Jacob woke up to ringing in his ears and a dull throbbing in his head. He had never had a hangover this bad in his life before, and he squeezed his eyes shut until the pain and pressure eased up at least a little bit.
"Ugh, my head," he groaned while sitting up and massaging his temples. What the hell did I do last night?
Opening his eyes, he took in the unfamiliar room around him. He was sitting on a bed, and in way too close proximity to him for his liking were both Simon and Angelique. His eyes darted around the room as tried to piece everything together in his head. Why am I here? Whose bedroom is this? Why are those two looking at me like that?
Before Jacob could finish, the events of the past few days flooded back into his memory, and he instantly felt his stomach drop.
"No way..." he muttered, looking down to focus on his trembling hands.
His fingers were shorter, and his miniature palms were wrinkled at the edges with baby fat. It was clear that at some point one of them had dressed him in a pair of light blue flannel pajamas. His cloth-encased legs now barely made it over the edge of the bed.
The young man shook his head in disbelief. "No. No. No. Th-This can't be happening." He closed his eyes again, hoping that this was just a sick dream. "This isn't real," he mumbled.
"Jacob, do you remember anything that happened at St. Ives?" Simon inquired.
The moment Simon started talking, Jacob snapped his head up to make eye contact with the older man. When he realized his therapist was inching closer to him, he scrambled away until his back collided against the headboard. As the adrenaline coursed through his veins, he covered his hands with his face.
"Oh my god. This isn't happening. This isn't possible. I can't-I can't."
Jacob was trying to take deep breaths and give himself a second to process what had happened and figure out how any of that was possible, but his next breath kept coming in faster than the last. Soon, he was clutching his chest and gasping for air.
The therapists were able to recognize that Jacob was in the initial stages of having a panic attack, but they didn't want to add to his stress by moving too quickly towards him and invading his personal space in an attempt to help him.
"Jacob, you need to take slow deep breaths," Simon calmly instructed.
"I'm...tr-trying," he panted between rapid shallow breaths.
"Breathe with me. Inhale," Simon took a slow and pronounced breath. "Exhale," he instructed as he released the air from his chest slowly.
After a few moments of following Simon's breathing prompts, Jacob calmed down and steadied himself. He looked between the two of his captors, distress evident on his face.
"This is so wrong. I'm not a child...I'm n-" Jacob braced himself with his hands on his thighs and gagged a few times before lurching the contents of his stomach all over himself.
Once he finished heaving, he leaned his throbbing head against the headboard completely drained of energy. He couldn't even fight back when Angelique picked him up.
Simon tossed the pillows off the bed and turned to face his wife. "When I'm done here, I'm going to get the bag that I packed earlier and start the car. Let's meet in the garage. I'll drive," he offered as he quickly stripped the sheets from the bed.
While Jacob was being carried, he shut his eyes hoping to reduce the throbbing in his head that had worsened while he was jostled around. He opened his eyes again when he was placed on a soft, steady surface and took in the nursery around him.
Jacob was sure that the two therapists didn't have kids, and Angelique didn't appear to be expecting. His stomach sank when the realization hit him. They really are planning to keep me here like this.
He was immediately distracted from his thoughts when Angelique pulled his pants off and reached to undo the tabs on his diaper. He quickly placed a hand over himself.
"Please, no," he whispered weakly.
Angelique reached under the changing table to grab some wipes and a new diaper. "Jacob, I need to get you into a clean one. It won't be fun to endure a three-hour drive in that mess."
The young man was sure she was right, but he still couldn't just toss aside his dignity. He shook his head accidentally causing the pulsing to worsen for a moment.
When he unconsciously moved his hands to cradle his head, Angelique took the opportunity to pull the tabs off and slide the old diaper out from under him.
Jacob was mortified as Angelique lifted his legs to wipe his lower body clean and place a new diaper on him. He felt his face heat up, and his lower lip quivered.
"There's no reason to be embarrassed," Angelique sympathized as she pulled a new pair of pants over his fresh diaper.
Jacob averted his eyes and muttered, "Fuck you."
Ignoring his use of profanity, Angelique lifted the little boy into her arms and carried him downstairs and into the garage where Simon was waiting in the driver's seat with the door to the backseat open.
Once Angelique buckled him in and got into the front seat, Simon keyed the ignition and began driving, and a few minutes after they got onto the interstate, Simon handed his wife his cell phone.
"Would you let Mr. Hammond that we are on our way?"
"He's the last outgoing call, right?"
Angelique put the call on speakerphone, and on the second ring the social worker answered, "Hello. This is Mr. Hammond speaking."
"Mr. Hammond, this is Angelique. I'm calling to let you know that we are driving back to St. Ives."
"Oh, has the situation with Jacob worsened?"
"Unfortunately, yes. He fully regained consciousness at around 6pm, but he's been complaining of pain in his head and he vomited all over the bed."
"It sounds like he's dealing with migraines." Mr. Hammond sighed. "We have had a few instances where patients developed chronic migraines after the procedure. It's a rare complication, but the good news is that we do have a cure. How far away are you now?"
Simon spoke up. "We will be there in two hours."
"Alright, I'll let Dr. Kelly know that you two are coming in. The nurses will be instructed to prepare for your arrival. The treatment will only take about two hours including recovery time, and the doctor will meet with you two beforehand to explain everything."
"Okay. Thank you again," Angelique responded.
"No problem. See you two soon," Mr. Hammond replied, and hung up the phone.
Jacob listened to the conversation gleaming as much information as he could between bouts of migraine pain. He tried to piece the timeline together in his head. If what Angelique said was true, then he must have been out for a long time, but with how tired his body was, it didn't feel like he had been sleeping for over twenty-four hours. The young man wanted answers, but he was far too tired to carry a conversation. Leaning his head against the car seat, Jacob closed his eyes and drifted off to a much needed sleep.
"He's already asleep," Angelique whispered.
Simon glanced at Jacob through the rear-view mirror. "Good, I'm sure he needed the break from those migraine bouts," he softly remarked.
He sighed in annoyance. "I wish he didn't have to deal with this complication. The kid needs a break."
Angelique nodded sympathetically and responded in a low voice, "Mr. Hammond seemed confident this treatment will cure him. I guess all we can do is trust in that."
Speeding along the interstate, Simon made three-hour drive in just under two hours as he promised. When they arrived, he quickly got out and unbuckled Jacob from the car seat and carried him in his arms to the lobby of the hospital.
The receptionist walked out from behind the counter to speak with them as they came through the automatic sliding doors.
"Are you two Jacob's caretakers?" she politely inquired.
"Yes, we are," Angelique answered.
"Alright, I'll call for a nurse to take you to the treatment room that we've reserved for Jacob.
The receptionist paged a nurse, letting her know Jacob and his caretakers had arrived. The trio were only left waiting in the lobby for about a minute until a nurse greeted them.
"Simon and Angelique?" They both nodded in response. "Right this way," she gestured towards the double doors and walked ahead of them.