Phoenix

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Blurring the Lines

The whispers and soft crying of those who love Cassandra took over the cold, stark and sterile waiting room. After being carried by the male nursing staff, Genevieve was sat in a love seat. Moira came close to her in the empty section of the seat. Cassandra’s three closest friends sat surrounding the other side. Every set was full of aunts, uncles and cousins from both sides of her family. Members of the dance team sat on the floor at the feet of their coach. Each of them had worn the team shirt in support. Everyone that had been out looking for Cassandra came straight to the emergency room when they had heard that someone had found her and things weren’t looking good.

Across the room Jared stood against the wall that was next to the entry doors waiting for their father and stretching his legs. It had been such a long twenty-four hours. Every time the electronic doors behind him opened, he looked over his shoulder only to see more people that weren’t his dad. This time when the doors opened he didn’t turn around. He stayed focused on his mother and grandmother, ensuring their safety and that they weren’t getting overwhelmed without him being over there to run interference when necessary. That was, until a large hand rested on his shoulder and the deeply rich, authoritarian voice that he hadn’t relived he needed to hear came from the same direction. He didn’t realize that he needed to hear it until he, “Jare, how’s your sister,” the sonorously base voice of his father flashed him back to childhood.

Was everything going to be ok, now.

Derrick Quincy was a tall man, but he only had about an inch over his sons height now. Making it easier to hug him than when Jared was little and needed to be picked up for a hug. Derrick engulfed his son in a powerful hug,”Dad, what are we going to do?” Out of a clear moment of uncertainty in how to answer his father’s question.

“Son, I don’t know much about what to do here, but I’ll tell you what we most certainly are not going to do. We are not going to fall apart, right now. Your mother and sister need our strength, not our tears. Now, where is your mother?” Jared pulled back from his father, and felt a much smaller set of hands on his back.

“I’m right here, Derrick.” The idea of his parents hugging after being divorced for so long was strange, almost overwhelmingly so. Seeing it first hand was border line awkward.

His inquiring mind getting the best of him, Derrick squeezed his ex-wife, “what happened, Genie?” He stood a foot taller than Genevieve. His brood shoulders convey the impression of great strength, especially compared to the small frame of the mother of his oldest children.

“We don’t know yet. When I went in to see her, she flat lined. We are waiting to hear more,” Genevieve was holding her tears back better now that so many people were around. With the flow of incoming loved ones Genevieve couldn’t help but to feel supported enough to push through. She looked around at all the people who loved her family so much, “Oh, sweet Cassie, if only you knew how many people were here for you,” she whispered to herself. Looking over the faces of all the people, she noticed three young men had came in and swiftly made their way over to the friends that had been consoling. She knew two of them, one of which made her blood boil.

“Jared, Derrick, Cassie’s ex is here. Right over there, talking to Iris, Celeste and Grace.” She nodded to the far corner of the room. His back was to them, but the girls looked uncomfortable. Genevieve would recognize him anywhere, even without seeing his face. His dark blonde hair and slender build was all she really got to see when he would stay out by his car when he would drop Cassandra off.

“I’ll go talk to him Mom. What’s his name, Jace?” Genevieve nodded agreeably. Before Jared could go pay the disrespectful ex-boyfriend of his little sister a visit, a professional, calm female voice called out. “Ms. Patrickson?” The voice rang out from an older woman of about fifty years old. Her eyes were swollen from stress and lack of sleep. They peered over a stylish set of black, cat eye framed glasses. Her black hair had been textured beautifully with salt and pepper accents. Her face was a sweet oval shape with gorgeously cinnamon shaded complexion. Her expression was bleak.

Genevieve and Derrick approached the woman, weary of her white coat and clipboard. Jared walked over to stand with Moira, who rose from her seat. Everyone else turned their full attention to her, as well. “Yes, I’m Ms. Patrickson,” Genevieve started as she came to a stop in front of the woman who called her name.

“Hello, my name is Eliza Fitzgerald. I am the Cardiologist. I’m on duty in the E.R. today. I have been over seeing the progress for your daughter.”

“Thank you so much for taking care of her. Dr. Fitzgerald, this is Cassandra’s father, Derrick Quincy.”

“It’s lovely to meet you both. Since this is such a highly sensitive situation and there are so many people here, would you both follow me, please?”

“Yes, of course.” Genevieve took it upon herself to answer for both of them.

The doctor led the parents through the emergency room doors and down the hallway. Genevieve’s eyes were still hyper sensitive to the fluorescent lights. There were more patients this time. She didn’t remember seeing anyone come in for medical care. Instinctively, she looked down the hallway she took that brought her to her daughter. The lights to that room were off and there was caution tape on the door. “Doctor what’s going? Why is there caution tape on the door of my daughter’s room,” Genevieve was frantic now.

“Please, come into the office area,” Dr. Fitzgerald held the door open and turned the lights on. “There are two chairs just inside, that you are welcome to.”

Always the lady, Genevieve crossed her legs and clasped her hands over her right knee. Realizing that she was still in clothing from the door before, she began to fuss with her hair and wiping under her eyes. Taking notice of her nervous behavior, Derrick reached over and patted her shoulder. “You look beautiful, as usual, Genie.” Normally a comment like that from her ex-husband would make her feel very uncomfortable. In this moment she understood what he was doing. He always could read her nerves. With a faint and thankful smile, she turned her attention to the doctor who was watching them without speaking. “So, Dr. Fitzgerald, how is our daughter doing,” Genevieve asked nervously.

“Well, interestingly enough, she was starting to pull through about an hour ago.”

“Wait, was...starting to...what do you mean by that? Is she getting worse?” Genevieve’s irritated throat began to get scratchier with the added stress.

“Ms. Patrickson, your daughter is no longer in my care. About twenty minutes ago I went to check on her and do vitals, but she wasn’t there. The IV was removed and laying on the bed, along with her identification bracelet. I’m very sorry. No one remembers seeing her leave.”

“So, what, our seventeen year old was kidnapped, again, while being trusted in your care. No, let me guess, she got up and ripped her IV out, and instead of coming to see all the people who love her, just walked out?” Derrick’s sad voice was always far scarier than most other people.

“Mr. Quincy, I’m afraid we simply don’t know what has happened. All we know is that the property that came in with her disappeared with her as well. Specifically, the phone that Detective Granger was asking for.

“Unbelievable. What kind of hospital is this? Genie you call your lawyer, I’ll call mine. We will figure all this out through them. Good bye, doctor.”

Derrick and Genevieve stood and walked out to their loved ones. As they walked into the waiting room, they saw four people being escorted out by Dean and a few other officers, and Nadia walked over to them. “Ms. Patrickson, hello. I’m sorry to be seeing you under these circumstances again. Hello, sir, I’m Detective Nadia Granger. I assume that you are Cassandra’s father.” Nadia offered her hand to Derrick.

“Yes, I am Derrick Quincy.” He shook her her hand and looked around. He hadn’t noticed all the people there when he came in earlier. “Genie, is that Cassie’s friend and that boy she dated?” Derrick gestured toward the door.

“Yes, sir, they are being taken in for questioning. I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to come with me, Mr. Quincy. We need to ask you some questions, as well.”

“Anything that I can do to help find our little girl, let’s go.” Derrick walked away from Genevieve and followed Nadia outside.


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