Even an elevation of 36,000 feet couldn't stop the problems in Salem from reaching Maggie.
Neil, Maggie, and Noelle sat in their first-class seats rarely speaking a word.
Noelle couldn't stop thinking of Sarah. She was so worried. All she could do was a question where she could be.
Neil was another story. His mind was in shambles. Maggie, Mickey, Sarah, Melissa, Tom, Alice, the entire Horton family was on his mind. He loved the small-framed woman sitting beside him more than anything and the pain she was experiencing right now tore his heart apart.
Maggie. Maggie was in shock. How was Sarah missing? She was scared out of her mind. She couldn't imagine where Sarah could be. She was so worried. She had seen so many missing children cases that end tragically. She tried so hard to keep a positive mindset, but the image of Sarah lost or endanger continued to crowd her mind.
Neil saw the discomfort in her eyes and all across her body, but a shock came when she reached out grabbing his hand with hers. A firm squeeze let him know it was okay to comfort her, she did need him, she did want him.
"Maggie, I know not being home is killing you but is there anything I can do for you?" Neil held her hand with both of his and looked deep into her hurting deep brown eyes seeing the tears begin to service.
"Is there any way you can check on the situation?" Maggie whispered low choking back tears.
"I'll do my best my love." Neil gave her hand a good squeeze and proceeded to get the attention of the nearest flight attendant.
"Yes, sir can I help you?"
"Yes, I am Dr. Neil Curtis and I am needing to make an urgent phone call to Salem."
"Okay, I will be right back."
Within minutes the attendant returned with a phone for Neil to use.
"Maggie, would you like to make the call?"
"No. I don't think I can." Maggie breathed through tears.
Maggie was sitting between Neil and Noelle and holding each of their hands. Without thinking, Noelle leaned her head on Maggie's shoulder. A natural reaction came when Maggie leaned her head and rested it against Noelle's. She felt so comfortable with Maggie and loved her so. Noelle's instincts were kicking in and she was doing anything to ease Maggie's heartache.
Neil was making the much-dreaded phone call back to Salem. He knew Maggie needed and wanted an update on Sarah, but he was also wondering if calling was a good idea. He had a feeling the news and update would not be good, and Maggie was in no condition to have any more heartache nor pain.
"Hello, Horton residence." Jennifer's low voice answered.
"Jennifer, its Neil. Is there any news on Sarah? I am with Maggie, but she is in no condition to make the call."
"No, none. Roman just got here though and Abe is on his way."
"How is everyone? Especially Mickey and Melissa?"
"Well, Mickey isn't here. We haven't been able to contact him. But Melissa is holding up." Neil's blood began to boil. Sarah was missing and Mickey was nowhere to be found.
"Grandpa just walked in; would you like to talk to him?"
"Yes, thank you, Jennifer."
Neil waited on hold for Tom's voice to come on the other end of the line. His patience and Maggie's were wearing thin.
"Tom? This is Neil. Maggie and I are on our way back to Salem. How is everyone? Is there any news?"
"No. Roman is here, and Abe is on his way. Carrie and Jennifer are making calls to all of her friends trying to find her but no luck so far."
"Tom, I am so sorry. We will be there as soon as we can." Neil was lost for words.
"I know. Neil, just take care of Maggie. She needs someone right now."
"Don't worry Tom. I will take care of her. We will see you in about an hour. Take care of Melissa and Alice, Maggie is worried sick about them."
"You know I will. Melissa is having a really hard time, but Jennifer and Alice are doing their best to help her." The two men ended their call. Neil returned the phone to the flight attendant and turned to Maggie and Noelle.
"I talked to Tom and there is no news. They still haven't heard from her. Carrie and Jennifer are making calls to all of her friends and are going to check out all her normal hangouts. Roman just arrived and Abe is on his way. They are going to start looking around town." Neil pulled her in close and stroked her hair as he saw the tears well in her eyes. He reaches to hold Noelle's hand in hopes of comforting her. His heart was breaking. He was so worried about Sarah but tried to be strong and hide his fear for the sake of Maggie and his daughter.
After what seemed an eternity they landed in Salem where Julie was waiting to pick them up. The short drive to Maggie's seemed to last forever. Maggie sat in the front seat staring blankly out the window. Noelle and Neil were seated in the back each with fear and worry masking their faces. Julie kept quiet not knowing what to saw but eager to comfort her best friend in some way.
When they finally arrived at the house Maggie ran for the door. As she cleared the door, she found Melissa. She wrapped her daughter in her arms and cried. Maggie's tears and wailing were beginning to overtake her, and her knees began to buckle. Neil saw as Maggie was becoming a week and quickly ran to catch her. He scooped her into his arms and carried her to the couch. Not caring what others in the room were thinking he began to comfort her, and softy pushed a piece of hair behind her ear.
"Maggie, just breathe. Please, I know how scared you are, but you must take care of yourself."
Maggie moaned and made her best efforts to calm down.
"Jennifer, would you get Maggie a glass of water?"
Maggie raised to sit on the edge of the couch. She leaned with her elbows on her knees and her head pressed into her hands.
"How can this be happening? Where could she be? I don't understand. Neil, help me understand." Maggie screamed. Her calm state did not last long and when Jennifer returned from the kitchen long breathtaking sobs were escaping Maggie. Neil pulled her close as he had no idea how to help her. He understood what she was going through because he was experiencing the same pain. He couldn't understand how their daughter could be missing.
Julie held Melissa tight while Alice held Jennifer. There was not a dry eye in the room and worry was flowing like a river. The room was quiet with only the sound of cries bouncing from the walls. However, the silence broke at the sound of the phone ringing. They each jumped to their feet as Tom answered the phone.
"Hello! Roman, do you have any news?"
"Well, Tom I am not sure. I just got a call from Brookville's Sheriff's office. There was a report of a car accident. It seems as if one of Salem's local cabs ran over an embankment. Both the driver and passenger are being transferred to Salem University. It seems as if the passenger matches Sarah's description. I am headed to the hospital now. I will call you to confirm when I arrive."
"Thank you, Roman. We will be waiting for your call." Tom ended the call and turned to his family.
"Maggie, we may have some news…"
"What do you mean 'may have'?" Neil asked eagerly.
"That was Roman on the phone. He just received a call from the Brookville Sheriff's office. It seems there was an accident just outside Salem. A local Salem cab ran over an embankment. The driver and the passenger both are being transferred to University Hospital. Maggie, the passenger matches Sarah's description." Maggie's knees began to weaken once more and within seconds everything was black. Neil quickly grabbed Maggie, kept her steady and gently lowered her to the floor placing her head in his lab. He held her head and began talking to her trying to wake her up. Julie stood behind and watched Neil and Maggie. They acted as a married couple. While it was no obvious to anyone else in the room it was to Julie. She had her suspicions for a while now but passed them off as just suspicions but the way Neil held Maggie and the way she looked into his eyes told Julie all she needed to know. She wanted to be angry, she wanted to resent Neil and Maggie for what they were doing behind her uncles back but the only resentment she could find was that toward Mickey. He should be there holding and comforting his wife. Julie blamed Mickey for the problems in his and Maggie's marriage. Had Mickey been a responsible and considerate husband and father Maggie would not have to look beyond her household to love and someone to cherish her. Maggie and Neil had become lonely people and Julie had watched as both suffered. She knew Maggie and Neil meant no harm and had simply found in each other what had been missing for so long.
After several moments Maggie's eyes began to flutter and her big brown eyes that made Neil weak looked into his. He gave Maggie time to adjust to her surroundings before helping her to her feet.
"Maggie, are you okay?" Neil worryingly asked. He held her at arms lengths helping to steady her on her feet.
"I am fine. Just a little dizzy." Maggie held her hand to her head. "I have to get to the hospital, Neil. I can't wait for Roman to call. I need to be there when she gets there if it is her."
"Maggie, you just fainted I think we should wait a few moments."
"Please Neil. I need to know." Maggie's glassy eyes filled with tears. He tried so hard to say no and insist she stay home for a little while but saying no to her in her state was impossible. Saying no to her, in general, was a challenge but right now he didn't have a prayer.
"Okay. But promise me if you are feeling any discomfort you will tell me. Maggie, you need to be healthy for Sarah."
"I promise!" Maggie reassured him forcing a smile.
"Alright, let's go." Neil grabbed her coat placed it around her shoulders and led her to the door. Followed by the rest of the family Neil and Maggie made the short trip to the hospital but like the flight home, the drive seemed to linger.
After what seemed to be an eternity, they finally arrived at University Hospital. Maggie looked at the large building and for the first time in her life, she was scared to enter the doors. Worry and fear covered each of their faces as they made their way to the ER. The closer she got to the ER the faster her pace got. Maggie barged through the double doors to find Roman pacing near the nurse's station. Maggie ran to his side and without hesitation tearfully asked, "Roman, is it, Sarah? Is my baby okay?"