Medicine Man (Page 32)

That’s totally making her angry, though. Because her eyes are flashing. She might have even growled too.

“I never…” She breathes deep. “Never, ever came to you, you pig!”

He chuckles. “Right. It was a dream.” He spreads his palms as if apologizing charmingly. “Forgot to mention that. But it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve seen you naked. You might as well give up your name.”

 Renn growls some more.

I can’t stop anymore. I laugh and so does Vi. Penny’s not far behind. All around, people are chuckling too. The new guy’s enjoying himself, I think.

Just to mess with my BFF, I call out, “Renn. Her name’s Renn.”

Renn whips her eyes to me. “How dare you? You’re supposed to be my friend.”

“What? He just wanted to know your name.” I shrug, chuckling.

Penny raises her hand in the air and I raise mine, and we mime high-fiving each other since we can’t exactly do the act.

The new guy tips his chin at me and I nod. For some reason, I like him. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s so easily and so thoroughly managed to rattle Renn, and he appears more or less harmless.

“I’m Tristan,” he says with a satisfied glint in his eyes.

“I don’t care,” Renn shoots back.

“I wouldn’t be too sure about that.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means give it time. I kinda grow on people.”

“Why? Are you fungus?”

This makes him chuckle again. “Yeah, I like you, Renn.” He runs his fingers through his hair. “You’re gonna make my stay very interesting.”

She flips him the bird before turning away.

A second later, Vi murmurs, “I wonder what he was calling you in his head.”

Penny snorts.

Vi grins.

And I just laugh.

Maybe I don’t have magic in my veins and I’m not at Hogwarts. But I’m at Heartstone. I have friends who care about me and who missed me while I was trapped inside my head.

And I have a man who calls me a fighter and saves me all in the same breath.

So I am in a good place, I think.

In the afternoon, I hear the worst thing of my life.

Well, okay, not the worst. Because the worst would be if the thing I heard came to pass.

I’m in the TV room, reading the climax of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, where they do a wizard version of prison break and fly up to a tower window. I overhear a couple of nurses mentioning something about Simon and my ears perk up.

“…I’ll let him know, yeah. I think he’s leaving for the day. Josie said they were gonna grab dinner together,” says the first nurse.

“Oh! Is it happening? The date?” the second nurse asks with a twinkle in her eyes.

The first nurse shakes her head, handing her a bunch of files. “Maybe. Who knows? I can’t wait to ask Josie all about it.”

They both laugh as I slowly lose all will to laugh. Ever.

I sit in my plastic chair, deaf and blind, as if I suffered an explosion. I’m not sure if I’m even breathing. But I’m definitely feeling. I’m feeling like I’m going to die. I want to die.

 Actually, no.

I don’t want to die. I want to live.

Yes, I want to live. I want to live because…

Because if I don’t live, then I can’t stop this. I can’t stop them from going on a date. And I need to stop it. I have to.

I spring up, my already-abused-to-the-maximum book falling on the floor in two pieces. I wonder if it’s an omen. My book finally cracking in two, right in the middle. With surprisingly steady legs that bend down smoothly, I retrieve the book.

There’s no trembling or shaking or any nervous twitch in my body. It’s sure. It’s completely, absolutely sure and determined to stop this. I can’t help but wonder if I’m in a trance. If I’m drugged, or under hypnosis. Or maybe this is a different kind of insanity. A more rational kind.

I’m almost blind to the happenings of the hospital as I walk down the hallway, toward Simon’s office. I know people brush past me. I know they are talking. They are working. But I can’t see them. My mind’s on one thing: the man at the end of the hallway.

The hallway that’s not freely accessible to me, a patient. Although, I don’t seem to remember this until I’m stopped by a nurse. I tell her I need to see Dr. Blackwood but she says she can help me with whatever I need.

“I just… I need to see him. You can’t help me with it,” I tell her because that’s the truth. She can’t help me.

She goes to say something but the man I’ve been looking for comes out of his office – Thank God – and I call out his name to get his attention.

When he focuses on me, I take a deep breath and ask him, “C-Can I please talk to you? In your office?”

He frowns but nods. “Sure.” To the nurse, “I’ve got this.”

I don’t know what it is but every time he says, I’ve got this, something happens to me. Something tingly and warm and all I want to do is wrap myself around his strong, capable body and tuck my face in his neck and never let go.

We walk to his office and he opens the door, gesturing me to get in.

This is the room I never wanted to enter willingly. But now, all I can think about is being here. With him. Smelling his rainy scent and finding ways to touch his hot skin.

I turn around to face him.

He’s watching me, studying me, taking me in. “Are you still experiencing nausea?”

I wasn’t expecting him to ask that. I didn’t even know he knew that. Everyone’s been dismissing my ailment as imaginary, so I didn’t know if they’d chart it. “No. Not today. Did… did you ask them to give me… saltines?”

“I asked them to give you something to calm your stomach, yes.”

There’s such a rush of emotions inside me, inside my chest, my belly that I have to take a moment to calm myself.

He saved me from this too, didn’t he?

“Is there something I can do for you?” he asks, when I don’t say anything for a few moments.

So formal. So authoritative. So f*****g sexy.

“Yes.”

“And what is that?” He crosses his arms across his chest, waiting patiently and impatiently at the same time.

“You… I… I haven’t seen you in days.”

“Excuse me?”

I shake my head. “I-I mean, I wanted to thank you. For, uh, you know, talking to me the other day. Helping me. Thanks for everything.”

Oh God, what am I saying?

Although, it’s the truth. These past few days have been hard, but his words have kept me going. And saltines.

“I was doing my job,” he tells me.

Job.

Yeah.

I know. I know he was doing his job.

But the thing is… I think that I could be his dream come true.

I mean, maybe. If he’ll let me.

He’s the fixer, isn’t he? He likes to fix things. Broken houses. Broken minds. And I’m broken. In the best of ways and the worst of ways.

So this doesn’t have to be his job. I don’t have to be his job. I could be more to him. Like he’s more to me.

“I want you to fix it,” I say.

“Fix what?”

“M-my book.”

What?

I didn’t mean to say that. I meant to say me. Fix me. Or rather he can fix me, if he wants to. I can be his willing patient, his playground, his experiment. He can analyze me, feed me meds, dope me up with drugs, whatever. I can be whatever he wants me to be.

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