He ducked his head to enter into the short office area and clipped the badge onto the chest of his blue smock top.
“Hey Rosey.” He greeted the stout woman at the front entrance with a smile. Her wild salt and pepper hair had been styled into wavy curls that met her ears. Her skin was aged but beautiful in all it’s scars and freckles, and he almost wished he could have seen her back in her younger days.
“Blake, dear, I didn’t even see you!” She acknowledged and pushed her glasses further up the bridge of her nose.
“How was school sweetie? You’re almost done for the year, eh?” He nodded and with a shrug of his shoulders he pressed closer over the counter. “Then I’ll be a big dog here!”
She laughed and slapped her desk jokingly as his face melted from sarcasm to humor. “And I’m dying my hair blue!” He shook his head at her comments and continued past her as she laughed. He would be a registered nurse in this facility as soon as he graduated; he planned on it regardless of the rumors. . .well maybe.
He walked down the hallway and peeked into a few of the residents rooms to greet them and say hello. Almost all of the rooms looked the same to him- some with differing colors of wallpaper. But they all held the same interior design of a clock, kitchen, and seating arrangements near the bathroom that turned into a bedroom.
“I’ll be back in a moment Mr. Oggs.” Blake stated to a resident that needed his help getting to the dining room, and with a deep breath he entered into the room of Mr. Hendricks.”
“Is that you Melony?” His old voice called from the closet.
“It’s Blake, Sir.” He answered, and the old man made a noise that sounded like a curse under his breath before heading in his direction.
“You again. . any news on my Grand daughter?”
Blake shook his head and smiled firmly. “But we did talk today.”
“Ohhh really, you’re not going to use your connections to get close to her like everyone else right?” he coughed quietly before plopping down slowly in his nearby wheelchair. He was a tall man for his age although his back now bent from the years of strain. What remained of his white hair was styled back in a sleek greased pile on the top of his head. But it was those familiar eyes that always drew his attention to Mr. Hendricks. Blake was almost certain the man was going deaf and couldn’t see out of his left eye. So he made sure to stand on the right.
“What about?” He pried and leaned closer suspiciously.
“She’s never noticed me before.” Blake laughed and glanced upwards. “I can’t believe she still hasn’t found out that I know about all this.”
“That’s good, boy.” Mr. Hendricks reached for his glass of water on the smooth marble side table and met his eyes.“Knowledge is a blessing and a curse unfortunately, and you happen to be one of the few to know.”
“Once I’m gone there’ll be no one to look after her, except for the lawyers.” Blake lowered his eyes.
“Do you think she’ll ever find out?”
He stared at him for a long while before he answered in his low gravely voice and adjusted his pale green tie.“You’d better hope she doesn’t. I think you’re deeper into this than you know boy.”
He opened up his watch to tusk at the positioning of the golden hands upon the face of an ancient clock.
“I feel like something is a’comin boy.” Blake raised a brow in question. “What do you mean sir?” The old man grew quiet as he admired his watch.He sat still for a long while.
“Time really flies. . . doesn’t it Mr. Hazelton?” Blake blinked at the familiarity of the line the old man told him with a smirk of his weathered lips.
Blake swallowed and nodded his head as he left the room with his eyes peeled upwards. He then entered the room to return to Mr. Oggs and pushed him down the hallway in his wheelchair. The man had plenty to say, and Blake alternated between nodding his head and offering a laugh; but really his mind was just on Winter Vandelann.
“You’re a good kid, Blake.” He whispered as Blake set him down at the dining hall. Volunteers moved through the tables and began to serve dinner to the residents. Some were fussy, some spoke loudly with family members that came to see them. A young girl behind him nearly tripped over a crease in the rug, but caught herself. In the chaos Blake hardly heard Mr. Hendricks call out for him.
“Sir?” He questioned as the man motioned with his finger to come closer. Mr. Hendricks sat alone at a table set for four within the dining hall. A white napkin tied neatly around his neck that seemed to make his face seem more hallow than normal. He rasped out his answer to Blake, his face a bit feverish and his eyes wide.
“Keep that necklace of yours safe.” He warned, he grasped onto Blake’s wrist with a strong grip. Blake flinched as his nails bit into the flesh around his thumb. The thin chain jumped out from his scrub top and bounced against his neck.
“You and my grand daughter are in danger.“Mr. Hendricks wheezed before coughing into the white napkin and shaking his head. He whispered a few more words after glancing around.
“Get out of here and don't let them find you.”
Blake stared at him before nodding his head and waiting for Mr.Hendricks to release his hand. “I will sir.” He lowered his eyes and backed away. The old man didn’t look back at him, but greeted the young girl who brought him his food.
“Did that boy upset you, Mr. Hendricks?” She asked politely as Blake backed away. His heart fell in his chest as the old man shook his head.
Blake turned to walk back down the empty hall. He pulled his name badge from his chest, and his shaking fingers reached up to touch the necklace that hung openly around his neck.
“Danger?” His heart thudded and the room spun as though he was going to faint. He rested a hand against the wall as his head throbbed. Turning toward the exit, he placed his badge upon the counter in front of Rosey.
The woman just looked up at him in surprise as he nodded his head to her and turned toward the exit.
“Blake. . . a-are you quitting?” She called out and turned the counter to go after him. “I was just kidding about the not getting a promotion thing!” She protested.
“What happened Hun!” She followed him through the door and grabbed onto his shoulder to turn him about. He was as pale as a ghost. “Blake, where are you going?”
“I’m sorry Rosey. .. but I don’t feel the best. . something’s wrong.” He gasped and pushed her arm away. He wandered toward his car and leaned against the hood for a few moments before getting inside.
"Get away. You’re in danger.” A voice echoed in his ears as he stood in the cold watching his breath float around his face.
“What am I scared of?” He laughed before opening the car door to throw himself inside, nearly hitting his head against the centerpiece of the car. He laughed to himself at how crazy he was for just quitting his job. He rested his forehead against the steering wheel as his head pounded.
Between the medallion showing up, the dreams, and now his client- he felt like he was going insane.
“Crazy old man.” Blake whispered and he closed his eyes. The necklace around his neck seemed to tighten and the feverish feeling crept across his forehead again.
He grabbed at the necklace and squinted down at it.
“Where did this come from?” He couldn’t recall ever purchasing this from the store. Same thing as the medal. . .where had that appeared from?
The necklace gently illuminated in his hand and he gasped. He tucked it back into his shirt. Blake quickly started his car and left the parking lot. He needed to get home.
"I hope it isn't her. . ." He thought to himself and closed his eyes. Her beauty enchanted him even if she did not remember who he was. And as always that fool was always right in the middle of things.
"I won't let him take her again."