Cordelia patted his hand, thinking to what Athena had said. She must feed her little plant with Nikolai’s blood; but how? She thought, sitting by his bedside in vigil. Nikolai’s phone rang, Jenna stared at Nikolai’s drained face.
“Want me to answer that Nik? It’s Mikayla.”
“Please.” He muttered.
“Um, hello Mikayla it’s Jenna.”
“Why are you using Nik’s phone?”
“Um, he’s not so well. Do you want me to take a message or something?”
“Jenna, is there something that you’re not telling me?”
“Oh I dunno, does he have a serious illness or something?”
“Look, I only know as much as you Mikayla. Nikolai suffered a head injury just over a week ago; he has been very tired ever since and…”
“Has he been back to the hospital?”
“No. He wouldn’t go.”
“What the hell? Are you meaning to tell me that you’ve been fully aware that Nik hasn’t been right and none of you have done anything about it! How stupid are you? Get him to hospital right away, ring that hospital number; he’s been in before, right?”
“Yes, but he told you that.”
“Yes he did. Ring them or just take him there for God’s sake!”
“Should- should I call you back?”
“Jenna, has he even been taking painkillers?”
“I don’t know Mikayla.”
“Wow, you’re such a good colleague and supposed friend of his. Aren’t you all supposed to be looking out for him?”
“We’re trying our best, but he is 21.”
Jenna ran her fingers through her long hair; pacing up and down in her bedroom. She wanted to scream and a part of her wanted to cry.
“Clearly not. Oh for God’s sake; pass me on to Nikolai!”
“Listen Mikayla, I don’t think that’s a good idea. I know you’re upset but you’ll only get Nikolai worked up if I pass you on and…”
Nikolai shook his head pursing his lips as he outstretched his right arm.
“Pass me the phone please Jenna.”
She handed it to him, taking a step back and went to turn around and walk out the door. Nikolai shook his head, tapping the chair by the side of his bed. Jenna nodded and returned to his side.
“No you look Nikolai; why didn’t you get someone to call me?”
“Things have been a little bit odd. They just forgot, there’s no need to have a go at Jenna. I asked Jenna and Tim not to take me back to the hospital, that was my decision no-one else’s. We’ve known each other for such a short time and..”
“Oh great! So I’m in the wrong now am I?”
“Don’t call me that, not right now!”
“Sorry. All I mean to say is that Jenna wouldn’t do anything without my consent. Don’t worry about me, I’m going to be fine.”
“Can I come to your boat and see you?”
“Tomorrow. How about a beach walk at say, I don’t know 10am?”
“Okay.” She whispered.
“Great, well I’ll really look forward to it.”
“Just you and me?”
“Yes, yes of course.”
“Bye Mikayla; I love you.”
Nikolai ended the call and rubbed his head, as he observed lines forming on Jenna’s forehead.
Nikolai gazed at Jenna, placing his phone down on the sunshine yellow bed spread.
“You were so calm. Nik”
“I mean, really collected. Was she having a hissy fit on the end of the line?”
“Something like that.” Nikolai smiled, resting his head back against the pillows. “Oooh, who’s this?”
Cordelia tiptoed into the bedroom; clad in one of her pretty dresses.
“Hello you!” Nikolai smiled. “Come and join us.”
Cordelia grinned and danced over to the bed, sitting on the opposite side to Jenna.
“Where have you been hiding Cordelia?”
She gazed at him, he looked so tired. Cordelia pointed to Nikolai and then pressed the palms of her hands together, resting her head upon them.
“Oh um, am I tired?”
“Yeah I am, but it’s so nice to have company don’t you think? I love company, I could never be a hermit and live all alone.”
Cordelia laughed, did he mean a crab?
“What’s so funny?”
She took her hand and placed it on his bed, making her fingers scuttle along the bed spread.
“Ha! Oh no, not a hermit crab! A hermit. It’s someone who lives by themselves and hides away from society. Brilliant!” His mouth spread into a wide smile, and for the first time his eyes matched, twinkling in the artificial lighting in the room.
“Jeez, I’m tired. I’m so tempted to have 40 winks, do you mind at all?”
Cordelia shook her head.
“You can stay if you like.”
Cordelia examined Nikolai’s slender, dozing form lying upon the bed. She looked him up and down, wondering how on earth she was going to bring herself to extract blood from such a beautiful human being. Cordelia sighed a little, wishing that she could sing a lullaby. Instead she leaned forwards and placed her chin on his coverlet, watching his chest rise and fall. Something was not quite right. He wasn’t the Nikolai who had helped from the beach or taken her shopping, he was exhausted; more like the Nikolai who she had taken to the beach; weak and exhausted. She wanted to kiss him again like she had done then and rub his hand between hers.
“Cordelia?” He muttered. “Why are you staring at me? I can sense it.”
She froze as his eyes opened, and proceeded to tap her necklace against her lips. Nikolai pointed to it.
“That’s so unusual. I keep meaning to ask you where you got that from; is it antique?”
Well he’s partly right. Cordelia thought; the necklace had been in her family for generations. She nodded.
“Sentimental? Umm, is it special to you?” She nodded again.
“Those are the most important items. Keep it safe.”
Cordelia looked at him, puzzling over his small, unusual piece of advice as he closed his eyes again.
“Urgh, I’m getting a bit of a headache I think. They’re a nuisance. I thought the aching would go by now. You could sing to me? Oh um I’m sorry.”
Cordelia stared at her dress. “That was such a stupid thing for me to say. It just slipped out babe, sorry.” He placed his hand over hers and squeezed it. “Are you okay?”
Cordelia nodded. ‘Hold me’ she wished. ‘Hold me close to you and tell me that you love me. Time is running out Nikolai. There are so many things that I need to say; but can’t. They’re getting trapped inside. I love you, why can’t you love me too?’
©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014