Rebekka Franck Box SetWillow Rose
Nine, Ten… Never Sleep Again
Rebekka Franck - Book 5
As usual, he couldn't sleep. It had become quite a big problem for him lately. Henrik Fenger had never been a heavy sleeper, but the last month or so he had hardly been able to sleep at all. He never fell asleep until early in the morning and then, only for a few hours. It was about to drive him crazy. He was tossing and turning in the hotel bed with the girl sleeping next to him. She had fallen asleep after the sex. Henrik thought it would make it easier for him to sleep if he had sex with her first. That was the whole point, but, as it turned out, she was the only one who had fallen asleep after three hours of him riding her in all kinds of positions. He had been rough with her; he knew that, which was why he decided to let her sleep a little, to recover first, before he sent her away.
Now he was having a new thought. Maybe it was her? Maybe he couldn't sleep because of her? Could it be guilt? Did her presence mess him up, because he felt bad for Janni at home alone with the kid as usual when Henrik was out on his business trips?
Henrik shook his head. Nah. That couldn't be why. He had done this a million times; hell he always brought back a hooker from the hotel lobby when he was out on business trips.
But, nevertheless, the girl had to go.
He poked her with his elbow hard in the side and she woke up with a gasp. "What's going on?" she moaned.
"You need to go," Henrik said.
"But it's three in the morning?"
"Grab your stuff. I’ve put money on the dresser for you." He said with a sigh.
"Money? What are you talking about?" The girl lifted her head and looked at him. "You think I'm some kind of hooker?"
"I don't know what you are and I don't care. Take the money or leave it, as long as you're out of here."
She looked at him, confused. "But how? How … how can you think something like that after the night we had? After all the things you said? I thought …" she got out of bed and stared at him. "I thought you were a nice guy. I thought we were having a nice time together."
"So what? You're expecting to get my phone number, is that it? You want to get together and hang out and eat seaweed, drink smoothies and discuss gluten free diets? Is that it?" he said with a shrill voice, pretending he was a girl.
The girl picked up her blouse from the floor. "You ripped this, by the way," she said. "It was pretty expensive."
Henrik looked away. "Buy yourself a new one with the money you earned tonight. You deserve it."
The girl grunted and put on her blouse, then her shoes. Henrik watched her as she bent down to get her other red, high-heeled shoe. She had long legs and a great ass. He would do her again right there on the floor; take her from behind, if he didn’t need to get some sleep soon. Important meeting tomorrow. Important investors who he couldn't blow off.
"You're a real asshole. Has anyone ever told you that?" she said, and put on her jacket.
Henrik smiled. "Oh yeah. Lots of people. Especially women."
The girl scoffed, opened the door, and left while mumbling something in anger.
"Bye bye now. Take care," he yelled after her with a grin.
Women. They all reacted the same way. How was he supposed to know she wasn't a hooker? She looked just like one. Wasn’t that enough for him to assume she was one? And she certainly fucked like one, that was for sure. Oh boy, the things she had done for him. It was almost worth him seeing her a second time.
Henrik yawned and put his head back on the pillow. He really hoped he never ran into this girl again. Well, he was only in town this one night. Tomorrow he was off to Hamburg. A new town meant new women. There was always one who fell for his charm.
The last sucker isn't born yet.
Henrik closed his eyes and tried to sleep, but after half an hour he realized it wasn't going to happen on its own. Henrik grunted and looked at the clock. He only had three more hours before he had to get up. This was really annoying. He got out of bed and walked to his suitcase on the floor. He searched through it, but didn't find what he was looking for. Henrik remembered he had put his toilet bag in the bathroom. He walked in there and spotted the bottle of sleeping pills that he was looking for. But they weren't in the bag next to the sink, as he assumed they would be. No, they were in the hand of a person wearing a doctor's mask, juggling the bottle, making the pills rattle inside of it.
"Looking for these?" the person said. "Can't sleep can we?"
"Who ... Who are you and what are you doing in here? You can't be in here!" Henrik said angrily. Who the hell was this person? A dream? Had he finally fallen asleep? He hadn't heard anyone enter his room.
"Who are you?" he repeated when he spotted a syringe in the person's other hand. Faster than he could react, the needle was pierced through the skin on Henrik's shoulder and the liquid inside of it was injected into his arm, while the person behind the mask said:
"I'm your next nightmare."
"Are we there yet?"
The question came from Julie in the backseat of Peter's car. I turned to look at her. "Just half an hour more," I said.
"I can't wait," she replied with a wide smile. It warmed my heart to see the joy in her eyes. She had been so happy lately, ever since her dad and I decided to give our relationship another try.
"Me either," I said and turned to look out the window again at the beautiful hills and forests. The corn in the fields had just been harvested and autumn was right around the corner. We had taken Julie out of school for a week to all go away to Peter's family estate outside of Aarhus. Peter and I had a lot of healing to do in our relationship and we figured the entire family would benefit from a trip away together, just spending time with each other.
We needed it and Julie, in particular, needed it. Her relationship with her father suffered from the fact that she was a little afraid of him, still. Peter had lost it back when he got back from Iraq and, along with taking too many pills, he had gone crazy and once locked us both inside the basement of our old house. After years in treatment, he was now doing better; the medicine was gone, and along with it, the anger. We had been doing very well for a month and a half now and it was time to mend the broken pieces, we both agreed.
I had never been to the estate by Lake Brabrand before and was looking forward to finally seeing it. It had been in Peter's family for several generations, but he and his brother fought too much to be able to share it properly and Peter had backed out many years ago. But now, the brother had moved to Spain and left it to Peter to take care of. Peter had been coming there a lot to get away from everything and he had told me the place made him feel better, the quietness, the nature, it had helped him clear his mind and make the changes he needed to get better. It had been like therapy to him. And, as far as I could see, it had done wonders. Peter was just like the Peter I had fallen in love with when I first met him during my stay in Iraq, working as a reporter many years ago. He was sweet and caring towards the both of us and I sensed a sadness in him, as well, for having treated us badly when he wasn't well. He felt like he had to make up for it somehow and that made him sweeter than ever.
"I can't wait to play in the yard," Julie said. "You should see it, Mom. It's huge. Like really huge, like an entire forest surrounding the castle."
Julie insisted on calling the place a castle. It was so sweet; she was so easy to impress. "I bet it's great for hide and seek," I said.
"It is, Mom. It's perfect. You'll never find me."
I laughed and looked at my daughter. Her blue eyes were sparkling. I felt a tender pinch in my he
art from love. I really enjoyed being a family again. It felt somehow so right.
Peter smiled. "We're almost there now."
He took the exit and got off the highway. We drove for a long time through forests. I thought about my dad. We had left him back at the house, but he hadn't been well. I felt bad for leaving him like this, but he had told me he was fine. I had called my sister to check in on him now and then. She lived fifteen minutes away so it wasn't too big a request, even if she thought it was.
"I have a life too," she said when I called to ask if she could do this for me. "I have kids who needs to be picked up and dropped off, I have gymnastics, swimming and soccer practice, plus I work full time," she had argued.
"It's just for one week," I said. "We really need to have some time alone as a family if we want this to work. As it is now, Peter is living in a hotel and stopping by every day to be with us. We need some time to see if we’re able to move in together. We need to work on our relationship to become a family again. Just do it for me, okay?"
My sister sighed profoundly. "Alright. I'll do it for you. And for dad. Not for Peter. You know I hate that guy for what he did to you."
"I know. But please promise me that you'll work on forgiving him. If I can, then I think you can too."
My sister exhaled. "Well, maybe I will. Eventually."
"We're here!" Julie shrieked from the backseat and pulled me out of my reverie. I lifted my eyes and looked out the front window. Then I dropped my jaw, literally. It was stunning. Placed in the middle of the lake on a small island was a huge white mansion surrounded by trees.
"Wow," I exclaimed. "It really is a castle."
"I told you, Mom. I told you it was."
"How do we get out there?" I asked. It seemed to be placed in the middle of the water.
"I have a small boat," Peter said.
As he parked the car by the shore, I spotted the small boat in the water. I had to say I was pretty intrigued. I was looking forward to being in a secluded area with my family with no distractions to keep us away from each other. And I certainly got what I wished for.
When Valdemar was born, his mother knew right away that something was wrong. The nurses and doctors wouldn't give him to her and kept turning their backs on her, talking amongst themselves, shaking their heads.
"What's wrong?" Anna asked with a shivering voice. "Why can't I see him? Why won't you give him to me?"
Finally, a doctor turned and gazed at her. His face looked grave and she embraced herself for what he was going to say. Anna could hear the boy cry, so he was alive, that wasn't it, he wasn't born dead. What else could it be that was so terrible that they wouldn't tell her? That they would keep the child away from her? The same child she had been waiting for for so long, wanting so desperately to finally hold in her arms, and then couldn't. Why? Anna simply didn't understand. As the doctor looked at her with his serious eyes, she felt her heart rate go up.
Just say it, for crying out loud.
"There is something that you need to know," the doctor started.
"What's wrong? Is he sick?" Anna asked.
The doctor avoided her eyes. His mouth turned down. "You could say that, but it's not … well it's a little different."
"What is it? Just say it." Anna said, her voice creaking in desperation.
"Well it seems that your boy has ... an abnormality."
"What kind of abnormality?"
"Well, it seems that he … he is missing both of his arms."
Anna fell backwards in the hospital bed. She felt confused. Dumbfounded even. "He's what? What do you mean he is missing his arms?"
"I mean that he was born without arms. We really don't understand why the sonograms failed to reveal these complications."
Anna stared at the doctor with disbelief. She tried really hard, but still couldn't understand what he was saying. How could the baby have no arms?
"I … I … I don't …"
How will he eat? How will he get by? Will the arms grow out eventually? She had so many questions at that particular moment, but couldn't get the words across her lips. How are we going to do this? What will Michael say?
"The father is in the waiting room still, I assume?" the doctor asked.
Anna nodded. A nurse turned to look at her. "Are you ready to see him?" she asked. In her eyes, Anna saw nothing but pity for Anna's situation. Anna didn't care much for that. It made her feel pitiful. And you're not supposed to feel pitiful when you've just given birth to a child, are you? It was supposed to be a time of joy for her and her husband, a time of blessed happiness, wasn't it?
Anna looked at the nurse skeptically. Did she really want to see him? Did she really want this crippled child who could never do anything on his own?
She thought about saying no. For just a short second, she wondered if she could get out of here, get out of this nightmare somehow, maybe if she just jumped out of the bed and started running now? What would happen if she simply left?
"Here he is," the nurse said and handed her a small bundle before Anna could make her decision.
The bundle was so light, so small she was afraid to break what was in it. Anna felt tears press from behind her eyes and tried hard to force them back, just as the baby opened his eyes and looked at her. In that instant Anna knew her life was really changed forever and would never be the same again. Tears rolled across her cheeks as she stroked the boy on the head. Never in her life had she ever seen anything like this boy; never in her life had she felt anything like what she felt at that instant. Looking into those very blue eyes of his changed everything.
Arms or no arms, Anna was in love.
When Henrik Fenger opened his eyes he didn't remember where he was. He blinked a couple of times to focus better. The light in the bathroom felt very bright.
The bathroom? What am I doing in the bathroom? Last night? What happened last night? There was someone in here. There was someone in the bathroom?
Henrik felt suddenly anxious and turned his head to look around him. He realized he was sitting in the bathtub. What was he doing in the bathtub? Had he been sleeping in there? Why? Henrik felt suddenly so thirsty, like he hadn't had anything to drink for days. His tongue was dry and felt sticky inside his mouth. He was groggy, his thoughts clouded, and he could hardly focus. Suddenly, he realized he was very cold and looked down only to discover that his body was covered in ice, all the way up to his chest.
Where the hell did all this ice come from? A bucket next to the bathtub gave him a clue. The ice had to come from the machine in the hallway outside. But why? Why would anyone sink him into ice? Henrik now remembered the needle the person had held in their hand and injected into his arm. It was still sore and there was a small mark from where it had gone through the skin. What had been in that needle? Henrik felt so groggy and had to fight to stay awake. He felt confused. It was so hard to figure out what was going on. Just moving his arm to pull it above the ice took a lot of work. It was just like the time when he had his appendix removed and he had to be put under anesthesia. The waking up was so hard. All he wanted was to go back to sleep. Getting back to reality felt like being punched in the face.
Henrik groaned and tried to move his body underneath the ice, but it was difficult. You need to get up from this cold ice or you'll freeze to death. Move your body. Come on, Henrik. Just do it.
Henrik blinked his eyes and looked up when he spotted something on the white wall in front of him. He blinked again to be able to focus better and soon he realized it was a note. It was taped to the wall. It wasn't hard for him to read it. In big letters it simply said:
DON'T MOVE. CALL 112.
Henrik blinked again trying hard to figure out what this was all about. Was it a dream? Some weird psychedelic nightmare? It had to be. It simply had to be. Had the person drugged him and that was why he was dreaming this strange dream?
Henrik shook his
head. It was hurting badly now.
No, this is no dream. This is real. This is very real.
Henrik turned his head and spotted a small table that had been placed next to the bathtub with his cellphone on top of it. Something felt weird, he thought to himself. Something was different when he tried to move, to turn his torso. The ice numbed it, but it still hurt. Henrik was struck by a strange feeling and reached back his hand to try and touch his back. He pressed his hand slowly and carefully through the ice.
Something is really wrong here.
Henrik didn't dare to touch it anymore. He pulled his hand back with a gasp. Carefully he reached for the phone and dialed the emergency number, 112.
"What's your emergency?" the lady asked.
Henrik felt his heart beat faster and had to focus in order to not lose consciousness. "I … I think something bad happened to me. Please send an ambulance."
"What happened to you sir?"
Henrik moaned. The pain in his back was getting worse by the second now. The anesthesia was wearing off and the ice didn't do much to help him anymore. The realization of what had happened to him was slowly sinking in and it hurt more than anything.
"Sir? Are you still there? What's your emergency? Sir? Can you speak? Are you still there?"
"Yes," he said with drops of sweat springing from his forehead, sweat from excruciating pain. "Yes. I'm here."
"I'm sending an ambulance right away. What's happened?" the woman asked again.
Henrik moaned heavily while seeing black spots in front of his eyes.
"I … I think … someone removed something from inside of me."