I’m sorry madam every room is taken! All flights in and out of LaGuardia have been cancelled because of the crash. If you’d like, I can call one of our other hotels and book a room for you.”
Climbing aboard a Cessna, at Thompson airfield for my flight to New York, Frank’s words had registered. “Ask for him at the front desk.” But I had refused to allow myself to think that far ahead.
In a split second, I decided my future.
“No, that won’t be necessary.” “Is Frank Roberts with the NTSB registered here?”
“One second madam, I’ll check.” Yes, Room 314.”
“Would you see if he’s left a message for me?”
“Yes, madam there is a message, but I must ask to see some identification, first. Please.”
I was somewhat surprised, but nonetheless, I reached into my bag and pulled out my Illinois driver’s license. The clerk compared the picture on the license with the person standing before him and seemed pleased. He handed my license back to me with a smile.
“Madam, Mr. Roberts requested that we give you the key to his room when you arrived.”
He rang the bell on the hotel lobby counter and almost instantly, a bellboy appeared.
I’d never told anyone but Sam, mostly because no one would have believed me, but Sam was the first man, White or Black, that I’d slept with. I swiped the key card and opened the door to room 314. To my relief, there two full-sized beds in the room.
Frank’s bags were sitting un-opened on the bed by the window. That left me the bed nearest the bathroom. I tossed my bags on the bed and sat down and immediately turned on the TV to hear more news on the crash. The phone rang. “Margaret?” asked the voice on the other end. “Yes,” I answered.
“Good you made it then.” Did David come, too?”
“No. David couldn’t make it. During the Holidays we run a skeleton crew, because, naturally everyone wants off. But he’ll do whatever he can from there.”
“That’s good, was his reply.
“What else have you learned about the crash, I asked.
“Nothing much. It’s hard trying to investigate a site when it’s covered by eight or ten feet of water. We have to wait until the plane is raised.”
“Margaret listen, I’m going to tell Agent Sanchez about what we think is happening.” If it goes well, I should get back to the hotel sometime tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime, I wonder if you could pay a visit to Saul’s wife and mother and find out what made him get on that plane in spite of our warnings.”
Before he hung up there was a slight pause. Then he said with a warmer tone to his voice, “Margaret, thank you for coming. I needed you here.”