Vanished (102)

Laura Gardner peeked her fading blonde head through the doorway of Annette’s hospital room to see her son and daughter-in-law sleeping peacefully. Of course, being a proud new grandmother, she could not do anything but wake them up and demand to see their precious little bundle of joy.

“Hello you two! Wake up! I want to see my new granddaughter!” said Laura as she gently prodded the two sleeping parents.

Annette and Redmond stirred, opening their eyes pleasantly. “You made it Laura! Oh I’m so glad! I felt so bad we couldn’t get a hold of you before she came. It was kind of sudden, I’m sure you know…”

“Oh that’s fine dear, that’s fine. I took Frank out to get some new shirts and we just missed the call! And Elaine, well, I’m not sure where she was…Anyway, Frank’s parking the car. I couldn’t wait another minute to meet my grandchild!”

As the words left Laura’s mouth, a frantic Dr. Rainier entered. His face had contorted into a ball of worry, brimming with perspiration. “Mr. Gardner, Mrs. Gardner, I, well, I don’t know how to tell you this, but–”

“Oh my God, is she dea–” stammered Annette

The doctor was as confused as she was. “Mrs. Gardner, Olivia was…she was taken. Last night. One of the nurses–”

Redmond jumped to his feet, throwing his hands on the doctor’s shoulders. “What do you mean taken, Rainier? You mean to another unit, I hope to God!”

The doctor choked up slightly. “Our cameras caught Nurse Holiday exiting the hospital last night with something in her arms. One of the other nurses checked the nursery this morning, and, well, we’re certain it was Olivia…and she left you this.”

The doctor handed Redmond an envelope with his name written in the all-too-familiar extravagant handwriting of Samantha Flint.

***

As Samantha Flint sat comfortably on her private jet, she gazed at Olivia like a fine old painting. She was a beautiful creation, but much too fragile to touch. She placed her hand atop the glass dome that surrounded the newborn, and her heart began to grow for the child that could not breathe on its own.

“You know, Oli, I told you yesterday I always wanted a little girl all my own. A little girl whose hair I could brush, go shopping with, paint nails with…all the things my mother never did with me. We’ll be happy together, you and me.”

Foley entered the cabin. “Samantha, will you tell me just how the hell you pulled this off? I mean, you can’t exactly walk into a hospital and just pretend to be a nurse, then take a baby!”

Samantha rose and walked towards the fat little man and placed a red-nailed hand on his face. “Foley, you should know me better than that by now! I’m kind of insulted that you don’t remember my Ladies Television Network prime-time special Night Nurse: On Call. I was very good in it, really. Everyone said so.”

“Just because you were in some two-bit cheap-ass movie doesn’t mean you’re a medical professional!”

Samantha threw her head back and laughed. “Watch your mouth, Foley! There’s a child present! And of course it does! I just stood around with a clipboard scribbling notes and threw my hair in bun! That, and I had to wear those God-awful clogs…”

Foley began to pace. “Fine, fine, you’re a damn good actress. Whatever. Mind telling me how you managed a private jet to South America?”

“Let’s just say, Foley dear, I know the pilot very well, and that he owed me a favor or two so that his wife doesn’t find out about our, um…friendship. That, and my father’s bank account is never empty.”

“But what are you going to do once we get there? I mean, you, of all people, don’t exactly blend in with everyday people.”

Samantha flipped her hair. “Watch me.”

END

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