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Death of a Ballerina – Part 4 -

For more installments see the novel index. All posts and pages on this blog are the exclusive property of Citystreams; Copyright 2006-2008; All rights reserved.

The rest of the morning was a blur for Clary. Between her regular patient load, the demanding questions from the detectives and the endless chatter from the nurses, she felt utterly drained by lunchtime. In fact, she didn’t even realize that she had missed lunch until she checked in on the Armitages. The couple was older than most of her patients and she was under strict orders to keep a close eye on Honey’s progress.

As the door clicked behind her, she pulled the privacy curtain aside to find the couple crying hysterically over bowls of soup. Mr. Armitage was gripping his wife’s hand. Their sobs had drowned out the noise of Clary’s entry, and she paused at the threshold of the room, uncertain as to what she should do. The pale thin man sat on the edge of the bed, tears streaming down his eyes, while his tan wife alternated between heavy gasps for air and heart wrenching sobs. Her black hair had been pulled up in a ponytail and her face was framed with sweaty tendrils. Clary quickly moved around the bed to check the blood pressure readings.

“Oh. Dr. Anderson. I’m so glad you’re here. This can’t be good for the baby. We just found out that …” the woman let out a strangled cry and took a few jerky breaths. “We just found out that our daughter is missing.”

Clary’s mind reeled. The unidentified girl in the locker room rose up before her mind’s eye. She pushed the thought aside and tried to calm her patient. “Okay. Okay. Take a deep breath. This happens all the time. What do you mean she’s missing? How old is she?” Clary’s forehead wrinkled and she turned to scan the readings on the fetal monitor.

“She’s seventeen years old. And she had a dance recital last night. At my appointment yesterday afternoon, Dr. Johnson discovered my pre-eclam-shuh, and decided to admit me to the hospital. I called Alleson and we worked it out over the phone. She was going to drive her little car over to the recital and then afterwards, she was going to come show me her routine. When she didn’t show up last night, I called her cell phone. But she didn’t answer. Ronnie went home to check on her, and the Focus was still gone. It was close to two in the morning when he got back, and I’d already fallen asleep. This morning, when the nurse came in to check on me, I woke him up, and we realized that Alleson had never called us back. We spent the morning calling her friends, and finally the police. They said that they would send an officer up to take a missing person report.”

Clary shuddered as she connected the dots. The monogram on the girl’s bag flashed before her. AMA. She glanced at the urine test results on Mrs. Armitage’s chart, and moved to check her blood pressure by hand. Her eyebrows rose as she measured 168/110. She moved to check the lady’s reflexes, while trying to keep up the conversation. “Mrs. Armitage, how many children do you have?” Clary knew the answer to the question already, because it was written in the chart.

“I have one teenaged daughter. And I had one miscarriage when Alleson was three years old.” The woman grabbed her beach ball sized abdomen and grimaced in pain. Her husband wiped sweat off of his brow. Clary placed a reassuring hand on the hospital gown, feeling the tightness of the contraction. She lifted the gown and adjusted the fetal monitor to locate the baby’s heartbeat.

“They shared the same father. We divorced ten years ago.” Mrs. Armitage looked over at her new husband and smiled weakly. “Ronnie and I wanted to have a child of our own. He has been dying to see his new son. I keep telling him that in three weeks, when the baby won’t stop crying, he’s going to wish he could put him back in here again.”

Clary smiled at the joke, and weighed the options in her mind. She told the Armitages that she needed to consult with Dr. Johnson about the next course of action. The concern in her face was obvious. The couple looked at her nervously. Ronnie licked his lips. “What’s the matter, Doctor?”

“I’m a little concerned about that blood pressure.” She admitted. “I think you might get to hear your son crying sooner than you expected.”

The couple exchanged glances before Ronnie spoke again. “Can we wait for Alleson? She really wanted to be here for this. Maybe she’s just upset because we missed the recital. She probably went to Lilly’s house. We don’t know her phone number.”

Clary looked down at the floor and struggled to keep a poker face. “Let me speak with Dr. Johnson before we make any decisions Mr. Armitage.” She forced a smile and placed the chart back in the slot on the wall. Then moving quickly, she went to page Dr. Johnson.

For more installments see the novel index. All posts and pages on this blog are the exclusive property of Citystreams; Copyright 2006-2008; All rights reserved.

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2 Responses

  1. Still really good! Do you have the plot all worked out or are you winging it? I usually know where it’s going but not the detail. I haven’t attempted a crime novel yet but would love to do so.

  2. The plot thickens! I like it!

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