I woke suddenly and found myself gasping for breath as a wave of pain engulfed me. It was so intense that I actually thought I was going to pass out again. I felt a soft touch from a cool hand on my forehead and struggled to open my eyes. I finally focused on Charlotte who was looking down at me and crying. Why was she crying? I didn’t understand. I tried to move to take her hand and I was unable to muffle the scream of agony as my muscles protested. Then I remembered the flames and the pain of the torture Mark had called ‘hot’.
Then I remembered what was happening when Mark had come to us and what he had said about it not being real. I hoped the tears were due to the state I was in and not because she regretted anything that had happened between us. Not yet, I didn’t want my dreams smashing along with my broken body. I tried to move again but again the wave of pure agony took over once more and I was left panting from the effort.
Gentle hands pressed down on my shoulders. “No, baby, don’t try to move,” Charlotte murmured as her face appeared in my line of vision. “I... Si, this is too much and I should never have let it...”
“Please don’t regret it.” I whispered; convinced that she was talking about us and what had gone on before we were interrupted.
“What?” She looked deeply into my eyes for a moment. “Oh, you mean...? Oh no, God no Simon! I don’t regret anything between us baby, all I regret is that we never got to finish because who knows where it might have led us?” She bent and gently kissed me before wiping away the tears that had flowed from my eyes at the relief. “I meant Mark has gone too far. Baby, you... He has burnt you and I don’t know what to do to make it heal. He is the nurse and we need... Well, we need him.”
Bizarre twist of fate I thought to myself.
“I... Is it that bad?” Mind you, before she nodded her head I knew that it was. The pain was so much more intense than usual, it even hurt to breathe let alone move. Had he after all this time come close to killing me? I doubted that to be honest as he was the nurse and knew just how far he could physically push it. “Mark will know somehow; he always does and something gets done. I am never awake then but I would never imagine it is done with any compassion.”
Charlotte bit her lip. “Yes, but before he always needed you alive. Now he has a back-up if you like; I am here and could take your place.”
I stared up at Charlotte, realising that she was right. I sat up all of a sudden and squealed as pain roared through my system. I grabbed Charlotte for support and she remained as still as she could in order to provide it. “I always thought he needed me and somehow that made me feel connected to him. Like a brother I guess.”
Charlotte looped her arms around me loosely so as not to push against my blistered skin. “Babe, there is nothing brotherly like about your relationship,” she informed me as my head nuzzled against her neck. She scooped me up and carried me the short distance to the mattress where she set me down gently. Her physical strength surprised me as she had such a small frame and yet she carried my bulk with a seeming ease. Charlotte stroked at my blonde hair, her fingers tangling slightly in the unkept strands. “We have to get you out of here and to do that Mark needs hurting.”
“Hush my love, you won’t be doing anything to him, all you need to do is come with me.” I would follow her anywhere I decided and so, with my face still against her neck, I nodded. “Besides after seeing what he has done to you I have lost my own qualms. Right now I would happily kill him.”
“Thank you,” I whispered as I drifted to an uncomfortable sleep curled in her steady embrace.