if Percival could have persuaded her to take the post. Pat went into the room and immediately took charge of the situation. She soon had Gypsy calm and responsive and it was Pat who suggested that an all-female team be organised. I should have thought about that myself as exactly the same happened when those thugs attacked him last year, and he was nursed by an all-female staff. Percival has agreed to this and has persuaded Pat to head the team herself. So far the idea is working. Gypsy is trying to talk more, even if the sounds are stammered and incoherent. Lucia just thinks it is pretend talk and chats back to him in a similar manner; she says it is Grey Rabbit's language and only she and Gypsy and Grey Rabbit understand it.

I would not say all his days are good ones, indeed there are bad days when something spooks him and even I cannot reach him, or when the headaches he suffers from get too bad for him to cope with. Percival says there is no medical reason for these headaches and suspects they are brought on by his frustration at not being able to remember things. When these occur, he curls up in a corner of his bedroom and refuses to speak to anyone. At other times he throws tantrums and hits out at people and throws things. Finally, his eating habits are returning, thanks again to Lucia who insists that he share her food at meal times. He isn't interested in eating full meals yet so we have encouraged Lucia to feed him. She puts on her nurses outfit for this and she pretends Gypsy is her very own patient. Barry is bringing the family down to visit Gypsy next week. Who knows whether this will be good for him or not?

Well, that's all for now. Shana. I will write to you again soon.

God Bless

Manuel.

Tuesday 27 th February 1996

Manuel paced his hotel room, a bank statement in his hands. His funds, carefully managed over the years, were being slowly eroded by lack of employment; he had to stop the rot sometime soon. Not that he begrudged the time he spent with Gypsy. He would stay with him for as long as his son needed him, and was more than grateful for Percy's refusal to accept any payment towards Gypsy's treatment. But the problem of financing a home for Gypsy needed to be addressed. He had looked at several properties between Kingsbury and London; all had been far beyond his means or too small for his plans. He dropped the statement on the bedside table and brought his hands to his face, trying to think of a way out of his problem. A sharp rap on the bedroom door brought him out of his reverie and, not wanting to be disturbed at this moment, he frowned with annoyance as he opened the door. His frown cleared as he stared up at the large man. "Mr. Trumble!"

"In the flesh, sir; I'm told you are looking for a piece of property in this area. I thought I might be able to help. May I come in?"

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