Monday, November 7, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
Saturday, June 4, 2011
I think I need your votes here. I had more ideas for more drama in this story but after I finished writing this chapter it seems kind of complete now...
“Safe?” The word tasted strange on her tongue and sounded unreal. She gripped Sid’s hand and felt his reassuring squeeze in return. The FBI agent in his black suit with his shades pushed up on his forehead and his identity shield still in his hand nodded.
“With the death of Mario Rosa we feel confident that any immediate danger to you and your niece has definitely past and it’s doubtful that anyone from the Angels that might take his place as the head of the organization would have the same personal vendetta against you. I’m not saying to let your guard down entirely but yes, we think that you will be safe now.” Cody shook her head. It didn’t seem like it could be possible.
“So I can just...we can just do anything, go anywhere?” she asked, looking and feeling doubtful. The agent smiled and nodded.
“That’s right ma’am, business as usual. Or in your case, start your life here like nothing ever happened.” Cody felt her cheeks get warm as Sidney gave her hand another squeeze. There was no threat of their sending her home to Vancouver. Not when Sidney Crosby had just told them that she was his girlfriend. ‘Fiancée’ she rolled the title around in her head as she glanced up at him. That word was like a bright and shiny brand new coin that she wanted to rub her fingers over the embossing of and wanted to keep in her pocket and not spend right away. “The Agency does apologize that we were not adequately able to protect you ma’am,” the agent added, his warm smile disappearing, replaced by a solemn, all business expression.
“You protected my niece,” she reminded him, “and she was the witness after all. If she’d been taken instead....” Cody let her voice fall away. She didn’t want to think about what might have happened had Becky been in her place in that cage in that basement. Sid’s other hand sliding over hers told her that he wasn’t eager to think about what might have been either.
“We want you to keep us on speed dial, obviously, and feel free to contact us if you receive any kinds of threats or if you see something that concerns you in any way,” the Agent handed them both a card with several emergency contact numbers on it. “I hope you won’t need it,” he added, holding his hand out to Sidney who only freed one of his hands to shake it. “Take care.” Sidney nodded and then put his hands protectively around Cody’s again so that the Agent could only pat her shin gently before he turned and headed out of the room.
“That wasn’t how that should have happened.” Cody looked down at his hands surrounding hers’ and smiled.
“Are there rules for these kinds of things?” she teased, glancing up at him and tried to raise a single eyebrow. It hurt a little but she did it anyway.
“Of course there is,” he replied quickly. “There’s supposed to be flowers and music and I should have had the ring, which I do, by the way,” he added, turning to sit on the edge of the hospital bed, facing her. “It’s at home,” he added in a whisper as he looked down at their hands. “Just so you know that I didn’t just blurt that out. I meant it, every word of it.”
“Okay, so get down on one knee.” She waited for him to look at her, for him to appreciate what she was saying. He looked back at her quizzically and then one corner of his mouth turned up.
“Yeah?” he asked and his grin broadened as she nodded. “You don’t want to wait for the ring and the flowers and the...?” Cody shook her head.
“In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m not really the flowers and trinkets kind of a girl,” she whispered. Giving her hands a squeeze, Sid leaned forward and pressed his lips to the centre of her forehead. He let go of one of her hands and slid off the side of the bed and then he looked at her, searched her face. She waited while he gingerly got down on one knee. Still holding her hand, he pressed his lips to the back of her hand.
“When I thought...when I let myself think you might not come back,” he coughed, like it was hard for him to even say the words, like he had to force them up through his throat and out of his mouth, “I couldn’t imagine it. I mean, I know we haven’t known each other than long but...you and Becks...you’re everything to me. I...,” Sidney looked up at her, tears glimmering in his hazel eyes. “I love you and the thought of being...of waking up without you...of not having you to come home to...I can’t Dakota. I don’t want to. So...will you put me out of my misery and promise that you won’t ever leave me again?” The answer bubbled up from the centre of her chest and did a happy dance on the tip of her tongue but she didn’t blurt it out, as much as she wanted to.
“Are you sure?” she asked instead and his brow furrowed.
“Yes,” he replied hoarsely. He cleared his throat and blinked rapidly and then got up off of his knee to stand beside her, looking down at her and searching her face.
“But look what I just put you through,” she whispered, emotion getting the better of her as his free hand reached out to gingerly cup her cheek.
“Yeah, look at what you did,” he smiled down at her, a single tear escaping to slip down his cheek. “I’ve had guys take beatings for me before but fuck, not like this,” he added in a hushed venerable tone, his fingertips barely brushing over her bruised cheekbone. “I’ve never met a woman as brave and loyal as you Dakota. I just want the chance to spend the rest of my life trying to make this up to you, trying to be deserving of you.” Cody turned her head and kissed the centre of his palm.
“You look fine.” She’d been in the bathroom for longer than usual. Cody hadn’t been kidding around when she’d said she wasn’t a high maintenance flowers and trinkets kind of girl. All of the flowers the other guys on the team had sent she’d had the nurses give out to other patients and every last one of the balloons Max had brought when they’d arrived to bring her home she’d had him take down to the children’s cancer ward. She hadn’t wanted a fuss, she’d said, not even the special candlelight dinner that he’d had planned. She’d just wanted to come home. But now, as he stood behind her in the semi dark of their room, seeing her despondent expression as she gazed at her reflection in the bathroom mirror, Sid knew there was some vanity in there somewhere.
“I look like I’ve been through a meat grinder,” she sighed, turning her face and staring at her profile. Most of the swelling had gone down over the few days they’d kept her in the hospital but the ribbons of flesh her assailant’s rings had dug from the flesh of her cheeks and the fading bruises that were beginning to turn a sickly yellow green definitely altered her appearance. Having seen her when she was nearly unrecognizable, however, to Sidney she already looked almost like herself.
“You’re beautiful,” he whispered, closing the gap, sliding his hands up her arms until he was pulling her back against him while he pressed his lips to the soft, fragrant and unblemished skin beneath her ponytail. “I’m so glad you’re home.” He felt her hands cover his, felt her body sway back against his. His head swam with the scent of the lavender bath oil she’d spent an hour soaking in. Her skin was still warm and so soft.
She made a contented humming noise as he kissed his way across to her shoulder and didn’t struggle when he undid the towel and dropped it to the floor. Her hands guided his up to cup her breasts and their gazes met in the mirror.
“If it’s too soon just say so.” He didn’t want to stop, his body was aching for hers’, but he hadn’t asked if there’d been more than beatings and the last thing he wanted was to hurt her more.
“Please,” she whispered as she closed her eyes and laid her head back on his shoulder.
He could take her right there, he knew as he kissed his way up the curve of her neck. He could slide his pj bottom down, press her forward over the sink and ease his way inside of her but that wasn’t what he wanted now, wasn’t what he’d been day dreaming about since he knew she’d been found.
“Come on,” he whispered, lacing his fingers with hers and turning to head back into the bedroom. He led her to the bed and waited while she climbed up on it before he checked the new lock on the door. He’d wanted Max and Mel to take Becky but Cody hadn’t wanted to let her niece out of her sight. That didn’t mean that he wanted any unwelcome visitors right now. He slid the bolt home and then turned to see Dakota already almost entirely hidden beneath the sheet that she was holding up nearly to her chin.
The shake of his head was purely internal as Sid crossed the carpeted floor and climbed onto the bed. He didn’t even try to pull the sheet down. Instead he reached up and behind her and pulled the elastic holding her hair back free. Then, running his fingers through her still damp but silken hair, Sidney leaned in and kissed her. He reminded himself to be gentle. He could feel the rough edges of the scab that dissected her bottom lip as his mouth moved over hers and heard her sharp intake of breath as his body eased hers down onto the bed. He’d seen the still darkly purple bruising along her ribcage and the boot print on her back. He knew he would have to be careful, but he knew how those kinds of injuries felt and how to avoid making them worse.
She wanted him. She wanted to climb him like a jungle gym. She wanted him to press her down into the mattress and fuck her like a twenty dollar whore. She was also terrified. She was afraid he’d hurt her. Not like...not the way that man had. She knew deep in her bones that Sidney would never hurt her like that. She was just afraid that they’d be doing it and it would be incredible and suddenly it would just hurt and they’d have to stop, that he’d be upset.
She tasted the metallic tang of her own blood as her mouth opened beneath his and his tongue swept over hers’. Cody started to pull back but Sidney didn’t let her. He held on, ran his tongue over her lip and then kissed his way across her jaw and began to nibble his way down her neck. With a moan she let go of the sheets, her shield, and reached up to dig her fingers into his thick dark hair.
She sucked in a ragged breath when his weight transferred further down her body but that momentary sharp pain was quickly dulled by the feeling of his lips and teeth worrying at her nipple through the thin cotton sheet. She could feel every scratch, every contusion, and of course the three broken ribs but none of that discomfort was anything compared to feel of his lips sucking her nipple into his mouth, or better than that, the press of his erection against her leg. There had been hours, long dark hours when she’d been in that cage that the thought of his, of being in his arms again, had been the only thing that had got her through the next few minutes, the next hour.
“I want you inside me,” she whimpered, kicking at the sheets, now eager to erase the barrier between them.
“Soon,” he whispered, pressing a gentle kiss on her sternum before kissing his way down the midline of her body, placing butterfly kisses around her belly button.
“But I...,” she began but was quickly silenced by the warning his gold flecked eyes gave as he stopped just below her navel and looked up at her.
“You wouldn’t let Max make a fuss at the hospital. You wouldn’t let me take you out to dinner. You will let me do this,” he added sternly, sliding down the length of the bed and dragging her by her heels with him. She had every intention of explaining that she still looked like the creature from the black lagoon but her words turned into nonsensical sounds and then into a wordless cry as Sidney pressed the flat of his tongue against her entrance and very, very slowly licked his way upwards.
“Oh god,” she gasped, arching her back and tipping her head back. Her entire body became one raw nerve and her brain turned into an explosion of sparks as if it had become the bumper of a tail dragger. She hiccupped as he sucked her clit into his mouth, whimpered when he blew his warm breath across it and lost all ability to make speech at all when his tongue turned into an inch worm and crept slowly up and down and across it.
Cody shoved her knuckles in her mouth. It was either that or scream the entire fucking house down and just maybe wake the entire neighbourhood. Her heels drummed the bed. Her free hand pounded the mattress, but he held her there, staring over the edge and into the abyss, but he wasn’t quite ready to push her over; not yet.
Everyone knows the term ‘whistle while you work’. Sidney hummed. He hummed and vibrated and sent her teetering, arms wind milling as she fought to save herself from falling and every time she tried to, was about to, he would only come up for air with a playful grin on his face and then begin it all over again, blowing warm air across her so sensitive skin and leaving her helpless but to do anything else but bite down harder into her own skin and watch, wild eyed, as he slid one and then two fingers up inside of her while he made wet, warm circles with his tongue around her feminine pearl.
Cody reached back for a pillow and pulled it over her face. If she died, suffocated herself, she didn’t care. She was going to die happy and he’d have to explain to the authorities why his fiancée was naked and spread eagled on his bed with a grin a mile wide on her face.
She felt the dip in the mattress, just barely, as his body curled in next to hers. She felt the heat of his skin, the hard solidness of him, but mostly she felt his fingers still working in and out of her heated, slick core. His free hand pulled the pillow out of her hands and she was forced to look up into his green and bronze eyes as he gazed down at her, watching her, enjoying seeing the effects of his ministrations on her. He leaned on his hand and stared down at her as she whimpered and shuddered as he forced her to climb back up the steep cliff just to send her falling over the edge again.
“Sidney...please,” she begged, reaching out and pulling uselessly on the tree branch of his arm. As if she could budge an immovable object, especially one that was so clearly enjoying the view.
“I like watching you cum,” he told her, his voice deep and thick with desire. Cody let go of his arm and reached instead for a handful of his dark hair and tried to pull his lips down to hers’. She caught sight of the two carat diamond solitaire on her hand and stared at it, at the way the white gold band and brilliant sparkling princess cut stood out in strict contrast to his thick, dark waves. It still didn’t seem real. He still didn’t seem real.
“Why?” she asked and forced her gaze back to meet his.
“It’s my job,” he replied, leaning in and capturing her lips with his. She let him kiss her, because it felt good, because it meant the solid width of his chest pressed against her own and because it meant the work his fingers were doing slowed. But as he came up for air again, she shook her head.
“No,” she cupped his face, dragged her hand down the sharp line of his cheek and then, as she let her hand fall away, turned it so that her ring was in his direct line of sight. “Why this? Why me?” Sid pressed his lips to her hand and took her hand in his and pressed it back over her head as he moved his body to hover above hers’.
“Because I love you, because you’re my brave and beautiful Cody,” he told her, carefully and gingerly nudging his way inside of her. Cody sucked in a jagged breath. Not because it hurt, but because the opposite was true. It felt amazing. It felt right. He fit her. He filled her completely. “You make me want to be better at everything off the ice. I want to take care of you, be with you and have you with me, always.” He began to move in long, slow strokes that stole her breath with their perfection. He took her other hand and laced his fingers with hers and pressed that too above her head as they moved together, as he held her gaze and she did her best to breathe even though the air seemed suddenly very thin and lacking in oxygen. “Tell me it’s felt like this with anyone else,” he dared her as he slid his entire length into her, until she could feel him touching places within her that only he could reach. Cody could only shake her head. There was no point in lying. He knew. They both knew. “Cum with me,” he whispered, dipping his head down and capturing her lips again.
It hurt. It hurt like hell. It felt like a fire heated brand was being shoved through his shoulder but Sid clenched his teeth and fought through the pain like all of his years on the ice had taught him to do. Sweat dripped into his eyes and his arms started to shake, but he ignored the muscle fatigue and the sharp thrust of pain. She was close, again, and he was close and he wouldn’t let a little pain ruin this moment. He held her gaze and threw his hips forward, his body meeting hers with a solid but wet sound and she cried out. It was a sound that was as beautiful as the songs of celestial choirs to his ears.
“That’s it baby,” he hissed through clenched teeth as he swung his hips forward again, ramming himself into her once, twice and then a third time that made her eyes roll back in her head as she called out his name. His balls tightened almost painfully as her body tightened around his and with a shudder as his arms gave out, he emptied himself into her with a grunt that was part relief, part pain.
“Oh my god, you’re hurt.” He was lying on top of her, knowing he was probably causing her untold pain as his deadweight pressed against her broken ribs, but Cody didn’t seem to notice that. Her fingers had already found the raw, puckered flesh of his shoulder. “You didn’t tell me...you never said anything,” she muttered in an angry tone as her fingers carefully probed at his wound.
“It’s nothing,” he sighed as he carefully rolled off of her and reached to gather her to him but she pushed him away and straddled him instead.
“It’s clearly more than nothing,” she snapped, smacking his hands out of the way when he tried to pull her down to him. “What is that?” she asked as she turned her eyes, blazing, to meet his. “How did you get that?” He thought, for just a moment, that he’d lie and then he thought he would try to sugar coat it but looking up into the fury in her eyes, he decided that the truth was his best and only choice.
“I took a bullet when I tried to stop them...when they took you.” It sounded better than being shot, less violent somehow. Cody’s gaze searched his and then she went back to looking at the puckered pink skin left behind by the surgery to close the wound.
“I didn’t even know you were there,” she said quietly, reaching out to gingerly stroke the skin around the wound. Sid reached up and took her hand and brought it to his lips.
“I would have rather they’d taken me. I would have gladly taken your place,” he told her honestly. When he thought about what she’d been through, rage boiled in his veins. It was a good thing for him that the snakehead was dead because Sid wanted to kill him for every single cut and bruise on her body. “This is nothing,” he reiterated, waiting until her gaze met his again. “Honestly I wish there was more so I could say I did something.”
“You took a bullet...for me,” she whispered, her gaze turning tender as she settled herself onto his chest, laying her chin on the back of her folded hands as she regarded him with an expression akin to wonder.
“I’d take a hundred bullets for you. For both of you,” he responded honestly, his fingertips once again finding the angry red furrow on her cheek. “So when you ask me why...that’s why. I’ve never felt like throwing myself in front of a bullet for anyone else. A puck or two, maybe,” he added with a wink when she rolled her eyes.
“Had a lot of call to take a bullet have you?” she asked sarcastically, pushing herself up and sliding her body further down his until he could feel her wet, warm folds surrounding his cock. He groaned. He was tired, it had been a long day, but there wasn’t a chance in hell he was going to say no. Not when she looked down at him like she was now, like he was everything in the world in that moment.
“I’m hoping not to get anymore practice than that,” he replied, reaching for her hips and then letting out a long, low groan when she rotated them slowly, rubbing against and over him.
“Well then I guess there other things you could spend your time practicing,” she grinned as she cupped her breasts, holding them high and together like an offering. Sid moaned as his cock stirred back to life.
“Yeah, I guess there is,” he coughed as he watched her tug on her nipples, her gaze holding his.
“That’s good,” she replied with a lascivious grin, “because I had this thought...more of an idea really when I was cooped up with Vero and...,” she threw her head back and laughed when he felt his eyes get wide. “Yeah, you wish...well, actually Flower is kinda cute....”
“Evil woman!” Sidney used his size and strength to roll her over and pin her beneath him. “No. No sharing. Not ever.”
“Awww!” she complained and then giggled when he fell on her like a starving man on a piece of bread.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
It was night when they came back for her. She didn’t have a watch or a window but her internal body clock told her that she should be sleeping when they dragged her out of the cage. She felt Vero’s grasp slip away, heard her calling softly after her as she went limp in their hands and made them drag her across the floor. She pulled free of their grasp at the foot of the stairs and they were forced to carry her. That, however, meant that they dropped her very unceremoniously in the small room instead of propping her up in the chair. Her breath was pressed out of her lungs and she gasped like a guppy out of water, right up to the moment that she was kicked in the ribs and suddenly she couldn’t breathe and curled around herself biting through her lip to try and hold back the pain.
“Where is she?” Cody smirked and shook her head. He could break all of her ribs, she wasn’t telling him shit. “You’ve got a real fuckin’ death wish, don’t you?” He poked at her tender ribs with the toe of his shoe. Cody grimaced but swallowed the whimper of pain she wanted to release. “Just tell me where the girl is and you and your friend can go free.” Cody rolled her eyes, or at least she thought she did. It was hard to tell when it hurt just to open them.
“Fuuuck you,” she croaked and then tensed, preparing for another kick that didn’t come. She listened to the sound of his footsteps as he paced slowly around her. She heard him stop, waited for the next source of pain, for him to kick her or pull her hair but he just stood behind her, so still she could hear him breathing.
‘This is it’, she told herself, taking a deep breath as she heard the sound of the safety being taken off of a gun. She had a moment, just a second of surprise that he would be the one to do it, to spill her brains all over his fancy shoes. She hadn’t heard his henchman come in and as she strained to, she still couldn’t hear anything but his breathing, and now her own, sharp, shallow breaths while she waited for the slow motion movie, for her life to flash before her eyes. It didn’t happen. ‘Damn’, she thought with disappointment, ‘I was looking forward to that’. Becky’s big blue eyes flashed in her imagination, her dimples, her slightly gap toothed grin. Cody tried to hold that image in her mind but it quickly morphed into a scene that made her smile.
Sid and Becky on the beach and that crazy big castle they’d built. It was okay, she decided, if she didn’t remember anything else, if this was her last thought on earth. That had been almost a perfect day.
“I love you both”, she whispered, sending out as powerful a mental hug to each of them as she could as she felt the cold steel of the muzzle of the gun being pressed to her temple.
“Both who?” he growled, his voice close behind her, the smooth taste of expensive scotch on his breath,
“Fuck and you,” she hissed back with a grin on her face. She didn’t even flinch when he cracked the back of her skull.
“Pretty smart mouthed for someone who’s about to die,” he reminded her, pressing the muzzle of the gun to the side of her head. She should be terrified, she thought with a certain amount of detachment. She should be shaking and crying and pleading, if not with her captor then with God, making some kind of promise that if he’d just get her the hell out of here she’d go to church every Sunday or something. ‘But we both know that’s bullshit right?’ she mused silently. It felt strange to feel this calm when she knew she was about to die. “Last chance,” he growled, pressing the muzzle of the gun harder against her skull. “Tell me where she is.”
“That’s not how you do it.”
Sid looked down at the pancake in the pan in front of him. It looked fine to him and he’d followed the directions on the box. He was actually pretty proud of himself.
“Whaddyamean?” he asked as he watched Becky tug her bright blue plastic step stool up to the stove beside him.
“You have to give it toes,” she explained, reaching for the measuring cup he’d used to ladle the batter into the pan. “It’s a monster foot. It has to have toes,” she repeated very seriously as she carefully ladled five small dots of batter along the top of the pancake he’d poured. “There, better,” she handed him the cup and then climbed down and went back and climbed up onto one of the stools at the breakfast bar.
Sid stared down at the pancake and smiled. Cody must have done it like this for her. His smile dissolved as he thought about that, about her standing right where he was standing now in nothing but one of his old ratty t-shirts, her hair pulled back into a simple pony tail, fresh faced making them all breakfast. If he closed his eyes he could still smell her, the vanilla cupcake scent of her warm skin and the ripe scent of June strawberries in her hair. It made his chest ache.
“You should probably turn that over now,” Nathalie appeared at his side and held her hand out for the flipper thing. Sid shook his head. Until he was told otherwise, Becky was his responsibility. He flipped over the pancake on his own but took the plate that his boss’s wife offered. He’d taken their offer of help but not of their home. If Cody got free, if she came back, she would come home...come here and he’d...no, they’d be waiting.
“How’s that squirt?” he asked as he slid the plate in front of her. She looked down at the pancake and then up at him, clearly unimpressed.
“Where’s the strawberries and the whip cream?” He opened his mouth to argue but quickly closed it. Her mother was dead, murdered right in front of her, then she’d been kidnapped and now the only family she had in the entire world was missing and she was living with strangers, well, relative strangers. If he spoiled her a little bit he didn’t think it was a bad thing.
“Coming right up,” he grinned and shrugged when Nathalie rolled her eyes and shook her head.
He was shaking the can of aerosol whip when one of the guards, the man he recognized as the one who’d driven them here from the airport, rounded the corner still talking into his phone. He paused, watching the man as he signed off.
Something was clearly up.
“You asked me to keep you informed,” the man’s deep, gravelly voice filled the sudden silence as Sidney nodded, mute. “I don’t want to get your hopes up,” the man added with a furtive glance over Sid’s shoulder towards Becky, “but the FBI has been tracking a suspect, a high ranking member of the HA and he took a trip last night out of the city...,” the man’s voice dipped to nearly a whisper as he leaned towards Sidney. “He went to an abandoned factory and didn’t return to his hotel last night. They’re going in to investigate. I just thought you should know.”
“I want to go.” It was out of his mouth before the thought actually formed in his mind but even the small flicker of panic from the part of him that knew that it was a stupid idea couldn’t overcome the overwhelming urge to be there.
“You’d just be in the way,” Nathalie said quietly, putting her hand on his arm as if that gentle touch could stop him from bolting from the house this instant. “They’d have to worry about you too. Just let the men do their job and I’m sure they’ll let us know the instant they know anything.”
“Mrs. Lemieux is right,” the guard nodded and gave Mario’s wife a grateful smile. “We don’t even know that they’ll find anything there but if they do, they’ll let us know right away.” Sidney shook his head. How could he just sit here, eating pancakes when they might be freeing Cody right now?
“Even if they do find her there,” the guard added in a firm tone, putting his hand on Sid’s shoulder and pressing down, as if that could hold him in place, “they wouldn’t let you see her. She would have to be checked out by medics and then they’ll want to ask her some questions...by the time they do all of that, we’ll have you wherever they tell us to be.” He didn’t like it, and it went against every competitive cell in his body, but he nodded and turned back to the stove, staring down at the empty pan in front of him.
“Ummm where’s the whipcream?”
“Uh boss, we’ve got company.”
Cody cringed as she heard the shot go astray, as she listened to the sound of it pinging off of the concrete floor beside her head as her captor turned towards the intrusive sound of one of his lackeys opening the door with a scraping sound that could have easily been included on an creepy Hallowe’en special effects album.
“Can’t you see I’m busy here?” the mob boss growled at the voice behind them and Cody wondered, just for a minute, if the guy peering in the door was more frightened of him than she was. The thought made her smile for one, brief moment. “Take care of it you fucking idiot!” She heard the door slam behind them and that, more than the sound of the gunshot right beside her head, made her jump.
“Just do it,” she demanded, hating that a tear had leaked out onto her cheek. She wanted to be brave and defiant. She didn’t want to bargain and plead with this asshole but most of all, she really didn’t want to give in to the fear that had her heart hammering against her chest. “Fucking do it already,” she snapped, reaching blindly behind her and grabbing a hold of his wrist, pulling the gun muzzle back towards her, this time turning to face it and pushing it against the centre of her forehead. “Do it!” she repeated and knew that tears were now streaming down her cheeks. It wasn’t that she wanted to die, far from it, but she didn’t want to tell him where Becky was either and if this went on much longer....
The sound of muffled gunshots somewhere in the near distance made them both freeze. She could feel his hesitation all the way down the barrel of the gun. She could feel his body turn back towards the door. Part of her brain told her that she was saved, if only she could hang on another minute or two. The other half of her brain was sure that white knights only rode to the rescue in fairy tales and in Hallmark TV movies. She was going to die, here in this small, concrete room and no one was going to save her.
“Becks,” Sid reached forward with his good arm to gently draw her hand away from Cody’s bruised and battered face. He remembered her doing the same thing to him when he’d lain in a hospital bed just like this one but he hadn’t looked like that.
“But she has to wake up,” Becky turned and gave him a pleading look, her bottom lip jutting out and trembling.
“She will baby girl,” he promised, running his fingers through her golden curls, partly as reassurance to her and partly because he very much wanted to run them through Cody’s long dark hair to reassure himself that she was real, except that he was afraid to touch her. She looked so broken and small with her dark livid bruises a stark contrast to the bleached white hospital sheets. He was afraid if he touched her he’d hurt her even more and he wouldn’t do that, not for all the tea in China.
Becky turned back and stared at her Aunt and he could see, in her solemn expression, that she was willing Cody to open her eyes. He felt the same way, except for the part of him that could clearly see that her body badly needed rest.
“Come on squirt let’s go get something to eat. We’ll come back in a little bit. Maybe she’ll be awake by then.” He didn’t actually believe it in the same way that he could hardly believe that she was actually alive, in that bed, close enough for him to touch.
“No! Want to stay here.” Becky curled into Cody’s body and laid her cheek on her Aunt’s stomach and stared up at her face. She’d been afraid to look at her at first with her swollen, split lip and the cuts carved into her cheeks and her darkly, grotesquely swollen black eyes. She looked like something out of a horror movie, Sid supposed. She looked beautiful to him. He knew about black eyes, that in a few days the swelling would go down and her lip would heal and maybe she’d have a couple of scars that would lighten over time. The most important thing to him was the gentle rise and fall of her chest that said she was alive and breathing. The rest was cosmetic.
“Do you want me to get you something?” He looked back to see Flower standing in the doorway. He had dark circles under his eyes but that unsinkable smile of his lit his face. Vero was in the next room, a little dehydrated, a little thinner than normal but otherwise she was fine.
“No, I’m good,” Sid smiled as he watched his friend nod. Flower opened his mouth to say something else, but Sid shook his head. Gratitude should be saved for the swat team that had saved them both and maybe for Cody, who obviously had taken the worst of it. Flower nodded and headed back into the hall, probably back to Vero’s room. Sidney watched him go, wondering if, as the Captain of the team he should go over, pay his respects, check on her. He knew that part of the reason he wanted to was to hear how bad it had been, to know something about what they’d been through so he’d know what he was dealing with.
He glanced at Becky, but she’d shut her eyes and he could tell by the slow rise and fall of her small back that she’d fallen asleep. It had been hours. He didn’t blame her. She wasn’t going anywhere and he could just go next door, check on Vero and....
“Tell him he’d better marry that girl.” His heart leaped in his chest and he turned slowly, almost thinking he hadn’t really just heard that rasp, that he’d turn around and she’d still be inert. He saw her hand first, the one with the tube attached to it, gently stroking through Becky’s hair. He followed it up to her face and saw her bruised, split and bloody lips almost curl into a smile. “She’s stronger than he thinks.”
Sid was frozen for a moment watching her lips move, almost sure he was dreaming it and that his imagination was playing tricks on him. But then her hand moved again and this time she reached out towards him. It seemed to take forever to make his own hand move, to reach out towards her, but then he felt her hand slide between his own and his heart leaped in his chest.
“I love you,” she whispered and he saw her trying to open her eyes to look at him and his heart broke a little.
“I fucking love you so fucking much,” he whispered hoarsely, barely able to make a sound past the huge lump that had formed in his throat as he moved to her side, bringing her hand up to his mouth and kissing each scraped knuckle, each tiny abrasion on her hand.
“You’d better,” she tried to smile again and it looked like it hurt, “because I almost died for you. For both of you,” she added with the hint of a smile tugging at her mouth. Sidney felt the hot sting of tears. He wanted to tell her that he’d have taken her place, would have gladly taken every single blow for her but he couldn’t make the words come out. Tears streamed down his face. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d cried. “I’d do it again,” she whispered, giving his hand a weak squeeze, “for this.” He nodded and put his hand over hers’ on top of Becky’s head and then leaned in and gently brushed his lips over hers’.
“Don’t though, okay?” he whispered, kissing a spot just above her right eye that wasn’t bruised or cut. “Don’t leave me again, ever, promise?” She nodded, and winced just a little at the movement. He knew what that was like.
“Can you...come in here, with us?” she asked in a whisper, glancing at the safety bar. As if anything or anyone could stop him, Sidney lowered the bar and climbed in beside her and put his arms around both of his girls and held them tight.