Exploits of a Midnight Traveler (Part 13)

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I nodded.

“That’s a moot point,” Edward said as I nodded. “He’s here now, one way or the other. We need to find out if he has it before it’s too late.”

“If I have what?” I exploded, rage making me careless as I remembered Edward’s hands running up and down Lila’s—my Lila’s—body. “You people have managed to completely wreck my life in the space of a few hours, the least you can do is give me an explanation.”

“We could search him,” Ms. Cold-Smile’s duplicate mused. “At least, his exterior. But we’ll have to wait for the doctor to find out if it’s inside him.”

“Inside me?” I spluttered, trying not to panic at the thought of what they would do to get whatever it was out. “There’s nothing inside me that shouldn’t be there. Lila never gave me anything to swallow. No pills or serums, no—”

“She never kissed you?” Not-Exactly-Lila purred.

Oh, we’d kissed. My god, how we’d kissed, and more. Remembering the heat of those kisses, the desperate fervor as Lila’s tongue explored my mouth, my breath caught in my sternum. I had assumed those kisses to be filled with passion, but what if they were filled with need, instead?

Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe.

Not-Exactly-Lila smiled viciously, her gaze predatory as she watched my thoughts play out through my expressions.

I wanted to deny the possibility, but I knew it was futile. With growing horror I recalled the first few moments after my Lila’s death, when Edward had scanned her hair, her body, her fingernails for whatever It was. If it were small enough that he thought she could hide it beneath a fingernail…

Edward nodded. “Outer exam now, then. The doctor should be here by the time we’ve finished.”

The younger Ms. Cold-Smile advanced toward me.

“Don’t worry,” she soothed, her expression as clinically reassuring as that of a pediatric nurse. “This part won’t hurt a bit.”


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