Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Sacrificed - Chapter 2


I ‘ported to Duncan before he finished his sentence.

He blinked and lowered his cell phone. “Someday, someone will capture you on camera,” he muttered.

I glanced around me. We were in a private conference room in the Laura Lannigan wing of Good Samaritan hospital in Los Angeles. Just us. “Where’s Max?”

“In surgery.”

I charged for the closed door, but Duncan grabbed my arm. I halted before I accidentally ripped his offending limb off. To say things between me and my husband were strained was the understatement of the century.

“Ellie is missing.”

“Why didn’t you say—” I cut off my words at his irritated look. Because I hadn’t given him a chance to tell me, that’s why. I cleared my throat. “What happened?”

“We were at Caesar’s home for dinner.”

I frowned. “Tonight’s poker night.”

Duncan pressed his lips in a straight line.

I raised my hands. “Sorry. I won’t interrupt again.” It would have been easier to read his mind, but part of our marital issues was due to my becoming exponentially more powerful than him. Rifling through his thoughts would not help the situation.

“Thank you.” He sucked in a large gulp of air. “From the preliminary evidence, whoever attacked Max was waiting in the house when he and Ellie arrived home. Tiffany found him on the living room floor.”

All the energy seemed to rush out of Duncan. “He has broken bones, severe internal injuries, and—” His voice hitched. “Bebe is most concerned about the bleeding near his brain stem.”

“She’ll call in a healer or two from Silver Bear. Her grandmother’s the high priestess of the coven for crying out loud.”

“She has,” he said tightly.

Duncan’s attitude was really starting to piss me off. “Then what’s the issue?”

“You do not seem to be taking this seriously.”

“Of course, I’m taking this seriously.” I threw up my hands. “But this isn’t the first time one of us has been in the hospital.”

His eyes flashed neon green. “Nor is it the first time you have forgotten the rest of us are not immortal.” He pivoted on his boot heel, whipped open the door, and stalked out of the room.

Well…crap. Ever since he found out the damn nanites were turning my original human DNA into god DNA, his panties had been in a wad. I knew his ego was still firmly planted in the sixteenth century, but I was getting pretty fucking tired of his resentment that goddess trumped vampire in the power department. It wasn’t like he didn’t know what I was when we actually tied the knot.

So I did what any irritated wife did when her husband walks out of the middle of an argument. I followed him.

“So what are you saying?” I asked when I caught up with Duncan at the elevator bank. “Bebe and her people can’t help Max?”

“They do not know yet,” he said softly.

My stomach lurched at the sadness in his tone. “Come on, my big brother’s too tough to kill.”

Duncan didn’t even acknowledge my smartass comment. The elevator dinged. I followed him into the car.

So I tried to be as grim as he wanted me to be. “Have you called my parents yet?”

Duncan stared straight ahead. “They are upstairs in the waiting room.”

His statement felt like a punch in the gut. “You called Mom and Dad before you called me?”

His jaw muscle twitched. “I tried you first, but as usual, you did not answer.”

I opened my mouth to rip him a new one...

And shut it before I did. I hated that he was right.

I’d taken one fucking mental health day. I went to Paris for lunch after spending the morning exploring the Apollo 11 landing site on the moon. After a delicious meal on the Seine, I headed out to Pluto to check out its heart-shaped formation. It was such a thrill not to need travel money, or oxygen tanks, to visit all the places I dreamed of as a kid. I just kept forgetting that my cell service didn’t extend past the International Space Station.

“You’re right. I’m sorry.”

“I do not want to fight, darling,” he said softly.

The fact that it’d been forever since he called me “darling” hit me even harder than the fact that he’d reached my parents first. Maybe we needed to look into marital counseling.

The elevator doors parted, and we exited. Only Mom and Dad sat in the surgical waiting room.

I learned in and whispered, “Where’s Tiffany?”

An exasperated sigh issued from Duncan. “At the moment, irritating the hell out of the enforcers looking into her daughter’s kidnapping.”

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