I is for Ian - Page 35


A sound froze me, and I strained my ears in the direction I thought it had come from. It sounded like a door opening and then shutting again. But how could that be if I was the only one left in the hospital?

“Daisy?”

“Yeah?”

“Who else is left here?” I asked.

“Who else—no one,” she said. “No one is there except you apparently.”

“Are you sure?”

“I mean, I thought I was sure you were gone,” she said. “So no, I guess.”

“That doesn’t make me feel any better,” I muttered.

“What? Why? Do you hear something? Oh God, Mina, is someone else there?”

“I don’t know.” The longer the time took between hearing the sound and that moment, the more I started to think I imagined it. Everything had seemingly gone silent since then.

“You don’t know?” Daisy asked.

“I’m really freaked-out right now, Daisy,” I said, my voice rising. “I don’t know. I think I might be hearing things. I thought I heard a door shut…”

I froze as the sound happened again, only this time much closer. My first instinct was to dive behind something and hide, but there was nothing even close. I was in the middle of the lobby floor, completely out in the open and exposed. The giant glass walls of the hospital surrounded me, showing me the feet of snow piling up outside, trapping me where I was. Even if I could get out of the building, I couldn’t get anywhere outside after that. It was like that book The Shining. I was stuck.

With someone.

I winced as footsteps clomped on the tile floor toward me. It was like whoever it was had heard me. Or was hunting me. I was terrified beyond rational thought. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t breathe.

“Mina, talk to me,” Daisy said. “Where are you? Who else is there? Mina!”

The footsteps were rounding a corner nearby, approaching the nurses’ station. Only one door separated them from where I was. The door handle turned, and it creaked open slowly. I gasped in preparation, my nerves tingling, my fingers ready to scratch and claw and fight, and my feet ready to run.

Then I saw his face.

And the fear was replaced by anger, confusion, and outright embarrassment. Of course. Of freaking course.

Ian poked his head through the door and looked around, his eyes eventually falling on mine. He looked every bit as freaked-out and confused as I was. And now we were staring at each other for the second time in a few hours. I felt like he was looking right through my clothes.

“It’s Ian,” I growled. “I have to go.”

“Ian?” Daisy yelled. “Who the hell is Ian?”

I didn’t answer. I hung up, and I began stomping toward the man who had parked in my spot, made me get paint on my coat, gotten special treatment from Dr. Sutton, peeped on me while I was undressing, and now was stuck inside an empty hospital with me while the snow piled up outside and I couldn’t get away from him or have anyone to buffer between us.

And he was going to get an earful about it.

20

IAN

I snapped awake, unsure of where I was. A sound that had been droning on had suddenly stopped, and it shook me out of a dream state that left me completely confused as to whether I was actually awake or not.

Wherever I was, it was comfortable. The pillows were fluffy, and the blankets were warm. Warm enough that I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to open my eyes again after they fluttered shut.

That’s when it slowly dawned on me where I was. It was Dr. Sutton’s suite. I opened one eye to see the cot in the corner where Carl had slept earlier. He wasn’t there, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t around close by. There was a coffee maker in the office room on the other side of the door. If I were him, I would probably be lounging on the couch in there watching the television built into the wall and sipping coffee.

It was still dark outside, only the faintest bit of light coming from behind the mountains, but the thick curtains blocked most of it. If I got up on my knees, I could push them closed and lie back down as long as I wanted. It would be glorious.

As a matter of fact, I could sleep all day. There was nothing for me to do now. I was stuck there, stuck with Carl and nurses and doctors and patients. Stuck with nothing to do unless the storm stopped, and I could shovel our way out of there. But with Carl’s back the way it was and the fact that the doctors were either going to be helping patients or getting rest themselves, I would be doing it alone. A daunting enough task that, again, I just wanted to close my eyes and rest.


Tags: Natasha L. Black Romance
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