ALL I MAY BE OR HAVE BEEN BEFORE
"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is a society where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar;
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal."
-----From Lord Byron's "Childe Harold"
By Atonia and Jo
Jo writing Maximus, Caroline, Bud, Marie, Lachlan, Cort, Daisy, Ben, Mae, Rusty, Holli, Canfield, Melanie
Atonia writing Terry, Dee, Alex, Linda, Jack, Tarwyn, John, Bethany, Max, Sophia, Dino, Anne
George had to get an early start back to the city Monday morning and so did Melanie so she could be at work at Shield’s on time. George asked if she’d drive her car in front of his. He had two reasons for that, one being that he could make sure she was safe that way, and the other that he would have her in his sight longer. He found the mere idea of her being away from him quite painful.
As she drove, Melanie looked in her rear-view mirror from time to time, smiling as she saw George keeping pace behind her. While they were still out in the country, she turned off on a dirt lane and he followed, parking behind her when she stopped.
“Melanie, is anything wrong?” he asked, concerned, as they both got out of their cars.
“Very wrong,” she sighed.
“What…what?” He put his hands on her shoulders.
“I needed a kiss before we got to the city.”
Relief flooded through him. He smiled widely and obliged her profoundly.
Linda took Anne farther out into the country to an old adobe house. The woman who answered the door was glad to see her. “You’ve come about the loom.”
“We have, Natalie, and this is Anne DuBois, who will be using it.”
Linda bought the loom from the woman who
no longer used it. Dennis would bring it into the city and set it up for her in
the room over her shop.
“You can make whatever you want to, Anne, but I would suggest wraps, ponchos maybe some tunics. The bags, you might do by hand.”
“You are giving me work to do.”
“You said you were bored, nothing to do, nothing to contribute. Now you’ve got something to do that will make you a little money too.”
“But, where will I find the materials?” Anne asked.
“Where did you find the material for the bag you carry?”
“Well, these are ribbon scraps…Walmart.”
“I’ll find you a catalog where you can order what you need.”
The morning seemed to be filled with more hours than usual. George did his rounds, held some office hours, counseled with some patients about upcoming surgery, and checked his watch constantly. When would noon ever get here? He called Dee and found out she would be bringing Terry in around 11:30, affirming to her he thought that was a good idea, especially when she informed him of what Terry had tried in the bathroom on Saturday. He spent a while with Holli and Rusty, finding everything was going well with her healing and with them as a couple. While he was in Holli’s room, Maximus called to say that since Caroline would be spending the day over at Daisy’s with her and Welland and that Mae was going over there, too, he thought he’d do a trip into the city and visit Rusty and Holli.
“We could go to Paris, we could go to…Provence?” Sophie looked up at Max.
“Or…we could stay in London. I’m not sure I want to be jetting around.” He felt safe in London under its gray sky. “I talked to Bud earlier. He said the FBI had taken over and everything pointed to Dallas where, I’m sure, Luis’ goons were operating from. “I suppose he knows we are married now. Did you call your mother?”
“Yes, I did and she said to give you a kiss from her, so here it is.” She kissed him and then leaned into his arms. They were on a sightseeing barge on the River Thames. “You know we could buy a little house in Provence.”
“Sophie, France is too close to Italy. Why do you want to go to France?”
“I don’t know. I was thinking about your movie.”
“That’s all it was, love, just a movie. Nothing you saw in that is real.”
“I know, nothing except you.”
With their business taken care of and the money transferred, Jack was in possession of the keys to the house on the island. One more stop to make about the boat house and they’d be ready to drive back to Portland for the flight home.
It had been a busy morning. Standing on the docks, Jack took a last look out toward the island. He didn’t want to leave. He’d like to take that little boat at the end of the dock and head straight for the island. Coxun barked and brought him back to reality. Tarwyn had walked down towards the parking area and was waiting by the restaurant with its filled window boxes and stacks of lobster pots against the side. He shook his head a little and started toward the rental car. He’d sail his ship up here and then…then.
At 11:30 Dee showed up with Terry at George’s office.
Alex stayed downstairs in the coffee shop and said he’d be up in a little while. He had driven Dee and Terry in to the hospital.
“Hello, there,” George smiled, standing and coming round his desk, holding out his hand to Terry. “I’m glad you came in.”
“Good morning, Doctor,” Terry nodded and looked around for a seat.
When they were seated, George looked appraisingly at Terry, who appeared much, much better than he had in the hospital yet there was something still obviously just…off. Something that kept Terry from fully being Terry.
“Holli explained me to me, Terry, what SidBlue likely did with you. It was more where he took you, actually, and when I was talking with her just this morning she said it was possible that in those places, places not meant for human presence, that particles could sort of peel off there and adhere in you. It’s hard to describe but from what you yourself have said, it seems more than likely that’s what happened. What we need to figure out how to do is to get them out. I’m hoping Holli will have some suggestions about that.”
“I think something is inside of me blocking out parts of my brain,” Terry said.
“I know it must be terribly hard and none of us really know what it’s like for you, but we’ve had unusual things before to deal with, like when Cort was encased in that blue coffin thing, for instance. We’ve worked through all of them and we’ll work through this one as well.”
“There were some specific things we wanted to talk to you about,” Dee said, reaching for Terry’s hand.
Down the hall in Holli’s room, both she and Rusty were taking a short nap before lunch. Very quietly the door was opened and the large orderly, Oscar, came in. He was one of the big guys Canfield had jokingly used to keep Alex in bed last year. Oscar stood a moment, regarding the two sleeping forms, pulled a syringe out of his pocket and walked around to the far side of the two pushed-together beds, jabbing it into Rusty’s bicep through his shirt.
Rusty woke with a start and turned, seeing the face of the orderly, and started to sit up. A very strange feeling quickly overwhelmed him and he collapsed sideways, sliding off the bed onto the floor.
Side-stepping the falling man, Oscar went back around to Holli’s side, pulled a strip of cloth out of another pocket and before she was fully awake, he had her gagged and was wrapping another tie around her wrists, pulling them above her head and fastening them to the metal shaft that supported one of her monitors. She looked up into Oscar’s face, only it wasn’t Oscar. It was SidBlue who was looking back at her.
“Ah, I see you wonder at my presence,” he smiled. “When you were so busily trying to destroy me, ripping my being to shreds in the hall, Oscar poked his head up from behind the nurses’ desk. At the last moment before all of me was gone, I simply moved into him as you moved into the unfortunate Emma. I’ve been biding my time and now my time has come.”
He turned her on her side so she was facing where Rusty should be lying but wasn’t, and he propped her there with pillows at her back so she’d have to stay in that position.
“I want you to see,” he smirked. “I want you to watch as the life is snuffed out of the human you chose over me.”
He went around the beds again, hefting the unconscious Rusty back onto his, straightening him out.
“Totally helpless, wouldn’t you agree? Can’t move a muscle to defend himself.” He pulled the pillow out from under Rusty’s head, cradling it in his arms a moment then laying it over Rusty’s face. “You will note the rise and fall of his chest, a sure indicator that life is present.” He began to press firmly on the pillow. “Alas, such will not be the case for long.”
Holli was thrashing her legs, twisting as much as she could, but she was trussed too well. Inside, she was silently screaming but she couldn’t take her eyes off Rusty’s chest.
“When he’s dead, I’ll send you after him. It is important, my dear, that you watch him leave first.” He looked over at her. “There is not enough of me left to go back where I wish to be. I am trapped here in this poor excuse for existence and you, ah, you shall not live here in happiness while I cannot.” He pressed harder and Rusty’s chest movements became shallower and shallower.
A nurse, bringing medication for Holli, opened the door, saw what was going on, dropped her tray and shrieked. Down the hall, George heard the shriek and popped his head out his door.
“Dr. Canfield!” the nurse wailed, running toward him. “He…he…Oscar…he’s killing Mr. Crowne!”
George charged down the hall, bursting through the door. “Good God, Oscar! What do you think you’re DOING?” He dashed around the bed, grabbing for Oscar’s arm, yanking on it hard.
Oscar, large and beefy, pulled his arm free, swung it hard and knocked George across the room where he slammed into a chair, which flipped over, and George’s head hit the heating unit, opening up a gash and stunning him.
Terry heard the shouts in the hall and looked at Dee for a brief moment before opening the door. He heard Dr. Canfield’s cries and ran up the hall just as Dr. Canfield hit the floor. “Doctor?” It took a moment for the situation to register but when it did he attacked Oscar from behind, grabbing his arms. Oscar threw him off as if he was nothing.
“Get out of here! What are you doing?” Terry cried and attacked him again, this time pushing a cart into Oscar’s side and coming around, trying to get hold of him. Again he was sent back against the doorframe. Terry staggered to his feet. “Rusty!” Now he saw him on the bed and Oscar reaching for the pillow to press down on his face. Terry was struggling with this picture but instinct told him it wasn’t right. He picked up the IV stand and crashed it into the back of Oscar’s head. Now he had his attention.
The IV stand had torn Oscar’s carotid artery and blood spurted out of his neck, splashing down on the pillow over Rusty’s face. He clamped a hand to his neck, but it was useless. SidBlue was furious. Oscar would be dead in seconds. He glared at Terry and as he did, for a moment SidBlue’s misty face was clearly visible in an overlay with Oscar’s. Then as Oscar’s body collapsed, SidBlue was forced to leave. He jerked himself loose from Oscar’s useless form, hovered there for a moment, decided to leave the room for now. Terry was between him and the door.
Terry clearly saw SidBlue. “No…Noooo…NO!” His voice was silenced as SidBlue entered his body. Again he felt pain and a clawing sensation and then nothing as he slowly sagged and fell to the floor.
SidBlue could have gone around Terry, even gone over him, but he chose to pass through him. There was so little of him left and he knew this human, whom he’d taken on a little joyride, had patches of blue stuck all through the nerve endings of his body. He stayed a little while…collecting. He wanted it all, wanted it back. It would make him larger, stronger.
“TERRY!” Dee had seen it, seen the thing enter Terry’s body. She ran to him but was afraid to touch him. “Dr. Canfield!” Dee looked over at the doctor with blood running down his forehead. “HELP!” she screamed.
Melanie sat in a booth in Sam’s Place, watching the second hand of her watch go round. George was late. He’d promised neither hell nor high water would make him late. She knew absolutely he wanted to be there. It began to worry her that he was not. She tried his cell, but got no answer. Something was wrong. She could feel it in her bones. Getting up, she hurried across Bellevue, asking at the desk where she might find Dr. Canfield, and was directed by a new worker, who didn’t know only family was allowed up on 6, to that floor. Walking quickly to the elevator, she was a moment too late and the doors closed on a man inside.
Maximus was looking forward to seeing Holli and Rusty again. He stood in the elevator as it went up, remembering his talk with her, glad that now it seemed all was well between her and Rusty.
George shook his head, coming back to himself, but having to use his sleeve to brush blood out of his eyes. He still felt somewhat dizzy as he looked around, then he jerked into full consciousness as he became aware of Terry crumpled on the floor near him and Oscar’s obviously dead body lying in a huge pool of blood. Getting onto his knees, he felt Terry’s neck. Alive. Rusty! Oh, God, was Rusty dead? He scrambled to his feet. No pulse. He pushed an alarm that would send a crash cart hurtling down the hallway and he began CPR himself.
Alex checked his watch and drained his second cup of coffee, leaving the newspaper on the table of the coffee shop in the lobby of the hospital. He walked back toward the elevators and was just a bit too late, the glimpse of a skirt before the doors closed. He punched the up arrow and waited for one of the elevators to come back down.
The crash cart had arrived and a male nurse quickly dragged Terry more to the side to make room for it to be positioned near Rusty. George was up on the bed, desperately giving Rusty CPR. When the cart arrived, he slid off, ripped open Rusty’s shirt, sending buttons flying, and grabbed the paddles, not even noticing he was standing in a puddle of Oscar’s blood. He counted, shouted, “CLEAR!” and Rusty’s body arched. Nothing. He ordered the nurse to change the dials, then tried again. Another arch with no result.
“Come ON, Rusty!” he begged. “Dammit! Come ON!”
The third try worked and George nearly sagged with relief. “Thank God, oh…thank God!” he moaned, turning to attend to Rusty’s breathing.
The nurse who’d dropped the med tray was back, trying to loosen the knots binding Holli, who was still twisting frantically.
The elevator doors opened and Maximus got out, instantly alert as it was obvious something was very wrong. He walked quickly down the hall, looking in Holli’s room, his mouth dropping open at the carnage meeting his eyes. Dr. Canfield, blood still dripping down his face, was adjusting an oxygen mask on Rusty. An orderly he recognized lay dead on the floor. Dee was crouched near Terry’s inert form, her face a mask of horror. The nurse just then got the gag out of Holli’s mouth and she screamed, “Rusty!” and practically threw herself atop her husband, who lay very still.
“By the gods!” Maximus bellowed, charging into the room. “What is going on?”
George turned, wiped his bloody face again, and managed to gasp, “SidBlue. He was killing Rusty. He…he did something to Terry. I don’t know yet. He’s alive. That’s all I know.”
Maximus crossed the room, squatting beside Terry, who was very pale and clammy to the touch.
“Dee?” he asked. “Did you see what SidBlue did to him?”
“Oh, God, Maximus, I did…SidBlue just…it went into Terry’s body. I saw it.”
The male nurse had gone to get a gurney for Terry, and returned with help to lift him onto it.
“Across the hall,” George ordered. “Get him on the bed in there. I’ll be right in as soon as I’m sure Rusty is stable enough.”
George put a hand on Holli’s shoulder. “He’s alive, Holli. We got to him in time.”
She lifted a tear-stained face. “It was SidBlue. He told me he was going to kill Rusty and make me watch and then kill me. I…I…he…his chest. He stopped breathing.”
“Look, Holli. Move back just a little and you can see his chest is moving. He’s breathing. See.” He wanted to get her to lie down, afraid she’d hurt herself from all the twisting she’d done, but all he could manage was to get her to cuddle half on, half off Rusty.
Maximus nodded toward Oscar. “What happened to him?”
“SidBlue happened to him, Maximus. He must have been in him since the battle in the hall last week. He knocked me out. I think Terry did something to stop him. I didn’t see.”
Other orderlies had come in to remove Oscar’s body. George sighed, looking down at his shoes. “One of you clean up this blood.” Then he looked at Maximus. “Come with me over to where Terry is, all right. I’d like you there.”
George crossed the hall with Maximus right behind him and was about to enter Terry’s room when the elevator doors opened and Melanie got off. Her eyes went right to George and his blood-smeared face. Oh, Lord…she’d known something was wrong! She practically ran down the hall and called his name.
Surprised by the sound of her voice, George stopped halfway through the door and looked back. “Melanie?”
Maximus, more out in the hall, also turned at the sound of the woman’s voice. His eyes widened and an audible gasp escaped his lips.
SidBlue, hovering near the overhead lighting, also saw Melanie come down the hall. Ah, more blue. He’d almost forgotten about this one. The original Sid, unknown to anyone else, had retrieved her from Gladiator 2 ½ years ago, intending to use her as a pawn in a plot to keep Caroline and the General apart. Developments had arisen that had caused him to change his mind and rather than sending her back into the film, he’d left her in the city with a blue wall in her brain like the one he built later in Maximus’ mind.
More blue. He could regather more of himself, so he passed through her, more quickly than he had Terry, whose blue was all throughout his nervous system. The woman’s was all concentrated together in her mind-wall. He blasted through it in a flash, snatching every bit of it away in a manner entirely different from the way Hope had torn Maximus’ wall down bit by bit. Pleased, he floated through the exit door and disappeared.
Maximus almost lost his breath. “Lu…Lucilla?”
Melanie had stopped, grabbing hold of the railing that ran down the length of the hallway. She stared at the man who was coming toward her.
“Max…Maximus?” Then she crumpled and he barely caught her in time.
George was horrified to see her fall. “Melanie!” He ran toward where Maximus was holding her in his arms. “Oh, no, Melanie! Oh…no…what…why?” He looked into Maximus’ face. “What happened to Melanie?”
“Melanie?” Maximus replied. “I know of no Melanie. This is Lucilla, Marcus Aurelius’ daughter.”
Alex finally got an elevator and stepped out into the waiting room. It was alive with nurses and orderlies running back and forth. He looked down the hall.
“What the flyin’ fuck is going on now?” He raced down the hall, stopping to look at Dr. Canfield. Maximus was holding a woman he’d never seen before…or wait…yes, he had but where? No time to think about it. “Where’s Terry?”
Before anyone could answer he heard Dee’s voice in a room two doors down. “Dee?”
Dee was sobbing. “Alex, oh… SidBlue came back. It…went into Terry…I saw it.”
“Is he…?” Alex couldn’t say it.
“He’s alive. They just got him in here.”
“Well, what happened to the Doc? Why is Maximus holding…oh, lord, it was Lucilla!” He recognized her from Gladiator.
“In the hall, look, that’s Lucilla…isn’t it?”
“Dee looked out, wiping her eyes. “I don’t know. Something happened to Rusty…Dr. Canfield was… and Terry hit him in the head.”
“Terry hit Doc?”
“No the…orderly that was SidBlue. He was trying to kill Rusty and Terry, Terry fought him and…hit him in the head, killed him, I think. I don’t know. I didn’t see her…Lucilla or Maximus.”
Alex supported her back into the room. Terry was being hooked up to an IV and his vitals taken. He was still out cold.
“Where?” Maximus asked, holding Lucilla in his arms.
George had to tend to Terry. He had to… “Where? Um, there’s another bed in the room where they took Terry. Put Melanie in there for now so I can go back and forth between the beds.” He felt dazed, both from hitting his head and from what Maximus had just said. He couldn’t think about that right now. He had to see what was going on with Terry…and Melanie. And Rusty. He swayed a moment, catching himself on the handrail.
“Doctor, do you require assistance?” Maximus asked.
George straightened himself. “No…no, I’ll be fine.” He sucked in a breath, repeating to himself, “I’ll be fine.”
Maximus carried Lucilla into the room, laying her on the bed. George stood a moment between the two beds, wishing he had the wisdom of King Solomon at the moment. Directing a resident who, thankfully, had appeared, to check Melanie’s vitals, he turned to Terry, who he figured was in the worse shape.
“You said you saw the blue go into him, Dee? Did, um, you see it come out?”
Dee had to think, she’d been so horrified. “When he fell, I think it…yes, it went up in the air.”
George checked Terry over. He was very deeply unconscious and other than the IV drip and an oxygen cannula, he had no idea in the world what to do for him.
“Watch him, Dee, and when he stirs, let me know immediately.” He turned to check on Melanie. “How are her vitals?” he asked his resident.
“Pulse is rapid, thready. Maximus here caught her so she wasn’t hurt in the fall.” The resident looked at Maximus, who was on the far side of the bed, holding Lucilla’s hand. “Do you have any idea what caused her to collapse?”
“I was aware of a quick flash of blue then she spoke my name. That was all before she went down.”
“Blue? Maximus, you say you saw blue?” George’s eyes widened.
Maximus pressed his lips together a moment, then said, “I did, Doctor. I believe it to have been the same thing that caused Terry’s collapse.”
“But…but…Melanie? Why on earth would the blue have anything to do with her? She’s not part of this, not in any way.”
“Doctor, you keep calling her Melanie. This is Lucilla, not Melanie.”
“But she…can’t be. She…I…she…” He looked at Maximus. “I love her. Don’t you see…she can’t be. She…she’s my Melanie.”
“You love her?”
George nodded vigorously. “We spent the weekend together. She was waiting to meet me for lunch at Sam’s. She…she must have come here because I didn’t show up.”
“Nonetheless, Doctor, this is definitely Lucilla. I have known her many years.”
George felt dizzy and sat heavily in a chair. Lucilla? If…if Melanie were Lucilla…? He remembered the kiss in Gladiator and looked up at Maximus. Oh, God…did she then love Maximus, too, like Caroline? He felt rather sick.
Alex moved out of the room as it was becoming crowded. He called John. “John, SidBlue is back. He’s just wrecked the 6th floor again, tried to kill Rusty, tied up Holli, knocked Terry out and there’s a new wrinkle. Lucilla is here, you know, from Gladiator?”
“What? Oh, damn, Alex. I’m coming over. I was supposed to come in today and see Canfield anyway.”
“Well, Dr. Canfield appears to need a doctor himself. Somehow he got in the middle of it and was knocked for a loop.”
Not knowing what else to do, Dee wet a cloth and bathed Terry’s face. She was at the point of collapse herself. The noise and conversations in the room swirled around her…something about Lucilla, someone named Melanie…none of it registered.
The resident was concerned about George and turned from Lucilla. “Dr. Canfield, here, let me look at that scalp wound.” He began to clean it and George winced. The blood was all down his face, smeared everywhere, and the resident called a nurse in to clean him up. “This needs some glue,” the resident said quietly.
“Have it brought here, Wayne. I’m not leaving this room.”
Marie had arrived for work, appalled at what was going on up on 6. “Bud,” she said, having called him before he had time to leave the hospital grounds, “better get up here. We have major devastation again.”
“What the…? On my way. Are you in any danger?”
“Looks like it’s over, honey. From what I understand SidBlue swept through here again. Just get here, ok. I have things I need to tend to.”
John and Beth arrived and rushed to the busy elevators. They exited on the 6th floor about the same time as Bud. Alex was in the hall and motioned them down.
“They’re all in here except Holli and Rusty.”
Beth took one look at Dee and asked Alex to find a chair for her. “She’s going to drop if you don’t.”
John looked in the room. “Maximus?” And then he saw the woman in the other bed. “It is Lucilla…how the hell?”
Maximus was still holding Lucilla’s hand and looked up when he heard John. “I do not know how, John. Dr. Canfield evidently knows her as a woman named Melanie, but in the hall she said my name. I think the blue has done something to her.”
Bud’s hand was gripping the doorframe tightly. SidBlue on the rampage again? Hadn’t he been done away with in the fight with Holli? As Terry’s room was too full, he turned across the hall to Holli’s. Marie was in there, checking on Rusty.
“What do you know, sweetheart, about what happened in here?” he asked.
“From what I’ve been able to piece together, Oscar the orderly had been taken over by SidBlue at the end of his battle with Holli. He injected Rusty with something really strong…we don’t know yet just what…that sent him out like a light, then he tied up Holli to make her watch him kill Rusty.”
Bud looked at Rusty’s still form. “How? How was he trying to kill him?”
“He was helpless, Bud, unconscious, and the orderly was a huge man. He was smothering him with his pillow.”
“He…is he going to be all right?” He didn’t look very good to Bud.
“They had to call for the crash cart. A nurse told me it was a mess in here, Dr. Canfield down, Holli tied, Rusty dying, the orderly dead, Terry…well, who knows how Terry is.”
Bud closed his eyes. “Fuck.”
“Yeah, sweetheart, that about sums it up.”
“How’s Rusty now?”
“Well, they got him resuscitated, but whatever SidBlue injected is keeping his vitals very low. I wish Dr. Canfield were in here.”
“Doc’s kinda fucked right now, honey.”
Beth brought Dee a cup of ginger ale. “You need to drink this, Dee.”
Dee took a sip of the drink. “I don’t know how he can stand this again. I…I don’t think he will be able to handle it, Beth. I’m so afraid.” Tears filled her eyes. She ran her hand down Terry’s arm and took his hand in hers.
Alex walked out to the waiting room and sat down with his head in his hands. Everything seemed to be going to hell in a handbasket. He looked up as John joined him.
“I’m so fuckin’ tired of this hospital. It’s become like another room in our lives.”
“I know, Alex. We can’t seem to get one out before another checks in. I’m seriously worried about Rusty and Terry. I don’t see how their bodies can stand much more abuse.”
An alarm went off on one of the monitors that had been connected to Rusty. His blood pressure was going through the floor. George came running from across the hall, injecting something into his IV, waiting tensely while it worked. Bud was still in there, as was Marie. George turned to look at them then began to slump to the floor.
Bud caught him and the resident named Wayne hurried in. “Down there!” He pointed to the room next door. He and Bud managed to get the doctor onto a bed, where he quickly began to rouse.
“I…I’m sorry…no time…no time…not for this.”
“You lie there a little while, Dr. Canfield,” Wayne said firmly. “You’re no good to anybody if you can’t stand up.”
“Lie there!” Wayne ordered as if he were the boss.
“Wayne, check on Rusty. Not good. Let me know. Let me know…all of them.” He closed his eyes, feeling terrible in more ways than one.
“You want me to stay with him?” Bud offered.
“Would you, Bud? Can you keep him on the bed?”
“I may have to sit on him, but I will.”
Across the hall Maximus was stroking Lucilla’s hand. “Where have you been?” he said softly. “How did you come to be this Melanie?”
She lay silently and he thought that if something similar had just happened to her like what Sid had done to him, the sudden flood of memories was nearly overwhelming.
“I am here,” he said, smoothing her hair back. “I am here, Lucilla.”