Home > Runaway Vampire (Argeneau #23)(5)

Runaway Vampire (Argeneau #23)(5)
Author: Lynsay Sands

It had been an accident, she reminded herself. She’d never even seen him, but she had been tired and while she hadn’t thought she’d been that tired, she should have seen him, shouldn’t she? The man was buck naked, not wearing dark clothes that would have helped make him harder to see. She should have seen him.

The door opened behind her suddenly and Mary turned to peer anxiously at the pretty brunette as she hurried out of the RV. The woman didn’t even glance her way, but slammed the RV door closed and rushed toward the restaurant.

Mary stared after her with a frown, then glanced to the RV door, briefly debating going inside to see what was happening. Had he died? Was he—Her head swiveled again at the sound of the restaurant door opening and she watched wide-eyed as the woman led several patrons to the RV, all of them big, brawny-looking men. By Mary’s guess, every last one of them was probably a truck driver . . . or a lumberjack.

“Are you moving him?” Mary asked with concern as the doctor led the men over. It was the only explanation she could think of for the presence of so many big men. Although she had no idea how they thought they would all be able to maneuver through the tight RV carrying the man. And where were they going to put him? Did they plan to just bring him out here and lay him on the pavement, or were they going to take him inside the restaurant? That last thought seemed most likely. The lighting in the RV wasn’t great right now. She hadn’t turned on the generator when she’d stopped, so the only light was the small LED she’d flicked on to look for her purse.

“Wait here and watch for the ambulance,” the brunette said as she opened the door. She gestured for the men to go in ahead of her and then followed, leaving a worried Mary to watch the door close again. The RV rocked slightly as the people inside moved about and Mary bit her lip, wondering how the hell they thought they were going to move the man with so many inside.

She should have put out the slides, Mary thought again unhappily as she peered up the road first one way and then the other, wondering how long it would take for the ambulance to get there and from which direction it would come.

When the door opened behind her again, Mary glanced around expectantly, but only one of the men came out. Mary stepped out of his way as he descended the steps and pushed the door closed. She expected him to make some sort of explanation then, but the man simply walked away back toward the restaurant at an easy gait, a relaxed smile on his face.

Mary stared after him with amazement. She’d almost think he’d been sent to get towels or something else that might be needed, but if so, surely he should be rushing and looking at least a bit concerned?

She watched him enter the restaurant and saw through the large glass windows that he returned to what she presumed was his table and set about eating again as if nothing had happened. She also saw both waitresses move to his side, curiosity evident in their movements and expressions, but whatever he said must have allayed their concerns, since both women moved away moments later, relaxed and smiling as if at some joke.

Mary was frowning over that when the door opened behind her again and another of the men came out. Like the first he looked relaxed and happy as he descended the steps and closed the door. But this time Mary didn’t move out of the way, instead stepping in front of him.

“What’s happening? Is he—?”

“He’ll be fine,” the tall, gruff voiced fellow assured her. She noted puncture marks on his neck as he sidestepped her to head toward the restaurant, but got distracted by his words when he added, “The blood was more show than damage.”

Mary stared after him with disbelief. The amount of blood she’d seen had been more than show. It had looked like he’d bled out all over her floor. In fact, she hadn’t dared looked at his face when she’d led the doctors inside, afraid she’d find herself looking at eyes glazed over with death.

Much to her relief the sound of a siren in the distance distracted her then and Mary turned her head to peer along the road. Spotting the flashing lights, she swallowed and moved forward, ready to flag down the vehicle and wave it over the moment it pulled in. The ambulance was just turning into the lot when movement out of the corner of her eye made Mary glance back toward the RV. Another man had come out of the RV and was returning to the restaurant. Like the others, he looked calm and untroubled, but Mary didn’t have time to worry about it, as the ambulance was coming to a halt before her and two men were jumping out.

“Are you the one who called?” the man who had been driving asked as they approached her.

Mary shook her head. “The waitress did for me.”

The driver nodded, his gaze sliding over her. “What seems to be the problem? Chest pains? Problems breathing?”

Mary waved the suggestion away and turned to head back toward the RV, explaining, “No. I’m fine. But I hit someone with the RV and he was badly injured. There are doctors with him now, but—”

Mary paused both in speaking and walking. She’d glanced over her shoulder to see that she’d lost the EMTs. Both men had rushed back toward the ambulance. She stared after them, relieved when she realized they were just getting their gear. They were quick about it now that they knew the situation and seconds later were wheeling a stretcher toward her with several items stacked on top of it. A strapped spine board was on the bottom, with a neck collar, an orange bag with the medical symbol on it, and a defibrillator on top. The sight of the spine board and collar made her realize the naked man in her RV probably shouldn’t have been moved until it was determined that he hadn’t broken his neck or back. But she was sure the doctor had seen to that before she’d called the men in from the restaurant to move him to the bed. At least that’s what she was assuming they’d been brought out for. She had no idea why they’d left one at a time rather than all together after accomplishing the task.

The EMTs were moving quickly now and Mary had to jog to keep ahead of them.

“Who’s the doctor with the victim?” the driver asked suddenly.

“There are two of them, a husband and wife. I think she said Jenner or something,” Mary muttered, trying to recall. She’d been in a bit of a state at the time.

“Jenson?” the other EMT asked as Mary paused at the RV door and started to open it.

“Yes, that might be it,” Mary admitted, then glanced around with surprise as the last of the four men from the restaurant came out the door she’d just opened and started down the steps.

She noted a mark and smear of blood on his throat, then glanced distractedly back to the ambulance driver when he said, “Your friend’s lucky then. The Jensons are top notch,” he announced and then hurried up the steps as the exiting man got out of the way.

“He’s right,” the second EMT assured her as he followed. He also closed the door behind him, making it obvious they didn’t expect her to follow.

Mary let her breath out on a sigh, but didn’t really mind being left outside again. There wasn’t a lot of room in there, and despite the reassurances from the men who had left the RV, she really didn’t think all that blood was just show. Besides, now that she was thinking about what she’d seen in her first glimpse of the man, she was quite sure there had been something odd about his chest. Aside from the muddy tire track across it, it had seemed a bit misshaped or flattened. And she thought one of his legs had been as well.

Muttering worriedly under her breath, Mary moved closer to where Bailey had curled up on the pavement and patted her head when the German shepherd promptly stood at attention beside her.

“It’ll be fine,” she repeated the mantra reassuringly, and just wished she believed that.

Glancing toward the restaurant, she recalled her intention to eat while she was here, but no longer felt like it. Perhaps afterward . . . if she wasn’t immediately arrested and dragged off to the hoosegow, Mary thought with a grimace. The possibility made her wonder where the police were. Surely they should be here by now, taking statements and starting their investigation?

The door opened behind her again and Mary glanced around to see the doctors coming out of the RV. There was blood on their clothes now, Mary noted and it suddenly occurred to her that what she’d thought was ketchup on the floor of the RV was probably blood as well.

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