Our little project of medical paranormal romance.
Episodes come every two weeks.
Alpha-reading phase, we are still editing it 🙂
I shouldn’t have to stay late. The pounding headache that woke me up this morning was still there despite the copious amount of medication I poured into myself. I should know better. Instead, I over caffeinated myself to the point I struggled to sleep. Still, the resuscitation guidelines submission date was coming, and my data was not ready. I slugged through the day just to keep things going and try to recover enough that I would be prepared to face the mayhem of the night shift.
When I started my career as an emergency physician, all was exciting, and an adrenaline rush could keep me going for ages. Now, I was just worn out. Same shit day in and day out, with different and often hostile faces and a failing social system, brought us all to our knees. Maybe that was the reason I saw things. That must be the reason, or I’m going mad. The years of experience let one foresee when someone will die despite the best efforts, but I was sick to the core, never to be mistaken.
I wish it was different. I wish I could see the world with the fresh eyes of a uni student. Now, all cards are marked, and I know when I will win or lose.
‘Hey, boss, beautiful day, hmm?’
The porter welcomed me at the entrance and, pulling a friendly smile, I nodded, only now noticing that the evening was warm and with soft bird chirps. It was indeed lovely.
‘Sure, Tom, it is beautiful today. I hope you have a good day.’
He nodded, and I passed the automatic doors with a dreadful feeling. Pale in the sunset lights, the full moon had just entered the sky. It would be a fucked up shift worse, I still had this bloody headache to deal with, and I could only hope my favourite nurses would be on the shift to save my sanity.
As expected, the sad, the lonely, and the hopeless stormed out the front door together with a hefty amount of drunks. Every now and again, we had a genuine emergency, and I was called to assist my junior. Still, most of the time, I could sit in my office nursing coffee and looking at the screen to control the traffic. It was well past midnight when the phone rang, and panicking intern informed me we had a stabbing coming.
The resuscitation room was prepared just as I liked it, and a quick team briefing showed me everyone knew their role. Soon the door burst open, and a paramedic team came in with… a corpse on the stretchers.
The knife was stuck in the man’s chest when they frantically tried to resuscitate him, but I knew this one was long gone. A grey cloud of death was all over him when his soulless body bounced rhythmically during the chest compression. I took a deep breath and started issuing the orders.
‘Stop the chest compression,’
‘No, he has no pulse,’ Paramedic tried to argue, but one look at my face and his voice faltered.
‘He runs on empty. How do you want to restart an engine if you have no fuel?’ I said and turned to the team. ‘secure the airway, transfuse O neg and give me a thoracotomy set. We need to crack him open to check his heart.’ Like in formula one, the team was ready in less than a minute, and I bent over to start the incision. And I saw the bright blue eyes looking at me in surprise, and the cold male hand grabbed my wrist in a steel-like grip.
‘Oh, hell, you are not doing this.’ I heard, and the man I was about to cut open like a giant clam sat on the bed with the knife still sticking out of his chest. What an actual fuck, I thought, looking at him in disbelief. ‘Did you just pull Jesus on me?’ I heard myself saying, but my voice drowned in the screams of terror and clattering of fallen medical tools. I didn’t care. Why would I care about anything else if I’m standing before the bloody corpse who just talked to me?
‘Pulled what?’ He asked, still holding me tight, and for no apparent reason, I reached and pulled the knife out of his chest. No blood came, and I bit my lip, trying to comprehend the situation. He didn’t even wince when I examined the gaping hole, just looked at me unphased before he asked again. ‘I pulled what?’
I was staring at the knife in my hand. It looked old, more like a ceremonial dagger you can see in the museum than a street weapon. I had to resist the impulse to put it back into the gaping hole in the man’s chest just to get any human-like reaction from him. Instead, I focused on answering the question.
‘Did you just resurrect on me, like Jesus or Lazarus or something?’ I asked, and he laughed.
‘Yeah, or something. Now be a darling and give me the dagger.’ He commanded, looking into my eyes like he tried to touch the depths of my soul.
‘Stop this shit. First, the dagger is evidence. Second, I’m not your darling and stop gaping at me like a bloody mooncalf. That is borderline creepy, and who or what are you?’
I know I was rambling, and I wasn’t gentle with my words, trying to stall for time, hoping the team who so graciously left me with this undying hero would call the police. No such luck, and I registered the department is strangely quiet. This strange calm gave me a chill and kicked me to action, but as I was about to check it out, the door opened. I’m sure I looked like an idiot gasping when the man I would only wish I saw in my wet dreams strolled in. He was likely in his forties, or so he looked. Tall with broad shoulders and a short beard, he was perfect or, I should say, perfectly intimidating with the aura of strength that spoke to me in a way I couldn’t explain. As I stood there enchanted like a teenager, the object of my unwanted desires opened his mouth, and all charm went where the sun didn’t shine.
‘Adam, really? Out of all of them, you get yourself loaded into the ambulance? Couldn’t you at least play dead a little longer?
He talked over my head, and I huffed in anger, finally grasping his attention.
‘Anyway, the rest of the hospital is sorted now. Only this one, and we can go.’ He said, and his grey eyes brushed over me like he had just seen the stubborn cockroach.
‘I tried,’ said Adam, ‘but she resisted the compulsion after she tried to take my heart out. You can try to sort her out yourself. Forest magic may be more successful.’
‘No one will “sort me out”, and if you hurt any of my team, I will have you drag into court and hung to dry.’ I said as the tall man approached. I took a few steps back, but the resuscitation table blocked my further retreat. Without a word, he grabbed my arm and sank his gaze into my eyes. The weird feeling spread over my body, coating me like molasses. I knew I wanted him, and on impulse, I reached up to stroke his beard trailing my hand on his neck.
‘You have a beautiful vein.’ I blurted, playing with his jugular before the reality snapped back, and he stepped back with a shocked expression. Whatever he was trying to do simply didn’t work as planned. His lips twitched, and the narrowing of his eyes told me he was angry.
‘What the hell was that? Did you want me to kiss you or something?’ I said, hoping they couldn’t see my embarrassment, and Adam started laughing.
‘I told you it didn’t work on her, but it is funny to see the great forest lord fail.’
His mocking was a catalyst, and the man he called forest lord grabbed my arm. ‘What are you?’
His grip on my arm made me his in pain, and I punched him, or I would have, but he grabbed my flying fist and pulled me closer. I could feel his breath quicken, but he released me when I jerked backwards and somehow, I knew he would definitely leave the bruise. Frankly, I had enough of their attitude, and holding a dagger in front of me, I slammed the panic button for the first time in my life.
‘I am the doctor who will kick your arse so much, you won’t be able to find it. Now get the fuck away from my ED before the police arrive. I don’t know what happened here, but I have the department to run, and you just made my life more difficult. So off you go before I put this dagger where it came from.’
I counted the seconds when security should come running. I knew I should have made them stay, but no cavalry came to my aid. The life on the other side of the glass resuscitation door appeared normal as if nothing had happened. Like we didn’t just reanimate a corpse into a living talking being, and I wasn’t standing here with a dagger in my hand and two men looking at me like they tried to eat my soul.
I’m so fucked. I thought, trying to find out a solution to this impasse. It was about time to be wise, not brave, and make sure I won’t end up with the dagger in my chest. Suddenly the tension dropped, and the grey-eyed man looked at the name tag on my chest.
‘I will come back for you, Sara, and we will have a talk, and don’t talk to anyone. They won’t remember, and no one will believe your words. You will be quiet for your own good unless you want to spend the rest of your life in one of your human mental institutions.’ He pried the dagger from my hands and left the resuscitation room, undisturbed by the passing staff.
The rest of the shift passed for me in a haze of surreality of all this situation. My co-workers and other patient behaved like nothing had happened. We had a few routine cases of cardiac arrests and accidents. Still, no one even bats an eyelid when I was making casual remarks of ‘good it is not stabbing’ or ‘let’s make sure this one survives. I don’t want to have the second coming of the Christ.’ At the end of the shift, I was sure I had just gone crazy. After all those years of seeing death and pretending I didn’t know when it happened, the strange voices and creatures I sometimes saw finally caught up with me, and I was on the straight way to the asylum.
When I left the hospital, the streets were empty and flooded by the fog coming from the river. I had to remind myself it was simply Sunday, not a sudden world catastrophe. Still, the mist was unusual for the time of the year. Even being generous, Motława didn’t produce that amount of milky film even on the best days. I could have taken a tram, I should have taken a tram, but like the last fool, I had crossed the old town and had an early walk on the river bank. I needed the time to think, and I was hoping the morning sun would dispel the dreadful feeling and the yearning I had been carrying in my chest since encountering a strange man. The one they called Adam was easily forgettable despite the knife sticking from his chest. Handsome in his own undead, polished way if you like this type. Still, the older one with grey eyes engraved on his face in my brain, and each time I closed my eyes, I could see him looking at me with an intensity that burned like a sun.
‘Oh fuck you.’ I cursed softly when lost in the thoughts I’ve tripped on the loose stone, and waving my arms in the air, I tried to balance myself to not slide down on wet slippery steps.
‘That is also on the table, but for now, let us talk about our little problem.’
The muscular arm grabbed my waist when the familiar voice spoke next to my ear, and I instantly recognised the timbre. Soft but sturdy like forest moss, it could belong only to one man. The grey eyes were standing behind me, preventing a poor damsel in distress from falling onto her arse. Much to my shame, I never felt so good being rescued. Here we go, feminism goes with the bang once you meet a man who makes your pants wet. I thought, detangling myself from the alluring grasp. My movement made him frown, and he looked at his hands for a moment. I thought I saw the confusion in his eyes, like he didn’t like them empty.
‘Good morning Sara. You should be more careful. How would you like your coffee?’
‘My what?’ His casual question baffled me completely. First, what was he doing here? Second, it is Sunday, and no respectable coffee shop will be open at this hour.
‘We need to talk, and you look tired. I thought coffee would do you good. I smelled it on you in the hospital, and I thought you liked it. There is a nice little coffee shop around the corner already open, so … shall we?’ He offered me his arm like it was the most natural thing to do, and I took the offer like the last idiot. Strolling like a couple, we passed the sleepy street and a few unfortunate people who needed to work on Sunday. I could not believe I was actually doing this.
‘I don’t even know your name.’
He smiled and led me to the table in the already opened restaurant. ‘You can call me Leszek, so how do you like your coffee?’
‘Latte with caramel.’ My answer seemed to amuse him as the corner of his lip rose in a mischievous half-smile when he went to the counter to place the order. I should have run away, called the police or done anything to take me out of danger. But I realised that contrary to common sense, I felt safe, and there was also the curiosity that not once dragged me into trouble. I must know what he wants. I thought, convincing myself to stay. Besides, it was better to talk in public rather than be cornered in a dark alley because I was sure as hell Leszek was adamant about having this conversation with me whether I wanted this or not.
When he returned with the steaming cup and the aroma of fresh caramel goodness hit my nostrils, I was more or less back to my sanity and ready to face the situation without embarrassing myself with this groupie grin I had felt on my face before.
‘What do you want to talk about?’ I asked, avoiding looking straight at his face to not drown in his eyes. He chuckled softly, amused by my abruptness, and I felt the goosebumps on my back like someone trailed a clawed hand softly along my spine.
‘I want to offer you a job, lady doctor.’ He said, and when I frowned and shifted on the chair, he added. ‘Last night was a revelation to both of us, and I genuinely don’t want to kill you, but I can’t let the seer witch run unchecked. In exchange for your human doctor’s skills and silence, I will offer you a job and an easy one. All you have to do is to call me if you have any more unusual patients.’
The coffee suddenly lost its taste. What he offered was essentially a mob job, even if the mob was supernatural, and I didn’t want to have anything to do with it.
‘And what if I refuse?’ I asked, though I already knew the answer.
The velvet softness of his eyes was replaced by steel, and Leszek moved his chair closer.
‘Your unique abilities make you my problem, Sara, and if I can’t solve the problems, I bury them.’
I knew he was telling me the truth somehow, I just knew, and that made this experience even more terrifying. ‘What guarantee I have that you won’t do it, anyway?’
‘You don’t, but you amuse me, and I think I like your sassiness. That is more than many problems can say. Let me show you some perks of working for me.’
He reached out, tucking the stray trestle of my hair behind my ear, and placed his hand on my cheek. The warmth spreading from it was invigorating, washing away the tiredness of the night shift and the need for sleep. My muscles relaxed, and I melted against his touch. Part of me screamed, recognising the power the other part of my brain didn’t comprehend. I knew whatever he was using weakened my will and made me want to crawl and curl on his lap.
‘Stop, please.’ I whispered, and he took his hand away with a hint of surprise.
‘I thought you liked it.’ There was no hint of shame in his voice, more like disappointment, that I told him to stop. I felt the frustration raised from this yearning, but I also knew I couldn’t let any stranger manipulate me like this. To avoid his touch, I jerked my chair back. ‘You didn’t leave me much choice. Give me your phone number. I will call you if I encounter a strange patient, but please don’t contact me again.’
My words were grit in my mouth when I released the sentence with a speed of light, terrified he would enthral me again. When he passed me his business card, I didn’t even look at it, grabbing my purse off the table. ‘Thank you for coffee and goodbye.’ I throw it in the air, rushing toward the tram stop.
‘See you again very soon, my lovely Sara.’ I heard, but I ignored it. His touch invigorated me, and now, like a graceful doe, I was jumping over the curb toward the safety of my home and far away from the strange man with grey eyes who made my heart flutter.
I stared at the computer screen, trying to remember what I was about to write, I had to give up. I snapped the lid close, groaning in frustration. Since yesterday, I have seemed unable to focus on anything. I even exercised to get rid of this weird tension in my body, but nothing helped, and I caught myself drifting into a daydream, and the man with grey eyes was a central part of it.
Anyway, it was late, and if I couldn’t do anything productive, it was better to go to bed. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep like this and resigned myself to pulling the vibrator out of the drawer and looking at it, biting my lips. If I use it, it will be like an admission. I’m a complete idiot creaming my pants for the man who threatened me, but If I don’t… I didn’t want to face another sleepless night tossing and turning on the bed, after all, no one had to know about it. The absolution that came with the last statement pushed me to action, and while putting a vibrating toy between my legs, I imagined his firm hands caressing my body.
The feeling was so delightful it took me a moment to hear a persistent knocking on my door. ‘Oh, for fuck’s sake.’
There is one thing about being rude to come so late at night, but there is a whole other level to disturbing the woman who was about to pleasure herself, and I was ready to shred my unwelcomed visitor to pieces. Barely covered by the dressing gown, I snapped the door open only to see my Lazarus of a man standing there with two other goons and a cup of what my nose identified as a caramel latte.
‘You are needed. Dress and come with us. Oh, and Leszek said you will be angry and told me to buy you this.’ He pushed into my apartment, leaving his escort standing in front of the doors like obedient lap dogs, and looked at me.
‘So you gonna dress, or I should throw you over my shoulder as you stand?’
‘I know now why you earned this dagger in your chest. Should have left it there or even pushed it deeper, so it pierces your rotten heart.’
Adam laughed and followed me to the bedroom. While I dived into a pile of washed, unfolded clothes, trying to find something more suitable for the late-night trip, I felt his presence behind me. He didn’t touch me, but having a stranger in my personal space was not pleasant or welcome. I accidentally swung my arm, my elbow catching his stomach on its sharp end. The painful “umph” that followed my action pleased me greatly.
‘I’m sorry. I didn’t know you would come here to watch. Did it hurt a lot?’ My sweet saccharine voice must get on his nerves because he pushed the cooling coffee in my hands and sneered.
‘If only you were not under his protection, I would play with you differently.’
The fangs that flashed following his words were meant to be a warning, but I was too angry to care. ‘If you were not under his protection, my elbow would be aimed into your bollocks. Now get out of my bedroom before I change my mind.’
After he left, I looked at the coffee and took a sip. Caramel velvety taste meted on my tongue, and I sighed softly. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts, the thought sprang into my mind when I was pulling the jeans and simple jumper, but there were some gifts I could not refuse, and coffee was one of them. When I returned to the living room, Adam was still there, arms crossed on his chest and looking like a fury incarnate.
‘Your cat pissed on my cloak, and Leszek called. We need to hurry.’
Choking with laughter, I stroked the grey beast of a cat that one day simply waltzed into my apartment and decided to stay in. ‘Good boy, mommy will give you a treat when she returns.’ My cooing voice must have irritated Adam because he pushed me out, and I barely locked the doors when the goons flanked me and escorted me to the large black car.
‘At least it is not the black Volga.’ I said, provoking surprised stares till I felt the need to explain my remark. ‘Just an old joke, you know, there was the rumour communists kidnapped children into the black Volga to imprison them in the mines.’ I pointed to the car, waiting for the synapses to connect in their brain before adding. ‘At least it is not the black Volga.’
Only Adam laughed shortly, and soon I was packed in the car and squeezed between two massive men who surprisingly smelled like wet fur. I was annoyed and decided to annoy my captors out of pure spite.
‘Are we there yet?’ I said, passing the first crossroads, and Adam looked at the rear mirror, meeting my eyes from his driver’s seat.
‘No,’ He answered shortly, and this only enticed me to play again. With each passing crossroads or red light stop, I repeated, ‘Are we there yet?’
Initially, they tried not to react, but my escort became increasingly irritated with each passing minute. Finally, one of the goons turned his glowing in dark eyes in my direction and growled. ‘Will you shut up?’
I chuckled, looking at him and led by some self-destructive thought, I asked. ‘Grandma, why do you have such big teeth?’
The roar that shook the car scared me a little, but soon the vehicle came to a screeching halt, and I noticed we stopped in front of the old magazine in the dock district. I was pushed out of the car and into the building like my captors couldn’t wait to get rid of me. I was guided inside, and at the end of the long, dark corridor, we stopped in front of the rusty doors, and Adam pointed at them with a sarcastic smile.
‘Well, show us you are as good as Leszek said, or you will find out why grandma has such big teeth.’
With nonchalance I hadn’t felt then, I pushed the door and smirked.
‘Of course, I’m that good. Why do you think I’m here?’
And the view that greeted me made me wish I could turn back time and swallow my words.
The room was relatively dark, and only one brightly lit space was a metal table with some animal strapped to it, writhing in pain, whose howling made my skin crawl. Leszek stood there, and I could clearly see a deep frown on his face when he placed his hand on the animal’s head before he turned his gaze to me. ‘Thank you for coming. I wouldn’t drag you here in the middle of the night, but I had no choice.’
His apologetic tone didn’t calm my anger, and I marched toward him, pointing to what looked like a big dog. ‘What kind of sick experiment is this? I won’t take part in anything like this.’ I heard my voice rise to a high pitch like always when I was on the edge of going full berserk, but I had enough of this. Even the owner of the most mesmerising eyes in Gdansk won’t make me torture the animal. Agitated, I gesticulated wildly, and my hand trailed dangerously close to the creature’s muzzle before I knew Leszek grabbed me, pulling me away from the snapping muzzle.
‘Sara, I need your help.’ He said, pressing my hand to his torso before I ripped it from his grasp.
‘I won’t torture animals. Who the fuck do you think I am?’
The lack of understanding in his eyes didn’t stop my tirade until he approached the table and placed his hand on the animal’s head. ‘Change.’
A simple word carried so much command that I sucked my breath, holding it for a moment when the creature at the table shifted in front of me, and its contours blurred for a moment. When I rubbed my eyes, unsure of what I was seeing, its shape changed and soon, a naked young man lay on the table screaming and cursing in pain. I could clearly see the bullet wounds on his torso and the faint hue of silver smoke that trailed from it. Not that I have any experience in gun trauma. Gdansk had its crime, but gunfights were not a part of it.
‘We need to take him to the hospital. Bring some covers, and I will call the ambulance. Guys from S3 owe me a favour. They won’t say what they saw here. Hurry up.’ Now my commanding voice dominated the space, and I saw Leszek’s lips twitch slightly in a half-smile before he shook his head.
‘That’s not how we do things here. Our healer will look after him, and his shifter magic will do the rest, but I need you to remove bullets without killing him. I can’t do it. None of the Others can, as whoever wants him dead, entangle iron, silver and death magic in the bullets.’
‘You mistake me with a surgeon. I’m ED, which means I can keep him alive till he gets to the theatre, so don’t be difficult and let me take him.’ I moved to the table, releasing leather belts that kept the man’s frame tied in a prostrate position, but Leszek once again took my hand.
‘No, he must stay here, and whether he lives or dies, it’s in your hands now, Sara.’ As if to confirm his words, metal doors to the room slammed shut with a thud and a small operating trolley full of tools that likely remembered soviet occupation appeared on the scene.
‘You fucking bastard! That is not the end of this conversation. I have nothing to even anaesthetise him.’ I was at my wit’s end, but Leszek positioned himself towards man’s head, visibly tense.
‘He will endure it. I will make sure of this,’
As soon as these words sounded in the air, the man opened his eyes and protested with his voice hoarse from the screaming. ‘You can’t. I will be fine. I don’t want your magic.’
Leszek’s hand stilled over his forehead, and again I heard the command in his voice. ‘Sleep,’
I could swear I could smell the pine forest at this very moment, but the impression of freshness and bliss was short-lived because as soon as the young man’s eyes closed, Leszek looked at me, and I knew he expected me to proceed.
I closed my eyes and slowly inhaled the blood-smelling air. Improvise, Adapt, Overcome Sara. You are the emergency doctor. Emergency doesn’t wimp out in front of the challenge. My simple mantra enabled me to exhale, and when I opened it, my anger was replaced by crystal clear focus. I took a scalpel from the pile of random tools placed in front of him and trailed it along the skin, making the first cut. My patient didn’t flinch, but Leszek, whose hands were still on the man’s temples, hissed quietly, making me look at him.
‘What the fuck?’ My question was to no one in particular, but the old woman who emerged from the shadows in the corner answered.
‘He is taking the pain. Hurry up, child. I don’t have a whole day. Take out this blood bullet so we can start the real healing.’
For some reason, her tone amused me, and I chuckled high on adrenaline before I proceeded with the removal of the first bullet that was barely lodged in the man’s shoulder muscles and moved to the abdomen, carefully cutting through the layers. I was so focused on my work that I barely noticed Leszek’s forehead drenched in sweat, cutting, tying bleeding vessels and suturing the wound made me work like a robot till I reached the last hole where the bulled rested was right under the clavicle.
My steady so far hands trembled when I imagined cutting near the subclavian artery.
‘You can do it, Sara. You are doing great.’
The husky voice from the side averted my attention from the fearful wound, and I looked at Leszek. His face was ashen grey, and I gasped, seeing dark circles under his eyes, yet he encouraged me to continue. I bit my lip and with determination, I hadn’t felt since my student times. I slowly peeled the layers of flesh till I retrieved the last bullet. Suddenly it felt like time sped up, and the wound started to knit itself in front of my very eyes like I’d just removed the obstacle that held the body back from regeneration.
An old woman pushed me aside, and I staggered dizzily from tiredness. I would have gracefully fallen on my arse, but strong hands caught me. In the blink of an eye, I stood there pressed to Leszek’s side, observing how the old woman chanted, pouring some herbal-smelling liquid all over the man’s body, and his breath evens up. At the same time, his wounds fade, leaving silver, slightly iridescent scars.
‘You won’t cease to amaze me.’ A quiet voice next to my ear sent shivers down my spine, and I realised I was way too close to Leszek’s masculine presence. In fact, I was pressing my every curve into him like my body decided to make its own decision while my mind was engaged. To make it worst, he didn’t seem to mind it, gently caressing my back while his beard tickled my temple. I pulled away, stifling my body’s protest, and looked at him, hoping I projected daggers I would happily push into his chest.
‘This must never happen again. What have you been thinking about forcing me to operate in the warehouse with tools from the museum?’
I was practically shouting, and my voice dragged the goons now standing in the open doors looking at the scene with round eyes till Leszek’s gesture didn’t send them away. Only Adam remained looking at me with a knowing smirk.
‘I will drive her back. I think you are done here. Will he live?’
I saw anger slashed through Leszek’s face, although I couldn’t understand what caused it before he answered.
‘He will live, and as soon as he is properly awake, investigate who caused it, and I will drive her home.’
They were talking over my head like I was not in the room, irking me immensely. I was tired, dirty and not in the mood for male ego boosting. ‘Her’ can take herself home, and none of you dares to contact me ever again.’ I said, marching toward the door, followed by Adam’s laugh and Leszek’s snapping commands to his subordinate. When I walked outside, the morning sun blinded me for a moment, and before I could see again, the scent of the forest coated me in a comforting blanket, and I heard.
‘Sara, we need to talk.’
I turned around and looked at him, sheltering my eyes from the rising sun. ‘We talked a lot recently. So what do you want to talk about now? How did you force me to perform in the dirty warehouse, or how can I lose my licence for operating outside of my scope of practice?
I saw him approaching and put my hand forward to make him stop before the concern in his eyes melted my defences. I needed anger to stop this madness and time to process what had just happened. He manipulated you to do his bidding. I thought, luckily, it was enough to spark the fury inside me. I hate being surprised and treated like a puppet by the high and mighty, and I was unprepared for what happened last night, not to mention stripped from choice because I couldn’t let the man on the table die, and he knew it.
He stopped and looked at me with a deep frown, making me wish to slap him. He didn’t make my life easy, and I was an emotional wreck the last few days without even trying. Worst, deep down, I wanted him to lock me in a tight embrace and just stroke all this tension away. Get the fucking grip, Sara or find some escort if you’re that desperate. I scorned myself, annoyed that I wanted to hurt him for what he did and kiss him for what he was. Even if I didn’t know who or what exactly he was. Instead, I clenched my teeth, calming my racing heart and acted like a reasonable adult.
‘I know you have your secrets, and I understand your … circles, … world whatever you call it, differs from mine. I agreed to help you by informing you about the special arrivals to the hospital, but that’s it. I’m not a mob doctor, supernatural or not, and I won’t be put into a situation like this again. Do I make myself clear?’
I saw a light smile playing on his lips before he nodded and pointed to the car. ‘Yes, you made yourself perfectly clear, my lady. Please let me drive you home.’
‘I told you I can get myself home. I don’t need a lift.’
My outburst didn’t discourage him. Instead, he opened the car door and gestured inside. When I didn’t move, he came and gently placed his hand on the small of my back, barely touching it. ‘Sara, please. You are tired and have had no sleep, so please let me do this. I owe you this and much more for what you did. Let me look after you.’
‘… and whose fault is it?’ I asked, but like the last idiot, I let him lead me to the car. Maybe I didn’t want to behave like a petulant child, but it was so long since someone wanted to look after me and his words struck the right chord. I turned to the window as soon as the doors closed, confused by contradicting emotions. Leszek seemed to sense my mood, and we drove silently for a moment. His scent and the hum of the electric car were strangely soothing, and before I knew it, my face plastered itself to the window like the algae eater to the aquarium glass. I was known to have the ability to fall asleep in the strangest of places. Still, my body chose the worst moment to fall asleep, and I didn’t even know how or when he parked under my apartment. I vaguely remember gentle rocking when he pulled me out of the car and the words softly spoken when I embraced his neck out of instinct.
‘I’m sorry. I keep forgetting how fragile your race is.’
‘Yeah, we are all withering roses.’ My words were barely muttered in half asleep must have amused him because I felt a soft chuckle when he stood me on the floor.
‘Give me your keys.’
I blinked several times, trying to focus my eyes, only to notice we stood in front of my apartment. ‘You wish, what next, a toothbrush and drawer for your pants.’ I said, patting my trousers till I pulled the set of keys from the back pocket. It took me a moment to aim into a keyhole, and all the way, I felt his gaze following my every movement. When the door finally opened, he pressed his hand to the door frame, locking me between the wall and his body.
‘I don’t need a toothbrush … yet, but I will visit you tomorrow evening around six o’clock. Some things in your life will change, Sara. Whether you like it or not, you are part of my world now, but I promise you I will make this transition as easy as possible for you.’
‘I will change nothing.’ My chin lifted in a challenge, but looking at him from such an angle was difficult. I was going to say more, but as soon as my lips parted, he inhaled sharply when he looked down at me.
‘Yes, you will. Now go to bed before I take you there.’ His words were harsh, but the hand trailing my neck offered a soft caress, and I shivered, leaning closer. What the hell is happening to me?
‘Go!’ Leszek pushed me in and shut the door behind me. The loud thud and sudden space around me woke me up, stripping all the charm of the encounter.
‘What in the living fuck was that?’ I asked, turning back toward the doors only to meet the silence on the other side. After a moment, picked up the cat, rubbing it over my shin. I really needed to sleep, but I was not in the mood to be alone in the empty bed, not after his touch awakened something I yet had to find the courage to name.