Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font  

The Siren

Tiffany Reisz

Page 13

  Author: Tiffany Reisz

  “It’s Royal’s West Coast office, not France in 1799. ”

  J. P. took off his glasses and rubbed his forehead.

  “Bring me her contract. I’ll keep it. ”

  Zach turned on his heel without another word and walked to his office. He paused at the door when he noticed it was cracked open. He remembered very clearly locking it last night since he’d left his laptop on his desk. Warily, he opened the door and entered.

  “Hey, Zach,” Nora said. She sat in his chair behind his desk with her eyes closed.

  “What are you doing here?” he demanded. “How did you get into my office? It was locked. ”

  “Magic. ” She opened her eyes and smiled.

  “You look like hell,” Zach said. Nora had dark circles under her eyes and her face appeared gaunt from lack of sleep.

  Zach came around his desk and she stood up to give him his chair back. She sat on top of his desk and rolled back on it like a bed.

  “I’ve spent the last twelve hours in hell. Sorry, I forgot to bring you a souvenir. ”

  “I have all the souvenirs I need from my own trips there. What are you doing here, Nora?”

  “Apologizing for going off on you last night. ”

  “Apology accepted. Now you can go. J. P. is going to find another editor for you to work with. Probably Thomas Finley. He’s an asshole. You’ll like him. ”

  “There are good assholes and bad assholes. You’re the good kind. I only want to work with you. ”

  “Well, perhaps you shouldn’t have told me to first, fuck the book and second, to fuck myself. ”

  Nora rolled up off his desk and turned to face him. She crossed her arms over her chest. She exhaled slowly.

  “Wesley didn’t come home last night. ”

  “He’s old enough he can go anywhere he pleases, Nora. ”

  “But you don’t know Wes. He calls. He calls all the time. If he’s going to be five minutes late he calls me. I was in Miami a while ago and he called me to tell me he was going to the movies so if I tried to call him and didn’t get him, I wouldn’t worry. That’s Wes. He didn’t come home and he didn’t call. I freaked out. ”

  “I assume you found him?”

  Nora laughed coldly. “Sort of. He’s in the hospital. ”

  Zach sat up in his chair.

  “Good Lord. Is he all right?”

  “He went into diabetic ketoacidosis at the library. No one called me because no one knows I exist. I’m not next of kin. I’m not any kin. ”

  “Have you seen him?”

  “I just came from the hospital where I spent half an hour eavesdropping on his parents while lurking out in the hallway. I can’t go in since they’re there. Zach, I feel…impotent. Bad feeling. ”

  Zach looked away from her and stared out his window. His view was to the east, and if the world was flat and his vision was telescopic he could see all the way to England. He knew how Nora felt. Grace…her parents had come as soon as he called and told them she was in the hospital. As soon as they arrived he knew he’d made a mistake by calling them. The doctors immediately stopped talking to him and starting talking to them instead. He remembered his fury then, how he’d stepped between Grace’s parents and the doctor and told the doctor in no uncertain terms that when a married woman was in the emergency ward, you spoke to her husband first and her parents second. He hadn’t told the doctor to go fuck himself. He’d been far less polite than that.

  “I’m sorry you had to go through that. ”

  “When you called last night I was waiting for news. If God Himself had called me and started telling me the secrets of the universe, I would have told Him to go fuck Himself, too. You can’t take me personally, Zach. Can I make it up to you? Coffee? Tea? Me?”

  Zach laughed. Even exhausted she was still shameless.

  “You need sleep, not caffeine or any other stimulant,” he said, narrowing his eyes at her. She smiled and nodded in agreement.

  “Okay, I’ll leave you alone. Soon as Wes is home again, I promise I’ll get back to the book. Can you email me whatever it was you were going to tell me last night? I’ll read it and do whatever it is you want me to do. ”

  Zach promised to do so and Nora started to leave.

  “When’s the last time you slept, Nora?” he asked before she walked out of his office.

  “Twenty-six hours ago. ”

  Zach winced. “You shouldn’t be driving. Dead writers revise no tales. ”

  “We’ll put that on my tombstone,” Nora said. Zach stared her down. “Fine. I’ve got a friend with a town house a few blocks from here. I’ll go crash at his place. ”

  “No stimulants, remember?” he reminded her. “Actors playing Hamlet are told to stay celibate lest they ruin their performance. ”

  Nora threw a smile over her shoulder. Suddenly, she didn’t look tired or worried anymore. She looked wild and beautiful and so alive.

  “Celibate, Zach? Have you met me?”

  Zach was still laughing after she’d left him. He looked up and saw J. P. standing in the door to his office.

  “So the contract?” J. P. asked.

  Zach looked at his boss.

  “I think I might keep it a little while longer,” Zach said a little sheepishly.

  “And her?”

  Zach reached under his desk and pulled Nora’s manuscript out of the paper-recycling bin.

  “I think I might keep her, too. ”

  * * *

  Nora pulled in at Kingsley’s town house and walked inside without knocking. Nora announced herself to Juliette, Kingsley’s beautiful Haitian secretary and the only other woman in the world besides her he was afraid of. Juliette gave her breakfast and took her up to Kingsley’s opulent bedroom. She could sleep there since Kingsley was gone until tomorrow. Nora stripped out of her clothes and crawled between the sheets—sheets she’d spent more than a few nights on before. She took both of her cell phones out and laid them on the pillow next to hers in case Wesley, Zach, King or Søren called.

  As she faded into sleep, Nora’s mind went to Wesley’s side—she hoped he was feeling better and would be home with her soon. As she pressed deeper into the luxurious sheets, a little part of her sort of wished Søren was there.

  When Nora finally woke up it was almost nine at night. She’d slept for almost twelve straight hours. She showered in Kingsley’s decadent bathroom and dressed in the clothes Juliette had brought for her and left on the chair next to the bed. When she got out of the shower, her hotline rang. She grabbed it and answered it with still wet hands.

  “King—what’s the news?”

  “The good doctor says you are clear for a rendezvous with ton petit garçon malade. His parents succumbed to the doctor’s insistence they let your pet sleep tonight. They are at a hotel. ”

  “Tell Dr. Jonas next time I’ll do that thing he likes with the peanut butter and the cock ring. ”

  “It is without a doubt the sole reason he went to medical school. ”

  Nora left Kingsley’s town house and made her way back to the hospital feeling like a new person. Nearly shivering from the excitement at getting to see Wesley, she parked her car and headed straight to his room. Tiptoeing in, she saw Wesley lying in his hospital bed sound asleep.

  She came up to the bed and looked down at him. His eyelashes fluttered against his tan cheeks and his chest rose and fell slowly. She bent forward and kissed him on the forehead. His eyes flew open and he looked at her as if she was something out of a dream.

  “Nora, thank God. ” He tried to throw his arms around her. But he winced when he realized his arms were taped up with tubes.

  “Don’t move, kid. You’re going to rip something out. I’m right here. How are you feeling?”

  “Perfect now that you’re here. I’ve been going nuts all day trying to figure out how to call you. But if Mom left the r
oom Dad was here and vice versa. They finally left a few minutes ago. The doctor was really insistent they leave me alone tonight. ”

  Nora grinned at him.

  “Friend of yours?” he asked.

  “Friend of a friend. It’s good to have friends in strange places. I’ve got a cop who owes me a favor, too, if you ever get arrested. ”

  “I’ll keep that in mind. ” Wesley reached out and took her hand in his. “I’m so glad you’re here. ”

  “Me, too. I was here earlier creeping in the hallway. I heard your parents talking. Your mom wants you to move home. ”

  “She does, but I’m not going to. I’ve got Dad on my side. We’ll wear her down. ”

  “You better. Good help is so hard to find. So what did the doctor say?”

  Wesley groaned and Nora ran her hand through his hair. It felt so good just to touch him again, to be near him again. She couldn’t believe it had been only one day they’d been apart.

  “I’ve given myself so many shots in the arm that I’ve got scar tissue,” Wesley said, rubbing his upper left biceps. “The insulin isn’t getting through it well enough. I have to change my injection site. ”

  “Thighs?” she asked. “Your cute little ass?”

  “Worse. All my daytime shots in my stomach now and my thigh at night. You know, sticking a needle into your own stomach and leaving it there for five seconds is sort of overrated. ”

  “Tell me about it. Even the biggest kinksters don’t play rough on the stomach. Very sensitive area. When can you come home?”

  “They may let me out tomorrow or the day after. I feel a lot better. Just really tired. ”

  “You look like you lost ten pounds and you didn’t really have any extra to lose. ”

  “You’re the one who’s too skinny, Nora. ”

  “I have gained eight pounds since you moved in and started cooking every day. ”

  “You needed those eight pounds. You were all gristle when I moved in. ”

  “I have to be very tough to beat up on all my bad little boys and girls. I’m going to beat up on you, too, if you ever scare me like that again. ”

  “I don’t plan to. Promise. ”

  Wesley smiled at her and she clutched his hand.

  “Do you want me to run home and bring you anything? Clothes or anything?”

  “Mom will use any excuse to go shopping. She was going to pick some stuff up for me tomorrow morning. ”

  “Okay. I’ll go and let you sleep then. ”

  Wesley sat up and shook his head.

  “Don’t go. Please. ”

  “I’ll stay as long as you want me to, Wes,” she said to the almost panic in his voice. “Scoot over and make room. ”

  Wesley laughed but she wasn’t joking. She carefully crawled into his hospital bed and slid under the wires and tubes. She stretched out next to him and Wesley wrapped an IVed arm around her back. She lay against his chest and closed her eyes.

  “You know, I’ve fooled around in a hospital before but never in the pediatric ward. ”

  “Nora, you’re disgusting. Go to sleep. ”

  “You sleep first. ”

  “I don’t want to sleep. I want to talk to you. ”

  “Good. I don’t want to sleep, either. What do you want to talk about? Horses?”

  “You want to talk about horses?”

  “Don’t be mad but I was digging through your stuff trying to find your friends’ phone numbers. I found the photo album from last summer. And the stupid picture of me with Speakeasy. ”

  She looked up at him. Even in the dark she could see Wesley’s blush.

  “It’s not a stupid picture. You look happy in it. ”

  “Of course I do. I was with you. ”

  Wesley smiled down at her. Nora kissed him on the cheek and rested her head once more against his chest. It was such a relief to hear his heart beating steadily against her ear.