Benjamin hung up the phone and placed it on the charger. He grabbed his laptop from the luggage bag and placed it on the table next to him. Dante came in the room and sat down on bed that was next to his. When Benjamin first arrived and saw just how close they were he tried to push the beds further away.
The damn things are nailed into the ground. “Man I shouldn’t have drank a coffee with a red bull, it went right through me.” Dante laughed and kicked his shoes off.
Potty humor, great. Benjamin rolled his eyes and opened the laptop. Dante sat up and angled himself so that he was facing him. He continued to type on his keyboard, ignoring Dante’s stare. He sighed and looked up from the computer screen, “What?” Benjamin snapped
“Mr. C, I get the feeling you don’t like me very much.” “I don’t.” Dante took a moment to process this, Benjamin thought he was off the hook and that Dante wouldn’t try to talk to him anymore for the rest of the night but he was wrong.
“Okay, but why? I haven’t given you any reason and I’m usually a pretty likable guy.” Benjamin shook his head and went back to looking at the laptop, “I’m not getting into this it’s late.”he said shutting down the topic.
“Don’t worry about hurting my feelings Mr. C. Lay it on me.” Dante said with his arms spread wide.” He thought about just ignoring Dante’s question and then going to sleep but Benjamin didn’t, he should have but he didn’t. Benjamin has a bit of a temper and if he gets the chance to tell someone off, he’ll do it.
Benjamin shut his laptop, laid it beside him and turned to Dante. “I think you’re immature. I think the only reason you decided to get into this profession was because you wanted a way to spend daddy’s money for not spending time with you...
I think no amount of time spent following me around will not teach you the skills you need. I don’t think you’re cut out for this and I don’t like that you’re just wasting time until the inevitable happens.” “Which is?” Dante asked sheepishly
“You’re gonna crack. The pressure is going to be too much for you. You’re going to have to decide on whether a person should live or die and you won’t be able to make that decision.”
Dante shook his head, “You’re wrong not about everything but you’re wrong about the reason why I’m here. I want to help people. My father wanted me to be a lawyer, like him. I’m the one who chose this profession and it wasn’t to spite him it was show him that I want to make a difference but in my own way. You may hate me Benjamin but right now I’m the best you’ve got and you know it.”
Dante turned out the light on the bed side table, which cast the room into darkness and stopped Benjamin from apologizing. He woke up a little earlier the next morning to grab some coffee as an apology to Dante. Benjamin knew he shouldn’t have said all those things about his father.
He judged Dante instead of trying to get to know him. But one thing that he still thought was true, Dante’s immature and he’s not ready to make life or death decisions. One wrong compound can mean the difference between a cure and the plague.
When Benjamin came back in with the coffee Dante was still snoring away, curled up in a ball. He lightly touched his shoulder then remembered a time when he did that too Lydia and she jumped up knocking their heads together. He didn’t move.
Benjamin walked to the front of the bed and lightly kicked the mattress, “Hey kid wake up!” he yelled. Dante groaned and sat up, “What time is it?” “6:30, come on I got you some coffee, a car is coming around seven to take us to the hospital.”
Benjamin handed him the coffee which he gladly took. While they were both getting ready he found Dante’s wallet in the bathroom. Benjamin was about to walk into the room and hand it to him when he saw something sticking out of the top.
He pulled out a photo of a little boy with curly blonde hair sticking up in different directions, hanging like a monkey from Dante’s back. The kid looked similar to Dante, was it his kid? Or maybe a younger brother?
Benjamin’s moral compass was finally telling him that he should give the Dante back his wallet and stop looking through it, so he did. They left the hotel and got into a black SUV with tinted windows.
Benjamin half expected a mobster guy to be waiting inside to whack them, but no it was just an empty back seat with an old guy to drive them to the hospital. Normally he had a file to go over or some sort of debriefing but this time Benjamin had nothing to fill the silence.
“So, you got any kids Dante?” he asked. Dante shook his head, “Nope, I’ve got a younger brother.” “What’s his name?” “Peter, he just turned twelve.” Dante said as he pulled out the photo Benjamin had already seen.
He looked over at it and smiled,“He’s a cute kid.” Dante smiled and stared down at the picture. He touched in gently with his fingers and then put it back in his wallet, “Yeah he’s great. He loves to draw and paint all of these weird creatures. He’s so creative.”
“Lydia loves to paint, she got it from her mom. Maryann always had paint on her nails, her hands or even in her hair.” “How long has it been, since she passed?” “3 years ago this month, I still can’t believe it.”
Benjamin wiped tears out of his eyes and cleared his throat. The car finally stopped, before he could open the door it was being opened for him. Robert stood there in his CDC lab coat and handed Benjamin one. “Hey Ben, thanks for coming on short notice.”
“No problem, he motioned to Dante who was getting out of the car, this is my assistant Dante.” Dante waved and followed them into the hospital. They followed Robert to the elevator which he used a key card to get into. “Wow, this is fancy and high tech.” Dante said.
Benjamin turned his head, opened his mouth and decided to close it. Robert turned towards them once the doors opened, “I want to try and debrief you on the situation but all I can say is that we have a body in the morgue that is showing unusual signs.”
They followed him out of the elevator and into the stare well which lead to the morgue. They passed by a few security guards on the way down and flashed their ID’s. “What do you mean unusual?” Benjamin asked. Robert turned and stopped just before they entered,
“Well for one thing, he’s breathing.” “What?!” Dante and Benjamin said at the same time. “Look the sooner we can figure out what’s going on the better. homeland security is on their way and they don’t play well with others.”
That scared Benjamin. If homeland security was getting involved then it must be bad. They are the big guns. The ones people call in when you just want the problem to go away, by any means necessary. The CDC tried to treat the problem or lessen the body count.
Homeland security would drop a nuke on a city without thinking of how many children they just obliterated. “If homeland security has been altered does that mean this infection isn’t contained to one area.” Dante asked. “That’s classified.”Robert said like an automated computer.
“Is it classified if I ask?” Robert nodded. “Okay then, so where is this dead, not dead body?” Dante asked rubbing his hands together. “Suit up, Benjamin said pushing a hazmat suit into Dante’s arms, I don’t want any exposure until we know this thing isn’t airborne.”
“Sure thing Mr. C.” Another thing he didn’t like about Dante, the fact that he called Benjamin Mr. C. He would be fine with Ben or Mr. Cunningham but Mr. C makes him sound like a cool teacher in high school. He realized that he was sort of like his teacher, but this wasn’t high school.