Val was having a surprisingly good time. Nobody ever associated hospitals with fun, but for a telepath like her, they could be particularly unpleasant. (Try blocking out the thoughts and sensations of the patient in the next room having a colonoscopy sometime. Not fun.) She had the exatrin in her system to thank for a peaceful headspace, but the main reason for her good mood was Dave.
He’d gotten her popcorn. Just a small bag of white cheddar popcorn from the vending machine outside, but it gave the room a movie theater atmosphere as they watched the soap opera. He kept up a running commentary for her, explaining backstory from previous episodes and translating dialogue she didn’t understand. (Spanish was close enough to Italian that she could get the gist of it most of the time, but she’d never studied the language.) The show was ridiculous but strangely enthralling—or maybe that was the company. She doubted it would be as much fun watching by herself. In any case, the credits rolled far too soon.
“You didn’t tell me it ended on a cliffhanger,” Val accused. “What happens next? Do they prove Maricruz is innocent?”
“Eventually. I think she spends the next three or four episodes in prison, though. Concha ends up in there, too.”
“What? No. Concha was my favorite.”
He gave her a strange look. “She just tried to poison her own husband.”
Val laughed. “I know. She’s so ambitious. I love her.” She turned down the volume as the TV went to commercial. “So who’s your favorite character? Don’t tell me it’s whatshisname the billionaire superhero love interest.” Continue reading
Dave realized he’d lost his mind the moment he considered buying her flowers.
He blamed it on sleep-deprivation. The time difference meant he’d woken up at four in the morning, and it had been a long day of non-stop meetings, murder investigations, and fights. Then it was straight to the hospital to make sure the Black Valentine didn’t try anything funny like stealing all the drugs in the building while the doctors treated her. Her bullet wound wasn’t serious. Dave had seen friends and colleagues with worse, but that didn’t mean surgery wouldn’t hurt like hell, especially since she couldn’t take any anesthesia. The way she’d clenched shut her eyes as they stitched her up gave Dave an idiotic urge to punch the doctors for hurting her.
Now, Val rested in bed, and Dave stood guard—or sat guard, rather. He sat near her bed, drinking a cup of coffee a nurse had brought him, and as he gazed around the bland, private room, the thought crossed his mind that it could use some flowers.
It was a stupid idea for so many reasons. First, he didn’t exactly carry his wallet around when he was in costume. Second, even if he did have money, he’d have to leave Val unguarded to go downstairs to the gift shop. Third, he was in costume, and the moment someone spotted White Knight holding a bouquet, the tabloids would explode with speculation. And why would he even consider buying a supervillain flowers? If this was Pretty Boy Jeffries, the idea would be ridiculous. Was he only feeling sorry for Val because she was a woman? He pictured Madam Guillotine lying in bed instead, and the urge disappeared. So it was just Val, then.
“There’s nothing on,” Val groaned. She held the remote to the small, cheap TV on the counter across from her bed and was flipping through the channels. Continue reading