CURVE BALL

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Chapter Twenty-Six

Jack stood in the cab line at the airport and within seconds a taxi appeared.

“What’ yah know. That was quick,” he said. He and Linzie settled in and the cab took off. Traffic seemed to have disappeared.

“This is better than I thought,” she said.

He leaned towards her. “Stopping for a drink can lead to good things.”

She smiled and moved closer to him.

He put his arm around her and kissed her lips. She didn’t hold back. This was going to be one hell of a ride.

The trip was one long passionate kiss. The driver had to repeat himself a couple of times to get their attention.

“Ma’am we be at your hotel. We’re at the Ritz.”

Jack realized the car wasn’t moving and someone was talking. He opened his eyes and recognized where they were. “Linzie, we’re at your hotel.”

She sat up and looked around. “Holy crap.” She dug into her purse for her brush and mirror. After a few strokes she rebuttoned three of the buttons on her blouse, and applied a little lipstick. “There, how do I look?”

“Like you just got off an airplane, all prim and proper,” he said.

“Hmm, let me think about that, the prim and proper part. Things were getting interesting.”

He touched the back of her neck.

“Why don’t I check in and then I’ll meet you at the bar,” she said.

“Great idea.”

They stepped out of the cab. Their luggage was already on the sidewalk. The driver stood by and waited. Jack grabbed his wallet.

“No, this is on the company,” she said.

“I can get used to that.” He took a step toward his bag but then turned toward her. “You know I’d love to continue what we started, but I’ve got to see my dad. He’s at Northwestern. That’s why I’m here. The telegram said urgent.”

“Oh, of course. That’s important.” She looked at her watch. “It’s probably after visiting hours. You should call the hospital.”

He checked the time, 7 o’clock. “You may be right. I’ll find a pay phone while you register.”

“Jack, this is the Ritz. The pay phones are across from check-in.”

He probably had a dumb look on his face. He picked up his bag and followed her into the hotel.

She kissed him on the cheek and then pointed out the phones.

“It won’t take long,” she said. “The hotel knows me.”

He kept his eyes fixed on her. His imagination though made up for what he couldn’t see. A few seconds passed until he shook himself from his reverie and moved towards the phones. The telegram had the hospital’s number and he dialed.

“Northwestern Memorial Hospital, how may I help you?” asked the operator.

“Ah, my dad is a patient and I’d like to see him.”

“What is his name?”

“Peter Rakow. He’s in intensive care.”

“Just a minute. Yes, Mr. Rakow is here.”

“Can you connect me?”

“Patients in the ICU do not have phones. I’ll transfer your call to the nurses station.”

“Okay, thanks.”

“One minute.”

Jack listened to the click of the lines. He turned and peeked at Linzie who stood next to the counter. She appeared to be in a conversation with a well-dressed man. He caught Linzie’s seductive laugh while he held the phone an inch or two away. He heard two clicks and put the phone back to his ear. “Hello?” The call went dead. He looked at the phone swore and put another quarter into the slot. Another operator answered but this time the call transfer reached a nurse. He was about to speak when he felt a hand on his back. He looked over and saw Linzie behind him. A small smile crossed her face. She dangled a key on her finger. “2307,” she whispered.

“Just a minute,” he spoke into the phone and then covered the mouthpiece. “2307 got it. I’ll be up there…” he rolled his eyes.

“Don’t be too long. I have wine that’s chilling and Jack, it’s the good stuff.” She gave him a pat on his ass and left.

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