"Bev." Colton's sapphire eyes swam with unshed tears, and I could feel the warm pressure of his hands on my face as he rubbed his thumbs anxiously over my cheekbones. "Come, on Bev." He leaned his cold forehead against my feverish one, hot tears beginning to fall, further wetting my face.
"Please wake up," he whispered, pained. "Wake up."
I groaned, hurting.
"Bev!" Colt exclaimed. He seized my shoulders, and shook me gently, causing my head to loll to the side. I groaned again.
"Come on, babe," he hissed. "Come on." He grabbed my face again, and held my head upright, his curly, fiery hair falling into my face as he leaned towards me, watching intently for movement.
I panted shallowly, breaths coming in sharp, painful huffs. "Colt," I managed to croak, throat dry as paper.
"Bev?" I smiled weakly at him. "Oh, God, Bev." He beamed.
"No," I whispered hoarsely. "Just me. No God here."
Colt let out a spluttering laugh, still crying lightly. I grinned at him, even though every part of my body throbbed with a withdrawn, hollow ache.
"I'm sorry," Colt breathed, shaking with the strain of his sobs. His thumbs fondled my temples, stroking my sweat-caked hair away from my face. "I'm so sorry for everything."
"Why?" I asked feebly, energy waning. "It's not like it's your fault, or anything."
"I know," he leaned his forehead against mine, his breath hot on my face. "I know it's not, but it feels like it is, and it's eating me. I feel like I did something to make this happen, and it's eating me."
I closed my eyes, content simply to feel the reassuring whispers of his breath on my lips. We sat like that, calmly, for several moments, until our momentary peace was shattered.
I cried out in pain, my back arching suddenly. It came in brutal waves, the agony, forcing my muscles to convulse violently with each passing second. Colt held tight to my shoulders, trying with all his might to soothe me.
But I could not be soothed.
I clamped my teeth together, jaw and neck going rigid.
The world, or at least our small piece of it, muddied before my eyes, lines going suddenly fuzzy, the entire, cell-like room sliding drastically out of focus.
And then, without so much as a murmured warning, Colt leapt back from me.
"Bev?" he asked warily. "Bev, where are you?"
I looked at him in confusion. "Here," I muttered, lips feeling large and awkward. Colt looked, panicked, around the room.
"No, you're not." Confused, I mustered the strength to prop myself on my elbows, and surveyed my body.
My stomach leapt to my throat. Colt was right.
I wasn't there.