Ivey awakened, gasping for air even as her hands came up to grab the blade, determined to pull it out of her chest. When her fingers encountered only air, they ran up her chest to her neck before sliding back to her chest. Her breathing was long and drawn out, hard. She mentally prepared for blood and pain, but there was nothing.
No blade stuck to her chest, no streams of blood pouring out from inside her body.
Where was the wound from the stab? Ivey scanned every inch of her shoulders down to her breasts.
"Just…a…dream!" A massive sign of relief went through her, and her body fell back against the bed. "A freaking dream!"
Ivey brought her left hand up and laid it against her forehead while trying to calm her nerves and the sudden onslaught of blood rushing to her head. With eyes closed, Ivey focused on deep, heavy breaths, holding, and counting to ten before releasing.
Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat at least until Ivey could hear her own heart beating steadily again.
But then—something else registered inside her brain—and Ivey jumped off the bed.
A couple of things dawned on her all at once; she was naked...and this was unfamiliar territory!
The sudden realization of being naked for the first time since she opened her eyes hit. Ivey scrambled to pull the covers off the bed and around herself.
Nakedness aside…this is not my bedroom.
"Nor is this my place," Ivey spoke to no one in particular.
Now that the initial shock of never actually being stabbed in the first place wore off, she found herself in a much better state of mind.
For someone who might have been drugged and kidnapped, perhaps?
The last thing she remembered was the suspect firing at her. Maybe, Brad, had someone creep up on her when her attention was on him? Ivey mustered an internal frown because she recalled Officer Black calling out to her. Was it possible for someone to have done so without Black noticing?
Either way, her body moved without the aches and pains seemingly void of bruises. Surprisingly, she felt more alive and alert than ever before, but very tired at the same time.
There was also a sense of…protection in the air. Yes, for some reason, Ivey felt protected and shielded from the world. It was a pleasant sensation, one she wasn't used to, and couldn't explain other than the fact that maybe she had been drugged and was still currently feeling the after-effects.
Her eyes settled on a black folder on top of the desk: Majestic Suites.
Ivey picked her memory, trying to recall how she got here. She was working—there was a hostage situation—she got stabbed. A sensuous guy called her Lady Ivey instead of just Ivey before ramming a blade through her heart.
Her eyes widened as another thought struck. Did she die? What this Heaven?! Could this explain the refreshingly fit and agile feelings along with the uncanny sense of protection and the need just to close her eyes and take a nice, long nap?
Ivey grabbed the remote and switched on the TV, not knowing what to expect. Only after hearing the familiar opening of the Channel 4 newscast did she allow a sigh of relief. Ivey was sort of expecting a channel filled with angels welcoming her into this new world. However, it was the local channel instead, meaning she was still in Minnesota and within the boundaries of the Twin Cities.
Ivey didn't die. The date on the TV stated February 20th, 2017. The last time she recalled was February 17th. So... there were three days unaccounted for—that she didn't have memories of.
Three days that came up blank inside her head…
My parents! Ivey launched herself onto the bed and flipped to the other side to where the phone was. Blanket still wrapped tightly around her; she struggled to place the receiver against her ear.
She was okay, but her earlier theory about being drugged and kidnapped seemed increasingly likely. Something happened, however, it didn't involve being pierced in the chest with a knife, or a dagger, or whatever it was. Either she fainted, which she'd done a couple of times in the past, or she got shot at and ended up being in a coma for three days. Still, even all that didn't add up because she woke up here instead of in a hospital.
Whatever happened, she needed to speak to her parents—let them know she was safe and alive! They were probably worried sick, maybe even grieving her death! She needed to contact them first, then everything else can come after.
Ivey dialed her parents' phone and waited for it to ring. Mentally, she prepared herself for what she was going to say…what to say? Do you know if your daughter is alive or dead? Or, hi, this is your daughter Ivey?
"Your call cannot be completed at this time. Please hang up and try again."
Confused, Ivey re-ran the numbers in her head. Her parents' phone number was one of the few phones she had memorized, part of a particular group of people that still had landlines. It should have gone through.
"Your call cannot be completed—"
"What do you mean it can't be completed?!" Ivey was surprised at how calm she sounded despite all the turmoil going on around and inside her brain. "I know I have the correct number."
She tried again, mentally repeating the number in her head as a sort of validation technique.
Ivey slammed the receiver down and took in a massive gulp of air. She didn't panic earlier, and she was not going to start now.
Still, maybe she should call the police because she had no idea what the hell was going on, and it was only three numbers, so what could go wrong?
"Your call cannot be—"
"Okay, okay," Ivey placed the receiver back and was pleasantly surprised that she didn't slam it down this time, "Don't panic! Everything is going to be all right. Somehow, the phone's not working, but that's okay. You're not locked up or anything. As soon as you find your clothes, you can just walk out of here and go home."
Ivey nodded. "Yes! Clothes! I need to find clothes and get the hell out of here. Then maybe, I can borrow someone's cell phone."
There were too many unanswered questions, and on top of that, she was naked. There were so many things racing through her mind, but she couldn't afford to get distracted. For all she knew, the bad guys could be making their way back towards her room any minute now. What was more important? Getting out of here naked, or finding clothes?
Ivey usually prided herself on thinking logically and assessing her situation. At the moment, common sense seemed to have alluded her. Clothes should be the least of her dilemmas, with escaping being the priority. She could take the bed covers with her, drawing some much-needed attention? The bad guys wouldn't like that too much.
Hell—why was she even worrying about being naked, it wasn't worth her life!
Mind made up, Ivey gathered the covers up to her ankles about to go searching for the front door when the piercing cry of the phone startled her. The sound jarred her from her thoughts primarily because it wasn't a gentle melody but a shrill alarm! If the ring was meant to wake someone from sleep, it sure as hell did the trick. It even stunned her as she stopped to stare at it like it had grown horns.
Earlier, you refused to work, but now you're ringing?!
After the fifth ring, it stopped, and Ivey shook herself out of the trance. Time to get going!
She turned, ready to make good her escape when the piercing ring jerked her out of her thoughts again. Logic told her to ignore the call and get the hell out of there. Instinct advised her to answer the phone; otherwise, she might be in a world of trouble….
The ringing stopped and started up again as she stood there, debating on whether to pick up. In the end, instinct won, and she grudgingly made her way towards it.
"Hello…?" Ivey spoke up in a cautiously low voice, not sure of who would be on the receiving end.
It was that voice again! The velvet voice from the man of her dream!
It hit her—maybe she was still dreaming…?
"No, this is not a dream, and yes, I am very real," his voice glided over her skin and almost made her want to purr in response.
A man shouldn't be allowed to have that kind of voice.
Ivey shook herself free of the mayhem he was causing to her senses. "Who are you?"
"You're safe," the chocolate voice went on, choosing not to answer her. "Stop trying to use the phone and call for help or your parents. Everything is fine. You're in a safe place. Besides, you're not thinking straight. The instructions to dial out are on the phone. You should pay more attention before you dial."
Oh. My. God! Ivey smacked her forehead quietly. IDIOT!
Even though the stranger couldn't see her, Ivey felt her face turned red. It wasn't like this was her first time in a hotel either! How could she forget to dial nine first for an outside line?!
The stranger, on the other end, paused. Ivey thought she heard a smirk, but she couldn't be too sure as the stranger started to talk again. "Get some rest. Your old clothes are gone. I had to get rid of any unwanted energy that might have seeped out…" Why did every sentence coming out of him sound like a command? Do this, do that, listen to me..., "…we'll be leaving as soon as preparations are in order. It may or may not be for another three or four hours, so get some sleep. You overexerted yourself. Your body needs to recover."
"I am not leaving with you," Ivey replied into the phone. "I don't know what is going on here or where am I, and most importantly, who the hell you are so if you think I am just going to—"
"Now is not the time," he cut her off. "We'll discuss this later."
For some reason, it irked her that he was dismissing her. It shouldn't because she had no idea who he was and the type of harm he could do to her. Following that logic, it shouldn't matter then whether he was dismissing her or not, but it did. And the sooner she got off the phone with him, the sooner she can make good her escape. But she didn't. "If you aren't going to discuss this with me then—"
"Get some rest," that damn sensuous voice interrupted her again, "I will be there as soon as I can." It sounded like a promise… a caress.
And then his voice was gone, replaced with an annoying dial tone.