Sam walks out of Jax’s room and heads out down the hall. She sees Rolf reading a magazine in the waiting room. She goes over to him. I didn’t know you wore glasses. How are you doing, Sam? He asks, as he takes off them off and puts them away. Fine. Rolf, what are you doing out here? I can read here. The nurse will come get me when he wakes up. Sam nods. How did the meeting go? Sam sits down next to him. Mike and Toni dropped the ball. What happened? Jax’s parents showed up. I meant with Mike and Toni. Sam gives him a look. Toni had a deranged coworker threaten her at the office, and she couldn’t get free. Mike went to be with her. Rolf nods. Good call. Sam chuckles and grins at Rolf. You’re such a cool guy, she exclaims. Rolf closes his eyes and chuckles to himself. So what happened with Lana and Jax? He did all the talking. I was proud of him, Rolf. He took complete ownership; he didn’t try to hide behind whatever they put in his drink. Rolf nods. He said that he was sorry for letting her down, and thanked her for coming to see him, and then turned up the volume on his CNBC. And she turned around to leave and walked straight into his mother, who slapped her. And his dad blocked the door and told Lana to sit down and start talking. Simon stood up for her, but his mom told him to shut up. What did Jon do? He just muted the TV. I felt so bad for Lana, sitting there with her head down. Bettina, of course, had her arm around her, shielding her from Jax’s mother. Jax’s mom told Lana that he had an engagement ring in his pocket the night of. Did you know that? Rolf shakes his head no. Anyway, I see Lana grip Bettina’s wrist really hard. I didn’t tell Jax or the guys this, but I’ll tell you. I saw Lana give Bettina a really quick wink, and then she lets go of Bettina’s wrist, and starts speaking in this low deep voice about fighting out in the jungles of Vietnam at night. “The chinaman don’t care” is how she started and ended her tale. Then she just got up, her head still down and walked right out the door. Bettina ran out after her a moment later. And then Simon whispered “she’s possessed”, and looked over at Jon. “What do you know about exorcisms”? Sam breaks out laughing and Rolf joins her. Rolf, the expressions on their faces were the funniest thing I have ever seen. She grins widely. I stopped over at their apartment afterwards and we talked.
Rolf doesn’t say anything to this, and she gives him a quizzical look. Aren’t you curious what we talked about? None of my business, or you’d have told me. Sam shrugs. True enough. I’m glad I caught you, Rolf. Now you can be the one to tell Jax - or not; your call. I’m glad you’re here, Sam. Rolf tells her as he grips her hand. Me too. Living at Jax’s has been the best time of my life. She winces. Now it’s all crumbling like a sand castle when the tide comes in. They sit in silence for awhile, still holding hands.
Has Lana told you about the choice I have to make? Rolf shakes his head no. Sam snorts. It figures. I get to pick one of two brothers for a husband. Rolf doesn’t respond to this. What do you think I should do? I didn’t know that Kostamo was Jon’s brother, Rolf deadpans. Sam giggles and Rolf grins at her. Seriously, Rolf. Jon and I are just friends. I know. Has he said anything to you? Rolf grins. She puts him in a wrist lock. Start talking. Samantha! Jax’s mother says sternly. Leave him alone. Samantha drops Rolf’s hand and pouts. Saved by the bell, Rolf says, and gets up and goes to give Jax’s mother a hug. How are you doing, Judith? He’s really upset with me, and won’t speak to us. Tell me what happened. Sam here only wants to talk about boys. You… Samantha, go home, she tells her. Tomorrow is another day. Sam storms off.
She likes you. Jax’s mother tells Rolf when she’s gone. What’s not to like? Jax’s mother bursts out laughing. Rolf, you’re so good at deflecting. She turns serious. Why are you keeping Lana on as your doorman? Let’s talk, Rolf tells her. And gestures for her to take Sam’s seat, and takes her hand and clasps it in his own. Jax needs closure with her. Rolf, she’s possessed. I don’t want her anywhere near him. She’s not possessed, but she wants you all to think that she is. Lana is as smart as a whip, Judith. Rolf, you weren’t there. Sam was, he replies. She just told me that she saw Lana wink at Bettina before she told her war story. Jax’s mother doesn’t say anything for a long time. Why did she hurt him so, Rolf? The other night at my place, she and Bettina came over. I ambushed her. I had called the others and we were all waiting for her. What did she say? Rolf shakes his head no. I’m not comfortable telling you. I think you can respect why. Get it from Mike and Toni. Did you hear about what happened? Jax’s mother nods. We’re not mad at him. Good.
Why are you sitting out here? So I can read to pass the time. The nurse will get me when he wakes up. Thank you, Rolf. What are you going to tell Jax? I’m going to try to get him out of town. Jax’s mother nods. He doesn’t want us here. I’ll talk to him. She pats his hand. Thank you, Rolf. I’ll let you get back to your magazine. What are you reading? National Review. He hands it to her. She looks at the cover. Are you a conservative? She asks in a shocked voice. Libertarian. She shakes her head, chuckling as she gets up. You never cease to surprise me. Good night, she tells him. Good night, Judith.
An hour later, the duty nurse stops by. He’s watching TV, she tells him. See if you can get him to eat. Rolf nods.
Rolf knocks on the door, and then pokes his head in. Jax mutes the remote. Get me out of here, bro. I can walk just fine. He tells Rolf as he takes a seat. You hear about what happened? Yeah, the carry trade is looking pretty good right now. Rolf replies. Jax chuckles and then winces with pain. I cannot laugh, Rolf, without it hurting. Then you’re probably not ready to get out of here. Rolf says. How did it go with Lana? The guys didn’t tell you? I’m asking you.
I got her to give me her Mona Lisa smile, and then I gave her a brush off so she’d come back and see me. Then my parents came in and cornered her, and she scared all of us. I got chill bumps when she started talking in that voice. I think it was the Dinosaur speaking through her somehow. Rolf breaks out laughing. C’mon Jax, think it through. Jax gives him a quizzical look. What precipitated the event? My mother told her about the engagement ring, and my dad ordered her to talk to me. Rolf nods. So you think she was faking? Rolf grins widely at Jax. Jax closes his eyes and groans. I should have known.
What should I do, Rolf? I’m not a life coach, brother. You guys still partners? Rolf nods. She still your doorman? Rolf nods again. Jax looks at the TV screen. Can I stay at your place? Rolf sighs and leans forward and rests his chin on his hands. Are you ready to have this conversation? Let me take a leak first. Jax says and gets out of bed. You want anything to eat or drink? Some cottage cheese. Mixed with just a little bit of applesauce. Cinnamon? Yeah. I’m on it.
Rolf comes back ten minutes later and finds Jax back in bed. Nurse is taking care of it. Whole Foods. Good call, Jax nods in approval. Alright, talk.
I’m on Lana’s side, not yours. It’s like that? Jax asks. Rolf nods. There’s a long silence as Jax digests this. I respect you for saying that, Jax admits. There’s another long silence. What should I do, Rolf? There’s no quick fix, brother. Jax looks at the TV screen. Give me something to live for. Rolf steeples his hands.
I talked to Sam out in the waiting room. She told me that you handled it perfectly with Lana at your meetup earlier. Jax looks at Rolf. She would have come back to see me if my parents hadn’t screwed everything up. Rolf nods. It was a good play. What should I do now, Rolf?
You both need time apart to heal. Come back when you’ve grown a beard. There’s a precedent in the Scriptures. It might be enough of a change for a fresh start with her.
Where is the precedent? Search it out.
Where should I go? Portland is nice this time of year. Get some hiking in. Being outdoors will help. Jax nods. Get me out of here tonight.
Get some sleep and deal with your parents first. They both watch Cramer’s antics on the TV screen. It’d be better if you ask Simon; I need to take care of Lana. Thanks, bro. Are we good? Rolf asks him. Yeah, Jax says with a nod. Rolf nods back at him and grins, and then gets up and leaves without saying goodbye.