The Tests of Time (Book 1) ✔

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One Hell of A Day

Present Day


“Are you sure you know what you’re doing there, doctor?” Ivan asked gruffly, his arms crossed over his chest as he watched the doctor.

Carter had managed to get ahold of Agent Simone and she swore that she was sending the best help that she could find on such short notice for their situation. Unfortunately, the person that walked through the door about twenty minutes later perfectly fit the description of “the best help she could find on such short notice.”

The doctor was a young man with piercing blue eyes, a scruffy beard and unruly blonde hair. He carried himself in such a way that from the moment he walked into the theater, you could tell that he was one of the know-it-all types.

The doctor let out a chuckle, shaking his head as he glanced over at Ivan. The doctor hardly asked any questions about Elinor’s episode and focused more on checking things like her pulse. In fact, the doctor had brought along with him a medical student - who seemed to know more about what she was doing than the doctor did. She asked the team about her episode, how she was positioned when she passed out. If it wasn’t for this brown-haired, soft brown-eyed young woman, Ivan thought he would have had the doctor escorted out in an unpleasant way by now.

“You are a very impatient patient, aren’t you?” the doctor quipped, unaware that Ivan was clenching his fists. The doctor did, however, notice the hardness of Ivan’s expression and decided that it was probably best not to mess with him. “Alright, given what you told my medical student here-”

Ivan raised his hand quickly, halting the doctor from continuing further. “Your medical student has a name, doctor. Maybe you should try using it for once.”

The young woman glanced up at Ivan surprised, pressing her lips tightly together as she tried to suppress a smile. It brought Ivan some amusement to see that he had both made a good impression on the young medical student and flustered the doctor.

The doctor let out a huff, glancing at the woman apologetically. “From what Levy here has gathered, it sounds like the patient has recently gone through a tremendous amount of stress over the last few hours and that her adrenaline levels were pretty high. Likely, your friend passed out from the high adrenaline…”

Levy cleared her throat quickly, catching both Ivan’s and the doctor’s attention. Ivan could tell from her hard stare that she didn’t agree with the doctor’s words. “Actually, I don’t think that this is Elinor’s issue,” Levy admitted, stepping towards the cot. “I think we should bring her in, maybe do some more testing. There’s something more going on.”

Ivan glared over at the doctor, who had grown quiet. The doctor’s expression was unreadable, but his eyes were both cold and hard. Ivan had a suspicion that the doctor wasn’t all too thrilled that the medical student seemed to be putting him in his place. The cold expression melted as soon as a smile crossed the doctor’s face. “The patient is fine,” he spoke firmly, stepping away from the cot. “Besides, Agent Simone wouldn’t be pleased if we brought her in. Her life is already at risk, bringing her in would put her back on Whittaker’s radar.”

Ivan wanted to sucker punch the doctor. Instead, he lingered close to Elinor’s cot, watching the doctor make his way over to where Brackston, Lula, and Carter were waiting in the hallway. He would have continued staring darkly at the doctor, had it not been for someone gently touching his arm. His head jerked towards the culprit, almost expecting it to be Elinor but was surprised to see that it was Levy standing beside him.

She looked concerned as she glanced up at him with her soft eyes, her lips pressed tightly together as she glanced at Elinor. “Hey, if anything like this happens again… Promise me you’ll get Agent Simone to consider having her checked out? Preferably by a better doctor,” she replied, shaking her head embarrassed.

Ivan gave Levy a small smile, nodding in response. “You have my word. I’ll be sure to have Simone ask for Doctor Levy next time.”

Levy smiled, shaking her head in disbelief at his comment. “Actually, I’d prefer it if you’d call me Tenley.” she admitted, watching him as he shrugged his shoulders.

“Then I guess I’ll see you another time, Tenley,” he spoke softly, giving her a grateful smile. “Thank you for helping out my friend.”

Tenley returned his smile, her eyes glancing over to where Elinor rested. “She’s very lucky to have you,” she replied, giving him a small wave as she made her way towards the door. “See you next time, Ivan Hayes.”

<>

Elinor woke to a dull, throbbing pain in her head. Groaning, she lifted her hands to rub her forehead and whimpered as soon as she did. She sucked in a deep breath, forcing herself to open her eyes. She was surprised to see the sight of a slightly familiar ceiling above her, even though something felt off about it. It was cracked in areas, with peeling paint and holes peering into an unknown darkness above her. She felt confused as to where she was, but her eyes widened suddenly as she bolted up quickly, panic rising within her chest.

Ivan had been sitting in the chair just across from his cot, when he noticed that Elinor had bolted up quickly, her eyes wide and filled with panic as she yelled out something quickly, her voice raspy. If Ivan had heard her correctly, he could have almost sworn that she yelled out “Papa”.

“El?” Ivan spoke softly, catching her attention. She gave him a confused expression for a second, her chest rising and falling rapidly as she ran her eyes over his face. He stood slowly from the chair, holding his hands out as if to reassure her that he wasn’t going to touch her. “Are you alright?”

She thought over his question for a good couple of moments, her eyes wandering over his confused gaze. She soon realized that his confused expression suddenly shifted into a worried one. She thought maybe something had been severely wrong, but in bringing her hands to her face she felt the warm, damp feeling of tears on her face. “Why the hell am I crying?” she thought to herself, shivering as she looked up at Ivan for answers.

This sudden shift of seeing her bolt up with a panicked expression to all of a sudden seeing her crying, her expression completely broken made Ivan’s heart ache. He lowered his hands slowly, his concerned look replacing itself with a gentler one. “You’ve had one hell of a day, haven’t you?” he asked her, keeping his voice quiet so as not to upset her further.

Elinor swallowed hard, nodding slowly as her lower lip trembled. She had faced being held hostage, nearly dying, discovering that time travel exists and that these four people she had been spending her time with were only here because her life was in danger. Worse of all, she felt like there was something she was forgetting. She remembered at one point being very tired, as she reflected on something familiar. She figured she must have fallen asleep from the exhausting day she had.

“You should get some rest,” Ivan broke her thoughts, his tone tired but encouraging. “I think you will feel better in the morning.”

Elinor sniffed softly, wiping her eyes with her hands as she nodded in agreement. She was about to lay back down in the cot when she noticed that Ivan was turning to leave the room. The thought of being alone in the room made her feel slightly panicked, so she sat back up quickly. “Please don’t leave,” her broken voice stopped Ivan in his tracks, causing him to turn around. “Can you please just stay with me?”

Ivan was surprised that she was asking him to stay. Taking in her tear filled, frightened eyes, he gathered that she wanted someone to at least stay in the room until she was able to relax enough to fall asleep. Ivan nodded carefully, slowly making his way back to the seat he was sitting in a few minutes ago. He was about to sit down when he noticed that Elinor was staring at him, her expression torn. It was obvious that she was fighting with something in her mind.

“Is everything alright?” he asked, watching as she chewed on her lower lip nervously, her eyes still misty.

“Can you… I mean, would you mind…” she stuttered, her expression growing flustered. She eventually grew tired of trying to figure out how to get her words out right and decided to slide over in the cot, where she patted the new, empty spot beside her.

Ivan almost raised his eyebrows questionably at what she was suggesting, but he kept his expression neutral. He couldn’t believe that she was wanting him to stay in the room with her, let alone, sitting next to her. Considering the events of the day, she probably just wanted someone familiar to be near her.

Ivan gave in quietly, trying to sit on the small cot without bumping her accidentally. He was expecting her to stay within her own comfortable space, but she managed to surprise him more when she leaned her head onto his shoulder, relaxing instantly. He almost grew tense at this sudden action but he didn’t want to upset her, so instead he sat there in silence.

He thought she was starting to drift into sleep, but the sound of her sniffling quickly caught his attention. He turned his head carefully, frowning at the sight of her eyes filling with tears again. He parted his lips to ask her what was wrong, but her next words rendered him speechless.

“I’ve lost everything today,” she sobbed, trembling slightly. “And it’s all my fault.”

Ivan’s eyebrows drew together, his forehead creasing slightly. He pressed his lips together as he swallowed hard, trying to figure out the best way to address this moment. He knew it was only a matter of time before she broke down from the reality of her situation, but he honestly never thought that she’d be willing to be vulnerable with him.

“Elinor…” he whispered, carefully shushing her as he encouraged her to lift her head from his shoulder. He turned so that he could sit in a way that would allow him to face her, his tightly pressed lips melting into a weak smile as he took in her broken expression. He wanted to do anything he could to make that expression disappear. “Today wasn’t your fault. If you want someone to blame, then blame Whittaker. But know that Whittaker did not steal everything from you,” he spoke earnestly. “Brackston was right when he said you were a badass. You thought quickly, bravely, and got us all out of there safely. I think that’s proof that Whittaker didn’t take everything, such as your courage. If they had, we wouldn’t be sitting here right now.”

Elinor nodded slowly, using the sleeve of her shirt to wipe her face. “I don’t feel very brave right now,” she admitted, her sobs had eased themselves into quiet sniffles. “I feel like a weak idiot, especially since I’m crying in front of you.”

“Being vulnerable like this requires a great amount of bravery,” Ivan acknowledged, smiling at her softly. “You’re a lot stronger than you realize, El.”

Despite the tears flooding her eyes, Elinor was able to give him a weak smile. He was about to return the smile when she had suddenly leaned forward to wrap her arms around his waist, her head resting gently against his chest as she hugged him gently. He thought the hug was a big enough surprise on its own, but her next words caught him off guard. “Thank you,” she whispered softly, her voice trembling.

“What for?” he questioned, his eyebrows knitting together. “I didn’t even do anything.”

“You listened,” she reminded him, her eyes fluttering shut as she relaxed against him. “That’s more helpful than you realized.”

Ivan rested his chin on Elinor’s head, wrapping his arms around her as he closed his eyes in an attempt to fight back the tears in his own eyes. Outside of Lula lately, he couldn’t remember the last time someone showed this level of appreciation towards him.

As he leaned against the wall, allowing Elinor to curl up against him more comfortably, he came to a serious decision. He was going to make Whittaker pay for hurting her.

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