Authors: Morris Fenris,Jasmine Bowen
settled into the chair and he took the blanket off the bed to wrap around her, and then wheeled her down the hall. She was gazing at the lists and then closing her eyes, trying to think of places where she had seen these items.
When they got to the elevator, she pressed the button and then pressed ground floor, letting the doors close.
Arthur glanced around, and for the first time, she didn’t see fear in his eyes at a new invention.
“Well, this would have been very
convenient, in my time.”
“Modernity does have some good ideas,” she replied, with a smirk and the doors opened onto the ground floor.
There were even more vendors than there had been before. She had grabbed her wallet, and still had the money Gregory had given her that day in the mall. She craned her neck up to Arthur, reading a few common items off the list.
“And then we just … purchase these things and save them until Christmas?”
It’s all about giving other people stuff, and not getting the stuff you want in return,” she smirked at her own joke.
“What’s on your list,
Annalise?” he asked, as he slowly pushed her wheelchair through the row of tables. There were so many items, he felt overwhelmed. In his day, a market carried things that were needed, things that people had to go to market for. Nowadays, it seemed everything that could be dreamed up was sold. He still didn’t understand prices in terms of what was a good price or bad, but he found a few of the items on his brother’s list right away. He was so caught up in looking he forgot to wait for her answer, which she was grateful for.
Once, this question would have been easy to answer. But now,
Annalise had no idea what she wanted. She had come here wanting to go home, and wanting to be as far away from these Princes as possible. Now, with the threat of going home looking over her, she realized she didn’t want to leave.
She wanted to stay, to see
Arthur on his first modern Christmas, to celebrate the holidays with the people in this town she had come to know well. And love. She didn’t want to admit that word to herself, but there was something when she looked at Arthur that she was frightened of, frightened because of how strong it was. Was she falling in love with this broad shouldered tall Prince, or was it simply being around him all the time that she had grown fond of him?
They got several bags of stuff before she declared that this was probably all they were going to find.
Arthur had paused at a jewelry stand done in an ancient style, that she wondered if he recognized. He picked up a ring, a large turquoise piece with a silver band, turning it over in his hand.
“The Queen used to wear something like this,” he said, and
Annalise knew he wasn’t talking about England’s Elizabeth the second. “She always had it on. I think it was a family … thing.” He couldn’t think of the word and she smiled.
Heirloom. Like a family treasure.”
“Yes,” he nodded, putting it back down and picking up another piece, an amber necklace. “And in Egyp
t.” The amber caught the light as he held it. It was magnificent, a black choker with beautiful jewels.
“I guess jewelry will never really leave society,”
Annalise replied. “Although there are some things that are different now. Men wear wedding rings too, for example, not just women.”
“That’s odd,” he turned to her. “Why?”
“I don’t know why it started, but it started about 100 years ago, I think. When you are getting married, you shop for 2 bands, not one.”
“At the gold smith?” he asked and she shrugged.
“Sure. Or the mall.”
“But having something mass produced is not as special, I think, as a one of a kind piece?”
“That’s true,” she yawned, leaning her head back in her wheel chair. “I agree with you on that.”
“Are you tired, love?” he let the word slip out before he could catch himself, and looked startled by it.
“Sort of,” she gave him an apologetic smile. “If you wouldn’t mind.”
“Of course not
. I shouldn’t have kept you out this long.”
He took her back to her room as if she might expire before he got there. What they were greeted with however, was a tall blond gentleman standing there, looking around.
“Can I help you?” Arthur asked, and the gentleman turned. Annalise’s eyes widened in surprise.
Annalise,” he said, his gaze softening. “I was wondering where you had gotten to.”
Arthur and I were just doing some Christmas shopping,” she said, showing him the bags. “I taught him all about Christmas lists, and presents.””
“It has become quite commercialized, hasn’t it? My children have been following your lesso
n plan at home, but their lists I’m finding are quite silly. It is nice to meet you, Arthur, I’ve heard quite a lot about you.”
He held out a hand, and
Arthur shook it hesitantly.
“Can I help you?” He repeated again, and Dr.
Hever met his eyes with a sad smile.
“Have you enjoyed
Annalise’s help? I understand that’s she’s been of great assistance to you, as she is in our own home.”
Arthur nodded stoically. “Although there is still so much to learn.”
“Ah well,” Dr.
Hever nodded. “I understand that the Delaney’s have a wonderful culture teacher that I’m sure they wouldn’t mind lending to you to finish off your education.”
Annalise and Arthur asked, at the same time. Her hand went to his and they clasped them together, a gesture the doctor didn’t miss. He gave them both a sad smile.
Annalise needs more care than she can be given here, Arthur. I am her doctor and I know the most about her case, as does her team at the hospital at home. I made this deal with your brother under certain circumstances, and those circumstances have come to pass. I have come to take her home. Her duty here is done.”
By the look on their faces, he wasn’t sure who he had wounded more by saying that. But he knew one thing, one thing that
Gregory had hinted at, although it surprised him anyways. He wasn’t just taking apart teacher and student, or even two good friends who had come to support each other. No, by ripping apart Annalise and Arthur, he was breaking their hearts, hearts that were already fragile to begin with. Hearts that might never mend.
Annalise awoke, she wasn’t quite sure where she was. She rolled over and almost fell out of the bed, before she remembered. She wasn’t in her king size bed at the Bugresson house. She was in the double bed in the downstairs of the Hever’s health clinic, just off from the living room where everyone tended to gather. On either side of her, there were monitors, although they were off.
As soon as she sat up, a knock came at her door. Dr.
Hever, having clearly heard that she was awake, was coming to check on her.
months of living with the Guard had made her forget about vampires. She could actually hear every single movement and breath a human made. All she had to do was cough in the middle of the night and someone would be at her side.
“How did you sleep?” he asked her, gently. She sat up a bit more, leaning her head against the headboard and adjusting her pillows. She felt like she had been lying down forever. As soon as she could
transported, she was released from one hospital and brought to another. And then, when she was finally discharged, probably sooner than she should be, she was brought to the Hever’s house and set up with enough equipment that she might as well have been in the hospital.
Hever was a wonderful doctor, she admitted that. He obviously had years of experience, of trial and error, and she wouldn’t want anyone else treating her. He knew that throughout the years, ginger worked better than anything on the market. He knew that listening to a patient’s body was much more important than following textbook guidelines in terms of minimum doses. Annalise was supposed to be receiving chemo every day, but with her body already weakened, it was every day and a half, and even that was hard for her.
,“ she replied and he stepped into the room. Within a moment of him stepping inside, Tony was suddenly at the door as well.
gave him a smile. She had missed him, of course, but she still felt jerked away from the place where she had come to love.
Tony, give me a moment, will you?” Dr. Hever asked. Tony gave him a look, but relented. Annalise smirked, glad to see some things didn’t change.
just going to check your vitals, and make sure things are still strong, okay? You were a little lower than I liked last night.”
She held out her left arm, reaching for her phone with the other hand. He wrapped a blood pressure cuff
around her arm as she scrolled to her text messages.
Skype meeting confirmed, 10
It was from
Gregory, who had been kind enough to allow her to continue to communicate with Arthur through him. She hadn’t succeeded in getting Arthur a phone yet, although it was her next mission before it was too late.
She didn’t like to think like that, but if things didn’t change soon, it would be true.
Hever muttered to himself. “Your blood pressure is still really low. Do you feel alright?”
“A bit light headed
,” she admitted.
“Are you hungry?”
“No,” of this she was sure. Chemo this round seemed to take her appetite completely.
“You have to eat,
Annalise. It’s almost 10 am. Dinner will be served at 5.”
…” she brought her knees up to her chest. “Alright, I’ll be out in a bit. I’m going to shower and try to look decent today.”
“Call if you need help,” he said, and let her alone.
She reached for her phone, booting up Skype, and trying to fix her hair to make it not look like a rat’s nest, and wiped away sleep from her eyes, just as the Bugresson’s account popped up. Smiling and feeling better already, she pressed call.
Rosa’s face that filled the screen, adjusting the webcam so that it properly captured what she wanted. With her own image in the bottom right corner, Annalise felt inadequate, messy and sloppy. The ballerina still looked perfect, as always, her red locks splayed around her face, and her large eyes surrounded by perfect makeup.
“Well, you look like shit,” was
Rosa’s greeting. “You should still be asleep.”
“You’re kindness astounds me,
Rosa, but let me talk to Arthur.”
“Yeah, I know,”
Rosa turned around from the computer and drew in a deep breath. “ARTHUR!” she bellowed, echoing through the house.
looked around the living room of their mansion, taking in every detail. It wasn’t so long ago that she was sitting on the couch in the background, her legs curled up under her, and Arthur sitting by her side.
They had put up some Christmas decorations since she left, one of the things that she had instructed
Arthur to do. But mostly, the place still looked the same.
’s long legs came into view in the background and Rosa vacated the chair. When his face filled the screen, Annalise broke into a grin.
“Hey,” she said.
Arthur was still a bit nervous around technology, but seeing Annalise made him forget most of his fear.
Annalise. How are you?”
“I’m good,” she lied through her teeth, leaning her head back and trying to relax. All that sitting forward made her dizzy. “You look like you were coming from somewhere.”
“Yes, we went out,” he said, hesitantly.
“My brothers and I,”
Arthur replied. “Just for a visit to a coven.”
“Oh,” she said, sensing that it was
official vampire prince business. Gregory had expressed his pain a few times that Arthur, his regent, closest brother and once best friend, was not up to taking up his old duties. Annalise was glad to see progress in this area. “How was that?”
“I am glad we finished on time, so I could be home for our talk,” he replied, formally, although she
could hear the emotion in his voice.. She tried to brighten the mood.
“You know, if you got a
Smartphone, you could have just turned on Skype and called me from there.”
His brow furrowed.
“But only with a phone that has intelligence?”
Er … phones are only as smart as you, Arthur.”
“Well, I feel like an idiot most days, so what does that tell you.”
It was the most natural sounding sentence that she had ever heard come out of his mouth in English, and it made her feel like she had accomplished something. Although it was demeaning, at least he was learning to throw off words without intense concentration.