“Jo,” Ray looked shocked. “What are you doing here?”
Josie put a hand on her hip. She wondered fleetingly if he had been drinking. “That may be the dumbest thing you’ve ever asked me.”
He shook his head quickly. He looked even more exhausted than he had two days earlier, his cheeks sunken, with hefty bags beneath his eyes. He was tired, she realized, not drunk. She wondered when he had last slept. “Sorry. How’s Lisette?”
“She’s fine. You can go in and say hello before you leave. What’s going on?”
He spoke to Josie but was looking at the nurse behind the counter, a woman not much older than Josie, dressed in maroon-colored scrubs, her dark hair swept up off her neck in a loose bun and bright red lipstick smothering her lips. “As you know, Miss Spencer’s next of kin is her mother, who we cannot locate. That leaves her uncle Dirk Spencer, who is in intensive care at Geisinger for multiple gunshot wounds in a medically induced coma. She was just rescued from a year in captivity, and she is in a catatonic state. We can’t just leave her alone at Mr. Spencer’s house. She needs to be looked after.”
“Then the hospital should keep her,” the nurse said.
“There’s a norovirus outbreak at the college. Half the damn student body is at the hospital right now. Believe me, they don’t have the beds.” Ray gave the nurse a pleading look. “Come on. She has nowhere to go. It would only be for a day or two until we can make other arrangements. She needs to be monitored, and we need to know where to find her if she comes around and can start telling us what happened to her.”
“This is a nursing home.”
“It’s also a rehab facility,” Josie interjected.
“Do you mind?” the nurse said,
shooting her a dirty look.
Josie was sure she was the only one who saw the smile fighting to stay hidden on Ray’s lips. “Actually, Detective Quinn is my superior,” he told the nurse. “And she’s right. This is also a rehab facility.”
The nurse’s shoulders slumped. She rolled her eyes. “Yeah, for people who have knee replacements and hip fractures. Not… this.”
Josie advanced on the woman and, in spite of the high counter between them, the nurse backed up a few steps. Josie leveled her index finger at the woman like the barrel of a gun. “This girl was abducted by a known sexual predator and held prisoner in a single room for a year. A year. What she needs right now—what she deserves right now—is our empathy and compassion. Anything short of that is inhumane and, quite frankly, a disgrace. You’ve got a private room three doors down from Mrs. Matson. It hasn’t been filled since Mr. Wallis died. This isn’t forever. This is for a few days until more suitable arrangements can be made. It’s quiet here, and you’ve got trained medical personnel on staff. This place is much more comfortable than the hospital. So, you’ve got two choices. You can admit this young lady and do everything you can to care for her while she is here, or you can call your administrator—use her cell because she bowls on Saturdays—and make her come in and talk to me about this situation. What’s it gonna be?”
While Josie spoke, the woman’s haughty posture slowly deflated. She looked over the counter at June and sighed, “Fine, she can stay.”