Remember Me(98)

By: Ashlee Mallory

He took her hand, still warm, and held it.

She had to be okay. She just had to be.

He’d never even had a chance to tell her he’d fallen in love with her.

Several times Allie tried to wake up, hearing a voice, feeling a warm hand on hers, but each time she tried to focus and get out of the thick grog she floated in, she was pulled back under.

At one point, she saw her sister bent over her. The dim light from the window behind her hid her face, but not the concern in her voice. She saw Dad and Peg—and tried to say something to them, but she couldn’t get it out.

Allie thought she’d even seen Sam. Stern and angry. Leaning against the back wall or sitting in the chair by the window. His eyes never leaving her.

A voice reached through the haze once. It sounded like Sam. Assuring her she was safe, that they’d caught Señora Sanchez before she could escape.

But what about the son? Where was Javier? She wanted to scream, but she still couldn’t say a word, was still stuck in this awful, boneless limbo.

Darkness engulfed her again, but the terror wouldn’t let go of her heart.

The regular beeping and flashing of Allie’s monitors assured Sam she was safe now.

Or they should have.

Even after the doctor had assured him Allie would be fine, and the police confirmed Señora Sanchez was locked up behind bars, Sam still couldn’t shake the feeling something was off.

Laney finished her cell phone conversation and hung up. Her eyes red from crying, she came over to where he was pacing in the corner. Watching Allie like a hawk.

“Sam. Thank you again for everything.” Laney looked over at her sister, concern and love evident in her worried eyes. She turned back to him. “If it weren’t for you, we might not be here now. Things could have ended…badly. You’ll never know how grateful I am, we all are.”

He nodded and put his hand out to touch her frail arm. She snuffled and started to cry again. “Sorry. Can’t seem to stop.”

“You should get something to eat. Or a cup of tea. A change of scenery.” She started to object, and he held up a hand. “I didn’t say to go home, but maybe go check out the cafeteria. Allie would want you to keep up your strength. She’s going to need you when she wakes up.”

Laney’s eyes filled with even more tears. She nodded finally. “Okay. Just for a few minutes. But I want to be here when she does. Promise you’ll call the moment—”

“I promise. Now go.”

She quietly left the room, and he leaned his head back against the wall behind him. It was a relief to have her gone. He wanted a moment to be alone with Allie without everyone’s eyes on him. He walked over to the door and pushed it almost closed, then turned off the glaring florescent overheads. His eyes felt immediately better. He walked to her bed and switched on the dim nightlight behind it, the only other light in the room.

Hell, she looked so pale, so fragile.

He reached out to caress the softness of her cheek. She didn’t move. She’d been deathly still ever since he’d found her in that tub. Thankfully, the reassuring beeping of the monitors told him she really was okay. Out of harm’s way.

A few minutes passed, and the fatigue he’d been fighting was taking hold. He eased back down in the easy chair in the corner, his body relaxing despite the discomfort of the chair’s vinyl cover…

A loud crash out in the corridor suddenly jerked Sam awake, and he sat perfectly still for a moment trying to get his bearings. Where the hell was he?

In a rush, it all came back to him. He jumped up and saw Allie, still sleeping soundly in the bed. He shook his head. He didn’t want to go to sleep.

Caffeine. That’s what he needed.

He rose to his feet, unsure of the time, and slipped quietly out of the room. Laney should be back any minute. And he was pretty sure he’d seen a waiting room down this hall with a coffee machine.