Sunday, January 11, 2015

CHAPTER - THIRTY-THREE is Now Available To Read 

Morgan was put into a private room on the maternity floor two hours later.
She had protested long and hard, but, of course, no one listened. She pulled the
blue sleeper up to her uninjured cheek and rubbed it there for several seconds,
gathering her tears on the little garment.
The room was beautiful really. The TV was state of the art and huge. She
didn’t own a TV set herself. Had never found a reason to purchase one, not that
she could afford one anyway. There was an overstuffed chair next to a fold out
couch. The pretty little aide had told her it was there for anyone to spend the
night if Morgan wanted them to. She was sure it would never be used. The floors
were a very nice wood and the bank of cabinets behind her bed held all the
equipment to use in case there was an emergency, she’d been told. The bed was a
standard hospital bed, narrow and uncomfortable. She wasn’t sure anything
would be comfortable at this point, so didn’t say anything when asked about it.
Nickolas had been in to see her twice since she’d been moved to this room.
She hadn’t spoken to him either time. He’d tried hard to get her to answer him,
but she didn’t have the energy, so she just closed her eyes and ignored him the
best she could.
“Morgan? Would you talk to me please?” She closed her eyes. She didn’t
want to talk to Ms. Parker right now either.
She rolled over on her back, only moaning once, and pulled her hand with
the sleeper in it under the sheet again. “Ms. Parker, I don’t want to talk to
anyone. I just want them to let me go home, but, of course, they won’t. As for
why I’m here, I’m not pressing charges and I refuse to talk about it.” The police
had been in to see her in the emergency room. She had told them that she didn’t
remember what had happened and that she was fine.
“All right, we won’t talk about who hit you. For now anyway. I want to talk
to you about the baby. Is it Nicky’s?”
Morgan rolled back over to her side and pulled the sleeper to her cheek
again. She didn’t understand why the silly thing gave her comfort, but she’d
been using it as a way to soothe herself for so long that she didn’t try and figure
it out anymore. She had just about broken herself of touching her belly about
three weeks ago. But more and more, that had become harder to do too.
“It’s no one’s. I’’ll go to a good family as soon as it delivers. I’m not
asking anything of anyone.”
“It? You mean your child? Oh, Morgan, it’s a child, not an ‘it.’ Turn around
and look at me.”
“No. I’m not becoming attached to something I can’t have. Ms. Parker, I
know you mean well, but this isn’t any of your business. I did what was required
of me by law. I notified all men who’d had sex with me recently and told them of predicament. It in no way implied responsibility to anyone.”
“I see. And just how many other men, other than Nicky, did you need to
inform? Two, ten, two dozen? How many, Morgan?” she snarled at her.
Morgan didn’t answer, but continued to stare blankly at the couch no one
would use. Why should she believe her when no one else did, she wondered?
She knew that Nickolas didn’t. If he had, then she wouldn’t be having a DNA
test done in an hour.
“Morgan, I’m...”
“I’m really tired, Ms. Parker. I’d like to take a nap, please. I think I’m going
home tomorrow, so I’ll tell you good-bye now.” It was a long moment before she
heard her moving around. When Ms. Parker touched her back briefly, she almost
rolled over and asked for...she didn’t know, but something. When the door
clicked shut a few seconds later, Morgan gave into the tears and sobbed as
quietly as she could into her pillow.
Nick sat in the chair in Damon’s hospital office while Damon talked to
someone on the phone.
Morgan was scheduled to have the test done in twenty minutes. And then
they were going to perform an ultrasound. She’d never had one. Damon said that
she should have had at least two by this far along in her pregnancy. He’d never
heard why she hadn’t. And for that matter, he’d never found out why Damon
was now her acting doctor.
“That was Devin. He’s across town, stuck in traffic. He can’t make it to the
test. He doesn’t want to reschedule, so he suggested that you sit in as a witness. I
don’t know what Morgan will say, if anything.”
“What’s involved?” He didn’t want to be witness to a blood bath. He hated
the sight of blood, and women’s tears were worse. He was sure with Morgan it
would be ten times worst. Every time she hurt, it felt like a blow to his heart, he
“What we’re doing is an Amniocentesis test. I’ll use the ultrasound to guide
a thin needle into her uterus and through her abdomen. The needle will draw out
a small amount of her amniotic fluid, and that’s what we’ll test.”
“And the risks, what are they?” He knew from Devin that it was a pretty
common thing to demand, even for married couples. People didn’t trust much
“There’s a chance that I could accidentally nick the baby. There’s also a
chance of her miscarrying. Morgan could also experience some cramping and a
little leaking of amniotic fluid, maybe some vaginal bleeding.”
“Miscarry? Does she know this? And she’s okay with this?” He was shocked
about that.
“I asked her; she didn’t answer. But she did sign all the required paperwork
when I asked her to.”
Nick figured he was the only one she wasn’t speaking to. He smiled at that.
“Yeah, okay, I’ll witness it. That’s only if she answers you to the affirmative.”
Fifteen minutes later, he was standing next to her bed in a tiny room with
some expensive equipment. There were two women in the room besides Morgan.
One of them was Mrs. Libby Sugar. The other was a nurse to assist Damon in the
Morgan wasn’t looking at anyone. She had her back to the room when he
walked in and hadn’t turned around when Mrs. Sugar introduced everyone.
“Morgan, I need you to lie on your back, please, and try to lay still. I’m going
to find the position of the baby then I’m...”
“Dr. Grant? Just do the test. Ms. Becky doesn’t want any information. We’ve
discussed this. Please, just finish up so that we can all move on,” Libby said.
Nick looked down at Morgan. She had her left arm over her eyes and her
body was trembling. He could see the tears streaming down the side of her face.
He looked at Mrs. Sugar as she shook her head at him. Something wasn’t right.
He wasn’t sure what it could be, but he knew it deep in his heart.
Nick looked over at Damon as he ran a flat instrument over Morgan’s belly.
When she jumped, he soothed her and asked her to lay still. Suddenly, the room
was filled with the sound of a heartbeat. Loud and clear. Fast, the beating was so
fast. Damon was looking at a little monitor and so he looked too.
Christ. There was a body, small and round. He could make out the beating
then; the little heart was pulsing over and over. Then a hand pressed against the
monitor, a tiny little hand with fingers so small that he could have put the whole
thing into his watch pocket. He burst out laughing. A baby. Morgan had a baby
in there.
Nick looked over to Damon just as he was pulling out a large friggin’ needle.
He felt himself sway slightly. He watched, mesmerized, as he slowly pushed the
needle into Morgan’s belly. Then he heard her whimper.
Blindly, he reached for her hand and when he touched the back of it, she
grabbed him tightly. She clenched him once more, then pulled her hand away
and pushed it under her back away from him. The tears were coming down
faster now and she was shaking harder. He wanted to knock his brother away
and pull her into his arms and comfort her.
“Almost done now, Morgan,” Damon said to her. “You’re doing great.” He
watched as he pulled the syringe out and put the tip into a vial and pushed the
plunger into it. Clear liquid sprayed into it, and then he turned to Mrs. Sugar.
“Mrs. Sugar, you need to take this and put it into the envelope and then seal it.
Nicky, you need to initial that it is the fluid that I removed from Morgan Becky at
Nick watched as the vial was verified, and he signed his name across the seal
and then again on the receipt that he had watched the procedure. A courier was
standing by to take the envelope to the lab on Seventeenth Street. When he went
back to the little room, Morgan was gone. The nurse said that they took her to xray
to do the ultrasound. She would be in her room in about an hour.
“Can I go with her? I’d like to...I don’t know, I want to be with her, I guess.”
He didn’t know why, but it seemed like he should.
“I’m sorry, Dr. Grant, but you aren’t her family. Dr. Sheller is very strict
about that. You could go back to her room and wait for her.” He didn’t know
where she was, so he went back to her room to wait.
When they wheeled her in forty minutes later, he jumped up to help them lift
her over to her freshly made bed. He’d been dozing off and on since he’d figured
out the chair was as comfortable as it looked.
Morgan was pale and had been crying again. He could see how swollen her
eyes were. He could tell she was fighting hard not to say something when the
two guys dropped rather than laid her onto her bed. The nurse that came in with
them ripped into the men in a heartbeat.
“Be careful, you lummox, she’s hurting. Didn’t anyone ever explain to you
two that this is a hospital and people are hurt when they come in? We aren’t
supposed to hurt them more trying to care for them. Now, get out before I box
your ears. Ms. Becky, Dr. Grant said that you could have something for pain if
you’d like it. I think you should take it. You have a really nasty bruise,” Nurse
Fist told her.
“No. Thank you, but no. I’m okay.”
Nick watched her roll to her side again. He thought she was trying to tune
him out, but he wasn’t having any of it, not today. He needed to talk to her and
he needed her to stop crying. Rubbing his chest again, but more over his heart
this time, he thought about crawling into the bed with her and holding her tight.
Ms. Fist glanced over his way, but didn’t say anything. When she was out
the door, he tried talking to Morgan again.
“Morgan, don’t be an ass. If you hurt, take something for it.” He knew that
he could have worded that differently, but he didn’t want her to hurt.
“Get out. I’ve taken your tests, now get out.” She had said it so low, he
wasn’t sure if he’d heard her correctly.
“Morgan, honey, we need to talk about things. I think there has been a few
things said that shouldn’t have—”
“I’m not your honey and I said to get out. Now. Dr. Sheller said you’ll have
your results tomorrow. I want you to go away.”
“Morgan, I want to...” He jumped back when she sat up quickly. Her lip was
still swollen and her eye was still closed from the beating she’d taken yesterday.
There looked to be about a dozen stitches in her cheek, sealing the deep wound.
He didn’t notice that, not right now. All he could focus on was her belly. In the
move from the gurney to the bed, her gown must have shifted, exposing her
entire swollen frame when she sat up.
Morgan’s skin was tight and hard-looking along her abdomen. Her small
frame looked oddly disproportional to the size of her belly. Her breasts had been
full before. He remembered their weight and fullness in his hand and mouth.
Now, they were larger and fuller than he remembered. Her nipples, a rosy shade
of pink, were distended and darker. A deeper pink, almost rose. And then there
were the bruises.
All along her ribs and arms were deep, purpling marks, some as large as his
fist. There was a perfect imprint of fingers where someone had wrapped their
hand around her upper arm and squeezed her hard. Her tight left thigh was
bruised as well with an angry cut that looked deep and painful. There was a
large bruise below her distended belly, just above her hip where Damon had
taken the sample from her.
“Ah, Morgan, honey. I’m so...”
“Get out! Get out now. Please, I beg you, just go away. Please, just go away.”
She pulled the sheet over her and lay back down. She was sobbing now, loud
and hard. His heart broke for her. He started to go to her, to make her let him
hold her. But the nurses, the entire shift, it looked to him, came rushing in at that
moment. One of them ushered him out and closed the curtain to surround her
bed. Even just on the other side of the door, he could still hear her crying. He
wasn’t sure he’d ever forget the sound.

Tune in next week for THIRTY-FOUR

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1800 years ago…
It was time for him to die. Rembrandt was ready. He had put up a good fight and nearly died twice that day, but now he was done and he was ready to die on the battlefield with the rest of his brethren. Death would be merciful, he would finally be with his wife and children.
A being clad in black had other ideas. Rembrandt was meant to help him fight his cause and to help right a wrong that his kind had brought to this world. He gifted the reluctant Rembrandt with a taste for blood and immortality…and more…so much more.
Back to the present...
Rembrandt had had enough. He was over this life 1800 years ago and now he was just sick of it. The creatures he fought, the malefactors, kept growing in numbers and he couldn’t kill them fast enough to keep up. He had fought the battle alone all these years and he wasn’t sure he even wanted to anymore.
Skylar Manning was just trying to be nice. The mysterious man dressed in black was hanging around after closing…again. It was the third time this week. Only this time he grabbed her arm. Her world changed forever.
Suddenly she found herself hunted by shadowy figures with razor sharp teeth, and into the arms of a warrior who craved her as much as she did him…

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Kathi  S Barton 


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