The first thing I remember when I woke up was the bed. It wasn't my bed. Not by a long shot. It felt too hard, too much like plastic. The second thing I remember is the lights. I started to panic, but then I heard his voice. Then my mom's voice. I inspected my surroundings and immediately recognized that I was in the hospital. That explained the bed then.
Olivia realized she was surrounded. Her two best friends, her mom, her dad. Her boyfriend was there too, and it was then that she realized he was holding her hand. She gazed into his eyes and started to say "I love you" but he beat her to it. She smiled and replied with a common joke of theirs "Jinx. I love you too." He kissed her forehead gently and as he pulled away he promised "I have to go to work now. I'll see you when I get out. I love you Pumpkin." He gave her mom a hug goodbye and that's when Olivia began to become alarmed. Her mother and boyfriend had always been close, but they didn't make a habit of being overly affectionate. Something must really be wrong. She read their faces for signs of distress or tears in her loved ones' eyes, but if it was there, they were hiding it well. "Maybe everything is okay then," she reassured herself. Her mom approached the bedside and Olivia rediscovered her ability to speak. "Mom, what's going on? Why am I here?" "I cleaned off the desk in the corner over there. It was a wreck. Reminded me of your old room. Ridiculous." Olivia laughed. "Seriously though, mom, just tell me what's going on?" But her mother ignored her again and instead looked at her father. "Rick, do you remember how bad Olivia's room used to be?" Her father nodded solemnly and her friends laughed. Olivia couldn't laugh. Why were they avoiding her questions? Olivia tried to wave her arms around but couldn't. She was suddenly very tired, so she bid everyone "Good night." and drifted back to sleep.
When Olivia awoke again, it was dark. No one was in the room with her anymore, and she was cold. She pulled the blankets up around her and went back to sleep. As she closed her eyes, she noticed someone in the corner watching her. She could only make out the shadowy silhouette, but she had the feeling that she was being watched. So with now even more goosebumps, she drifted off to sleep.
This time when Olivia woke up, she was warm. Really warm, but only on her left side. She tried to snuggle up to the warm and felt a head. She finally opened her eyes. She was holding a baby. For a second, Olivia couldn't breathe. Whose baby was this? It was swaddled, so she couldn't see its face, and her arms were too weak to try and even see if the baby was a boy or a girl. She heard voices in the hall and recognized them as her parents. They were back! Her mom came in to the room and kissed the top of her head "Good morning sweetheart."
"Good morning, mom. Can you get the doctor? I think this baby is in the wrong room."
But her mother just made her way over to the chair in the corner of the room and curled up and started to read.
"Guys, seriously! There is a BABY in my arms! B-A-B-Y! How are you guys totally oblivious to this whole thing?"
After a couple more days passed, Olivia stopped trying to get her parents to acknowledge the baby. When they were gone, she spent quite a bit of time with the baby. The doctors never came to get it, and she wasn't about to let it starve, so she figured she might as well continue to take care of it. She had realized that the baby was a TK and she had decided to name TK Taylor.
She had given up trying to get her parents to realize anything. It was obvious they were hiding something, but if they wanted to act like nothing was wrong, then that was what she'd do. She'd stopped asking questions, and they were obviously intent on ignoring anything she had to say, so she listened instead. She listened as her parents went on about work, their new car, the dogs. She listened as her boyfriend told her about work and updated her on everything going on with his family. She listened as her best friends chattered on to her about their new dates, and their jobs in particular. But nobody seemed to be listening to her. It hurt, but they were in the room with her, and that's what mattered to her. Knowing they were there. And of course she had the baby for company. Taylor didn't talk back, but at least she had someone to cuddle with. And oh, was TK a good cuddler.
This was getting ridiculous. She still had no idea how long she'd been in the hospital, but she still couldn't move. No one recognized that she was speaking to them, and no one had come for this baby. No one would tell her anything about it, and she was getting a little frustrated. But she was falling in love with this little cuddly ball of loveliness. One thing she didn't understand was how there was always a bottle available when she needed it. Always a diaper nearby with some wipes. Always exactly what she needed to take care of Taylor. She had accepted the fact that maybe, just maybe this was her baby. She didnt' remember being pregnant or having TK or anything, but who knows how long she had been here? Anything could have happened. She was grateful for the time she got to spend with TK though, that was for sure. TK was a beautiful baby. She had started to notice that he had a rather unique birthmark on his jawline. It was just a small line of freckles that appeared as if they could spell something if you connected the dots. She liked to think that if she connected them, it would spell love.
One day, something felt different when she woke up. Taylor wasn't in her arms, and when she opened her eyes, her mom started crying. “Olivia! Oh, thank goodness! Olivia! Richard! Get in here! She's finally awake! Bring a doctor! And call her boyfriend TK!”
“No need! I'm right here! Olivia! Oh, pumpkin, I was so worried about you! I'm so glad you're awake.”
Olivia was confused. But she had grown so accustomed to them not answering her, that she was almost afraid to speak. When she did, she couldn't control the words that she spoke. “Where's Taylor?”
Everyone in the room stopped and gave her a puzzled look. “Who's Taylor, sweetheart?” asked her father.
“Taylor. The baby. Where's the baby?”
“Honey, there's no baby. What baby are you talking about?” asked her mom. “There was a woman in here before that was pregnant, but they took her away when it was time for her to have the baby. They only had her in here on bedrest”
“Honey, you've been in a coma for a year. You've always had very vivid dreams though.”
So that explained why they never answered her. That explained why they didn't even seem to hear her. Because they couldn't hear her. Weird that she had been able to hear them though. How had she been so aware and yet so passed out? She didn't know. But she did know that Taylor felt like more than just a dream. TK had seemed so real. She could still feel his hair on her arm. Hell, she could still smell him. That smell, like soap and honey, and she could still imagine the feeling of his soft hair and skin against her nose. She was so sure he was real. Her family was right, she had always had extremely vivid dreams, but this seemed different. She could sense that they were tired of hearing about it though, and they were all starting to look at her like she was crazy. Not that they didn't have patience for her of course, she was sure that they did. But she couldn't get Taylor out of her mind. She stopped talking about TK for her family's sanity, but when she went home, she dreamt that she was searching for him. High and low. Every night in her dreams, she returned to the hospital and asked the doctor for answers. Every night, she dreamt she was wandering the streets of an unfamiliar city. She dreamt that she was knocking on doors. Any house that appeared it would be a good place to raise a child. She banged on the door. She was glad she only dreamed this though, because she knew that if she were to try this approach in real life, she would be hauled back to the hospital but that this time she would be placed in the mental ward. And that wouldn't help her find Taylor.
She returned to her job. She continued picking up her house, spending time with her boyfriend, even continued her Thursday evening wine and movie nights with her friends. But she couldn't shake it. She avoided spending time with her friends' children. Kids she had always loved, but now it was too painful to be around them. She knew they missed her though, at least the ones that were old enough to remember her, so she perservered, but every smile, laugh and hug just reminded her of Taylor. It was very strange to have such strong feelings about an imaginary baby from her dreams. She had no children, she had never even been pregnant. Her boyfriend and her had discussed having kids, but not for a few more years. They had just established themselves in their own home and had gotten good enough jobs to support their current lifestyle. The closest to children they had come was their dog. And she still loved her dog. She still took him out to play and took him for walks. Hell, she even dreamed that she was taking her dog with her on these night-long searches for Taylor. The dog knew something was up, wouldn't leave her side and was attached to her hip even more than usual. What was really odd was that the dog kept sniffing her stomach. Instead of curling up next to Olivia on the couch, the dog would try and climb into her lap. Always with its nose near Olivia's stomach. As if even the dog knew what was going on.
Then one night, Olivia had a nightmare. She was back in the hospital. She hadn't walked there like in her previous dreams. In this one, she was back in her hospital room. But this time, she saw two doctors talking in the hallway outside her window. She couldn't make out what they were saying, but they were poring over test results and the only word she heard was the word “positive”. What could that mean?
“Liv are you okay?” asked Lucy, one of her best friends. “Yeah, I guess. I'm just not really feeling this baby shower today.” Olivia could tell Lucy was trying hard not to roll her eyes. “Is this still about that dream you had in the hospital?” Olivia took a deep breath before answering. She wanted to scream at Lucy that it wasn't a dream. It had never seemed like a dream to her, and she didn't understand why no one would listen to her. It almost seemed like she was in the coma again. She would rather them not acknowledge anything she was saying than deny what she was feeling. This was much, much worse. But instead, the words she found coming out of her mouth were “Yeah, it must be. Plus I think I'm PMSing, so …” Lucy cut her off. “You have to go Liv, this is TK we're talking about. You've known her since middle school. The only reason I'M friends with her is because of you. Plus it's her first child. How could you not go?” “I know,” sighed Olivia. “Look, I'll be right back okay? I just have to go to the bathroom real quick. Then I'll be ready to go.” “Ready to go? Liv, you're still in you're pajamas. How can you be ready to go?” “Alright! Then I'm going to go to the bathrooom, THEN I'll go get dressed, and THEN we'll go. Will that make you happy? Give. Me. A. Second.”
“Liv, I-” “Lucy. I am begging you to just give me a second.” seethed Olivia. And she slammed the bathroom door behind her.
How could she NOT go? How COULD she go? How could Lucy not see what this was doing to her? She washed her face and brushed her hair and was putting some mascara on when she heard her phone go off. Three train whistles. TK's ringtone. She picked up her phone and saw a text. “Lucy texted and told me you're having a meltdown. Honey, I never expected you to come to the baby shower. I completely understand if you need to stay home. Don't let Lucy guilt trip you. She just doesn't want to show up by herself. I gave her explicit instructions that if that was the case, then she didn't need to come either. I'll see you Thursday night unless you need someone to talk to sooner. I love you.”
Olivia walked out of the bathroom and Lucy was gone. 'Nice to see she stuck around to comfort me' Olivia lamented. She sighed and grabbed her dog's leash. “Let's go for a walk, buddy”. When she turned around to walk out the door, it opened and in stepped Lucy. “I'm so sorry Liv. I should have listened. TK texted me too, but I'm sure yours was a bit nicer than mine. I grabbed us some munchies and a bottle of wine. I should have listened before, but I'm ready to listen now.”
Olivia smiled “Let's save the wine and grab some bottles of water instead. The pup's already ready for a walk, care to join?” “Of course.”
The girls headed down the main road that Olivia's road connected to. Olivia usually took TK to the park in the center of town, but today, she felt compelled to go to a park further away. When they got there, she saw a woman pushing a stroller around the track that surrounded the playground. Lucy held Olivia's shoulder lightly and tugged her back. “Are you sure you want to go in there Liv? We can turn around and head back if you want. We can take TK to the dog park instead, I'm sure he'd like that, wouldn't you buddy?” “No, I'm good. I can do this. Let's go sit on the swings like we used to. We'll sit on the swings like when we were kids and we'll eat the snacks you bought.”
Really she wanted an opportunity to talk to the woman with the stroller. Or at least observe her. There was something so familiar about her, but until Olivia got closer, she couldn't be sure. It could just be the stroller messing with her head.
Lucy couldn't believe that Olivia wanted to go to the park. She wasn't sure Liv was emotionally strong enough, but Olivia was headstrong. There was no talking her down from anything once she made up her mind. There was something weird about this lady though. Lucy couldn't put her finger on it, but there was something familiar about her. Something that seemed like she shouldn't be walking around a park. Like she should be in a hospital somewhere. Like she had been in a hospital. Then it occurred to her, the woman at the park was the woman that had been in the hospital bed next to Olivia's when Olivia was in the hospital.
The woman had been on bedrest, that was the story the hospital had given her family. Olivia couldn't place the time that the woman had been there, she couldn't recall. But she was fairly sure that this was the same woman. What an odd coincidence. Also odd that Olivia would be drawn to her when she had been avoiding even the word 'baby' since she had come home from the hospital.
Olivia didn't want to be creepy. It wasn't like she was just going to come right out and tell this woman that she was so sure she knew her from somewhere. So instead, she positioned herself on a park bench nearby and waited for the woman to walk by. But the woman made one last loop around the track and veered in the other direction. Away from the bench where Olivia was. 'Oh well,' she realized 'I'm still so messed up after waking up from my coma that there's nothing I wouldn't doubt my crazy brain coming up with.' She didn't want to admit that she was wrong, so she dismissed the feeling that she had had, but didn't tell Lucy about it. Instead, she motioned for Lucy to come over with the bag of snacks.
It really was quite a lovely day, and so they continued to sit in the park and enjoy their snacks while TK played in the woodchips and chased squirrels.
A couple of days later, while Olivia was at work, her boss' assistant called her. “Miss Reid, TK would like to speak with you in his office”. Olivia had only been back to work for a few weeks. What could she possibly have done? She trudged down the hall, trailing behind the assistant. This was nearly as dreadful as waking up in a hospital room. And of course, the assistant hadn't had the decency to be discrete, so the entire office, all of Olivia's coworkers, watched as she walked by their desks. Their eyebrows tilted, their ears pricked, and their mouths pursed in curiosity. Not because they were concerned for Olivia's welfare of course. Only because it could be used in water cooler gossip. Plus, if Olivia got fired, that was just one less competitor to worry about. One less paper that could someday be pricked from the pile for a promotion.
When the assistant opened the door to the office, Olivia's heart sunk. But her boss didn't look mad. On the contrary, there was sadness in his eyes, as if he despised what he had to do.
“I'm sorry Olivia, I don't mean to scare you, but as you know, we have a very strict policy about using official company emails for anything but official company business. Periodically, the 'men upstairs' we'll call them, do a check through all emails written from the employee accounts and it has come to our attention that you have written quite a few to the local hospital regarding your stay there. Now, I'm sure that you did this to perhaps make an impression and make your emails more likely to be read, but this misuse of company resources is a very serious infringement. We are aware that your recent leave of absence was beyond your control, but it was very unexpected nevertheless, and you are still sort of on a bit of a probationary period now, and this infraction can not be ignored. I am afraid we are going to have to let you go. Please pack your things.”
Olivia was dumbfounded as she packed up her desk. She didn't even remember writing any emails. But what she did remember was triggered by her boss. In her dreams, where she was trying to find Taylor, she had used her work email to get answers. And just like her boss insinuated, she had done this because she had hoped it would get her a response quicker. She logged on to her work computer for what would now be the last time, and checked her outgoing emails. Sure enough, there were dozens of emails to the hospital. Now she was concerned. If she had really sent these emails, what else had she done in her sleep? How far had she really gone in her dreams to save this dream baby? But what was more alarming was the responses she had gotten from the hospital. Or rather the lack thereof. She had gotten a couple of standard responses telling her to go through the proper channels and to make sure she was emailing the correct department. And there were a few more that blatantly stating that she had reached the wrong department and that she should try again (none telling her WHAT the right department was). But not one single response that directly addressed her. Not one single response that couldn't have been written by a robot.
When she got home, she asked her boyfriend if had noticed anything unusual about her sleep patterns or if he had noticed her missing in the middle of the night or anything odd. He admitted that he had woken up and noticed her missing a couple of times, but assumed that she was in the bathroom and went back to sleep. She asked him if he ever searched for her and he stated that he hadn't bothered. The hospital had explained to him that there was a chance that she would have an overly active bladder once she got home because the medications that they were going to put her on would make her very thirsty. That was it! The medication! She had taken them like clockwork without ever really questioning what they were for. She just figured it was standard medication that they gave recovering coma patients. She googled the names of the medications and found out that there were not only medications for post-coma patients, but also medications like TK meant for women who had undergone a miscarriage
Olivia was on a mission now. She couldn't believe that there was more to this story than what she knew. She now knew without a doubt that they were hiding something from her. They were avoiding her, they weren't answering her calls, they weren't answering her emails, they wouldn't even send the doctor out when she went to the hospital. Every time she went now, she asked for the doctor who had been attending to her while she was in her coma and every single time, they brushed her away and insisted he wasn't working that shift that day. Hard to believe that he never worked. She needed to get to the bottom of this. She would never stop having nightmares about Taylor. She had to know if the baby was hers. Or more importantly if the baby was even real. She couldn't get over the feeling that the baby just had to be real. Even if the baby wasn't hers, she had to have seen the baby somewhere. Maybe she had walked by the baby and its mother in a grocery store and for some reason it stuck in her subconscious. She could never be sure until she had answers. Right now all she had were instincts, but she knew she could do better.
Olivia knew her boyfriend had to be sick of her not getting any sleep at night. Since they had figured out that she was sleepwalking around the city in search of this baby, they had gotten new locks for the door. Every night, it had a different code set by her boyfriend and he changed it every night so that on the off chance she figured it out one night, it wouldn't be the same the next night. They even posted signs around the apartment to try and wake her up. It seemed silly, but it was just another step in their attempts to stop the craziness that was Olivia's supposed dreams. They had clearly become nightmares, and Olivia couldn't believe that this was all after effects of the coma. There was something more to this, and Olivia would get to the bottom of it even if nobody else would believe in her. She wished she had some support, but she was going to continue on this mission with or without it. But she just couldn't stand the looks that her friends and family kept giving her. Day after day, she got worse, and her loved ones, friends, and family just kept losing more and more hope in her every day.
Lucy was starting to think that maybe Olivia was on to something. She had gone to get some Tylenol for a headache she was having while she was at Olivia's house and noticed a bottle in Olivia's medicine cabinet for a medication that was immediately familiar to her. Lucy couldn't figure out why until she went home and searched her own medicine cabinet. A few months ago, Lucy's stepmother had had a miscarriage, and the doctor prescribed her some medications when she went home to help her body recover from the miscarriage. The miscarriage had left her stepmom very weak and constantly tired, so Lucy had gone to the pharmacy to fill her prescriptions a few times. That was why she recognized the name on the bottle in Olivia's medicine cabinet. But why would they give that kind of medication to Olivia? That didn't make any sense. But it did mesh up with the dreams and nightmares and paranoid musings that Olivia had been having since she left the hospital. Had Olivia miscarried? Is that what put her in the hospital? It was too weird to ponder, but it wasn't impossible to think that Olivia could have been pregnant. But why wouldn't she have called Lucy? Or their other friend? Why wouldn't she have been excited enough about such news to give it to her two best friends in the whole world? Unless Olivia hadn't known. That was entirely possible. But if the hospital hadn't even revealed to Olivia that she was pregnant, what else could they have been hiding? Lucy would have to ask Olivia's mom if they had mentioned anything to her. But if they hadn't even notified next of kin, then this could be a lot darker that Lucy had feared. Maybe they really were hiding Olivia's baby from her. Or maybe they had somehow tapped into Olivia's brain to make her think that she had been pregnant? Lucy was freaking out now, and she needed a drink. She wanted to go over to Olivia's house and drink some wine with her friend at her house where they could talk this all out. But should Olivia even be having alcohol? Maybe it was a good thing they hadn't touched that bottle of wine the day they went to the park. Who knows what kind of effects that could have had on Olivia? She would have to warn Olivia about her medications in case she didn't know. But she would have to warn her somewhere private. If Olivia was part of some convoluted medical experiment, they could have Olivia's apartment bugged. Which meant that they would have known every time Olivia got up and was sleep walking. And if she in any way signalled her intentions when she was going to the hospital, they would have been able to hide away the doctor that Olivia was looking for. Although if this was really high profile, he was probably already in another country anyway. But they probably would have had her cell phone tracked anyway, so they probably knew where she was all the time anyway.
“Honey, you've got to believe me. There is something going on here.” Olivia pleaded with her boyfriend. His eyes were pleading back at her, exasperated, and he reached out to touch her hair. “I'm sorry I can't believe you sweetheart. But I didn't see what you're seeing. I didn't have those dreams. All I did was sit by your bedside and hold your hand and wait for you to wake up. If I had seen anything else in that hospital that could be any use to us now, I would tell you. I want to help you solve this. But I feel like you might as well be trying to find a unicorn.”
Just then, the doorbell rang. Then there was pounding. Then Lucy's voice. “Liv! Liv! Open the door! We need to talk! I believe you! Well.. kind of. Just open the door!”
“I'm coming! I'm coming!” yelled Olivia's boyfriend.
“Oh my goodness! Where's Liv? I really need to speak to her!”
“She's in the back bedroom. I know you need to talk to her, you already made that abundantly clear to us as well as all our neighbors. What's going on?”
“Come on. You should hear this too.”
Lucy took a deep breath and sighed as she explained everything. “Liv, do you remember the lady in the park? With the stroller?”
“Of course I do, how could I forget?”
“Well, that woman was in the hospital at the same time you were. She was in the bed next to you, they had her on bedrest, and when she was ready to have her baby, they took her into another room.”
“Is this bit of information really so important that you had to come bother her with this Lucy? You know how much it stresses her out to think about her time in the hospital. Never mind thinking aobut a pregnant woman. Why would you do this to her?” asked Olivia's boyfriend.
“Because there's a reason. Now Liv, listen. One of the medications that they have you on. I went into your bathroom to get some Tylenol the other day and I recognized the label on one of them. It's the same medication they had my stepmom on after she lost the baby. Think about it Liv, why would they possibly have you on this medication? And why on earth would a pregnant woman be put in the same room as a coma patient? That doesn't make any sense Liv! I'm so sorry I didn't believe you before, but I really think they're connected somehow. I don't know if I can be of any use, but I want to help you. I want to help you find your dream baby. I'm so sorry for all the lack of support before.”
The question now was how they were going to go about doing this sort of thing. They had been trying to do all the detective work on their own and so far it wasn't really getting them anywhere. They couldn't afford a lawyer, and they didn't have enough evidence to attract a pro bono lawyer. They would just have to keep digging. Olivia was glad that at least now she had Lucy on her side. And Lucy's determination that Olivia was right was helping Olivia's boyfriend support the cause. He still wasn't completely convinced, but he knew how babies were made, and knew that it was entirely possible that they had accidentally gotten pregnant. But this whole thing about there being a conspiracy and that the hospital had stolen their baby or experimented on his girlfriend seemed just a tad bit far fetched. He didn't quite buy it, but the girls seemed to think there was something in it, so he was going to go with it.
That weekend, they went to the hospital one more time. For some reason, Olivia felt drawn to the maternity ward. Olivia's boyfriend didn't think it was such a good idea, but Lucy seemed to think that maybe there would be some clues or maybe Olivia would remember something. They walked by the newborns and nothing seemed to spark anything. But then they wandered down into the section of the hospital where Olivia had been and when they got to the room where Olivia had stayed, she started to feel faint. They sat her down for a second, and after checking to make sure there was no one in the hallway, Olivia laid down on the bed to catch her breath. It was then that they got worried. Olivia's face turned white as the sheets of the hospital bed, and she gasped for air a couple of times before catching her breath and returning to a normal breathing pace.
As soon as Olivia laid down on the hospital bed where she had spent so much time, she remembered something. One of those nights, where she was taking care of Taylor. She had seen someone watching her. She hadn't been able to make it out much then, but she laid there and tried really really hard to remember. She focused on the eyes, and started to realize some clarity in the figure's silhouette. It was definitely a woman, she realized. She couldn't quite tell, but she had the feeling that maybe this was the woman that Lucy had mentioned. The woman from the park. The woman who had been in Olivia's hospital room on bedrest. The woman was holding her belly, though it wasn't protruding. Sort of like a woman does when she first finds out she's pregnant. She can't see any evidence or physical feeling, but she knows her baby is in there, growing. Exactly the kind of thing Olivia was sure she would have done had she had the opportunity to find out she was pregnant. This woman was glowing with the knowledge of new life inside her. Olivia wondered why she would remember seeing this woman holding her belly before she was visibly pregnant. Lucy and her family observed that the woman that stayed in her room was very very pregnant and was in fact only there about a week before they took her to the maternity ward. So why would she have been in Olivia's room before then? And yet, Olivia could clearly remember seeing this.
She shot up. “Guys! Lucy! She was in here before!”
“Who was Liv?”
“The lady from the park. She was in my room, watching me sleep. Before she was pregnant. But she was holding her belly. The way women hold their bellies when they know they're pregnant even though you can't visibly tell that they are pregnant.”
“Why would she have been in your room that long before we saw her in here? And why in the middle of the night? And are you sure she was watching you sleep?”
“Yes, I'm sure. And I have no idea why she would have been in here in the middle of the night like that. It has to mean something. It has to be a clue to finding Taylor.”
“Or it's just a coincidence.” exclaimed Olivia's boyfriend. “And even if it is not a coincidence, there's no way that we can prove this. What are we going to tell the hospital? That Olivia had a flashback from her coma? They are not going to buy that. Not from someone who was so very recently in a coma. Then they will really think she is nuts.”
Olivia gaped at her boyfriend in disbelief. “I can not believe you are being so negative. This is huge, babe, is it really that hard for you to back me up on this?”
“Honey, I am backing you up. I just want you to realize what you are up against. I want you to see that they are already trying to cover up something. I know that. You know that. Lucy knows that. Surely someone else out there knows that. But if we only have your dreams and instincts to go on, we are not going to get very far. They are not going to stop trying to cover this up. We need something more concrete. The good news is, I have an idea. Come on.”
Olivia and Lucy made eye contact and gave each other a questioning glance and then they turned to Olivia's boyfriend, but he was already heading on his way out the door. He clearly was trying to help, so it was worth following him to see where this 'idea' of his was leading. They followed him out the door. When the reached the end of the hallway, he put up his finger to stop them. He started walking towards the desk for the floor they were on and leaned in to the nurse on duty and asked her if a nurse by the name of &&Name &&name was available. The nurse shook her head no, and stated quite plainly that that particular staff member did not work on that day but that they would be on duty the next night. Olivia's boyfriend nodded, thanked the woman, and walked back towards Olivia and Lucy, who were still waiting around the corner.
“My uncle's ex girlfriend works here, and she always seemed to like me. Actually, she always seemed to like everyone in my family. Except for my uncle, evidently. I know we can trust her to help us. She's a kind soul. She's one of those people who works in the medical field because she truly cares about helping people. I know she will not be able to say no to helping us find some answers. We will get to the bottom of this baby, I know you think I'm working against you, but I promise that I want to find the answers you're looking for just as much as you do. I love you, and we're in this together. I promise.”
Lucy pretended to gag a little but smiled. Olivia sometimes forgot how much she loved her boyfriend. He was such a sweetheart when he wanted to be.
When they got home, Olivia's boyfriend took their dog for a walk and Olivia settled in to a nice hot bubble bath. She needed to relax a little. She tried to put some music on, but the radio was irritating her because of all the commercials. So she grabbed a hand towel and dried her hand off so she could change the dial. But before she did, a news announcement caught her attention. It was about a doctor in California who had been caught doing illegal research with surrogates. He took people who had genuine fertility issues and were honestly trying to have children and tricked them. He also was imposing his religious beliefs on unwed couples. The man was tracking down women who came in for innocent procedures and tests and running pregnancy tests on them. He was suspected of placing any unwed women into comas to steal their babies, placing them in surrogates, and lying to everyone about the whole situation. Olivia gasped.
Olivia’s brain worked best when she was busy. This was something that was going to require more time inside her own head than any decision she had ever made. So she cleaned. She cleaned everything. Who knew that there were so many expired foods in her refrigerator? She certainly hadn’t. But she knew now. She threw out about half the contents of the bottom shelf of their pantry. It was the shelf that was never used, as evidenced by the fact that she had to throw away so much of it.
There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. “I'm sorry buddy. Really and truly I am.” Olivia poised herself for the puppy dog eyes she was sure to get from her four-legged best friend. “I've just got too much on my plate today buddy. We've got to get to the bottom of this. Not to mention the weather outside is horrible.”
And it was. It was just the sort of day to deal with such a heavy issue. The rain pounded at her door. It was raining sideways as well as down, and the clouds showed no breaks. They were think and heavy, mirroring the pavement on the road outside her house.
Today they were going to take her pregnant friend to the hospital to gain some sympathy and also to pose as potential candidates for this shady program they were trying to gain information about. It was actually a week past her friend's due date, but fortunately she was still actually pregnant. Not that Olivia was proud to be flaunting her best friend as a pawn in this craziness that had become her life, but she had to figure this out, and to do that, she had to use what resources she had. Besides, if her friend felt like a pawn, she hadn't made it known. She had jumped at the opportunity to help out.
At this point they were convinced that the doctor she had heard about from California had either somehow transferred to their hospital (maybe under a separate identity?) Or had passed his work on to someone who did work at their hospital. They had to find the connection between the doctor in the news and the doctor who had worked with Olivia. But first, they had to talk to the doctor. They had gotten the name of Olivia's doctor, and when they searched the directory, they had tracked down all of the obstetricians who also worked at the hospital. They had found a connection between her doctor and one of them. They had gone to m