It took Doc a few minutes to find Max, he lay crumpled up behind the chair in Montana’s bedroom, passed out, skin cold to the touch. Doc would have liked to dump him in the shower and warm him up quick, but since Montana’s time table wasn’t the same he didn’t think it wise.
Funny everyone believing him to be an old man, he thought as he lifted Max up and carried him into the spare room. He may look old, but he never felt old. He tucked Max under the covers of the spare bed and hunted down some more blankets.
After shutting the door behind him he turned on a bedside lamp. Montana shouldn’t notice tonight, but would ask questions in the morning if Max wasn’t better, or gone. He would dwell on that later.
He examined Max. His pulse was strong, his breathing fine, no concussion. He examined every inch of his body, making sure Montana hadn’t injured him in some way, he knew from experience how strong she could be, and in this state, who knew what she could do.
Max was pale, his lips were blue, and… wait a minute. Doc bent down taking a closer look. The welts were fading fast. He lifted up Max’s shirt; sure enough they were in the exact same place as Montana’s scars. Doc watched as the welts disappeared. His skin started returning to its natural color, albeit still pale.
“What did she do to you?” He mumbled.
He eyed Max’s face before reaching for a needle, and pulling some blood. Just to be on the safe side. He didn’t think Montana was contagious in any way, but still… She’d somehow managed to project her energy strong enough to cause the welts that formed on his skin. He replaced the needle in his bag. Not wanting to risk Max’s safety by moving him he picked up his phone and called Chase.
When Chase arrived he nodded and pointed to Montana’s room.
“She is in the shower, you should check on her. Be careful, I still have no idea what she did to Max.”
Chase nodded and slid back out of the room, found her out cold, leaning on the tile, boiling hot water streaming down on her. He turned off the faucet and picked her up. She felt like she’d been dunked into an ice bath.
Once Chase had her dried off, changed, in bed, and covered with a ton of blankets he slipped back into Max’s room.
Max was still out, but didn’t look too bad. He sighed then rang Jamie. “Hey…”
“Hey! I’ve been wearing a damn hole in the carpet waiting for you to call. How is he? What’s going on?”
Chase quickly explained to Jamie the little he knew about Max, and what was going on with Montana.
She sagged on the bed, tears streaming out of her eyes.
“I never should have involved any of you.” She hiccuped.
“Montana was already involved, which inadvertently involved Max and I. You’ve been a big help, we wouldn’t have any idea what we were fighting without you.”
“But we haven’t been able to fight him,” she choked out, “we still don’t know how.”
“We’ll figure it out.”
“I think it might be too late to take Montana out of the picture,” she rushed before she lost her nerve, “I’m not sure it matters anymore.”
“That would’ve never happened anyway, unless we took Max out of the picture too.”
She sniffed. “I know, I’m freaking out Chase, sorry.”
The line was silent for a moment.
“Don’t tell Sam, please, Chase. If something were to happen to her I would never forgive myself.”
Chase didn’t think they could keep it from Sam much longer and wouldn’t be surprised if Sam already knew, after all he’d seen her spying on them.
“Okay.” Chase said hoping to calm her.
Just then Montana screamed. Max bolted up in bed grabbing at his side.
“I have to go, I’ll call you back.”
Chase rushed into Montana’s room while Doc calmed Max and re-examined him and raced to her side expecting her to be awake, scared, or something. She was sleeping like a baby. He checked her pulse, it was slow, felt her skin, she was still very cold. He replaced the blankets she’d tossed off before wandering back to Max’s room.
“Sleeping like a baby, still cold, pulse slow.”
“Come look at this. The welts are back, he is cold too.”
“What does this mean? These are where Montana’s scars are.”
Chase’s heartbeat quickened. What was she doing to Max?
“I am not sure, but I have an idea. We need to wake him, get my smelling salts.”
Chase obliged, it took several minutes with the salts before Max woke up.
“Exhausted, pain, too much pain,” He said opening his eyes.
“What hurts?” Doc asked.
“She’s in a loop.” Max closed his eyes.
Chase shook him. “Stay awake!”
“Chase, please make coffee. Tell me what is happening Max.”
His eyelids fluttered, “Exhausted, no more sleeping pills.”
When Max didn’t say anything else Doc slapped him hard across the face, afraid Montana was unknowingly sucking the life out of Max. She needed her sleep. Max needed to stay awake.
“Shit, you didn’t have to do that.” Max sat up, tore off his shirt, and poked at the red welts. “Christ! It hurts so much. How can she live with it?” He chuckled darkly. “And I’m no sissy.” He shivered. “Give me a blanket.”
Chase barreled in with three cups of coffee. “I checked on Montana again,” he handed Max a big mug; “she’s still sleeping.”
“Good.” Doc said.
“No, not good,” Max replied, trying to get up. “She’s stuck in a loop, it’s exhausting.”
Chase and Doc pushed him back down.
“Her body needs the rest, tell me what happened.”
Max let out a long sigh and recited what had transpired that night.
“I’m not certain how she projected her dreams to me, but she did. It’s the same thing over and over. I don’t think it’s the whole story, but it might be the most important parts of what she’s going through.”
“And Sterling on the beach?”
Max grimaced, he left that part out; he didn’t want to think about it.
“I think she knows subconsciously he’s not right. He shows himself as a very good looking man.” He grumbled.
“Well, that would explain why she kissed him tonight.” Chase said.
Max’s glare seared right through him.
Great Chase thought, open mouth, insert foot. Chase quickly explained what he and Jamie had witnessed.
Max closed his eyes.
“You cannot go back to sleep,” Doc nudged him, “she will drain you more. I do not think she knows she is draining you. I do think she is crying out for help though.”
“Why can’t she just ask like a normal person?”
“I do not think she is able. If she was I am sure she would have by now. She is not stupid, stubborn, but not stupid.”
“She could have asked Chase.”
“Do not go there Max.”
“He’s right,” Chase piped in, “she loves you not me.”
“How do you know?”
“Everyone can see it, but you and her.”
Max closed his eyes again. “Don’t smack me I’m not going to sleep, just resting. I’m so bloody tired. Doc, give me a pain killer. How is she dealing with this? Anybody else probably would have cracked under the pressure by now.”
“She is tough.”
Max swallowed the pain killer and kicked his feet over the side of the bed. He sat for a minute, willing back his strength then shook his head. He glanced down expecting to see huge open wounds on his side and arm, where Montana’s had been that fateful day, blinking at the disappearing welts, he was still in pain.
“We have to wake her up.”
“No.” Doc and Chase said in unison.
“She needs to work it out herself. Wake her up and she will forget again. She needs to remember on her own. If she has a breakdown I will help bring her back. Do not mention this to her and do not sleep. We cannot afford to lose you.”
Max sighed. “Let’s see what she brought back this time. Call Jamie, Chase, I need you to stay with me now.”