Read Christmas Healing Online

Authors: Morris Fenris,Jasmine Bowen

Christmas Healing (10 page)

“Well then
, you’d be smarter than most people who own an iPhone,” she smiled at him, wishing she could reach out and touch him. “I could put together a lesson on the iPhone if you wanted.”

“And we could talk any

“Sure,” she shrugged. “It’s modern technology, after all.
All the time, any time.”

“Hmm,” she could see the thoughts turning over in his head. “It would be appealing.”

“What are you going to do the rest of the day?” she asked.

Brock has invited me to a bonfire.”

“Don’t burn anybody,” she replied.

“And you? What are you up to?”

“Not much,” she shrugged. “I feel pretty crappy today, and the
Hevers are famous for being overprotective.”

“I see,” his
face twisted to one of concern. “Are you taking care of yourself?”

“I don’t have to, everyone is doing it for me,” she
answered ruefully and they both fell into silence for awhile. “I miss you.”

His eyes were brimming with emotion and she could see him trying to hold back.

“I miss you too. Do you think you will return?”

Arthur …” she didn’t know what to say to that.

Gregory said it was a possibility, if you recover.”

She took a deep

“Do you want to do a lesson on cancer,
Arthur? I can make one up, if you want.”

He shook his head.

“I’d rather not know how the things modernity tells me. But I do miss you almost every hour.”

Her heart almost cracked at that, and she wiped her eyes, this time trying to avoid the tears.

“I miss you too. I’m going to have to go eat breakfast now, but I’ll email you a lesson in a few hours.”

“Please also send me a letter,” he asked. “I want to know how you are truly feeling, to be able to understand completely.”

“Ok,” she nodded. It was a sweet notion. She knew some words still got lost in Arthur’s brains, and there was a translation program she had showed him that could translate emails so he could understand every word. Gregory had banned it, but they still stuck it in for him now and again when they were feeling lazy.

After the call ended, she hurried to make herself decent before shakily heading out into the kitchen.
Tony opened his arms and she snuggled right into them, closing her eyes. He planted a kiss on the top of her head.

“You’re awfully warm, baby.”

“Because I was just in bed,” she replied, closing her eyes. Tony felt familiar, Tony felt like home. But she missed the danger and the edge that came with Arthur, the power in his muscles, his tall and broad frame. She kept expecting to find Brock’s mischievous grin around the corner, or one of Knox’s elegant paintings. “You didn’t go to school today?”

He shook his head, a smart ass grin coming to his face when Dr.
Hever came back into the room, giving Tony a look. Of all of his adoptive children, Tony was the one who probably gave him the most headaches.

“He didn’t
go to school because he showed up at 7 am as the bus arrived, smelling like a brewery.”

“Oh, that
Kardiash party!” she grinned at Tony and that got both of them disapproving looks. “How was it?”

Annalise, can you please get some nourishment into you so that I don’t feel like a complete failure as both a doctor and a parent?” he asked. She poured herself a bowl of cereal, sitting on one of the high backed kitchen chairs. Once Dr. Hever left the kitchen again, she turned to Tony.

was it?”

“King of the
keg, as usual,” Tony answered, leaning against the counter. Now that she looked at him, she could see he was paler than normal, wavering a bit even against the counter.

“Your father is going to kill you.”

“It'll be worth it,” he replied.

rummaged through her cereal bowl, picking out a few marshmallows to eat.

Arthur is going to his first bonfire tonight, with his youngest brother.”

Tony responded, not super enthusiastically.

Brock’s the trouble maker of the bunch, so I hope that he keeps things under control. Arthur and controlling bloodlust doesn’t always work, especially if he’s been drinking. But I hope he has a good time.”

fidgeted on the counter a bit.

“You sure talk about them a lot.”

She shrugged. “I spent two months there.”

“You spent
two months as a prisoner with the most dangerous and controlling vampires on the face of the planet. They make rules and break them themselves. They have spent a thousand years in a reign of terror. And you come home talking like we sent you on a vacation.”

Tony,” she was a bit surprised at this. “What did you want me to do? Just stay closed off the whole time.””

“I didn’t expect you to fall in love,” he snapped.

“What?” she colored at this. “What are you talking about?”

“Do you think I’m an idiot,
Annalise?” he asked. “This isn’t one of those lessons you give us and sugar coat the truth. It’s written all of your face. You fell in love with the enemy, and half the time, I think you’re dying because you’re heartbroken. The other times, I’m sure it’s because he poisoned you.”

this almost made her heart stop. “Have you lost your mind? You’re drunk, Tony.”

“So that means I’m an idiot?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. “Because I’ve been high out of my mind and you still trust me to wrap my arms around you and carry you home
someday. Now, you don’t trust me with a thought in your head. So what am I supposed to think, when you come home like this? The Bugressons have always had a thing against the Hever clan. And when I came to live here, it was double the war, because I was the one vampire they couldn’t fully control. How do I know they didn’t get into your head and mind control you?”

She got off the chair, leaving her bowl of cereal
untouched on the counter.

“I’m not having this conversation.”

“Why? Are you afraid of the truth?” he roared after her and she turned on her heel.

Tony. Stop this, and stop it now. You’re married, and sooner or later, she was going to find out what was happening and then I’d be out of here, forever. I don’t belong to you, I’m not your pet, your ghoul, your human, nothing. I’m my own person. And so what if that’s the truth? The Bugressons were not what you made them out to be, and you’re terrified that I found something outside of this protective little world you’ve created for me.”

“So you don’t deny it t
hen,” he spit, sarcastically. “He got into your head.”

“He got into my
heart,” she answered. “Don’t be so afraid of that.”

She slammed back to her room, shutting the door and
hyperventilating, the tears spilling down her face.

What did it matter if he was right about
Arthur? He was right about one thing, and that was that she was dying, and rapidly. She knew that this round of chemo wouldn’t likely work.

So what was facing her on the other side? And was she so ready to leave this world, now that there was a reason to stay?

Unfortunately, with her medical condition the way it was, and even though she was making an obscene amount of money off the vampires, there was still no way she could pay for her medical treatment without their help, and so she couldn’t leave.

She spent the next few days hauled up in her room, clicking away at her laptop and
only teaching when she was required to. And talking to Arthur, who found typing easier than writing now that Gregory had plastered Latin characters on their keyboard which Annalise slightly disproved of.

Her first day back at
school, however, she learned just how powerful her influence was when her phone rang as she was walking in the building. Looking down, she saw it was a Skype video call from an Unknown ID.

Curious, she slipped into a side stairway and then pressed connect.

“Hello?” she said, cautiously as the camera loaded on the other end.

Annalise?” Arthur’s face came through and she squinted at the connection.

“Hey! Whos
e phone are you using?”

“Mine,” he responded and she almost fell over.

“Whaaa? Really? Seriously? When did you get a phone? What convinced you to get a phone?”

“You did,” his answer was
clear. He got a phone with this capability, probably the only capability he knew how to use, because then he could speak to her whenever he wanted.

elujah!” she grinned at him. “Something I did finally sunk in.”

“Of course,” he replied, and she saw his eye glimmer. “A few of them did.”

“Where are you now?”

“At the phone store,” he said and she giggled.
Gregory and Knox were in the background, clearly handling the actual details of Arthur’s phone purchase, credit cards and IDs out, and even seemed to be arguing over something. But Annalise ignored them, wishing that she could stay where she was standing all day to talk to him.

“I have to
go to class,” she said, reluctantly and he seemed surprised.

“You’ve returned to school? How are you feeling?’”

“I didn’t tell you?” she was a bit baffled, thinking over their conversations. She didn’t really spend a lot of time talking about her life. Mostly, it was what he was doing, things he had questions about, and examples she could use from his own life to illustrate modern day inventions. “Yeah, I’ve missed quite a bit. They always send homework, and I only take half my classes here. The rest are online, so I can keep up.”

He paused a minute, tilting his head.

“Are you feeling well enough?”

She smiled, as the bell rang.

“Why don’t you call me at 11:30 and see. That’s when lunch is. There’s a Christmas concert so it’s an extended lunch.”

Will do,” he agreed, and she saw him glancing at the clock, trying to calculate it out. She hung up, now more excited about her day than she was before.

he calls continued throughout the day and in weeks down the line. He called her when they were out at the most ridiculous places, the bank lines and the highway and even the Christmas tree place. She felt like she was still there, able to weigh in on choices like the tree and even watched idly as she did her homework while Gregory taught Arthur where the Christmas lights were.

favorite call came when her phone was under the desk in math class. Carefully, so the teacher didn’t notice, she slipped an ear bud in her ear.

Arthur, I’m in class,” she whispered into the microphone, glancing at the screen.

“What’s this?” he asked, clearly disregarding her
situation. She raised an eyebrow.

“That’s a turkey
baster. To season meat. What are you doing?”

“I thought it was some sort of
miniature flimsy sword. Everything in the modern age is so flimsy.”

She snorted, covering her mouth.
Tony, at the front of the class, gave her a look.

, Arthur. Leave it alone.”

But her heart panged with missing h
im, and she shifted in pain, rubbing her chest. She’d been having chest pain all day, and she wondered if it was related to her disease or just reflux.

Regardless, the only thing that got her through math class was the memory of
Arthur’s phone call, keeping her in a good mood all day.

The first day the calls
went unanswered was a Wednesday. He remembered it clearly. He was calling to ask whether wrapping presents was ridiculous or expected. But she didn’t answer, despite it being 4 in the afternoon. And she didn’t answer at 6, 8, 10, or 12. By the time Arthur figured out that he could get contact information for someone else in the household, it was well past 2 am.

He was frantic at this point, thumping down the hall and pounding on
Gregory’s door. He couldn’t understand his brother’s obsession with the Guard, and feeling human, which meant he slept every night. Why would anyone want to feel that weak?


and Gregory sat up, startled, and bleary with sleep.

Arthur, what the hell?” Rosa asked, naked and doing nothing to cover it, clearly not amused. He ignored it, turning to his brother.

“I need to get a hold of
Annalise. Something is wrong!”

ran a hand over his face, breathing deeply.

Arthur, it’s 3 in the morning. She’s not answering because she’s asleep.”

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