Chapter 8 Al had gotten dressed somewhat reluctantly. Their honeymoon was over and it was time to return to the project, and face the ever impending deadlines on finding Sam. He felt renewed, refreshed and relaxed. However he still hated to go and leave this wonderful time behind. The morning was just starting and their flight out wasn't until later that afternoon. He kissed Beth as she dressed. "Ready?" She nodded and went to pack. Part of Al's military training kicked in and he started straightening up the room. No sense leaving it all to the maids. He picked up the remains of last nights dinner and put it on the dresser. He heard Beth in the other room, packing away their toiletries. Al picked up the fallen blanket and placed it on the bed. That was when he noticed the phone, half kicked under the bed and off the hook. "Beth?" He called. The blood in his veins ran cold. He had a creepy, crawly feeling in his bones. She came in the room carrying her small cosmetic case. She placed it by the door. "Yes?" "How long has the phone been off the hook?" Some of the color drained from her face. "Is it off? I don't know, last night maybe?" She went to hang it up. No sooner than it was back on the hook, it rang. "Hello?" she answered. "Okay, he's right here." She handed the phone to Al. "It's Verbena." He took a deep breath and exhaled it slowly. Somehow, he knew what had happened. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, he just knew. He took the phone. "Yes, Bena?" Beth watched Al's face as his worries came true. "When?" He paused. "You can't get Ziggy to help? What about Gooshie? He's filled in before." Beth went over and guided Al to sit on the bed before he fell over from shock. She held his hand. Al was nodding into the phone. "Yeah I understand. How's the visitor?" A long pause. "Okay, we will be on our way shortly. Call the airport and have our flight changed. Tell Ziggy to keep trying." He hung up the phone and put one arm around Beth. "What is it? What's wrong?" "Verbena says that Sam Leaped. We have a Visitor in the Waiting Room. Ziggy is being stubborn." She gasped lightly at the mention of Sam. "Oh, Al. I had no idea." He kissed her lightly and stroked her cheek. "Don't worry about it. You had no way of knowing." She kissed him back. "Well, let's get out of here." She stood and started to leave to get the rest of the luggage. He stopped her. "Beth, yesterday was wonderful. I just wanted to say, I love you. Thank you for bringing me here." The words came from his heart. She hugged him close. "I love you too, Al." She held him for a moment more. "Don't worry, he will be fine." She gave voice to Al's fears. I hope so, Al thought. Out loud he said, "I know. I've just never been this late to show up before. I hope he doesn't think we've deserted him." With a final squeeze, Beth broke the embrace. "He won't. As long as the two of you have known each other, desertion won't enter into his mind." Time for business, Al thought. They finished packing and left within the next thirty minutes.