My feet finally found the water’s floor. I tugged the female from Durk’s grasp and hoisted her up into my arms.
The water had washed away the crimson stains, but left her lips thin and blue. Durk pressed his fingers to her neck. “No pulse.”
“Go. Find wood dry enough to burn. We need fire. I’ll start CPR.”
He bolted to his feet and darted away. I settled her on the damp foliage covered floor and ripped her buttoned blouse apart. I rested my ear to her chest. Nothing. Cheek to her mouth. Nothing.
I clamped my hands together and started counting out compressions. “Please. You can’t die. I just found you.”
Her chest caved beneath my weight with each push I offered to start her heart. Pumping it for her. She looked so cold. So small. So fragile. Darkness tainted her lips. I imagined they’d be full and bright red like in my dreams. Her glowing skin was now dull and lifeless.
There must have been a reason for me to be on this plane. This time. This date. This instance. Not to let me find someone I’d dreamt about, then to lose her.
I pinched her nose. With my other hand I cradled her neck and opened her mouth to mine. My lips formed a seal around hers, and I blew. Her chest raised. One more breath.
I turned my head, listening. Nothing.
I repeated it for another cycle. Durk returned holding an armful of branches. He ripped open his pack and pulled out a bag.
“Jessica made an appearance at my room while packing.” He held it up. “I thought she’d lost her mind. Matches, magazine, and tiny foil blanket.”
“You didn’t say anything.”
“Told me not to.”
Durk went to work on the fire as I finished the second round of compressions. I leaned down to breathe for her again and paused an inch before contact with her lips. “Please,” I whispered and sealed her mouth with mine.
I breathed into her, then turned and drew in a gulp of air and let it flow into her. A gentle scent of sandalwood and sugar wrapped around me. Coiled me in warmth. The woman flinched beneath me.
I tilted her to the side and water spewed from her mouth. A tremor rocked her little body. The crackle of a flame, and the scent of burning leaves filled the air. “There you go. Get it out.” I patted her back.
She flopped back and her eyes opened wide.
The same honey irises I’d seen a hundred times in my dreams stared at me. “Can you hear me?”
The lids hung heavy over her dilated eyes, then slid shut.
“No. No. Stay with me.” I patted her shoulder.
Durk joined me, kneeling beside her on the other side. I pressed my finger to her neck. “Steady pulse.”
“She’s got to be in shock. Freezing. Get that fire going.” I peeled my shirt over my head as I stood. “Find all you can to get a small shelter formed around the fire.” I ripped at the belt securing my soggy pants to me. “I’ll warm her up.”
Wasn’t exactly how I’d dreamed I would first lay with a woman, but I’d be damned if I was going to let her die.
She was mine.
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