ALBANYVILLE GENERAL HOSPITAL
"Please, call me Fred," he smiled warmly at her.
"Um, Fred, so, exactly how many of these rumors that I've
heard about you are true?" She watched him carefully. She
wanted to be sure she could separate the fact from the fiction.
"There is not a shred of truth to any of them!"
He slammed his fist down into his hand. "This hospital has a way of
taking anything that happens inside these walls and blowing it way out of
proportion! You know yourself how rumors can be the furthest thing from
"Yes, I know." Francis hung her head in
embarrassment. Of course, everything that she'd heard about him had to be
just gossip. "I-I was just curious about that nurse..."
"Ah, Arlene." Fred lifted his hand to his chin
as he thought back about the pretty young nurse he'd been involved with some
time ago. "I really did care for her. It was so horrible what
"T-that's what I meant," she stammered a bit as tried
to find the right words to broach the subject. "I heard that you knew
more about her disappearance than you ever told the police."
"That's hogwash!" His eyes began to burn with
anger. He'd fought so hard to dispel the cloud of suspicion that followed
him ever since Arlene had disappeared. "Yes, I was seeing her
at the time, but I had nothing to do with her disappearing off the face
of the earth. We had a fight and she took off! She wasn't from
Albanyville. She didn't have any family or close ties here other than me.
When she didn't have me anymore, she probably just picked up and took off
"Yes, you're probably right." Francis nodded her
head in agreement. She glanced down at her watch and noticed the time.
"Well, I've talked your ear off long enough. I really must
get...home." The word caught in her throat. Home...not the
house she'd shared with Charles
and her children for so many years, but now the penthouse apartment she shared
with her mother.
She wasn't sure she'd ever get used to that thought.
"Francis, I hope you won't think I'm being too
forward," Fred spoke up cautiously. "But I really would like it
if you'd agree to join me for dinner some time."
"Dr....I mean, Fred, are you asking me on a date?"
"Why, yes, I think I am."
"I-I don't know," she felt her face flush as she began
to grow nervous. "I-I really can't. I am married, after
all." She looked down at her watch again. "I-I do have to
go." She quickly turned and walked briskly down the hallway and away
from the doctor.
As his eyes followed her, a smile spread across his lips.
"Ah, Francis, you're so beautiful and lovely," he muttered to himself.
"Charles doesn't deserve a woman like you. If only I could convince
you to give me a chance."