Emma groaned with achiness. Her entire body felt like she had been beaten. What had happened? All she remembered was holding Christopher and then everything went black. She still felt like she was drowning in the darkness.
Somewhere beyond the murkiness she heard someone calling her name. She tried to concentrate on the voice to help her out of the hole she was in.
She gasped and opened her eyes suddenly finding herself in the light. A touch. That was what had brought her to the surface. Closing her eyes she snuggled into the hand that cupped her face. His thumb gently stroked her high cheekbones.
“Baby girl,” she heard in a close whisper. “Are you with us? Can you open your eyes Emma?”
When she did a pair of beautiful dark blue eyes staring right into her soul entrapped her. “Chris?” she rasped painfully.
“Yes baby girl. Don’t talk. You haven’t had anything to drink in a couple of days. Your throat is dry. Let me get you some ice.”
“No,” she squeaked, grabbing his hand. “Please don’t leave.”
“Ok Emma. Ok I’m not leaving.” She watched him look up and nod his head at someone to her right outside of her peripheral vision.
Her anxiety started to increase. She heard beeps from some machine start sounding faster. “Oh God! Where is Christopher? Is he ok?”
“He’s fine baby,” he tried to reassure her. He gripped her hand tightly. “Calm down. Take a few deep breaths. Your pulse and blood pressure are too high. Please baby he’s ok. I promise you. He’s sitting on the couch reading.”
She finally took those deep breaths. The beeping calmed down. She squeezed his hand.
“Here have some ice,” he told her, slipping a spoonful of crushed ice in between her parched lips. The coldness felt so good as did the wetness.
“More,” she whispered. She kept her gaze on his face as he fed her.
“Ok. Here you go.”
“Feels better,” she said after thirty minutes of eating ice. “What happened?”
“You had the flu,” he reported to her his face full of concern. “You had a really high fever. You’ve been out of it for a couple of days.”
“Have you been here the entire time?” she asked hoping that he hadn’t been.
“No. They kick me out every night.”
“Good,” she said closing her eyes. “You need to sleep. Keep Christopher safe.”
“I need to keep you both safe. How are you feeling?”
“Tired,” she answered honestly. It took every bit of strength she had to open her eyes again to look at him. He was scared.
She tried to give him a smile but she was afraid it came out more as a grimace than a grin. “I’m ok Chris,” she tried to soothe. “I feel like crap right now but I don’t think I’m sick anymore.”
“You’re going to keep getting sick if we don’t get you healthy,” he warned her. “I don’t want to leave you but you need to get better.”
“I’ll be ok. No one knows I’m here. There is security. You’ll be here when you can, right?”
“Of course. We’ll be here every minute we can.”
“I just want to sleep some more,” she said her voice tapering off.
“You rest baby girl. I’m right here.”
She went back to the darkness.