“Hello, this is Lady Beth Vrolok; may I speak with Roberta Rush, please?”
Ruby could not get over how sophisticated and eloquent Lady Beth’s voice sounded. It was as though she had an accent that represented a social class way above her common status. For a moment, she wondered if she would even be good enough to work for such a woman. “This is Ruby Rush; I’ve been expecting your call.”
“It is so good to speak with you, Ms. Rush. As you know, I am calling to see if you are interested in accepting the position as a live-in private duty nurse for my husband, Lord Andrei. Is this correct?”
“Yes, it is.”
“Then I will explain your duties. Lord Andrei suffers from diabetes and COPD, which I am sure you are aware stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He uses oxygen and gets short of breath rather quickly. He has a wound on his foot that has become infected so Doctor Booker will be inserting what he calls a PICC line today, and tomorrow, Saturday, he will be arriving back home. Doctor Booker will be managing his home health care. As far as your primary duties, you will need to administer IV antibiotics and perform wound care. Of course, monitoring his oxygen and blood sugar levels are vital, as well as giving insulin, if needed. Our maid, Mrs. Reinhardt, has been doing the bulk of the care, but the extra duties have become more than she can handle. Do you have any questions so far?”
Ruby still was not sure she wanted the job, but as she looked around her empty house, it was as though she had little choice. “I’m required to live in your home?”
“That is correct. You will be provided an excellent bedchamber down the hall from Lord Andrei. Mrs. Reinhardt will clean it and tend to your personal needs. Time off can be arranged with me after you’ve trained Mrs. Reinhardt to perform some of the necessary care my husband needs.”
This job may be more work than it sounds. If he was going to be complete care, and she was the only nurse, she may need to turn down the job. “Is Lord Andrei able to go to the bathroom and dress and feed himself?”
“Lord Andrei is of sound mind though he does get a little confused at times, but that is to be expected with his advanced age. As far as getting around, he does use a wheelchair, and the doctor fitted him with a special boot for walking so that the pressure is kept off the foot with the ulcer. But depending, he may need assistance at times when it comes to dressing, but we have secured the help of a home health aide from your agency who is moving into a quaint little cottage just outside the wall. She will be there to assist with all those duties. Her name is Patty Anderson; do you know her?”
“Yes, I’ve worked with her a few times in the hospital; she’s a hard worker.” Ruby remembered Patty being rather talkative, which occasionally led her to nose into patients’ personal lives, but other than that, Patty was fun to work with. Short and stout, she would have no problem assisting Lord Andrei on her own.
“The agency has discussed the pay with you, have they not?”
“Yes, they have.” With such high compensation, the job was almost too good to turn down. “When would I start?”
“Tomorrow would work out well, that way you would be here when my husband returns from the hospital.”
It was decision time. If it were not for her missing brother and her mission to find him, she would have turned it down. “That sounds fine.”
“Do you have a car, Ms. Rush?”
If she did not take this job, that would be the next thing to be repossessed. “Yes, I do.”
“I’ll arrange for Trout Line Ferry to transport you and your vehicle tomorrow morning. I will call your agency when I have the time arranged. Would that be to your liking?”
“That would be wonderful,” Ruby said, watching Sam get a plastic garbage bag from under the sink and then place the iris rhizomes into it.
“I am looking forward to meeting you, Ms. Rush. My son, Victor, will meet you when you depart the ferry tomorrow.”
“Thank you, I can’t wait to meet you, too.” Ruby hung up the phone and looked at Sam’s questioning face. “I got the job.”
“Cool,” Sam said, raising a hand for a high five. “Did the lady say anything about Castle Moldovan and living inside the old monastery?”
“Crap, I forgot to ask her about the wall and if they lock the gate, leaving me trapped inside,” Ruby said, reaching for her water.
“I know you’re doing this so that you can find Alan, but . . .” Sam secured the opening of the rootstock filled bag with a knot.
“Just be careful. There’s probably weird stuff going on inside those walls.” Sam handed the bag to Ruby and then took another bottle of water from the refrigerator. “All I can say, since I’ve never been there, is that you should stay away from the people inside the castle itself.”
Ruby took the bag and put a hand to her chin in thought. “I hate to say this, but that may be the exact place I need to go if I’m going to find Alan.”
Sam choked on the water. He wiped the dribble from his face. “Don’t do anything stupid, Ruby.”
“I won’t. I have to follow the rules if I’m going to keep my job. But it won’t hurt to ask questions and do my own little investigation.”
Sam leaned against the counter. “There’s a rumor going around work that Renders Automotive and Plastics is going to be handing out pink slips this week. So when I get laid-off, I’m going to get a room in that town by where you’re at; I think it’s called Maryville. I’ll help you find Alan; I don’t want you doing—your investigation—alone.”
“What would I do without you, Sammy?”
“I don’t know, but I know how you are. You can be a little stubborn.”
Ruby exhaled loudly as she followed Sam into the living room to get more items to take to the truck. “I’m not stubborn.”
Sam looked back and smiled. “See what I mean?”