Chapter Two

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Phoebe woke up without opening her eyes, lured back to the land of the conscious by the sounds and smell of bacon cooking. Her stomach growled as she also smelled fresh coffee and butter on toast. Silently she told it to be quiet, wanting the easy drift of sleep for just a while longer.

Her eyes shot open at the sound of the fridge opening and closing.

She lived alone.

Adrenaline surged through her, granting her some relief as she began to move. But she still had to bite the inside of her cheek to stop herself from groaning as she brought herself to her elbows. Her head pounded and her skin pulled painfully under the bandages on her back. Her right shoulder throbbed, a thick bandage wrapped awkwardly around it. Tossing back the blankets, she found she'd been dressed in an oversized t-shirt and shorts. Another bandage around her right thigh peeked out from under her shorts.

What the...?

She swung her legs to the side of the bed and sat up, setting the world spinning. Closing her eyes, she put her hand to her head and took a deep breath. By the sunlight in her apartment, she guessed that it couldn't be much later than mid-morning. When had she passed out? Last night? Longer?

The clatter of plates in the kitchen forced her back to reality, and she looked over her shoulder toward the combination lounge and kitchen. Her studio-esque apartment had only a lounge-kitchen with an open doorway to the bedroom and a separate bathroom. From where she sat, she couldn't quite see who had invaded her kitchen.

At least she would be operating in her own territory, as new as it still was. She hadn't even unpacked her few belongings. But she hadn't spent all this time running just to leave herself completely defenseless.

The kitchen sounds quieted and she reached under her pillow for her knife. Not great when her body felt like one great mass of pain and her injured shoulder happened to be her dominant side, but the intruder didn't know that. It would have to do.

She pushed forward to sit on the edge of her bed so she could use her bedside table to help her stand. The pain in her thigh shot like lightning up her side to her shoulder, sending her back down to the bed. She sat there trying to catch her breath as her white-knuckled grip on the knife made her fingers start to tingle.

"You'll rip your stitches."

She spun around. Or, at least, she tried to. The bandages and injuries beneath them pulled again and a pathetic little whine escaped her lips. Tears welled up in her eyes and she let out a hissing breath as she turned her back to him.

Great. As if she needed to look any weaker in front of an intruder. An intruder who'd made breakfast. At least he wasn't in a hurry.

"You're not in good enough shape to be moving around like that."

She held the knife, ready to use it, as the owner of the voice moved closer and finally came into view. He placed a tray with a hearty breakfast on it – complete with a steaming mug of something sweet-smelling – on the end of her bed. He plucked a mug of steaming black coffee off the tray and then stepped back, eyeing the knife. She looked at the tray and then at him, frowning. He didn't look overly alarmed at her wielding a weapon.

She bit her bottom lip, her stomach demanding food. He'd even cut up some fruit, which meant he must have bought groceries. She looked down at her clothes and then back at him.

"You've seen me naked," she said, the words coming out more like a croak as she brought her hand up to her throat.

The corner of his mouth jerked up, his lopsided smile making him look a lot less threatening. He sat down in the blue camping chair in the corner of the room.

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