An excerpt from ‘Wheeler’

21 August

Oh, that cursed light,” Loren muttered.
Doth every soul quote me these days?” She sat up and saw the bust of William Shakespeare in a neck ruff, floating above the foot of the bed.
Oh, great. I’m hallucinating.” She flopped back down.
We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep,” Shakespeare’s bust replied.
Away, you bottle-ale rascal.” She waved her hand at the floating head. “Away.”
Aye, I shall be gone, but mayhap you will remember, Atena. Love comforteth like sunshine after rain. Now you may awaken, my Warrior Goddess.”

Loren forced her eyes open just to close them again. “Oh, that cursed light.” Wait, didn’t I just say that? She heard Graham chuckle from the foot of the sofa. “Maggie gave me that sedative, didn’t she?”
“Yes.”
“Did we jus’ have a conversss-ation?” She scrunched her face. “I’m slurring, aren’t I?
“Um, I just sat down and yes,” he sniggered. “Why?”
She opened one eye at him. “How long have I been out?”
“Two or three hours. You needed it, though. I know you didn’t sleep much last night.”
“Your bed is too hard. I couldn’t get comfortable,” she grumbled. “I’m whining. Sorry.”
He smiled at her. “I’ll see what I can do about the bed.”
She groaned as she tried to move. “No more meds, ok? I don’t like feeling like this, and god forbid I have to give a sample in the next week or so.”
“Loren, darling, I don’t think they’d do that to you, considering you haven’t been cleared to race yet.”
“There’s always hope!” She put her fist in the air then slumped back down. “Nope. I don’t like feeling like this.” Graham snickered. “Don’t you start laughing at me.”
“Oh, no. Not me. Not ever.”
She put her cold fingers to her temples. “It’s like being drunk and having a hangover at the same time, without the fun of drinking.”
“I imagine it’s not pleasant. Ah, speaking of such unpleasantness, your mobile has been ringing almost continuously since the sun came up. I’m sure there are many voicemail messages, but I don’t know your passcode.”
“You should. It’s your birthday.”
“Zed Three, Zed Eight?”
“No. Zero Three, Zero Eight.”
He snorted. “Can I tell you a secret?” Loren raised her brows as Graham leaned in close. He glanced off to the left, then right. “Your birthday is my passcode.”
“My birthday is your passcode?” She shrugged her shoulders and gave him a goofy grin. “Really? That’s so sweet.” She sniffed.
He chuckled as he brushed her hair away from her face. “I think perhaps we should go on a bimble to clear your head.”
“We can’t. You have to get all gussied up.” Loren sighed and put her arms out to him. “Help me up.” He took her hands, and she moved her legs to put her feet on the floor for him to pull her up to stand.
She locked her knees as a wave of dizziness flowed over her. “Oh, I can feel the rotation of the earth,” she moaned. “Oh, no.” She put her hand over her mouth and stumbled to the half bath in the front hall.
Graham held her hair as she genuflected several times before the porcelain throne then set her up on the couch, cloaked in several blankets.
Loren held his hand, her teeth chattering. “You must really love me to do that.”
He kissed her forehead. “I must, because I’ve never done it for anyone else, not even my sisters,” he said, smirking. “And believe me, there have been many times.”
“I promise I’ll take good care of you when you get sick.”
“I know you will.” Graham squeezed her hand.

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