Disclaimer – No, I don’t own them and I’m not getting any money. I just want to play with the Viking!
What the fuck?
There was no way in hell those bruises were completely gone! Lighting in hospital bathrooms is not the best to begin with and the ones in the room were dim enough that they had to be casting strange shadows. I closed my eyes and shook my head hoping that might clear it. I looked at my arm. There was nothing but the red mark caused by my incessant scrubbing. I rubbed my eyes and looked again. What the fuck?! I pulled on my pajamas and returned to the room. The sun was up, so I went to the window to look at my arm. Though I was covered in quite a few new bruises, I still could not find the bruise that had been there.
I had to talk to JP. There was no way getting around it now. I waited in the room, but paced the floor anxiously. I continued to examine and touch my arm, all the while thinking my eyes were playing tricks on me and that the marks really were there. Maybe I was still sleeping? My head was so full of strange occurrences that this had to be another flight of fancy and my brain was taking a detour to visit. I pinched myself. In fact, I pinched that part of my arm thinking it would hurt like a sonofabitch and wake me from this Twilight Zone world I found myself in. However, it only stung and proved that I was, indeed, awake.
I rummaged through my bag, not knowing what I was looking for until I found my phone. There were four text messages. I expected them to be from JP explaining why he had been detained; instead I found all of them were from Eric. That’s odd. I didn’t give him my phone number. And when was his name and number programmed into my phone?
- ‘I trust the morning finds you as well as can be expected. I am sorry I was not there when you awoke. I wanted very much to be certain you were feeling better before I left, but circumstances did not permit. I trust that you are in good hands. I spoke to the doctor myself to be certain. Per your request, he ‘checked me out’ and I am fine. Thank you for your concern.’
I was glad to know that he was not injured in his rescue of me, but I wasn’t certain anymore that I was dreaming or if I was awake. Maybe the concussion was more severe than the nice doctor had originally thought? It was as if he knew what I would be thinking when I read the next message.
- ‘I hope you do not mind, but I did convince the doctor to give me an update on your status. He informed me that having two injuries to your head may have been more severe than he first thought and you may be confused on the events of last night. I do not know if you recall, but you were saying and asking some unusual things. You were in and out of consciousness more than I think you realize when we were outside the school and I may be able to fill in some of the blanks.’
I did have several questions, and having the day to put my thoughts together might be a good thing. I was having a difficult time trying to sort out what I thought I heard, but I was also afraid he would tell me I was dreaming again, the same as he had when I questioned his conversation with Pam. I read the next message.
- ‘I neglected to mention that I still have your belongings and will return them to you or to JP, if you prefer. I was told you are to be in the hospital today, but perhaps you will be released by this evening. If not, I would like to stop and visit you tonight if time permits and you allow me. I hope to discuss with you tonight if you are feeling hazy or unsure of what happened. Please get some rest as I am sure you need it.’
Why would he think that he would need permission or that I wouldn’t allow him to stop by? He knew last night that I wanted him to be here. Finally, I read the last message.
- ‘Feel free to text if you would like, but know that I will unlikely be able to return the message or speak with you until this evening. The chances are great that I will be sleeping and will not hear the telephone. I will apologize now, if that is the case.’
I hadn’t expected him to stay as long as he had, and it was nice to know that he was concerned, even if he did have to leave and get some sleep. I started to text him back, but when I remembered the sun was up I stopped myself. I was sure he was asleep and I knew I wouldn’t be able to talk to him until later anyway.
I continued to pace until I heard the door to my room open. JP had returned along with a nurse who ushered me back into bed, telling me that pacing around the room in an obviously agitated state would not be good for my recovery and I should try to rest. So I acquiesced, and climbed back into the bed. She checked my vitals, asked how I was feeling, took some notes, and left.
“What took you so long?”
“I wasn’t gone that long. What’s wrong? You seem upset. I stopped to buy you this,” he asked obviously worried while he set a large cup of cappuccino on the side table.
I showed him the texts. While he was reading them, an orderly brought in a tray of food and placed it on the table, sliding it over the bed in front of me. Once he was through, I thanked him and he left.
“Well?” I asked.
“What do you think?”
“I think he’s very nice. I’m glad he was there for you and that you’re becoming friends,” he said with a shrug.
“Don’t you think it’s odd that he would mention how confused I was or am? Don’t you think it’s strange that he would not be able to answer his phone during the day? Don’t you find it slightly perplexing that he would question if he could stop by?”
“Let’s see…no, no, and no.”
I looked at him with furrowed brows, but before I could say anything else he held up his hand.
“There’s nothing odd about you being confused with the trauma you suffered. I don’t know what you said to him, but I’m sure you probably were in and out of consciousness. There’s nothing strange about the fact that he was up all night and sleeps during the day. He works at night. Maybe he’s a heavy sleeper like me. Besides, I imagine the whole situation was physically and emotionally exhausting for him, too. He was there. Finally, there’s nothing perplexing about him asking if he could come by. You need to recover. I’m sure he doesn’t want to come and hang out if you need to or are sleeping. What’s going on?”
“Before I woke you up, they were here, and I heard them having a conversation that I don’t understand.”
JP took the dome cover off my plate and handed me the silverware.
“I think you need to eat something. Then you can tell me what you’re thinking.”
“That’s just it! I don’t know what I’m thinking! For all I know, I might be asleep right now!” I slammed the silverware back on the tray.
“Cricket, you are not asleep. Now eat. I’m sure you haven’t had anything since before we left for the filming yesterday afternoon,” he coaxed, picking up the fork again and pressing it into my hand.
I ate my breakfast. It wasn’t very good, but I was hungrier than I thought and pretty soon had inhaled the entire plate of bland eggs, artificial bacon, and fruit cocktail. At least there was the cappuccino he had brought for me.
“Do you want to go back to sleep?”
“No. I need to tell you what I heard.”
“You have my undivided attention,” he smiled.
Before I could begin, the door opened again, and the same doctor from last night entered.
“Good morning. How are you feeling?”
“OK, I guess. I thought you would have gone home by now.”
“I was concerned for you, so I stayed. Don’t worry, I did sleep,” he chuckled at my concerned expression.
“Really? That’s really very nice of you. Thank you. What are you worried about?”
“I’m concerned about your head injuries.”
“I do have a headache, but other than that my head feels fine.”
“Be that as it may, I think my initial diagnosis may have been incorrect and I think that your multiple concussions are worse than I originally suspected.”
“Why? Did the CT show something? Wait, multiple?” I was starting to get worried. JP came closer to listen as well.
“As you know, there were some contusions when I examined you. I wanted to take another look this morning and see if the swelling had gone down.”
“Oh, OK,” I said quietly.
He put on some gloves and began examining the bumps on my head that were still there.
“I read the scans again this morning and I’m concerned that you might be having some confusion over what happened to you.”
“No, I remember what happened. I fell from the fire escape and my friend caught me. I know I hit my head.”
“Yes, I know what you told me. However, your friend showed no signs of trauma on his arms or shoulders, and I’m not one hundred percent certain that you are remembering correctly. I hate to tell you this, but I don’t believe there was any way he could have caught you as you believe, and I fear that you hit your head harder than it first appeared. Are you having any blurry vision?”
“Do you feel nauseous at all?”
“Does anything seem out of the ordinary to you this morning?”
JP cleared his throat and looked at me pointedly. The doctor noticed this and also looked at me in the same fashion.
“Well, I did overhear a conversation this morning that didn’t seem to make sense. Some of our friends were in here and they were talking. They didn’t know I was fully awake.”
“What time was that?”
“Just before five.”
“I’m sorry to tell you this, Miss Kerrigan, but you weren’t awake.”
“What are you talking about? Yes, I was, I looked at the clock right after I woke up and it said five.”
“No, I’m afraid you are mistaken. I was here at five this morning and you were sound asleep.”
“That’s not possible.”
“I’m afraid it is.”
“What time did you come in? Maybe they were here before that?”
“No. I came in to check on you at four forty-five. I stayed until a few minutes after five. No one was here except for your friend there. He was asleep in the chair. Now, before you become upset, let’s be certain. I will go speak to the nurses. Visitors must sign in and out. I will be right back.”
He left the room and I looked at JP.
“I looked at the clock right after I woke you. I know it said five. Wasn’t it five?”
“I don’t know, Crick, I didn’t look. I woke up when you said my name.”
“It was still dark outside.”
“Now that I can tell you isn’t true. The sun was up when you woke me.”
“No, that’s not possible! It was still dark when I went to get my shower!”
“Cricket, you need to calm down. Maybe they were here earlier. Let’s wait and see what the doctor says.”
As if he had been called, the doctor re-entered the room.
“Well?” I looked at him expectantly.
“You were brought to this room around two, and your friends left about fifteen minutes after that. They signed out at that time. The nurse on duty was stationed out there all night. No one entered or left after that time. She came in and woke you each hour until your friend here left your room and that was at seven.”
I looked at the clock. It was almost eight.
“JP, where’s my phone?”
He picked it up from the table and handed it to me. I scrolled through the messages. Eric’s texts were gone! Impossible!
“They’re gone!” I shouted.
“What are you talking about?” JP asked.
“The texts! They’re gone! I wanted to check the time stamp, but they aren’t here! You deleted them! Why would you delete them?!”
“I didn’t mean to. If I did, I’m really sorry,” JP said contritely.
“What do you mean if you did? You did!”
“I must have hit the wrong button when I finished reading them. I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine. I know Eric was here! They were all here! I know they were here! I know I looked at the clock when I woke you up. It was five and it was still dark! How is it eight o’clock now?” I was starting become frantic.
I knew what I heard, and I knew what I saw on the clock! I knew what time it was!
“Cricket, please calm down.”
“You were asleep! You don’t know what happened! You said you fell asleep shortly after I came in!”
While I was having my hysterics, the doctor summoned the nurse who entered with a syringe. Tears started streaming from the corners of my eyes.
“Miss Kerrigan, please. This is what I was trying to explain to you. I was afraid your concussions were more severe, and I was worried that you might have some confusion. It seems I was right. Please relax. The nurse is going to give you something to help you calm down,” he said soothingly.
“No! I don’t want anything, please! I know what I’m talking about! I don’t know why everyone is trying to ‘Gaslight’ me! I know what I saw on the clock…” the last bit came out as a slur while the sedative I was given took hold.
I dreamt of the night before, but this time I was a spectator. I watched as it all happened. Instead of being afraid, I was intrigued.
I saw myself standing in the hallway looking around blindly and contemplating just what I could do. I looked to the door and saw that Eric was outside of the school looking in the window. He was looking inside at something in front of me. Then I saw it! It was a wolf, and it was staring out the window of the door at Eric, growling. Yet, it wasn’t growling at me, it was growling at Eric! I watched as I burst through the door to the staircase, but, instead of following, I stayed to watch what happened. I already knew what she (I) was doing upstairs.
The wolf turned away from Eric and ran to the door from where I had escaped. It scratched at the door while it continued to look back at Eric, growling before turning back to the door again. Eric opened the locked door with ease, and was suddenly standing before the wolf, pushing it aside as he opened the door and entered. The wolf followed and so did I. I watched as they both started up the stairs before Eric turned around and kicked it as if it was a soccer ball and it bounced down the stairs with a yelp. I heard the sound of footsteps approaching while I watched myself scurry to the third floor. Eric and I followed, and just as I was climbing out onto the fire escape, he reached out to grab ahold of me and pull me back in when I shrieked and he let go, covering his ears before recovering in an instant and flying, literally flying down the stairs, giving the wolf another kick for good measure when he passed by it. I followed him outside. I was traveling as quickly as him! I saw him fly to my falling figure, and he grabbed me under the legs and arms before I hit the ground.
Then the dream changed and I was back to being me in Eric’s arms. We never hit the ground, and I never fell unconscious. I didn’t even appear to be hurt. We flew to the top of the building where we settled before he lowered me to my feet. I looked up into his eyes and wrapped my arms around his waist hugging him tightly.
“Thank you for saving me again,” I whispered.
He didn’t reply other than to encircle me in his arms and kiss the top of my head.
“Why was it chasing me?”
“He wasn’t chasing you. He was after me,” he replied softly.
He pulled back and took my hand. I looked around and saw a very inviting sofa on the roof. He led me to it and we sat down to look up at the stars. We spoke quietly.
“How do you know it was a ‘he’?” I asked.
“Because I knew who it was. He has taken quite a liking to you since you first sang in the tavern. I believe he is quite taken with you, and has now become very protective. When he saw us speaking the other night, I believe it was too much for him to watch you place your trust in me. He could sense your desire for me, and now he is worried for your safety.”
“Why? You wouldn’t hurt me.”
“Indeed I would not, but I am quite certain that he does not believe so.”
“I have a…bad reputation,” he chuckled while he wrapped his arm around me and pulled me closer.
I rested the back of my head on his arm and continued to look at the sky. He reached over and took my hand, entwining our fingers and resting our hands on his leg.
“Who is he?”
“Have you not yet realized it?”
“Very good, and on your first guess! You win!”
“What do I win?”
“What do you want?”
“I’ll get back to you on that,” I said, smiling.
“You should be careful trusting me. I am dangerous.”
“Not with me.”
“No, not with you, but it is true my reputation with women is not what you would consider wholesome.”
“I’m not worried about that.”
“Oh, really?” He looked over to me, and I caught the glint in his eye as he quirked his eyebrow and the corner of his lip turned up into a smirk.
“Really,” I giggled. I could feel myself blushing.
“Hmm, you should be careful.”
“Yeah, you said that. I’m not afraid of you. I like you.”
His lips turned up even more into a full smile.
“And I know you like me, too. That’s why you’re so nice to me. It’s why you keep taking care of me even though you don’t have to,” I sighed and leaned back into him, once again reaching my free hand up to hold the one that was around me, lacing our fingers together on that one, too.
“I find myself…drawn to you,” he said, sounding confused.
“Sure. Why not?”
“I am not this way.”
“Close to anyone, that is, of course, unless sex is involved,” he added playfully.
“That’s too bad.”
“Everyone needs to find comfort in someone.”
“I could make you comfortable with me.”
“I am comfortable with you.”
He pulled back and looked at me.
“No, I mean comfortable with me,” he growled while he removed his hand from mine and slid it up my thigh.
“I know what you meant,” I giggled again, pushing his hand down a few inches.
I reached up and put my hand on his cheek. He leaned into it as he had done the night before. He closed his eyes.
“Why?” he whispered.
“I don’t know,” I answered, pressing my lips to his other cheek gently.
“I can feel your desire for me,” he said, keeping his eyes closed.
“Because you tremble when you touch me,” he said, opening his eyes and looking intently into mine.
He pulled me onto his lap, wrapping his arms around my waist. I put my hands around his neck. We were inches apart and I could see deeply into him as I let him see into me. We stayed like that for a long while not speaking, just staring. This was becoming a pastime of ours, both in and out of my dreams.
“I can feel your desire for me, too.”
“Because you’re pushing it between my legs,” I giggled.
His eyes smoldered as he slowly pulled me closer to press a tender kiss against my lips. I returned his kiss softly and he grazed my lips with his tongue. When I opened my mouth granting him access, he deepened the kiss and we began tasting each other while we battled for dominance. I could feel him swelling, larger and more firmly between my thighs, and I began to grind against him in circles trying to find the perfect spot to give us the friction we both wanted. I felt his hands caressing up and down my back, and I fisted my hands into his hair, pulling him impossibly closer. He was devouring me with his mouth until I ended the kiss and pulled back to rest my forehead on his shoulder, closing my eyes.
“Stop,” I said breathlessly.
“Why?” he asked again.
“I don’t know!”
He gently lifted my head from his shoulder and pressed his forehead to mine for a moment before raising his head to look at me once more. He was right. Why was I denying myself this? I wanted him. This was my dream and in my dream he wanted me. I had already accepted that from my last dream, but still I hesitated.
“I want this and I believe you do as well,” he said.
“I do, but I don’t want to be just another woman to you.”
“You are not just another woman. Have I not shown you that?”
“Yes, but I can’t be the other woman. I won’t be. So, please stop.”
“Chelsea, what are you talking about?”
“You aren’t mine!”
“I am not anyone’s!”
“Well, neither am I!”
“Then what is the problem!?”
“You will be!”
“How do you know that!?”
“I just know,” I said quietly looking down, defeated.
A moment of silence passed between us. He gently lifted my chin and traced my face with his fingertips lightly, ending by running his fingers down my cheek.
“Do you want to be mine?” he asked softly.
He smiled and pulled me to him, but before he could kiss me, I stopped him.
“Yet, I’m not.”
His brow furrowed.
“I do not understand.”
“This is your dream. You can do whatever you wish.”
“Exactly. This is my dream.”
“What do you want to do?”
“I want to lay down on this sofa with you. I want you to hold me, and I want to look at the stars until I have to wake up.”
“As you wish.”
I lay down on my side and Eric stretched out behind me allowing me to take comfort in him while he wrapped his arms around me stroking up and down my arm until I took his hand and brought it to my chest. I kissed his hand as he kissed the top of my head.
“This is what you want?” he asked.
“Yes. I want to be close to you.”
“You will always feel close to me.”
“Why is that?”
“Because I am part of you now,” he said simply.
Aurelia Gliwiski as Chelsea ‘Cricket’ Kerrigan
Alexander Skarsgård as Eric Northman
Sean Hayes as JP
Tom Selleck as the Doctor
Please review! It keeps me going! Thanks for reading! 🙂