The morning after he had been brought to the hospital, Noah awakened and looked at Sharlee still sitting at his bedside. She yawned as she smiled at him. He knew better than to suggest that she go home and get some sleep.
“Babe, you’re tired. Why don’t you stretch out on the couch and get some sleep. Shouldn’t there be some bedding in the cabinet?”
“Technically, you’re not allowed visitors until tomorrow, but Daddy is bringing Skylar to see you. He spoke with your doctor, and Dr. Foster okay-ed it. He’s also bringing a suitcase with some of our things that Kaye packed for us. The nurse did offer to get some bedding for me, but I knew I couldn’t sleep last night. Now I see for sure that you’re better, I’ll get some sleep later. Daddy sent me a text a few minutes ago saying that he’s on his way. How are you feeling?”
“The painkillers must be great. I’m not hurting as much when I move. What did the doctor say?”
“You have a concussion, three broken ribs, a badly sprained wrist and a sprained ankle. Do you remember what happened?”
Noah told her what he could remember. As he was speaking, the phone in his room rang.
Then Professor Tran must have given the phone to someone with her because she heard Noah say the name Tim and have a brief conversation with him. Afterwards, he explained the conversations to Sharlee.
“Babe, when you become pregnant, I don’t want you to feel that you have to renew your contract with Harley. I don’t want you to have to worry about our finances or your appearance again during your pregnancy. One of the things that I saw right away after getting to know your family is how much you, your Mom and your siblings respect and are proud of your Dad. I want you and our children to be proud of me too.”
“I know, but…,” he paused before continuing, “Your Dad has made great contributions to the pediatric surgery field by training new surgeons and developing different surgical techniques. I wanted to make a contribution too. I mean I know it’s not on the same level as what your Dad has done, but it’s something that I feel is important.”
Sharlee was looking at him blankly.
“You probably don’t remember, but when I was a teen, I had an idea for a new motorcycle engine that is more fuel efficient and has less harmful environmental emissions.”
“Oh, yes I do remember!”
“Well, I’ve started working on that idea again. Not long ago, I ran into one of my instructors, Rosalie Tran, in town and met her boyfriend who is now her fiance. They just got engaged during their trip to the Keys. He is a mechanical engineer. When we decided to get pregnant again, I wanted to try hard to develop my engine. So I mentioned it to Rosalie and she gave me her boyfriend’s number.
“He’s been helping me work on the specs and plans for the engine. He thinks my engine is really good! I didn’t want to tell you about it until I knew that my idea was really going to work. I wanted it to be a surprise. The night of my accident, I was on my way to Rosalie’s house to see Tim. We were going to try out some new pistons. I had already spoken with our business lawyer. If the pistons worked, then I could apply for a patent on my engine schematics. After that, I planned to present the engine idea to a manufacturer. I planned to offer it to Harley first. That night was my last chance before they left on their trip. I guess it was silly to hide it from you, but I wasn’t sure if it would work out. Babe, I’m sorry that I put you through all that I have.”
Sharlee kissed him lovingly. She would never doubt him again!
“Yeah, I thought that we could get away for a weekend. Just one “sleep” as Sky would say. I wanted to make up for neglecting you and put in some real quality time trying to get pregnant. Actually, Darion and I had planned the trip for the four of us, before he and Rene…” Noah’s words trailed off.
“Oh, he called and so did Rene. She and the children are back in Santa Fe. They are going to come and see you when visitors are allowed.”
“Are they back together?”
“No, Rene and the children are back in their house. Darion is staying somewhere else.”
“I’ll be back in a little while to take Skylar home.”
“Glad you’re doing okay, Noah.”
Dale left the room to give them some time alone.
“Remember that Daddy has some “owies,” and so you have to be careful not to hurt him.”
“Are you sure?”
“I not gonna hurt Daddy.” Skylar sounded offended.
Noah and Sharlee laughed.
Dale came back after an hour and took her home. After being reassured that her Dad and Mom would Facetalk with her later and that her Mom would come home to have dinner with her, Skylar left without complaining.
Alissa looked at Joy and Aidan. They were playing a video game together and deeply into it. One of the FBI agents that was protecting them, sat in another part of the room reading. Alissa knew that Aidan and Joy were tired of being cooped up inside this small house. She was home schooling them temporarily, but they missed going to their regular school.
Alissa accepted that all of the sacrifice was to keep them safe, but it wasn’t easy to make a child understand that. They missed the rest of their family and friends. She missed Dale, her other children, little Skylar and the rest of her family too. She’d hated that she couldn’t be there with Sharlee when Noah went missing, but it was a relief that he had been found.
Alex assured her that he was working hard to catch the man who threatened Joy, and Alissa believed that he was. She couldn’t stand the worry for much longer though. It was hard to hide it from Joy and Aidan and try to achieve some normalcy for them. Aidan interrupted her line of thought.
Although Alex and the other members of his Behavioral Analysis Unit believed that the “perp” wanted to be caught, they realized that he wasn’t going to make it too easy for them. Vera spoke with Alex.
Alex sighed. “Yeah, I know.”
“Do you and your ex-wife have a good relationship?”
After more thought, Alex decided that it would be best not to tell Alissa. He’d take all of the responsibility for the consequences himself. It was time to draw the “perp” out from hiding before he fixated on a different victim.
This was a short chapter, but the next one is long! 🙂