So if you’re looking for me, here I am in the Carderiff County Hospital, where I was born, visited once when my mother died, and am now under observation for a concussion and smoke inhalation. Who knew that they observed you for smoke inhalation?
You’d think I would feel comforted by being in the hospital, but I don’t. I’m alone. It’s the very early hours of the morning and I want to sleep, but it avoids me and I don’t pursue it. I don’t know any of the nurses although they seem friendly enough. They’re doing their job with a smattering of small talk, asking about the fire and the clobbering on the head, out of curiosity, I guess.
I’m a little frightened that Clarice was still in the house. I have begun to associate those two out-of-towners with setting fires and I never did see who pulled up in the drive. Even if she tried to kill me more than once, I don’t want my sister dead, even if she does want that for me. Actually thinking like this hurts my head.
I can’t seem to get comfortable. It’s like I am besieged by fire ants. Or unbesieged by Linc. Take your pick. All I know is that I don’t want to stay in this bed, twiddling my thumbs, which is what I’m doing. The woman who shares the room with me is snoring away. If I weren’t hooked up to an IV, I would leave. I just think I’d faint from pulling the IV out of my arm. How do they do that in movies anyway? Just the thought makes me squirm.
Suddenly there’s a silhouette in the doorway. My heartbeat quickens. Linc stands there, holding his hat in front of him, watching me, maybe trying to see if I am asleep. I smile half-heartedly at him.
He moves to the bed, leans down, no kiss. I’m a little disappointed.
“How are you doing?” he asks quietly, considerate of the other patient.
“Been better. Was Clary in that house?”
“No sign of her,” he says. “Why aren’t you sleeping?”
“I can’t. I want to, but I can’t.”
He nods. He runs his thumb along my brow. He’s close, but the dim lighting means that I can’t see those startling blue eyes of his. I breathe deeply to inhale his smell, but end up coughing. Ah, smoke inhalation. He runs his fingers along my throat. They feel cool and nice.
“Take me home,” I say.
“I don’t have a home.”
“Crap. With everything that’s happened today, I forgot. Stay at my place…but take me with you,” I say, pleading.
“I’m going to sleep on the cot in my office, but I might take you up on the offer tomorrow night. And don’t you get any ideas about leaving here.”
I lift my arm. “Not with this.”
He grins. “Still terrified of blood?”
“Are you kidding?”
He leans down, kisses my cheek, and then straightens up. That felt a little too brotherly. “I’ll see you in the morning,” he says.
“Hopefully you’ll kiss better than that in the morning,” I say.
“You never know.”
Nope, I really don’t.