Winter Rain, part 58

I wake with a start to motion and blinding sunshine. I squeeze my eyes shut to block out the light, but the dream stabs at me from the backs of my eyelids, and I snap them open again. My shirt is damp with sweat, and I start to shiver, despite the warmth of the sun through the windscreen.

“You’re turning where that car is coming out,” Keely says hurriedly, pointing past me from the back seat. Brennan just nods and continues driving.

I arch forward in my seat, to separate my shirt from my back, but it clings stubbornly. I reach back and pull it away.

“Have a good nap?” Keely asks. I can hear the smirk in her voice even before I turn to see it.

I shrug, and run my hand up past my forehead. Even my hair feels damp.

“How long did I sleep?”

“Uh, maybe a couple of minutes?”

Really. Felt like longer.

The image flashes again, across my eyelids as I blink—him, the older me, standing over her. I clench my teeth and pull away.

“Are you feeling okay?” she asks, a hint of worry in her voice. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost or something.”

“I’m fine,” I reply, and shake my head. “Probably just woke up too quickly.” I try to laugh, but it doesn’t quite come out right.

“Maybe you should go back to sleep for a while. It’s most of an hour before we get there.”

I shake my head again, but don’t meet her eyes. “No. I’ve slept enough.

“Were we talking about something?” I ask, more for the distraction than because I care.

She goes silent, but I can feel her eyes on me still.

“You’re sure you’re okay?” she asks again, doubtfully.

“Yes!” I growl emphatically. “For fuck’s sake, I’m fine! Will you leave it alone!”

I regret my tone almost before the words are out of my mouth. Brennan turns to look at me, and I hear Keely drop back into her seat behind him.

Nice job, Tiergan. Nice fucking job.

I crane around in my seat to apologize, but she’s staring out the window, her jaw set.

“Keely . . . I’m sorry. That didn’t come out the way . . . . ”

She doesn’t respond.

“You were right—I’m not feeling quite myself, just now. I didn’t mean to take it out on you. I’m sorry.”

She nods once, but doesn’t turn back.

I wait another moment, then resettle myself in my seat. I’ll just have to give her some time—I’ve got nobody to blame but me, anyway. Brennan shakes his head at me slowly, a look of . . . something—contempt? disappointment?—on his face, then returns to his driving.

Yeah, well, whatever, Brennan. If that’s who you want me to be, I’m happy to disappoint you.

The cabin goes silent, except for the purr of the engine and the hum of the tires against the road.