Chapter 13 in No Escape

  • June 8, 2022, 1:53 p.m.
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“She’s still out cold,” the nurse told Lauren as she opened the isolation room door.

“Still? How long are you guys going to keep her so out of it? Why drag things on like this? I mean, isn’t it safe to say that the longer she’s out of it, the more we prolong her from making any progress and moving on?”

“Yes, I suppose it is. I’m just doing what Doctor Joganic ordered of me. She should be coming to any moment now, though, so it shouldn’t be long before she’s back in the land of the living.”

They stepped into the room, Lauren right behind the nurse. Shania was strapped down by leather straps, sound asleep.

“If she’s been unconscious, why the restraints?” asked Lauren.

“Just for everyone’s safety.”

“It’s hard to believe someone that out of it could be of any danger to anyone.”

“Well, it’s like I said,” the nurse explained, “she could come to any time now.”

“Could you give me a few minutes alone with her? Perhaps I could rouse her.”

“Sure.”

When the nurse was gone, she turned her attention to the sleeping form on the bed before her. She studied Shania’s lovely features a moment, listening to the rhythmic sound of her breathing, then she slowly began to undo the straps, thinking how awful it’d be for one to awake to such restraints. To wake up with their movements totally restricted, unable to even scratch an itch, wouldn’t be the least bit therapeutic. All Shania could do while she was strapped down was move her head.

Shania began to moan a low, raspy moan.

“Shania?” Lauren shook the girl’s shoulder. “It’s ok to wake up now. You’re safe with me. I’m the only one here right now.”

The girl’s lustrous lashes began to flutter.

“That’s it,” Lauren coaxed. “No one’s going to hurt you.”

Her eyes blinked open. Lauren’s face slowly swam into focus. “L-Lauren?”

“Yes, I’m here.”

Shania mumbled something inaudible as Lauren reached for a plastic pitcher of water that sat by the bed. She poured it into a paper cup and urged Shania into a sitting position so she could quench her dry throat. “Come on, sweetie, drink,” she urged.

Despite her extreme dizziness, Shania’s thirst drove her to find strength enough to sit up and drink from the cup Lauren held out to her. After she drank, she struggled to say, “I sw-swear I d-didn’t hit first. She…”

“I know, sweetie, I know. Shhh. Just relax and let’s not worry about that right now. First, let’s just get you up on your feet again.”

“Y-you don’t understand. I’ve got to get out of here. They’ll kill me if I stay here much longer and…”

“We’ll get you out of here. Just get on your feet first and out of isolation so we can work on a plan together,” Lauren said, voice hushed so no one lurking in the corridor could hear.

But someone had heard.

Quinn ran a hand through her long silky tresses. “Now what, Jonas? I can’t keep provoking attacks without people getting suspicious. They’re already suspicious enough as it is. Especially that damn psychologist. I heard her talking as I was heading to the break room.”

“And?” asked Hoffritz, gazing up into the blonde’s swollen, bruised face.

“And she apparently believes Shania over you.”

Hoffritz looked thoughtful a moment, then said, “I’m not surprised.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because I heard her tell the McCarthy girl as she was coming to in isolation that they’d ‘work on a plan together’ once she was back on her feet.”

Quinn stood up and massaged the doctor’s shoulders as he sat in his leather chair. “Don’t worry, darling. The therapist can’t get her out of here, nor can she bring us down in any way, so what she knows can’t hurt us.”

“I hope not,” Hoffritz said, wishing he could feel as confident as his mistress.

Quinn’s hands moved lower. “Bet I could take your mind off the little bitch for a while.”

Hoffritz stiffened. “I’m sure you could. But now wouldn’t be a good time, babe.”

Quinn stood up abruptly. “Oh, that’s right. Women are only good for pleasing a man when the man’s in the mood, right? When there’s no stress or anything going on to worry about when he’s not so busy. We’re only good for the good times, huh?”

Hoffritz sighed. “No, Quinn, that’s not true. It’s just not the time nor the place.”

“It usually isn’t these days.”

“Look, Quinn, I’m doing my best. I do want you, I just…”

“Then make the time for me. I don’t want to be yours throughout the good times only, Jonas. I want to be yours throughout the bad times, the neutral times. Show me you want me, don’t just tell me.”

“Ok, ok. Meet me in the parking lot when you get off work tonight. Meanwhile, I’ll take care of making sure Miss Cohen isn’t a threat to us in any way and that she doesn’t interfere with our plans, and you can take care of the McCarthy girl.”

“But how?” she asked desperately. She wanted to please him. She had to please him. It was her only chance of winning him over and getting him away from his wife. “What can I do?”

Again Hoffritz sat with a thoughtful expression on his face. “I don’t know. Maybe you can plant something on her or amongst her possessions.”

“Plant what?”

“I’m not sure. Some form of contraband like drugs might be good. Can you get access to any pot, coke or pills?”

“Yeah, I can. I know someone who pops barbiturates like they’re going out of style. She and I used to smoke pot together during high school. I’ll probably be going over to her place and getting high with her this weekend while you’re stuck having to cater to Erin and Jasmine, so I’ll grab some pills from her then.”

“See if you can get ahold of any wrappers or anything that the McCarthy girl may’ve handled and use those to wrap them in.”

“Why wrappers she’s handled?”

“So that the pills will be wrapped in something that’s got her fingerprints on it,” Hoffritz explained. “What are you anyway? Your classic dumb blond?”

The comment stung Quinn. Her eyes narrowed with hurt and anger. “Hey, look. I’m trying to help you and…”

“I’m sorry. Really I am. I know that was mean of me,” he relented, knowing he better be nice to her since he needed her just as much as she needed him, even if it was for different reasons.

“Yes, it was mean of you. Mean and hurtful!” she yelled.

Her raised voice caused him alarm. Her feelings certainly weren’t worth his reputation. “Keep your voice down, will you?” Didn’t the fool know he could fire her on the spot, refuse to ever see her again? “The last thing we need is for this hospital to find out that the ever so loyal Dr. Hoffritz is having an affair with someone he’s old enough to have fathered. My wife and daughter don’t need to know about it either. Besides, it would make you look bad. Hurt your career.”

“I’m sorry, Jonas,” Quinn said lowering her voice, “but what about my needs?”

“What about them?”

“What about them?” Quinn said, mocking Hoffritz. “Come on, Jonas, smarten up. If you think about it long and hard, I’m sure you’ll figure it out.”

“I told you to meet me in the parking lot.”

“That’s not it. Sure I’ll meet you tonight, but what about the future?”

There is no future, he wanted to say. Instead, he said, “Quinn, honey, let’s just worry about the present. The future will take care of itself.”

“Will it?”

Hoffritz sighed. “I already explained to you that I can’t leave Erin.”

Quinn spun around to look out the window, arms folded stubbornly across her chest.

To her back, Hoffritz said, “Honey, I explained it to you. She’ll take me for everything I’ve got if I ever left her. She really will. She’s as stubborn as a mule.”

“So you’d just start over somewhere else with me, who’s also as stubborn as a mule,” Quinn said, turning back to face him. “Only I’m about twenty years younger and forty pounds lighter.”

“It wouldn’t be that easy.”

“Or what you really mean is that it wouldn’t be worth it.”

“No, I meant what I said,” Hoffritz insisted. He was getting really annoyed by Quinn’s increasing nagging to leave his wife, though as long as he needed her help with McCarthy, he was willing to tell her what she wanted to hear to tide her over. Then he’d worry about how to get her out of his life without her spitefully going to his wife to spill out every dirty little detail of their rather sordid affair. And she would, too. He might not even be able to buy her off, in the end, that’s how spiteful he knew she was capable of being. This was a girl who was used to getting what she wanted, and God help anyone who stood in her way!

Damn him! Why’d he have to go getting tangled up in such an affair? He could’ve gotten dirty magazines to entertain himself with when his wife was too tired, too sick, or just too damn cold to satisfy his needs. Instead, he got himself caught up with a young, dumb bimbo who thought he had shit for brains. Ah, but he knew better. He knew she was trying to weasel him away from the wife just so she could marry a rich man, kick back, and have nothing to worry about other than how her manicure turned out or getting stains on her fur coat. Well, it wasn’t going to happen. He already had one wife who had married him for the comfort, convenience and luxury he could provide, and he didn’t need a second one. Especially one who would cater to his needs at first, then consider him nothing more than a roommate once the initial excitement wore off. And Quinn was the kind to fill in those ever-changing desires and voids with all kinds of young men. Erin wasn’t. Erin was too caught up in the kid to think of much else. It made him wonder just what she’d do when their daughter was off in college somewhere, or perhaps knocked up by a boyfriend who would falsely promise her the world.

They both jumped at the sound of the knock on the door, not realizing just how uptight they’d been until now.

“Come in,” Hoffritz called out.

The door opened and there stood a sickly thin woman with stringy hair. She appeared to be in her thirties, eyes milky gray like a dying person’s. She extended a forearm towards Hoffritz and excitedly exclaimed, “Look! If I scratch hard enough, this red stuff comes out of me!”

Quinn’s stomach churned at the sight of the woman viciously scratching her arm until it bled. The sight of blood had always sickened her. She suddenly began to feel faint, light-headed. Her knees began to buckle before her just as Hoffritz rose from his chair to lead the woman out of the room.

She fell into his chair, still warm from his body heat, and waited for his return. She knew she should get back on the floor. It was well past the end of her break and the mean prude in charge was no doubt wondering where the hell she was, but she was in no hurry to return to the twisted, deranged characters she had to work with. No wonder she was finding herself more and more depressed lately.

A few minutes later, Hoffritz returned. “You ok?”

She nodded. “Just a little disgusted.”

“Well, you better get used to it if you’re going to work with the disturbed. The disturbed do disturbing things.”

“Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all if my career were ruined and I had to look for a new occupation altogether. Maybe I should become an exotic dancer.”

“Yeah, maybe. For now, you really should get back on the job. If they see you coming here too often…”

“Yes, I know,” Quinn finished for him, “they’ll get suspicious.”

“Exactly. And while you could perhaps take this job or leave it, I have to take it and keep it. It’s the price I pay for being top dog here, you know?”

Quinn nodded again as she stood up to leave.

Not wanting to sound too harsh or risk pissing her off into spiting him, he said, “Don’t worry babe. I’ll make it all up to you tonight. I’ll put up with the wife bitching about how late I am just to be with a hot sexy thing like yourself, if only part-time.”

Quinn smiled slightly. “But hopefully you’ll want that to become full-time. You know I’d be a good wife.”

He made himself smile. “Of course I do. Now, run along, hot stuff, and the end of your shift will come faster than you think. I’ll urge Doc Joganic to put the McCarthy girl in her own room due to her violent outbursts. That’ll make it easier for you to plant the drugs without a roommate being in the way.”

“Too bad you couldn’t be her doctor. Then you’d really have leverage over the bitch.” Quinn laughed heartily.

Hoffritz blinked. Damn, this bimbo was an idiot! “Me? I couldn’t possibly. Besides, it’d look awfully funny for a doctor to take on a patient who attacked him, don’t you think? It’s ok, though. I have enough leverage as it is.”

“That’s true. See ya,” Quinn said with a wink, exiting Hoffritz’s office and closing the door behind her. She headed toward the nurses’ station.

It wasn’t until the busty blond was inside the station that Lauren stepped out of the break room directly across from Hoffritz’s office.


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