At first Rachel didn't understand. Jacob Hood didn't do drugs, and in his file there was no mention of a history of mental illness. Yet he was completely freaked out. And his eyes were unnaturally shiny, as if he was possessed. His voice was hoarse. "Rache." He'd said after the first confusion. He recognized her. Well, that was at least something, she thought. She was concerned nonetheless. Tried to make him focus. And then he collapsed.
By then the FBI-agent in her took over. She felt his pulse – slow, but not dangerously so – and called for a doctor. He was too heavy for her to lift. She pushed him over to his side, so he lay comfortable and wouldn't choke in case of vomiting. He was clammy. Even the t-shirt and sleep pants he was wearing were damp. The clothes puzzled her. Usually he didn't go to bed until really late. And it was still early. Besides, he hadn't switched off his laptop, and his portable chemistry lab was still on the desk. Jacob sighed, still unaware of his surroundings. Rachel sat next to him and leaned against the bed. Where was that damn doctor?
She looked at Jacob's test-tubes. She realized she was thirsty. She got up and walked into the bathroom, looking for some water. The mini-bar was tempting, but their expenses were already sky-high. The portable lab was to blame for this. When it came to science gadgets Jacob was just like any other man. He didn't crave for the newest i-phone, but any new high tech microscope made his mouth water.
In the bathroom she noticed the wet tiles and wet towels. He'd been taking a shower. The mirror was still clouded with steam. She noticed Jacob had left the shower tap dripping. That was weird. She knew Jacob hated spoiling water. Suddenly worried she turned off the tabs and left the bathroom to see how he was doing.
The doctor was old fashioned but thorough. Wanted to know if Jacob did drugs on a regular basis, and whether Rachel was his wife. "Doctor Hood doesn't do drugs." Rachel said annoyed. "He's a special science advisor to the FBI. We're here working on a case." She flashed her ID in front of him. He didn't seem impressed. Well, he didn't have to be, as long as he took care of Jacob, she thought.
"How long has he been like this?" the doctor wanted to know. "About ten minutes. Before that he was confused." The doctor nodded. The broken furniture clearly hadn't escaped his view. "Right. Now help me get him on the bed, so I can examine him properly." He said.
The doctor didn't stay very long. He did a routine examination and told Rachel that Jacob had indeed, whether knowingly or not, taken drugs, but that it didn't seem to affect any of his vital functions. "Nothing a good night's sleep can't cure. He'll have a killer hangover when he wakes up, though. Make sure he drinks plenty of water."
His words echoed in her head, until after he had left. Something bugged her, but she didn't know what it was. She remembered she had left her own room in a hurry when Jacob had started banging around the furniture. She hesitated, but Jacob was fast asleep and looked save enough.
She left him for her own room, grabbed some clothes, her own laptop and the box of chocolates she had bought in the shop where they'd confiscated the shampoo with the DEET and nano particles, and returned to Jacob's room, taking care to properly lock the door of her room.
There was nothing she could do about it: she'd have to spend the night in Jacob's room, in case he woke up, or would need further medical treatment. She was still thirsty and needed a drink. She decided against water; she needed something stimulant, to keep her awake. She called room service and ordered strong coffee with sugar. She pulled a large armchair next to the bed, and made herself comfortable in it. But she couldn't relax.
She had to admit Jacob had given her a fright. When she'd heard the noises from his roomed, she'd been alert and on edge. After all it was her job as a handler to keep him save. But when she'd seem the state he was in, she'd been frightened. Afraid something horrible had happened to him and that there'd be nothing she could do about it. She hadn't been scared of him though, even when he lashed at her with his arms violently. He would never consciously hurt anyone. He just hadn't realized it was her. "Rache." He'd said at last. Rache. She tasted the sound of the abbreviation. The intimacy of the word confused her.
"Rache…" She realized she'd dozed. She opened her eyes and looked at Jacob on the bed. He was looking at her, awake. She sat up straight. "Yeah." He smiled, very slowly. He's back, she thought. The relieve was immense. She couldn't help but smile back. His hair was all tousled and the rims of his eyes were red, but his smile was the same. Familiar.
He tried to sit up. "I don't think that's a good idea, Jacob." He sighed and laid his head down on the pillow again. A single curl stuck to his forehead. She wanted to smooth his hair, feel his curls and feel the skin of his face with her fingers, like she had when she'd held his face to reassure him – damn, what the hell was she thinking? Instead she just sat watching him.
"Why are you sitting there?" he asked. His voice was still raspy. She frowned; worried that he might somehow notice what she had just been thinking. "It's a chair. People sit in chairs." She said grumpy. He smiled again. Yawned. For a moment she thought he'd fall asleep again. But then he stretched his arm, reached out to her. "Rache…" She blinked. No. no, she was not going to hold his hand. What was he thinking? It must be the effect of the drugs. No way, she was not allowing him to do that to her. She took a sip from her coffee, but it had become cold and sour.
After a while he fell asleep again. He slept in fits, tossing and turning as if he was struggling to escape the spell of the drugs. She ate her chocolates and tried to think. Somehow those drugs had entered his system. Was it his own fault or had someone slipped them into his drink or food deliberately? What about Greg Filmore, the man they had questioned earlier today? A former drug addict, he'd confessed. And Jacob had believed him. She hadn't, not for a minute. But what if Jacob had been right to trust him, and some ingredient of the shampoo was the cause? Jacob had been using his portable lab to examine it. From what he'd told her about nano particles, tiny particles of the shampoo could easily penetrate the skin. Had he been wearing gloves? She got up from the chair and inspected the desk. She found a pair of gloves in the rubbish bin.
So he'd worn gloves. Careful as ever. She should have known. She sat down again, and tried to think harder, but found it difficult to concentrate. Her back ached. She'd love to lie down, but she couldn't go to her own room because she had to keep an eye on Jacob, and his bed was already taken. He slept like a little kid. One arm bent above his head, the other arm dangling over the edge of the bed. He had pushed off most of the duvet. Part of his stomach was visible. Flat and tanned. Nothing baby-like about that.
She looked away. Ate another chocolate and became restless again. She got up and pulled the duvet up to his chest, so Jacob was tucked in nicely and his stomach couldn't distract her anymore. That's better, she thought, and sat on the bed next to him with her laptop. She looked at the shopping receipts again. A number of victims had bought the spring water, and so had Dr. Strickland before he crashed his car. But not all of them had, and it didn't explain why Jacob had been affected. For that she was sure of. She didn't believe in coincidence. Whatever it was that made the victims act like they did was also responsible for making Jacob hallucinate.
Jacob turned, so that his knee under the duvet touched her knee. A few minutes later he woke up again. "Water…" he mumbled. Like the doctor had predicted. She pushed her laptop aside to get him some from the bathroom. In the doorway she came to a halt. The water. What if it wasn't the bottled water that was contaminated, but the tab water instead? She closed the door to the bathroom, and went for the mini bar. She found a bottle of Evian water.
He reached out for the bottle. "I need you to sit up first, Jacob." She helped him. He touched her hair, and then her face. "Don't." she said. Pushed the bottle into his hands. He fumbled with it, but couldn't open it. She opened it for him. "I'm not alone." He said it like it was a mantra. She nodded. "No, you're not alone, Jacob." She realized she'd called him Jacob ever since she found him this evening. Not Hood.
She was tired. Jacob had finished most of the water and was sleeping again. It wouldn't hurt to lie down for a bit, she decided. She couldn't fight off sleep anymore, so she lay down and closed her eyes. When she woke up after what felt like only a couple of minutes, but was in fact almost an hour later, Jacob had buried his head in her armpit, and his arm was around her waist. 'He smells surprisingly good', she thought. And then she froze.
'This isn't happening', she told herself. Carefully she moved a few inches away from him. When she lifted his arm, he opened his eyes. "Rache." "Jacob." She couldn't help but sound snappy. His lips curled into a wide smile. "I'm not -" he whispered. "- alone. I know." His proximity confused her. How come she'd never noticed his lips? Sensual. He curled up against her and slept again. She didn't have the heart to push him away. It'll pass, she thought. A couple of hours, the doctor had said.
In her dream they were kissing. Their lips were a perfect match, and his tongue touching hers in her mouth made her stomach lurch with desire. His warm hands were on her face, his fingertips surprisingly soft. Her hands were under his t-shirt, pulling him even closer. And then her phone rang, and she discovered she was awake after all.
She jumped from the bed and grabbed her phone. It was still on the chair. "Agent Young." She had difficulty sounding like her usual cool and efficient self. Her hand was shaking. She cleared her throat. It was an officer from the local police department, who told her there had been a number of additional cases of sudden violence. "Could you please email the details?" Rachel asked and thanked him.
She could feel Jacob staring at her from the bed. His t-shirt was crumpled and it was impossible not to notice the bulge of his erection in his sleep pants. She could see he was still under influence of the drugs. He scratched his head. Lay down again, as if his head suddenly felt too heavy. "Rache?" he said. She swallowed. "Time for bed, Jacob. You need your sleep." He nodded and closed his eyes.
Rachel remained in the chair and wondered how it was possible that she felt relieved and sad at the same time. She ate her last two chocolates, and switched on her laptop to distract herself. "I'm not alone…" Jacob mumbled.