Chapter Fifteen – Who the Heck is Marie?
by Vonnie Davis
Candy couldn’t move.
She couldn’t breathe.
A band of searing heat crossed her stomach. Something heavy weighed on her chest, the pressure making it difficult to draw air into her lungs. Was she having a heart attack? What a pair she and Mitch made; a man with a wounded arm, and a woman in coronary arrest. Her eyes opened, and two brown orbs stared back at her. She blinked to bring things into focus.
A canine tongue swept across her lips.
“Pppttthhh.” She spat away his slobber. “Get off my chest, you mangy bag of bones.” The room was cold. No doubt the fire was out. What time was it? She tried to roll over to reach the flashlight on the nightstand.
Mitch moaned at her movement. His arm banded around her waist, his very warm arm. No, warm wasn’t a strong enough word. Burning would be more like it. She turned and placed her palm against his face and neck. The man was running a fever.
She rolled out of bed, trying to organize her thoughts. Holding the flashlight so its beam illuminated her watch, she saw it was nearly five in the morning. She hadn’t planned to sleep all night with Mitch, but snuggling up to him felt so good that sleep quickly followed.
She let the dog out, noting the snow had finally stopped falling. After stirring embers to life in the fireplace, she built the fire up and loaded it with wood. When Major scratched, she let him in. Next, she went looking for a thermometer. Major padded along behind her.
“Okay, show me where your master keeps the thermometer. Is he organized enough to put it in the bathroom?”
The dog whined.
“Most men aren’t big on organization, but Mitch has surprised me on more than one occasion.” In the bathroom, she opened the medicine cabinet above the vanity and aimed the flashlight beam over its contents. “Aspirin, Tylenol, Pepto-Bismol…” She moved items around to see behind them. Her hand stilled. “Sultamicillin.” She glanced down at Major. “Hmm…take one tablet every eight hours. Wonder what this was for?” She opened the bottle and glanced in. Six tablets left. “Evidently your owner doesn’t believe in taking his medicine until it’s gone like the doctor tells you to do.” Men and their Superman Syndromes. “Ah. Thermometer.” She snatched it from the shelf, grabbed a clean washcloth, and headed to the kitchen for a bowl of water. Hands full, she walked into Mitch’s bedroom.
He was thrashing around in the bed as if battling some unseen foe. “Marie…Marie…”
Candy stopped and watched him. Marie? They’d talked about her mother, but why would he call her name? Unless he wasn’t…unless he has a girlfriend named Marie. He moaned, a long drawn out sound that set her teeth on edge. Her eyes narrowed. Exactly what was he dreaming about?
Pain and disappointment swept through her, and she pressed a hand to her chest. They hadn’t talked about significant others. Why should they? Neither wanted a relationship. What they had was strictly temporary. Snowstorm sex? Blizzard passion? She cringed.
Just my luck to tumble into bed with a guy who’s involved with someone else and doesn’t have the decency to tell me.
Thank goodness the storm had stopped. As soon as the roads were opened, she was out of there.
Her brows pinched together, and she sat on the edge of the bed. “Mitch. Mitch, wake up.” She jostled him as he moaned her name.
“It’s me. Stop dreaming about another woman and wake up.” When she got no response, she dipped the washcloth into the cool water, squeezed it slightly, and laid the dripping rag on his face.
Mitch gasped. His eyes popped open. “What the hell?” His hand grabbed hers, his gaze searching. “What…what’s going on?”
“You’re running a fever.” She depressed the button on the thermometer. “Here, put this under your tongue.” He dutifully opened his mouth, his eyebrows furrowed. “And if you don’t keep it there, I’ll gladly shove it elsewhere.”
His eyes widened for a second. “My-mar-mu-missed?”
He yanked the thermometer out. “Why are you pissed? I’m sick here.”
The man had a girlfriend. For all she knew he was engaged. Marie, indeed. Murder came to mind. Dismemberment at the very least. “Put that back in your mouth so I can see how high your temperature is.” No doubt if she stuck the thermometer under his pants, the tip would blow right off.
She wanted to be the only woman he dreamed about.
Crazy. Pathetic, falling for a man I don’t know at all.
She opened the bottle of aspirin and tapped out a couple. “What were the antibiotics for? The bottle in your medicine cabinet?”
He rolled his eyes and removed the thermometer. “Pneumonia.” He stuck the thermometer back under his tongue.
The thermometer beeped, and she checked it. “One-hundred and one point two. Not life threatening, but I’d guess you have an infection. Here, take these.” Candy laid the pills in his hand and handed him a glass of water.
“What are they?”
“Aspirin for your fever. Maybe the old antibiotics would help…” She bit her lip. “But without checking with a doctor first…”
“Better not risk it.” Mitch dropped the pills in his mouth and drank the water. “Thanks. Feel like crap. Arm hurts like a son of a bitch.”
She removed the bandage and shined the light beam from the flashlight over the stitches. The cut was red and looked sore. “I’m going for rubbing alcohol. Be right back.”
Pouring the alcohol over his wound a few minutes later, she took perverse delight in his reaction.
“Hells bells, that hurts.”
“I bet.” She leaned over him, resisting the urge to coil her fingers around his throat.
“Jesus, Candy, what’s gotten into you?”