True to his word Jessie’s father had taken them around the back of the building and they entered a series of hallways that smelled lightly of cleaners and flower. The man chatted a little but Jerret didn’t bother listening, looking around at the plain walls with inoffensive artwork on them.
It felt like a hospital. Not the emergency rooms he usually saw but the long-term areas they whisked him out of as soon as he could stand. It was also quiet enough he could hear air circulating and their footsteps echoing down the halls. They stopped at the end of one hallway and Sam opened the door, gesturing for him to go first.
It was more like a hotel room than a hospital room. Except for the bed being on a rolling metal frame he’d almost think it was one.
“Bathroom is through there, closet in there has some clothing that should be the right size or close enough.” Sam gestured to the two doors in the far corner, “Someone will bring your meals here, probably me but maybe Sarah…” He seemed to notice Jerret tensing and paused to look at him.
Jerret sat down on the bed heavily, looking out the window. It was a nice day outside.
“So is it women in general or just my sister?” Sam sat down in a chair next to the window.
Jerret continued staring out the window.
“No you don’t get to stay quiet on this one. Is this going to be a problem? Because you’re going to have to deal with Sarah at least. I’m not medically trained and we need to run tests to confirm you’re the same species as Jessie.”
“Can’t just take my word for it of course.”
“You’ll also need a physical since you’re technically a patient.” The man either ignored or didn’t notice the annoyance in Jerret’s response.
“And you’re going to need a shave and a haircut, my mother does not tolerate *that*…” He gestured towards Jerret’s admittedly overgrown facial hair, “at the dinner table.”
“Can I just go back in the cell now?”
To his credit the man laughed at that. Jerret frowned at him until he stopped.
“Are you a danger to my sister if she needs to do any of these things? If so we can get a male doctor in but it will take a few weeks so you’ll be here longer.” Sam looked serious again, leaning forward in the chair.
Jerret didn’t answer at first. They sat in silence, Sam watching him carefully and Jerret avoiding eye contact. He looked up finally, “As long as she gives me plenty of warning about whatever she needs to do the worst I’ll do is growl at her.”
“Are you certain?”
Jerret bit back a rude comment, “It’s come up before, I can handle it. I just don’t like to.”
The man leaned back in his chair and stared out the window for a few minutes, then jumped to his feet and dusted himself off, “Right, you’re free to go outside if you want but I can’t guarantee you won’t run into anyone out there. Stay on the first floor, Mr. Sutro is on floor two and given his fragile mental state I don’t think seeing you will help. I’ll leave you to get settled.” With that he left, shutting the door and retreating down the hall.
Jerret waited until he couldn’t hear footsteps before getting up to explore the room. The closet had a few shirts and pants, and something hanging in a bag towards the back. The bathroom was roomy and featured a shower with a bench in it. He turned on the hot water and the room quickly turned steamy as he undressed and got in. He honestly couldn’t remember the last time he’d had a hot shower.
He was dressed again and making a futile attempt to straighten his hair when the patter of small feet distracted him. The footsteps stopped and he could see the shadow of two little feet at the bottom of the door. A timid knock followed and he got up, opening the door just enough to see Jessie staring up at him.
“Mr. Jerret! You came for my birthday? Misa didn’t tell me you were here.” She grinned as he opened the door fully to let her in and hugged him. He cringed but tolerated it until she let go, darting to the chair by the window to sit down.
“Well it’s not for a while yet but I wasn’t sure you’d be here in time. I’m not supposed to be in this part of the house but I was sneaking to see Mr. Calvin and I knew I smelled you!” She looked pleased with herself and he couldn’t help but smile a little.
“Why are you sneaking around over here?”
“Everyone doesn’t want me to bother Mr. Calvin and probably you now too but I don’t want Mr. Calvin to be sad so I’ve been visiting him so he won’t be lonely. I think the house is talking to him too but I don’t know what houses talk about so maybe it’s not interesting. Now that you’re here I’ll have to visit you too so you don’t get lonely. Maybe if you visit Mr. Calvin too he’ll feel better.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea, kiddo.”
The room felt stifling as she looked at him expectantly, “I’m… not good at cheering people up.”
She frowned for a moment, then nodded to herself and stood up again, “I should go before they realize I’m over here but I’m glad you’re here Mr. Jerret. I’ll come visit again soon!”
With that she disappeared into the hallway again, shutting the door softly.