“Honey, I’m home,” she called out, but no one answered. “Honey?” She searched the bottom floor of the house and found Travis’ work vest hanging on the newel post. His shirt was at the top of the steps, along with shoes and a white fur coat. Charlotte recognized the floral scent, but couldn’t believe it was true. “Travis?” she said, fear in her voice. In the hallway that led to their bedroom, she found his work slacks and a skimpy pair of cut off shorts. No, she thought. He wouldn’t.
She tried the bedroom door, but it was locked. Inside, there were sounds of two people joined in ecstasy. “NO!” she screamed and then heard a man’s panicked voice. “Kathleen, you need to hide,” he said, “she is home!”
“No,” said the woman’s voice. “You are mine now. Forget her.” Charlotte screamed in emotional agony and sobbed outside the locked door.
“Nooo!!! Nooo! Baby, no!” she cried, as Kathleen laughed maniacally…
Charlotte woke up screaming, and startled Travis awake. “Honey, what’s wrong?” he asked and pulled her close to calm her.
“Oh, thank goodness it was only a dream,” she said but continued to cry. “Hold me, baby.” She trembled fiercely. “Never let me go.”
“That must have been quite a nightmare,” he remarked. “Do you want to talk about it?”
She nodded and with great trepidation, she spoke. “I was just home from work and found your clothes in a trail up to our bedroom, along with a very familiar perfume and another woman’s clothes. Our bedroom door was locked but I could hear the voices and noises inside.” She started to tremble again, tortured by the memory of the nightmares. Every time she closed her eyes that night the same dream played in her head, but this was the first time she had seen the dream progress that far and it horrified her.
Travis held her tightly. “It was just a dream, honey.”
She continued describing the nightmare. “You told her she had to hide, that I was home, and she told you not to worry about me,” emotion gripped her as she sobbed in his arms. “She said you were hers now. And then I heard her laugh in the most evil manner.”
“Oh, honey, no wonder you screamed, baby.” He kissed her sweaty face and held her as she cried. “That dream would have scared me, too.”
“Promise me, Travis. Promise me that will never come true.”
His heart broke into pieces. It was the first time on their trip any painful memory had even surfaced and it hurt him deeply that it still tortured her. “Baby, it will never happen, honey. Never ever. I promise you, I would rather die than betray you like that.” He clung to her as she cried and he glanced at his watch. It was only 3 AM and they hadn’t been asleep for more than an hour.
She sniffled and tried to calm down but each time she closed her eyes, she saw herself sobbing outside their bedroom door and it worked her up all over again. Travis reached for the room phone and dialed the concierge desk, even though he knew the restaurant was closed at this late hour. He hoped for some chamomile tea with honey, for both of them.
“Concierge desk, Emma speaking.”
“Hi, Emma, this is Travis Jones in suite one in the tower,” he began.
“Oh yes, Mr. Jones! Such a pleasure to have you and your beautiful wife staying with us. What can I help you with tonight?”
“My Charlotte has had a nightmare. I suspect it has been more than one of them by how she is acting. I was hoping you might have some chamomile tea in front.”
“I absolutely do, and I will personally bring up a pot of hot water, some fresh local honey and an assortment of tea!”
“Thank you, Emma,” Travis replied and hung up the phone. Charlotte had dozed off in his arms but as she did, she began to tremble and startled herself awake again. “Oh, honey, why is this tormenting you like this?”
“I don’t know,” she replied. “I’d give anything to make it stop.”
“Concierge is coming up with some chamomile tea for us, baby,” he said. “Maybe that will help.”
“It couldn’t hurt,” she agreed. The words were barely out of her mouth when a gentle knock sounded at the door. Travis slipped into a robe and answered it.
“Wow, Mr. Jones, what an honor to meet you!” Emma held a tray of water, two teacups and an assortment of bags as she had promised. She peeked around him and waved to Charlotte, who sat on the bed and wept. “Hi sweetheart, I’m sorry you’re not sleeping well. I hope this helps!” she chirped, and then turned to Travis. “Let me know if I can help further. We do have a doctor on call should she need it.”
“Thank you, Emma, I will keep that in mind.” She politely excused herself and left him to tend to Charlotte. He set the tray down on the table and poured her a cup of hot water. “Chamomile okay, honey?” he asked.
She nodded her head. Frustrated, she got up and went into the bathroom to wash her face and grabbed a wet cloth on her way out. She felt awful, and having no sleep compounded the problem. “I don’t understand this,” she said. “After such a wonderful evening together tonight, you would think…” she began to weep again and stirred some honey into her tea.
He took her hand as they sat at the small table on their patio. “Shh, it’s okay, and I’m here.”
“Honeybear, I don’t want you to get the idea that I don’t trust you, because I absolutely do.” She sipped her tea. “I don’t know why I’m dreaming this tonight.”
“I know you trust me, honey.” He kissed her forehead. Travis felt guilty again over something that had been long resolved and forgiven. “I know you trust me, even when I gave you every reason not to.”
“Aww, honeybear, this nightmare is not your fault. It’s that woman,” she seethed. “She got under my skin and I shouldn’t let her.” She sipped the last of her tea and poured another cup of hot water. “This feels like a two cup night.” She smiled slightly and sighed.
“Baby, it’s good to see you smiling, honey.” He took her hand and kissed it. “I can never tell you enough how sorry I am about—”
“Shh, don’t speak it, honeybear. This isn’t your fault.” She drizzled honey into the tea and stirred it gently. “I just hope the tea does the trick. I want to dream of good things. I want to dream of our night together.”
Travis smiled, the memory fresh. “I want that for you, too, honey.” They both finished a second cup of tea, and Charlotte felt ready to lay down again to sleep.
“Hold me, Travis, while I sleep. I need you close.” She settled into bed, and he curled up behind her, his arms wrapped around her waist.
“Sleep sweetly, my precious Charlotte. But if you don’t, I’m right here when you wake.” He nuzzled her neck and kissed her.
“I love you, honeybear. Thank you for taking such good care of me.”
“Always my pleasure,” he said and drifted off to sleep.
The sun peeked through the window at 6:30 am and hit Charlotte’s eyes as the rays poked through the sheer curtain. She sighed as she woke. “I can’t catch a break,” she muttered and got up to close the blinds. As she walked back to the bed Travis was gone. She walked to the bathroom but he wasn’t there. “Travis?” she called out, but there was no answer. Charlotte put a robe on, tied the belt and opened the door of the resort to look around outside. “Travis?” she called, but still there was no answer. She went back in and grabbed the key card and slipped it into the robe pocket. “Travis!” she called out, but her cries went unanswered.
She traced their steps from the night before and walked by the closest pool “Travis?” she continued to call but there was still no answer. Something caught her peripheral vision and she spotted him floating face down in the pool. A message scrawled in red lipstick appeared on the back of his shirt: If I can’t have him, you can’t either. “No!” she screamed, as she dove into the pool, her heart raced. As she swam to him, she noticed a grievous injury on his head and blood had trickled from it into the water. She tried to scream but couldn’t…
Charlotte gasped for breath as she woke up. Another nightmare had frightened her senseless. Travis woke and felt her shaking violently. “Baby, are you okay?” he held her close, but he sensed she was not. “Not again,” he sighed. She was almost unresponsive as he talked to her and tried to rouse her. “Charlotte?” he said as he touched her, and his gentle nudge startled her fully awake as she screamed. She looked at him, wide-eyed, as though she was looking at a ghost.
“You’re alive!” she cried and hugged him. “Oh baby, you’re alive… you’re alive…” She kissed his face to see if he was truly among the living.
“What happened, baby?”
“It was so real. I woke up and the sun was in my face, and I could feel its warmth on my skin, so I got up to close the blind…”
“At home?” he asked, trying to understand.
“No, we were here. When I came back to bed, you weren’t here, so I went to look for you.” She began to feel nauseated as she remembered. “I called for you, but you didn’t answer, so I retraced our steps from last night, and I caught a glimpse of you in my peripheral vision.” She began to sob. “Travis, you were dead in the pool with a head injury.” Her anguish showed on her face as she spoke. “She left me a message, baby, in red lipstick on your shirt.” She shook intensely, as though she had really seen him dead.
The hair on the back of his neck stood on end. “Oh honey,” he held her close as she cried. He gently rocked her, her tears soaked his skin. “Shh, I’m okay, my love.” He kissed her forehead as she continued to cry. His watch read 5:15 am. “I guess I’m awake,” he said as he rocked her in his arms.
“Honeybear, would you call Tracy? Please make sure our babies are okay.”
He didn’t want to alarm Tracy, but he knew how important it was to Charlotte that she know something was normal. He dialed the house number, and a sleepy Danae answered it.
“Daddy?” she answered.
“Hey Punkin,” Travis said. “How are you guys doing?”
“We’re fine, Daddy. How’s your vacation?” Danae was happy to hear his voice. She and her siblings missed them.
“Going well, but your mama wanted me to call and check on you. I’m sorry I woke you up, honey,” he apologized.
“It’s okay Daddy. I miss you.”
“We miss you too, sweetheart. We’ll see you in a few days.”
“I just talked to Danae, honey, and they’re fine.” He kissed her forehead as she cried.
“I’m so tired, but I don’t want to sleep.” He didn’t blame her. “I want to go home.”
“We still have a few days left to stay,” he said.
“What if my dreams come true? What if she finds you and hurts you? I-I couldn’t survive something like that, baby.” He could tell she was truly tortured.
“I will ask Neil if he thinks you need protection from her. He knows the freaks that hang around at the stadium. Maybe I’ll ask Steve McKinnon to do a background on her. See if she has a past.”
“What about you?” her voice quivered. “How will I know you’ll be okay?”
“I’m a big guy, honey. No one is going to mess with me.”
“It doesn’t matter how big you are if someone comes at you from behind, baby.”
He nodded and acknowledged her point. “I’ll make sure we have our bases covered when we get home, sweetie. In the meanwhile, let’s enjoy the rest of our vacation.”
“I need coffee,” she yawned.
“You’re not the only one, honey.” He picked up the phone and called the concierge desk.
“Concierge desk, Emma speaking.”
“Hi Emma, it’s Travis Jones in suite one again,” he began.
“Mr. Jones! As always, it’s a pleasure to hear from you. How can I help you this morning?”
“I’m wondering what time the restaurant takes orders for breakfast. Poor Charlotte hasn’t slept very well, and we could use some coffee.”
“If you give me ten minutes, Mr. Jones, I can have some coffee with all of the fixings at your door personally!” It astonished him how anyone could be so perky at almost 6am.
“Thank you, Emma. We appreciate it.”
“Concierge will take care of our coffee problem, love,” he whispered and sat back down with her. “I’m here, honey. No more fear, okay?”
She nodded. “I just want the dreams to stop. If I was home, I’d have access to stuff to help me sleep, but I didn’t bring any of my doctor stuff with me.”
“Do you want to see the resort doctor, honey? Maybe they could help you.”
“I’m not sure, baby. Most of the stuff I could take would knock me out for a whole day.” She shrugged. “I’ll just make sure I have coffee on hand. It isn’t like I’m not used to sleep deprivation.”
A few minutes later, a knock came at the door, and Travis answered it. Emma appeared with a cart containing coffee, sugar, cream and a fresh assortment of muffins, bagels, and croissants with locally sourced preserves. “I couldn’t just come bearing coffee for our hungry guests!” Emma beamed. She walked toward Charlotte and noticed the dark circles under her eyes. “I’m sorry you’re not sleeping, sweetie. Maybe a nice massage at the spa would be helpful? I can schedule that any time you’d like.”
“Thank you, Emma, I might take you up on that later on,” she said and yawned.
“Thanks again, Emma. You’ve been very helpful tonight.” Travis handed her a tip, and she went on her way.
She poured them both a cup of coffee and she stirred some cream into her cup. “At least we get to see the sunrise this morning, baby,” she said while she stood at the sliding door that led to the balcony. She stepped down and reached for a chair while Travis brought some of the baked goods Emma had wheeled in. As she bit into a blueberry muffin her brain started analyzing her dreams. “I’ve been fine. Months have passed since the incident,” she said out loud. “Never had bad dreams about her before but yet I am now.” Travis watched her think, totally amazed at how she could figure things out. She’d always been good at problem-solving. Maybe she would crack this open, too. “What is different?”
“Well, for one, we’re on this trip to recommit ourselves to each other. Maybe there is insecurity there somewhere?” As much as he didn’t want to admit it, it was obvious she was having a hard time forgetting, even if her heart had forgiven.
“You might have something there,” she said, deep in thought. And then it occurred to her that the common factor in the dreams was fear. “I might have it figured out, Travis,” she pondered. “I think I’m afraid of losing you.”
“Never going to happen,” he said. “You can’t get rid of me that easily, little miss.”
“Good, I don’t want to lose you. And I think that is really the basis of my dreams. Now that we are for certain together, stronger than ever, I’m afraid something will come and mess it up.” And the more she thought about it the more she realized it had less to do with Travis’ incident and more with the Estevan debacle and her mother. “Travis, I’m not sure how much I told you about Mama’s problems with that man, Estevan. I remember telling you a little at the campus but I don’t think I’ve gone into it much. That man was a thorn in Mama’s side for most of her life and every time she had something good, he did something to her to screw it all up. This thing with Kathleen reminds me so much of him, it’s uncanny.”
“Mama and Dad nearly separated once, believe it or not, over him. He nearly threw everything away because she took a job that would expose her and endanger everything she held dear. He was spitting mad with her for months. Christopher and I were convinced he was going to leave her any day.” She shook her head sadly. “I thought if they ever divorced it would shatter all of us. If there was one thing I knew I could count on in my life it was Mama and Dad being together.” She wiped tears from her eyes. “During those six or seven months, I am not going to lie, Travis, it was hard and it made me question everything I knew to be true. It also instilled in me a fear that something bad is always lurking around every corner, especially when things are going well. That’s when it spooks me the most, you know? When I have the most to lose.”
“You are making total sense, honey,” he stated. “But I’ve never seen you have this kind of reaction before. You’ve never told me about nightmares you’ve had about things like this.”
“This is the first time since Mama and Dad separated that I thought about it. It’s also a time when I feel like I have everything to lose. Travis, if I lost you now I know I couldn’t survive it.” She understood how Bella felt about losing Rog. Charlotte had forgotten how to live without Travis and she didn’t want to learn.
“What did you want to do today, my love,” Charlotte asked him and changed the subject.
“Why don’t we stay close to the resort today, honey,” he answered. “You can nap if you need to.”
“I’m still a little shy about sleeping. I don’t want to dream that again,” she shrugged.
“I will be right here, honey. I will take care of you.” He kissed her. “Besides, I could use some sleep, too. I’m not used to sleep deprivation like you are, baby.” Charlotte reluctantly agreed to stay in and they curled up together to sleep.
“Honey, I’m home,” Charlotte yelled into the house. “Kids?” She walked through the house and found no one. The furniture had plastic covers on it and the house looked unoccupied. Carefully she climbed the stairs to the second floor and both bedrooms were empty, The furniture was gone, there was no clothing in closets and the carpets were torn up.
This is weird, she thought and walked up the stairs to the loft. She stepped out the door that led to the roof and the whole floor was cleared, as though the house was abandoned. Stumped, she turned to go back inside and tried to figure out what was going on. A knock came downstairs at the front door, so she quickly descended the steps to answer it.
“Ma’am, this house is condemned, what are you doing here?” A Shores county deputy was following up on a trespassing call made by a neighbor.
“I live here, officer. But something is very wrong.” Charlotte was extremely confused.
“That’s impossible, Ma’am. The family that lived here was murdered six months ago. A father and his three children. One of the most gruesome crime scenes we’ve ever had in town.”
The blood drained from her face. “What happened to his wife?”
“We don’t know what happened to his wife but the suspect was a blonde woman.”
“I’m his wife, and he can’t be dead. I saw him yesterday. We… we were together last night.” She began to cry…
Charlotte was startled awake. Travis, who had been dozing on and off heard her soft weeping. “Not again, sweetie.”
“This was bad, honeybear. Awful. But it wasn’t as vivid as the other ones. Not as real.” She wiped tears from her eyes. “I got home from work and no one was home. I looked around and the furniture was covered. I went upstairs and the floor was empty. No furniture, no carpets in the bedrooms. The loft was cleaned out and so was the balcony. Then a police officer came knocking on the door to ask me what I was doing, that the house was condemned.” She took a breath. “He told me the family that lived there was murdered six months ago… a father and his three children.” It pained her to say it, that her children were dragged into the nightmare. “They didn’t know what happened to me, but they knew who the suspect was.”
He didn’t have to guess. “Kathleen.”
“Baby, I’m tired of this. I won’t have any peace until I know she is gone.”
“I want to know why this bothers you so suddenly. It really hurts me.” He wasn’t trying to make her feel guilty but he failed miserably.
“I can’t help it, Travis. I can’t control what I dream.” She got up and walked to the window. “I don’t enjoy this.” She glanced at her watch. It was 2:30 in the afternoon. “I have to get out of here,” she spat and grabbed a key card.
“Where are you going, honey?” he asked.
“Away from you.” She walked out and slammed the door behind her.
She walked from the room upset and hoped he wouldn’t follow her. Charlotte walked the path behind the pool they had walked just 15 hours earlier, happy and in love. There was a bench behind a wall near a path that branched off toward the other pool, and she sat on it and wept. A few minutes later, a man appeared. He heard her cries and followed the sound to find her.
“Can I help you with something, Miss?” he asked quietly.
“No, thank you. I’ll be okay.” She sniffled and wiped tears from her eyes.
“May I?” the man asked, motioning toward the empty space next to her.
“Please,” she said and moved over a bit.
“My name is Ron. I’m here on business from Twinbrook.” He held his hand for her to shake.
“Charlotte. I’m here on a trip with my husband from Starlight Shores.”
“I’m guessing things aren’t going so well, Charlotte. I’m sorry to hear it.”
“He can be a bit dense sometimes,” she lamented. “This was supposed to be our honeymoon.”
Ron noticed the huge rock on her hand, the ring Travis had given her the evening before. “That is a mighty pretty ring you have. He must love you.”
She nodded her head. “He does.”
“I’m sensing a ‘but’ in there?” Ron was asking leading questions, and Charlotte was not picking up on any of it.
“Well,” she weighed the risks of divulging secrets to a man she’d only just met. “We have a rocky past. He doesn’t seem to remember sometimes that he caused my insecurities.”
“That’s too bad, I’m sorry to hear that,” Ron comforted her.
“It’s just, I’ve been having these dreams and they’ve made me wonder if I really ever forgave him after all. They have reminded me of how angry I was.”
“It must be tough, you know, to live with someone you can’t trust. Now, if I had a woman like you, I’d never hurt her.”
Her heart fluttered at his statement. “That’s sweet of you,” she said innocently.
He moved a little closer to her. She noticed he was the polar opposite of Travis. Light skin, blonde, blue-eyed, short, a bit heavy. His cologne smelled musky, and it smelled good to her. “You’re sweet. No man should be treating you like you’re garbage.”
She heard her name on the wind. “Charlotte?”
“Look, Charlotte, I’m not going to mince words. I find you attractive and I’m looking for something more. It seems you are, too.” Ron was being forward and for a moment, he believed she might be receptive.
“Charlotte!” Travis’ voice called for her as he got closer.
“Look, Ron, I might be angry with him but I don’t want—”
Ron pulled her to him and kissed her passionately. She pulled away from him and backed away. “Come on, Charlotte. You know you want to.”
“No, that didn’t happen. Ron, it can’t happen. I’m sorry.” She stood to leave and he caught her arm.
“Don’t deny it, Charlotte. You know you want me.” A shadow suddenly loomed over Ron’s face. It was the silhouette of a tall, dark, formidable man.
“Charlotte, what is this man talking about?” Travis towered over Ron by at least a foot.
“Wait, you’re Travis Jones,” Ron said. “You should treat your woman better, Travis. She wouldn’t be out here crying and looking for comfort if you did.”
“I’m going to give you one chance to walk away from her. This will not end well for you if you don’t.” Travis was not kidding around.
Ron looked at Charlotte. “I’m sorry, darling, but you’re not worth a beat down.” He turned to Travis. “Good luck with her.”
“Travis, I’m sorry,” she wept, bitter tears rolled down her cheeks.
He walked away from her, his silence was deafening.
“Travis!” she yelled and ran behind him. “Please, wait.” She chased him to their suite door when he stopped.
“I’m not going to have this conversation with you out here in the open.” He was angry, rightfully so. “If you want to talk, I’ll be in the room.” He opened the door and walked in, slamming it behind him.
Meekly, she slid the key card into the door and opened it. She walked in and saw Travis on the bed, his shoulders heaving. “Travis?” she said and softly touched his shoulder.
“Would you have gone with him if I hadn’t shown up when I did, Charlotte?” His words dripped with pain.
“No, I wouldn’t have. I was getting up to leave.”
“What was he talking about, then?” He sniffled, not turning to face her. “What did he mean when he said you wanted him?”
“He wanted me to go back to his room with him. But I told him I wasn’t interested.” It wasn’t that much of a fib.
“Don’t lie to me Charlotte.”
“Alright,” she sighed. “He kissed me and I told him it wouldn’t happen and I was fixing to leave. That is the truth.”
“He kissed you.” He sighed deeply. “Woman, you know how to cut my heart to ribbons in seconds.”
“Now you know how I feel, Travis.” She regretted saying it as the words escaped her lips. But the wounds were inflicted and there was no taking any of it back.
He opened his mouth to speak and yet no words formed. “You’re right, Charlotte.”
“What?” she asked, not sure she had heard him correctly.
“You are right. I have no right to be angry. But you’ve had your revenge so can we move forward from this now, please?”
“Is that what you think I did, Travis? Revenge?”
“What would you call it?”
“I took a walk. I sat down and I cried because I’m upset. I’m tired. You made me angry when you blamed me for having these awful, terrible dreams.”
“I didn’t blame you. It didn’t come out the way I wanted it to.”
“You said I hurt you.” Charlotte wept. “The last thing I ever want to do is hurt you.”
“Well, how did that work out today, Charlotte? I’ve never been this wounded.”
She wanted to throw his indiscretion back at him but she knew trading barbs with him would only make things worse for both of them. “Baby, I’m so sorry. I only wanted to go for a walk. I didn’t plan it.”
“What makes this worse is that you were stone-cold sober. You knew what you were doing and you let him kiss you anyway. You knew I was calling your name. How could you?”
“I didn’t let him, he just did it before I could stop him.” Charlotte took her new ring off and put it on the nightstand. “I’m sorry you wasted all that money on me.” She wiped the tears from her eyes and walked toward the balcony. “When you get home, you can get your money back.”
“Are we done, Charlotte? Is it over?” Travis choked back a sob.
“I hope not, baby. I love you.”
“Then why give me that ring back? Do you not want it? Do you not want me anymore?”
“I’m giving you the option,” Charlotte offered. “I thought maybe you might regret giving it to me now.”
“You still didn’t answer my question. Do you not want me anymore?”
“Travis, I will always want you. Even if we are done, I will always want you. There will never be anyone else. Ever.” Charlotte broke down crying and desperately wished it was still their anniversary and they were getting ready for dinner, not talking about splitting up.
“Charlotte, I love you with all my heart. But it’s clear we have some issues to work through. I think we’re worth it.” Travis wiped tears from his own eyes. “I just need to know you think we’re worth it, too.” He picked up the ring and walked to where she sat. “Baby, I want you to wear this. Please don’t give up on us, honey.” He took her hand and placed the ring on her finger again where it belonged. “Please…”
“I will ache for you until I die, Travis. I will never love anyone else and I’m not going to let you walk away without a fight.”
“Baby, I’m sorry you’re having these awful dreams and I’m sorry it’s my fault. We’re both tired, neither of us has slept more than two hours at a time. When we get home I will take care of this problem once and for all, and she will not haunt you any longer.”
Charlotte looked at him. Dark circles sat under his eyes, a sign of sleep deprivation that she also wore. “I need to sleep, honey,” she said. “I’m going to call the concierge and see if the doctor will see me. I can’t do this one more night.” She picked up her key card and put her shoes on her feet. “Get some rest and I’ll be back when I’m done.” She kissed him. “Let’s wait to finish this talk until we’re rested and more rational.” He nodded and curled up on the bed to rest.
She walked toward the front desk and Rosa was at the concierge station. “Mrs. Jones, how are you feeling, sweetie?” she asked before Charlotte could even say hi.
“I’ve been better. I’m wondering if your on-call doctor can see me? I need something to help me sleep.”
“I’ll call her right now.” Rosa dialed a phone number and spoke with the answering service and had the doctor paged. “She will be here within the half-hour, Mrs. Jones.”
“Thank you, Rosa. Travis is sleeping and I don’t want to disturb him. May I wait in the lobby?”
“Absolutely! Can I get you anything, honey?”
“A sledgehammer might knock me out,” Charlotte joked. “I’m fine, thank you, Rosa.”
Twenty minutes later, a professional-looking woman appeared at the concierge station wearing a white coat and carrying a bag similar to Charlotte’s medical bag. Rosa and the woman conversed briefly and Rosa pointed at Charlotte. The woman put her glasses on and walked to her.
“Mrs. Jones, I’m Dr. Harding. I understand you’ve had trouble sleeping,” She held her hand out for Charlotte to shake.
“I have, yes. I could use something to knock me out for a good night’s rest.” Dr. Harding gestured to Charlotte and together they walked into a makeshift exam room, obviously set aside at the resort as an infirmary.
“Without knowing much of your medical history I can’t give you anything strong. But I can give you a shot of a shorter-acting medication that will get you through the night.”
Charlotte nodded. “I can handle that. We still have some plans for the next two days and we’d like to do something fun.”
“Is your husband available to help you back to your room, Mrs. Jones? I can’t let you walk back alone. It wouldn’t be safe for you.” The doctor prepared the injection and awaited her answer.
“I left him in the room so he could sleep. I could call him.” As much as Charlotte hated to wake him she knew she had to.
“I’ll wait until he is here to administer this.” The doctor excused herself from the room briefly while Charlotte phoned Travis.
“Charlotte?” Travis answered the phone.
“Yeah, it’s me. Look, the doctor won’t give me medicine unless you come here and walk me back. I guess it’s pretty fast-acting and she says it’s not safe for me to navigate back to the room alone. I hated to wake you.”
“I wasn’t sleeping yet. I’ll be down as soon as I get my shoes on, baby.” They hung up their phones.
“Over here, honey,” Charlotte called to Travis as he walked into the lobby. She led him back to the infirmary and they sat together and waited on the doctor.
Five minutes later the doctor reappeared with the injection ready to administer. “I see your husband is here. Sir, can you carry her if she needs it?”
“I can, yes,” he replied.
“Mrs. Jones, please pull your pants down just a little and I’ll get this done for you.” Charlotte exposed some skin just under her waistline and felt a pinch.
“Please do not leave her alone for the next eight to twelve hours. She will not be coherent.” The doctor gave some extra verbal instruction to Travis and excused herself.
“Oooh, Travis, I don’t feel good,” Charlotte said, unsteady on her feet.
“Maybe you’ll sleep tonight, honey,” he replied. “I’m not letting you walk.” He picked her up and carried her over his shoulder back to their room. By the time they left the front lobby she was knocked clear out and she was dead weight. When they got back Travis was tired and he had a problem. He couldn’t put her down because he was afraid he’d never pick her back up from the ground, but he needed both hands to open the door. Ron happened to be walking by on his way to the front lobby, and Travis petitioned him for help.
“Hey, could you lend me a hand?” Travis called to him.
“You’re not going to beat me up are you?” Ron answered cautiously.
“I just need some help with this key card. Could you open this door for me? I’d appreciate it.” Travis’ muscles were starting to tremor from fatigue. “Please, I’m not going to hurt you. Charlotte is out of it and I need help.”
“I don’t know why I should help either of you but I will.” Ron took the card from Travis and opened the door. “Here you go,” he said.
“The card, please?” Travis held his hand out and foot in the door.
“Oh, right,” Ron said as he handed it back to Travis. “Like I said earlier, good luck with her.”
“Thanks, on both accounts.” Travis carried Charlotte to the bed and laid her down. The door had already closed but he made sure to lock it and set Do Not Disturb sign on the knob. Carefully he undressed her and got her into a pair of pajamas, and somehow got her into bed. He nearly collapsed on the floor, his muscles weak and weary from overexertion. “I’m getting too old for this, honey,” he said to Charlotte, even though she couldn’t hear him. It was 5:13 pm and he climbed into bed beside her and fell asleep.