Octavia's knee bounces anxiously. Two days have passed since Mindy was shot. She has gotten no word and hasn't seen Shard since. He has not come to eat lunch with her, either. Random people have brought her lunch. Shard's absence worries her about Mindy's condition. Boredom keeps her mind running in circles. Is Mindy dead?
She buries her face in her hands and knees. "Please, don't be gone, Mint. You can't leave me, too." She whispers to no one but hopes somehow this will help.
Clangs interrupt Octavia's whispers. The cell door opens. Shard enters.
Octavia's heart jumps. "Is Mindy okay?"
Shard sighs. He shoves his hands in his jacket pockets. "She's alive. Kinda awake. But weak. She lost a lot of blood. We can't continue care for her here. We're sending her back."
A little thrill tickles Octavia's chest. Mindy is going home and will be safe from all this mess. The thrill kills itself. For Shard to send her back now indicates how bad Mindy must be.
"Did you get a payment for her?" Octavia asks. She wants to know just how bad.
Her jaw and chest tighten.
Shard waves Octavia over. "C'mon. I'm taking you to see her."
Octavia follows him out of the cell without hesitation. Following his brisk pace, Octavia realizes she has not had the chain on her ankle since she returned from the photoshoot.
They walk to an area where the walls and ceiling are white. The floors are an odd pink color. An antiseptic smell hangs in the air. It tickles the back of Octavia's throat. Coughs tease to come out. Shard leads them through a grey door in a hall full of grey doors. Two men stand guard outside.
The room looks like a set from a medical drama placed in the first half of the twenty-first century. A dim lamp lights the room. Devices hang on the white wall. Pink curtains matching the floor hang in a window. A shade pulled down blocks light from outside. Temptation rises in Octavia to peek out it but seeing Mindy casts the thoughts out.
Her skin could blend into the walls. There's no color in her lips. Wires stuck around her body feed into a monitor. Octavia flashes back to the last time she saw Mindy so ill. At least she is not having delusions this time. She's resting.
A woman in a pastel blue coat standing next to Mindy studies the monitor. She glances at Octavia and Shard. "She's awake if you wanna talk."
Octavia walks up to her. "Minty?"
Mindy's eyes open a squint. They find Octavia. Her voice is weak. "Oc..."
Octavia sits on the edge of the bed. She takes Mindy's hand in both of her and squeezes it lightly. "It's me." She brushes stray hairs from Mindy's face. "Relax." There's a pause before Octavia says, "Did you know they're sending you home?"
"What? Really?" Mindy struggles to say.
"Yeah. Shard told me."
Mindy's skepticism shows through her squint. "And you believe him?"
"You don't find me trustworthy? Hurtful," Shard says from the doorway.
Mindy tugs on Octavia to tell her to come closer. She whispers, "You trust too easily, Octi. What did I tell you?"
"I don't trust him. But why would he lie about this, though?" Octavia whispers.
"I really don't have reason to lie about this," Shard says. "Especially since I wanted top dollar for ya and now won't get a single cent. Killing ya won't do a single thing for us. Besides, we're due to send Lucy off soon, anyway."
YOU ARE READING
Being the daughter of the most powerful people in the country places a high societal value on Octavia. The glamour of this public-placed status wore off for her years ago as tragedy after tragedy has followed Octavia because of it. But the glamour n...