She wasn’t quite certain why he’d felt the need to mark her right then and there, but the way he’d gone from staring at the ambulance to the way he’d turned to stare at her gave her a clue.
It was touching, in a caveman sort of way. Still, she’d have liked a little more time before getting bit. There was so much he still didn’t know about her, and even more she didn’t know about him.
“Tell me the truth, Bunny. How bad is she?” The large man had come to the hospital in response to a phone call from Bunny. He’d introduced himself as Bunny’s cousin, Ryan Williams, Chloe’s older brother. He looked even more wild-eyed and pale than Bunny did. He hadn’t stopped pacing since he arrived. His reddish-brown hair was mussed, his blue eyes rimmed with red.
Ryan practically jumped the doctor. “Yes, Doc?” Poor guy. He really was worried sick. Bunny rose more slowly, but with just as much urgency.
Dr. Howard stood there and ran his hands through his blond hair. “Follow me.”
Bunny took hold of Tabby’s hand and followed Dr. Howard. He led them to a private room and shut the door. “All right. Who do you want to hear about first?”
No surprise there. She was the only one of the trio who knew Julian. From the sick way Ryan swallowed, Bunny had made the right choice.
“She’s going to have some scars from this. Chloe is incredibly lucky. To put it bluntly, if Julian hadn’t arrived when he did, she’d be dead.” Ryan moaned.
Bunny shuddered. Tabby hugged his arm, offering comfort. Julian would never have allowed Chloe to die. She knew that like she knew the color of her own eyes.
“Her recovery will take time. There will be some brain damage. We won’t know until she wakes up exactly what we’ll be dealing with.”
“Fuck.” Bunny began to pace. “She’s working on her doctorate in veterinary medicine. I’ll have to call her boss, let him know what’s going on.”
“I’ll do it.” She’d call the diner and the veterinary office where Chloe volunteered.
She already had the diner’s phone number, since she and the girls ordered lunch from there regularly, and it wouldn’t be difficult to get the veterinary office’s phone number. Bunny and Ryan needed to concentrate on Chloe.
“Our family is on the way.” Ryan sounded like he was in shock. “Mom and Dad should be here by morning.”
“Is she awake?” Tabby looked to Dr. Howard in time to catch his wince.
“No, and that’s one of the reasons we’re worried. I couldn’t talk to Mr. Ducharme before he collapsed.” Dr. Howard stared at the closed door for a moment before turning to Bunny. “Your friend is a Kermode Bear, isn’t he?”
“He is?” Bunny frowned. “That explains a lot. How did you know?”
Dr. Howard smiled. “I dated one briefly before I met my mate. I lived in Canada for about two years before coming back to Halle. She taught me a lot about Bears.” He shook his head. “Only a Spirit Bear could have done what Julian did.”
Ryan took a deep, audible breath and blew it out. “I owe him.”
Jamie shot him a look. “You owe him more than you think. The paramedics tell me her injuries were extensive and Julian confirmed it. Quite frankly, I’m surprised he lived through the healing.”
Tabby froze. Julian could have died ? Her best friend, the man who’d laughingly declared that she could be the sister he’d never had, could be…gone? Now it was her turn to swallow. He was one of the few people who gave her the sense of family she’d lost eight years ago. She couldn’t bear it if she lost him.
“My girlfriend told me there were limits to how far a Bear could heal someone, even a Kermode. So unless Julian is Super Bear, something had to have helped him.”
Bunny nodded, but didn’t elaborate. Tabby knew who’d helped Julian, and he was exhausted because of it. “He’s still out?” Bunny’s jaw looked to be clenched shut. She could see some serious dental bills in their future.
“We’re not sure when he’ll wake up, but knowing the healing capabilities of your kind, it shouldn’t take too much longer, despite whatever it was he did to save your cousin.”
“Was it an accident?” Tabby looked over at Ryan. The man was practically vibrating in place. “What happened to my sister? Did someone do this deliberately or was it an accident?”
“I haven’t spoken to Sheriff Anderson yet, so I don’t know. I do know he’s been informed. Last I heard, he was at the scene, trying to figure it out.”
Tabby frowned. “That doesn’t make any sense. Why wasn’t he there with the ambulance? Or hell, any one of the cops around here?” The men all turned to stare at her. “Seriously. Why was the ambulance there without a cop present?
Someone had to have called it in, right? Was it Julian?”
Dr. Howard blinked. “I…don’t know. Tell you what, let me find out who called 9-1-1 and reported her. Maybe the dispatcher just didn’t think to alert the sheriff’s office.”
“Here’s my cell phone number so you can contact me once you know anything.”
Ryan rattled off his number while Dr. Howard programmed it into his phone.
Dr. Howard nodded. “And I’ve left instructions that all three of you be allowed to see Mr. Ducharme as well as Ms. Williams.”
“Take care, all of you.” Doctor Howard opened the door and left the room, leaving behind three very tired, upset shifters.
“C’mon. We’re not doing any good here.” Tabby tugged on the two men. “You two go see Chloe. I’ll be in Julian’s room.” She poked and prodded until they both got moving, knowing neither would rest until they knew Chloe was on the mend.
She got Chloe’s room number from the nurse and pushed the men toward it, then headed to Julian’s room. When he woke up, she had every intention of being there and finding out what Super Bear had done to save Bunny’s cousin.
What the hell was a Spirit Bear anyway?