Home > Moonshifted (Edie Spence #2)(16)

Moonshifted (Edie Spence #2)(16)
Author: Cassie Alexander

“Make him into a vampire then—” I prodded. It was what he’d wanted—what all daytimers did.

“With a human, vampire blood can only heal so much. And there are some things that becoming a vampire will not heal. You cannot regrow lost flesh—things lost in life, unhealed, stay gone. Would you want to live forever, like he is now?”

And I remembered Dren, eternally pissed at me for the loss of his hand, and his task for me tonight. I shook my head, and she nodded. “You see my point.”

Sike flipped her compact closed and pocketed it. Then she rewound the gauze around him, still bloody from the first time through.

“I can get you clean gauze, at least.”

“It doesn’t matter now.” She stood. “Gideon, follow me.”

Gideon stood and hobbled forward, like a stiff but obedient dog.

“Where will you take him?” I asked her, stepping out of their way.

She smiled cruelly. “Home.”

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Even if I had wanted to eat on my break, I didn’t have any time. The rest of Y4’s P.M. shift looked at me like I was some sort of traitor, which I supposed I was now. I put the trank gun away after taking out the darts, tossed Sike’s stolen lab coat into my locker, and went to wait for the elevator to head back up to trauma.

The doors opened and I heard steps from Y4 behind me. I hit the elevator’s CLOSE button and held it. I didn’t want to hear it from anyone else on my floor. At the last moment, a jacketed hand jabbed between the closing doors, sending them open again.

“Hey—” It was the were from this morning, the one who’d been leaning on my car. He shouldered his way into the elevator. I ran to the rear, putting my back into the corner. “No—look,” he said, then saw me and stopped where he was. “This is pretty threatening, isn’t it?”

“Yes.” My hands were up, pushing him away, even though I knew there’d be no way I could win a fight with him. He backed up, keeping his hands spread wide to hold the doors open.

“I’m sorry about this morning,” he said. I stood straighter and put my hands down. “I just didn’t expect for anything to ever happen to my uncle.”

I had no idea if Winter’s status had changed—I hadn’t looked at any charts on my way out the door. “I’m afraid I still don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I know that you know.” He gave me an exhausted smile. “Thanks for keeping him alive, last night.”

“You’re welcome,” I said, unsure precisely what I was taking credit for when Gina’d done most of the work. He stepped back, then doors of the elevator closed, and the elevator rose up to the ground floor.

How lovely it was to sound honorable when I was 99 percent I sure would be bleeding his uncle tonight.

* * *

I would have sat down in the elevator to think, if it didn’t stink of were-piss from all the visitors that’d marked their territory as they rode up and down. A curl of gauze rode with me, Gideon’s, from his exit. It was half covered in blood and stuck to the floor. I’d probably stepped on it on my way inside.

I had no doubt that Dren would make good on his promise to drain Jake if I didn’t comply. Vampires were only honor-bound where other vampires were concerned—humans and daytimers were replaceable, as Gideon had found out.

It wasn’t the getting blood, so much as the not knowing what it’d be used for. Winter probably had enough blood now to spare—I knew we’d tanked him up with transfusions, ever since he’d been hit. But what would Dren do with the blood once I gave it to him? Dren was a Husker, a kind of vampire bounty hunter, which gave him some mandate to go around messing with people’s lives. I spent the duration of the elevator ride up pondering what Winter’s blood could possibly mean to him.

In the end, I supposed it didn’t matter—because what it meant to me was that Jake would be all right. I’d saved Jake from himself too many times for me to let him down now.

* * *

I walked into trauma past the charge nurse’s desk.

“You’re late,” said the charge nurse. “Again.”

“Sorry.”

“Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean you can break the rules,” she said. Are you stupid?

“Yeah.”

I made my way back to my assigned room. Luz saw me and glared. I sighed and proceeded to ignore her through my next assessment of Javier. He’d only lost a quarter of a centimeter of feeling this time. Maybe the swelling in his spine was going down. The dots down his side hadn’t always been regular up to this point. Who knew.

I bided my time until shift change. Luz tried to get the next nurse to let her spend the night, like I thought she would, and was refused, much to both their chagrin: my replacement’s, that Luz was still there to ask, and Luz’s because she hadn’t gotten her way.

I listened to their heated argument as I co-signed the chart. Tonight was going to be long for everyone.

* * *

The thought of holiday pay was no longer enough to sustain me as I walked back down to Y4. Between being tired, being hungry, and being disgusted with myself over Gideon, Dren, and Jake, I had no strength left to hold up my head.

I slouched into the locker room and changed my scrubs quickly, so I wouldn’t bring strange germs back down. As if anything I’d seen in trauma could be stranger than my job here.

Gina came in, all coats and cold from the outdoors. I was surprised to see her. “You do realize there’s no holiday pay after midnight?” I asked.

“Yeah, I know.”

“Um. So how was the thing with the thing?”

Gina hissed out air through pursed lips, hauling off her outdoor gear. “Spent Christmas with my folks. Avoided Brandon entirely. I got called into work, and here I am.”

“If I didn’t know better I’d say you were exhibiting classic avoidance behavior. Or oppositional defiance disorder. I always get those two confused.”

Gina snorted as she opened her locker. “It’s a good thing you don’t know better then.” I headed toward the door of the locker room. “Hey, Edie.” Gina called after me. “Thanks for asking.”

“Sure.”

* * *

I went out to Y4. Meaty was nowhere to be seen, but there was a ton of talking from the were-corral side of the room, around the bend. I found my name on the assignment board—I was with Gina again, and Winter, same as last night.

Meaty came back from the corral side of the floor just as Gina came up behind me. “Spence, Martin—break room consult now,” Meaty said and lumbered off the floor.

“Marteen?” I said, pronouncing Gina’s name with the same accent Meaty had given it. “I always thought it was just Martin.”

“Yeah, because you’re white.”

“Why didn’t you ever correct me?”

“Because I’m lazy.”

“Which is clearly why you’ve gone through more schooling than I have, Ms. Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.”

Gina rolled her eyes. “All those extra letters mean is I get to be the one standing nearer the teeth.”

We reached the break room door together. Meaty already occupied the far side of the table, waiting for us.

“We all need to be on the same page here,” he began. “First thing—we’re trying to set boundaries on visitors, but day shift was a freaking circus. Between family members, gawkers, and people paying their respects—” Meaty made a disgusted sound. Each of us knew gawkers/family/respectors were often the same thing. “We’ve told them visitors have to leave for the night, but I expect it’ll start up early this morning again. Second thing—they’ve started posting guards at the door.”

“They don’t trust us?” Gina asked.

“Deepest Snow doesn’t trust anyone. Don’t take it personally. Just know they’re going to look at your paperwork and watch you with the eyes of a hawk.”

Gina hissed in disappointment. “I knew I should have ignored that call tonight.”

“Do we have to talk to them?” I asked.

“Only to answer their questions. Don’t go looking for additional topics of conversation.” Meaty looked from one to the other of us. “Last but not least, the family’s produced a DNR.”

“Oh, f**k,” Gina cursed, and I groaned.

At this late stage in the game, Do Not Resuscitates were slippery fish. Unless you had yours on you, say tattooed on your chest when you collapsed, by the time you got to the hospital it was usually too late. Tubes had been installed to make you breathe—it was one thing for everyone to make an informed decision about not putting tubes in in the first place. It was another thing, after that, for family members to agree on disconnecting them.

“Does everyone agree?” I asked. The other thing about DNRs was that anyone could tell you to ignore them—from a wife or firstborn, right on down to a distant cousin. Anyone who had any need for closure could say stop, and pull the brakes on the death train.

“The nephew is recusing himself. The daughter is undecided. We’re having a family conference tomorrow. I suspect they’ll want to hold off until the full moon.”

“Shitty way to spend the day after Christmas,” I said.

“Shitty way to spend the next eight hours,” Gina said, giving me a glare.

She was right. We would spend the night keeping him keeping on, but not have much room for error. If he crashed and we did extraordinary things to save him—all our good work might be undone tomorrow. And who knew how long he’d hang on afterward? We would drive his body right past death’s station, and who knew when the next stop would be? I’d seen people with DNRs continue living for weeks, not just days.

Or if he did die, and the family hadn’t come to a resolution yet, they’d be looking at us firmly. People experiencing sudden tragedy usually wanted someone to blame. Couldn’t punish death or fate, but you could definitely punish staff.

   
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