I lay as still as possible while the love of my life leaned over my bed. I had been so exhausted when I arrived home, I’d just crashed, telling myself I’d only take a few minutes to rest my eyes. I must’ve fallen asleep because if Davis was here that meant it was after nine o’clock.
Everything had gone wrong today at work.
First, we had a gunshot wound victim in the ER causing quite the commotion. The police came by. The victim’s family. The media.
Then one of the doctors misplaced some really important paperwork and thought it was the interns’ job to find it.
Finally one of my co-workers didn’t show and I had to work a double shift.
This working-long-hours-barely-sleeping-hardly-seeing-my-fiance thing wasn’t much fun. But I told myself only a few more months. By the end of the year, Davis would graduate from medical school and he’d be doing his residency. I could quite my job with the medical administration and focus on planning our wedding.
“Hi sleepyhead,” he smiled as he leaned in closer, sliding his hand gently under my crooked arm to nudge me awake. “Rough day?”
“Yeah,” I yawned and turned my face to see his.
This was my favorite time of day… the time of day when my man was off work and would come home and kiss me. No more work. No more craziness. Just the two of us. I could hear faint bells in the background.
“Wanna order takeout?” he asked.
“Yes, I’m sorry. I intended to reheat and spice up our leftovers but I didn’t get around to it yet.”
“No worries, Kass,” he kissed my forehead. “I know you’re tired. Sushi?”
“From the Simasian Market? You read my mind,” I exclaimed.
“I’ll call Hoshi.”
The phone was dinging as he spoke.
I reached up and pulled my arms around his neck, tugging him ever so gently toward myself. He stopped a few inches from my face and smiled at me, his eyes shining bright with emotion. I knew he loved me as I loved him. He was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I couldn’t wait to be Mrs. Davis Lamar.
Our lips were about to meet when a strange shuffling noise interrupted our focus. I looked around Davis to see what had caused the disruption…
“Hmm,” I mumbled, my eyes refusing to open. Where am I? Wow! That was an intensely real feeling dream. I wonder what time it is. I can’t believe I was dreaming about being engaged to Davis… Davis!!
I sat up hard. I immediately regretted it as the sudden movement aggravated my side and burning pain shot from my hip to my shoulder.
“Oh my llamas!” I shrieked and winced.
“Easy,” he turned around to face me, helping me to lie back against the pillow.
For a brief moment, I felt an unknown emotion flood my senses as his hand touched my arm.
“You were in a pretty bad accident. You don’t want to push yourself,” Davis explained, straightening to his full height.
“What are you doing here? Davis? Davis?” I leaned forward again, repeating his name in my confusion.
What happened? I was in the tavern. I was in the tavern with my boss. Something came through the window and now I’m here. But what’s Davis doing here?
“I…uh… I can go if you want. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to disturb you,” Davis said sheepishly.
He turned to leave.
“What?! No!” I exclaimed, waving my arms like a madwoman. “I… I didn’t say you had to leave. Oh… ouch!” I leaned back against my pillow again wishing I had stayed there before… wishing his hands were still on me. Oh snap out of it, Kassiopeia! Don’t be such a plum!
“Are you sure?” Davis hesitated.
“Yes,” I bobbed my head enthusiastically, but even that caused pain to shoot up my neck and into my head.
Davis slowly lowered himself into the chair next to my hospital bed. He nervously laid his hands in his lap and cracked his knuckles. I winced. The sound was magnified in my pulsing ears. Why are my ears ringing anyway? Davis looked down at his hands. I could see his shoulders rising and falling awkwardly, almost shuddering. He had never been ashamed of his emotions when we were dating, but now, he seemed embarrassed.
“Come on, crack a smile,” I half-joked. “Your face is uber serious.”
“You could’ve died,” he whispered, still refusing to meet my eyes.
I blinked hard three times. Died? Had it really been that bad? All I remembered was the Wolfbane Tavern and waiting for Brendon to get the car and a loud noise and then incessant ringing. Everything had faded to black when I hit the floor. I couldn’t be fully sure what had happened, but I really hadn’t thought I’d been close to death’s door.
“You’re exaggerating,” I laughed weakly. “I’m fine. Just a little banged up and bruised here and there.” I pointed to various body parts. “I’ll live.”
“The doctor says you’re really lucky, Kassiopeia, you have no idea,” Davis replied quietly.
“I’ll be sore for a few days,” I sighed. “It’s okay.”
“Kass, a car came through the window and nearly hit you, and then the gunman…” Davis trailed off.
“Gunman!?” I repeated startled.
I didn’t remember any gunman or bullets. Just glass breaking and ringing. I felt my heart rate quicken as I momentarily panicked. What else can’t I remember? I tried to sit forward again, but my ribs wailed in protest. I slid back down, holding my side, and swallowing back the tears pricking my eyes. The pain was immense. Davis was right. I needed to take it easy. I just didn’t want him to see me like this.
“Yes, Kass, the guy drove through the window of the restaurant you were in…”
“Tavern…” I corrected.
Davis gave me a weird look and continued. “…and started shooting at random. Thank God they caught the guy. A bartender was shot and killed and the owner is in intensive care. And you… you…” Davis trailed off.
“Davis, I’m fine,” I shrugged, trying to reassure him, but my own voice was wobbling. “And if you say… they… caught the guy… then we’re all fine.”
Between trying to piece together the details of what happened and my pounding head and injuries and trying to process why Davis was there and how he’d known about me, let alone the accident, I was feeling pretty shaky. I figured they had to transfer me in an ambulance to Bay City General. That would cost me an arm and a leg because I didn’t qualify for insurance with either my internship or my part-time schooling. Maybe I could talk to Brendon and get him to talk human resources into offering me insurance, or maybe if I added one more class, I’d be considered full-time and qualify for student insurance. At least I had my great-grandmother’s house. Oh the house! I still hadn’t been to the property yet. I still hadn’t figured out what happened to Mr. Butterworth, the caretaker. Perhaps that was the least of my worries.
“How’d you know I was here?” I inquired.
“Dr. Bachelor notified your family after the accident, and your sister called me. I guess she thought you needed someone here for you, and she knew they couldn’t be here. I drove up after my late shift at the Jolt,” he explained.
“Oh,” I replied, surprised my family knew that I was here, but grateful that my doctor was at the hospital and that she had contacted them.
“So you’re still working with your grandmother?” I asked, trying to stay neutral with my topics… and not fixate on those lips… those lips I almost kissed in my dream… just a dream…
“Yeah, well,” he twisted the toe of his sneaker in the carpet. “After your grandparents fired me, Granny let me pick up more shifts at the Jolt while I save money for med school.”
At the mention of med school, I averted my eyes. I still couldn’t believe I’d been dreaming about Davis and medical school and being his girlfriend… no… fiance. I was working at the hospital too. I blushed deeply. Davis had no idea what I had dreamed about… or did he? Why was he really here? I hoped he thought my face was flushed from the ordeal and not his presence.
“Med school… well, while you’re here at the hospital, you can talk to Dr. Bachelor about seeing if she can get you an internship here… you know… some practical experience in so it’s not a wasted trip,” I said dumbly. Really? That’s all I can say? He drove up here from Sunset Valley to see me late at night not talk to my doctor about getting some hands-on experience.
Davis leaped to his feet unexpectedly and balled his fists, grunting in frustration. My eyes widened as he dropped his arms to his side and tears spilled out of his eyes. I felt awkward, staring straight ahead at the wall. I couldn’t look at him. I didn’t even know why he was crying.
“Kass,” he said as he wept, dropping to his knees next to the bed. “I… I’m… I’m sorry… I’m so sorry.”
“What are you sorry for?” I asked him, trying to keep my tone even as I looked over at him.
“Please, please, please, can you forgive me?”
“Davis! You didn’t cause the accident or shoot at me. What are you so sorry for?”
“For being a jerk. I should’ve been up front about my troubles down in Vice City. I should’ve told you about my former….” he paused as if having trouble saying the word. “…wife… uh… Phoenix before you and I got so serious and you found out from someone else. Now Phoenix is dead and you almost died too. I just don’t know if I can forgive myself if anything ever happened to you.”
I sat, stunned. Does he mean that? Of all the things to confess right now, Davis chose this? He was genuinely grieved. I wish I could hug him and hold him, but it wasn’t that simple.
“What about Danny?” I asked quietly.
“I should’ve believed you,” Davis continued as if he hadn’t heard my question. “…when you said nothing happened between you and Gage. Actually I don’t care even if something did. I’ll forgive you. Just like I hope you’ll forgive me.”
Suddenly, he wrapped his arms around my shoulders and pulled me into his chest. I turned my head to avoid squishing my nose. My cut cheek stung from the impact with his sweaty shirt. I inhaled his scent – a mixture of island spice cologne and coffee beans. He smells so good. He feels so good. Kass, don’t, don’t do it. It’s a slippery slope. Don’t go there!
I reluctantly removed myself from his arms. “What about Danny?” I repeated. “Is she still in the picture? In your life? And the kids?”
Davis frowned. He seemed surprised that I had asked. His cheeks flushed and he dropped his gaze again. Quickly, he slid off the bed and jerked back into the chair. He placed his hand over his heart.
“Kass, I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry. I should leave,” he acted confused again.
“Davis, I asked you a question,” I said, resolutely. “What about Danny?”
I hated asking but I needed to know. I needed to know before I could answer him… before I tell him I’m still pining for him too.
“I don’t know, Kass, I’m all confused right now. I’m shook up over your accident. When your sister called me, I didn’t know what to think or how to feel. I just knew I had to see you. Danny… is… well… she’s still in my life… why are you asking?”
“You come in here and you say that you’re sorry about everything and you didn’t know what to do but you had to see me, and yet you’re still with her!?! Davis! I can’t be with you! You don’t even know what you want. Llamas! I don’t know what I want.”
“Kassiopeia, please… just give me some time to sort things out.”
“No, Davis! I do know I don’t want to be the other woman. I don’t want to be mixed up in all this. This is just llama crap!”
“No! Leave. Please. Don’t call me. Don’t come by again. Just leave me alone.”
Wordlessly, Davis stood up for the final time. He slowly walked away, his shoulders stiffly held back.
“I’m glad you’re okay, Kass, okay?” he said softly without looking at me. “If you want to talk, you have my number.”
I closed my eyes tightly, squeezing back my own tears threatening to fall. Why did he have to be strong and say that? Why? I cared about him, but I couldn’t be in his life. Not like this. He had his life and a woman who loved him in Starlight Shores. I wasn’t going to come between them. I couldn’t. My own heart couldn’t bear it. It would be better to stick to dreaming about our fictional future. Davis Lamar was a dream to me… nothing more.
2.3 Coming Soon!
- Will Kass find out all the details of what happened to her in the tavern accident?
- Is Davis gone from her life or will we see more of him?
- How soon will Kass recover and be able to see her new home?
Author Changes: What’s different?
- Dates changed.
- Added section about “he paused, as if having trouble to say the word…”
- Asimian changed to Simasian.