She was lost. Utterly lost to him. As she had always been in his presence. For a moment, everything slipped away. There was no longer glass between them. No longer a room full of people. No longer Rowland or Harrington or Penelope. Just the two of them standing in a ballroom, besotted.
She couldn’t tear herself away. She was awash with all the memories of their time together. Her moment of terror when she had first seen him at the Visage hospital. The time when he had saved her life from a rogue vampire and carried her back to safety. Their first kiss in his apartment when she had finally seen his bravado thaw and the real Beckham shine through. She had been a goner probably from the beginning, but definitely from that moment on. She wanted to relive every kiss and every touch and every smile. She wanted him so much that it hurt.
She reached her hand out toward him wanting nothing more than to believe that this moment was real. To think that he could see her, really see her right now. That this wasn’t all her warped imagination. She didn’t want to wake up drenched in sweat again with his face the last thing she saw before waking. And yet, she’d dream this again and again to know if this one moment was real.
Her heart fluttered and her stomach was lodged in her throat. She waited with bated breath for the moment to break. But it lingered. It could have been a minute or an hour. She didn’t care. Because even though it made no sense, it felt so real.
Then Penelope tugged on his suit coat. His concentration yielded and he belonged to Penelope Sky once more.
Reyna’s heart shattered with his broken glance. For that second he had been hers once more. She didn’t know if she could ever come to terms with knowing he never would be again.
After Harrington’s guard returned her to her cell, Reyna tossed and turned all night long. Sleep didn’t come easy the next day either. Worse yet, when Monday morning dawned, it was time to give blood again. She really wasn’t looking forward to it. Not that she ever had.
She was especially worried that Harrington might show up again to their session. He might lay on his charm and try to be the gentleman he most certainly was not. That he’d want an answer: Prison or paradise? Madness or luxury?
With a start, she pulled herself out of bed delirious from sleep deprivation and even more irritated than normal. Today would not be a good day.
Reyna was fighting to keep her eyes open when the nurse walked in the room pushing the breakfast cart. Except…it wasn’t the nurse.
“Morning,” the woman said with a smile.
She had on the same crisp white nursing outfit as the other nurse. But this woman was in her late twenties and almost seemed…friendly? What had happened to the other nurse?
“Who are you?” Reyna asked. “You’re not the normal nurse.”
“No, I’m not. Nancy is sick today.”
Nancy. So that was her name.
“I’m Meghan with an h. I’m filling in for today. Nancy came down with something. This bug has been going around and we’re attempting to contain it. We’d hate for it to get to our Specialty Residents.”
Specialty. Residents. Yeah, sure. Highly prized prisoners was more like it.
“Are you ready to go?”
“Pretty much never,” she admitted.
“Well, we should probably get the show on the road.” Meghan glanced down at the watch on her wrist as if to say the clock was ticking.
“Aren’t you going to force me to eat?”
“Are you hungry?”
Reyna eyed her skeptically. Nancy must not have prepped this nurse on the rundown.
“I get dizzy if I don’t eat before I get my blood drawn…”
“Grab a banana. You can eat as we go,” Meghan said, brokering no further response.
Okay new girl. Whatever you say.
Reyna grabbed a banana off of the tray and started to eat it as she followed Meghan out of the room. Instead of walking in front of her like Nancy always had, Meghan stood at her side. Her strides were long and confident, mirroring her features—shoulders pushed back, chin raised, stark red hair in a crisp ponytail, no makeup to accent her emerald-green eyes, and a secretive grin that said everything and nothing at all.
They entered the sterile hospital room a few short minutes later, and Meghan gestured for her to take a seat in the comfy chair. Reyna frowned. God, she hated this part.
At least she had a minute to stare at the chessboard before she had to sit. Her gaze rested on the board for longer than normal. After B and the ball, she felt like there had to be a clue in this chessboard. She needed a way to beat him. But her mind turned the subject over and over again and she didn’t see a way to end this. Eventually she moved a pawn forward and relented.