Home > Eden (Providence #3)(18)

Eden (Providence #3)(18)
Author: Jamie McGuire

Pul ing the stethoscope from her ears, the nurse seemed satisfied. “Doc said you can be discharged, but because it’s late, he wants to keep you one more night and let you go first thing in the morning.”

Kim lowered her hand, letting it fal to her thigh.

“Agh….” Ryan huffed. His expression screwed into disgust.

Claire rol ed her eyes. “One more night is nothing. Quit whining.”

One side of Ryan’s mouth pul ed up. “When I get home, you can come into the apartment, you know. You don’t have to sit outside in the Lotus.”

“No, thank you. I can’t do my job properly and listen to you flap your jaws all night.”

“We don’t have to talk,” Ryan grinned.

Jared stood. “On that note We’ll be leaving,” he looked to me, “preferably before I vomit cheeseburger in Ryan’s lap for insinuating anything remotely intimate about my baby sister.”

Claire was speechless, and I frowned. “Ryan. Real y?”

Ryan laughed hysterical y.

Jared promptly led me to the elevator by the hand. He couldn’t get away from Ryan fast enough. Kim fol owed us into the hal way. Jared pushed the button, and then waited for Kim to speak.

She crossed her arms, already saying what she had come to say. She watched Jared expectantly.

He sighed. “I need more time.”

“You promised. What are you waiting for, anyway? Nina is pregnant. The prophecy has begun. It can only go one of two ways now.”

“I want to take it back to Woonsocket and spend a couple of days with Father Francis. We could find a weakness. We could find a way to avoid a confrontation all together.”

“That’s reaching, even for you,” Kim said. Her pale cheeks were turning a soft shade of red. Kim being upset was so foreign to me that I almost couldn’t process it.

“You and Nina just have a few weeks before summer break. Nina can’t miss any more classes, and I can’t go without her.”

Kim narrowed her eyes. “You think I care about classes? This is serious, Jared. You promised that if I helped you get the book back, you would help me return it to Jerusalem. You promised.”

Jared rubbed the back of his neck, clearly frustrated. The elevator door opened, and he pul ed both Kim and I inside. An elderly couple walked toward the door. The older gentleman held up his hand, signaling for us to hold the elevator, but Jared quickly pushed the button for the doors to close.

“Jared!” I said, appal ed. “Remind me why we can’t just let Shax have the damn thing?”

Kim shot a sharp look in my direction. “Because it gives him tremendous power, power that someone from the days of Jesus was so afraid for him to have, they risked taking it from him. Now that your fathers have pissed him off, if we hand over his bible, the first person he’l annihilate with that power is you.”

Jared squared his shoulders and lowered his chin. “I understand that you want to return the book and why. Trust me, I do. But when we…once we do this, Kim…it can’t be undone. I wil never get this chance again.”

Kim matched his glare. “Then get it done.”

The elevator door slid open, and Kim walked into the main lobby of the hospital. She didn’t say another word, and she didn’t acknowledge me at al .

Jared and I walked to the Escalade in silence. Both of their arguments made sense. Who could disagree with either side when they both wanted to protect someone they love? My first inclination was to insist Jared hold up his end of their bargain, but protecting me meant protecting our child.

Bean was my first priority.

Jared seemed even more conflicted than I. He was a good man, and going against his word clearly bothered him. He was right; we needed to search every clue—every figurative and literal meaning of every paragraph of the prophecy. Forcing Heaven and Hel into a war was a last resort, and we couldn’t be sure unless we explored every option.

I slept fitful y that night, dreaming about wars and demons and of Bean. My brain ran incessantly, stuck in a pattern of scaring myself awake, and then fal ing back asleep, only to imagine a new frightening scenario. In the hospital, in St. Ann’s, in the Loft, we fought the demons over and over, but every dream ended the same: Bean would be in my arms one moment, gone the next. Panic would take over my every thought, but we all knew it was too late, and nothing more could be done. Desperation would plague me as I insisted Jared figure out a way to find and save our baby, and then unbearable sorrow when I realized it was over…and then my eyes would open.

“Nina,” Jared whispered, fol owing my name with smooth, short phrases in French. For whatever reason, French always seemed to comfort me, and Jared could sense that. His fingers combed through my hair, and his lips grazed the edge of my ear.

The sun cast shadows on every wal of my bedroom. I blinked, trying both to clear my vision and remember what day it was, reminding myself that what seemed like a lifetime of heartbreak was only a dream.

Jared kissed my cheek, and I turned to face him. “That was a rough night,” I said. A tear fel from the outside corner of my eye, down my temple.

Jared used his sleeve to wipe the wet line away. “I noticed.”

I looked out the window. “You know what wil make me feel better?”

“What’s that, sweetheart?”


Jared nodded. “I thought you might say that. When do you want to start?”

“Tonight, after I put some time in at Titan. Is Bex busy?”

“I don’t think so. I’ll ask him, but he’s always up for some sparring with you.”

I forced a sleepy grin. “You should cut in once in a while. I’m sure I bore him to death.”

Jared smiled. “We’ll see. I’m going to whip up some blueberry pancakes.”

“I’m going to whip up a lather in the shower. Do we have salsa?”

Jared’s head jerked back a bit. “I think we have some left, yeah. Why?”

“I’m going to dip my pancakes in it.”

Jared wrinkled his nose and stuck out his tongue. “So hold the maple syrup, then?”

“No, I want the syrup, too,” I said, ambling to the bathroom. I didn’t look behind me to see what revolted expression was on Jared’s face, but he didn’t move from the bed until I turned on the shower.

He was probably beyond disgusted, but it did sound good. What wasn’t appetizing about fresh, spicy tomatoes, cilantro, onion, blueberries and pancake batter soaked in maple syrup? My stomach growled. I was suddenly ravenous.

I rushed through my morning routine, and yanked on a Brown University pul over hoody and a pair of jeans. The button was being stubborn, so I sucked in. When I stil couldn’t get it buttoned, I lay on the bed. Coupled with sucking in, I final y got it fastened. I made my way down the stairs, uncomfortable and stiff.

“We need to do some shopping tonight instead of sparring,” Jared said, joining me.

“We can do both,” I said. “Just don’t take me to a maternity store. I’m not ready for that yet.”

Jared shrugged. “Fair enough. I just want to make sure you’re both comfortable.”

I made a show of looking around the room. “Did you eat my salsa pancakes?”

Jared laughed once. “Absolutely not. Cynthia beat me to the cupboard.”

“She’s making pancakes?”

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