to Part 2
My Place Is With You -
One heart looking for answers,
Carrie stretched like a relaxed feline sitting up, raising her arms to the ceiling, and tilting her head to one side. She wondered if Mike was back from where he’d gone off to. She searched the house just as she had the night before but no Mike. A few phone calls to the hospital also was not as enlightening as she had hoped. His service still hadn’t heard from him and he had the day off today as well. The lady at his service said he was looking forward to today and couldn’t wait to tell someone the good news. None of this was making sense. Mike wasn’t the type of guy to just disappear without leaving a note. Even Alice Horton didn’t know where her grandson was.
Carrie scratched the place above her left eyebrow with her middle finger. She didn’t know why but the repetitive motion made her think more clearly. There was one person who made it his business to know Mike’s every move. But did she really want to turn to him for help? Maybe as a last resort, she thought. So, instead she tried to get a hold of her surrogate father, John Black. The phone at her step-mother Marlena’s penthouse rang and rang. Even Marlena’s ever trusty answering machine didn’t pick up. She threw the phone down in frustration. The only other person who could help was her real father, Roman Brady, but he was sick with a strange disease. Hopefully, the medication Dr. Brock had prescribed was still working, but he needed his rest and not an assignment to help her find Mike. Since she was still dressed wearing the same thing from the night before, she slipped on her sandals and headed to find the one person she couldn’t believe she was turning to for help, Dr. Craig Westley.
Craig hadn’t made his appearance very well known around hospital circles, but he had been in and out from time to time just observing. The one person he observed in particular was Mike Horton. Mike Horton, his old college chum, had been so busy running after a dead doctor’s ghost that he had missed the memo about selecting a new Chief of Staff. Harry Harris’ administration had come under review and Craig wasn’t about to miss a chance to become CoS at a hospital as world renowned as Salem University Hospital.
Today, he was walking the halls wearing one of his best Italian suits and his favorite royal blue shirt. The jacket fit perfectly over his slim hips and the pants were made just for him. He felt like a million bucks and he looked it too. As he rounded the corner, he collided head on with a strikingly beautiful blonde woman who seemed to be in an incredible hurry.
"Hello there," Craig said, smoothing the wrinkles out of his suit. He chuckled. "Miss the train?"
"What?" Carrie looked up at the man. She wondered if this was Craig Westley. Mike had told her about him so many times but she still didn’t know what he looked like. Mike didn’t even have a yearbook from his old college. He lamented that the campus’ budget had been cut and the yearbook was the first thing to go. She had actually heard through Marlena that Craig was in Salem to go head to head with Dr. Harris for the Chief of Staff position. Now that she thought about it, why wasn’t Mike running along side him. Mike would definitely make a better Chief of Staff than an obnoxious man like Craig Westley. "Oh, no. I’m sorry, I’m just in a hurry. I’m looking for someone."
"Really?" He hoped she was looking for him because he could take some of the magnificent action standing before him. It was too bad his wife, Nancy, was out of town. If she was around, he might not have been so taken with the lovely blonde. "Who is it? I’m familiar with a few of the staff members. I might be able to help you out."
"Craig Westley." A smile filtered to the creases in his eyes. That was exactly what he wanted to hear.
"Well, sweetheart, you found me."
Mike stood with a firm grip on the chair in front of him and watched as the man masked in shadow stepped forward. The only feature he could see clearly were his eyes and they were thin, mysterious and told of a man not to be reckoned with.
"You’re locked in a room and the man in front of you has a gun. What do you do?"
The figure aimed a matte black revolver at Mike’s head. His mind raced, eyes darting back and forth around the room searching for anything that might be used as a weapon. For a moment, a thought passed through his mind. I’m a doctor, not a fighter. How in the hell did I get myself into this mess?
A quick glance over his shoulder, he spied a tall, somewhat solid-looking halogen lamp. In one swift motion, he grabbed the light by its neck and knocked the shadowy figure to the ground, his revolver skidding across the floor. While the man was distracted, Mike saw his opening and rushed to the door. He threw it open only to find — another man with an even bigger gun pointing at his head.
"Sit down. Stay awhile," said the much younger man in a commanding tone. And Mike could tell he was not one iota surprised to see him. It was almost as if he’d been calmly waiting there for him to appear. And now that he had, the man wasn’t going to let him go.
Carrie explained her fears about Mike’s disappearance to Craig. Although, he was not too keen on helping Mike, the need to once again one up his old rival changed his mind. Not to mention spending the day with the lovely Carrie Brady was an added perk. They left the hospital and retired to the comfort of the Java Cafe. A new waitress named Nicole Walker took their order. Carrie ordered a latte and Craig a cappuccino. Carrie noticed a strange, distracted look on Nicole’s face and she kept glancing back from the ordering window at Craig. And Craig, he himself was acting unusual. Well, more unusual than what she already knew about him. He wasn’t making it very obvious but he was looking at her too.
"Do you know her?" asked Carrie.
For a second he didn’t answer. "No," he answered in a forced calm tone. "Why don’t you tell me where you think we should start."
"That’s just it, I don’t know. So many unusual things have happened lately I wouldn’t know where to begin." Carrie related the events that happened prior to her finding him. She told him about going to Green Mountain to find Dr. Brock and about the men shooting at them, her falling off the cliff and Mike carrying her half-way down Green Mountain to a small church. Craig sat dumbfounded by all she had experienced in only a few weeks.
"And your father, how is he?"
"Getting better every day. Mike seems to think the medicine Dr. Brock gave us should help him make a full recovery but it will take some time." Carrie sipped her latte. Craig wasn’t as bad as Mike made him out to be. He actually seemed rather sweet.
"Of course, and if you’d like, I’d be happy to check in on your father until Mike is found." Craig knew Carrie couldn’t resist his offer and since his wife was going to be out of town for a few months, what was keeping him from having a good time while she was away. Craig threw her a sickly sweet smile that would have melted any woman’s heart.
"Would you? That would be great." Craig closed his eyes and tapped his finger on the table lost in thought.
"We should retrace Mike’s steps on the last day you saw him. Talk to everyone he talked to. Maybe that will give us a clue." Carrie agreed and the two of them headed back to University Hospital. Before they left, Craig cast a venomous glance at Nicole who disappeared into the Java Cafe building when she felt his eyes on her. Maybe after helping Carrie find Mike, he’d deal with Nicole. He had time. And the more he made her wait the more torturous it would be for his old friend.
Behind him Mike could hear the sound of applause. "Not bad for a civilian." Now Mike recognized the voice. It was Shane Donovan. And as he stepped into the light, a wave of relief overcame him.
"What are you trying to do, scare the life out of me?" Mike swept a still shaky hand through his blond locks.
"We had to make sure you were up for this mission. And obviously, you have more quick thinking talents than I thought."
Shane had said mission. What mission? What was going on here? And what did he have to do with it? The only thing he knew was that it must have something to do with the ISA. Shane had been out of touch with most of the Brady family for many years but now here he was in Salem. At least, he hoped he was still in Salem.
"Call it a test, if you will?" said the man Shane identified as Ethan Fairchild. That name sounded familiar but he didn’t know why. Maybe in a little while he’d remember.
"A test? A test!" Now Mike remembered where he’d seen the man before. He had been the one in the doorway last night interrupting his quality time with Carrie. He was the one who had sprayed a strange mist in his face and brought him here. Here to be tested by the ISA. The more Mike remembered the more he knew he didn’t want to be here. "You could have killed me, Shane!" He took a few more deep breaths and realized that Carrie probably thought something had happened to him. "I want to call Carrie and tell her I’m all right."
"No, Mike, that isn’t possible. You’re working for the ISA now. Contact with Carrie is out of the question." Ethan walked forward and drew his gun.
"Like hell it is." Mike lunged for the door and Ethan karate chopped him on the back of the neck with the butt of his gun.
"Sorry old boy, it has to be this way, for Carrie and for your country." Shane paused. "Pick him up. Let’s get out of here. We have a mission to complete."
Ethan hoisted Mike into the same fireman’s carry he’d used the night before and placed him into an unmarked white van. Not a very comfortable place to sleep but he’d get use to it after awhile. Shane directed Ethan to drive them out of the city limits to an obscure x on the map. Ethan hoped Shane knew what he was doing getting a civilian involved in this mission. If things didn’t go as they planned, Mike Horton could end up dead.
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