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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

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~ Chapter Forty ~
Arianna opened her eyes. The small movement sent shards of pain racing through her brain, but she fought it. Was that Justin’s voice?
She let her head fall to the right, unable to hold it in place. He stood watching her, disbelief filling his features as he realized she was awake.
He was at her side. “Arianna.”
“Yes, thirsty.”
He laughed, looked at the nurse.
She shrugged. “I’ll get you some water.”
After the nurse left, Arianna grabbed Justin’s arm.
“Is he…”
Justin winced. “He’s in jail. They’re going to plead insanity.”
She nodded. “Yes. He… they, are quite mad.”
Justin shook his head. “No he’s not. He’s possessed.”
He shrugged one sweater-clad shoulder. “It’s true. Those eyes, that voice. That’s not some dissociative disorder, Arianna.”
A tear slid down her nose, and he wiped it away. “Is it over?”
Adam cleared his throat, wishing his news was better. “I hope so. They’re keeping him medicated.”
“I don’t know if I can take much more.” She swiped at more tears.
“I know. I wish I could say I would protect you and it happen. But I tried that and failed. He’s cunning and maniacal. I don’t know how to fight that.”
“We can’t. Only God can. How are Mary and the baby?”
“They’re fine. And you need to worry about getting better yourself before adding anything else to your plate.”
She nodded. “I know, but thinking about others will help me do that.”
He nodded, understood. Having a purpose in life made one feel stronger.
He cleared his throat. “Your parents are on their way, you know.”
Shaking her head caused pain to radiate inside her skull, so she stopped the movement and held her breath until it subsided. “Does it make me a monster not to want to see them?”
He caressed her cheek with one finger and caught her gaze. “No. It makes you human. I’m just as convinced as you are they somehow have a part in this.”
“I don’t understand how they could—But,” She paused, hoping he’d understand and she wouldn’t have to finish her sentence.
“I don’t think it was a ‘they’ so much as a ‘he,’ Ari. I’m not saying your mom is innocent, but can’t see her going to those lengths on her own.”
The nurse returned with a pitcher of ice water and a cup. She sat the cup on the wheeled table and filled it with water. “Take small sips, Arianna. We don’t want you throwing up with all the stitches you have.”
The nurse said, “You didn’t know?”
Arianna shook her head. “No.”
The nurse gestured toward Arianna’s arm.
As soon as her eyes lit on the bandaged spot, pain prickled from beneath the white square bandage. Scrunching her nose she said, “I do now.”
They all shared a laugh. “Is there anything else I can get you, Arianna?”
Arianna smiled, suddenly feeling an overwhelming tiredness. “No, but I heard my parents were coming. Would it be possible to get a warning before they come in?”
“Certainly, but is something wrong?”
Not wanting to cause a big stink, Arianna said, “No, I’m just really tired and don’t feel like visitors right now.”
The nurse gave a pointed stare at Justin, but to her credit didn’t comment other than to say, “Will do.”
Alone again, Justin took Arianna’s hands in his. “We need to talk before they get here, Ari. I know you’re tired and hurting, but we have to have a plan of action.”
She grinned, feeling her smile stretch across her face. “Whatever you come up with is fine, Justin. Let’s just be done with this, okay?”
Justin watched his wife’s eyelashes flutter against pale cheeks. She was too tired to fight with him right now. Pulling his shoulders back, he made a decision; He would fight for them both. That’s what husbands did, anyway, wasn’t it?
A rustling noise at the doorway caught his attention and he looked up. Her parents stood in the doorway, one with an extreme look of relief, the other with malevolent anger. There was no doubt in his mind now.  Her father had involvement in her ordeal. But how could a parent do such a thing?
He didn’t have a clue. The one thing he did know was it stopped here and now.
He moved forward, hands up. “I’m sorry. You weren’t supposed to be allowed in right now. Arianna is resting.”
Her father’s face clouded up even more. “Now look here boy…”
Justin laughed. “I’m not a boy, sir. I’m a man. And not only that, I’m your daughter’s husband. And as such, I’m telling you she doesn’t want visitors right now.”