Chapter 19. At the Hospital
The trip by air to the north state was the fastest she had ever traveled, they were there in less than an hour when the Captain announced they were descending.
A quick touchdown in the sports car of the heavens and they taxied to the private area, coming to a complete stop in less time than Tom could get the Flying Sea Dragon out of the sky. The little business jet was faster in all categories, compared to the yacht that she had been on. But nowhere near as comfortable.
After the jets engines wound down, Kaylee stepped forward to the door when Captain Watson opened the door.
“There is a limo waiting for you Mrs. Harte.”
“Where are we?”
“Hayward Airport. This is the closest I can get you with the traffic tonight. The limo will take you directly to the hospital. Tom is in room 3418, it’s here on this paper. He might still be in surgery, I don’t know.”
“Thank you.” Kaylee answered taking the yellow notepad paper from Captain Watson.
The limo rocketed along at a fast walk as the chauffeur navigated through stop and go traffic in the Maze to cross the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
“Oh crap, someone’s grandma just past us with her walker! What is the hold up?” Kaylee called up through the open window.
The driver, Kaikane, laughed, then spoke with a pronounced Hawaiian accent.
“It is another one of those things about the local traffic in the Maze. You would do well by opening one of the bottles in the back, the green ones are good. They don’t taste like much to me, but they would put you in a mood. The one that says Absinthe.”
“Oh, hell no.” Kaylee laughed. “I have been on that stuff before, then I woke up two towns away with people who still think my name is Stacy. Absinthe is wicked magic in a bottle.”
“You should move to my home.” Kaikane laughed. “We have a drink, okolehao, that can do that, but you cannot be that far from where you live.”
Kaylee laughed at the tall Hawaiian, built like a giant “V”, she wondered if he tailored his driver’s uniform to show his build off or if it was a trick of how the jacket was cut.
They drove through the toll booths without stopping, the lane was a cash free lane, no fee collector occupied the booth. Kaikane lifted his foot off the pedal a little and rolled past the sensors at the perfect speed.
“Just like surfing.” Kaikane said, looking over his shoulder. “You do it right, it is easy.”
“Eyes on the road!” Kaylee gave a squeaky nervous laughed. The dark hair of the islander barely hung to his collar, except for islanders with shaved heads, his hair was shorter than of any Hawaiian she had ever met.
The white limousine was not stretched as she had seen others, and it was a solid ride, unlike her own rattle-trap of a car. She named her old girl, “Spot”, a car that would continue making spooky noises after hitting a bump for several dozen yards down a street. Her friends would say that the only reason it held together was habit.
The expert hands of the college age chauffeur guided them to the main entrance of the medical center.
“Here we are Missus Harte.” Kaikane opened the door for Kaylee and handed her a business card. “Take this, I have his room number written on the back of my card. Good luck, Missus! I hope Tom is doing well.”
“Doesn’t anyone call him “Mister”?” She asked. “And when did you find out about what room he was in?”
“Oh no! He won’t allow it. If you are formal to him, he won’t consider you worthy of his business, Tom is quite insistent on that.” Kaikane smiled. “And I have an earphone, I wrote it down while sitting in traffic.”
“Oh my.” Kaylee pulled at her ear. She had learned more about Tom in the last few days than she had in the last three weeks sitting in his lap.
“Call the number anytime you need me back Missus…”
“Kaylee , please. If you call him Tom, you call me Kaylee .”
“Yes, ma’am. Kaylee .” His eyes sparkled with that calm soul that some people have. Kaylee wondered if it had to do something with the beauty of his home that gave him that ineffable contentment that showed in his actions.
Bidding him farewell, Kaylee walked through the sliding glass doors and to the information desk.
She had to be with Tom, even if she was not positive why this was important.
*I am his wife, it is in the rules somewhere. I am a good person too.* Kaylee laughed to herself.
And that made all the difference. Except it felt more than a duty, she was fond of him in different ways, with each passing day, she found another facet she adored of this man who she called “husband”.
The man who loved his solitude, but touched lives everywhere he went. Everyone called him by his first name, and for a man who even described himself in misanthropic terms and, except for tabloids, everyone liked him.
The doors of the huge hospital opened to a small foyer that led to a security desk and a locked door.
“I’m here to see Tom Harte?” She asked the buzz-cut middle-aged man behind the thick glass who eyed her up and down.
“Open your purse please?” He had not even looked at the screen when he typed the name she gave him- he kept his eyes locked on her while he typed out everything.
Satisfied for whatever inspection that he performed when he shined an intense palm-sized light into her purse through the glass.
“Through the door, third elevator doors to the right side of the hallway, thirty-forth floor.” The directions were well rehearsed and spoken with a too-bored voice.
The door buzzed open and she walked down the hallway. The hallway at this time of day reminded her of the… What did the driver call it? What was the driver’s name? Kai, something, Kaikane. He called it “the Maze” on the approach to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The Maze had a little brother and she was in the middle of it.
Nearly losing count of elevators, Kaylee stopped, recounted behind her and found she was spot on at the correct elevator doors.
“First floor.” An electronic generated voice of a woman intoned.
Kaylee stepped into the elevator car with five other people.
“… Finally after all that, surgery went well, we re-established circulation with a Gore-Tex graft with good return of…” A young woman with an intense gaze told her fellow surgeon. She sounded exhausted as if she had been in surgery for a long time.
The male companion, touched her on the shoulder and the speaking woman looked at Kaylee and smiled, but spoke no more. The conversation continued as soon as the elevator doors opened on the tenth floor and they stepped out.
Finally with people getting on, and exiting, Kaylee arrived at the thirty-forth floor.
She immediately saw the sign she needed to direct her to her destination.
Holding her breath, she picked up the phone next to the door.
“Here for Thomas Harte.” Her voice squeaked.
The door lock buzzed and she walked in to a new world.