Eve & Adam Page 2

“She dies, it’s on you.”

His choice of words must bother me, because my machines start blaring like a cheap car alarm.

“Evening?” My mother rushes to my side. Tiffany earrings, Bulgari perfume, Chanel suit. Mommy, Casual Friday edition.

“Sweetheart, it’s going to be okay,” she says. “I’ve got everything under control.”

The quaver in her voice betrays her. My mother does not quaver.

I try to move my head a millimeter and realize maybe I’m not feeling so okay after all. Also, my car alarm won’t shut up. The doctor is muttering about my leg, or what’s left of my leg, and my mother is burying her head into my pillow, her lacquered nails digging into my shoulder. She may actually be crying.

I am pretty sure we’re all losing it, and then, on my other shoulder, I feel a firm pressure.

It’s a hand.

I follow the path from hand to arm to neck to head, moving just my eyes this time.

The hand is connected to a guy.

“Dr. Spiker,” he says, “I’ll get her into the ambulance.”

My mother sniffles into my gown. She rouses herself, stands erect. She is Back in Control.

“What the hell are you doing here, Solo?” she snaps.

“You left your phone and briefcase behind when you got the call about the”—he jerks his chin toward me—“the accident. I followed in one of the Spiker limos.”

I don’t recognize this guy or, for that matter, his name—because, really, what kind of a name is Solo, anyway?—but he must work for my mother.

He looks down at me, past the tubes and the panic. He is scruffy-looking with too much hair, too little shaving. He’s tall and wide-shouldered, muscular, blondish. Extremely blue eyes. My preliminary taxonomy: skater or surfer, one of those guys.

I’d really like him to get his hand off me because he doesn’t know me and I’m already having personal-space issues, what with the tubes and the IV.

“Chill, Eve,” he tells me, which I find annoying. The first phrase that comes to mind involves the word “off,” preceded by a word I have absolutely no chance of pronouncing since it includes the letter “F.”

Not in the mood to meet new friends.

In the mood for more painkillers.

Also, my mother calls me Evening and my friends call me E.V. But nobody calls me Eve. So there’s that, too.

“Please reconsider, Dr. Spiker…” The doctor trails off.

“Let’s get this show on the road,” says the guy named Solo. He’s about my age, a junior, maybe a senior. If he does work for my mother, he’s either an intern or a prodigy. “Will you be coming in the ambulance, Dr. Spiker?”

“No. God knows what microorganisms are in that ambulance. My driver’s waiting,” my mother says. “I’ll need to make some calls and I doubt the back of an ambulance is the place. I’ll meet you at the lab.”

The doctor sighs. He flips a switch and my contraptions still.

My mother kisses my temple. “I’ll get everything set up. Don’t worry about a thing.”

I blink to show that I am not, in fact, worried about a thing. Not with the morphine drip taking the edge off.

Solo hands my mother her briefcase and phone. She vanishes, but I can hear the urgent staccato of her Jimmy Choos.

“Bitch,” the doctor says when she’s out of earshot. “I don’t like this at all.”

“No worries,” Solo says.

No worries. Yeah, not for you, genius. Go away. Stop talking to me or about me. And take your hand off me, I’m nauseous.

The doctor checks one of my IV bags. “Uh-huh,” he mutters. “You an MD?”

Solo makes a half smile. It’s knowing and a little smug. “Just a gofer, Doctor.”

Solo gathers up my bagged belongings and my backpack. Suddenly I remember I have AP Bio homework. A worksheet on Mendel’s First Law. When a pair of organisms reproduce sexually, their offspring randomly inherit one of the two alleles from each parent.

Genetics. I like genetics, the rules, the order. My best friend, Aislin, says it’s because I’m a control freak. Like mother, like daughter.

I have a load of homework, I want to say, but everyone’s buzzing about purposefully. It occurs to me my biology worksheet won’t be all that relevant if I’m dying.

I believe death is on the list of acceptable excuses for missing homework.

“You’re going to be fine,” Solo tells me. “Running 10Ks in no time.”

I try to speak. “Unh onh,” I say.

Yep. Can’t pronounce “F” with a tube in your mouth.

Then it occurs to me: How does he know I like to run?

– 3 –

SOLO

So. This is the boss’s daughter.

I’d seen pictures of her, of course. You can’t go into Terra Spiker’s office and not see photos of her daughter. My favorite’s this one where Eve’s crossing a finish line, all sweaty and flushed, with a killer smile on her face.

I glance down at the stretcher. Eve’s got a serious bruise coming up under both eyes. Still, you can see the resemblance to her mom. High cheekbones, big, deep-set eyes. Tall, slender.

That’s about it for similarities, though. Terra’s a total ice queen bitch: frosty blond hair, calculating gray eyes. Eve … well, she’s different. Her hair is sun-streaked gold, and her eyes are this mellow brown color.

At least I’m pretty sure they’re brown.

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