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I felt like my body was being pulled in a direction that I didn't want
to go in. I wanted to shout "no" at the top of my voice, but the words
wouldn't come out of my mouth. My mouth felt so dry. It was like I had
tried to eat sandpaper. My head hurt and my eyes were squeezing
shut as tightly as they could to keep from seeing some unknown
source of light. My nose was the only part of my body that seemed
happy. It wanted to go toward the light and in the direction that
scared every other cell of my being. Then my ears betrayed me too.
There was a sound that sounded pleasant but distant. My ears
liked that sound and wanted to hear more. They made me turn my
head toward the light. My nose was suddenly happier because there
was a smell that I couldn't describe, but that my stomach also liked.
I tried to stay in the darkness. I wanted to stay in the darkness
forever, but my ears heard the sound again. It was getting closer and
louder and it was sounding better as it did.
"Ginger, I need for you to wake up now. You've been sleeping off
and on for a day and a half. I've ordered breakfast for you. Please
wake up. You're really starting to worry me."
My heart heard this sound and started beating faster. I felt like I
had no choice but to give in and allow myself to go into the light. I
was scared, but somehow I knew that I was going to be okay. The
comforting sound that I heard was there to make sure that I was fine.
Nothing was going to happen to me that I couldn't handle. So I gave
in and happily went into the light.
I slowly opened my eyes and everything was a blur at first. I could
still hear the sound that had been calling to me so I tried to focus on
where it was coming from. It sounded happier now that I had given
in. I could feel something gently touching me. First my arm and then my face. It was getting closer and so was the sound and smell. Finally, my eyes focused and I saw what had been calling me. Who had been calling me. Alden Cassidy.
"Well, Cinderella, welcome back to the ball. I was beginning to
think that you had checked out for good. Sit up now. I want you to try
to eat something. I promise that you'll feel better if you do."
I slowly looked around. I was still in bed in my hotel room even
though I really couldn't remember what city I was in. Alden's hair
looked damp and I didn't recognize the clothes he was wearing. At
some point he must have showered and changed. The lights in the
room were on and there was a room service tray sitting on the bed
"Come on, now. If you will sit up, I'll help with the pillows and you
won't even have to get out of bed to eat. If you promise not to take
advantage of me, I may even sit next to you and have a bite myself."
Did he just offer to get into bed next to me?
"Did I die?" Was all that I could manage to say.
Alden smiled and said, "No, you didn't die. However, I imagine
that you are going to have a killer headache for awhile."
"Did you know that your smile makes the whole room brighter? It's
usually nice, but right now it kind of hurts my eyes." I lowered my head. As much as I loved his smile it was just too much to take at the moment.
"OK, Cinderella, I promise not to smile until you feel better if you
promise to eat something for me." Alden said and then closed his lips together tightly in an attempt to keep the smile he wanted to show me away.
I slowly pulled myself up into a sitting position with Alden's help. He
rearranged the pillows so that I could lean back on them. Then he
picked up the food tray and placed it across my lap. He sat on the
bed so that he was beside and facing me. He slowly removed the
lid from the food tray and revealed scrambled eggs, bacon and toast. The wonderful smell overwhelmed me and I started feeling better instantly.
"I would like something to eat, but my name isn't Cinderella. It's
Ginger. I thought you knew that." I put my hand to my head hoping it would help to calm the pain I felt there.
"I don't know if I'm going to be able to keep my promise about not
smiling if you keep talking. So, why don't you just eat?"
Alden held out a slice of bacon for me to take and I did. Food has
never tasted so good.