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Chapter 119: "I'm nothing like him."

"How are you feeling?" Jeannie asked as she walked into Shivaughn's room.  Shivaughn was sprawled on top of the comforter, face down.

Shivaughn groaned.  "Like I'm never moving ever again."

"Andy said he warned you," Jeannie leaned against the wall and crossed her arms.  It was hard not to laugh.

Shivuaghn sneered.  "I'll thank him for that later.  Or maybe in a week or two when I can actually walk again."  She raised her head slightly.  "Did your mom get back?"

Jeannie nodded.  "The surgery's tomorrow.  You can stay here if you want.  I'm sure Andy can leave the surfboard out."  She ducked as one of the throw pillows on the bed came sailing in her direction.  With a laugh, Jeannie said, "So you can move a little."

Slowly, Shivaughn rolled over and, with a pained grimace, pulled herself to a seated position.  "No, it's okay.  I'll go with you -- assuming I can walk."

Jeannie could tell what Shivaughn was not saying -- that she knew Andrew would be at the hospital too.  For a second, Jeannie debated saying anything, but then she walked over and sat down on the edge of the bed.  "I know you probably don't want to hear this--"

"This is about your brother, isn't it?" Shivaughn said.  "I heard your warning the day I got here."

"Look. . . ."  Jeannie tried to figure out how to explain what she was thinking.  "I love Andy dearly, but I've seen him with woman and . . . well, he doesn't exactly have the best track record."

Shivaughn laughed.  "So he's a 'player.'  I've met a few of those in my time and, trust me, I can handle them."  Jeannie felt her face flush.  "I appreciate your concern, Jeannie, but I'm a big girl and Andrew's a big boy.  It's not like I'm looking to fall in love."

Jeannie thought back to Uncle Bo's comments that morning.  "Trust me, Shivaughn, that's the last thing I'm expecting."  She stood up.  "Just don't blame me if things go wrong.  I've been through that before."

"I swear."  Shivaughn continued to laugh.  "If anything happens, it won't be your fault.  I've been duly warned.  Does that qualify as 'assumption of the risk'?" 

"Spare me the legal jokes," Jeannie said.  "We've got exams in just a few weeks and I haven't even cracked open a book since I got home."

"You, I don't worry about."  Shivaughn sank back into the bed.  "You'll get all honors on your exams without even breaking a sweat."  She turned to Jeannie.  "Can I ask you a question?"

Something in the way she asked made Jeannie nervous, but she nodded anyway.  "Okay."

"Your dad . . . I know you have a lot of issues with him, but . . . ."  Shivaughn seemed to be struggling for words.  "I mean, your mom seems pretty easy-going.  Considering what she's going through, I'd think she would be a lot more angry and upset.  But she doesn't seem to let things bother her.  Andrew seems a lot the same way.  Sorry, that's probably not the right way to say it.  It's just you seem so much more serious about things like school, getting the best grades and getting the best job.  And I was wondering if your dad was like that." 

That was not anything close to what Jeannie was expecting Shivaughn to ask.  Jeannie stood up from the bed and ran a hand over her mouth as she thought.  "I . . . I'm not really sure.  I mean, I know my dad was smart.  He graduated from Cambridge with honors, but I never really thought about whether I was more like my mom or dad."  Jeannie looked into a mirror on the other side of the room.  In appearance, she was much more like Kim; Andrew looked like pictures of her father when he was younger.  But Jeannie had to admit that there were ways she was similar to Shane.  "He always had a lot of expectations," Jeannie said.  "More for Andrew than me, though."

"Why's that?"  Shivaugn seemed to take particular interest in that.

"The 'Donovan legacy,'" Jeannie explained.  "It's kind of hard to understand, but my dad's family dates back centuries.  And ever since they came to England from Ireland, the men were soldiers or spies.  My grandfather was in counter-intelligence during World War II and the Cold War, and his father was a World War I flying ace for the Royal Flying Corps.  And you could just go back from there.  Look at just about any major British conflict and there was a Donovan in a significant role."

"I wondered. . . ."  Shivaughn said, almost too quietly for Jeannie to hear.

"About what?"

"Well. . . . " Shivaughn hesitated.  "Maybe it's different in England, but everyone I knew who joined the military did it to get money for college or because they had no other real options -- except working at the local Wal-Mart.  I wondered why your brother would've fought in the war since he obviously had other options."

Jeannie nodded.  "Yeah, he kind of bought into his responsibilities 'as a Donovan.'  They don't seem to be as big a deal for the girls."  Jeanie paused as she thought about that.  Could that be part of her issues with her father?  Could that be why she cared about getting ahead?  That she was trying to prove herself.  No, the only person she needed to prove anything to was herself.  But a little voice in the back of her head questioned that thought. 

Still, Jeannie did not put her personal ambition above her family.  Wasn't she proving that right now?  She could have stayed at school to get ready for exams, but she was at home where she was needed -- with family.  She could never see her father doing that.

Jeannie turned back to Shivaughn, who was watching her closely. 

"You asked if I was like my dad," Jeannie said.  "No.  I'm nothing like him."