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Chapter Five

"What do you mean I'll see?" I demanded.

Meira smiled a lazy kind of smirky-smile and got up from the chair, unfolding her legs the way an octopus unfurls to rise up. "Just exactly what I said," she answered, "You'll see. You think Brian and I are crazy, but you'll see."

I shook my head, "Sci-fi shit like time machines and stuff don't exist. Not really. I'm sorry if I have some reservations about putting my life on the line based on what some whackadoodle fruitcake escapee from the fourth floor with psychic-ish powers and my pre-mourrning guilt-ridden honorary best friend have to say about time travel being real." I sighed. "And even if it is real, I'm not sure I'd even wanna do it anyways." I glowered down at the blanket.

Meira walked around the end of the bed. She let her fingers trail across my feet gently as she passed. "See, if you'd just keep that mentality you'd make my job a hell of a lot easier," she said.

I rubbed my nose. "I'm not gonna change my mentality, so no worries there."

Meira reached the window and stared down at the traffic. She had a nice body. I'd be blind to not see that. She leaned against the sill, the curve of her face reflected in the glass, her eyes skimming the world beyond the window. The sunlight was shining on her hair, creating shadows beneath her thick eyelashes. "I just wish I knew why you end up changing your mind about the time machine 'cos that would make it so much easier to keep you from going..."

"I just told you, I'm not going to change my mind."

"You do, though," she said with a sigh. "You always do, you say, and then I have to come and undo it and it never works because you always, always change your mind about the time machine. Always."

In another world, in another life, in another situation - one in which she was not batshit crazy - I might've thought Meira was sexy, might've tried to go out with her, even, I thought.

"I mean you always start out dead set against it, you said, and that you slowly come around to it. Stop me from coming around to the idea of time travel, you always say, and I always ask how and you always tell me you can't tell me how, only that I need to stop you. And I never succeed at it and we always end up right back here." She put one hand to the glass of the window.

I was staring at Meira. I wanted her to keep talking, but I wasn't sure why. There was something hypnotic, something beautifully mesmerizing about the way she was standing there, staring, speaking in riddles. Something bewitching, even.

Suddenly, whatever spell she'd cast was broken, though, by the nurse walking in the door, humming some song by Elvis Presley, pulling along the vitals cart. She pulled it up to my side before she noticed Meira and her eyes lit up with recognition. "Miss," she said, "You shouldn't be in here."

I started to say that it was okay, since Meira wasn't hard on the eyes and all and I was starting to get used to her rambling dibble of crazy talk, but she turned around and said, "Why not?" in a tone that was a challenge to the nurse's authority.

"It's family only," the nurse answered without batting an eye. She shoved a glass of water and a little cup of pills at me and I quickly knocked back the pills and started to down the glass of water.

Meira crossed the room, her hand held up and from her finger glinted the set of my grandmothers' rings, which my Grandpa Doug had given to me after Gramma G died. They were locked up in my safe at home - behind a combination that only one other person in the entire world knew and it certainly was not batshit crazy Meira. "Well then I guess I'm okay, aren't I, seeing as I'm his wife."

I choked at the sight of those rings and the words she'd spoken. I honest to God choked. Water spewed from my mouth in a wide spray of spittle that misted across the blankets clear to my feet like the blow hole of a whale or something. "Excuse me?" I hacked.

"His wife?" the nurse asked, perplexed, "But why did you say to keep her out of here if she's your wife?" she demanded of me.

"You asked her to keep me out of here?" Meira demanded, arms flapping in offense.

"I didn't - I - I did, but I mean I --"

"I'm getting security," the nurse decided and she rushed into the hallway.

Meira turned to me. "Why would you tell her to keep me out of here?"

"Because you're some kind of fucking psycho-stalker person!" I shouted, "Where the fuck did you get those rings from, you delusional psychopath? Give me those! They're my ---"

"Gramma G's? Yeah. I know. You told me when you gave them to me." She jumped back as I waved my arms in her direction, like I thought I could catch her and pull them off her fingers myself.

"Tell me right now how you got those!" I snapped.

"You gave it to me," she repeated. "Or give it to me, I don't know anymore which it is!" Meira clutched her hand to her chest with her other hand, as if to protect the rings from me.

"Stop it! Tell me the fucking truth, right now, and give them back or I'll call the police and then you'll be sorry, you'll go to fucking jail or something!" I yelled hotly.

"I am telling the truth, you asshole!" she yelled back, "On April 11 in five years you give me these rings. We went out to eat, Nick, and you pretended you dropped something on the floor and you went down after it and you come back up with these rings and you asked me to marry you and told me about the rings while we were driving to Las Vegas. We got married there because you didn't want the press or your fans to know 'til it was over and I don't have anyone worth inviting to the wedding."

I stared at her.

"You were wearing your Breaking Bad t-shirt."

"When we got married?"

"Yes. Elvis officiated. He was nice. Smelled a little like mentholated cigarettes but over all it was nice. You said once that you'd gimme a real wedding someday, but we never have because you're too busy trying to turn back time." Meira's eyes looked sad. She looked right into me and her eyes seemed to sear right into my soul. "Don't try to take my memories of you away from me," she pleaded. "You're already trying to take yourself away." Her eyes filled with tears, "Trying to undo the very way you end up meeting me." She shook her head and turned away.

The nurse came back in the room with a security guard in tow and a couple doctors, too, including one I recognized from the fourth floor who looked in Meira's direction and shook his head to the nurse. She must've asked him if he was missing anyone and he'd just confirmed that no, Meira had not escaped from upstairs.

I felt a thrill of goosebumps crawl up my arms. If she wasn't from upstairs... then... what the hell was going on here?

Maybe I was the one that was batshit crazy.

"Is everything okay in here?" the security guy asked, glancing between Meira and I with concern.

"Just... just a misunderstanding," I replied.

The security guy's eyes drifted to Meira who stood there, shoulders hunched, crying. "Miss?" he asked gently, "Everything okay here?"

Meira nodded and turned back to face me. "Yes," she choked, "Yes. Like he said. Just a misunderstanding."