Maia was the one who came in to wake him. He was surprised to find he’d been sleeping in Fleur’s bed. How had he gotten from the bath to the bed? He didn’t remember anything beyond Fleur pouring freezing water on him.
“Dr. Devereaux wants to increase the dosage,” Maia said as she opened the blinds. Sunlight poured in. Was it the same day as it had been or already the next? “She thinks your body is more responsive, which means I could see side effects soon if we don’t make a change.”
“You mean, you’ll get sick again like I did,” he said.
“We’re both still sick.”
“I know. But you know what I mean.”
Maia chewed the inside of her cheek, the way she did whenever she had something on her mind. It had always been Jay’s way of knowing when something was wrong, and he had learned to pay attention to it.
He sat up against the pillows. “What’s going on?”
“I’m not sure I want to tell you.”
“Maia, that’s not fair. Now you have to tell me.”
A muscle jerked in her jaw. “It’s about Sean.”
“Okay, what about Sean?”
“He doesn’t want Melanie around you anymore.”
Jay felt his stomach drop into his feet. He slumped against the pillows and let his head loll back. So that was it, then—Melanie had finally explained to Sean what was going on. The timing was terrible, but then again, he knew it had to happen sometime. They couldn’t have kept it a secret forever.
“I’m sorry,” Maia said. “I know this must be hard.”
It was so much more than that, but what had he expected? It wasn’t as though they could run off in the middle of the night and elope. There were still people alive who would ask questions and worry if they disappeared.
“I’ll be okay,” Jay said.
To be continued… Look for the completed draft of BLOOD AND WATER coming soon!
“‘I’m sorry,’ Maia said. ‘I know this must be hard.'” Read an excerpt from @brianawrites’ novel BLOOD AND WATER. (Click to tweet)
When Jay woke up, he had no idea what was going on. Everything looked foreign. There was something damp and heavy on his forehead. He reached up and discovered a washcloth. With a single touch, everything came flooding back to him: the Chunnel, Calais, Dr. Devereaux, and treatment. He’d consented to treatment without really knowing what it entailed. Was that wise? Probably not. Did it matter? Not at all.
He couldn’t wait around for death, whether it was his or Maia’s. They needed to find a solution.
When he tried to sit up, someone pressed a hand against his chest. He looked up to see Dr. Devereaux standing over him, frowning in the waning light. How much time had passed? How long had he been asleep? Was it sunset already?
“Where’s Maia?” he asked.
“She’s across the hall,” she said. “We’ve all been waiting for you to wake up.”
Jay took the washcloth off his head and set it on the floor. Dr. Devereaux made no move to pick it up. After looking around, he noticed that they were the only people there.
“Where are my friends?”
“Across the hall,” she repeated, “in the laboratory. If you feel up to it, we’ll go there now.”
A laboratory. That meant chemicals, instruments, science – potentially even a cure. He swung his legs over the side of the couch, planting his feet on the floor. Dr. Devereaux hovered over him. When he started to stand, she grabbed his arm. The contact surprised him. Her hand was cold.
“Careful,” she said. “You’re weak. We’ll go slowly.”
He didn’t feel weak, but he was still groggy. When was the last time he’d had a full night’s sleep? He couldn’t remember. He needed to rest. Maybe if he got a few more hours’ sleep, he’d feel better.
“It’s okay.” He lowered himself down onto the couch. “I think I’ll just sleep for a little bit longer.”
Dr. Devereaux didn’t let go of his arm. “Jay, you’ve slept enough. We need to get you some food and water and check your vitals. You’re malnourished, dehydrated, and very, very ill. Do you understand?”
It took too much effort to answer her. Jay put his feet up and stretched out on the couch. He turned over on his side.
“Jay,” she said, “se il vous plait. Please.”
He let his eyes fall closed. “I’ll get up in a minute.”
Why did everyone want him to use so much energy? Didn’t they know how sick he was? He needed his rest. He felt like he’d walked halfway around the world. He’d had a seizure, for God’s sake. Why couldn’t everyone just leave him alone and let him sleep for a while?
A white-hot pain exploded against his cheek. His eyes snapped open. Dr. Devereaux stood with her hand out, massaging her palm. His fingers probed his skin. It burned.
“You slapped me,” he said.
What do you think will happen next? I’d love to hear your thoughts and predictions below!
“He couldn’t wait around for death, whether it was his or Maia’s. They needed to find a solution.” (Click to tweet)