Patient Twelve

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Ben grabbed my arm and pulled me onto him. He tossed his book to the side and had me so that my knees were on either side of his lap. I glanced down to make sure that the skirt on my dress had not ridden up too far. Ben’s warm hands rest themselves on the small of my back. My hands had fallen onto his shoulders.

“I made you your coffee,” I said.

“Thank you,” he said.

I sat on him for a few seconds in silence. Ben stared at me and smiled. My eyes darted back to the cup of coffee. I was so close to finally having my escape. I wanted to pick up the cup and pour the hot liquid down his throat, but I knew that wouldn’t go over well.

“You better drink it before it gets cold,” I said.

“I know,” he said.

I yelped as he turned us in one swift motion. He had us so that my back was on the couch and he was hovering over me. His lips were on mine, and they were hungry. I kissed him back only because I knew it wouldn’t help me to fight against him. I did grab his wrist when his hand did begin to trail its way up my thigh. He ripped his arm out of my grasp and moved his lips down onto my neck. His hand went back onto my thigh, and I started to wiggle under his grip to try and get him off of me.

“Ben, what are you doing?” I asked.

“What do you think?” he asked. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” I lied.

I grabbed his hand and pulled it off of my thigh. I laced my fingers through his so that he would not touch my leg again.

“I’m just not in the mood,” I said.

Ben let out a deep breath. He brought our intertwined fingers up to his lips and kissed the back of my hand.

“I would never force myself on you,” he said. “I know how awful that is.”

The nausea that was building up in my stomach finally died down. I pulled my hand free from Ben’s and sat. He turned so that he was lying across the couch. I grabbed the coffee mug and handed it to Ben. He did not sit up any higher on the couch, so he rested the mug on his chest. He had one hand on the mug, and his other arm was behind his head.

“Did Oliver ever touch you?” Ben asked.

“No,” I said, shaking my head. “Well, not like that.”

“You know you can talk to me if he did, right?”

“Just drink your coffee.”

I gave him a smile so that he thought I was playing around. I really just wanted him to drink that coffee.

“I will,” he said. “I just have to let it cool down first.”

The sound of something tapping against the window filled the room. I looked over at the window to see that it was the rain pelting on the glass. I grabbed the quilt off of the couch and wrapped it around my shoulders. It dragged along the floor as I walked over to the window. The wind was ripping through the leaves. The couch creaked as Ben watched me.

The sliding door was just to my side. I could start running, but it would ruin my plan. Ben would never drink this coffee.

I jumped when Ben grabbed my hips. He slid his hands around my waist and pulled me against his body. He leaned down to rest his chin on my shoulder.

“I love it when it rains,” Ben said. “It always makes everything cozier.”

I spun around, and put my hands on Ben’s chest. I was able to give him a light shove back, and form a little bit of space between us.

“It does,” I said. “It’s a good day to stay on the couch, read a book, and drink some coffee.”

Ben chuckle before cupping the side of my face with his hand. His fingers twirled themselves around the ends of my short hair.

“Are you feeling okay?” he asked. “You seem a little odd today.”

“I’m good,” I said. “I guess I am still a bit on edge. This is like the first day I don’t have to worry.”

Ben’s smile dropped for a second, but it was quick to return. He kissed my forehead and pulled me in toward his chest. He flinched when my hand hit his abdomen, and I slid my hands higher to stay away from his infection.

“I am sorry that this has all been so hard for you,” he said. “First it was your surgery, and then it was training for the dinner. Next, we were in the Caribbean, and a few days later we were escaping from Bethany and Oliver. Then it was my infection. But we are all okay now, sweetheart. You can relax now.”

I let out a deep breath and rested my head against him. He tightened his arms around me and kissed the top of my head. I could finally relax once Ben drank his coffee.

“‘I’m happy,” I lied. “Can we go back to the couch? I’m still pretty tired.”

“Of course,” he said.

Ben kissed my hand before pulling me over to the couch. He lied down on his back and brought me down so that I was lying on his chest. His poisoned coffee was sitting on the table untouched. Ben shifted the quilt so that it was covering both of us. He ran his fingers up and down my back.

My eyes stayed locked on the coffee. Ben didn’t move to grab it as he continued to rub my back. When his fingers stopped, I hoped that he was about to reach forward for the mug. I glanced to see that his eyes were closed and his lips were parted.

I thought I was going to scream. Ben was not going to drink this coffee. My perfect chance to escape was slipping through my fingers.

The poisoning was not going to work, but I still had the chance to get out. Ben would close the bedroom door when we went to bed because of the loud creak the door made whenever I would try to open it. We were out on the couch. He would not hear any of the doors opening. The only door he would hear would be the front door. That wouldn’t even matter. I would have the keys to the car and I would be able to take off running.

I lifted one edge of the quilt. I slid Ben’s hands off of my back and placed them on his chest. I stepped onto the rug and tucked the quilt back around Ben. He balled his fist into the quilt and rolled onto his side. I held my breath as I watched him reposition himself on the couch. He settled back down, and I managed to breathe again.

I tiptoed over to the bedroom. The duffel bag was sitting on a bench next to the door. I unzipped the bag and rifled through it. Ben had unpacked all of our clothes, and all that was left in the bottom of the bag was the leftover granola bars and chips that we had picked up from gas stations. I looked through the collection of zippers and pockets on the side of the bag, but all I could find was an assortment of pill bottles.

Ben did not leave the keys in the same spot. I did not think to watch him put away the keys when we got home from the pharmacy. He could still have it on him. He could be too paranoid to keep them out of his sight, and they could be in his pocket.

Before going into the pharmacy, Ben did shove his hand in his jacket pocket. He could have done that when we got back to the cabin. He could have kept them in his jacket pocket. I unzipped both of the pockets and shoved my hands in. My fingers ran along the silky lining of the pockets. They were empty.

“What are you doing?” Ben asked.

My heart was pounding, and my hand shot up over my chest. Ben was leaning against the doorframe and had one eyebrow raised. His fingers curled in and out of a fist. His shoulders straightened as I watched the tension build in him.

“You scared me,” I said with a giggle. “I couldn’t sleep. I just wanted to see if any of these clothes need washing.”

“Diana, just take the day off,” he said. “You need a day to just de-stress. Worry about stuff like that later.”

“I guess.” I shrugged my shoulders. “I was trying to keep myself busy.”

“I think Bethany has some board games somewhere.”

Ben turned and walked back into the living room. I looked over at his jacket. His keys may be somewhere in here, but they were useless to me now. Even if I did have them, I would not be able to get out of this cabin before Ben could pin me to the floor. He would handcuff me to the bed again. Just the thought of it caused my bandaged wrists to throb.

I stepped out into the living room to see Ben by the closet at the front door. He was on his toes as he pulled a few boxes off the top shelf. He brought them over to the couch and sat down. He blew off the dust that settled on the lid of the box. I sat next to him to see that he had found a game of Monopoly. He opened it and started pulling out all of the pieces.

“This will be fun,” he said. “Last time I played Monopoly I was still in high school.”

I sorted through the pieces with him and set the board. The coffee cup sat at the edge of the table. I tried to avoid staring at it, but I couldn’t help myself. My freedom was all contained inside one mug.

“Okay,” he said once everything was ready. “What piece do you want to be?”

“The dog is okay,” I said.

“Awesome, I’ll be the racecar.”

Ben reached forward for the mug, and I thought I was going to jump up off of the couch and start cheering. I was able to restrain myself and settle on giving him a grin. We were about to play a game, so hopefully, it wouldn’t look out of place.

Ben took a sip of the coffee. He twisted his face in a sour expression and shook his head.

“Oh god, it’s cold,” he said. “That’s disgusting.”

He got up with the mug in his hand. I watched him as he walked around the couch and into the kitchen. He poured the coffee down the sink.

He poured my escape plot down the drain.

I let out a deep breath and flopped back against the cushions on the couch. Ben sat back next to me and started to roll the dice. I forced myself to smile as I played along. Ben rambled on about our lives together, and I tried my best not to listen. I just nodded my head and gave him to odd kiss whenever he leaned in.

I failed today, but I have another half a bottle of hydromorphone. I had one more chance to poison Ben, and I could not mess this one up.

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