Claire had made herself comfortable, one chair to sit in, another to rest her feet on. She’d been reading through SB 1257 and taking notes for over three hours, using the time while she waited for Rachel to wake up. Looking at her new friend lying in the bed covered with bruises made her sick to her stomach. No one close to her was safe anymore, at least for the week. Bill was a monster, but had covered himself well. She couldn’t prove anything that would tie him to the atrocious attacks on Tony and Rachel.
The bill was a sham. She’d tried to see it as something she could live with. But it was loosely written so that the zealots could ingratiate their beliefs into law, insist that all Americans conform to their philosophies. Could this really affect the country enough to create a living nightmare for Eve’s world? She had to speak to Eve, she had to learn about Eve’s history. Her future.
Claire couldn’t stop thinking how she might be able to change life for Eve if she kept the power she held as Senator. Or, was that even a problem? If she voted against the bill, would she get the support she needed from enough Senators in her Party to fight Clancy? So many questions. She heard moans coming from Rachel.
Her feet pushed the mocked up foot stool away so she could move her chair closer to the bed. She smiled when Rachel opened her eyes, and could see how the woman was fighting to adjust her sight. She seemed confused, discombobulated.
“Hey.” Claire smiled and stroked her friend’s hair. “Welcome back.” She pushed the call button to summon a nurse.
Rachel put her hand to her head, “Ugh, my head is killing me.”
“No, Rachel. Killing you is out of the question. You’re a tough cookie. Do you remember what happened?”
She closed her eyes to think back, “The brakes wouldn’t work, it was raining.” She swallowed hard. “Could you get me a cocktail? I sure am thirsty.”
“Ha! Sure, let me help you with that.” Claire poured from the water decanter and placed a straw in the plastic cup. “Here, if you have a good imagination, this will taste like a mango flavored Tequila concoction.” She tipped the drink to help Rachel with her fantasy drink.
A nurse came into the room and asked Claire to give her some space with the patient. “Ms. Ross, do you know where you are?”
“Sure I do. Where are my clothes? I need to get out of here.”
Claire and the nurse’s eyes locked, both amused by the comment.
“The doctor will be in soon, we’re going to wait to hear from him.” She reached for Rachel’s arm so she could take her blood pressure. “You sure are lucky, Ms. Ross. And popular. There’s a group of people waiting to see you out in the hall.”
Claire’s phone rang, the display telling her it was Kurt, her detective friend. “Excuse me, I need to take this. Rachel, I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
Out in the hall, she answered his call, “Kurt, I’m at the hospital.”
“Claire, is she awake yet? I need a statement from her.”
“Yes, but the doctor needs to check her out first. Why are you getting involved with this?”
“Claire, we’re friends so I’m going to level with you. Her car was tampered with. This was deliberate. What the hell is going on with your friends? Is there something you want to tell me?”
Claire noticed an employee approaching Rachel’s room. She was rolling a cart full of flowers and a gift box wrapped in bright pink tissue paper. “Kurt, hold on a minute.” She walked over to the lady, and pointing to the box. She asked, “Who brought this? When did this come?”
The young girl seemed frightened by Claire’s anxious tone, “I don’t know, it was on the counter with Ms. Ross’s name on it. So I put it with the other things that came for her.”
“Don’t take these in yet. Could you put the cart over to the side of the hall?” And then to Kurt, “There’s something here that doesn’t feel right, Kurt. I think you need to get down here now, and bring someone who can analyze a package.”
“Coming!” The line went dead.
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