Hauser stands in the doorway for a good thirty minutes before he finally decides to take a seat. He wants to be here and he doesn't at the same time.
He's not a man of inaction. He's the take the bull by the horns kind of guy. Always has been. On some level he likes to think that is what Lucy found so attractive about him.
He moves the seat closer to Lucy's bedside, thinks about taking her hand, even moves his closer for a moment before changing his mind.
He's known her for so long that it seems like it should be second nature to take her hand. But nothing is second nature with their relationship. Nothing ever has been, and probably never will be.
That is, once she wakes up.
Because thinking of the alternative is not something that will ever cross his mind.
He opens the book, long having given up the Books of the Metamorphosis of Ovid. He's read all fifteen of them to her, with no reaction whatsoever.
Since then he's decided that Beauregard is full of shit.
He was going to toss it all in and forget about reading to her entirely, but on some level -- he's not sure if it's helping her at all -- but it seems to be helping him a bit. He no longer fantasizes about ripping Ernest Cobb's throat out every time he closes his eyes.
Hauser runs his fingers over the title page, wondering if she has a first edition hidden away somewhere. The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins was never one of his favorites, but if it was hers then it's a sacrifice that he's willing to make.
The book has that old library smell to it – there's really no other way to describe it – and he fleetingly wonders if people even notice that anymore with all of the e-readers and gadgets that they use. No one bothers to hold a real, honest-to-God book in their hands anymore.
He's about three chapters in – when nothing else seemed to work he picked up a copy for himself and just couldn't resist cracking the spine. When he sits at home, he imagines that the voice narrating the words on the page is hers. It was never something that he'd thought of before, but he thinks that he would like to have her read to him someday.
For now, he cracks the spine and starts from the beginning. She'll just have to deal with his voice as the narrator for the time being.
"The sun was beginning to fall from the sky into the white Nevada desert as Reno came up beneath me."