She finally agreed, but didn't want Raleigh to put her in the wheelchair. She did allow him to wheel her down to the van, but Sam was the one who helped her inside. Raleigh stayed quiet until they got a few blocks from the hospital.
"So, either of you been to Ravenwood before?"
"Is that the name of the place?" Sam asked calmly. "No. We've never been in rehab."
"It's a good place." Raleigh smiled into the rear view mirror as he slowed for a light. "I was a test case. That's where I met my wife. She works in the kitchen and I drive, do odd jobs around."
"Dr. Rivers said it was different. In what way?" Sam asked.
"Well, it's more like a halfway house than a rehab center. We all cook the meals, clean up, do our own laundry, make our beds. We all pitch in and keep the place nice."
"Aren't some of us pretty messed up? I mean, can't have a crack head hold a meat cleaver, right?" Emma spoke up rather abruptly.
Raleigh laughed easily. "There are two sections to Ravenwood. In our part, no one is in that bad of shape. We take kids like you, not hardcore addicts, but have a problem. Most of our program focuses on recreating our environment to make it more conducive to staying sober." Raleigh looked up at them in the rear view mirror again. "So, how long you two been dating?"
"Well, we're not officially a couple," Sam said.
"We're engaged," Emma said suddenly, rather too loudly. "We have been together for ages."
Sam couldn't understand why she was acting so strange until she grabbed his hand, squeezing tightly. She was terrified. Either of the situation or Raleigh, he wasn't sure which. He trusted the other man, but Emma didn't. Sam was a good judge of character, Emma usually wasn't. It was the fact he resembled her dad, that's what did it. Raleigh caught his eye in the mirror, raising a brow. Sam shook his head slightly, pursing his lips.
He mouthed the word, Later.
Raleigh's nod was nearly imperceptible. A slow blink of his eyes showed he understood what Sam was saying, though he didn't understand the circumstances. Sam sensed that in Raleigh, he at least, had a friend and ally. It would be up to Emma whether she accepted him as well.
Ravenwood Rehabilitation Facility sat far from the road, surrounded by a tall, wrought iron fence set into stone pillars. The security gate made Sam think of a prison. A large grassy area dotted with flower gardens and a fountain greeted them as they drove in. Raleigh pulled into a circular drive in front of a large stone building that looked rather like a Tudor home only it was made from native sandstone. It was a large, elongated L shape with a much larger, more imposing wing off the back. The only thing that marred the outer aspect were the iron grates across the windows.
"Expecting an army?" Sam asked as they pulled under a portico perpendicular to the front door.
"No. We've had some folks try and jump ship part way through their sessions. One guy reacted badly to the meds. Another had an acid flashback. Not even he knew he'd done acid. It was a bad trip. After that, they decided for security and insurance reasons to do that. They can be opened, only in the event of an emergency. Like if there's a fire or something, the locking mechanism is tripped at the security office. They'll go over that in orientation."
"Who's in charge?"
"Dr. Emanuel Spiner runs the lock down wing and is overall supervisor. He's a world renowned psychiatrist. He kicked a bad drug habit himself and used what he learned from his own addiction to set up pilot programs like this. His partner, Dr. Amanda Stewart, is the one who runs our side."
"Why did they build here? Wouldn't it be better in a large metro area?"
"We bring in people from all over, not just locals. They go over that in orientation too. Come on in and meet the group. My wife should be organizing dinner right about now."
Emma and Sam got out of the van and followed Raleigh inside. The lobby was open and well lit by sunlight flooding through the glass door and wall. To their left was a reception desk behind what looked like bulletproof glass. It seemed rather like a bank more than a medical facility. To the right was another expanse of windows and a high desk. This said Security. Sam could see ranks of televisions and control panels as well as three guards inside. One of the guards came out and spoke to Raleigh. Sam was uncomfortable with the fact that the man was armed and said something to Raleigh as they followed him to the admissions office.
©2020 Dellani Oakes