Chapter Fourteen: BEEP
Beep Beep Beep
The faint sound of a heart rate monitor beeping from somewhere nearby slowly brought me above the water I'd been drowning in. The depths of the darkness lifted and as if a candle had been lit somewhere in my mind, behind my closed eyelids, I could breath again and see.
The soft, pastel color of a hospital room came into a foggy view. Nothing was clearly visible, but I guessed as to what the JELL-O like figures may have been. I searched for a clock, possibly an electric one, however my search ended as I tilted my head to find Michael and Marley sleeping in polyester, hospital chairs.
My movements hadn't brought them back to the land of the conscious until I tried to shift my head slightly more only to find that a series of sharp and agonizing jolts erupted from the base of my neck and up the back of my head. I gave a howl of some sort, it was inaudible to me but both Marley and Michael woke.
"Olivia." They cheered in unison, but their smiles faded once they realized that I was feeling severe pain I guessed the doctors had told them I wouldn't feel.
"Ollie. I'll go get a nurse." Michael sprang out of my sight, his steps nervous and loud.
How could she middle name me at a time like-
"Why didn't you tell me that Lexie was after you?" My eyes widened and I heard my heart rate increase as the beeping became louder and more frequent.
"Relax hun. Michael was filled in. He's a little skeptical, but needless to say, he's no longer curious about your connection with Alex and Kat."
"Marl- Mom, Alex said that you'd just uproot me again if you really knew how close she was. She knows where we live Mom."
"I know. Alex filled me in as well. Sabrine chewed him a new asshole for that."
"Oh. Was anyone else hurt?" My lower lip twitched.
"No. Lexie wasn't expecting Michael to be there, or to have a very angry vampire jump her."
"What?" I didn't even see her there.
"You'll have to ask Alex when he gets back. I don't know all the details. Getting information out of Michael is pretty difficult. Especially when he's scared shitless."
I released a pathetic squeal of laughter just as a nurse strutted into the room, her nose in the air and her thick, brown hair pulled tightly into a ponytail at the back of her head.
Despite the snobby air she carried, her inspection of my wound was gentle and nimble, her long graceful fingers checking the stitches and slowly taking the pain away. It clicked as she went to check my charts.
"Eme?" I squinted. She froze; obviously I had forgotten to call her by the name she used here. What had Skylar said: Karen Simmons?
She turned and pulled off the glasses I hadn't noticed and tucked them in her breast pocket. "You're healing extremely quick. I couldn't have a regular RN looking after you now could we?"
I caught the ending, crystal clear. "We?"
Eme motioned to my Mother, and cleared her throat. "Not to mention The Society. They can’t have their secrets out there for everyone to see." Eme groaned and took a seat on the opposite side of my bed, rather than joining Marley.
"Are you alright Olivia?" Eme ignored my Mother's growing distaste towards her and sat next to me on the bed. Her body language was careful and slow, almost overly exaggerated.
I blinked a few times, moistening my disbelieving eyes and I continued to answer with a blank stare.
"Olivia." This time her voice was more ferocious, but still tamer than a kitten.
"I'm fine. A bit of a headache and feeling way out of the loop."
"That's to be expected." Michael popped in.
"Shoosh." Eme grumbled, but obviously she was trying to keep up with her loving nurse act.
I wasn't about to let that happen. "Where's Alex?"
"Busy." She cooed.
"I'm serious, where is he? Did he get hurt?"
Her face turned solemn, but still no sight of sarcasm or a possible serial killer. "Why would you like to know? He has to do a few things before he can see you."
My heart stopped, though I could still heart it beeping off to my right. Did what I say really affect him that much? I was staring blankly at my hands balled up into tiny fists in my lap. The presence of eyes on me kept me from screaming or whatever was welling up in my chest, but it was Michael's hands enveloping mine that silenced the pressure on my rib cage.
"Ollie? You still okay? Alex is perfectly fine. Better than me and you anyway." His voice was so light and friendly that I turned to catch a glimpse of him smiling like a fool, in turn, my lips spread and I found myself grinning along.
"Eme, can I see you in the hall?" Marley's tone broke me free of the subconscious cheer.
"Ollie?" Michael's tone had shifted and I looked back at him. His eyes were dull and ashamed, while his face held no hint of a lingering smile.
"Are you upset that they told me?"
My eyes instantly locked on to his face and the overwhelming truth flooded over me. This wasn't a nightmare that I could wake up from; there was no boogieman or shadowy figure that would vanish when I woke up. Instead he was replaced with something much worse: Lucien, and now my best and only friend knew my deadly secret. His own life was now in danger.
Michael... if I hadn't been trying to hurt Alex, you wouldn't be here.
"I mean, after I saw her and those red eyes, I really don't think they could have gotten away without telling me." Michael was speaking out of his thoughts and I knew every word was true.
"I'm not mad. I'm worried. This isn't some video game where you can change the difficulty of play to easy. Real lives are in danger."
"Your life to be more specific." Hs eyes were downcast, but his shoulders stayed tense and miserable.
"Yes, my life, and Alex's and Vivian's, Kat's, Marley's and now yours."
"Mine? You're worried about me?"
"Of course I am. What, you think I'd leave my best friend to die? What do you take me for?"
Michael's face was upright, dark and nervous. He looked nothing of the teenager I'd known for past few years and had grown to love so dearly.
"It's just that. I always thought that in this kind of situation, I was supposed to be looking out for your life. You know, star-crossed lovers and all that Shakespearean romance." He blushed a deep crimson, his eyes still so distant, but I could feel the old him lurking behind a possible laugh.
"Michael... Romeo dies and I'm so not Juliet. She's like fourteen and flat, do I look like a young maiden from Verona?" I smirked and a smile lit up his face, no laughter, but a smile.
"So... real demons, eh?"
"Yupp. Aren't you forgetting something?" I cocked an eyebrow.
"Hm? Forgetting what?"
"I believe I confessed that I loved you and shared my devastating secret. We've done the uncertain death chat and now we're here. I believe you're forgetting your vow of everlasting love." I smirked, though Michael's expression shared nothing of my sense of humor on the topic of a potential relationship.
He released my hands and rose from his chair in almost one continuous motion while I wore the idiotic smile of the century. "Ollie, Sara and I are still together. I'm sorry." With those being his final words he left me to my own hazardous thoughts.
Way to go Olivia, you made him feel inadequate and most likely defensive. Good show sending him back to Sara. Maybe on the way he can send Alex back to stab me through the hand to make me confess what I'm thinking.
I glared down at the ridiculous tubes that twisted away from my hand but brought with them a sense of ease. I had lost myself in tracing the dripping fluid down to my arm when I noticed a male figure at the end of my bed. A jolt of joy went through me when I thought it may be Michael, but all hopes were split down the center when I traced the figure only to find Alex at the top half of it.
"Oh... it's you."
"Yes, it's me." Alex rolled his eyes and then came to sit next to me in the seat Eme had recently been occupying. "How are you?"
"Fine. You know, the usual. Big gash in the back of my head and my pride definitely flew the coop."
"So, you're doing pretty good then." Alex smirked, a surprising reaction.
"What's that look for? Aren't you dreading talking to me after last night?" I squinted at a flicker of pain.
"No. Why would I be? We weren't actually dating Olivia. It was an act. Remember?"
I was in a state of awe; I had no idea what to think of him anymore. One moment he's telling me that I'm worse than my Mother and then he was back to smiling.
"What are you staring at?" Alex glared.
"You. So everything you said last night was just you playing along with me?"
"Yes. That's what you wanted, was it not?"
I nodded slowly, my eyes still judging him with great skepticism.
"Are you okay Olivia?" Alex eyed me wearily. "Olivia?" He pressed when I didn't answer.
I'm so confused, but if I get all worked up I'll just end up with an unwanted movie reel and a really bad headache. Shit!
The room morphed against my will into a room that was less familiar than the one I'd just woken up in. The walls were black and gray splatter added a little 'color' to the musty room. It was completely empty and dark, no light but the natural streams that came from a high window. It was obviously nighttime; as crescent moon that was visible from the single window, was my only light source as I moved my way along the hallowed floor of the room.
My name echoed around me, in a soft melody.
I slipped back into the hospital room, Alex leaning over me. His face was neutral though I caught a slight hint of resentment.
"What did you see?" Alex by-passed my health to see through me eyes.
"A dark room with a high window, possibly a basement. The only light was from a sliver of a moon. There was gray paint splattered on the walls."
"Yes. Should there be more?"
"No. It's just so simple and ... meaningless." Alex leaned back in the chair, it squeaked as he repositioned himself.
"Do you really think it's meaningless?"
"Yes. Absolutely useless."
"What? I just answered your question."
"Ya. But my visions are a part of me. So in suggesting that they're useless, you're also implying that so am I."
"Well maybe you are."
"Quit it. Just shut up."
"Relax Olivia, I was kidding." He laughed to add effect, but I was past the point of impression.
"I mean last night."
"I know, and that was my answer."
"Alex, I'm laid up on a gurney. I think you can tell me what happened."
He was silent, his head back and eyes closed. I hadn't taken the time to actually look at him since he'd come in, but once I had quieted my questioning I took a second to glance up at him. He was still wearing the clothes from last night, but he was missing his jacket. His hair stood out in every direction as if he'd been standing by fan all day while someone doused his head in hairspray. He was bruised and cut up, looking like he'd been in a fistfight with someone fifteen times his size. He must've been fighting off Lexie after the paramedics had taken me away.
"Olivia, please stop staring at me." Alex hummed. His voice was so quiet and soft that I instantly froze in place.
"I'm sorry. Are you... okay?"
"I'm fine. Lexie's minions caught me off guard."
"Little demons and sprites. They set up traps and ambushed me. If A.J. hadn't followed me, I would have been done for."
"Mhmm. She practically saved my hide." He snorted.
That's strange. Where was Skylar?
"But... Are you-"
His harshness felt like a blow to the face and in shock at my nickname trickling off his tongue, my heart rate increased dangerously. The machine beeped wildly as my heart bounced around freely in my chest and the room began to sway. No vision assaulted my sight, but I understood how people felt just before they were about to pass out or had on beer goggles.
"Dammit." Eme snarled. "Can't you keep calm for five minutes?"
I shrugged and coiled into my person rejecting any sound or looks from the people surrounding me. I let myself slip off into a light sleep, still in tune with the conversations that scattered throughout the room, but only an hour later I gave up and a deep sleep consumed me.
It was dreamless, just an empty, black escape from the reality I faced when I would finally return to the confines of the healing atmosphere. I felt as though it would only be a short release from the hell I would soon endure, but I had every intention of enjoying it while I could.
I wasn't aware of how long I'd slept, or even when I'd fallen asleep, but when I awoke it was bright outside and a light layer of snow had covered the ground.
My nose was cold and my throat was dry and irritated, every muscle felt exhausted and over-used. As I tried to move I found that I was stiff, but there was no pain in my head and I could see so clearly at that moment. With great reluctance from my joints, I lifted my hand to the back of my neck. There was no bandage or injury from the incident at the school dance. At that moment I became panicked and began my search for any evidence of time and date. That was about when Sabrine walked into my room.
"Good. You're awake." Sabrine sighed.
"What day is it? How long have I been sleeping?" I snapped, my expression wild and uncanny.
"Relax O.J. It's two in the afternoon on Sunday, two days after the dance."
"But... my head."
"You heal faster than the normal boys and girls of the world Olivia." Sabrine rolled her eyes and sat down in a chair and pulled out an edition of Cosmo.
"..." I opened my mouth to say something, but nothing came out. I lost the words and the voice to say them.
"OH YAY!" Kat barreled onto my bed and curled up against my side.
"I'm so glad you're alright Ollie J. Alex and Vivian have been talking about you non-stop and I was so worried."
"Aw, well you shouldn't be, I'm tough."
"Not really." Kat smirked. "But I'm so glad that you're alright."
"Thanks Kat." I smirked and stroked the top of her head softly, separating strands of her hair with my fingers.
For the longest time the three of us sat in silence, I ran my fingers through Kat's hair and she began to purr, Sabrine flipped through her magazine and never even once looked up at Kat and I. The silence was comforting even though the place I was in was the last place I wanted to be.
I looked up to see Michael timidly walking into the room; his eyes were on Kat and I, though his words were obviously directed towards Sabrine.
"Hello Michael. What can I do for you?" Sabrine still continued to flip through the pages.
"Oh, I was just going to ask if Ollie was awake."
"She is." Sabrine said flatly.
"Ya, I see that."
"Maybe I should go." Kat wriggled beneath my fingers.
"No Kat, that's okay." I hummed. "What do you want Michael?"
"I...uh... was just checking for Alex. He's not in here is he?"
"He's in the cafeteria." Sabrine answered cutting me off.
"Okay thanks. Bye Ollie." With that, Michael left.
"Why's Alex still here?" I blinked.
"He and Vivian have been on body guard duty, they never left hospital." Kat smirked.
"Never left?" I wasn't as shocked as I sounded.
"Nope. I spent the night too." Kat beamed.