Hank Calder sat in his house watching Seven. The complex murder mystery was his favorite of all time. He got a kick watching Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman rushing to and fro, unable to piece together the clues Kevin Spacey left for them.
He too had left clues for the detectives, yet they bumbled about like blind men. Their ineptness was a constant source of frustration for him. Months had passed, and they were no closer to finding him than the duo from his favorite film were to uncovering Spacey’s identity.
Like the movie, he decided to reveal himself to his pursuers. It was the only way to elevate the game. Calder decided to unveil himself on Monday morning. “We’ll get the week kicked off right!”
The weekend progressed like molasses dripping from a syrup bottle for Calder. For Detective Lilly Thompson, the weekend was an unending nightmare.
Saturday, 0900 hours:
Lilly tossed and turned in her bed. Somewhere, her phone rang nonstop. “Where is that stupid phone,” she grumbled still half asleep. She rolled over and patted the mattress. Unable to locate her phone, she cracked one eye open and looked around. The phone lay on her desk plugged into the surge protector. She stood and sighed.
“This better be freaking important,” she muttered walking over to the desk.
“Yeah,” she grunted into the phone.
“Yeah, who is this?”
“This is Nurse Blair Blanchard. I’m your son’s nurse.”
Lilly’s eyes popped open. She cleared her throat and took a deep breath. “God, please let my son be okay,” she prayed in her mind.
“Nothing, ma’am. Dr. Ashton Wilkins needs to see you. He can explain it to you when he sees you next. Are you available to meet Monday at noon?”
“Yes. Monday at noon is fine.”
“Okay. We will see you then.”
Lilly dressed into jeans, boots, and a greyish-black tee. She tied her long brown hair into a ponytail and put on her favorite Carhartt cap. Then, she picked up her phone and dialed Konan’s number.
“Yeah,” Konan answered.
“It’s me. Can you meet me at The Donut Hole? I’m buying.”
“Sure. Are you okay? You sound out of sorts.”
“I’ll explain when you get here.”
Konan hung up and changed from his pajamas into Rustler jeans, Red Wing boots, and a Carhartt tee. He put on his camouflaged hat and climbed into his truck.
While Lilly waited for Konan to arrive, she ordered a box of mixed donuts, a bag of donut holes, and a white chocolate mocha latte with a quadruple shot of espresso. She took her purchases and walked to the very last booth on the left side of the building.
Konan pulled in a few moments later. He walked in and looked to the right. Lilly hung out of the booth and waved at him. He nodded and walked to her booth.
“Sorry it took so long for me to get here. I had to change right quick.”
“It’s not a problem, Konan.”
“So, what’s going on?”
Lilly shoved the box of donuts at Konan. He wrinkled up his nose and shook his head. A server noticed him and walked over. According to her nametag her name was Tabitha.
“Can I get you something to drink, sir?”
“Sure, Tabitha. I’ll take the largest, grandest coffee you have.”
“Sure thing. I’ll be right back.”
Lilly sipped her over-caffeinated coffee and waited for Konan’s to arrive. Tabitha brought it and handed it to Konan.
“Thanks, hon. That’s it for now.”
Konan blew on his coffee and looked at his partner. Her eyes were red, Konan figured it was tiredness. Lilly returned his stare, her eyes brimmed with tears. Konan frowned.
“What’s wrong, Lilly?”
“It’s Gareth, Konan. Something is wrong with my son.”
She took a sip of her coffee and closed her eyes. Konan took her hand in his and waited.
“What do you mean something is wrong with Gareth?”
Lilly explained that the nurse had called, and that the doctor wanted to meet with her on Monday. She removed her hand from Konan’s and gave him a sad smile.
“I can’t handle something being wrong with him, Konan. What if he is challenged? Or if he has Down Syndrome? What if he has cancer?”
“Lilly, you have to control that. Your mind will create all sorts of scenarios. Right now, we don’t know anything. Whatever it is, we will find a way to deal with it. Okay? You’re not alone in this.”
Tears dripped down Lilly’s face. Konan, her faithful friend, never held nothing against her. Even now, with an uncertain future for her son, Konan stood by her.
“How do you do that, Konan? How are you able to withstand the pressure of the world and not blink when trouble comes?”
“I drink a lot of coffee.”
Lilly scoffed and then laughed. Konan smiled. Lilly returned it, her full lips pulled back to reveal her white teeth. Once again, Konan was entranced by his partner’s beauty. “I should tell him,” Lilly thought. “Now would be a good time…” She shut her thoughts down, nothing good would come from revisiting the past.
They finished their coffee, and Lilly took the remainder of the donuts and gave them to the homeless man that leaned against a local paper machine.
“I’m headed to the hospital to see Gareth. Would you ride with me?”
“Sure,” Konan responded. “I will go with you.”
They walked to Lilly’s white Toyota Camry. Konan sat in the passenger seat, while Lilly climbed behind the wheel. Unlike Konan’s truck, the Camry sat low to the ground, and Lilly drove it like she was competing at Talladega.
Fredericksburg Memorial Hospital had a six-floor parking garage across the street from the hospital. A glassed-in walkway linked the two. Konan and Lilly parked on the fourth floor and walked across the walkway. Pediatric care took the entire fifth floor of the hospital.
The pair took an elevator up one floor. Gareth rested near the large window. A nurse checked on the newborns. She looked up from a chart and nodded to Lilly. She pointed at Gareth, and the nurse walked over.
“Look how cute he is, Konan.”
“Yeah. Thank God he took after his mother.”
“I hope,” Lilly muttered softly.
The nurse motioned for Lilly to put on the gown and mask. Lilly changed quickly and took entered the room. She took Gareth and sat in a rocking chair. The nurse waved for Konan to follow suit, but he shook his head.
Instead, Konan found a seat and pulled out his phone. He cruised various articles and pins on Pinterest while his partner bonded with her newborn son.