Critically Acclaimed and Award Winning Author of Romantic Fiction in Multiple Genres
Gail R. Delaney
Victor's sorrow was smothering, sucking the air from the room and squeezing Beverly's chest until she had to take a step back and regather her defenses. Swallowing against the onslaught, Beverly walked into the dark room.
Victor sat on the floor with his back against the wall and his knees drawn up, his head buried in the bed of his folded arms. Hot tears burned Beverly's eyes as she knelt beside him, his sadness was so tangible. It raised the hairs on her arms and made her heart ache. She had to fight the urge to reach out and touch his hair, smooth her fingers through it, and comfort him. If the intensity of his emotion was this great just by proximity, Beverly was afraid what she would feel if she touched him. Instead, she knelt as close as she dared without making contact and clenched her hands in her lap.
Before she could say his name, he raised his head, his black eyes seeking her out in the dim light. The soft glow of the hydrogen gel from the hallway lit his features, highlighting the damp streaks on his cheeks.
"Beverly," he said, his lips moist from his tears.
His body shook and his expression twisted with agony as new tears filled his eyes and he looked toward the ceiling. Victor laid a hand across his brow, bracing his head as another wave of anguish slammed through him, and through her. Beverly curled her fists, her nails digging into her palms, and she felt her own tears fall. "Victor, please. Tell me. What is breaking your heart?"
She could barely read his lips, but his repeated words finally registered. "I killed her."
"Who?" she asked.
He shook his head, rolling it against the grayed padding behind him. Like a creeping shadow, Beverly felt the cold presence slide over Victor and push against her. Not like the day before when 'Victor' had snapped out of sleep to attack Michael. Then, she had only felt the other mind that was not Victor. Now she felt them both; the tormented sadness that smothered Victor, and the cold, calculated darkness that reinforced it.
Victor shook his head more violently, pressing the heels of his hands against his temples. "No!" A violent tremor shook his body. "No!"
He started to roll away, and before she could tell herself to stop, Beverly reached for him and wrapped her fingers around his wrists. She gasped at the jolt, but it wasn't the drowing wave she had expected. An echoing scream resounded through her mind, and she felt the dual entity retreat. Victor stiffened and arched, then slumped as his gaze shifted to her again, wide and confused.
Beverly panted several breaths, trying to push past the shock and uncertainty that collided in her mind. If she had been confused before by the mysteries of Victor's haunting, that confusion multiplied exponentially. Victor turned his hands to loosen them from her grasp, but didn't move from her touch. He ran his fingers along her skin and the back of her knuckles, deep lines furrowing his brow as his gaze followed the point of contact. Beverly smiled and did what she had wanted to do since she came into the small cell; stroking her fingers along his short, black hair and cupping his head in her palm.
Victor's eyes closed, and the jumbling chaos that had surrounded him since his awakening quieted to a muffled whisper as he released a shuddered breath. Beverly didn't resist as his arms wrapped around her and pulled her closer. She embraced him, rising on her knees to move closer and let him hold her as tight as he needed.