Chapter 44: Burns
Unravel Him Playlist on Spotify.
Song; (Birdy- Not About Angels)
“Run down the corner store and get ice,”
“Bags of it.”
A door slamming.
I stirred, now semi-conscious.
Where am I?
Blearily, I feel my skin make contact with something cold and hard as I’m set down. It’s discomforting enough that I groan.
“Ginger, I’m gonna need you to stay awake for me,” Fingers, much too warm caresses my cheek.
“Fuck, she’s burning. Mason, get rid of the shower curtain, we’re gonna need some space.”
Movements take place in the background as my lips unconsciously start to move, fighting for what seemed to be moisture.
I was cold, my body flashing on and off between ice and heat.
Exhaustion makes me nod off and I do, grateful for the distraction.
“No,” A cool rag pressed over my forehead. “Stay awake just a while longer.”
“I’m so... tired,” I complained, wanting nothing more but to fall into darkness.
“I know baby, but just bear with me, okay?”
“Here Vanessa,” Someone places a pillow beneath my head and fluffed it, allowing minuscule comfort. “Try to relax okay?”
It burns, everything burns.
“Water.” Writhing at the pressure building by my lower neck, I squirmed, feeling pins and needles crawl all along my hands, spine, back and legs.
“I got it Red,” A hand brought my chin to meet the neck of the bottled water. “Christ, her pupils are dilated.”
I blindly drank it down, finding my mouth dry and my throat parched. The cool liquid did it’s job, soothing the heat that lined my esophagus.
But it wasn’t enough.
Not when I start shivering.
“It’s... cold.” My nails dig into my arms. “I’m so, cold.”
Numbness took hold of my entire lower body.
The desire to both sleep and struggle abruptly interlocked my whole being.
When I open my mouth to explain my discomfort, I find my throat locking up and my tongue going still.
“Marlen, hold that IV bag for me, this has to be quick, she’s going to have a seizure.”
“I got the ice!” There was a crash, followed by what sounded like sloshes of water. “It’s here!”
“Where do you want us to put them?” Jared.
“Open it.” Thomas barked, his fingers applying pressure over my lower arm. “Ginger, I need you to listen carefully to what I’m about to say.”
I nodded, as hard as it was.
“You’re running a high fever and we need to drop it down as fast as possible. Going to the hospital isn’t an option for you, you know this. So I need you to fight, do you understand? It’s going to hurt, a lot.”
If I wasn’t stuck in a never ending cycle of both heat and cold flashes, I would’ve laughed out loud at how familiar his tone was.
That’s the Thomas I missed.
“I promise, you can sleep after this.” He increases his pressure on my arm before I felt a sharp sting enter my blood stream.
I cringed, finding the pain irritating and much too high for my pain tolerance at the moment.
Thomas ties something to the end of my wrist before I heard him stand. “Okay. Now.”
By the time a bag of ice has been toppled over my head and into the bath tub I just realized I was in, a second bag is quickly followed suit.
The sudden change of temperature causes me to sit up, shrieking at the intensity, no longer numb as my tongue frees itself and my eyes popped open.
It felt as though a thousand electric shots has just exploded all along my chest and stomach.
The ice crawled along my heated skin, making me feel complete and utter agony as I panted, shivering like I was on the edge of hypothermia.
“Look at me,” Thomas crouches by the bath tub where I sat, his hand finding mine. I can finally see his features despite the floating blobs surrounding us.
“You’re gonna be fine.”
I shook my head, chattering when the cold makes me feel like convulsing and writhing all at once.
It was unbearable.
Jared and Evan dumped more bags of ice until the bath tub was half full and my legs were no longer visible beneath the cubes.
“H-How is this supposed to h-help?” I ask, through gritted teeth, blinking furiously at the black blob that is Thomas’s face.
Its starting to mesh together.
“You’re burning too fast.” He sighs in response, clearly agitated.
“The ice bath will restart your system, get the blood pumping enough to lower your body temperature.”
When I open my mouth to speak, wanting nothing more but to unleash a wave of questions out of sheer confusion as to how the fuck he knew doctor-level-grade-basics, Evan quickly stops me.
“Don’t bother Vanessa, he doesn’t tell us shit.”
At that, Thomas throws a glare that makes the younger Vinyl scowl in return.
“We can play 20 questions later.” He snaps in response.
Resolved into not speaking, I tried my best to ignore the cold and fight the fever that still waged war within me.
“Make sure, our tracks are covered.” The heir of Graymoore instructs to the others, sounding awfully far as my hearing goes pinhole and the ice sinks into my bones.
“We’re gonna be here for a while.”
I see the others through my blurry vision slowly leave the bathroom one by one, clearly believing everything would be alright, at least, for now.
Mason is the only one who remains, leaning against the sink, watching both Thomas and I in silence.
“How long will it take?” He asks.
“For the fever to break or for the drug to leave her system?” Thomas answers as I tilt my head to his palm, allowing his fingers to gently run through my hair.
The heir of Graymoore sighs. “It depends on how long that bastard has been feeding it to her. My guess is, as soon as the fever breaks, she’s going to experience the worst of it.”
“Goddammit.” Mason releases a frustrated breath, his tone filled with worry. “She’s going to suffer,”
“Yes, she will, but there’s no cure to Hyoscine, especially an experimental drug of it.” Despite sounding calm, I knew Thomas was only hiding his emotions for the sake of staying strong.
Underneath all that, he was worried and maybe even a bit scared.
“She’s strong. She’ll beat it.” He insists, bending forward to kiss my forehead.
“Can I...” Exhausted, I use the last of my energy to spew out everything, hoping it would make sense. “I want to...”
“Sleep.” Thomas tells me, his voice calm and soothing. “I’ll take care of you.”
The reality behind those simple words makes my heart thud, clearly grateful for the affection he’s willing to give.
It was warm and nice.
Different from the usual cold that I’d received.
Before my mind can terrorize itself, spinning insults and taunts that are sure to make me doubt, my vision flashes back to when we were at the alley way and all is still.
“I do, you impossible girl.”
He loves me.
The explanation that needed no explaining.
He loves me.
With that, I fall asleep, the voices of my two male counterparts drifting in a distance.
“She’s going to be okay.” Thomas continues to stroke my hair, immediately calming my tensed muscles.
“Don’t do that,” Mason scoffs. “I know what you’re trying to do.”
“Remember the plan.” Thomas retorted in response, no room for argument. “I’d rather you not wallow in self pity.”
“We shouldn’t be involving her!” Mason shifted uneasily in the background. “I mean, we just got her back, if we let her run free-”
“Mason, you’re an idiot if you think sweeping things under the rug will make this better.”
“I’m just stating facts.” The heir of BourneFell hisses. “What if we lose her again? What’s gonna stop her this time?”
“She lost her way because she had no one.” Thomas iterates, silencing Mason at once. “Now she’ll have us.”
When he speaks his next words, I shiver.
“They think they’re smart but they’re not. Aitenev is going to regret getting Jonas involved with what’s mine.”
For what seemed like forever, I finally got my head out of the toilet bowl, my fingers shakily clutching the floor beneath me.
The taste of bile and vomit in my breath nearly makes me gag again but I held it, not wanting to force more liquid out of me.
Gentle hands pull my hair back as I shut my eyes and wipe my mouth with the back of my hand.
I was so tired.
Throwing up for the fifth time throughout the day was more then enough for me.
“Come on,” A male voice calls out, grabbing my forearm as I swayed on my heels. “You’re going on the bed.”
“No,” I moaned, waving him off. “I’ll sleep here, the toilet bowl’s closer.”
Despite the uncomfortable tiled floors and that I was freezing, I was willing to put that aside in fear of throwing up again.
“You’ve always been so stubborn.” He sighs exasperatedly before pressing a rag to the back of my neck, cleaning up the cold sweat that broke along my skin.
Craning my neck to the side, I view him with a scowl. “Go away, I don’t want you to see me like this.”
“And leave you to choke on your own vomit?” Thomas raises an eyebrow before hoisting me in his arms and carrying me into the room.
“You’re such a prick-” I shifted uneasily in his arms as he set me down the lumpy bed and tried to make myself comfortable only to fail.
“Save your energy.” He orders, effectively silencing me with that cold tone of his.
I bite my lip at that and only managed a weak glare before sighing. “How long has it been?”
“A little over a day.”
When I moved, trying to lean my weight to one side, I involuntarily wheezed as a sharp ache shot up my abdomen.
“Ow,” I mumbled, holding my breath.
Thomas says nothing as he sweeps my hand aside and lifts my shirt.
I peek down to see him staring at my bruised stomach, his features unreadable.
Suddenly, I felt sheepish, a little nervous.
The reminder of when I was still in the hospital flashed in my mind. The roles are reverse, he’s staring at my bruises and I’m letting him.
Ultimately, he releases my shirt, saying nothing but a gruff instruction.
“Get some sleep.”
“It’s not as bad as it looks.” I try to say, hoping my voice didn’t come out tired.
He simply shakes his head. “I know how it feels and trust me when I say I know you’re lying.”
Cautious about his solemn mood, I duck my head and bowed, unable to meet his gaze.
I’m saved when the door to our motel room is unlocked.
Cold air immediately blew in as Mason kick the door shut with his foot whilst holding a paper bag.
“Starving.” Thomas gets off the bed and rips the contents out of Mason’s hand before scarfing a whole burger.
When the heir of BourneFell offered me a burger, I grimaced and held in my stomach, already feeling the beginnings of another vomit-induced-session.
He merely shrugs and ignores Thomas who rested his figure against the curtained windows.
“How you holding up, Vanessa?”
“Like shit.” I tell him honestly, going to rub my cracked lips. “I still see two of you.”
The world hadn’t resettled stably in my eyes yet as edges of my vision still blurred into two projected images.
It was progress, but slow. Much, too, slow.
“If you’re not going to eat, then sleep.” Thomas butts, in his clear, scolding voice.
Too tired to argue, I shifted on my side away from the two and curled into a fetal position to relieve the pain in my stomach.
It took a while but eventually my discomfort faded away enough that it was bearable to stand with.
Although sleep was out of the question.
This went on for a while until I eventually started to drift.
“Are you gonna eat that?” I hear Thomas ask, more like demanded.
“It was supposed to be for Vane-”
“It’s mine now.”
A shuffle of plastic before more munching filled the room.
“You know what, I don’t even know why she’d stand you.” Mason huffs from somewhere in the background. “You’re a child.”
“There it is,”
Someone’s phone began to ring and I assumed it was Mason’s because he answered it.
“Hello?” Muffled words at the end. “Matthew, goddammit, you better be shitting me.”
Maybe it was the sudden anxiety in Mason’s voice or the jump in Thomas as he stood up and strode across the room to retrieve Mason’s phone from his hand but I’m suddenly wide awake.
“What, happened.” The heir of Graymoore hissed.
Matthew at the other end sounded very frantic, maybe even pissed as well but I wasn’t sure.
“When did this happen? Is David a fucking idiot? That bitch was supposed to stay locked up until I deal with her-”
He stops himself just in time and goes momentarily quiet. By the time I realized why, he’s out the door, Mason close on his heels.
Once they’re outside, the talking starts up again.
Thomas hadn’t wanted me to listen in and by the looks of the frantic hand movements I could see through the curtains, it wasn’t a good talk.
Frowning, I scooted at the edge of the bed and strained my ears for anything I could catch on.
The walls were thin so it wasn’t that hard if I tried enough.
“Track her, block her credentials, do everything to keep her in the country, I don’t care."
What was he talking about?
I bit my lip when it was clear the conversation escalated by how Mason was the one demanding loudly as well.
A few odd seconds later, another voice filled the air, coming through the phone.
They had put Matthew on speaker mode.
“Victor and Jared are already on the plane. Marlen says he’ll get his people to stop her from crossing the border, but-”
“Thomas we can’t, do anything about the money. All the paperwork was done legally, it has Vanessa’s signature.”
“How the fuck was she supposed to know her mother would take it?”
“We can argue in court, take the fight to them but you saw what she did to Veronica. Any judge with a sane mind wouldn’t give that cash back.”
“He’s right, both of them have connections to the Underground, we’ll be facing worst problems.” Mason agreed, sounding incredibly disgruntled. “Either way, we’ll be making things worse.”
Gradually, I became aware that my ears have dulled to a soft ringing. A horrible sinking feeling beat away at my chest.
A feeling of dread, of fear, of hesitance.
Someone hung up the phone after a few seconds of talking and I heard faint movement as the boys shuffled on their feet.
It was silent for a while and the only sound I could hear was the pounding in my ears.
“What do we do?” Mason asked.
“Veronica didn’t leave a trail. She got Aitenev’s people to handle the money. The way I see it, we’ve lost already.”
“Does it look like I am?” Thomas was close to shouting. “Everything we’ve worked for is gone, finished, what a fucking waste of time.”
I could hear the snarl in his voice and only just, choose to turn away at the last minute, going to refocus on the doorway of the bathroom.
He was mad, pissed off, I could only wonder how he looked right now. “Get Jackson to comb the streets for Jonas, he’s the reason Veronica escaped.”
“What about the account?”
“Whatever amount Veronica took out of it, have Jared and Victor fill it back up once they reach New York.”
“Jesus Thomas, we have to-”
“No, we don’t.” He snaps back. “Ginger doesn’t need to know.”
“It’s her money!” Mason hisses.
“She can’t, know, it’ll only make things worse!”