Bargaining with the Bride(3)

By: Allison Gatta



"I think I should be leaving," a mousy whisper came from the woman cowering by the bedside, fastening the last of her buttons.

"Oh, good idea. You should probably head to the dry cleaner's," Rachael replied.

"The dry cleaners?" The woman knitted her brow as she attempted to side-step Rachael on her way out the door. It was the perfect chance. Rachael tossed the entire contents of her wine glass onto the front of Nurse Betty's white uniform, and the blood-red liquid dripped from the hem onto her bare legs.

"I hear wine stains are pretty tough to get out," Rachael said.

The woman was smarter than Rachael thought, though, because she didn't bother to fight back before she left, closing the door with a gentle click behind her.

"That wasn't really necessary, Rachie." Lance's pants were back on, at least. One less thing to remind her of what had just happened. Though the wine stain on the rug would be a bitch to deal with later.

"I think you're not really in a position to lecture me." She placed her fists on her hips and stared him down, waiting for the groveling. The 'please don't leave' that she would expect of any normal person who had been found boning the nurse their fiancé had been paying for.

But she'd forgotten that Lance was an anomaly of human, the missing link. The ass-hole-asaurus.

"I wouldn't have needed to do that if you didn't work so much," he settled back onto his sick bed, hooking himself back up to the multitudes of beeping machines that surrounded him. He sighed and reached for the remote, as if he'd settled the whole situation. As if he couldn't see the steam that was practically pouring from her ears and the heat rushing to her face.

"You mean if I didn't work so much to cover your medical expenses? Because you can't work? Even though you're a freelance editor? And let's forget about your naughty nurse for a minute. Why don't you go ahead and explain to me how the hell you can suddenly get out of bed? Not only that, did you take some kind of super drug so you can finally muster the energy to fuck somebody?"

"Do you really think there's a need for language like that?" He wore his go-to holier-than-thou simper, his long nose wrinkled as if he'd smelled his bedpan. The worst part was that he hadn't even bothered to look at her. He just flipped through the channels, finally settling on The Young and the Restless. "Can we discuss this when you're a little more rational? My show is on."

"Your show is on?" Her voice had roared like a volcano before, but now it was an ant in the middle of a giant field. Quiet. Almost unnoticeable.

"Yeah, the evil twin just killed her sister, so, you know, it's pretty important."

Fire erupted in her stomach and she leapt like a hyena onto his bed, ripping the remote from his hand before throwing it into the TV, shattering the glass with satisfying force.

He jerked forward, but she held him down, staring at him until he finally met her gaze.

"Listen to me. You're going to explain how you're magically healed. Or I can get my lawyer to have you explain it to a jury."

"Will you at least get off of me?"

"No."

He sighed. "I don't really think this is appropriate."

She lifted him off the bed and slammed his shoulders into the bedpost with a loud thunk. Based on the wild look in his eyes, that had finally gotten his attention.

"All right, well, I've been really improving these past few weeks," he coughed the saddest fake cough the world had ever seen before he continued, "but I've just been so lonely and Gretel was really patient with me." He tried to make his chin quiver, but it looked more like a baby learning how to nod its head for the first time.

"So Gretel Miracle Worker-ed you until you could do her against the wall?"

"Well, it didn't really start against the wall, per say."

"Mmmhmm," she huffed, rolled off of him, and then grabbed his charts from the bottom of his bed. After years of sitting through all of his tests and procedures, she'd learned to decipher most of what they said, though doctor handwriting was still something of a mystery. "Well this is odd."

"What's that?" He groaned and rolled over in the bed, pulling his sheets over his face.

"All of your specialists say you're doing fine. The checkups for the drug treatments say you're performing at record rates. And yet Gretel's reports say that you're getting worse every day. Isn't that curious?" She threw the clipboard onto the ground.

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