Crush at Thomas Hall – The First Chapter

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November 11th, 2009

Chapter One

I pried my eyes open to blinding white light and it took a moment of blinking to adjust to the fluorescence. This wasn’t the last place I remembered being. The wine cellar was dark, damp and smelled of sweet wine and mold. But this place was bright, sterile, and smelled of death. I could taste the pungent smell in my mouth. I scanned my field of vision, only to see a multitude of people in lab coats and scrubs.

My chest tightened and in a flash I was twelve, sitting in an emergency room, waiting for the doctors to tell me what I already knew. My parents were dead. But that wasn’t now. That was fourteen years ago.

I let my head fall to one side, and saw Edward talking to a doctor. He was so handsome. Why had our first real date ended like this? It was going so well, too. His early arrival from Chicago was a pleasant surprise and we enjoyed a magnificent lunch with his parents before heading into town.

The movie marathon that followed had been exciting, for multiple reasons. But after the movies was what I couldn’t piece together. There was a walk. Edward and I talked about my future at Thomas Hall. Then I was in the wine cellar. There was something on the floor. Wine? No, blood. And—

“Senior?” I needed to know he was okay. When I tried to sit up I felt as though someone had put a meat cleaver through the back of my skull and the nurse next to my bed stopped me from moving.

“Darlin’ can you tell me your name? Do you know where you are?”

The nurse had fire engine red hair. I looked at her and tried to speak, but all that came out was a broken whisper. “Cassandra Martin. A hospital?”

“Very good. Do you know what day it is?”

“Thursday night, maybe Friday morning. Middle of night.”

“Good.” I heard the nurse say to someone that I was lucid. I tried to sit up and get a better view of what was going on around me, but once again the nurse stopped me.

“Darlin’, you need to rest yourself. You’ve been through a lot. You were hit in the head multiple times and have a concussion. You have three fractured ribs and a laceration from broken glass in your side. You’ve lost a lot of blood. Now that you’re awake, we need permission to continue treating you.”

A broad shouldered man who appeared to be in his early fifties leaned over me. He was wearing khaki pants and a navy blue polo shirt. I wouldn’t have known he was a cop if it hadn’t been for the police logo embroidered on his shirt. His salt and peppered hair was buzzed short allowing his lagoon blue eyes to be most prominent feature on his face.

“Someone tried to kill you. My name is Detective Brian Hayes. I’m the Willow Creek police detective assigned to this case. I need to talk to you.”

The nurse interceded. “Not tonight detective. She’s in no shape to deal with you.” She turned to me needing answers. “Is it okay to continue treatment? Are you allergic to anything?”

“Yes, and yes, penicillin.”

“How allergic?” She was checking my blood pressureand the cuff was so tight that I felt like it would leave a bruise. I took a deep breath and my whole body hurt.

“Anaphylaxis. In less than twenty.”

“Darlin’, you really should be wearing a medical alert bracelet.” It wasn’t the first time someone in the medical field said that to me. “On a scale from zero to ten, tell me your pain level.”

“Nine, eight if I don’t breathe.”

“Keep breathing. I’ll go see what’s been ordered for you.”

“Ms. Martin, I need to talk to you as soon as possible.” Detective Hayes stood up, dropped his card by the phone, and gave one to the nurse. He signaled Edward to follow him out.

Edward ignored the detective and leaned in toward me. His cocoa colored eyes were bloodshot and the lines around them looked more deeply etched into his face than they had just a few hours earlier. Every hair on his head was out of place as though he’d run his fingers through it a hundred times. He was a disheveled mess complete with blood splattered across the front of his shirt. He tried to fake a reassuring smile but couldn’t quite make it happen.

“Edward?” I grabbed his hand and squeezed it tight in an unsuccessful attempt to let him know that I was fine.

“Yes my love.”

“Put on a clean shirt. I feel a little queasy.” He managed a real smile and gently pushed the hair away from my face, untangling a piece that had gotten caught in my new earrings.

“Okay Sweetie, I’ll try to find one.”

But I wasn’t fine. The pain was excruciating I and couldn’t catch my breath. I closed my eyes and tried to inhale. Before I slipped into unconsciousness, my mind drifted back to the day this began. The day Edward dialed the wrong number.

 

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