Moonlight Sins (de Vincent 1) - Page 22

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“We had our issues, but he was still my brother.” Stefan downed the bourbon like it was water in a drought. “You all have no right to keep that kind of information from me.”

“Water under the bridge since you now know,” Dev pointed out.

“You should’ve notified me immediately.” Stefan walked to the window, yanking back the curtain. A muscle flexed along the older man’s jaw as he stared out the window, into the rose garden below. The empty glass clutched in his hand. “I didn’t get a chance to . . .”

Lucian waited for his uncle to finish, and when Stefan didn’t, he glanced over at Dev. His brother was focused in on the senator, eyeing him above the rim of his glass. The senator dropped the curtain. Light reflected off the gold watch as thrust his hand through hair that was still as black as onyx with the exception of the faint silver creeping along the temples. Lucian’s father wore a watch just like that. The only difference was that they had their initials engraved under the center piece. It was like Lawrence and Stefan had to have their names stamped on everything.

“I want to know what really happened.” Stefan turned, folding his arms over his chest. “Because I know what I was told was not correct.”

“And what were you told?” Dev asked.

Stefan made an aggravated sound as he scowled. “You know what I was told. That my brother hung himself.”

“That is what happened.” Dev crossed one leg over the other. “I found him.”

“Let me repeat myself, Devlin. I want to know what really happened.”

Lucian sighed as he placed his glass on the desk. “What Dev just told you is what happened. He found him hanging in his study. There’s nothing else to tell.”

“And that’s absolute bullshit!” Anger flushed Stefan’s cheeks to a deep crimson color. “Lawrence would not have—”

“Our father was very unhappy with the latest development in your situation with Ms. Andrea Joan,” Dev cut in, effectively silencing the senator. “He was very . . . distraught over the updates he was given.”

Stefan’s jaw hardened. “And who exactly was giving him these updates?”

A slight smile appeared on Dev’s face. “Now, you know how our father liked to ferret out information.”

Their uncle was silent for a moment. “You think for a second I’m going to fall for this? My brother ends up dead a handful of days after that—that girl returns? You think—”

“Don’t bring Maddie up,” Lucian warned softly. “She has nothing to do with this.”

“And you’re a blind idiot if you think that’s true,” Stefano spat back. “I know what went on here before—”

“You don’t know shit.” Lucian pulled his feet off the desk and slowly rose. “You have enough of your own problems, Stefan. I wouldn’t come poking around here if I were you.”

“I support that statement,” Dev added.

“Oh, you two.” Stefan laughed harshly. “Fucking thick as thieves when you’re not at each other’s throats.”

Lucian smiled thinly. “Aren’t you lucky that Gabe isn’t here.”

“I think if all three of us were here . . .” Dev lowered his glass. “Someone else would’ve pissed their pants.”

Lucian smirked.

“Look here, you little fuck-brats. You all have another thing coming if you think that I’m not going to find out what really happened to my brother.” Stefan stormed toward the desk. “I will get to the bottom of this.”

“Have fun,” Dev said, tone dripping with dismissiveness.

Stefan slammed his fist onto the table. “You think I’m scared of you all? You just wait. You all have skeletons in your closet. Remember that.”

Grabbing Stefan’s hand, Lucian rose swiftly. “Are you actually that fuck-dumb enough to threaten us?”

“I think he is,” Dev commented.

Stefan tried to pull his hand free. “Unhand me immediately.”

That wasn’t happening. Lucian tightened his grip until he could feel the bones in Stefano’s hand grinding together. “You need to let what I’m about to say sink in real good. Keep threatening us, and you’re learn firsthand just how fresh those bodies in our closets are.”

Chapter 9

Dr. Flores was a middle-aged man with dark skin and hair, and a warm, easy smile that seemed to never really go away. He appeared shortly after Devlin’s bizarre warning to stay away from Lucian. As if she needed to be warned.

She’d learned her lesson.

No more living in the moment when it came to guys, because when you did, you ended up messing around with one of the brothers of the wealthiest families in the world who also turned out to be kind of your boss.

Ugh.

Right now she didn’t have the time to stew on the whole Lucian situation. She was a hundred percent focused on what was going on with her patient.

Flores had explained that when Madeline appeared, she’d been admitted to the hospital he worked at under a false name. Multiple tests had been completed—full blood work, including toxicology. Urine tests. X-rays. MRI. CAT scans. Ultrasounds. All of them had been normal, which left them with a few answers and a lot of questions.

“She’s basically between a state of minimal consciousness and emergence of consciousness, but there’s no sign of a coma or brain damage. She appears to be unaware of anyone around her and herself,” he said as Julia scanned over his notes on the chart. “But her vitals are good, so I originally suspected something along the lines of akinetic mutism.”

“Locked-in syndrome?” Julia frowned. That was a relatively rare neurological disorder.

“But there were no pontine abnormalities.” His brows furrowed together. He looked at Madeline like she was a puzzle he just couldn’t piece together. When Flores arrived, they helped Madeline get back into bed. The woman could barely walk. At the moment, she was asleep. “She has normal sleep and awake patterns, which we do see in other neurological disorders that can mimic locked-in syndrome. But she is able to eat and stand with assistance, and has reactions to stimuli. The walking is a hit or miss, I’ve discovered. But as you saw earlier, she can’t make it more than a few steps on her own.”

Which was why her family had hired her. Obviously the doctor couldn’t be here every day checking her blood pressure and pulse. They needed someone who could make sure she was being fed three times a day, that she was cleaned, and moved, so bed sores didn’t develop. It was obvious based on her stats and tests, Madeline didn’t require around-the-clock care.

Julia closed the file and looked down at Madeline. “So what are you thinking?” she asked, carefully brushing back a strand of hair that was resting on Madeline’s cheek.

“Well,” he said with a sigh as he stepped away from the bed and walked over to the bag he’d brought with him and placed on an oval table by the door. “I am thinking it’s something psychological.”

She faced the doctor. There were tests that even the most basic ER doctors could do to see if someone was faking unconsciousness. She’d seen them do a chest rub before. If you weren’t out, you were going to react. “You think she’s faking this?”

“I don’t think that’s the case. It’s highly possibly that her condition could be the result of extreme emotional or mental stress. The brain can convince the body of almost anything.” He folded the stethoscope and placed it inside his bag. “For example, there are people who believe that they’re actually dead. It’s called Cotard delusion, also known as Walking Corpse Syndrome.”

Mind over the body was a real, fascinating thing. Whatever had happened to Madeline could’ve been traumatic enough that it forced her into this kind of state, possibly giving her time to recover before she could mentally and emotionally deal with what had happened to her.

God, the poor woman. No matter what the cause was, this was no way to live.

“Did she have any previous history of mental illness?” she asked.

Dr. Flores looked up from rooting around his bag. “You do realize that your job here is to simply provide supportive care, correct? Not to diagnose her.”


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout de Vincent Romance
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