"Can you two hug each other after we cuff this jerk?" Isaac asks, chuckling. Lexi pulls away from me, nodding and running back into the room. Through the open door, I see Patel at work next to Jaelyn. Jane's helping Lexi find some cuffs, watching me through the door.
Can she see my shoulder? Lexi didn't notice.
The room is darker than the hallway; so I step inside, hoping to put off that news for a little longer.
Lexi jogs back over, handing a metal pair cuffs to Isaac.
"Thanks," Isaac mumbles, cuffing Toby with no trouble. He leads him into the room, setting him in a corner by the door. With another glare, Isaac leaves him there, moving to stand by Jay's side.
She's still unconscious, but she looks peaceful. Her mouth is turned down; her eyes are closed. Dr. Patel has rearranged her hair, spreading it out on the pillow like a lion's mane. Isaac holds her hand with one hand and her cheek with the other. He whispers something incomprehensible to her, kneeling down beside the table.
"How much longer?" I ask, standing beside Jane and Lexi.
"About two and a half more hours," Jane replies, "We are past the halfway point. Why?"
I look at the marble flooring, kicking my foot back and forth.
Two hours since I was infected. Three hours since Mom was. That means she only has an hour left before her organs start giving out, starting with her lungs and heart.
I won't be able to save her.
A stab of pain spreads through my chest, making me wince. I clutch my stomach, bending forwards in an attempt to dampen the pain.
"Are you okay?" Lexi asks, gripping my bad shoulder. I wince again, jerking away from her. "Quinn? What's wrong?"
Jane flips on a light switch, filling the room with a blinding light. She sucks in a deep breath, pulling my hand away from where I'm hiding the open wound.
Lexi covers her mouth with her hand, taking a step back.
The raw part of the red mark has grown bigger, now covering an area the size of my fist. From my elbow to shoulder is beet red, swollen and hot. The purple veins are stretched down to my wrist now, and I assume they've crept up higher on my neck. In the open section, the flesh is red and pus-filled, not yet bleeding but letting off a stomach turning stench.
"What is that?" Lexi asks, voice shaking. Jane, though, grips my good arm and peers silently at the wound.
"It's an injection point," I mumble.
"What kind of shot makes that big of a mark? Are you allergic?"
"We are all allergic to the virus, sweetheart," she says, putting a finger under my chin. "You're turning yellow, and your eyes are bloodshot. How long has it been?"
"Approximately two hours," I whisper, watching Lexi out of the corner of my eye. Both of her hands cover her mouth now, but she rocks back and forth on her feet, tears welling up on her eyelashes.
"Who did this?" Jane asks, circling around me.
"Kovach. Accused me of treason for bringing you into the compound."
"I assume that's what all that noise was about. You got her back?"
"I bit her," I mumble. Jane raises her eyebrows, humming.
"Nice," she says, "I wouldn't have thought of that. Where is she now?"
"I sent the guards searching for her."
Lexi grabs Jane by the shoulder, jerking her away from me. She grabs my face, squishing my cheeks with both hands.
"I let you go for a few minutes, and you manage to get yourself infected?" she roars, standing on her tiptoes to get in my face.
"I didn't do it on purpose, Lex," I whisper, reaching up and touching the side of her head.
"It doesn't matter," she whispers, eyes pleading, "I can't lose you, too."
She erupts into hysterical crying, crashing into me with all the force of a tidal wave. I stumble backwards into the counter, arms hanging limply at my side. Isaac glances up at the two of us, face molded into concern.
I resort to stroking her hair, shushing her.
"You gotta pull it together," I say, "We have to finish this. I'm not the only one infected."
She glances up at me, not pulling away. The front of my shirt is soaked with tears and saliva.
"Who- who else is?" she stutters, catching her breath.
"You were right. She went after my family. She injected Mom, too."
Lexi's face contorts in rage. Her mouth knits into a small line; her forehead forms canyons. Her cheeks burn red, matching her fiery hair.
"I'll kill her," she says, sending a mist of spit towards my face. I grip her arm as she turns to stomp towards the door.
"Lexi, I'm not done. There's someone else."
She takes a deep breath, running a trembling hand through her hair.
"Did she get your dad, too?"
I shake my head.
"My mom? Riley? I'll kill her."
I shake my head every time she says a new name, trying to find a way to tell her. I finally sigh and say:
"I'm a brother."
Lexi sucks in a breath of air. In that minute, her face shows a million different emotions. Her ears are still red from the anger, but her eyebrows are raised high. Her mouth forms a smile, but her brown eyes are moist.
"His name's Elliot," I continue, "And he's not infected. He's safe for now, and I plan on keeping it that way."
Lexi shuts her mouth, nodding. She blinks, hard, and the crying begins all over again. I pull her into another hug, holding her head against my chest with my good hand.
"You can't die," she whispers against my shirt. It's hard to understand her, because she takes gasping breaths in the middle of words. "You're supposed to be President, Q. You made it this far and worked so hard to pass your exam. Now, you've got a brother, and- and-"
She pauses, her body shaking as she fights to find words between the emotions.
"And I don't want to live in a world where you don't," she mumbles, hiding her face from me.
I stare out at the empty chairs lining the wall across from us.
If it was Lexi that was infected, she would still fight for me to survive. Lexi's never given up on me; she's never let me give up on myself. Like my mom, she sees the best parts of me. I've fought with myself for awhile about how I feel about her, and I still can't be sure. Yet, I know one thing.
If I'm going to die, I want Lexi to be the one holding my hand.
I want her face to be the last one I see.
"Whatever happens, A," I whisper into her ear, "Let's face it together."
She nods, pulling away from me, wiping her nose on her forearm. I grimace, looking over at Rivers who stands in the door.
"Go look for Kovach," I say, "I'm staying here for now."
He nods, disappearing down the hallway. Lexi wraps an arm around me and leads me to the chairs, lowering me down into one.
Without saying a word, she sits and lays her head down in my lap, closing her eyes as I play with her hair.
If this is the end, I wouldn't complain.
A/N: THERE YOU GO QUEXI SHIPPERS! Eat that for breakfast.
YOU ARE READING
Selected (Book 2 of the Immune Series)Science Fiction
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