ESCAPING FREE (BOOK ONE)

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Chapter 18

DUSTY POV

I didn’t care if my bike got towed away. There wasn’t any damn parking near the front door of the hospital and didn’t have the patience to find a spot way in the back. I parked right at the curb and took off running inside.


“Sir, how can I help you?” A nurse smiled at me and I wanted to slap her. How can someone smile during a tragedy? This was the fucking emergency room, bitch.


“Evie Kidd.” I was out of breath as panic set in.


She tapped on her keyboard as her brows furrowed and her bottom lip frowned. “Oh, she’s in the ICU. Only family is allowed back, though.”


I didn’t wait for her to complete her bullshit rules as I ran toward the elevators, hearing her yelling after me. Go ahead and send security, bitch. I scanned the signs next to the elevators and found what I was looking for. ICU. Floor seven.


I couldn’t tap the ‘UP’ button fast enough when the door finally opened and I jumped into the moving death box. I fucking hated elevators, and if I weren’t in such a hurry, I’d have taken the stairs instead.


The doors dinged and slowly closed as I tapped my hand impatiently on the railing, telling myself that taking the stairs would have been faster at this point. Fuck!


When I reached the seventh floor, I jumped out of the box before the doors could fully open, whipping my head back and forth trying to figure out which way to go. A young guy in green scrubs and a white lab coat walked toward me.


“You!” I pointed at the doctor as he froze in his spot, staring at me with fear in his eyes. “ICU. Which way?”


The doctor didn’t say a word as he pointed behind me. I turned and bolted down the hallway, not wanting to waste any time.


I came to a set of doors that I tried to open but wouldn’t budge. I banged on the door and shook the handles with no luck. A moment later, a woman’s voice echoed from above him as I looked around and found the intercom.


“Sir, are you here for a patient?”


I didn’t know if she could hear me so I gave a thumbs up, knowing there was probably a camera pointed right at me.


“Are you family?”


Again, I gave a thumbs up. When she didn’t say anything more, I paced frantically in front of the doors when a loud buzz echoed and they finally opened. I slipped past them and came face-to-face with Axel Kidd.


The man I had looked up to my entire life stood in front of me looking destroyed as tears burned his eyes and turned them red. In all of my life, I had never seen this man cry.


“Evie,” I breathed, feeling the blood drain from my face once more.


When Axel shook his head and began crying again, I felt my knees go weak as the floor came closer and closer. Axel reached out and held me up.


No. I couldn’t lose Evie now. Not after everything. No!


“Mr. Kidd? We’ve got her!” A voice interrupted from behind as we separated and looked at the young doctor.,


“She’s alive?!” Axel rejoiced as he stepped forward.


He nodded before he looked at me. “Is this Evie’s husband?”


“Yes,” I answered without hesitation as my voice cracked.


“Well, we were able to remove the bullet that struck her abdomen and we were able to stop the internal bleeding and she’s stable for now, but,” he trailed off as a solemn expression crossed through his eyes, “but we weren’t able to save the baby.”


The baby? What ba…


I couldn’t hold it together anymore as my knees finally gave out this time and I hit the concrete floor with a thud. The room spun and everything went dark.

~~~~

When I came to, I was lying on a hospital bed, feeling confused.


“What the fuck?...”


“Hey, man, you passed the hell out. Are you cool?”


I looked over at Axel, still confused. “I’ve never passed out in my life. What a pussy.”


“Well, to be fair, you thought you lost Evie and that you did lose a baby you didn’t even know existed.”


And then everything came back to me. The hospital. Why I was here. Evie. Bullet to her abdomen. The baby.


“The baby is gone?” I asked softly as Axel just nodded. “I never even knew…”


Axel nodded again. “I told her to tell you but I think with all the shit going on between you two, she was waiting for the right moment.”


“Like when? When she was six months pregnant with a giant belly?” I felt angry and betrayed. I thought me and Evie were closer than that. Which came to the question: was it even mine? Maybe she didn’t tell me because I wasn’t the father.


And then I felt fucking sick.


No. No, she wouldn’t do that.


I had to swallow back my anger and focus on the now. “Is she alright?”


He slowly nodded. “Yeah, I just came from her to check on you. She’s sleeping now and completely doped out of her mind, but she’s going to be alright.”


A single tear slipped from my eyes as I wiped at it with irritation before I sat up. I was relieved that I was still in my own clothes and wasn’t admitted into the hospital over passing out. They probably figured it was normal for a man to collapse when that man finds out their kid died.


Then I cleared my throat and swallowed back the ball of emotion there. “Can I go see her?”


“Sure.” Axel stepped away from the bed as I stood up. “Like I said, she’s sleeping, but you can sit with her. I’m going to go grab some coffee in the cafeteria. Do you want some?”


I shook my head and headed into the hallway when I realized I had no idea which way to go.


“Down the hall. Room 203.”


I nodded and headed that way, but when I got to her room, I found that I couldn’t enter just yet. I could see her and it froze me to my spot. She was lying on the bed motionless with several machines hooked up to her, including a breathing tube. The sight of her made my stomach turn as that damn emotional ball lodged itself back into my throat. Seeing her so helpless and beat up did things to me. Things I never thought I could feel as hot tears ran down my face.


Stepping into her room was suffocating. The machines were beeping and making all kinds of weird noises and it made me uncomfortable. But I pushed through and sat down next to her, taking her hand in mine. She was lifeless but still warm as I let out a breath I hadn’t realized I was holding. Then the waterworks broke again as I laid my forehead down on her arm and just cried.


“Please don’t leave me. Not yet. I can’t handle the thought of not having you in my life. I’m so sorry for being such a fuck up. I’ll do better. I promise. Just please, please don’t leave me yet.” A sob escaped my lips and then I felt her fingers squeeze my hand, and I knew she had heard me. Somehow she heard everything I just said.


“Hey, Son.”


I whipped my head up to find Axel in the doorway. Had he just witnessed what I had spoken to his daughter?


“The doctor would like a moment of our time.” Axel nodded toward the hallway as I nodded and stood, kissing the top of Evie’s hand before I let her go.


Once in the hallway, Axel guided us down the hall toward a small meeting room with a table and four chairs. The doctor was holding the door open for us with a small smile before he closed the door behind him.


“What is this about, Doc?” Axel asked first, taking a seat.


I stayed standing as I crossed my arms over my chest.


The doctor looked at me nervously before he pointed to the chair next to Axel. “I think you might want to be seated for what I have to discuss with you. We don’t want you passing out again.”


I felt my cheeks flush before I did what the doc had suggested. Axel looked at me with a confused face and I felt the same way. What else could the doc tell us?


“When Evie was brought in we did an extensive search on her body for other wounds and what we found was a bit disturbing,” he paused as he looked between Axel and me. “There were signs of sexual assault, so I had a rape kit done on her.” He waited just long enough for the words to sink in and for me to feel sick. “And the tests do confirm that she was sexually assaulted at some point in the last twenty-four hours. She has a lot of strange bruises indicating foul play, and her vaginal walls are badly torn, which is usually only caused by forced penetration.”


I gripped the arms of my chair until all the blood drained from my hands and my knuckles turned white. Neither of us said a word as we glared at the doc.


“However, we don’t believe she was sexually assaulted by the men who shot her…”


“What do you mean?!” Axel burst out.


“Well, there was a farmer in the field tending to his crops this morning that witnessed the entire scene on the highway. He gave detailed descriptions of the scene and he never mentioned any foul play done to either woman. Just that there was a rear-end collision, a man jumped off a motorcycle that was trailing them, he heard three shots fired, and then the motorcycles and truck tore away from the scene. It happened in less than five minutes.”


Then it hit me. “Either woman?” I looked at Axel who returned my gaze, sadness entering his eyes. “Awe, shit… Sally,” I answered myself. I felt for Axel, but no words formed to tell him that.


Axel shook his head. “She didn’t make it, that’s why she isn’t here.” Axel looked down at his hands and all I could think to do was reach out and pat him on the back. It was the only support I knew how to show and Axel nodded his acknowledgment.


The doctor gave them a moment before continuing, “Do you know who might have sexually assaulted Mrs. Kidd in the last twenty-four hours?”


I immediately felt defensive when the doc looked at me with curious eyes.


“I haven’t been with her since…” then it hit me. The party. Jimmy. Jimmy’s hands on her. The fight. And then I left. I left her there. I left her unprotected. I let her get raped.


I looked at Axel as he glared at me with a knowing look.


“I’ll have to think about it. We’ve been on a break and I’ve been staying a few hours away. I don’t know who would do something like this,” I lied through my teeth. This was club business.


The doc nodded. “Well, if you can think of anything, give this gentleman a call. He’s working on Evie’s case and he’d be here questioning you personally but Axel asked that all officers be kept out of ICU until she could speak for herself.”


I could see on the doctor’s face that he wasn’t stupid and knew what was going on, but I could also see that he wasn’t stupid enough to get involved with two well-known bikers from the Wicked Saints about information regarding the club President’s daughter either.


“Thanks, doc, we’ll give him a call if we think of anything.” I gave him a fake smile and stood up, Axel right behind me.


As soon as we were out of earshot, Axel turned to me.


“We’ve got a six-foot deep hole to dig. Starting right now.”

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