TWENTY-ONE

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| dedication: floatingice - for the sweet cover xx|

TWENTY- ONE


"They're not talking about you, are they?" Nolan asked under his breath.

Link's mother looked over at us as we approached and her mouth thinned into a straight line. She straightened her back and crossed her arms around her lean torso. Her son, who was standing close to her shot me one look before he turned away and planted himself on a vacant chair.

Link's Mother who seemed more agitated than anyone I've ever seen picked up her purse from the chair behind her and stalked out the waiting room. But not before telling no one in particular that she was heading out to calm her nerves.

I stared after her, unsure at who caused her the sudden discomfort. Convincing myself that I was not the subject matter, I turned my attention to something far more important which was Palmer's wellbeing.

Nolan steered us both into the direction of the plastic seats and the whole waiting room fell into a deafening silence. It didn't help that there was only us in this room, with the occasional nurse passing through. Nolan had his hand placed on my knee, a soothing innocent touch that kept my mind from steering into the danger zone. I placed my head on his shoulder, closed my eyes and waited. Falling into the unknown petrified me and the possibility of leaving this place with no good news sent my head on a frenzy.

It was not long before I felt something burning in the side of my head and when I glanced up, it was none other than Link staring openly at me. I shifted on my seat, moving my head slowly off Nolan's shoulder, suddenly feeling uncomfortable.

"You okay?" Nolan asked me, leaning forward. I diverted my attention from Link and faced Nolan. With three encounters, Nolan was still a stranger yet with a soothing undertone to himself.

"Just shaken up," I admitted, my voice coming out scratchy. I shifted on my seat. "The thought of Palmer in there fighting for her life is killing me." I told Nolan, spilling out the truth.

Nolan nodded in understanding. "I can tell she means a lot to you."

"The world." I whispered in a low voice. And she did. Palmer filled a void I never knew I had. She became what I sought in a Mother all my life and the thought of not having her around made me sick inside. I kicked out the thought and decided to focus on the little hope inside of me.

A vibrating sensation appeared on the outside of my thighs and I looked down at it stupidly. Nolan reached back and dug his hand into his front pocket, retrieving his vibrating phone. Just before he picked up, my eyes caught the name on the screen. Lucian was calling him and the sudden stiffness that overtook his whole composure surprised me.

Nolan swiped his phone and answered with a careful "Hello," almost as if he was testing the waters with the person on the other end. Nolan's mouth tightened in a thin line before he slowly stood up.

"I'm not free right now-" he started to say but Lucian cut him off as Nolan shut his mouth quickly. "Alright, I'll see you in a minute." Nolan hung up his phone and turned to me with an apologetic look.

"I'm sorry," he said. I shook my head at him quickly, showing him that it was okay. He lifted his finger towards my face, just shy of my cheek. It lingered there for a long while before he dropped it and quickly stalked out the room, not once looking at Link.

Which left just Link and I in the room. He was openly staring after Nolan who you could see walking away from the door that was slowly closing. Once it fully closed, he slowly turned his head like a predator finally setting his eyes on his priced prey. His eyes from this far distance looked charcoal black, reflecting the dark allure that had reappeared around him. I shifted on my seat once again, this time out plain discomfort caused by Link again. I wouldn't have enough fingers to count how many times Link's mere presence had led to unwanted feelings.

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