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The Struggle

The Struggle

Page 34

“Sure.” I followed behind him, my gaze fixed on Josie.

A look of curiosity filled her features as Basil carried a large silver tray toward the bed. He placed it beside her. “I’ve brought you soup, Kyría, and steamed wild rice with a hint of light sauce.”

Josie gaped at him, and despite everything, a small smile curled the corners of my mouth.

Basil lifted the lids, revealing two large bowls. “I’ve brought water, but if you would like some other type of refreshment, I would be more than happy to retrieve it for you.”

“Water is fine,” she said, glancing at me uncertainly before looking back at Basil. “Thank you.”

“My pleasure, Kyría.” He bowed and then backed away from the bed. “May I be of any other service?”

I shook my head. “That will be all.”

Basil bowed once more and left.

Josie now gaped at me. “Did he . . . did he just call me ‘lady’ and you ‘lord’?”

The smile went up a notch as I returned to her side, picking up the bowl and spoon. “They’re kind of ‘old school’ around here.”

“Okay,” she said, but she was eyeing me with disbelief.

“There’s a lot we need to go over, but I want you to eat as much of this as you can first.” I dipped the spoon in the soup, loading it up with broth and what appeared to be some sort of noodle. “Open up.”

“Are you actually going to hand feed me?”

I glanced down at what I was doing and felt my cheeks heat. “I guess I am.”

“I can feed myself.”

“I know, but I want . . . I want to do this.” And I did. “Besides, you’re busy holding the robe closed over your very, very glorious breasts.”

Josie’s face flushed red and her eyes narrowed. “Don’t talk about my breasts.”

Another grin pulled at my lips. “But I can look at them?”

“No,” she shot back.

Another grin snuck free. “I’m not sure I can promise not to look.” I moved the spoon to her mouth. “But I’ll try.”

Josie watched me for a moment, her look indecipherable, but she opened her mouth. I got about half a dozen spoonfuls of soup in, and half that amount of rice, before she said, “I saw you. You realize that, right?” She leaned back from me. “I saw you out on the balcony, and unless that was a really realistic nightmare, I don’t get what’s happening here.”

“Please eat some more first.”

Anger flashed across her face, and I was thrilled to see it. Anger was better than despair and desolation. “Seth—”

“I will explain everything to you. Everything,” I promised. “But I need you to be better—healthy and whole, and I . . .” My throat suddenly felt thick. “I came back to you—after I left. You weren’t at Gable’s house. You were somewhere else. I didn’t mean to, but I couldn’t stop myself. You were sleeping.”

Her eyes widened. “I thought I felt you. I chalked it up to a dream, but it was you?”

I nodded.

“How in the world?”

“I’ll get to that,” I said. “When I left you, I told myself that I’d never see you again. Obviously I hadn’t held myself to that. I came to you after I left, and then I tried to find you again. That’s how I learned what had happened. I didn’t—I didn’t even know what happened until then, and when I heard that Hyperion had taken you, I have never felt so helpless. I’ve never felt such terror before, because I couldn’t find you. I didn’t know how to find you. I could’ve lost you—lost you in the worst possible way, but I didn’t. You’re here, and right now, I just want to help make you better. To get better, you need to eat, because you told me earlier that you didn’t remember the last time you ate. Please let me do this.”

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