Phantom Island-Story 7-Part 3-“Derek and Lauren”

Derek and Blake followed the mortuary van back to the hospital. It was a mostly silent ride, as both men tried to make sense of the whole thing.

Kast dropped Derek off at the entrance before continuing to follow the van around the building.

Derek made his way back to where he had signed Janet in earlier to find her reading a magazine in the lobby.

He let out a heavy sigh when he saw her, though he wasn’t sure why he’d been holding his breath.

Upon hearing him, Janet eagerly ditched the magazine and started toward him. Half-way to him, however, she realized what she was doing and stopped in her tracks.

After an awkward moment, where neither of them knew what to do or say next, Derek broke the silence. “Are you ladies ready to go?”

Janet widened her eyes before rolling them. “Are we ever.” She said as she spun on her heels and went back to get Lauren and her things.

Derek caught himself grinning at her reaction. That was more like the woman he knew.

After making sure the nurses understood his instructions to call him with the results but send the papers to the station, they were finally on their way home.

By the time they reached the house they were both too exhausted to talk about their day. It was getting late so they decided to just talk in the morning.

Derek awoke at sunrise. He laid in bed and stared at the sun streaking across his ceiling, trying to come to terms with all that had happened yesterday. How was he going to tell Janet about Joseph? How would she react? How the hell had they ended up in this mess?

He let out a weary sigh and got up. Thinking a shower might help to clear his mind, he started down the hall toward the bathroom. As he reached to open the door, he heard the shower and Janet crying softly.

After a moment of deliberation, he decided to go in and comfort her.

She was sitting in the tub with her knees drawn to her chest and her head down, crying while the water fell over her.

“Janet?” he said quietly.

She jumped and jerked her head up; her expression showing fear until she realized it was him. She let her body relax as she began wiping her tears away with the backs of her hands.

“I didn’t hear you come in.” she said shakily.

Derek closed the door behind him. “I wasn’t expecting you to be awake this early.”

“I was having trouble sleeping; too much on my mind.” She said. “I thought a shower might help.”

He grinned. “Same here.”

When she started to stand, he put his hand up to indicate that she should stay seated. He then put the stopper in the drain, turned the shower off and began drawing a bath.

Janet smiled as she continued to wipe at her tears with wet hands.

Derek returned her smile as he handed her a dry wash cloth.

“Thank you.” She said.

“Don’t thank me yet.” He remarked as he stripped to join her in the bath.

Janet laughed; the sound catching them both of guard.

“It’s been a long time since I heard you laugh.” He said.

“It’s been a long time since I laughed.” She replied through a sad smile.

Derek climbed in the tub and took his seat in front of her. They used to take baths together like this. It was something they had started in high school and continued throughout their marriage.

Suddenly Janet burst into laughter.

He looked at her with a raised eyebrow.

“Sorry.” She said, still laughing. “I just remembered the first time we took a bath together.”

Derek laughed now too. “Geez. How old were we? Fifteen? Sixteen?”

“We were sixteen. You had just gotten your driver’s license and had come to my house to brag about getting yours before I got mine.”

Derek let out a laugh at that. “You were so sure you were going to going to get yours before me; it was all you talked about for months. There was only one thing I could do to bring your smug little ass back to reality. I slept in my car in front of the building so that when the officer got there, he would have to wake me up and I could be the first person to take the test that day.”

Janet rolled her eyes as they both broke into hysterical laughter.

“He wasn’t very happy to see me.” Derek said.

“You never told me you slept in your car!” she said as she lightly slapped his forearm.

“It was need to know only.” He laughed. “Besides, I didn’t get to brag as much as I had intended. My victory was forgotten the second you opened the door, in nothing but a t-shirt, and told me that your parents had left town and wouldn’t be back until the next day.”

“So I won anyway! Ha!” Janet exclaimed.

“You won a few battles that day.” Derek said as he wiggled his eyebrows at her.

“A few?” she asked.

“Yes. First, you annihilated my license victory dance; then you pulled me to your bedroom and ravaged me until I was senseless; then you suggested a bath, where you proceeded to lecture me on how ‘a gentleman always takes the seat in front of the faucet’. This last remark he said in a mocking tone.

Janet slapped his arm again. “A lesson that stuck, I see.”

They shared another round of laughter as Derek turned around to turn the water off. “I’m just glad this tub is bigger than the one in your parent’s house.” He said.

Then, just as suddenly as she had begun laughing, she began to cry. “I wish I had never hurt you.”

“Why did you?” The words ran from his mouth before he could stop them.

“I just-” She started but was interrupted by the phone ringing in the kitchen.

Derek let out a sigh. “I should answer that before it wakes Lauren.”

Janet shook her head as he got out of the bath and wrapped a towel around his waist. “I’ll be right back.” He said.

He rushed to the end of the hall and snatched the phone of the hook before it could ring a fourth time. “Hello?” he answered irritably into the receiver.

“Hello, Officer Fisher?”

“Yes?”

“This is Mary, down at the hospital. You requested a call regarding Janet’s test results?”

“Test results? Already?”

Mary let out a little giggle. “You did order a rush on them.” She replied.

“I sure did but I was still expecting to wait a week at least.” He said in surprise.

Another giggle from Mary. “No sir. We take all orders from law enforcement very seriously and always make them priority.”

“Well, that’s great! So whatcha got for me, Mary?”

Another giggle. “We were able to successfully collect enough DNA from Janet and the baby to get a positive match.”

Derek’s heart dropped into the pit of his stomach. “What do you mean, you took DNA from the baby?!” he shouted.

No giggle this time. “Oh! No! The baby is fine! We just used her DNA in place of Joseph’s because he’s her biological father. It was the fastest way to get the results. Otherwise, we would have had to track him down and try to get it from him; which you know he would fight.”

Derek squeezed his eyes closed and took a few deep breaths before replying. “That was smart thinking, Mary. Thank you.”

Mary exhaled into the receiver. “You’re welcome, officer. There is one more thing that I feel you would want to know about Janet; not related to these tests.”

“And what’s that?” he asked, keeping his tone as level as possible.

“Well, when I pulled up her file to make this entry, I saw her medical history. I know the information is confidential and I can lose my job for this, but it’s important and I suspect she’s keeping it from you for some reason…”

“Out with it, Mary.” He commanded.

“Janet has Multiple Myeloma, stage three. I’m sorry, Derek. I thought you should know.”

*Thank You for reading!*

End of Story 7-Part 3

Copyright©2019-present Jennifer Treece

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