Part 2: Small Shocks
Kalista’s hands shook and the world spun into blackness. She returned to consciousness seeing the face of her neighbor calling her name anxiously as though he were a long distance away. She was coughing, choking on ammonia fumes as the sound of sirens wailed in the distance. Nothing made sense and she wondered if the earth had turned over or spun off its axis. She couldn’t fathom how she came to be lying on the floor.
“Kalista, are you okay?”
She managed to catch his arm to push the smelling salts away.
“James,” she murmured in confusion, “What are you doing?”
“Oh, thank god, I thought you were done for!”
The offending fumes dissipated but sirens screamed more loudly in her ears and then halted abruptly.
“Thank god is right,” she whispered, letting her head fell back onto the carpet. Detecting unfamiliar voices and activity, Kalista shook off the temptation to lapse back into merciful oblivion and tried to rise.
James was at her side in a second, preventing further movement ordering, “No you don’t. Be still.”
“But how,” she began, “Why am I,” she tried again, fighting the fog that gripped her thoughts forcing her to give up.
James stayed her with a gentle hand, explaining, “I was just passing by to fetch the mail. Your door was open and I saw you clutch your chest. You hit the floor like a sack of hammers. I thought you had a heart attack. Paramedics are here.”
As memory returned, Kalista prayed the earth would open up and swallow her whole, “No. I’m fine, James. I’m sorry I gave you such a fright. I just skipped breakfast. I guess, I was a little light-headed,” she lied.
“You really scared me. Your face was ashen and you went down hard. I feared the worst, Kalista. You’re not moving until the paramedics check you out,” James cautioned her.
Kalista acquiesced reluctantly, “Okay but it’s not necessary. I feel so silly for causing all this commotion,” she argued with her cheeks burning.
James relayed her explanation to the medics and they checked her out thoroughly, administering an EKG and taking her blood pressure and temperature, then helping her to the couch. They filed out of the apartment explaining that she may have a concussion and shouldn’t be left alone.
Kalista couldn’t wait for them to leave so she could collect herself and her thoughts, but James took it upon himself to stay glued to her side as self-appointed caregiver. He strode the short distance to her bedroom and returned to wrap her in a blanket and tuck a pillow under her head.
She was somewhat taken aback at his innate ability to take control and make order from chaos yet, she hadn’t decided whether his insistent care was welcome yet. She only moved in two weeks prior and this protective display came as a complete surprise, but the effects of a too eventful morning took form in the shape of heavy eyelids and exhaustion.
James retrieved her mail from the floor and examined the contents of the box as her eyelids fluttered, fighting sleep, until she collapsed into the warmth and assurance of James’ commanding presence and she let her heavy eyelids close.
“Well there are no bills and nothing pressing. This is a beautiful piece of jewelry,” he said, lifting the box for a closer look, “Do you have a significant other?”
Her eyes flew open with a start as he examined the box from Daveed. Before he noticed that she was alert Kalista slammed her eyes shut, feigning sleep and hoping he wouldn’t look at the card. She lay in unsettled silence until exhaustion finally claimed her.
Tags: #long lost #love #lust #college #reunion #beau #thirty years later #gift #choker #collar #jewelry