Betrothed, p.28
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       Betrothed, p.28

         Part #6 of The Vampire Journals series by Morgan Rice

  Polly knelt beside Scarlet's side, dipping a cloth continuously into a bucket of cold water, wringing it out, and running it over her forehead and cheeks. Polly's heart was breaking. This poor child was burning up with fever. Several times in the last hours, she had awakened, screaming for Caitlin. Polly had tried to reassure her that she would be back soon, but Scarlet seem inconsolable.

  Ruth, too, seemed on edge. She wouldn't leave Scarlet's side, and she spent most of the time whining, laying her chin on her chest, and snarling at anyone other than Polly, Sam or Lily who came close. Ruth was acting as if it were her own child on the bed.

  Polly felt increasingly worried as she tended to Scarlet's sores. There were huge welts all over her face, now oozing pus. Every time Polly rubbed one down with cool water, another one acted up.

  She felt terrible for the child, and she was so impressed by how brave she was, given how painful it looked.

  Polly ran her hand through Scarlet's hair again and again.

  "Did I tell you that you're the bravest little girl in the world?" Polly said, trying to get her to smile.

  But Scarlet wasn't smiling. She was alternately writhing in pain, and passed out.

  On the other side of the bed, Lily knelt by Caleb's side, running a cool cloth over his forehead.

  Caleb, though, was completely unresponsive.

  Sam paced the room, like a wild, caged animal.

  "I feel useless," Sam said. "I wish there was something I could do. I wish I could find out who did this to them. I wish we could - "

  "Please stop already," Polly snapped at him.

  Sam stopped in his tracks.

  "All you're doing is making things worse," she said. "Beating someone up is not going to change the situation. "

  Polly was at her wit's end, overstrained by the horrible situation, and still mad at Sam for his behavior back outside the Globe - for accusing her of loving Sergei.

  "Well, what else am I supposed to do?" Sam snapped back.

  "Why don't you try making yourself useful," Polly snapped. She walked over to him and thrust the wet rag into his palm. "Take care of Scarlet. I'm getting some air. "

  Polly stormed past him and out the door, closing it behind her.

  Polly breathed deep. It felt good to get outside. She really needed a break from all the gloom and misery. And she needed to get away from Sam. She was feeling such mixed emotions towards him, and that, on top of everything, was really putting her on edge. On the one hand, she wanted to be with him. On the other hand, she was still upset with him. She was confused, and didn't know what to think or feel.

  "There you are," came a voice.

  Polly spun and looked. To her shock, standing there, just a few feet away, was Sergei. She couldn't believe it.

  She was gearing up to scream at him, but before she could get a word out, he held up a hand and spoke quickly, "I know you're furious at me. And you have a right to be. And if you're not interested anymore, that's okay. I didn't come here to try again. I got the message. I just came to make amends.

  And to help. "

  Polly stared at him, not knowing what to believe.

  "And how do you propose to do that?" she snapped.

  Sergei took a half step forward, tentatively. "The plague that Scarlet has, and that Caleb has," he said, "I know a cure for it. I know who poisoned them. It was Kyle. And I know where the antidote is. I can lead you to it. "

  "And why would you do that?" Polly snapped, still not trusting him. "You love Kyle. "

  "Kyle and I parted ways. He is my enemy now. And like I said, I want to make amends. I'm truly ashamed for how I behaved back in France. Please, give me one chance to make it up to you. Let me help. Let me give you the antidote. You can save everyone. "

  Polly thought. He sounded so convincing, so genuine. And why would he offer this, unless he meant it? The idea of her helping everyone filled her with a new sense of hope. The sight of Scarlet and Caleb was almost too much for her to bear. If there was a chance, any chance, for a cure, she would have to explore it.

  "How far is it?" she asked.

  Sergei smiled.

  "Not far at all. Fly with me. I'll show you. Please," he said, pleading, "trust me. I want to help.

  You can save both their lives. "

  Polly looked him up and down, trying to use all her senses to detect if he was telling the truth.

  But her senses were obscured. She desperately wanted to believe him, to believe that there was a cure. She tried to reason with herself that there was.

  And with Caleb and Scarlet on death's door, what choice did she have?

  "I still hate you," Polly said, "but I'll follow you to the cure. And that's it. And then I'm never talking to you again. "

  Sergei smiled. "That's all I ask. "

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