A Different Blue Page 66

“Tell me a story, Wilson. It can even be a long, boring, dusty English tome.”

“Wow! Tome. Learn a new word, Echohawk?” Wilson wrapped his arms around me as I sagged against him.

“I think you taught me that one, Mr. Dictionary.” I tried not to whimper as the pain swept through me.

“How about Lord of the Flies?”

“How about you just kill me now?” I ground out, my teeth gritted against the onslaught, appreciative of Wilson's diversionary tactics if not his choice in stories.

Wilson's laughter made his chest rumble against my cheek. “Hmm. Too realistic and depressing, right? Let's see . . . dusty tomes . . . how about Ivanhoe?”

“Ivan's Ho'? Sounds like Russian  p**n ,” I quipped tiredly. Wilson laughed again, a sputtering groan. He was practically carrying me at this point and looked almost as exhausted as I felt.

“How about I tell you one,” I offered as the pain eased, and I stepped back from the circle of his arms. “It's my favorite story. I used to beg Jimmy to tell it to me.”

“All right. Let's make our way back to your room and see if all this walking has done any good.”

“This is the story of Waupee –”


“Very funny, Wilson. Fine. I won't use his Indian name. This is the story of White Hawk, the great hunter, and the Star Maiden. One day, White Hawk was out in the woods hunting and he found a strange circle in a clearing. He hid at the edge of the clearing and watched, wondering what made the strange markings.

“Ahhh. Now I will discover the origin of the crop circles,” Wilson interrupted once more.

“Hey! I'm the one who makes the jokes. Be quiet. I have to tell you this story before I can't talk anymore.” I gave him a long look, and he made the motion of zipping his lips. “After a while, White Hawk saw a large woven basket descending from the sky. Twelve beautiful girls climbed out and began dancing in the clearing. As White Hawk watched them, he noticed that all the girls were lovely, but the most beautiful was the youngest, and White Hawk immediately fell in love with her. He ran out, trying to catch her, but the girls screamed and climbed back into the basket, which rose high into the sky until it disappeared in the stars. This happened three more times. White Hawk couldn't eat or sleep. All he could do was think of the star maiden who he had fallen in love with.

“Finally he hatched a plan. He transformed himself into a mouse –” I reached up and placed my hand over Wilson's mouth when he began to speak. “He had powers, okay?” Wilson nodded, but his eyes gleamed with mirth. We had made it back to my hospital room, and Wilson helped me ease down to a sitting position on the edge of the bed. I stayed sitting, holding onto him as I felt my insides start the slow clenching that would build until I was holding back tears. I tried to talk through it, clinging to Wilson's arms as the pressure became almost unbearable.

“He . . . waited,” I panted, speaking in little gasps, “until the star sisters . . . . . . descended from the sky again. He knew . . . they wouldn't . . . . . . be afraid of a small mouse.”

“Of course not. Women love mice,” Wilson amended agreeably, and I laughed and moaned and tried to continue. Wilson smoothed my hair back from my face, following it down my back in steady strokes as I pressed my face into him, trying to escape the pain that was only mine to bear. But he didn't interrupt again as I told the story in fits and gasps.

“When the sisters climbed from the basket and began dancing . . . . . . White Hawk . . . crept closer and closer . . . . . . to the youngest, until he was right . . . next to her. Then he transformed . . . back into a man and swept her up in his arms.” The pain began to ease in increments, and I took several long breaths, unclenching my hands from around Wilson's arms. The man was going to have some serious bruises when all this was over.

“The other sisters screamed and jumped into the basket, which ascended into the sky, leaving the youngest behind. The star maiden cried, but White Hawk wiped her tears away and told her he would love her and take care of her. He told her life on earth was wonderful, and she would be happy with him.”

I stopped talking as a nurse hustled into the room, pushing the curtain aside with a swoop of her hand.

“Okay, sweetie. Let's see where you're at.” I looked up at Wilson as I was eased down onto the bed. He sat down on the stool by the bed and leaned into me, ignoring the nurse and the discomfort of the intimacy I had forced upon him. His face was only inches from mine as he again took my hand and met my gaze.

“You're moving along. You're at a loose seven. Let's see if we can't get that anesthesiologist up here to get you some relief –”

The lights flickered, and suddenly there was a cessation of sound and the darkness was complete. The nurse swore under her breath.

The lights came back on with a whir, and the three of us breathed out in unison.

“The hospital has generators. Don't you worry.” The nurse tried for lightness, but her eyes shifted to the door, and I could tell she was wondering what else the night would bring. “That must be some storm.” She swished back out the door with promises to be right back.

I thought of Tiffa at an airport in Reno and immediately pushed the thought away. She would come, she would make it. There would be someone to hold my baby. Someone had to hold her. I wouldn't be able to. The thought brought ice to my veins and dread pooling in my chest. Tiffa and Jack needed to be there, ready with open arms to swoop up my child and take her immediately away.

Prev Next