Chapter 34: Eve
“He’s late,” Dagger said as we started looking over the IHOP lunch menu. We’d been here for four hours already, he should have been back in under two.
“He’s still not answering his phone,” Stain said as he walked in and set my Nokia cell phone on the table. “Goes right to message.”
“That doesn’t mean anything, you know coverage is shit away from the freeway,” I said. “Still, he should have checked in.”
“I’m going to check back home,” I said. Grabbing the phone, I walked outside the building where I could get a decent signal. We had been rotating people to the parking lot the whole morning, just in case. I dialed the clubhouse, listening to it ring a couple times before someone picked up.
“Northwoods Riders, Teri speaking,” she said.
“Teri, it’s Snake. Have you heard from Carson this morning?”
“Not that I’ve heard of, but I can ask around. Why?”
“He went to pick up the blood this morning and hasn’t returned.”
“Shit.” I could hear the phone being set down and a moment later Viper picked it up. “He hasn’t come back from the Pack?”
He thought for a moment. “One of you stay there, the other two do a driveby. Get as close as you can, take pictures, make them nervous. I’ll talk to Vivian and see what she thinks.”
“How’s my old lady doing?”
“Busy. Jessica started having pains this morning in her chest and stomach, she’s got her in the clinic trying to keep her calm. She said it isn’t labor, but she can’t have her panicking and triggering labor early.” That wasn’t good.
“And how is Kelly doing?”
“Bored as hell and taking it out on me,” he said with a chuckle. “I’ll call you back if I hear anything, but you call me back in two hours and update me.”
“Got it, Viper.” I hung up the phone and walked back in. I looked at the guys, they were just about to order. “I’m going to stay here in case he comes back. I want you two to do a drive by of the turnoff to their Pack House. Drive as far in as you can, if they ask, tell them you’re looking for your buddy. Let them know we know he’s there.”
“Strapped?” Stain was nervous, I could tell.
“Hell yes,” I said. “And don’t be afraid to let them see it. They can smell the silver, that might scare them a little.” I tossed money on the table and we walked out to our bikes. I screened them from the customers as they pulled the pistols out of their bags and holstered them. Silver knives were stuck into their boots, extra magazines in their pockets. When they were ready, I sat on my bike as they rode off to find him.
I held her shoulders down to the examining table as she screamed in pain, her forehead red and creased with the effort as she tried to breathe through it. It took fifteen seconds or so before it passed. “Vivian, it feels like my leg is burning up,” she said.
I pretended to examine her, but I already knew these pains weren’t real. They weren’t her body, she was feeling something bad happen to her mate. The door opened, and Teri came in with a bowl of ice water and some cloths. “Doc, Viper needs to ask you something if you have time.”
I nodded, the pains weren’t regularly spaced. “Can you stay with her?” She nodded as she wrung out a washcloth in the cool water. “Keep her calm, and don’t let her up. She needs to rest.” I walked out, closing the door and walking towards the stairway. Viper was waiting for me at the bottom. “He’s captured, isn’t he.”
Viper pulled me into his arms. “I got a call from Snake, he never came back from the blood pickup. They are driving by the entry road, but you know they’ll never get close.” It was true, the Packs used private property rights to keep humans away. The road was gated and guarded.
“How did they know?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “He’s been gone since breakfast, even being sociable there’s something off.”
“No, he’s being beaten,” I said. “What is happening to Jessica, she is feeling her mate’s pain. Her arms are sore, her chest, stomach and legs all get pains. They’ve got him strung up and they are working him over. He’s still alive, though, and not talking.”
“How do you know?”
“As long as they are beating him, he isn’t cooperating. And if he dies… her mark will start to disappear. To a mated wolf, it feels like it is burning off from the inside. Very painful.” I thought back to my two-minute mated life, it hurt like hell, even compared to all the wounds I had suffered in the fight and the rape. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like for Jessica, who had been mated for six years and loved Carson deeply. I heard a scream from behind the door. “I have to get back upstairs. If they have him in their cells, you’ll never get him back. Bring the guys back before they find them.”
I took the stairs two at a time, my gut was twisting as I processed everything. Carson was a Pack Warrior, he was tough, and he was protecting his mate. He would die before he did anything to endanger her.
I opened the door, Jessica was crying, her hand over her ribs on her left side. I rushed to her side to Teri’s relief. “Can’t you give her anything for the pain,” she asked.
“I have done what I can, we can’t risk the baby’s vitals being depressed further,” I said. “Can you massage her legs for me? They get cramps easily.” It really wouldn’t change anything, the pain she was feeling was not her own, but it would take both of their minds off it for a while. I checked her blood pressure, it was high, but not dangerously so.
After an hour more of the seemingly random pain, Teri had left, and Jessica grabbed my hand. “It’s Carson, isn’t it.”
I couldn’t look her in the eyes and lie, no matter how much I wanted to. “Snake called and said he hadn’t returned from the Pack House, they haven’t heard from him since he left Sheridan. The guys are checking, but they won’t find anything.”
Her head fell back on the pillow, tears flowing from her eyes. “They’re torturing him, aren’t they.”
“Probably. I’m so sorry, Jessica. I never should have sent him for the blood, it was too much of a red flag to ask for it.”
I sat next to her, holding her hand until she fell asleep. Teri came in, holding a couple plates. “I brought you lunch,” she said as she handed me the sandwiches and chips. “How long has she been out?”
“Viper told me to tell you the guys didn’t find him, they are coming home.” Shit.
“Viper says to come home,” I said as I hung up the phone. It was now almost dark, and still no sign of Carson.
“I can’t leave a brother here, not like this,” Stain said.
“I said that to him, he talked to Vivian.” I really didn’t want to say this now. “She said he is being tortured, when they beat him, Jessica feels it.”
“Fuck this, let’s go get him,” Dagger said.
“We’d be dead before we went a hundred yards past the gate,” I said. “They have too many people, it’s suicide. We need some leverage, something to get the Alpha out in public where they can’t wolf out.” We sat on our bikes, trying to figure something out. A smile came to my face. “I have to make a phone call.”
I moved into the lot, finding a quiet place with three bars of signal. I called the number for the Alpha. “Josh,” a gruff voice answered.
“Put Alpha Stanton on the line, boy.” I heard a growl. “Cut the attitude and get him. Tell him Alpha Killen wants to know where his blood is.”
“Yes sir.” The phone was put on hold, and two minutes later a gruff voice answered. “This is Stanton, who the hell is this?”
“Alpha Todd Killen. I paid you four grand for blood and I don’t have it. Why.”
He thought quickly. “The man who came to pick it up, he was a relative of my Luna,” he said smoothly. “He decided to stay here for a day or two. He said the delivery wasn’t urgent or anything.”
“So why do you care?”
“The man is in my Pack and is mated to my sister. I will not be pleased if he is harmed in any way. Release him immediately, give him the blood he paid for, and we will be on our way.”
“I can’t do that.” He started to laugh. “You have some balls, Alpha, thinking YOU can threaten ME. No, I’ve got a different deal for you. Bring me Doctor Vivian DelMara, and you can have your man back. You have twenty-four hours.” He hung up before I could say anything.
I dropped the phone on the pavement, crushing it with my boot. Picking up the pieces, I tossed them in a garbage can before going back inside. “Well, that didn’t go as I had hoped,” I said as I tossed some bills on the table. “Drain it fast, we leave in two minutes.”
The guys were up immediately. “What’s going on,” Stain asked as we walked for the bathroom.
“They’ve got him, but they want DeWalt in return,” I said. “We’ve got twenty-four hours. Oh, and since we called from a cell phone, they might be able to figure out what neighborhood we’re in.”
“Shit,” Dagger said.
“No, I have to take a shit. It might be more than two minutes for me.” I just laughed as I washed up. Stain and I had our bikes started when he came out after us. We pulled out onto the road; we would need to sleep, but we wouldn’t do that anywhere near Sheridan.
The last hour had been tough on Jessica, the men were working on his back and ribs. She lifted her back off the table, breathing hard, before she dropped back down. When she did, I smelled blood. “HELP!! TERI, ANYONE!” I yelled through the closed door, hoping they would hear.
This was bad, we both smelled it, we both knew what it meant. I lifted the blanket, it was stained in blood, her underwear soaked in it already. “Vivian… remember your promise. Save the baby. Name her Eve, care for her as your own.”
“I will,” I said as I pulled the tray over. The bleeding was getting worse, I had no time to do anything else. She screamed as I cut her stomach open with the scalpel.
“Tell Carson… I love him… I’m sorry,” she said before she passed out.
“You’ll tell him yourself,” I said as I frantically worked to expose her uterus. I cut through, delivering her girl, clamping the cord in two places and cutting between it. I ran over to the incubator, placing her inside and turning it on. I opened the oxygen cylinder that fed the CPAP machine, getting the air flow started that would allow her to breathe.
I’d keep an eye on her as I worked.
Going back to Jessica, I quickly clamped all the arteries leading to her uterus. The placenta was already detaching, I pulled it out and went to work. Teri rushed in. “Oh God…”
“Grab those bags of blood out of the fridge and hang them,” I said. I kept clamping, using the suction to find the bleeders. I got a bag going, but it was too late. I looked over at the incubator, the baby was in distress.
I dropped the clamps and went to the incubator instead. “Teri, hold her hand, be with her,” I said as I opened up the cover to get at Eve. She was struggling to breathe, I cleared her mouth and throat again, adjusting the settings to force a little more air in. Her chest wasn’t that strong, it couldn’t expand easily, and the machine helped with that. Once she was breathing better and her color improved, I wiped the blood and other fluids from her skin and connected the monitors I would need. By the time I was done, I knew Jessica was gone.
Teri was sobbing loudly, her face next to Jessica’s. I pulled off my gloves, walking over I closed her eyes and leaned over to kiss her forehead. “Eve is beautiful,” I told her, “and she will be loved. I’m sorry I couldn’t save you both,” I said as I pulled the sheet over her.
Teri was clinging to me, her clothes soaked with blood. “Viper needs to know. Change out of those, extra scrubs are in the cabinet by the door, and go tell him.” She nodded, leaving a minute later. I busied myself in cleaning up the mess, knowing that if I stopped doing something, I’d break down completely.
I used towels to get most of the blood, putting them in a garbage bag from under the sink. I cleaned her body as best I could, placing her placenta back inside. I stitched her up quickly, just enough to hold everything until she could be burned.
There was a knock on the door, Viper asked to come in. He came to hug me, but I held him off. “I’m a mess,” I said. “We need to clean her before anyone else sees her.”
While he went to the sink, I pulled off my scrubs and went into the small bathroom attached to the clinic. I quickly showered, the water red with her blood as I washed arterial spray out of my hair and face. My tears ran down with the colored water, my emotions threatening to crush me. I pushed them aside for now. Stepping out and quickly dressing in scrubs and canvas shoes, I walked back into the room. Viper had wiped down her body and was removing the soiled sheet from under her. I took out a mop, quickly cleaning the floor and washing the blood down the drain. When we were both ready, I opened a body bag on the floor and we set her into it.
“She didn’t deserve this,” I said as I zipped it up. “I failed her.”
We moved her back up onto the table, then Viper pulled me into a hug. “You did what you could in a difficult circumstance, Vivian. You saved her child, just like she asked you to. Now, you care for her.”
“Eve,” I said. “She named her Eve.”
“She’s beautiful,” he said. “Just like her mother.”