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Julie pushed the door open and walked inside. Eli lay silently on the hospital bed, staring at the same game on TV that Simon was watching in the waiting room. He still sported a neck brace, and he looked incredibly uncomfortable. Julie walked by his bed and sat on an orange, vinyl-upholstered chair in the corner of the room. Eli looked over at her and raised his eyebrows. Her heart flipped in her chest. Even in a hospital gown and a neck brace, he was still the hottest guy Julie had ever seen.“That was probably the worst three dollars I ever spent. I hardly got to see any of the game at all.”
“You mean you didn’t buy an activity pass?”
Julie shook her head and leaned back in her seat, trying to appear relaxed. “I hadn’t planned on attending any games. I’m not normally a sports fan.”
“Wow, then I feel pretty honored that you came to see me.”
Julie smiled. “You should be.”
Eli started to smile, and then winced, obviously in pain.
Julie hopped off the chair and ran to his side, clutching his hand in hers. A jolt of electricity raced up her arm. She was so glad to feel it, but it immediately began to wreak its normal havoc on her.
“Are you okay?” She was now breathing too hard, and those familiar spots of color were beginning to cloud her vision.
“I’m gonna be okay, Julie, but you look like you’re about to pass out. You better sit.”
Julie nodded. She did feel like she was going to pass out. She took a step away from the bed, intent on heading back to the ugly orange chair in the corner, but Eli still had hold of her hand, and pulled her back.
“Sit here, on my bed.”
Julie had no time to protest. She knew if she didn’t sit, she’d end up on the floor. She sat, pulled her hands out of Eli’s, closed her eyes, and breathed deeply, trying to gain control of herself. By the second breath, she was feeling a bit better. She opened her eyes to a smirking Eli Sullivan.
“What?” she snapped. His smirk immediately softened into a concerned smile.
“I’m sorry my touch has this ... effect on you. It doesn’t seem to affect anybody else quite like this.”
Liana stood in the doorway. She whispered the words again and nodded towards Julie. The foreign words meant nothing to Julie, but she could see Eli understood them. His brow furrowed.
“No, Liana. It’s too late.”
Liana backed out of the doorway and disappeared down the hall. Julie looked at Eli suspiciously.
“What did she say?”
Eli crossed his arms across his chest and stared at the ceiling. “Nothing you need to be concerned with.”
“It must be something important if you said it was too late. Too late for what?”
Eli started to shake his head, but stopped with a groan and a gasp of pain. “Ah, cripes, Julie. It’s nothing. She’s just a meddling old woman who needs to mind her own business.” Julie was about to push for an answer again when Eli closed his eyes and grimaced. Droplets of sweat spotted his forehead and upper lip.
Julie slid off the bed and grabbed a washcloth. She held it under a stream of cold water, rung it out, and laid it across Eli’s forehead.
“Is it bad?” she whispered.
Eli bit his lower lip. “It’ll pass. It always does.”
Julie sat helplessly by Eli’s side and watched as Eli fought silently against the pain that wracked his body ... the healing pain of immortality. It was mind-boggling. Eli should be dead, or at the very least, paralyzed from his injury, and here he was, on his way to being completely healed. Julie wondered how many times he’d already gone through this. Had he ever actually experienced death?
The grimace on Eli’s face relaxed bit by bit as his breathing slowed. He was asleep. The worst of it must be over. Julie slid softly off the bed, careful not to disturb him, and curled up in the orange chair. She stared at Eli ... at the steady rising and falling of his chest. He just cheated death. Death. It was something she’d spent most of the last five years thinking about. But it was her own death she contemplated. The thought of someone else dying, someone she ... cared about, frightened her, more than the reality of her own death ever could. Her death was inevitable. It was just a matter of time.
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