Emma was troubled by the raised voices in the hallway. She and Christopher sat in a recliner that was in her room at the Peterson clinic. They had arrived an hour ago and been given a tour of the facility and grounds. It was very beautiful and richly appointed. Her room was more like a five star hotel room suite.
Even though she was not happy to be there, it was a pretty nice prison cell. Christopher sat on her lap. His fingers curled a lock of her hair around. He was made uncomfortable by the loud voices just outside the door. Chris and Cash were now out in the hallway arguing with someone.
“No!” Chris said loudly coming into her room. His hands were curled into fists and his shoulders were back. He looked like a fighter coming into the ring.
“Mr. Carrington I cannot violate federal law to accommodate your personal needs,” said the administrator of the clinic walking in after Chris.
“Yes you can!” Chris shouted turning to face the reed thin man. “You just refuse to. Then I refuse to leave her here.” He turned to face Emma and his son. “Let’s go!” he barked at them. “You’re not staying here another minute.”
Emma quickly got to her feet, holding Christopher in her arms as he buried his face in her neck. He had never seen his father so angry. She could feel him trembling.
“Now let’s all take a breath,” the doctor that wanted to admit her to the clinic said calmly, holding out his hands. “Mr. Carrington you know that Ms. Carrington needs to be in this clinic in order to live.”
Chris put an arm around Emma. He faced the doctor still angry but not shouting anymore. “I’m not leaving her here unprotected,” he said his voice low and menacing. “You can treat her at our home.”
“That’s not possible Mr. Carrington. It would be best for her to be here in order to take part in the groups and classes.”
“Your security is inadequate,” Cash finally spoke up coming into the room. “We will need to put a guard on her room.”
“I cannot allow that,” the administrator snapped. “My patients expect a certain level of privacy when they come here to the Peterson clinic. Not to mention it is ensured by federal HIPPA guidelines.”
“Come on Emma,” Chris said a hand on her lower back leading her out of the room.
“Wait Chris,” she said softly but firmly. She stopped moving forward. Chris looked down at her. He was frowning. “I think I need to stay here.”
Not wanting to go against him, she tried to remain brave in the face of his displeasure. She shifted Christopher to her other hip. He was still hiding his face in her neck. It made her a little irritated that Chris hadn’t noticed his son’s reaction to his father’s anger.
“Why?” Chris asked his voice steady but flat.
“I want to – to feel better,” she answered honestly. “I want to be able to hold Christopher for longer than a few minutes. Or play hide and seek without losing my breath. I don’t want to die.”
She saw his face soften at her words. He pulled them both into an embrace. Christopher turned to clutch at his dad. Chris took him from her.
“Emma!” His calling out to her was the last thing she heard before she fainted to the floor.