Chapter 4 – No solutions, only more problems.
She couldn’t help wondering if this hospital had an open-door policy towards Angel-looking men. There could be a sign in Admissions that specified the need for all men to look like one of Michelangelo’s works of art, either that or there might be an ugly man detector before the elevators ensuring entrance to only the beautiful. Whatever the method, her experience suggested that it was true.
An example of this theory was standing next to her bed talking to her. If she’d thought Doctor Layton was an Angel, then Detective Salter was the embodiment of a Norse God. He was tall, blonde and had the bone structure of a Viking Warrior. He lacked the horned helmet but other than that he could have been one of Oden’s lot. He was speaking to her, but she was struggling to listen.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered when she realised that he was waiting for an answer to a question she couldn’t remember hearing, “Could you repeat that?”
“That’s fine,” he smiled which didn’t help matters at all. “What can you remember?”
“I don’t know,” she dropped her eyes. It felt like she was admitting she was flawed. She had a God-of-a-man asking her questions and she couldn’t give him an answer. “It’s all hazy. I want to remember but there’s this fog that I can’t see through.”
“I know, Doctor Layton explained,” he sighed, “I’m going to leave a man at your door for a while, just as a safe guard, so if you do remember something I’ll be here as soon as I can.”
“You’re leaving?” she frowned.
“I’m on the clock,” his blue eyes were a lighter blue than Doctor Layton’s and gleamed a crystalline blue as they sparkled, “As much as I’d like to keep you company, there’s too much work for me to do. I’m needed elsewhere.”
“But,” she felt the blush on her cheeks, “You haven’t told me anything?”
“That’s correct,” he shrugged. “I can’t tell you anything. Not until you fully recover your mental facilities.”
“What?” she blinked, “Are you suggesting that I’m a sandwich short of a picnic? You think I’m mentally fried?”
“No, not exactly,” he laughed, “I’m saying that you need to be signed off by the doctor before I have that conversation with you.”
“Why? I have a right to know why you are here,” she glared at the extremely attractive man.
“Yes, that’s true, but it doesn’t help me,” he shrugged one shoulder, “If I told you details of the case, when you are having trouble remembering, then anything you recall later will be placed in question. A good defence lawyer will claim that your memory was influenced by me, giving you imagery when your mind was fragile. It would disqualify you as a witness. That wouldn’t make my boss happy and wouldn’t help put away the bad-guys. So, let’s just wait and see what you do remember.”
“You think I’ve seen something? Something that would make me a witness?” she searched his face for any clues as she asked the questions.
“Ahh, you see,” he held his hands up, “I’ve already said too much. Don’t worry about anything, as yet, just work on getting better. I’ll tell you everything I know when you are ready to hear it. When Doctor Layton says you are ready to hear it.”
She closed her mouth. She was about to tell him that she was ready to hear it now, but he seemed to expect that from her and added the need for Doctor Layton’s sign off. She frowned her displeasure.
“In the meantime,” he smiled at her expression, “Try not to remember the big things. Try to think about the little things first. I’ve been told that it helps”
“What little things?” she couldn’t help but relax as his smile melted her.
“I don’t know,” a sparkle lit in his eyes as his lips formed a cheeky grin, “If you have a hobby? If you like cats or dogs? If you have a boyfriend?”
“A boyfriend?” she blushed.
“Well, there was no ring,” he lifted one eyebrow.
“Detective Salter,” Doctor Layton’s voice was stern, “Have you finished with my patient? I’m sure you have important police business awaiting your attention?”
“Doctor Layton,” Detective Salters grin grew broader as his eyebrow hitched again, “I was just chatting with your patient, helping jog her memory.”
“That was good of you,” Doctor Layton picked up her chart, “Maybe you should jog yourself out of here, don’t you have some criminals to catch?”
“Yes, criminals, plenty of criminals,” the Detective was trying not to laugh as he turned back to her, “So, if you remember anything, anything at all, call me. I’ll be here before you know it. And please don’t attempt to go for a run, a jog or instigate an escape attempt, not until you’ve seen a physio and got your doctor to issue you a pair of running shoes. The bruising doesn’t suit you, don’t you agree Tom?”
“Bruising doesn’t suit many people, Derek,” he growled back.
“So true,” Derek Salter laughed, “I’ll see you later. What do you want me to call you, you know, until you recover your memory? I really don’t want to refer to you as Jane Doe 14562, so pick a name that you would like me to use?”
“Jill,” she answered immediately then stopped, she looked at both men, “My name’s Jill. I remember! My name is Jill.”
“Nice to meet you Jill,” smiled Derek, “You got a last name to go with that?”
“Jill,” she paused as she searched for it, “No, I can’t remember.”
“Jill is a good start. Don’t you agree Doctor Layton?” Derek turned to the man at the end of the bed, “Tom, can you assure me that Jill won’t end up with any more injuries? I need her mending, not ending up on the floor and covered in bruises. Do you need me to speak to your staff or your superior?”
“No Derek,” Doctor Tom Layton growled back, “It won’t happen again, I’ve got that in hand. She’s being well cared for.”
“I’m glad to hear that you have the situation,” he paused with a smirk, “as you said, ‘in-hand’. I’ll be looking forward to hearing what else you remember Jill. Be nice to Chuck and I will introduce you to Stan later this evening. See you then Jill.”
She watched Detective Derek Salter leave the room, he had a quick word with the man on the door and then he was gone. The man at the end of the bed was muttering something as he scribbled on the chart. Then he closed his eyes for half a minute, took a deep breath and looked at her.
She’d seen how he’d reacted to Detective Salter and his behaviour confused her. He seemed agitated by the man. There was either some history between the two, that she didn’t know about, or Doctor Layton wasn’t happy about something the Detective was doing. It seemed odd behaviour for a doctor. She watched him carefully as he moved closer to her.
“Jill,” he started, “How are you feeling?”
“It’s frustrating not remembering,” she clenched her fists, “I wish I could remember more. I wish I knew who I am. I remember the name ‘Jill’ but it doesn’t tell me anything about myself.”
“It is a good start though,” he smiled, “It’s a promising start. The rest should come, little things will prompt you to remember. Another day like this and I’ll be recommending that you are moved to the ward and start rehabilitation.”
“The ward?” she questioned.
“This is ICU, an intensive care unit for head injuries,” he put her chart back, “I need to be confident that you are progressing then I’ll ask that they move you into the ward, from there we can focus on getting you fit again and out of that bed. It means less monitoring and you’ll have to share a room, but it’s clear that having someone to talk to will help you to remember. And, as Detective Salter so aptly pointed out, we can’t have you getting anymore bruises.”
“Do you think that I will get any visitors once I’m on the ward?” she bit her bottom lip and noticed how he looked away and shuffled his feet as she did.
“Once you remember your full name we can start tracking down your friends, relatives,” his eyes were serious as they searched her looking for a reaction, “And any boyfriends. I’m sure that Detective Salter will be searching through his missing persons files now that he knows your first name, it has to help.”
“If it doesn’t?” she whispered looking at him from under her eyelashes.
“That doesn’t mean no one cares about you,” he said in a deeper voice than normal, “Even if you aren’t registered as a missing person or don’t have people searching for you, that doesn’t mean that there is no one who wants you. There are plenty of reasons why people don’t realise that someone is missing and don’t think to search for them.”
“Like what?” she probed him enjoying the discomfort that seemed to ooze from the man, “Why would anyone want me? Why wouldn’t you look for someone who’d been missing for two weeks?”
“I’m a Doctor not a Detective,” Tom tried to loosen his collar, “But, if I was to take a guess, they might think you are on Vacation, I’ve heard that people do take two weeks off and go away. Or they might just assume that you don’t want to be disturbed or that you are sick. You don’t know what has been said or the circumstances around your disappearance. Don’t give up on your friends, they might not have given up on you.”
“Thanks,” she smiled a small sad smile and noticed how the vulnerability in her tone caused his adams apple to bounce. She didn’t know why she was playing with him, but he was incredibly hot and the fact that she could cause these reactions in him made her feel better about herself.
“It’s my pleasure,” he said then his eyebrows bunch as he looked a little confused.
“What about you?” she smiled as his eyes opened a fraction wider, “Do you have people that would miss you? Is there a Mrs Layton who iron’s your shirts?”
“A wife? I’m a doctor remember,” he laughed a small bark of a laugh, “I’ve spent the last fifteen years as a student or a surgical resident. I don’t have relationships or friendships, I have colleagues who would happily take my place if I wasn’t here, and the hospital would sack me if I failed to turn up for three shifts in a row. I’m a slave to my profession.”
“That’s awful, but you’re so,” she stopped herself letting him guess at what she was going to say, “There must be someone who would notice if you weren’t here?”
“Yeah, they’d have a party,” he laughed then he cleared his throat, “We aren’t here to talk about me. We’ll continue to monitor you and I’ll put my recommendation through. I’ve got my rounds to finish but I’ll be back later to see how you’re feeling.”
“Doctor Layton,” she whispered as he turned to leave, “I’m scared.”
He turned back to her and sat on the edge of the bed, he didn’t say anything but waited for her to explain. The indent he made in her bed and the way he watched her made her want to reach for him and hold him. She’d been teasing him, but this wasn’t a lie. She was scared.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t detain you,” she dropped her eyes from him but when he didn’t leave and didn’t say anything she looked at him and found him patiently waiting, making butterflies take flight in her stomach, “I feel so alone. What if there is no one out there? What if I never remember?”
“You have already started to remember,” he smiled his reassurance which made him look so gorgeous, “It’s a sign that shows that your brain will allow you access to your memories when it’s ready. And as for being alone, I find it hard to believe that there is no one in this world who cares for you. You seem like a good person. There will be someone out there who is missing you.”
“That’s really kind of you,” she smiled as she regretted being so bold with him. He was a good person and she had no right to make light of his compassion, “I’m sorry. I’m hopeless. You’re my Doctor not my shrink. Ignore me, I’m just being a girl.”
“Don’t do that,” he said softly placing his hand over hers, “Don’t degrade yourself. I have to go, I have other patients to see, but I’ll come back after my shift finishes.”
“You don’t need to do that,” she bit her lip as she was torn, she wanted what to see him again, but she knew she shouldn’t.
“Yes, that’s true,” his smile turned serious, “I don’t need to do that, but I want to.”
“Oh,” she looked away, “It’s not that I don’t appreciate your help and everything I’m doing for me, but I’m tired and Detective Salter is coming back later. I don’t think I’ll be good company after that. It’s so good of you to offer, but I don’t want to take your valuable time, I know how busy doctors are.”
“Sure,” Tom shifted away from her as if burnt, “No need to apologise. I will see you tomorrow then. But listen to Detective Salter, you are safe here. I don’t want to see anymore bruises when I see you in the morning, deal?”
“Deal,” she smiled her regret. “And thank you Doctor Layton, I do appreciate everything you are doing for me.”
“I’m your doctor,” he grimaced, “It’s my job.”
She watched him leave the room and wondered again why she’d done that. She was bored but that didn’t mean she should treat him like that. She did wonder why it had worked and what it said about herself. What sort of woman could do that to a man? Was she some sort of temptress? At least at the end she’d proven that she had a conscious and wasn’t cruel enough to mislead him further. But was she misleading him?