Haunted Prey Ch. 05bypurefire©
Alauria placed her fingers on the piano keys, poised to create a new composition. It had been a long time since she'd written anything new, and since the night she'd been humiliated, she'd wanted nothing more than to pour her feelings into something productive. Music seemed to be the only outlet she felt comfortable with, but whenever she tried to play, she drew a blank. It was most likely because she was left with the image of his face haunting her. Every minute of every day left her with his memory. The electrical pulses that shot through her body when he kissed her, the intensity of his green eyes when he looked at her... The complete and utter feeling of humiliation when he stood her up. That had been seven days ago and though she'd pretty much told him to leave her the hell alone, she couldn't stop thinking about him. She went so far as to install a small bell on the front door so that she was afforded the opportunity to hear when someone came into the studio. She didn't want to be surprised, Alauria convinced herself, but deep down, she knew that she wanted the extra ten seconds to prepare herself in the event that he showed up.
Her hands were poised over the keys, but she couldn't find the heart to play. Alauria had been that way since the night of their date and it frustrated her. Music was her passion, the only thing she had to turn to when life became complicated. It severely upset her that he was able to take that away from her. "Asshole." On a frustrated sigh, she walked to the back room, hoping that she had enough concentration to prepare a lesson for her next student. She'd been behind on that as well, and had even gone so far as to cancel a few more lessons in order to get herself together. It seemed that the harder she tried to stop thinking about him, the more she did. "This seriously needs to stop." Alauria gathered the music she wanted and felt herself freeze in place when she hard the light signs of the door chimes she had installed. She'd cancelled all of her lessons for the day, so it wasn't a student. That could only mean...
Alauria walked to the main area of the studio and stopped short of who she saw. "What are you doing here?"
He shuffled back and forth for a minute before he said, "I believe your mother told you that I've been looking for you."
"Then she should have told you that I don't want anything to do with you."
There was a moment of silence as both man and woman stared at each other. Alauria took in his appearance, his dark brown eyes and chestnut brown hair, and almost snarled in renewed rage. He was the last person she wanted to see. "Why don't you go back where you came from, Daniel?" The shocked look in his eyes goaded her to push the limit, to say things she would have never thought to speak aloud. "When you walked away, you had no problem staying away. So I see no reason for us to ever be on the same planet let alone in the same room."
"I understand why you're upset-"
"So you'll also understand why I want you to get the hell out."
He remained quiet for a moment. Alauria was beyond upset, he knew, and had a valid reason to be. That didn't dispel any of the anger rising within him. "I will not leave until you have heard what I have to say."
"That's not your choice to make, now is it?"
"I don't care whose choice it is."
Alauria found herself crossing her arms over her chest to keep from hitting him. She really wanted to; Lord knew that she had enough pent up anger and aggression toward men and he was the root of it all. The second she started hitting, however, she wouldn't stop, and the last thing she needed was to get arrested for assault. "I'd like you to leave. Right now."
"Is everything all right here?"
Alauria looked over to the entryway and found herself groaning inwardly at the sight of Lindsay approaching. "Ugh, what do you want?"
Lindsay blinked in surprise at the gruff tone of her voice. "I wanted to talk to you." His original reason for going to the studio was to talk to her, to give her an actual explanation for his actions the week before. Surely seven days was long enough for her to calm down enough to want to hear what he had to say. When he'd heard her yelling, however, he was sure that something was wrong and rushed upstairs to help. Lindsay hadn't expected to see her flushed with anger in front of who he could only described as the original to her carbon copy. Though the man was on the paler side, he had the exact same face as Alauria, down to the dark penetrating eyes. He too was flushed, but it was obvious that it wasn't from anger.
He was face to face with Alauria's father.
"What is it with you men? How many times do I have to say that I don't want to talk to you before you get the point?"
Daniel also crossed his arms over his chest. Despite the fact that he deserved the yelling, he was quite tired of it. "Alauria Jaedyn-"
"You do not get to middle name me, Daniel."
"Alauria, calm down."
"Stay out of this, Lindsay." Alauria felt rage course through her when both men gave each other a similar look of sympathy and support. "Get out! Both of you!"
"Not until we talk," Daniel replied.
The stubborn set to his chin told her that he was completely serious and that there was nothing she could do. She could call the police, but that didn't reflect well on her studio. "Fine. Say it."
Daniel looked from his daughter to the large man standing just a few feet away. He knew for a fact that his daughter's guest would not leave until his got a chance to talk to her, which meant that he had to say what he had to say in front of a complete stranger. "I need your help."
"So let me get this straight; you abandon me and my mother and leave us to think that you dropped off the face of the earth. Well, that would have actually been a gift now that I think about it."
"You leave, stay gone for years and now think that I would actually jump at the chance to help you simply because you ask?"
"It's actually my daughter who needs help."
Alauria took a step back at the information. He had other children? She had siblings? "What?"
"She has aplastic anemia; a condition where she has severely low amounts of all types of blood cells. She needs a bone marrow transplant but neither her mother or I are a good enough match."
"Why come to me?"
"The doctors told us that a sibling would be a better match than a parent. You're only a half sibling, which makes the chances of you being a match even lower, but there is still a chance."
Alauria wasn't sure of how to feel. On the one hand, she resented this sibling of hers for having a father who didn't leave. There was also the fact that a part of her wanted to make her father pay for leaving her, and the only way to do that was to deny his request. But she wasn't so cold hearted. At least she didn't think she was. "So you basically want me to jump to the chance to give a part myself to some stranger who has the bad luck of having the same father that I do?" Alauria shook her head slowly as she let out a disgusted grunt. "I heard what you had to say. Now get out." She didn't give her father a chance to reply as she walked to the back room.
Lindsay remained silent as he watched Alauria walk out of the room. He wasn't sure what to say; based on his history with his father, he understood how she felt. He hadn't known about his brothers until his father summoned them all to become generals of his army. It was a difficult adjustment, going from only child to brother of eleven. Granted, none of them were sick when he learned of them, but he did understand her feelings of resentment toward her father. At the same time, he knew first hand that years of separation did nothing to dispel the feelings of love and affection she could develop for her sister if she helped.
"Her name is Raedyn." Daniel dipped in his head as he said, "Actually, it's Brittania Raedyn, but she prefers to be called Raedyn. My little Rae."
Lindsay watched as Daniel pulled a picture out of his wallet and felt his brow raise when the photo was handed to him. Curiosity made him look down at the picture and he was amazed by how similar she looked to her older sister. Though Raedyn was as pale as her father, she had the same curly hair and dark eyes as her sister. "She's beautiful."
"She's only sixteen."
Lindsay could only nod at Daniel. Sixteen was extremely young. She still had so much living to do. "I'll give her the picture." He silently watched as Daniel looked around the studio before leaving. Lindsay stood rooted in place for a few minutes, unsure of what to do. Alauria was too upset to have a civil conversation with him and he wasn't in the mood to get yelled at again, but at the same time, he couldn't leave her knowing that she was upset. Her pain hurt him. Despite everything, he only wanted to see her happy.
With determination welling inside him, he walked to the back to talk to her. He found Alauria leaning against the door in defeat. She looked so sad, so... Done. "Are you all right?"
She shook her head slowly as she stared at the ground. No, she wasn't all right; she'd just had to deal with the father she hadn't seen in almost twenty years. On top of that, she'd learned that she had a younger sister. No wonder her mother was so eager for her to call him; all this time she'd known that he had another family. Why hadn't she said anything? Why hadn't her father cared enough about her to be a part of her life?
"I didn't know about my brothers until I was twenty-five. Our father was a bit of a womanizer." And that was the understatement of the year. "But we're all pretty close now."
"Is this your way of saying I should go to the hospital and give her my bone marrow?"
"I'm just saying that despite the fact that you don't know her, she's still your sister at the end of the day."
"Lindsay, what are you doing here?"
"I wanted to talk to you."
"About what? You made your point when you stood me up."
He didn't like that she refused to look at him while she spoke. "I was trying to protect you."
"From what? The fact that you're an asshole in nice guy's clothing?"
If only she knew what he was really protecting her from. As it was, he shouldn't have gone to see her because he hadn't yet pinpointed the demon Raife assigned to follow him. But he couldn't allow her to stay mad at him. "I'm not what you think."
"No, you aren't. Thanks for letting me see that before I got in too deep."
God, why did it have to feel so good when he said her name? "Look, I've already had to deal with one man who had no problem walking away from me." Alauria finally moved to look at him and had to force herself to keep from losing her resolve at the earnest look in his eyes. He was really trying, but she wasn't in a forgiving mood. "I don't have the energy to deal with another."
Finally, the root of why she wasn't willing to listen to him. Lindsay almost let out a sigh of relief when he realized that it was her aversion to feeling abandoned that contributed to her attitude. She was completely justified, and he didn't blame her for them. He simply felt better knowing that there was a way to get her to forgive him and let go of her anger. In the back of his mind, Lindsay knew that he should have just left things as they were, but he couldn't stay away when she was obviously confused and hurting. She was going to need someone to support her and he was determined to be there for her. "I'll leave."
Lindsay hooked his finger beneath her chin so that she had no choice but to look up at him. Her brown eyes were wary and hesitant, the very looks he never wanted to see from her again. "I'll leave, but don't think this is the last you'll see of me."
And there he went with the hot and cold attitude again. "Lindsay, it's better if we just leave it-" Alauria found herself stopped by the soft but quick kiss he placed on her lips. She should have been enraged by his bold move, but shock and fatigue kept her from doing anything other than staring at him. One kiss wasn't enough. Lindsay placed another chaste kiss on her lips, primarily because he knew he would feel as if he was taking advantage of her if he deepened it. He liked that she kissed him back this time and made his pleasure known by kissing her on the cheek. "See you soon," he whispered.
Alauria watched as he walked out of the room and had to touch her fingers to her lips. Even now, knowing that she almost hated him, he was still able to make her tingle with just a touch. She looked down at her hand and found herself staring at the picture she held. Obviously Lindsay had given it to her, but she had no idea when. It was also quite apparent that the young girl in the picture was her sister; they looked so much alike. Could she really make her pay for their father's mistakes?
* * * * *
It took exactly three days for Alauria to come to a decision about her never-seen sister. She decided against talking to her mother about seeing her father; that would only result in an argument in which her mother would stress the importance of doing good things. While her mother would be right, Alauria wanted to make the decision on her own. After long, restless nights agonizing on whether or not she should help a young girl she'd never even met, she'd finally made up her mind. Lindsay's words did manage to influence her the slightest bit, a fact that partially annoyed her. As was his usual habit, he hadn't returned after he left the studio, but that didn't remove the memory of the way he kissed her. It didn't remove the feeling of longing for him either.
Alauria looked toward the door and forced a smile at the woman who walked in. With shoulder length black hair and kind blue eyes, the woman made her feel comforted, as if everything would turn out all right.
The woman walked to Alauria and shook her hand as she said, "I'm Dr. Monroe."
"Are you Raedyn's doctor?"
Alauria nodded quietly as she watched Dr. Monroe look through what she assumed were Raedyn's charts. "So is this going to work?"
Dr. Monroe kept her expression blank as she responded, "Because you two are only half sisters, there is a small chance. We're going to go on with the bone marrow harvest then test your sample to see if you are a match."
"And if I'm not?" Alauria looked around the small office, at the shelves of books and journals, and sighed. She was actually going to go through with this. The wall full of certifications and licenses gave her a degree of confidence in Dr. Monroe's expertise. If she was going to do this, she was going to do it right. She hadn't even told anyone what she planned to do because she wanted the procedure over and done with. Alauria figured she would deal with the ramifications later.
"She's also on the national donor list." Dr. Monroe switched to another chart and frowned before she looked at Alauria. "You're allergic to local anesthetic?"
"Yes, there was a complication when I had my tonsils taken out."
"This may be a problem. Bone Marrow harvests are usually done while the patient is anesthetized."
"So we can't do it?" Alauria felt frustration well within her. After three days of agonizing over whether or not to help her sister, she couldn't even do it?
"There are ways around it. We can sedate you-"
"I don't want to risk being allergic to them too. Is there any way we could do this naturally?"
"Miss Hawkins, this procedure can be extremely painful."
Alauria nodded in understanding. "I can do it. I'll sign whatever clauses you need. I just," She looked down at the ground to keep from becoming hysterical. This should be so difficult, but it was. She was about to go through a painful procedure without drugs, and without a support system, all for a sister she didn't know. "I just want to help her."
Dr. Monroe nodded in response before looking down at the chart once more. "Are you sure about this?" At her patient's nod, she folded her hands in front of her. "Because you are choosing to forgo medication, you should know that we are going to be inserting needles into the iliac crest, that would be your hip bone, to harvest the marrow. You'll be able to go home a few hours after the procedure, but you will be in extreme amounts of pain during the harvest."
"What about after?"
"The pain won't be as intense, but you will be in pain."
"When can we do this?"
"Miss Hawkins, don't you think you should take some more time to think about this?"
"I've done all the thinking I'm going to do. When can we do this?"
"We can have you prepped and ready to go in about an hour."
Alauria breathed a sigh of relief. The sooner she got the procedure done, the sooner she could put the situation behind her. "Will you let me know if I'm a suitable match?"
"If that is what you'd like."
Dr. Monroe nodded a second before saying, "All right, I'll go put you in the schedule. I'll have a nurse bring you all the forms you need and you can fill them out here."
Alauria watched as the doctor walked out of the room and sat back in her seat. Suddenly, she was exhausted. She'd been through too much emotional stress in too little a time. After dealing with Lindsay and her feelings about her father, she had to deal with the emotional ramifications of helping her sister. Her sister. Alauria'd only known about the teenager for three days and now she was possibly saving her life. Did this mean that she was also obligated to meet her? Would their families want them to become more than sisters in name?
Did she even want to know her sister?
Alauria barely paid any mind to the nurse that brought in the forms for her to fill. Twenty minutes of going through the motions of filling the forms and trying to take her mind off the pain she was to go through gave her time to mentally prepare for what was to come. Just as she'd signed the last form, the nurse returned to take her to change and prep for the procedure. Alauria didn't see anything as she was led through the hospital; her mind was focused on the young woman who looked liked her. Had the doctors caught her condition early enough to keep her alive in the event she wasn't a match?
Alauria hadn't realized how engrossed in her thought she'd become until she looked down and found herself in a hospital gown. The nurse who'd led her to her temporary room placed her clothes in the closet. "How much longer?"
"An intern will be by to take you to the procedure room in a few minutes."
Alauria nodded and moved to sit down on the bed. She stared out of the window and again, saw nothing. For some inexplicable reason, she wanted to talk to her father. Dozens of questions flooded her mind and she knew for a fact that she would not get any answers unless she spoke to him specifically. At the same time, she wasn't sure if she wanted the answers to the questions that flooded her mind. So much for simply getting the procedure over and done with before anyone found out she was in the hospital.
She wasn't surprised when she felt the large hand that was gently placed on her shoulder. Alauria didn't have to turn around and look to know who it was. "How did you know I was here?"
"Are you all right?"
Alauria turned and looked up at Lindsay's concerned eyes and found herself sighing when she realized that she didn't want to kick him out. "Didn't your mother ever tell you that it's impolite to answer a question with a question?"
Lindsay smiled at the comment as he ran his fingers over her head. Her usually unbound hair was tied in a tight bun, most likely because of where she was. She looked so sad, so unsure and for the first time, she seemed to look through him and not at. No wonder he'd received a cryptic call from Alexis ordering him to go to the hospital. At first, Lindsay thought there might have been a demon he would have had to get rid of, but once he'd walked past her room and smelled pineapples, he'd been corrected. He'd also been scared out of his mind; immediately thoughts of her in a life or death situation flooded his mind, and he was sure that something was wrong. "What's wrong?"