Home > The Wicked (Vampire Huntress Legend #8)(13)

The Wicked (Vampire Huntress Legend #8)(13)
Author: L.A. Banks

"Baby, just get me about a quart of water and let me sit down be�fore I fall down."

"All right, all right," he said, picking her up very carefully but rushing to the side of the bed and then handling her like fragile glass as he deposited her on it. "Water. Right. Anything else? Talk to me."

"A banana, potassium. Garlic, an antiseptic in case any unwanted vamp buggies came with the bite. And bring me my purse. Mar taught me well. I always roll with a little somethin' something in there-a small vial of holy water, purified Red Sea salt, white sage, and anointing oil." She curled into a ball on her good side and panted through her mouth. "You were right. This shit hurts like hell."

"You're gonna try to do this purgeyourself?" He stood in the bed�room door, incredulous, torn between going to the kitchen or her, un�able to leave her immediately to go get what she'd requested.

"No," she murmured, suddenly becoming very sluggish. "We are one flesh now, so I'm gonna talk you through some serious female shaman healing arts, and you're gonna be my hands and strength."

She didn't have to tell him twice. He ran through the villa filling his arms with her antidotes and then found her purse and dashed back. On his knees beside the bed he dumped the full payload on the sheets and stared down at the gaping wound in her neck.

"Oh, God, Damali..." he whispered as he roused her. "It tore right over the first bite I gave you... that first time." He swallowed hard. "That was your sweet spot, baby."

"If we work fast, it might still be there," she said quietly. "If it doesn't keloid."

Carlos closed his eyes. "Tell me what I've gotta do."

"Clean it out."

He just stared at her.

"Old-school, honey," she said, reaching for his hand. "Don't worry. I'm in no danger of turning at my age, and you aren't all vamp. It's just gonna hurt like a mutha, but you know how to do this."

"I don't know if I can do this-I don't wanna hurt you any more than I already did."

Damali braced herself. "I'll be okay. Go ahead. Pour the holy water into the wound until it sizzles. Pack it down with salt; then make the sign of your faith-which in our case is the crucifix-over it, cover�ing the length and width of the wound with anointing oil-using your right hand as you say a passage from the Good Book... Then I want you to put my silver collar on to keep the burn going. The gar�lic and potassium is for me, and some mouthwash wouldn't hurt... neither would a trash can if I barf again. Light the white sage and ask for healing as you circle my body three times. Simple. Then, with anointed hands and a whole lotta love in your spirit, touch me wher�ever it looks real ugly and try to draw the bruised blood under my skin up and out. All right?"

He nodded, but was anything but all right, especially when she cried out. His whole body was shaking from sympathy pains by the time he was done. She lay there limp in a hot sweat, the wound leak�ing pinkish, sizzling ooze from beneath the silver collar, and he was practically rocking in a cold sweat from hurting her so badly. She took the mouthwash from the bedside table and swished her mouth out and spit in the wastebasket. He grabbed the trash can and lost his din�ner into it.

"Jesus Christ, I don't know what came over me, D... If you want a divorce, I can dig it. No contest. We don't even have to discuss it." He was talking quickly into the trash, fighting off dry heaves. When he looked up, he expected her face to be twisted into a hurt frown of disgust, but instead her eyes were serene and steady.

"You are so crazy, Carlos," she said, touching his leg and then let�ting her hand fall away for more comfort. "I love you." Her smile came out with a wince. "You're gonna be one of those dads that has to stay in the waiting room, aren't you?"

"What are you talking about, D? This was major. A battle bite? Having a baby is different. That's the culmination of-"

"Sheeit," she murmured, chuckling as she dozed. "I guess sitting in an all-male throne from a sterile vamp might not've had this info, but lemme tell you, brother. The way Inez, Mar, and Marjorie told me, this ain't nothin'. Try eighteen hours or more of hard-down work, your body convulsing in agony every three minutes without relent, a masked doctor standing over your stuff-your legs spread-eagle and all you hear is metal and all you see is lights, and dude is leaning way too close with a scalpel ready to put a stem-to-stern incision in a place youdefinitely don't want any loss of sensation or keloid scars, or maybe he'll just go through your stomach, move your intestines and whatnot out of the way-lay 'em on your chest to get the baby out, then will stitch you up later-just put a zipper right in your-"

"Oh shit!" Carlos stood up and began to pace. "They do a f**king Vamp Council wall on women in broad daylight like that, in this day and age?"

"Those are the better hospitals, not always found everywhere on the globe... and in those countries where women are having babies faster than you can spit it's in the bush with no clean water or meds, okay."

"How did we get on this subject in the first place, Damali? Can't they numb it up before-"

"Only if they get to you fast enough; otherwise, no drugs. You gotta suck it up like a woman or the baby is at risk, so you bite the bullet and holler. Then, after it's all said and done, you walk like you're tippin' on eggshells for a few weeks, they say" She looked at him hard. "That's why you guys have to wait six to eight weeks- who in their right mind would feel like all that after dropping an eight-pound baby and getting cut?" Damali sucked her teeth and then cringed as the mere action made her head throb. "Y'all are lucky to ever get any more in life, after that."

"Baby, I knew, but I didn't, you know what I'm saying... I-"

"Oh, please. The girls told me that your stuff hurts so damn bad as the painkiller wears off you can barely breathe, much less take a pee, with a hundred and fifty stitches in your ass... and there's sometimes this numb spot right in the most inconvenient place. But, you still gotta get up and take care of that little baby and nurse it, too, on real sore ni**les." Damali sighed as she peeped open one eye to glimpse Carlos's stricken expression. All the blood had drained from his face, and she stifled a chuckle. "Life goes on."

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