Running from elevator to elevator was beginning to make Ryan tired. He knew well that Jodi would follow the man. Ryan probably would, too, but if he was going to attempt to kidnap him, he would know how to fight him off. He'd experienced quite a few fights in school to know he could do this. Jodi was only five, and she wouldn't know what to do if someone was attempting to kidnap her. This was beginning to get scary. They needed to find her as soon as possible, whenever soon would be.
The family was scattered in groups all around the hospital. Theresa and Ryan finally managed to make it to the bottom floor, when they asked a woman standing by the door if she'd seen a man and a little girl leave the hospital together.
"I did," the woman recalled. "A tall, dark-haired man holding a little girl in his arms. She had long, brunette hair, with a little bald patch on her head."
"Yes, she's my daughter!" Theresa said nervously. "Someone took off with my little girl! Where did you see them go?"
"They headed for the parking lot about a minute ago," said the woman, suddenly realizing that Jodi was being kidnapped. "I grew very suspicious when he lifted her up onto his shoulder and began to walk at a quick pace to the parking lot. The little girl was struggling. A lot."
Theresa gasped. "Ryan, come with me!" She motioned for him to come outside. "Thanks, anyway!" she hollered back at the woman.
Theresa gazed at Ryan expectantly. "You have speedy legs," she told him. "Run out to the parking lot, see if you find her. I need to call the police. If you see her in a vehicle, make sure you get the license plate number. Agreed?"
Ryan nodded, and sprinted out toward the parking lot. Everyone knew that he had an excellent memory, so it would be easy for him to track down the license plate number. He could also describe what the vehicle looked like, if he happened to see his little sister in one. He had to hurry up and find her, before they drove away. She had just left the building, so they had to still be in the parking lot. The parking lot was huge, though, so it could be quite difficult to locate her. Hopefully they were close by.
Ryan knew that Theresa was counting on him. His heart was racing, and he was afraid they'd lose her. She needed to stay in the hospital, or else she would die if something happened to her. He gazed back to see Theresa on the phone, speeding down the sidewalk behind him. She could describe the streets the driver was taking, so the police could catch the man faster. She hoped desperately that they could catch the man. All she wanted was to have her daughter back.
Plus, Cody was supposed to have a blood test done that evening, and he needed to take his pills. Jodi needed to take her daily injection, and her pills, too. She could die without those. That was what was saving her life. Her tumor was apparently growing larger in size, and she needed more treatment to get rid of it. She needed to come back.
Ryan raced out into the parking lot, and was almost hit by a fast-moving red sports car, but he managed to dodge it. He just happened to gaze into the back seat, where a little girl was tied up, duct tape covering her mouth. Jodi! Ryan needed to flag down that vehicle, and get the license plate number.
"Mom!" he screamed. "She's in there! Get him!"
Ryan quickly glanced at the back of the red sports car. The license plate was easy to read, and there wasn't too much to remember. The car quickly sped out of the parking lot, just as a police cruiser pulled in.
When the officer rolled down the window, Theresa screamed, "Get that car! My daughter is being kidnapped!"
The officer let Theresa and Ryan quickly hop into the back of the police cruiser, and once the door was safely closed, the officer flashed the lights and sped after the kidnapper. They could see the mysterious man gaze back at them, and he suddenly picked up speed. The officer followed him at lightning speed, and repeated, "Pull your vehicle to the side of the road!" He used a large, microphone-like object, to make sure the man could hear him.
Other police cruisers arrived at the scene, as they rounded the corner of the street. The man turned right, hoping to lose them. St.Claire Public School was on their left as they followed the kidnapper. They sped past Aunt Mimi's house, and continued on down the road. More police cruisers waited at the mall, and as the man swerved to avoid contact with one of the police cruisers, the expensive sports vehicle slammed into a tree, destroying the front of the vehicle. The man climbed out, and attempted to escape on foot, but the officers attacked him, and immediately hand-cuffed him.
Theresa and Ryan had to be released from the police cruiser by the officer who drove it, since there was no door handle on the inside. They quickly rushed over to the mangled sports vehicle, and whipped open the door behind the driver's seat. There was Jodi, unharmed, trembling violently and sobbing in the back. Tears ran down Theresa's cheeks as she lifted Jodi out of the crashed car, and hugged her tightly.
After a bit of investigating, the officers took the man to jail. Theresa, who was still shaken up from the whole incident, took Ryan and Jodi back to the hospital. She breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that, if Ryan didn't run so fast into the parking lot, and if they had noticed Jodi gone even just a few seconds later, they could have lost her that day. The man had plotted the whole thing, and he planned to kill her. But his plans didn't go very far, thanks to Theresa and Ryan.
"That is so cruel," Elaine spat. "Who, in their right mind, would try to kidnap someone so innocent?"
"The story doesn't make sense," Adam added. "Why would he try to kidnap someone in a room full of people?"
"He used a smart trick," Ryan said coldly. "He pretended to be a man in charge of the playroom. When he saw her all by herself, he knew it was perfect timing. A five-year-old will obviously fall for a trick like that. Even I would, and I'm ten."
"I bet your mom was hysterical," said Jake.
"Yeah, she lost it," said Ryan. "But thankfully, I tracked down the car she was in, and my mom called the cops." He tried to recall the story as best he could.
"Oh, today's Friday!" Whitney piped. "We're having that sleepover tonight. Are any of you coming?"
All of them nodded. They had already asked about it the previous night, and they knew they were allowed to come. They couldn't wait to play Truth or Dare, since they were all dare-devils. They were up to do anything they were told to. Some of them were nervous, because they weren't sure what they'd be dared to do. It would be a fun night.
Ryan had been to all of his friends' houses, except for Whitney's. When he first took a look at it, he found it was gorgeous. It was just a single story home, with light brown coloured bricks running along the outside of the house. The house looked like it had just been built not too long ago. The lot next to Ryan's grandparents' house was being used for a pretty big house. They had the frame up, and it was a bit huge, but only one floor, and a basement, like Whitney's house.
They set up downstairs in the basement, and decided that, after supper, they would go to the park for a bit, and then they would come back to play truth or dare in the basement. It would be an exciting night. The boys had brought their skateboards to school, and stored them in their lockers during the day. They rode them out to Whitney's house after school.
Her parents were very friendly. Whitney definitely took after them, with both personality and looks. Her mother was very pretty, her long, dark hair flowing down her back. Whitney was like her clone. She worked as a doctor at the hospital downtown, and Whitney hoped to follow in her footsteps in the future. Her father was a handsome looking man; tall and muscular. He had somewhat dark hair as well, but Whitney looked more like her mother. But, just like her parents, Whitney was very friendly, too. They had a great family.
Ryan wished his family could be like that. Quiet and problem-free. Cody was beginning to get worse, and so was Jodi. Jodi's tumor was apparently growing larger in size, and Cody's arm was beginning to turn purple again, and it was swelling. He was in lots of pain, but he was taking heavy medication to try to make the pain disappear. Whitney's family wouldn't really have to worry about that, but if something like that had ever happened to Whitney, their entire family would be torn apart like Ryan's. But Whitney was an only child.
Ryan had been to Elaine's house the most. She had an older sister who was seventeen, Arielle. Ryan had become her "little buddy", as Arielle had called him. He was used to seeing her a lot, and she was like a friend, too. She thought that it was cute how Ryan and Elaine were such close friends. They were so young, and she smiled every time they were together.
They went off to the skatepark for a bit after supper, and when they returned, it was time to start the game. And theTruth or Dare game was going just as planned. There was some pretty good dares going on, and, being the dare-devils that they were, they did everything they were told to do. After Whitney had spilled the truth about something she had been thinking about for a while, she decided to dare someone to do something.
Her eyes were directed straight at Elaine. "Elaine," she said, giving her an evil look.
"Yes?" Elaine said expectantly.
"I dare you," she said slowly. She paused, thinking of a dare. An idea suddenly popped into her head. "I dare you," she said once again, "to kiss Ryan."
Ryan's eyes went wide. "What do you mean by 'kiss'?"
"Oh, come on, you know what I mean," Whitney insisted. "On the lips. Come on, you have to do it, it's a dare! We're dare-devils, remember?"
Elaine and Ryan both gazed at each other, their hearts pounding fast. Ryan kind of had to admit, he had just a bit of a crush on Elaine, but they were just friends, far too young to date. And, as he had been told by his other friends, Elaine liked him too. He was really anxious, but they couldn't just back out of a dare like that. They'd promised earlier they'd do whatever they were told.
Elaine and Ryan grew even more nervous as all of their other friends were watching. Ryan knew he had to do it. Cody had done it before, but that was taken by surprise. Slowly, very slowly, they began to lean in for each other. Ryan could tell Elaine was scared, just by the look in her crystal blue eyes. It took about a minute of nervousness before their lips finally met.
They could both hear their friends in the background, saying, "Awwww!" They saw the flash of a camera, and Whitney chuckled mischeviously. They were dared to hold it for five seconds, which was rather difficult, but they let go after counting up to five. Afterwards, they were embarrassed to even look at each other.
They were both getting high-fived, and they felt a bit proud that they had built up the courage to do it. After getting over the embarrassment a few moments later, they both began to laugh. Everyone around them began to laugh, too. At least it was over, anyway.
They decided to start a conversation about something else, besides Truth or Dare. They decided to talk about their family, since Ryan still didn't know too much about his friends' family. Ryan did know that Elaine had an older sister, Arielle, who was seventeen, and then there was Christopher, who was eight. Elaine had promised that the next time she came to the Children's Hospital, she would bring Chris, since she figured he and Cody would bond well.
Ryan also learned something new. Apparently, Elaine hadn't been in the town too long, either. She had just moved there back in May. Chris had some trouble adjusting to the new school, because nobody wanted to be his friend. Elaine, however, was like a friend magnet. She was almost attacked by the other kids, and she found the right friends. She was glad to at least attract friends on the first day.
At around eleven o'clock, they decided to watch a movie, and then go to sleep. The movie was rather short, shorter than they'd expected. After about an hour, Whitney hit the remote to turn off the TV, and they all drifted off to sleep in less than half an hour. They were all exhausted from all the fun they'd had that night. Now they just needed some rest.
Ryan could hear the sound of his cell phone ringing in his sleep. He slowly opened his eyes, and rolled over, patting the floor next to him to try to find it. He finally felt his BlackBerry phone hit the palm of his hand, and he lifted it up off the hardwood floor. It was ringing loudly, and he hoped that it didn't wake up anyone else.
He gazed around the room, just to double check that everyone was still sleeping. He was wrong. As it turned out, he was the last one to wake up. Now that he was aware that his friends were already awake, he clicked the "answer" button on his cell phone.
"Hello?" he asked, still half asleep.
"Ryan, we need you to come back home," said Theresa.
Ryan blinked a few times, trying to zap himself awake. "Why?" he questioned.
"Because, it's really important," Theresa said proudly. "They think Cody possibly might be in remission. They aren't one hundred percent sure yet, but I think he is."