“Our Hero” is a story about Tommy, but not totally in the way you might think. It’s true; he’s in terrible trouble, but through his tragedy, I tried to show his life in a way that goes beyond the series. Beyond the Tommy you know.
He is one of those characters that I have multiple stories about. I know what he’s done every step of his life because he tells me. The more I write his story, the more his history becomes clear.
He is the reluctant hero, and I adore that.
It’s the strong silent types who sometimes doubt their worth that are the most fun for me to write. It’s fitting that he married the rock star, because it’s so far from anything he would have ever anticipated for himself.
From their pasts, one might think Jack is more suited to Brittany and Stephanie to Tommy, but that’s why this series is so fun.
One never knows what life has to offer.
One story that had an unexpected bonus, was bringing Desi into the fold. I knew, when I decided to introduce her to David, that she would have secrets.
Her health was the biggest, and I also knew that Tommy had been her doctor all along.
It was a minor connection, but it had major reach into the series.
Tommy was the doctor, but he was also David’s uncle.
Tommy had a wife who was attacked and because of that, he had special insight into what Desi was dealing with; and what her friends and family would struggle with.
Desi and Tommy were a new bond in the series, and I love it. She isn’t a child, but in some ways, having cancer at such a young age caused her to lose some of her innocence.
Tommy helped to give it a tiny bit back.
The following is a scene from “Our Hero” and it is a flashback to when they first met.
Desi sat in the conference room with her mom while they waited to meet the oncologist. She had been to a bunch of doctors, but finally got an appointment here with the best.
“Sweetie? This is Dr. Williams,” Ian said as he walked into the conference room with Tommy.
Desi sat with Cassie and they were coloring. Desi looked up and then looked back down. Her six-year-old fears trying to come out in tears.
“Hi Desi, I’m Dr. Tommy,” he said as he walked over and sat down next to her. “What are you drawing?”
“Why did you lie?” Desi asked.
“Desi,” Cassie said, surprised.
Tommy smiled at her.
“It’s okay. When did I lie? We just met.”
Desi looked up through her long blonde hair and twirled a piece with her finger. He had a really nice face, but he was still the enemy.
“My dad said your name was Dr. Williams. You introduced yourself as Dr. Tommy. My dad isn’t a liar, so you must be. I was taught to never ever lie.”
“That’s true,” Tommy said. “My name is Thomas Brent Williams. My friends and family call me Tommy. Adults call me Dr. Williams.”
“Am I your friend?” Desi asked.
“Well, we just met, but I hope so. You seem like a pretty cool person. Besides, I need some help with something,” he said as took out a small box.
Desi leaned her cheek on her hand.
“My daughter is a few years younger than you and I promised her I would be able to help her with this jigsaw puzzle. I’m a little stuck and I heard you’re pretty good at them.”
“You did? I totally am. I do puzzles all the time,” Desi said with excitement. “Let me see what you have.”
Tommy put the small puzzle on the table and showed Desi.
“This is pretty easy,” Desi said. “You just have the wrong piece here. If you move it over here, everything works out okay.”
Tommy smiled and nodded.
“Thanks. I don’t know why I couldn’t figure that one out.”
“Sometimes people need help.”
“You know what? That’s kind of like what I do.”
Ian held Cassie’s hand as they watched their daughter come alive while talking to Tommy.
“How? You’re a doctor, right? Aren’t you just going to give me bad medicine and make me feel yucky?”
“Nope. I have to look at the pieces first.”
Desi watched him.
“What do you mean?”
“Each patient I have is like a puzzle. I have to look at the pieces and find the right way to put them together so they can work. Sometimes it takes me a little while to figure it out, but I always do.”
She looked at him and her big blue eyes filled with tears.
“What if you can’t?”
“Then I find a way to figure it out. Just like right now. You helped me figure out the right piece of the puzzle. There is always an answer, and I will never give up until I find it. Now I know you’ve had many days where you feel yucky, but I hope to help you so that doesn’t happen anymore. Sometimes I might pick up the wrong piece of the puzzle, but I’ll always keep looking until I find the right piece.”
He took out a small trinket and handed it to her.
“I’ll tell you what, why don’t you hold onto this piece for me.”
She took the piece and looked at it.
“It’s not a real puzzle piece. It’s too small.”
“It’s a different kind of piece,” he said. “It’s a reminder piece for you to look at. Sometimes, the days you have to spend here will get a little scary. You might need a break from the nurses or doctors and sometimes, you might want me to leave you alone. All you need to do is pull out your special puzzle piece. It’s like a code for all of my friends. We will listen to you, Desi. You are the most important piece of this puzzle and I work for you, okay?”
“You’re going to put me back together? Like Humpty Dumpty?” she asked.
“Nope. You’re not broken and you don’t need to be put back together. You just have a few pieces that moved a little and we need to straighten them out. That’s all. It’s actually pretty simple.”
“Okay. I can handle that,” she said.
“I know you can. Now I need you to pick out a room for the night while we figure out the kind of puzzle you are. I have a helper who can walk through the hall with you and help sniff out the best room.”
“I don’t need a helper. I don’t like to talk to people,” Desi said.
“He won’t mind,” he said and called Enid. She came in a minute later and Desi grinned as Tramp trotted in.
“This is Tramp. He really likes doing rounds with me, but if you take him to your room, he’ll do anything for a belly rub.”
Ian and Cassie laughed as Tramp rolled over for a belly rub.
“You’re right. I think we should be friends,” she said and Tommy stood up.
“I agree. Come on, let’s go room shopping.”
“With you? I though the nurses did that,” Desi said and took his hand.
“Nah, I like to make sure my friends are comfy here. It’s important to me.”
Desi beamed and they walked out, Tramp trotting ahead of them.
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