Chapter 11

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I woke up to a pounding headache. Rolling onto my back, I stared at the ceiling, willing the pain to go away. Every breath I took seemed to make the headache feel stronger. I closed my eyes and counted the seconds, praying what I experienced was nothing more than a fluke. With every minute that passed, however, the pain increased.

A groan of frustration burst from my lips. This wasn't how I'd planned to start the day. Granted, I'd gone to bed far too late this morning.

What time is it anyway?

I raised my arm and stared at my watch. Seven-thirty in the evening.

"What?"

I gasped and sat up. The sudden motion caused my stomach to rebel. I bounced off the bed and rushed into the adjacent bathroom, bending over the toilet. A stream of vomit spewed from my mouth, covering the toilet seat, cover, tank, the wall behind, and a good portion of the floor. In seconds, I regurgitated everything I'd eaten last night.

"Oh, god!" I cried in between retches.

It wasn't long before I dry-heaved and collapsed to the floor. I lay there, partially covered in my own vomit.

"Chance?" Dillon asked, his voice muffled.

"Oh, no."

I scrunched my eyes closed, hoping he'd go away.

"Whoa."

"Go away," I mumbled.

"What . . . the . . . hell?"

My stomach rumbled. Bile rose to the back of my throat. I licked my lips, intent on tamping it down.

"Go . . . away!"

The soles of his shoes slapped against the linoleum.

I opened one eye and stared at a pair of light blue canvas shoes.

Dillon stood in front of me, uncaring of the fact that he was standing in my own vomit. He knelt beside me and reached out to push the vomit-soaked hair off my sweaty forehead. A sad smile darted across his lips.

"I shouldn't have fed you last night, huh?"

A strangled laugh burst from the back of my throat. With it came another stream of vomit. It splashed across Dillon's hand and arm, missing his face by inches. Several flecks landed on his shoes.

He leaned back, shaking the vomit aside. "Normally, I'd be pissed about the fact that a woman threw up on me, but it's my fault you're in this predicament."

". . . M, sorry."

Tears seeped from the corners of my eyes.

Dillon patted my right thigh. "No biggie. We'll get over this little speed bump, hon. Trust me."

"N—No . . . f—feel . . ."

He chuckled and patted my thigh once more. "Easy. I don't want you upchucking whatever's left in your stomach. Are you strong enough to move away from the toilet?" he asked.

". . . M . . . N—No."

A dramatic sigh slid past his lips. "Didn't think so. I'm going to start the shower. Okay?"

"Mmm-hmmm."

He stood and disappeared from my peripheral vision. The sound of water soon echoed nearby.

Dillon's shoes appeared in front of my eye again. His right hand hovered above my face before it slid beneath my cheek. With gentle fingers, he cradled my head in the palm of his hand.

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