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“The Bayview district of San Francisco. It’s a bad area.”
So that was where she was, in San Francisco. So many miles from home. At the other side of the continent.
“I don’t remember how I got there.” She allowed the tears that she’d suppressed for three years to well up in her eyes, lending credibility to her lies. “I can’t remember anything, don’t you understand?”
She caught how Dr. Giles shot Oliver a displeased look.
“But, that’s impossible!” he objected once more. This time he reached for her, putting his hand on her forearm. “You must remember. You asked me to help you.” His eyes bored into her, their blue brilliant in its intensity.
For a moment she wanted to move toward him, assure him that he was right, that she remembered every second of their encounter: the way his arms had held her, the way his lips had pressed against hers. Their kiss. The fleeting feeling of safety and the desire that lay beneath.
“Let her be, Oliver. Can’t you see that she’s in shock?” the doctor scolded him and tore his hand from her arm.
Oddly enough the spot now felt cold in comparison, his body heat having left her. Not wanting him to say anything else on the subject, Ursula asked a question of her own, “Who are you? Why didn’t you bring me to a hospital?”
Oliver and the doctor exchanged an odd look. She noticed how his Adam’s Apple bobbed, before he turned his face back to her.
“As I said, I thought it better if . . . ” His voice trailed off.
“I was closer than the nearest hospital,” the doctor continued in his stead. “And time was of the essence.”
While Ursula believed that time had indeed been of the essence, she wasn’t convinced that it had been easier to bring her to a private home. “So this is your house?”
Dr. Giles shook her head. “No, it’s Oliver’s.”
“Actually, my, uh . . . parents’ house.” He looked almost embarrassed about his admission.
“I live only a few blocks away,” the doctor continued. “Oliver did the right thing to bring you here.”
Ursula looked at her arm and noticed the bandage that was wrapped around it where her skin had met with a metal rod from the fire escape and lost the uneven battle. It was true, the doctor had patched her up. She also felt better, not as woozy, and stronger too. In a hospital they couldn’t have done any better either. She was well enough to leave.
“I thank you very much for helping me.”
She swung her legs off the couch and pushed the pillow and the blanket off her lap, then pulled herself up. Instantly she swayed. Oliver jumped up from his crouching position and caught her just as her knees buckled.
His muscular arms reached around her, holding her up, reminding her of their earlier embrace. Heat suffused her cheeks, because a desire to rub herself against him to find release overwhelmed her even now in the weakened state she found herself in.
“Woah, woah,” Maya called out. “I said I took care of your injuries, but that doesn’t mean you’re fit to get up yet. You’re still too weak.”
“I’m fine, I just need a moment.” She pushed against Oliver, but he didn’t release her. Instead he held her even tighter. Their gazes collided.
“Don’t you remember what you said to me?” he whispered. “Not even what you did then?”
She knew he was alluding to her offer and her kiss, but as much as she wanted to admit the truth, she couldn’t, because it would also mean admitting that she was running from somebody, and to explain why she had two puncture wounds on her neck. Anybody who’d ever watched a Dracula movie would know what this meant. All she could do was to deny she knew anything about it, so she could leave and return home. Home. See her parents. Feel safe again.
“I need to call my parents. I need to talk to them.”
The doctor moved closer and addressed Oliver, “Let her sit down again.” Then the doctor smiled at her. “You’ll need to rest a bit first. You can talk to your parents a little later. First, I’d like to ask you a few more things.”
Somewhat reluctantly, Oliver helped her sit down on the sofa. When she felt the soft cushions support her back, she let out a breath of relief. One more second in his arms, and she would have started panting. It was clear that the sexual arousal the vampire’s bite had caused in her, had still not left her body. Even after what must have been an hour or even two after being bitten by the leech, she still felt the need to touch and be touched.