The Journey Home Ch. 03bysweeteuphoria©
Ben couldn't bring himself to quit. He loved her too much for that to happen and besides, he had to find out what happened to her. After securing his vehicle, he hurried across the parking lot pushing through the revolving doors that entered the main lobby of the hospital. Turning to his right at the end of the long hall he headed straight to the information desk in the emergency room and asked, "Has anyone seen this woman?" as he showed them a photo of Laura, which he pulled from his wallet and explained why he was looking for her.
Everyone shook their heads no, but told him they would show the photo around and if anyone has seen her they would call him. Ben wrote his cell number on the bottom of the photo and handed it back to the nurse at the desk.
As Ben exited the parking lot he heard his cell phone ring and answered it, "Hello? Max?"
"Yeah, hey Ben! I got some great news!" he shouted. "I'll meet you back at the hotel. I'm on my way there now," he said and then the line went silent.
Ben immediately stopped his car when Max called. After the line went dead Ben sat there, shocked for a moment. He picked the phone up off his knee and speed dialed Max's phone. When Max answered Ben began to talk. "Hey wait a minute here," he said breathing heavily, his heart pounding and his hands shaking. "You can't expect me to be patient enough to wait 'til I get back to the hotel to hear about what you found. NOW TELL ME, DAMNIT!" Ben shouted into the phone.
"Yeah, I guess you're right, Ben," Max started then continued. "It seems there's a doctor who's been treating a woman who fits Laura's description here at Jackson South Community Hospital. He's not there now, but we can talk to him in the morning."
Ben confirmed the conversation with a big sigh of relief. Max concluded his conversation by confirming that Ben would meet him at the hotel. "Um yeah, that sounds good Max, I'll meet you there in a few," Ben said in a daze and then closed his cell phone.
Ben wanted so badly to call Sara, but not wanting to give her false hope he decided against it for the time being and kept the good news to himself. When he arrived at the hotel he climbed the stairs to the sixth floor, turned into the long hallway that led to his room. Sliding his key card through the slot he opened the door. Ben had arrived before Max and decided to grab a quick shower before he returned.
After his shower Ben put on his pajamas, settled down on the small couch and turned on the television; more for background noise than for viewing as he impatiently waited for Max.
Shortly after midnight Ben heard a knock on his door. He secured the chain latch and opened the door a crack to see Max standing on the other side. He closed the door, unhooked the latch then opened the door.
Max walked into the room exhausted and hungry. He told Ben everything the nurse at the hospital told him as he removed his clothes and said after he grabbed a quick bite to eat and a hot shower he was going to bed. Ben ordered room service for them both. "Yes, can you please send me two of your finest steak dinners, baked potato, salad and soup?" Ben paused as the voice on the other end of the line confirmed his order and then he continued. "Yep, that's right, oh and can you add two bottles of Michelob to that as well? Thanks." Ben said as he hung up the phone and returned to the sofa, relaxing more with each passing minute, thanks to Max.
Their meals arrived quickly and as they ate, they discussed what would happen in the morning. Max had everything all planned in his head then told Ben. "We'll get up and have breakfast. I can see I'm going to need more money Ben. I found a branch of my bank in Ft. Lauderdale. I'll go there to get my money while you go talk with Dr. Stone. We can meet back here and discuss the next strategy."
Ben agreed and after he finished eating he went straight to sleep. For the first night since Laura left for vacation Ben was able to sleep through the night and had quite a pleasant dream. He dreamt that he was with Laura at the beach, no one else around. He was chasing her teasingly and when he caught her, they fell to the sand. He was caressing her hair as she pleasured him orally. He woke the next morning feeling rejuvenated and relieved, although there was a large damp, sticky spot on the sheet. "There's a purpose to my life again," he thought to himself as he sat up and scooted to the dry side of the mattress.
"I'm going to call that Dr. Stone and make an appointment to see him before I go all the way out there and have it be a waste of time," Ben said as he dialed the number Max gave him.
"Good morning, this is Dr. Stone," a deep voice on the other end of the line answered.
"Good morning Dr. Stone, this is Benjamin Whitfield." He replied, taking a deep breath before he continued. "I am calling in regards to a Miss Laura Habernack. I was told you have been treating her." Ben paused again gathering his thoughts. "I would like to set up an appointment as soon as possible. I will fill you in on the details when we meet," Ben concluded, waiting for the doctors reply.
"I'm free for the next hour or so. Can you make it here before noon?" the doctor asked.
Not thinking clearly, Ben immediately ended the call without saying goodbye or confirming that he could meet with the doctor. He closed his phone and headed for the door. "Um, hey there buddy, don't you think you should put on some pants before you go running out the door?" Max stated with a heavy chuckle.
Ben stopped in his tracks, looked down and laughed then said, "I guess I should do that. They probably wouldn't take me seriously if I showed up looking like this." He walked to the closet and grabbed a pair of slacks from the hanger and then a shirt. He walked back to the bed and began to get dressed. He hesitated about wearing a tie, but decided against it leaving the top button of his shirt undone.
As he headed for the door he stopped in front of the mirror, running his fingers through his hair he softly said, "that's good enough." He grabbed his keys and cell phone from the dresser again and walked to the door.
Once again Max stopped him, "Hey, one more thing," he said chuckling again. "Don't you think it would be a good idea if you told the doctor you were on your way?"
"I probably should, but I'll do that in the car on my way there." Ben said as he pushed the door open with his foot and walked out into the hall toward the stairs. Ben didn't like the sounds of that old elevator and not wanting to take any chances of getting stuck between floors he opted for the stairs.
Once out to his car Ben hit the redial on his cell phone and let the doctor know he was on his way then closed his phone and slid it in the pocket of his shirt as he drove out of the parking lot.
Ben didn't want to get his hopes up, but he was so excited about the new developments in his search for Laura. He drove to the hospital with a smile on his face and in his heart. He turned his radio on and found a station playing music from the eighties. He leaned over to turn the volume up and his heart pounded faster the more he listened to the song playing. It was the song that he and Laura danced to at Suzie's wedding.
Thoughts of Laura and that night rushed back to him, awakening all his senses. He remembered how she felt against him when they danced and he remembered her scent and the look on her face when she pleaded for him to fuck her in the garden.
"Damn, of all times for this to happen," he said to himself as he glanced down at the tent in his slacks. "Shit!" he cursed out loud, "back off big guy." He said in a demanding tone. Ben tried to think of other things, he even turned off the radio in hopes that his raging erection would cease by the time he got to the hospital. Fortunately for him it worked and as he pulled into the lot he was able to gather his thoughts once again.
He was obviously nervous as he approached the lobby desk and asked for Dr. Stone. The receptionist directed him to the doctors' offices in the building adjacent to the hospital. Ben located Dr. Stone's office quickly. He opened the door and walked in.
"Mr. Benjamin Whitfield to see Dr. Stone." He said to the woman behind the glass window.
"Please have a seat sir and the doctor will be out shortly," she replied as Ben took a seat in the corner of the room.
The room was pleasant, nice and bright as Ben glanced around. His gaze fixated on a large aquarium with colorful fish swimming about. Ben relaxed in his chair thankful that his cock decided to finally behave.
Meanwhile, Max was headed to the bank in Ft. Lauderdale. He flagged down a cab and as he sat down he told the driver his destination. When he arrived at the bank he paid his fare then got out of the cab and closed the door behind him and headed inside.
Max walked up and got in line for the next available teller. Once at the little window he filled out a withdrawal slip and handed it to the woman behind the thick glass. Within minutes she returned with a stack of bills and counted it in front of Max before sliding the bills into an envelope. "Thank you for choosing National City," the woman said, as she handed Max the envelope and then continued, "have a nice day sir," as Max turned to walk away. In the distance he heard her say, "next."
Max turned slightly, thinking the woman was speaking to him again but realized she was calling the next person in line. As he turned back again to leave his eyes panned the area behind the short divider wall and about fell over. "Oh my God!" he said quietly then added, "It can't be!"
Max walked toward the desks behind the divider wall and starred in disbelief. "Oh my God, it's really her. I found Laura!" he thought to himself as he thought up a new plan in his head.
Max took a number and then walked over to the soft leather chairs in the waiting area and took a seat. As he waited for his number to be called he thought about what he would say to her once he was sitting at her desk.
"Number forty-six" a harsh voice called out. Max looked down at his number then up at the woman who called it, "Oh shit, that's me! I don't want to talk to her," he said to himself as he turned and handed his ticket to the person next to him. "Here, I'm not quite ready. You can have my ticket and I'll take yours." Max said as he took the ticket from the man sitting beside him.
Max had to do this several times before he was finally able to sit at Laura's desk. Once there he said he wanted to take out a personal loan for five hundred dollars. Laura said it wouldn't be a problem since he was already a customer of the bank and she proceeded to fill out his paperwork.
Laura's smile was radiant as she asked Max questions and continued filling out the forms. "I see here you're not from Florida," she voiced in a crackling tone, looking at the form he filled out with the box non-resident checked. "May I have your current address please?" she asked him.
Max reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet and placed it on the table. He opened it and removed his drivers' license and handed it to her. "Are you okay miss?" Max asked as he looked at her when she picked up his ID.
Laura just stared at the card in her hand as a vision invaded her mind. She became flustered and had to leave the room. The woman from the other desk came over and said she would finish his loan application, but Max refused her assistance saying, "oh that's quite all right, but I'd prefer to wait for the young lady that was taking care of me."
The woman left Max sitting at Laura's desk and walked into the back room to inform her that he was still waiting and then returned to her desk in a huff. A few minutes passed before Laura returned from the back room, her face still flushed.
"Did I say something wrong?" Max asked her as she picked up his drivers license once again, running her fingers over the word Michigan.
Laura didn't answer him as she finished the loan application saying, "It will only take a minute to process." She turned to her computer and began typing his information into the system. Within seconds Max had the loan. He stood as he outstretched his right hand to thank her.
"It was my pleasure doing business with you sir." She replied as she walked out from behind her desk.
"Damn, it's a shame we don't have beautiful women like yourself back in Bloomfield Hills," he said as he walked toward the door.
When Max uttered the city he came from more visions filled Laura's mind. She became unsteady on her feet, the room went dark and then she fainted. Her lifeless body lay in the stiff carpet as employees and customers alike ran toward the commotion.
Max bent down on one knee and placed his right hand against the carotid artery in her neck to check her pulse. When he felt the pulse but still couldn't revive Laura by calling her or slightly shaking her he shouted to the manager, "hey you; go get a wet towel and bring it to me."
Max wiped Laura's forehead with the cool wet towel and called her name. She responded immediately asking no one in particular, "Why am I on the floor? What happened?"
With Max's help Laura got to her knees and then used the divider wall as support to stand. She then walked the couple steps to the chair at her desk, using Max's arm as a crutch. Max held her chair as she sat and then making sure she was okay he asked her, "Are you sure you're okay? Do you want some water or something? It doesn't appear that you hit your head; do you hurt anywhere?"
Laura said she wasn't hurt, but didn't feel quite right all the while trying to return to the work on her desk. She couldn't concentrate and asked her boss for permission to leave work earlier than her shift normally ended. Her boss granted her the rest of the day off and requested a note from her doctor stating she was physically able to return to her duties at the bank. She told her supervisor that she was heading straight to her doctors office to talk to him about the fainting episode and these visions she'd been experiencing.
Laura straightened the stack of papers on her desk and then opened the top drawer in the file cabinet beside her desk and put the papers in the first folder she had labeled "working on". She opened the bottom drawer of her desk and removed her purse and then placed it on her desk. She rifled through her purse to find her keys, "Oh where did I put those darn keys this time," she questioned herself under her breath.
Max was still watching her as she fumbled for the keys. He walked closer to her desk and suggested she look in the top drawer of her desk. Laura immediately saw her key ring as she opened the drawer. She picked them up and smiled at Max, "Thank you!" she exclaimed and then continued. "How did you know to have me look there?"
"Well, that's where I keep my keys so I remember to lock up my files at the end of each day, otherwise I would forget," He answered her.
Laura locked her desk and then the file cabinet as she pushed her chair away from her desk with the backs of her legs. She stood with a firm grasp at the edge of the desk and with one hand reached back to pull her chair in. She grabbed her sweater from the coat rack and walked toward the door. As she was leaving her co-workers wished her well.
"Damn, I can't believe they're just letting her leave like that after fainting and all. They aren't even sending anyone with her or to follow her insuring she arrives okay," Max said to himself as he walked out behind her and then to the sidewalk to flag down a cab. His eyes followed Laura as she crossed the parking lot and got in a small red car. He wanted so badly to follow her as she drove, but there wasn't a cab anywhere in sight.
"Mr. Whitfield?" a woman called out. There was no reply so again she called out, "Mr. Whitfield? The doctor will see you now." She stated as she startled Ben out of his trance the aquarium had on him. She held the door open for Ben as he walked through and then she led him to an exam room.
The doctor arrived shortly after Ben and they walked to the small conference room. Ben took a seat and immediately took the papers he had regarding Laura's case and placed them on the table for the doctor to view.
Ben flipped through the stack and pulled out her picture and then showed it to the doctor, asking, "Is this the woman you've been treating?"
"Yes, this is Laura." He said, breaking to drink some coffee and then continued. "If I may ask, what relation are you to her?"
"I'm her fiancée," Ben said then added, "We were scheduled to be married the week after her trip to the Bahamas with her girlfriends, but she never returned. I've been searching everywhere for her. I hired a private detective and he came down here with me to help find her."
Ben proceeded giving the doctor more information about her. The doctor wanted to believe Ben, but needed concrete proof he was who he said he was. "This is not the way I usually do things, but it will have to do for now," the doctor said as he began asking Ben a slew of questions about Laura and comparing his answers to the woman he's been treating for the past few months.
The last question the doctor asked would seal Ben's fate. "Can you describe her physical appearance so I know we are speaking of the same person?"
Ben began to speak without taking time to group his thoughts. "She has a birth mark on her right thigh just below her buttocks, it's in the shape of a butterfly with its wings closed and she has a scar on the back of her neck from a skiing accident when she was a teenager."
Ben paused now to collect his thoughts then began again. "She has a bump on the top of her head," but was interrupted when the doctor began to speak.
"Okay, okay I see now that we are describing the same woman," he stated and continued. "I have been treating her for quite some time now. She first arrived here at the hospital not knowing who she was, where she was, or how she got here." He paused once again, taking a sip from his coffee mug.
Ben listened intently as the doctor spoke of Laura's arrival as well as present condition. The doctor began again, "We heard of the plane crash and knew by looking at the life vest she wore that she was on that flight. The airlines however, were unable to give us any information about her due to some mix up with tickets or something," another pause as he refilled his mug.
"Anyway, as I was saying, she was unconscious and dehydrated when she arrived. She was put in ICU for the night and then transferred to a room the following day when her vitals normalized. She remained in a coma for about a week. When she awakened she could tell the doctors her first name, but nothing else registered with her."
"She was diagnosed as suffering from Retrograde Amnesia." The doctor paused for a moment as Ben fumbled with the pen to write everything down. When Ben glanced back up the doctor continued, "Retrograde Amnesia is where a patient looses the ability to recall all or pieces of information stored in the brain before a traumatic injury. In Laura's case she remembered her name, but nothing else."
Ben interrupted the doctor with a look of concern; he clenched his pen tightly and asked, "Is it permanent?"
"I was just about to get to that," the doctor continued once more. "Laura has been experiencing flashbacks or visions if you will. She mentioned during her last office visit that she smelled the autumn leaves when she looked at a painting she purchased and another vision was from hearing someone's voice, she couldn't see the person's face, only shadows. She also says she keeps fidgeting with her left ring finger as if there is supposed to be something there, but she can't recall if she ever wore a ring or not. I guess that's where you come in."
The doctor paused and looked at Ben curiously before he spoke again. "So you're telling me she did have an engagement ring?"