Chapter 15: From the Ashes of a Phoenix
Angie awoke with a start, her pillow wet with the tears of worry. She had fallen asleep, still wearing her dress from two evenings before. She looked at herself, a mess from two days at sea and worrying herself sick. A shower was definitely in order; and definitely a change of clothes. This dress was finished. She took off her necklace and put it in the dish on the counter, along with the silver ring she had been wearing. She dropped the dress in tatters on the floor and took off the rest of her clothes. She headed for the shower, and turned it on as hot as it would muster. She stepped in and let the water run through her fur, cleaning away the salts and the grime of the days. She washed her face and saw that it was caked with old makeup, sea salts, and the grime of running around. She was a mess indeed. Normally raccoons are the cleanest of animals. How she had gone this long without so much as a moist towellete, she wouldnít understand. She couldnít understand. Her mind was still swept in fog. She dried herself off and walked back out of the bathroom.
She rummaged through her bag, and found nothing. She was still tired anyway, and not in the mood to get dressed. She picked through Gregís back a pulled a white button down shirt from it. She tossed it on over herself, flopped back onto the bed, and fell asleep again. She needed the rest.
Greg woke with a start.
Something wasnít quite right with the world.
Someone was hurt. And he was awake.
Awake? It had only been a day.
So why was he awake?
"Anne," said Badge, "I want you to check in on Angie."
"Not a problem, sir," said Anne.
"You donít have to call me sir," said Badge. "Iím your friend, not your superior."
"I know, Badge," said Anne. "Itís just that Iím used to doctors handing orders and having to be polite to them.
"Well, donít worry about me," said Badge. "I realize that this is rough on you three."
"Yeah," said Anne. "Iím glad that you care enough to deal with this."
"I do care," said Badge, "And I care not just because youíre my passengers, but because I care about you. All of you."
"I didnít know thatís how you felt," said Anne.
"Well," said Badge, "you donít need my sympathy, you need my support." Anne leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.
"Youíre so sweet," said Anne. ĎI wish all the guys I knew were that understanding."
"They arenít," said Badge. "Everyone is different."
"Yeah, but why do I get the worst of the lot?" she asked
"You got me," said Badge.
"You, of course, are the exception," said Anne.
"Greg, you are supposed to be in bed," said Phyla.
"Your highness," said Greg.
"Doctor will be fine," said Phyla. "I hate that royalty business."
"Look Doc," said Greg. "Something is not right with someone, probably Angie. I have to go find out who it is."
"You need to get back into that bed," said Phyla.
"Sorry, Doc. I gotta go," said Greg as he pushed past her. Phyla didnít really see a reason to stop him, but she figured that she had better follow him. Raccoons had a nasty tendency to feel fine, then just get weird on you.
"Seriously Greg," said Phyla. "I want you back in bed. Doctors orders."
"I wasnít the one in the military," said Greg. "Iím a freelance writer. I take orders from no one."
"Defiant bugger arenít you?" she said.
"Itís in my genes," said Greg. "Ask Julie, sheíll tell you."
Julie sat on her bed, twirling her pen in one hand and holding her notepad in the other. Letís see, she needed a script for her next film. Romance? More adventure? She threw down the pen in disgust. She wasnít a writer anymore than Greg was.
"Hey," she said to no one in particular. Greg was a writer. And a good one two. She had a writer, and knowing how much Greg wrote, he probably had the makings of a script somewhere in that magic laptop of his. She picked it up off the table, and flipped open the case. It started up and she looked at the screen that came up. All that looked at her was a blinking prompt: C:\>.
"Now what does that mean?" she said aloud. She closed the laptop and decided that sheíd ask Greg when he got back. She picked up her pen and put it back in the glass on the counter and splashed some water on her face. She put on an over shirt and walked out of the room. She ruffled her black and white fur. At the beginning of this trip, Greg had the same color patterns as her. Turns out it was only because he never got out anymore. Depression and lack of sunlight turned grey hair white; who knew? She looked over and was surprised to see Greg shambling down the hall.
"Greg, you should be in bed," said Julie.
"I told him that," said Phyla. "But he wouldnít have any of it."
"Hey," said Greg, "youíre blocking the doorway." He walked past Julie ad opened the door to his room and quickly closed it again.
"You suppose heís wants to spend a night in his own bed?" asked Julie.
"Possibly," said Phyla. "Heíll be fine though."
Greg walked into the room and saw lying on the bed the beautiful red and white raccoon that had brought him joy only in the weeks that they had know each other. They had been through much, and if things continued at this pace, probably a lot more.
"You coming back?" asked Phyla.
"Yeah," said Greg. "I just had to check on her." He turned to the raccoon. "Do you think I should still be at the hospital?"
"Nah," said Phyla. "You should come back here and rest for a day or too. Youíll be fine." She crossed her arms. "Youíd better be anyway."
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