Authors: Morris Fenris,Jasmine Bowen
’s face was a mask of confusion.
“Why would anyone want to do that?”
“Yeah, exactly,” Annalise said. He wasn’t the only one learning in these sessions. When he asked questions like that, it made her stop and question society itself, and what it had become. She realized that a lot of things that people did made no sense.
Another wave of pain hit her and she thought perhaps if she went to get a drink of water, she would feel a bit better.
“Just finished writing, okay? I’ll be right back.”
She struggled up,
her arms shaking at the effort, and then started to make her way towards the kitchen. However, a wave of dizziness hit her just then, and spots formed in front of her eyes.
Arthur,” she managed, in a whisper, and then her limp body hit the floor.
Annalise!” Arthur had gotten to her a moment too late, but he had seen it as he rushed over. Her body, in his vision, her life force, flickered from this world, and then disappeared entirely. “Annalise!”
His shout brought his brother’s running, as he reached to her mouth, to feel no breath. Her eyes were closed, and her chest
“No!” he didn’t know what to do, so he just grabbed at her, trying to shake the life back into her. “No! No! No!”
“Arthur, stop!” It was Gregory’s fiery redhead that grabbed onto him, pushing him backwards. He felt the strength of vampirism leave his muscles as he struggled against her touch.
“Get away from me!”
“No, you’re going to hurt her!” Rosa snarled at him, backing him up against the wall. Behind her, chaos was taking place. Gregory was on the phone with the paramedics while Brock was frantically trying to breathe life into her. With Rosa nearby, they all drew enough breath to help. But it also removed the flickering from Arthur’s vision, something he needed to see. His brother’s were blocking her limp body, lying on the floor, and he wanted nothing more than to be beside her.
“Let me to her!” His temper rose.
“Arthur, listen to me!” Rosa’s eyes pierced into his soul. “And don’t play games. I need to know if Annalise took something to injure herself.”
“WHAT?” He turned upon her, horrified and thinking he misunderstood.
“Don’t play dumb with me. I know the two of you had a suicide pack going on. You both want to die, that’s fine. But when the paramedics get here, they will need to know exactly what she took.”
sputtered at this.
Nothing! She’s sick, please, help her.”
searched his eyes for a minute, and then pulled back a little.
That better be the truth, or she’s going to die a lot sooner than we knew.”
“She’s going to die?”
“Of course she’s going to die, Arthur,” Rosa rolled her eyes. “But not today, I hope. NO!” She yanked him back again, her ballet moves faster than his human reflexes. “Stay with me. There’s too many people there!”
’s eyes were desperate, but Gregory turned around and gave him a look and he stayed routed to the spot, watching in terror as the paramedics arrived. When he saw them doing chest compressions though, he leapt forward, breaking Rosa’s grasp and screaming that they were hurting her. This time, it was Gregory that caught him, pulling him back.
Arthur,” he said, softly, and calmly with the voice of a king. “They are helping her. You cannot.”
Gregory,” Arthur turned to him. “I think I love her.”
Sshh,” Gregory replied, as they brought out the stretcher. He had a million things to say to that comment, but he said none of them, instead making sure that his brother wasn’t in his way. This is why he didn’t believe in love, this is why he couldn’t bring himself to be in love again. The pain on his brother’s face right now was more than he could bear to go through. “She’s breathing.”
“Can we go with them?”
Arthur asked, and Gregory nodded. The paramedic heard this and turned.
“Does one of you want to come in the ambulance?”
“We’ll follow in the car,” Gregory said, sternly. He wished he could let Arthur go in the ambulance with her, but there would be too many things that he still didn’t know about, and it was likely that he would lose it again. “We’ll be right with you.”
“We’ll take her to St. Christopher’s.”
“Be right there,” Gregory said, holding Arthur back until the paramedic’s had exited. Only then did he feel he could speak freely. “Are you alright, Arthur?”
“Why aren’t we going?” his brother demanded and
Gregory saw the old flair of power in him, the old regent come to the surface.
“Because I want to make it clear what is likely going to happen once we leave this house. We are going to go to the hospital, in the intensive care, likely, which is where they take patients with serious illnesses to give them the
highest quality of care. There will be very strict rules and visiting hours and once we are there, we must oblige them, no matter how stupid they seem. The doctors are going to do their best for her, even if they seem like they are hurting her. In addition, I am going to call Dr. Hever to give him an update and his medical opinion. The girl is no use to us half dead.”
“You will not touch her,”
Arthur snarled. Knox rolled his eyes.
Gregory means that Annalise will be sent to him, if she doesn’t recover. Now, get to it.”
Rosa?” Gregory turned to her and she nodded.
“Sure, I’ll come. There’s nothing I like more than hanging around hospitals,” she rolled her eyes, but grabbed the
car keys and followed them out the door.
was nowhere near as apprehensive of cars as he used to be, but he still looked nervous as he slid into the backseat.
The death of a human had never hit him
so hard as it did now. He couldn’t explain what he had come to feel for this girl, only that he needed to be beside her, and that he needed to protect her from the reaper.
The drive to the hospital took forever, it felt l
ike in a car, and he wondered how long it would have taken if all they had was a horse drawn cart. Gregory seemed to pick the furthest parking space he could from the front entrance, and by the time they reached the doors, over half an hour had passed.
“How do we find her?”
Arthur asked, overwhelmed by the rooms and hallways that seemed to go on forever.
“That part is easy,”
Rosa strolled to the front desk in such a way that the security guard actually stood up from his post, and looked her right in the eye, straightening his shirt and running a hand through his hair. Arthur turned to Gregory.
“Don’t you mind?”
“Don’t I mind what?” his brother asked, confused.
That men … look at her that way.”
shook his head.
“If I killed every
man who looked at Rosa that way, the human race would cease to exist. She does not belong to me, Arthur, she is of her own free will. I find it a blessing that she is by my side when she is.”
“How can it be that way?”
Arthur was aghast. “I would …”
Because you and I believe different things,” Gregory said, with a smile. “And the benefit to this modern age is that neither of us can be persecuted for them. We can all believe something different, and operate until those values.”
“She’s in ICU,”
Rosa returned. “Come on, I think it’s this way.”
The hospital was decorated for Christmas, with strings of lights everywhere and vendors set up in the main hallway, long ro
ws of tables selling various wares. There was a familiar song playing that Arthur had heard many times this season, but couldn’t place it. In his day, there were once only a few songs and dances that everyone knew and could participate in. But now, it seemed there were millions and it was overwhelming. Annalise had over a thousand songs on the computer, and it baffled him.
They took the elevator to the 6
floor, and he could tell the mood on it was much different. There was only the sound of beeping monitors, and hushed voices, tiptoeing around. In the far corner, he could hear someone crying.
strolled to the desk, this time commanding the attention of a female nurse, who sent the doctor right over to them.
“You’re here for
Annalise?” he asked, looking to Arthur, impossibly young to be a doctor.
“Yes,” he replied.
“Right,” the young doctor said. “We’ve got her stabilized now, although she came in with heart failure. It appears her leukemia has progressed to Stage 4 faster than expected. It depends how you want to proceed,” he spoke slowly, allowing the impact of the words to hit them. “We could try another round of chemo, if you wanted. She’s pretty weak right now, and I’m seeing organ failure when I shouldn’t be.”
“What are the chances?”
Gregory asked, stone faced, “of it working?”
round? Well, there’s always hope.” The doctor looked down at his chart. “I’ll give her attending physician a call as well. But for now, no choices can be made until she regains her strength.”
“Please, can I see her?”
Arthur asked, trying to shape every word carefully so he could be understood.
“Five minutes,” the doctor scribbled something on his clip board. “Five minutes and please don’t exhaust her. She’s in room 605.”
“You can go,” Gregory said to Arthur. “Rosa and I will wait here. We don’t want to overwhelm the poor girl.”
’s head was still spinning as he approached the room. He had seen her already with tubes in her, and the monitors, but now that he was away from Rosa, he saw something that he had never seen before. Her life force was no longer flickering, it was stronger, but it was being sustained outside of her. She wasn’t holding onto of it of her own volition.
He approached her cautiously, as if his mere presence might overwhelm her. She was sleeping, her eyes closed, and he gently leaned over, placing a kiss on her
Annalise,” he breathed, and her eyes fluttered opened. The monitor beeped once and she looked at him, although the gaze was unfocused. “Annalise?”
Arthur,” she replied, breathless in her struggle. “Stay.”
He bit his lip.
“I’m not supposed to stay.”
“Stay,” she repeated, before the world overtook her again and she drifted back to the black abyss. And stay he did.
He wasn’t allowed in her room the whole time. Gregory made it clear that he must obey the rules. He also made it clear that he could be hurting her more than helping if he constantly demanded her attention. So he stayed in the waiting room mostly, curled up in the uncomfortable chairs, painstakingly trying to work his way through her binder. He could barely make the words out, each letter foreign, but Gregory had found an English to Latin dictionary. While it was poor quality, it did the job.
It was three days before she was properly awake and moved to a lower level of care. As soon as she was, he was in her room almost hourly, his chair pulled as close to the bed as possible, just to
be near her.
sixth day in hospital, he brought her the lists his brothers had made, silly things, but done under his threats and pleas.
“An ugly sweater?
A snow globe?” She snorted as she sifted through the lists. “Wow, they really went cliché and made lists for everything Christmasy.”
“They did them wrong?”
Arthur asked, and she shook her head.
“No, just amusing.
So guess what we do with lists now?”
… send them to the fat man?”
“Only if you’re five years old,” she replied. “We take them, and shop for the items on the list, and wrap them and put them under the tree on Christmas for them to open.”
“But … so it’s the illusion of Santa?”
“Exactly,” she grinned at him, proud of his progress. She was still white as a sheet, and she was getting thinner by the day, but her spirits were high. Or perhaps it had something to do with the
constant amount of Christmas sugar cookies that were being brought around. “You want to go shopping?”
He cocked his head, confused.
“How? You are not leaving until you are better.”
“Doesn’t mean I can’t
go downstairs. I’m not on bed rest completely. Do you think you can find a wheelchair?”
nodded, eager to please her and rushed out into the hall. There was one waiting for him, as if placed there just for his purpose and he snatched it, bringing it back to her.
felt so thin and fragile in his arms. His heart exploded with love and protection as he settled her into the chair. He wanted to believe that these harsh drugs would heal her, that she would be back to her old self soon, just like last time, but he wasn’t sure it was possible, even with modern medication. Surely nothing was so powerful that it could bring her back to what she was?