Head swirling like fog, from out of the mist I heard a familiar voice. One that I hadn't listened to in such a long time.
"Siobhan." The voice was deep and soothing. I really liked this dream.
"Siobhan?" the voice said again.
Waking up, I almost laughed. Seth hadn't visited my dreams in over a year. I used to dream he'd come back for me all the time, but as the months passed, so did his specter. "Seth?" I said, smiling in my dream. "You look different. Older. Not as I remembered." I wondered why my imagination would age him and give him such a horrific hairstyle. He never could style his own hair. My subconcience was true to his personality, I guessed.
"Well, you look like hell," the dream Seth retorted.
This shook me as pain throbbed in my head. "Am I imagining all of this? Where am I?"
"You're in the hospital. You fainted at your club and the ambulance brought you here. You're dehydrated and exhausted. What the hell are you doing to yourself?"
Blinking and disoriented, I asked, "So this isn't a dream?"
"You're not dreaming. Your body shut down because you obviously haven't been taking care of yourself. When was the last time you ate? You've lost a lot of weight since I last saw you."
The reality hit me full force. Seth was here. In San Myshuno. Working at S.M. General again. "W-What? W-Why are you here? Did you move back with your family? With Io?" I shouldn't have mentioned her, but I couldn't help myself. She was the reason I wasn't married to Seth right now.
Swallowing, Seth said, "I never married Io. I came back that following summer after you graduated college. She...er...anyway, why aren't you eating? Are you taking your psych meds?"
This news was too much. Seth didn't marry Io. He came back that summer? "What the hell, Seth? Why didn't you contact me? Did I mean nothing to you that you could hide away from me all these years?"
He shook his head. "Jay told me you already had a boyfriend then threatened me not to contact you. He told me you were happy, and I didn't deserve a second chance."
"You listened to Fashionista? That sounds like a cop out."
"Would you have left him for me then?"
Thinking back on that summer, I knew the answer. "No."
"That's what I thought. It was for the best. Now, as your attending ER doctor, I need to have a look at you in order to discharge you, if that's okay."
I nodded, still not believing Seth was here. Right next to me. The pain of our relationship came spilling back like a flood forcing its heavy weight, trying to break a dam. But I would not break.
It was hard not to gaze into his piercing crystal green eyes. Those eyes were mine at one time. I thought I'd get to peer into them forever.
Scratching his chin, he said, "You didn't answer my question earlier. Are you still taking your psych meds?"
"U-Um..." I stammered. Why was I acting like this around him? Who cared if he learned the truth? He wasn't my fiance anymore. "I-I forget to...sometimes."
Putting his hands on his hips, he said, "That boyfriend of yours just lets you do whatever the hell you want. Doesn't he know you by now? You always forget if not reminded."
Staring at him, I said, "He's...well, he's a busy man. I should remember for myself. I'm a grown woman."
He snorted. "A grown woman who doesn't take care of herself to the point of exhaustion and is in the hospital for her neglectful ways. You keep going on like this and your organs will shut down. You must eat, take your meds and get some rest."
It was all surreal. I was being lectured by Seth Gallegher. How many times would he lecture me when we were dating to take my meds and get rest? I always listened to him. But it was different now. He left me.
I looked down, picking at a hangnail. "I've been busy with my club."
Seth lifted my chin and said, "I'm sorry."
"For not being the one to take care of you."
I could tell he was sorry and so was I, but that didn't change our lives at the moment. "Are you dating anyone now? I hope you're happy." I wanted him to be settled. He deserved better than Io.
"Oh...you know me...I never was the type to settle down."
"You were once."
Putting his face near mine, I could smell his familiar cologne and his skin that I used to wrap myself up in. "Don't you know? I don't believe in love. Not anymore."
Pulling back, he said, "You're anemic, so I've written out a prescription for Novaferrum 50. Take it twice a day. Set a freaking alarm if you have to since your boyfriend is too busy to help. Start up those psych meds and eat, for god's sake. I've written down a good hemotologist who will monitor your anemia. When you feel up to it, you're free to go. Just stop by the front desk to sign some release papers...And Siobhan?"
"I don't want to see you back here again."
I blinked back tears, but it didn't help. When he walked out of the room I felt like a book slammed shut.
I would never see him again.
A few minutes later, Theo walked in. I ran to him, crashing into his arms.
"Oh, baby doll, are you okay?"
I started crying, I couldn't help myself. "I'm sorry about this morning. I shouldn't have gotten mad at you."
"No, I'm sorry, baby. I...I should have been there for you. You've been taking on too much by yourself."
Snuggling into his warm chest, I said, "You don't have to be sorry. It's not your fault. I should have taken better care of myself."
"Are you feeling okay now?" he asked, stroking my hair. "I brought you a change of clothes. And I got the whole night off. When I heard you collapsed, I left the meeting. My bosses understood."
Sniffing, I said, "I'm glad. I just want to go home."
"All right, baby. Once you get ready, I'll bring the car around for us, okay?"
I changed clothes and found the front desk.
"I'm checking out. Siobhan Day. I think I have papers to sign?"
"Shivvy!" a British accent rang out. "Blimey, is that you?"
He grabbed me in a hug. "It's been ages, darling."
I couldn't believe how great he looked in his officer's uniform. We held onto each other a bit longer than normal. I'd missed him. Since I wasn't rooming with Naomi anymore, I hardly saw him.
"The uniform suits you, Julien. How are you?"
"I'm doing brilliantly, but how are you? Why are you in here of all places? Are you okay?"
I didn't want to tell him the real reason or I'd probably get a lecture like the one I received from Seth. Julien was very protective over me even as friends. He always had been. "Just getting some blood work done. Seems I have anemia."
"Ah, you do have a bit of the Shropshire's ghost look about you. I am sorry to hear that. Nothing serious, I hope."
"No, I just have to get some rest and take iron pills. How's Courtney?" Courtney Channing was Julien's girlfriend. They'd been dating almost as long as Theo and I.
"Oh, you hadn't heard. We broke it off a while ago. Seems our old lifestyle didn't go along with my...ahem...new career choice. I'm drug free now, Shivvy. Been clean going on eighteen months."
I brightened at this news. "That's great, Julien!" I gushed. "I'm so proud of you." Taking in my old love's face, I was thrilled by the changes he'd made, and I couldn't help but wonder how his life would look down the road. He really had turned into a responsible man.
"Thanks, Shivvy. How are you and what's his face?"
"You know his name, Julien. We're fine."
He gave me that charming smile of his. "Can't blame a bloke for trying. I'll never get used to you with another man, darling. There will always be a spot in my heart that belongs to you."
Suddenly, a woman in plain clothes, gun belt and shiny badge came up to us. "Time to go, Murillo."
"Duty calls, Shivvy. We've got to arrest a DUI felon."
Turning to the woman, he said, "I'll catch up with you. I'd like to say good bye to my old friend here."
She glared at him and said, "Make it quick." Then sauntered off down the hallway.
Smiling, he said, "She's a tough old bird, but good as a boss. Well, I guess this is good bye."
Gazing into his large hazel eyes made my stomach flutter. Julien would always stir something inside of me. It was like we had a string that had never been cut.
Taking my hand, he said, "If anything happens with you and...that other bloke, give me a ring. I'd love to see you again."
I sputtered, not being able to say anything. Just being with him blew me away. My old feelings seemed to come out of a hidden drawer I'd kept safely locked away all these years.
Kissing my hand, he said, "Take care of yourself, love."
Leaving me in shock, I didn't like the feelings that stirred when suddenly, I was wrapped in the arms of my boyfriend and he kissed me passionately.
All those confused feelings swirled as he grabbed my hand. "Let's go home, baby doll."
The events of the day battered me like a gust front of a thunderstorm.
Squeezing Theo's hand for comfort, I tried to toss out an uneasiness that threatened to quake my soul.