'Wait...wait a moment,' she thought. 'This...this is a hangover! It's just like last summer! But how can that be, when I haven't been drinking?' Unless...she'd been spending so much time asleep, unconscious. Could she be doing things in her sleep? That might explain her fatigue.
She was finding it hard to think with the pounding in her head, and soon realized that she needed a clearer head to discuss this with. And all she could think of was Zac and Nell. While she hated to disturb them, she also knew how willing they were to help. And she had the feeling she definitely needed help.
Bookworm heard Nell's welcoming call and Zac's greeting, and stumbled inside. "Oh, my--are you all right?" Nell asked in concern.
"Hello," Bookworm said. "I'm...I'm sorry to disturb you here...but I just don't know who to turn to." She put her hand up and rubbed her eyes and forehead. The trudge from her apartment all the way to their new home had been one of the hardest things she'd ever done.
"You're not disturbing us at all," Zac said. "What's wrong? You seem upset."
"Here, have a seat and tell us all about it," Nell added.
Bookworm sat and rubbed her eyes again, trying to figure out how to ask the question. "I...I know that people can walk in their sleep. But can they do...other things?"
Zac frowned. "Sometimes. What sort of other things?"
"Hm. That's less common. Do you think you might be doing that?"
Bookworm nodded, and winced at the increase in her headache that nod caused. "The way I feel this morning...It's how I felt last summer. It's a hangover, I'm sure of it. But I haven't been drinking! At least, not while I've been awake."
Zac looked concerned. "That might be a symptom of something else, but it would be nice to know what's going on with you...."
"Is it mainly a headache, or nausea?" Nell asked.
Bookworm groaned, and gulped a little. "Oh, it's everything!"
"Hm. Zac, do you think it's possible she might have the flu?"
"I suppose...but unless she's running a fever, I doubt it. Are you, Book?"
"I don't think so. It's just been fatigue...and now this."
"Hm. Well, I'm concerned," Nell said with a worried frown. "Mo chridhe, maybe Bookworm should sleep here for a bit, just so we can keep an eye on her and see if she really is...I don't know, sleepwalking or something."
Zac nodded. "Might be a good idea. I could put the daybed back upstairs, so she could have a nap. Book?"
"Oh, could I?" she said with relief. "I honestly don't think I could walk another step."
"Not a problem at all. Tell you what...rather than wait, just go ahead and nap on our bed. If you decide later you'd like to stay over, we'll set up the daybed."
"Oh, thank you!"
"I'll show you upstairs," Nell said with a smile. "You remember where our room is, right?"
Zac chuckled. "A bit hard to miss, Nell. The house isn't that large!"
Bookworm nodded, heaved herself up out of the couch, and followed Nell upstairs. Nell gestured to the bed. "Well, here we are!" She turned back the covers, allowing Book to sink into its soft embrace, then drew the quilt back up over her. "There you go--nice and comfy. We'll be downstairs if you need us."
Bookworm sighed and slipped into sleep immediately.
Book stirred, yawned, and sat up. Hearing voices below, she stood up, smoothed down her hair and dress, and descended the stairs.
Nell, laying on the loveseat with her head in Zac's lap, sat up as Bookworm entered. "Oh, hello, Book! Rested yet?"
"I certainly hope so...you slept for several hours!" Zac said with a smile.
"Yes, actually, I feel much better! Did I...sleepwalk?"
"No, no sleepwalking," Zac replied.
"Hmm. Odd. Very odd," Bookworm said.
Nell frowned a bit. "Well, that's good though, isn't it?"
"Yes, I guess." Book frowned thoughtfully, then started. "Wait--several hours, you said?"
"Oh, dear--I didn't want to impose on you for so long! I'll go back home now. After all, you're still newlyweds, and all, and..." Bookworm broke off, blushing.
Zac chuckled. "It's no imposition at all. You're quite welcome to stop by anytime; you know that. Well, maybe not after ten at night--at least, not on a regular basis..."
Bookworm blushed again.
"But if you need us, we're here." Zac smiled. "Shall I see you home then?"
"Oh! Well...if you want to." She glanced over at Nell, who winked and nodded. Bookworm smiled back.
"I'd be glad to." With a flourishing bow, he opened the door and conducted Bookworm out into the late evening air.
Their way took them down near the docks in Clockhaven. Bookworm paused at the aquarium, looking at the notice that was still tacked up. "I still don't know how they expect to close an establishment that doesn't have a door."
Zac smiled wryly. "Unfortunately, there are ways. There was quite enough of that sort of thing in my people's history, I'm afraid."
"In most people's histories, I'd suspect." Bookworm sighed as Zac nodded.
They continued on their way, following the docks around, Book breathing in the salt-tanged air. Finally, they paused at the staircase leading to her apartment. "Well, here we are!" Zac said.
"Thank you. And thank you for letting me sleep. I do feel better for it!"
"Not a problem at all. I do wish we could get at the bottom of this..."
Book nodded. "I'm sure it'll sort itself out eventually."
"If it doesn't clear up on its own in a day or two, would you let me make a suggestion?"
Bookworm nodded again, but with rather less assurance.
"I have some skill as a healer. I'd like to try to establish a mental rapport and see if I can figure out what's going on inside you. I realize you might have a bit of trouble believing in that sort of thing, but if it doesn't work, it just costs you, what, letting me put my hand on your shoulder for a few seconds?" He smiled. "But if it *does* work, maybe I can get a better sense of what's going on."
Bookworm paused a few second. While she really couldn't bring herself to believe in such things...well, where was the harm? "Well, I suppose that's all right--if it doesn't get better soon."
Zac nodded. "Well, you seem to be fine for now, but just let me know if you want to try that sometime. And I'll go more into detail about what it entails if you decide to try that."
Book nodded. "Thank you again!" She smiled, waved, and went upstairs.
"See you later!" Zac called after her.
She went inside, pondering whether she had enough energy to make supper. She finally decided just to have some bread and cheese, then lay down, hoping she'd get more restful sleep.
(To be continued...)