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Chapter 6: Hired

“Have you gotten a job yet?” Chuck asked Jamie. Jamie gave him a cold look, a look that expressed her response without words: “How dare you ask that? I offered to get a job as a favor to you because you’re too busy with that private investigator and finding your screwball mother. You should be thankful! People like me don't get menial jobs. People like me, especially in their last days, get pampered by others who get job in order to afford the pampering that people like me get. Okay?”

Chuck didn't quite understand that deep meaning in Jamie's eyes. “So, the job. Did you get one?”

“You're lucky you're smart at trivial school stuff,” she replied, containing her pent-up anger. “You're an idiot when in comes to important things like conversation.”

Miles entered. He looked at his brother and his brother's fiancée sitting together at the table staring intently into each other’s eyes. “I should leave,” he said. “Staring intently into each other's eyes means that you either just finished having sex or are preparing to go at it within the next few minutes. Either way, this house is dirty. I should get a good five miles away.”

“School over already?”

“School ended about an hour ago. Allison is at the hospital with Drake and the coma guy, obviously. She asked me to ask you if the private investigator has any information regarding Carmen Cortez.”

Chuck shook his head. “I haven't heard from her in two days. She left for France in search of mom. I'm guessing she couldn't find her. I knew we'd get an incompetent investigator. Her monotone voice made me think she was good, but any good investigator would have found our mother by now. Mom could be right behind Donna and she wouldn't even notice.”

“Has Jamie gotten a job yet?” The way Miles changed the subject put a sarcastic smile on Chuck's face.

“No I haven't,” she replied for herself.

“Great,” Miles replied. “You can take something to the hospital for me. I've seen the come guy enough times for one week. Allison forgot her homework.”

“I guess it's better than hanging around here.” Jamie got up, took the textbook from Miles, grabbed Chuck's car keys and left towards the hospital.

The streets of Hyde's Park were quiet. The streets were usually quiet, but there was usually at least some form of life on it. In the past hour that Gary had been surveying the street, no one—absolutely no one—had passed by. “They fear me,” Gary lied to himself. The best part was that Gary actually believed his own lie. “That's why no one's coming through here. They're all taking the back roads just to avoid me. Yeah. I'm that good.”

Finally, after an unearthly length of time alone, a red Ford pick-up truck started coming up the street. The driver was clearly speeding, which put a smile on Gary's face. Gary flipped the lights on the squad car on and the red vehicle immediately pulled over. Gary was disappointed. He was revved up for a chase.

Gary stepped out of the squad car as the driver of the other vehicle rolled down the window. “Hey,” Gary began. “I know you. You played football for Central High School. You gave Hyde's Park the biggest ass kicking I'd ever seen. They call you the Devil, right?”

“Only my prey calls be the Devil,” he explained. “You and I. We can be friends. You see, I understand that we have a common annoyance. The first day I transferred to Hyde's Park High School, this kid Miles Westin gets on my bad side. Now I hear that he had a rival in you before you dropped out.”

“I'm above petty high school squabbles.”

“Really? I heard you still have connections to the school. More specifically, you have the dean of medicine reporting everything Miles and his friend Allison do directly to you. I don't know why. I heard it from the janitor. But what could those two be doing that has you so interested. Could it be because of the coma guy on the third floor?”

“What those two are doing is none of your business,”

“I'll make it my business, officer. You and me. We could make a good team. The good doctor won't tell you everything. I'll get you the down low. How about it?”

“I don't make deals with the Devil. Get lost.”

Meanwhile, Allison was getting impatient with Drake. “We should be watching the coma guy!”

“It's not that the man doesn't deserve his share of treatment, Allison, On the contrary, he probably gets more treatment than any other patient here since most of the chronic patients were moved to Providence. However, we still have other patients here and they deserve treatment as well. Not to mention the fact that he's in a coma. I don't think he's going to do anything any time soon that we need someone there at every second to watch him. Besides, his sister hasn't left his side in almost two weeks. That has to count for something.”

“The investigation is on a standstill. That investigator Donna Murphy hasn't contacted the Westins in two days now. Who knows who Carmen Cortez is! I don't know. I'm not going to know unless Donna gets back here with that information. Speaking of polar shifts, have you had any strange visions lately?”

“It wasn't really a vision,” Drake replied. “I just saw the lightning coming down before anyone else. Like time slowed and I was able to react.”

“Whatever you call it, have you had one?”

“No. Maybe it was just a one-time deal?”

“What was a one-time deal?” Jamie's voice could be heard from the elevator as she stepped out, all the way at the other end of the hallway. “How lucky was it that I found you guys so quickly? It's a pretty big place and honestly, dead people creep me out.”

Drake felt an uncontrollable urge to correct her. “The purpose of a hospital is to prevent death whenever possible.”

“You haven't been to the second floor recently, have you,” she inquired. “It's like a symphony of flat lines down there. The janitor is doing something about it though. Oh, Allison. Miles wanted me to bring you your homework, but I left it in the car.”

“I'll get it,” she sighed as she took the keys from Jamie's hands.

The blonde woman returned to her conversation with the dean of medicine. “So you look after the coma guy for Allison and Miles, right?”

“I get enough coma guy talk from Allison. I'd appreciate it if we could talk about something else for once.”

“How about your precognitive vision of lightning?”

“Not that either.”

“Well I'm looking for a job. You wouldn't happen to know anyplace that's hiring, would you?”

“As a matter of fact...” he stopped himself as he hurried over to speak with a woman in a red suit. Jamie watched intently as the two exchanged words back and forth. The woman seemed defensive in the conversation while Drake was wholeheartedly insistent. The woman argued back in opposition to whatever Drake was insisting upon, but eventually seemed to relent. Drake returned to Jamie was a broad smile and twinkle in his eye. “You're in luck. A receptionist position just opened up.”

Jamie swiveled her head to see the woman in the red suit walk off down the stairs angry. She shrugged and returned to Drake's offer. “I'd be honored Dr. Sarkassian.”

Drake and Jamie smiled together as they stared silently into each other's eyes. The only thing that managed to snap them out of their pseudo-trance was Allison waving her hands in between their faces. “Guys! Wake up! Geez, what did I miss while I was gone?”

“Nothing.” Drake replied as turned around. “If you'll excuse me ladies, I have rounds to make. No one else is doing them, apparently. Allison, you might want to go home. I don't want you to get behind in your homework. Jamie, you start tomorrow morning.”

Chuck was all alone at home and the boredom was quickly getting to him. “Agh! I hate this! This is where I would usually watch a porno or something!”

“The walls have ears Mr. Westin,” Donna said as she came into the room. Her surprise entrances were no longer surprising Chuck. “You never know who's on the other side.”

“Well you shouldn't be.”

“Nevertheless, I was,” she replied with a level of coyness that interested Chuck, who had only heard her use a monotone voice for everything. “Before you ask, no I have not located your mother. Like Jamie pointed out before my departure, the Thames and Rhine rivers do not meet anywhere. I did find out that Andrea Westin did stay at a Holiday Inn Express in Normandy before she decided to teach skydiving.”

“I get it.”

“Get what?”

“The joke.”

“What joke?”

“That wasn't a—never mind.”

“Anyways, she purchased a ticket on the Orient Express. Instead of tailing her on every stop she's going to make, I will meet up with her when she arrives at her final stop, which should be in Vienna, Austria in about two weeks. I'll be in town until then, so feel free to ask anything of me until then.”

“What about Carmen Cortez?”

“Allison Dreary should learn to investigate herself a little better. That was almost a complete waste of my time. If she had bothered to even go to school, she would know that her new vice principal is a man named Carmen Cortez. Yes, a man. Pass the information onto Miles and Allison for me. I have a hotel to get to.”

“Hotel? Why don't you just stay here?” Chuck was surprised that he even suggested such a thing, and was partially hoping that Donna would politely refuse the offer.

Of course, Donna never did anything politely and never said anything that was pleasing to Chuck's ears. “Mr. Westin that is a terrific offer. I would love to stay here until I leave to find your missing mother. I don't have many things so I can a small room.”

“Jamie and I are in my mother's room, so you can have my old room, I suppose.” The words were so hard for Chuck to get out as it was even harder to watch Donna get herself acquainted with her new home for the next few weeks.

A few more hours passed. It wasn't too dark outside, but Donna was already fast asleep in her new bed upstairs. Miles and Allison were the first to come in through the front door. “Allison's staying over,” Miles told his brother authoritatively.

“That statement is so ironic, little brother,” he replied solemnly. “Donna is staying over as well, except it's for a little more that just one night.”

“The private investigator is back?!” Allison yelled expectantly. “What did she say about Carmen Cortez?”

“He's the new vice principal at your school. Never mind that now. Jamie might not be too terrible okay with the thought Donna staying. She gets so jealous when I'm even glancing at another girl. I can only imagine what she's think when she finds out that I asked another girl to live with me!”

“Ask her,” Miles interrupted. “She walked in about a minute ago. I was going to tell you, but then that wouldn't have been as funny.”

“Jamie! Before you say anything-”

“It's okay,” she replied. “As long as she's in a different room, it's fine with me. Besides, we can afford her. I got a job at the hospital. Drake says he'll pay me as much as he possibly could and he's the boss, so that means he can pay me a lot. I am tired. I'm going to bed. Okay Chuck?”

“Yeah. Okay.” Jamie bid the rest of the family a good night while but of the Westin brothers had confused expressions on their faces. They were expecting an explosion. Only Allison was laughing. “Come on,” she urged Miles. “If Ms. Murphy is right, our first lead will be waiting for us at school tomorrow morning.”

Morning seemed to come sooner than any other day for Allison, expectant to grill the new assistant principal for information regarding the Polar Shift. Even Miles was partially interested. The fact that the investigation wouldn't impede his school day increased his interest in solving the ever-growing mystery. Across the hall, Jamie had a good night sleep, but her fiancée next to her had less than three hours of sleep. Jamie's acceptance of Donna worried him to no end. He was glad to see that his old room was empty with Donna nowhere to be found. He had to take solace in that since her stuff was still in the room.

“Breakfast,” Miles told Allison. She pouted in response. “No,” he ordered. “The world won't end for another eleven months or so. I think we have time to eat some Pop Tarts or something. Relax. He'll still be there when we get there a little later. Besides, I'm kind of trying to avoid a certain Devil right now.”

“Scared. I know he can beat you with both hands tied behind his back, but fear has never gotten to you like that before.”

“Ross?” Not him. I guess my description was a little misleading. I meant Ashley Brock. She can fall into a wood chipper for all I care.”

“Nice.”

Allison begrudgingly waited for Miles to finish his breakfast. He was purposely taking his time in selecting the perfect Pop Tart and took much longer than usual to consume it. Finally, Allison lost her patience and began to drag Miles out of the house and into her car. “No. My car. My rules. We're leaving now.” Miles shrugged and conceded to Allison’s demands and the two headed off for school.

“Okay. Assistant Principal. Where would we find one of those?”

Miles sighed in disappointment. “Front office, maybe?”

Allison led the way. Miles uncaringly followed. “Principal Ling. I heard we have a new Assistant Principal. We need to see him right now.”

“Just for the record,” Miles interjected. “I really don't care. I'm here more as the encouraging gal pal. Still, I really an interesting in the response however serious or humorous it is. Please, bring out Mr. Cortez.”

“I don't know what you two are babbling about, but you, Mr. Westin, have better things to do than lollygag with Allison Dreary.”

“What's going on?” Tony asked as he stepped out of his office. “I thought I heard my name.”

“You! Are you or are you not Carmen Cortez?”

“I prefer Tony.”

“That wasn't the question! Answer the question.”

“Ms. Dreary! Please get out of my office or I will have you thrown out!”

“Not until he answers the question!”

“Yes! Yes it is! Who the Hell are you and what do you want?”

“I think you know what we want!”

“I'm going to go ahead and jump in ere,” Miles said as he pushed Allison away from Tony and continued the inquiry. “Allison has this wide-eyed idea that the Polar Shift is some kind of large organizational conspiracy, which may or may not be true. However, she doesn’t realize that treating it as such will not get her anywhere. I will ask you a better question. Are you here on a worker's visa?”

“No.”

“Good enough for me.”

“What was that?” Allison complained. “You didn't even ask him about the Polar Shift?”

“Why would you even think he knew anything about the shift?” Ling questioned.

“Because I do,” Tony replied as the room fell deadly silent.

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