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As soon as Dylan had given all his instructions and warnings to Skye and Jesse, he relaxed back into sleep, and Skye tore herself from him. She looked down at him and prayed again that he would live. Prayed that he would roam the woods and come home with the sharp scent of pine rolling off him. That she would again wake to the snap of bacon and eggs and him telling her she slept too long. And that she would feel him strong and sure besides her as they stood against yet another challenge that was sure to come in this leftover world.

A sob escaped her before she could stop it along with a stray thought. This may be the last time I see him.

Her hands flew to cover her mouth. Stop! Stop now! Get your mind in gear, and your man may live. She squared her shaking shoulders and dropped her hands. She could do this, she would do this. He would be fine.

She put a hand to his head and smoothed his hair back, a gesture that would surely have wakened him if he was well, but now he barely stirred. She leaned down and whispered, "I love you. You are everything to me." Then she kissed his lips ever so gently.

Skye straightened and allowed her eyes to linger over him one more time. Then she turned and walked from the room, determined not to look back.

Making her way to the living room, she saw Jesse preparing for the trip. He was busy packing a couple of bags with food and water as well as a few other items that would come in handy if they didn't make it back tonight.

"Where's Doc?" Skye asked.

"Outside," Jesse said. "What weapons do you want to take?"

Skye winced. This was the part she hated. She always carried the knife that Dylan gave her, but more than that make her feel—she wasn't sure how it made her feel, but she didn't like it. Though when logic prevailed, she knew that to stay alive she needed to be prepared. She said to Jesse, "Whatever you think we need is fine." He knew just as much as she did about that sort of thing, maybe more.

Jesse gestured to a small pile he had put on the floor beside the couch. Skye crouched and sat on her heels as she went through them. She picked a handgun, which she shoved into her back jeans pocket and a rifle that she slung over her shoulder. She loaded up on ammo, putting it into her pockets and the backpack Jesse had prepared for her.

"We'll put the rest in the car," she said.

Jesse nodded and shot a look down the hallway.

"Go say goodbye, if you'd like," Skye said. "I'm going to find the men."

Skye longingly watched as Jesse headed to Dylan's room, but she ignored her aching heart and turned the other way, out the front door.

Spencer, Reed and Doc stood in the clearing to the right of the house, but several feet apart. Skye didn't know Spencer and Reed well, but Dylan had worked with them in the Watch and said they were solid men that he could trust with his family. She stepped off the porch and walked over to go over details, but as Skye got closer, Paul stopped her and took a couple of steps backward.

To her frown, Paul said, "I didn't want to get into this in front of Dylan, but something has happened." Skye's stomach sank as he continued, "There was an odd death. It was the man that lived with Annette across from Mrs. Gilmore. I'm not sure if it is contagious or not, but I'm not taking chances."

"How are you going to tend Dylan?"

"At this point, Bre can do as well as I can. I can check in from outside the window."

Skye nodded, just realizing how odd it had been that he had stood outside the window during their earlier conversation.

"Annette and Mrs. Gilmore are in quarantine too," Paul said.

"You don't know what it is?" Skye asked.

"No, nothing I've seen before. He died quickly, very quickly like his throat just closed up. I would've done an autopsy, but I didn't want to handle him more than necessary."

"I don't blame you. I'm sure you did the right thing."

"It's possible he just choked on something, I guess." Paul threw that out there though he doubted it. "But I don't know. Just being careful."

Reed coughed and said, "We sure do appreciate it, Doc."

"We do," Skye said. "Now to the matter at hand. Are the vehicles ready?"

"Yes, ma'am," Spencer said. "I picked a couple from the carpool that had just been serviced and fueled them up. Unless you want to take your own?"

Though many residents had their own cars, it had been decided to bring up some of the extra cars from town for scavaging. Most people liked the idea as it saved wear and tear on their own vehicles.

"I'm sure what you picked out was fine," Skye said. "Jesse's saying goodbye to Dylan. He's got some things that need to go in the car, then we will be ready to go."

"I was thinking," Paul said. "If you're okay with it, Kelsey should go. I've been teaching her the medications. There are so many names for the antibiotics, she could be helpful, besides she could pick up some other needed items. She can take care of herself, and probably a few of you all too."

Skye agreed. Through Kelsey's sessions, she'd found out just how tough the girl was. She would be a great asset to the group. "That's a good idea, Doc."

"Good, because I told her to get her stuff together," he said as he chuckled.


Jesse came out of Dylan's room rubbing his shirtsleeve across his weepy eyes and collided with Kelsey.

"Sorry," he mumbled.

"No problem, Jesse, it's fine."

Jesse scanned the girl and the pack she carried. "Are you goin with us?"

"Yeah. Paul thought I could be helpful finding the meds. I hope that is okay." Kelsey knew Jesse had a little crush on her, but they had been friends since the beginning, and she was willing to ignore that to keep that friendship. Besides, there were a few years between them, and they were too young for anything more. She felt bad when Jesse's face flared red.

He hurried and turned to the door. "Come on, if you're comin then," he said gruffly.

Kelsey smiled, knowing that Jesse was trying to cover his feelings with his briskness. Stepping outside, she saw the others. Paul had already informed her of his self-imposed quarantine, so she didn't go near him. Instead, she waved from afar and headed over to the cars with the others.

Spencer and Reed went in one car, and Kelsey, Jesse, and Skye in the other. Kelsey got into the back seat and looked at Skye. She'd had seen the woman break down not even an hour ago, but now after a quick glance back to the cabin, Kelsey saw Skye firm her jaw and look to the road.

She is so strong, I hope I am as tough as she is.


A/N: Nanowrimo starts on November 1 and continues through the entire month. During that time my goal is to write as many chapters as possible on Sea Bound. So If you are reading that, you'll be happy. I will still be writing one chapter a week in this book. If I get done with Sea Bound, then I will finish out the month on this book. Either way, lots of chapters! :)

Thanks so much for reading! Please press the little star if you enjoyed the chapter. :)

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