Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Chapter Seventy

Monday Morning

Jerry Benson smiled. He realized it was the first time he’d really smiled in days. Harold and Fanny were sound asleep, spooned together on the narrow hospital bed. He thought about letting them sleep, but he couldn’t wait to share the news.

“Harold. Fanny. Wake up you two lovebirds. Time to rise and shine.”

Harold opened his eyes. When he saw the broad smile on Jerry’s he knew he had good news for them. “They caught him didn’t they?”

Jerry’s smile got broader. “Yep. They arrested him early this morning at the Senator’s house in Great Falls. They stopped him just as he was about to stab Bonnie Jaffe. Mosby Ellis is a hero. How’s Fanny doing?”

“Hi, Jerry. Fanny is doing just great. Starving, but great. And she is ready to go home.”

“Tell me, Harold. Has your wife always referred to her in the third person or is this a new symptom?” It felt so good to be cracking jokes and laughing after the stress of the past few days. “Why don’t you two brush your teeth, pee and comb your hair. I’ll go get us some breakfast. Bagels for you and me, Fanny. Kale and walnuts for your husband.”

Harold looked genuinely disappointed. “This is a celebration, Jerry. I think that calls for a brief hiatus of Dr. Burger’s diet. Bring me a western omelet with tabasco and an order of hash browns.”

“Harold, what about your adrenals?”

“I’ll leave you two alone to work that out. I’ll be right back.”

After Jerry left them alone Harold and Fanny were quiet for a moment. In the past few days had been a nightmare and they both knew the effect of that nightmare would be with them for some time to come. But, for now, the only thing that mattered to either of them was they were safe and they were together.

“We should call, Peter.”

Harold was ahead of her. He’d already picked up his cell phone. “You know this is against the rules, don’t you?”

Pete must have picked up the phone because Harold smiled and gave Fanny the thumbs up sign.

“Everything is fine, Pete. Your Mom just wanted to talk to you.” Harold handed the phone to Fanny.

“Good morning, Peter. Jerry Benson woke us up with some wonderful news. They have arrested Carl Stone. It’s over, Peter.”

Harold saw that tears were streaming down his wife’s cheeks. She wiped them away with the corner of the sheet.
”No, we don’t know much yet. I’m sure Detective Jacoby will be by soon to fill us in. All we know is they arrested him at the Senator’s house early this morning. Apparently Bonnie Jaffe, the Senator’s wife, was in the house at the time and was in some danger.” Fanny could tell that Harold was anxious to talk to Peter. “No. She was unharmed. Peter, your father wants to talk to you. I love you, son.” She handed the phone back to Harold who listened to Pete while Fanny got out of bed and went into the bathroom.

“Your mother is fine. The doctor hasn’t been by this morning, but from what I can tell she is perfectly normal. Her memory seems to be back and she doesn’t seem to be confused or anxious.”

Fanny’s voice came from the bathroom. “I can hear you. No talking about me.”

Harold laughed. “Like I said, we haven’t seen the doctor yet but I can’t imagine that he wouldn’t release her today. I’ll call you as soon as we know for sure. Love you, Pete. Goodbye.”

When Fanny came out of the bathroom her hair was combed and she had put on a touch of lipstick. “I want to look my best for the doctor. Did Peter have anything else to say?”

“Just that he was going on his way to class – trying to get back to normal – and that he’ll be home this weekend.” He knew that would make Fanny happy.

“I’m so glad. Maybe we should plan to go down to Mill Creek. I love this time of year. It’s quiet and the trees are so pretty.”

“Whatever you want, honey.”

Harold wanted so nothing more than to take his wife home and forget that any of this had ever happened. He was ready to resume their wonderful, ordinary, run of the mill lives. To watch all the shows that had piled up on their DVR, romp with Arlo, agonize over Redskin games with their friends, and snuggle on weekend mornings. He remembered with a pang of guilt how he had referred to Fanny as an “ordinary house wife” a few days ago. He leaned over and kissed his wife. “You’re extraordinary, honey.”

“What brought that on?”

“I’ve missed you. How are you feeling, honey? Your memory?”

“It’s back. I remember everything. And I feel fine. Why don’t you go find a nurse and see if she can track down my doctor and find out when I can get out of here?”

“Great. Now if Jerry would just come back with breakfast. I think I’m going to have real coffee this morning.” He looked over at Fanny who had suddenly grown serious. “Is something wrong, honey?”

“I was just thinking about Abby. I need to call her. Harold, I can’t think of a good reason to tell her what Richard did. As far as she knows her husband was drinking and had an awful accident. If I tell her he abducted me, she’ll feel responsible. I know how her mind works. What do you think, honey?”

Harold didn’t answer right away. He walked over to the window and looked out. The sun was just coming up over the trees on Michigan Avenue. “The only ones that know what really happened are you and I. I think the doctor suspects something, but he doesn’t know for sure. If you think it’s the right thing, we can keep that part of the story between the two of us. I guess everyone else can just think your memory about that day never came back completely. If you’re sure that’s what you want.”

“It’s what I want.”



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