David decided that Heather was just the person to pick up his mood for the day. He wanted to surprise her, so he hopped into his Camry and drove across the river to the home. Despite his self-admonishment to visit more often, it had once again been a while since he had seen her, and with everything going on recently, he wanted to catch her up.
"Well, well, well. Look at you. I barely recognize you without the beard," said Belinda. "Still handsome though. You never called last time, honey. You still owe me that date."
David was always amazed at how gracefully she handled her wheelchair. It was like watching a hippo dancing as elegantly as a ballerina.
"I know, sweetie," said David with a smile. "Things have been so crazy at work, all the ups and downs. I intend to make good on my promise."
"Typical excuse. You men are all the same. You tell us that we're your entire world, and then spend more hours with your buddies in the office than you do with us. Your sister always tells me about how much you work, and how hard you work. She is proud of you, you know. But I tell her that being a workaholic is nothing to be proud of. I'd take a professional failure of a man who is devoted to me over Donald Trump any day of the week. I bet you are a devoted boyfriend though, aren't you?"
David let out a single belly laugh.
"Where's Heather anyhow? I wanted to surprise her and take her out to lunch."
"Heather? I thought she was with you?"
"What do you mean?"
"Heather checked out a week ago and told everyone that you had worked things out so you could take care of her."
"Why would she say that? You can't just check out of here. Can you?"
"It's not a prison. I don't know, she said that work was going great for you and you could afford her care now. Isn't work going great for you? Didn't you start your own company?"
"Well, yes, I did, but no. I can't even afford rent."
"She said you were going to take care of her."
"Well, I can't. Not yet, at least. Why would she say that?"
Belinda looked down at the sidewalk.
"What?" asked David.
"Well, she was so stressed about running out of money..."
"What are you talking about? My mom left plenty of money from life insurance in a trust that was supposed to take care of Heather's expenses. She was supposed to be able to live off of it for years. What happened?"
"I don't know, I know some of the patients have been complaining about cost of living increases lately."
"Where's the head doctor? Who's in charge here?"
"Dr. Abington. He's usually in that corner office." Belinda pointed to the window in the corner of the building.
David stormed in and rushed into the nurses' room. This should not have happened. Everything had been carefully arranged. Everything had been taken care of. Of course he hadn't double-checked those details. Why hadn't he? He felt like throwing up.
He approached a thick-necked woman with flushed red cheeks and a gold cross necklace on her chest. "Excuse me, do you have an appointment?"
"I need to see Dr. Abington. It's urgent."
"Dr. Abington is with a patient right now. If you have a seat I can—sir, you can't go in there..."
David pushed open the door. Inside, a middle-aged man full of wrinkles and skin far more tan than the sparse Portland sun could justify was examining a young boy's leg. The young boy looked up at David and cocked his head to the side. The young boy's mother let out a yelp.
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The Term Sheet | Wattys 2016 WinnerMystery / Thriller
2016 WATTY AWARD WINNER - HQ LOVE THE TERM SHEET is a fast-paced technothriller about entrepreneurship, startups, encryption, and the delicate balance between national security and individual privacy. Its complex characters explore thought-provoking...