I found Cathleen not in her own room, but in the living room. She was startled when I entered, and she was probably waiting for me to ask her what she was doing there, but I decided to leave that question for later. Instead I invited her to go out, and although this was not what she had expected, she accepted to go with us.
Thermo decided not to go with us on our night out, because he never really liked crowded places, so he promised to stay home and “guard the fort”.
Doc hired a limousine and we decided to go shopping for some suitable clothes first.
When we pulled up at Fashion Now, Hathor tried to get under one of the benches.
‘I’m not goin’ in there again! I’m stayin’ right here!’
Butch patted him on the shoulder and took his hand. ‘Come, don’t worry.’
Doc and he pulled Hathor to the men’s department.
Red stared after them. ‘What’s he afraid of?’
I laughed and shook my head. ‘We went here once with Halloween and the shop assistant in there dressed him up as a pumpkin.’
We laughed as we entered the women’s department and Cathleen looked around.
‘What kind of clothes are we looking for exactly?’
‘I was just going to ask the same question.’ A colourfully dressed sales assistant suddenly appeared out of nowhere and startled us. She smiled and flashed her long, fake eyelashes at us.
‘We have only the latest fashion, ranging from gala dresses to casual clothes, from wedding dresses to sportswear, from…’
I cleared my throat. ‘We‘re going to a night club and we're looking for something suitable to wear.’
‘Would you please tell me which club? Then I know what to show you.’
‘Sodom and Gomorra.’ I smiled.
The sales assistant lightened up. ‘If you’d be so kind to follow me.’
She guided us through a corridor to a smaller room where all the clothes seemed to glitter and gleam. I was pleased and nodded. ‘This will do fine.’
Red looked around. ‘Wow!’
‘Are you looking for anything in particular?’ The assistant asked me.
I walked over to a clothes rack full of satin.
‘You can help them first. I’ll look around here.’
The assistant turned to Red. ‘Do you know what you’re looking for, miss?’
‘Eh…’ Red looked around some more. ‘Well… I don’t really like skirts or dresses.’
‘Why don’t you try something in patent leather?’ The assistant suggested.
I smiled. ‘Yes, I think that would look marvellous on you.’
Red shrugged. ‘Okay.’
The assistant started looking among the hangers.
‘Would that be the traditional black or a different colour?’
‘Red, of course!’ Red muttered.
Cathleen stared at her with a slightly puzzled look.
‘What about you, miss?’ The assistant asked her.
‘Yes, I was thinking more of something longer.’ She looked at all the small tops and spruce ensembles. ‘Much longer.’
‘I see that you’re more into the classical style. I’ll look for something in green, to go with you wonderful green eyes.’
The assistant turned to me. ‘And for you, miss?’
I pointed at a small satin dress. ‘Do you have that one in purple?’
‘Of course, miss.’ She walked along the rows of clothes and hung some over her arm.
‘Would you please follow me to the fitting rooms?’
I shut the curtain and started to undress. That dress just had my name on it: not too long and a nice low cut. But there were net stockings and garters to go with it, and I had never been very handy with those; it would probably take a while before I was dressed. While I struggled with the stockings, I heard the assistant ask Red:
‘Aren’t the boots too short, miss?’
‘Too short? They reach up to my knees!’
‘I thought so, yes, I’ll find a pair of longer ones.’
And just a few moments later I heard Cathleen clear her throat.
‘I think there’s a tear in this dress.’
‘No miss, of course not!’ The assistant said. ‘That is the slit.’
‘I didn’t know a slit would reach up this high.’
‘It’s a classic model, miss.’
‘Really? Oh well…’
When I had finally finished with the stockings I put on the dress and stepped outside. The assistant came over to me.
‘Well chosen, miss, the soft lavender colour looks so good on you, and the length is right too, just on the garters. Now you must try this lace “gilet”.’ She helped me into a grey lace coat which had no sleeves reached down to my ankles.
‘You look wonderful!’
Red opened the curtain and walked out. She was wearing a small top, small shorts and high heeled boots reaching up to her thighs, all in bright red patent leather.
‘You know, Saris, I never thought this would be comfy, but… I like it.’
I looked at her. ‘You really do look marvellous.’
The other curtain opened and Cathleen coyly looked outside. She wore a long, glittering green dress with a white fur stole around her shoulders.
‘I feel like a billionaire wearing this.’
‘You look like one too.’ I smiled.
She blushed again.
I paid for our outfits and we walked outside to see how the guys were doing.
In the hall we found Doc, smoking a cigarette. He was wearing tight, black leather trousers and a black, glittering shirt with no sleeves. Although he was still his unshaven, careless self, he looked more handsome than ever. The tip of his cigarette lit up as he saw us. ‘I’ve never seen such dashing ladies in my life.’
I smiled at him. ‘You don’t look so bad yourself.’
Red stared at him and whispered: ‘You certainly don’t.’
He walked over to her. ‘But you are the most dashing of all.’
Red still stared at him, as if she couldn’t keep her eyes off him. And he couldn’t keep his eyes off her; there was definitely something there.
He looked at her from every possible angle. ‘You look just wonderful. Your hair, your clothes, your boots, your…’ I saw him peeking at her breasts. ‘…attitude. You just…’
He sighed and whispered to me: ‘Did you tell her I like patent leather?’
I wanted to say something, but Butch suddenly came into the hall, wearing snake leather trousers and boots, and nothing else so that most of his tattoos were visible.
‘Shh, quiet, Hathor’s coming.’ He sniggered. ‘Don’t laugh too much, he’s not happy.’
Then we could hear the soft, tingling sound of spurs; the sound you hear in those old cowboy movies when “the bad guy” enters the scene.
Hathor came into hall, wearing very tight, leather pants, high-heeled cowboy boots and a cowboy hat that would have been too big even for Butch. He grabbed one of the guns hanging halfway his thighs and pointed it at us.
Butch turned around to hide his face, but his laughter made him shake all over anyway. Red burst out into an uncontrollable giggle and had to lean on to Doc to keep herself from falling over, while Cathleen and I weren’t able to hide our laughter either, only Doc had just enough self-control left to reduce his laughter to a not too offending snigger. Hathor scowled at us and pulled the trigger, after which a little flag saying “Bang!” came out of the barrel. We couldn’t help laughing even more.
Hathor threw down the gun and jumped on top of it, cursing as loud as he could.
When we all had slightly calmed down, Red asked:
‘If you don’t like it, why don’t you just say no?’
‘To that?’ Hathor pointed at the men’s department. ‘You try!’
A skinny, blond man stood in the doorway; he wore round, pink sunglasses, large, flowered trousers and a very tight shirt. He waved at Hathor and giggled:
Still laughing (except for Hathor) we got into the limousine. Doc immediately went through the mini-bar, and complained that there was nothing stronger in it than gin.
We opened a bottle of champagne (or in Doc’s case a bottle of gin), toasted on a fun evening and set off for Sodom and Gomorra.
When we arrived, we walked into a large hall tastefully decorated with many paintings, sculptures and other fine pieces of art. There were several large doors and impressive stairways leading to the different rooms of the building.
As soon as we had entered, a porter came up to us to greet Doc.
‘Mr. Mcfarn, what a pleasure to see you again.’
Doc smiled. ‘Nice to see you too, Edward. What’s going on tonight?’
‘Well, sir, for you and your lady friend…’ He looked at me. I quickly shook my head.
He hesitated for a moment, and then by complete chance looked at Red.
‘…may I suggest our Picasso room where we are having a dinner and dance tonight.’
Doc seemed to be thinking.
‘There is sushi on the menu.’ Edward quickly added. ‘Isn’t that your favourite?’
Doc nodded. ‘Go on, my friends want to do something too.’
‘Of course, sir. Tonight’s special is a 20th century dance in the Ulysses room with authentic orchestra music.’
I wondered what that was.
‘Also we had a dozen belly dancers come over from Cairo for entertainment on the Dark Secrets of Egypt exposition on the top floor. And as always our cocktail bar is open all night, as are the striptease bar, the peep show, the hotel rooms furnished with companionship, and our latest addition: “ la salle érotique”.’
I shivered; he had the most hideous accent in his French.
Butch smiled and rubbed his hands together. ‘Think I go there.’
Hathor wanted to follow him, when Edward said:
‘I have a suggestion for you too, sir.’
Hathor turned around and with a vaguely suspicious air, replied: ‘I’m listenin’.’
‘Well, another speciality tonight is a gay party held in the…’
‘I knew it!!’ Hathor growled and jumped down his throat. Butch grabbed hold of him just in time to prevent poor Edward from being strangled. He was shivering all over and quickly stepped away from them.
‘Didn’t mean it.’ Butch said. ‘Did you, Ed?’
Edward quickly shook his head.
Butch smiled. ‘See? Was kidding. Now come on.’
As he dragged Hathor away, the only thing that could be made out of the little fellow’s growls was: ‘… not … funny …’
Edward stared after them and wiped his forehead with a chequered handkerchief.
‘Well have I ever…’
Doc gave him a pat on the back. ‘Don’t worry, Ed. Everyone makes that mistake.’
Then he lit a cigarette, offered Red his arm, and they strolled off to the dinner and dance together, leaving Edward with Cathleen and me.
He looked a bit puzzled, wiped his forehead again, nervously straightened the jacket of his suit, and then seemed to notice us.
‘Ahem, well… Shall I give you a tour of the building, then?’
I shrugged. ‘Don’t know yet…’
‘I think I’ll settle for the cocktail bar.’ Cathleen said with a determined nod.
‘Are you sure you don’t want to see any of the other…’
I laughed. The look on Cathleen’s face clearly showed that this was not the kind of club she’d normally go to.
Edward looked around for a moment, wiped his forehead again, and then started walking. ‘Follow me, please.’
The cocktail bar was very sparsely lit with pink and purple coloured lamps. There was almost no one in the bar, only a few young couples were sitting at candle lit tables, listening to the romantic singer on the stage in the corner.
As Cathleen and I sat down at a table, Edward went over to the bar to get us something to drink. I crossed my legs, yawned and asked:
‘So, Cathleen, what kind of club do you usually go to?’
She stared at me for a moment, slightly confused and answered:
‘I don’t usually go to a club.’
‘You don’t?’ I stared back at her. ‘How do you spend your evenings then?’
She sighed. ‘Researching, experimenting, and taking sleeping pills eventually.’
I smiled and shook my head. ‘You and I are from two completely different worlds.’
‘I could have told you that the moment you rescued me.’ She nodded.
A little while later Edward returned with a bottle of tequila and three glasses, clearly smelling and behaving like he had already had a few quick ones himself, to calm his nerves. ‘Ladies, have no fear, Edward is here.’
He put down the drinks and clumsily threw over one of the candles, which would have set the table cloth on fire if Cathleen hadn’t reacted so quickly.
Edward hadn’t even noticed.
‘No more boring evenings for you.’ He slurred his words as if he didn’t even have a tongue. ‘Because you have the pleasure of being in my company, of being with me that is, and that’s a very good thing, I can tell you.’
Cathleen bent over to me. ‘He doesn’t seem to have the constitution of a bartender.’
‘Well, he is only a porter.’ I smiled.
Soon we were submitted to Edward’s oh so exciting life story, which became more incredible and less coherent as the time passed, especially because Cathleen kept on switching her full glasses with his empty ones.
About an hour later the bottle was empty and Edward himself had lost track of what he had been telling us. ‘Enough about me, let’s talk about you.’ He grinned.
‘Or even better: let’s talk about the things the three of us could do together.’
Cathleen looked at me and whispered: ‘I was afraid this would happen.’
‘Just leave him to me.’ I answered.
Edward grabbed the empty bottle to take a close look at it. ‘You know, I have a private room upstairs in the marble hall, I’ve got some more to drink up there.’
He almost poked himself in the eye with the bottle. ‘and some other things as well…’
Then he looked straight at us. (for as far as he could, in his drunken state)
‘Wait a second, don’t you have a limousine? I could take you two for a ride, get it?’
I sighed loudly. ‘Oh, Ed, you’re so romantic.’
He bent over to me. ‘You think so?’ The incredibly strong smell of tequila came out of his mouth and made my eyes water. I was having trouble trying not to cough.
‘Oh, yes.’ I said. ‘I wish I could put you and your romance in a little box.’
He bent even further over to me, until his chair was standing wobbly on two legs.
‘Really?’ He bragged. ‘And why is that?’
I sighed again and then snapped: ‘Because then I could nail down the lid!’
I pushed him, which made him fall over and hit his head on the ground. I knelt down and saw that he was unconscious.
‘Sleep tight, Ed.’ I put all the chairs back in place, paid for the tequila and asked the bartender if he would look after poor Edward.
Then we saw Doc and Red sitting at a table near the stage together, holding hands.
I was going to suggest not to disturb them, when Red noticed us and waved.
We went over there and as we sat down with them, I asked why they weren’t at the dinner and dance. Doc laughed and inhaled the smoke of his cigarette.
‘What were we supposed to do there? I can’t even dance.’
‘And the sushi was bad anyway.’ Red giggled.
Doc winked at me and whispered: ‘And so were the drinks.’
I laughed. Red asked what we had been doing, and as Cathleen started to tell them about poor Edward, a strange feeling suddenly came over me and made me stand up. Something in the distance seemed to beckon me.
‘Is something wrong, Saris?’ Red looked at me.
I uttered: ‘…n…no, nothing wrong…’ And I walked away from them.
‘Don’t worry.’ I heard Doc say. ‘She’s always like that.’
But he was wrong, I had never felt this way before. I felt a little light in the head, and I didn’t even know where my legs were taking me, I only knew that I had to go there.
I passed room after room, where people were dancing, drinking, laughing; it seemed like they were part of another world, that simply didn’t matter to me.
The beckoning got stronger as I entered a large ballroom, where women in long, elegant dresses were dancing with men in dark-coloured suits. The music was beautiful, but loud and pompous, as if a hundred instruments were needed to play it.
Still feeling compelled to go on, I went further into the room and soon found myself surrounded by dancing couples. I stared at their faces, some laughing, others grinning, but none of it seemed natural. And they didn’t seem to notice me. The crowd swayed around me, making me dizzy. I lost track of where I was and let myself be guided by the mesmerising rhythm of the music.
Suddenly someone pushed against my back. I turned around, but couldn’t make out who of all the people around me had done it.
Then, as two couples moved away from each other, they revealed a man standing motionless in the middle of the dance floor. He was tall and had long, dark hair smoothly combed backwards, a strangely pale skin, mysterious dark eyes and something very familiar I just couldn’t place. He seemed to be the centre all the people here were dancing around.
At that moment I knew that he was the one who had been beckoning me.
Before I could approach him, some other dancers passed in front of him, and when they were gone, he had disappeared. I went over to the place where I had seen him, carefully avoiding all the dancing people, but there was no sign of him. I turned around a few times and suddenly caught a glimpse of him to my right. But when I had reached that place, he was gone again. By this time my head was swinging so much, it was a miracle I was still standing up. The music filled my head and I felt I was no longer in control of myself. As I looked about me, I saw only a wave of his dark hair, and after I had followed that to the other side of the room, I found out that it wasn’t him. I stared at the colourful, swaying crowd. Where could he be? I had to find him. I raised a hand to my temples and for a moment I felt like I was going to faint. Then I saw him walking out of the room. I started running, to make sure I wouldn’t loose him again, and as I ran into the hall I suddenly bumped into someone.
I took a step backwards and looked up at the face of a handsome man with bright blue eyes and shaggy, blond hair. I had to blink several times before I was able to focus. He looked familiar, he even smelled familiar, but I just couldn’t remember where I had met him before.
He stared at me and whispered: ‘Saris…’
‘What?’ What had he just called me? And why was he looking at me like that? It seemed like I knew him. ‘Who are you?’
‘Saris, don’t you…’ He shook his head. ‘Never mind, you must leave, D…’
‘Sweetheart, I’ve been looking for you.’ Suddenly the man who had beckoned me came between us and put his arm around me.
‘You’ve been wandering off again, haven’t you?’ I was fascinated by the low tones of his voice. ‘I told you not to do that.’ He said, his dark eyes looking deep into mine.
I slowly bowed my head. ‘I’m sorry.’
As the blond man gasped, my sweetheart turned to him.
‘And what do you think you are doing here?’
The man glared at him.
‘I don’t know what you’ve done to her, but you’d better undo it quickly, or…’
‘Oh, please. You can’t order me to do anything.’ My sweetheart laughed. ‘Now leave us and go back to your book of magic tricks.’
‘I’m not going anywhere until you stop this nonsense.’
My sweetheart sighed. ‘Look, this is not your business…’
‘I’m making it my business, damn it!’ The man pushed him aside and put his hand on my shoulder. ‘You have no right to do this to her.’
‘Well,’ My sweetheart pushed his hand away. ‘Let’s ask her, shall we?’
I looked from one to the other, unable to see either of them clearly, and with a slightly trembling voice, I said: ‘What do you want me to say?’
My sweetheart’s mysterious dark eyes sparkled and the very lowest tones of his voice came out as he said: ‘Just tell us whether you want him to stay with us or not.’
I stared at the man, his bright blue eyes were so affectionately looking back at me. And I knew him, I was sure of it now. I just couldn’t seem to remember…
A warm feeling slowly came over me. He smiled.
Then, the man with his mysterious, dark eyes put his arm around me and in his low voice, said:
‘A simple yes or no will do, my love.’
As I still looked at the blond man, something told me that I had never liked him. Something said that his so-called affections for me weren’t real and that he was no better than the men who whistled at me when I walked past them in a bar.
I closed my eyes and said: ‘No.’
My love smiled contently. ‘Well, you heard her.’
‘You’re manipulating her!’ The man said indignantly.
‘Call it what you like. She has just said she does not want you here.’
The man looked at me, and without opening his mouth, said to me:
‘Saris, please…’ That warm feeling came over me again. My eyes misted over for a moment.
‘You know who I am.’ He said softly without speaking. ‘You know I only want to…’
His voice suddenly changed. ‘…take you away from your lover, lock you up and torture you, just for the pleasure of seeing you in pain.’
His cold, sadistic words filled me with fear. ‘Make him stop!’
My lover put his arms around me and I buried my face in his chest.
‘Send him away. Please!’ I cried.
The man sounded angry now. ‘That was you, not me.’
‘What do you think she believes?’ My lover replied.
There was a stony silence. I slowly looked up at the man, who had clenched his fists and was glaring at my lover.
‘No use in trying that on me.’ My lover grinned. ‘You don’t stand a chance.’
‘I must try.’ The man hissed.
My lover shook his head. ‘How heroic.’
The expression on the man’s face turned cold and he took a deep breath.
‘Oh, don’t make me laugh.’ My lover closed his eyes and calmly stroked my hair.
The man started to sweat and his fists trembled at his side.
Then my lover pushed me away and scowled at him. ‘Why you…’
I stared at them, unable to understand what was going on, unable to move without feeling like I was going to faint. My lover had crossed his arms, and although several swollen veins appeared on his face, he kept his pale colour. The man bit his lip and was trembling all over, as little drops of perspiration ran down his face.
They stood there for a few seconds, motionless, only the man trembling slightly, gazing at each other, with looks in their eyes I had never seen before.
I could almost feel the fight, even in my dazed state.
‘Enough!’ My lover then cried out, and he made a sudden movement, as if he threw something at the man. The man clutched at his chest and gasped, after which his eyes turned away. He collapsed and lay lifeless on the floor.
My lover quickly put his arm around me and led me away. As we went up a large, marble stairway, he held me in his arms.
‘My sweetheart, you shouldn’t have wondered off like that. I was so worried.’
I bowed my head. ‘I am sorry to have worried you, my love.’
‘It doesn’t matter anymore.’ He kissed me on the cheek, and I felt his lips were cold. ‘What matters now is that you are safely back with me.’
We reached the top of the stairway and walked into a broad, marble hall.
A porter came up to us. ‘Can I show you to a room, sir?’
My lover smiled. ‘Yes, you could.’
The porter motioned us to follow him. ‘Would you require additional companionship?’
‘No.’ Said my sweetheart. ‘We would like to lock the door and not be disturbed.’
‘Of course, sir.’ The porter opened a door and gave him the key.
‘Please return it when you have finished, sir.’
I looked around the room, as my lover locked the door. It was decorated with soft, purple and pink velvet, and there were no windows. The furniture consisted of a large, inviting bed and a very soft looking couch.
My lover put his arms around me and sighed. ‘It seems like you were away for such a long time. I have missed you so much.’
I put my head against his shoulder. ‘But I am here now, my love, I am with you.’
We kissed, and again I felt that his lips and even his cheeks were cold.
He rested his head on mine and stroked my hair. ‘Oh, Caroline…’
Suddenly there was a rumbling noise in the hallway; someone yelled, and then there was someone banging at the door.
My lover turned around and stared at the door.
‘Hide, my precious. They have come to take you away from me.’
A female voice called out from the other side of the door. ‘Let her go, Duke!’
As I heard that word, it was as if a glass bubble that had been around me was shattered.
It was Duke! What had just happened? What had he done to me? The room seemed to rotate around me, my knees gave up on me, and I fell down in confusion.
The door was kicked in, and Butch and Cathleen ran inside, Butch carrying his Dai-katana and Cathleen a wooden stake and a cross. She waved it at Duke.
‘Begone, creature of the night.’
‘Yeah, scram!’ Butch added.
Duke growled, his face changed suddenly, taking the jagged and pointed forms of that of a predator. He spoke an unpronounceable word and pointed at Butch, who was then frozen in his movements. Afraid that he would do the same to Cathleen, I clenched my arms around his legs and tried to pull him down. He pulled one leg loose and kicked me in the face. The pain seemed to clear my head.
‘Ungrateful creature!’ He growled. ‘I offered you a place at my side.’
‘You didn’t exactly ask me politely.’ I groaned.
He roughly picked me up, pressed me against him and revealing a set of long, sharp teeth, growled at Cathleen. ‘Don’t come any nearer. Or she dies.’
She looked at me. I nodded. Get him! I thought.
She took a step closer, clenching the stake in her hand.
‘Don’t tempt me.’ Duke hissed. ‘She’s nice and warm-blooded.’
She took another step closer.
Duke suddenly pushed my head aside, and I was filled with a horrible pain.
He was drinking from me!
I was growing weak, I felt my whole body go numb, and the past events flashed before my eyes. He had tried to make me love him, he had called me Caroline, he wanted his Caroline back, she had died long ago, she had died…
Now it all made sense to me.
With what seemed like my last breath, I gasped:
‘This is… what hap… happened to Caroline… isn’t it?’
He immediately let go of me and hurled me to the floor; I was almost glad when I hit the floor. With a trembling hand I touched my neck and felt my blood running down it. I looked up at Duke, who had his mouth covered in the same blood and repeated: ‘Isn’t it?’
‘How dare you!’ He wiped his mouth. ‘I loved her. I would never want to hurt her.’
Cathleen’s voice said in my head: ‘What are you doing?’
Just watch, I thought, just watch and see.
‘No… you never wanted to hurt her.’ I took a deep breath and pushed myself up until I was almost sitting. ‘But you did.’
‘You know nothing about this.’ He growled. ‘You are a mere mortal weakling.’
‘So was she.’ I replied. ‘and you fell in love with her.’
He glared at me, but his spell didn’t seem to have any effect on me anymore.
I continued. ‘But you couldn’t restrain yourself, and something went terribly wrong.’
He turned his back to me. ‘Silence! I will hear no more.’
I slowly tried to get up, leaning on the bed, and ignoring the fact that the whole room seemed to be dancing around me, I asked: ‘Ever wondered why the clan rejected you?’
‘I said no more!’ He growled.
‘Not because they disapproved of your love for her,’ I said. ‘But because they knew it would happen, they had probably seen it happen before.’
He frantically shook his head. ‘No…’ His voice sounded so thin.
‘Can’t you see,’ I was almost standing now. ‘There was no way you could have avoided it.’
‘No…’ He cried, covered his face with his hands and sank down on his knees.
I staggered over to him.
‘And even if you could have used Matrem Morti to bring her back…’
I kneeled down next to him. ‘Even if your spell on me had worked and I had replaced her… It would have happened again. And you know it.’
‘No… no…’ He shook his head again.
‘You are a predator, Duke, you cannot love your prey.’ I took his hands in mine and looked him straight in the eyes. ‘You are not human.’
He pushed me away. ‘Nooooo!’
And with a terrible, melancholic cry he disappeared in a flash of blue light.
I sighed and rested my head on the floor. My whole body was aching and I was breathing heavily.
I looked up at Cathleen. She smiled at me and helped me up.
‘It seems you’ve had a taste of my world. And you handled it well.’
‘Yes, well, next time I’ll pass.’ I smiled back.
She put me down on the couch and walked over to Butch, to release him of whatever was keeping him from moving. A few sparks flew around and he was alright.
‘Pretty brave, Saris.’ He said.
I tried shrug modestly. ‘It was nothing.’ But I was mighty proud of myself.
‘The doctor is on his way.’ Cathleen said. ‘To make sure you are alright.’
I sighed. ‘Look, I don’t need Doc. I’m perfectly fine.’
I got up and almost immediately fainted.