The past thirty-six hours have been torturous. I haven’t slept a wink, I’ve just sat staring at the confining walls of the holding cell. My imagination is running wild about what will happen. I hear the footsteps and jingling keys approaching my cell and a police officer in a uniform unlocks the door. “Alright Jefferson you made bail. Let’s go.” He instructs in a gruff voice. I follow him out of the cell confused. I was sure I’d be in there until I was arraigned.
I’m lead to a window where another officer has me sign for my belongings. I take them, pocketing my keys, wallet and phone. I put my belt back on and my boots as well. The original officer leads me through a solid door where the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen awaits me. Despite the horrible fluorescent lighting her smile still breaks through the darkness and pierces my heart directly.
I can see Rowan and Damien standing there as well. I smile at all of them as I catch an air-born Lexi. I wrap my arms around her tightly. I feel the stiches bust open on my forearm but I don’t care. I hold her tightly until I fear I might break her. I lower her back down and take her in desperately needed kiss. Her eyes fill with tears, but she wipes them away. I break away from her and her smile nearly kills me with its kindness and beauty.
I let my eyes meet my brothers and he smiles weakly at me. Lexi steps away and I move in to hug my brother. He winces in pain but he doesn’t let go. I can feel his cast against my back and I’m filled with regret at his pain. He lets go and his arm wraps around his ribs.
“Let’s get the fuck out of this place.” He says disdainfully looking around I nod and we all walk out to a Mercedes sedan in the parking lot. Damien’s car I surmise after he opens the driver’s door. Rowan drops into the passenger seat and I slide in the back with Lexi. I wrap my arm around her shoulders and my other arm reaches around the front of her as she tucks her body against mine.
“Link, you’re bleeding.” She exclaims painfully. As she takes my bandaged arm in her hands. I shrug and kiss her forehead.
“I think I just popped a stitch, don’t worry I’ll fix it later.” I assure her softly.
“Shouldn’t we take you to a hospital?” She declares. “Did those assholes even check your injuries before they locked you up?” She asks angrily. I nod reassuringly at her. I can feel everyone’s eyes on me as I pull her face to mine.
“Shh darlin’. I’m okay, I promise you.” I breathe. She presses her lips to mine and I let myself melt into her for the rest of the drive.
We pull up at our apartment. “Man I’m glad to be home.” I announce gratefully as we all file into the apartment. “I thought I was going to be stuck in that holding cell until they arraigned me.” Rowans eyes suddenly seem sad then he looks at Damien desperately. Lexi averts my eye contact as she tucks herself into my chest. “What is it?” I ask directing my question at Damien.
“I hope you don’t mind Link, but I’ve been acting on your behalf as representation. I secured your release through some favors. We need to meet with the D.A at my offices tomorrow.” He informs me. I smile gratefully at him.
“Who else would I want for my lawyer than a brother?” I tell him reassuringly and I clap his shoulder with my hand. He smiles relieved. “I do want to discuss everything later. But right now, I’m shattered. I just need a hot shower and some sleep.” I tell everyone with a smile. They all nod understandingly. Lexi let’s go of me and steps away.
“Where do you think you’re going?” I ask grabbing her arm gently and pulling her back to me. She smiles at me. “Last time I checked I don’t need to be alone to do either of those things.” I tell her with a wicked smile. She laughs as I lead her towards the bathroom. We shower then fall into bed. I pull her close against me needing to feel her warmth.
“Will you tell me something?” I ask quietly. She smiles sweetly.
“I know Rowan won’t tell me, but will you tell how badly he was hurt.” I plead quietly. She takes a deep breath and looks at me. I let my eyes plead with her.
“It wasn’t your fault Link.” She breathes.
“I know, I just want to know exactly how much he suffered.” She takes a deep breath seeming to consider it.
“You saw the broken arm.” She says finally I nod. “Well he has two cracked ribs, there was some internal bleeding but the doctors fixed it. His jaw was dislocated and reset along with his shoulder. He has a fracture above his right eye along the socket. The rest is a lot of bruising and swelling from points of impact.” She concludes sadly. I wipe the loosened tear from my face. She takes a hold of my face.
“Link you saved his life. God knows what would’ve happened to Rowan and Damien if you didn’t show up.” She says seriously as her eyes fill with tears. “I couldn’t bare it, if I lost my best friend, or Rowan. You saved my best friend, and your brother. You have nothing to feel guilty about.” She pleads desperately. Despite her words I still feel guilt, over my brothers injuries, over not getting to them soon enough. Over the life I took.
“Hey.” She yells at my face and I snap my attention to her. “Losing either of them would’ve been nothing compared to the pain that would’ve destroyed me if anything happened to you. You have no idea Link. My whole world stopped spinning when I heard those sirens the other night. When I reached the alley entrance and saw the men bleeding on the gurneys all I could do was pray you weren’t one of them.” She confesses like a sin as tears fall from her eyes. “I can’t lose you. I won’t survive it. As strong as you think I am, I would never survive losing the love of my life.” I take her lips in mine as my tears fall down my face.
She cries against my lips. My sweet beautiful goddess, I’ve been so lost in my own darkness I didn’t think about the same darkness threatening to swallow her. I kiss away all her fears and she banishes all my guilt. My body is exhausted as she rolls over I pull her back against me and wrap her body protectively in mine. I breathe her in and close my eyes letting sleep take me.
I wake in the darkness to find my arms empty. I look over and the moonlight outlines Lexi’s figure on the other side of the bed. My mouth feels dry and I carefully get out of bed so as not to wake her. I reach the kitchen and find Rowan sitting at the counter with a glass of bourbon in front of him. I look at him suspiciously.
“Don’t tell Damien, I’m not supposed to mix it with the pain killers. I thought it would help me sleep.” He pleads quietly. I smile at him as I grab a glass and pour myself one. I take a seat next to him. His eyes are a storm of gratitude, guilt and concern. I place my hand on his shoulder.
“You’re my brother, I’d take a bullet for you man. I got off easy, it was only a knife.” I say smiling as I hold up my arm. He scoffs at me.
“Don’t make light of this Link.” He scolds me. I lock my eyes on his.
“What would you have done if the roles were reversed?” I ask him pointedly. He remains silent but a wicked smile plays on his lips. “See.” I tell him feeling justified.
“I just feel like you’ve had to spend your life defending me.” He admonishes ruefully.
“You were holding your own.” I tell him proudly. He laughs a short laugh.
“Yeah I was such a help face down on the ground while you took out five of the six.” He says sarcastically. I crook an eyebrow at him. “I made Damien tell me, he said you were amazing. He’s usually a really good fighter but he was out numbered. He feels guilty for not protecting me, so now he’s bearing unbearably overprotective.” He tells me with feigned annoyance looking at his drink. I smile.
“And you’re loving every doting minute of it.” I challenge knowing full well he is. He hits me with his signature shit eating grin.
“Yeah.” He sighs like a teenage girl in love. He looks at me suddenly playful. “You’ve got quite an over protective one yourself.” He informs me with a smile. “I thought she was going to get herself arrested trying to get you out. She was firing up at everyone and everything. Before you came out of that door in the police station I swear you wouldn’t have recognized her.
She was screaming at the police about their incompetence. I was laughing so hard and Damien told her to calm down. Then you came through the door and she turned from fierce lioness protecting her mate to innocent kitten in your arms.” He tells the story through his soft laughter. “It was hilarious.”
I laugh quietly at the thought. He smiles brightly at me. “Damien is going to handle this, these charges are ridiculous.” He says confidently. I realize I haven’t been thinking about it.
“They didn’t try to charge you and Damien, did they?” I ask concerned. He shakes his head.
“No we gave our story to the cops and the D.A says he’s not pressing charges as it was clear self-defense.” Rowan seethes icily.
“Why don’t you seem happier about that?”
“Because they’re charging you. It’s ridiculous, all you did was defend us. I don’t understand why its self-defense for us but not for you.” He spits angrily. “Damien explained it all to me but I still just don’t understand how the law can work like that, it’s fucked.”
“Damien didn’t happen to mention exactly what they plan to charge me with?” I ask calmly trying to get Rowan to calm down. I hear footsteps in the hallway and Rowan quick as a shot pours his drink into my glass and shoves his glass into a drawer beside him. I nearly burst out laughing at him, before Damien’s voice fills the kitchen.
“They had the nerve to try for a murder charge.” Damien spits incredulity lacing his tone.
“What? How can they possibly try that?” I ask with incredulity. He shakes his head as he comes to stand next to me.
“Because you arrived on the scene after the fight broke out. And joined it as a willing participant. They were going to claim revenge as motive.” He continues explaining and my heart rate picks up. He claps a hand on my shoulder. “Don’t worry I made a clear point of making their lives hell if they pursued such a ridiculous charge.” He says reassuringly. “We meet with the D.A tomorrow and I’m sure I can reason with him.” I look at him gratefully.
“Thanks man, I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t both of you at my back in this.” I tell them both. I drown the contents of my glass in one hit. “If you’ll excuse me, there is a goddess I’m in desperate need to wrap in my arms.” I explain as I leave the kitchen. They both say good night from behind me as I reach the door. I crawl back into the bed and I pull her against me not caring if I wake her.
“Are you okay?” Her sleepy voice asks. I kiss her shoulder.
“I am now.” I tell her as I hold her tightly.
The morning light doesn’t seem as bright today I think as I open my eyes to it. I lay on my back with Lexi’s head resting against my chest. Her arm is draped across my torso and her leg is hooked over between mine. I look at the clock and I sigh. It’s later than I thought. I have to leave with Damien shortly. My frustrated exhale stirs her. She blinks her eyes a few time before she focusses on me and her bright smile lights up her face. I smile back at her as I pull her tight against me.
“I have to take a shower, I need to go soon.” I say ruefully. She sighs against my chest.
“Would you like me to come with you?” She asks sweetly. I kiss the top of her head. I don’t want her to have to listen as I recap the details of the fight that cost a man his life.
“No darlin’ Damien and I can handle it.” I tell her reassuringly. She looks up at me studying my eyes. “Let’s do something tonight, just the two of us.” I try to dissuade her fears. She smiles at me.
“What did you have in mind?” She asks seductively. I smiles.
“I was really hoping for something low key, maybe a couple of movies and some take out at your place.” I offer. She smiles brightly at me.
“That sounds great, and the dress code is simple.” She says playfully. I nod.
“You don’t even have to wear clothes at all if you don’t want to.” I say wickedly and she laughs as she leans up.
“Okay here’s the plan. I’ll get the movies, and you get the take out on your way over after your meeting.” She instructs playfully. I nod.
“I really don’t think it is going to take that long darlin’ so it may be a very early dinner.” I say playfully. She smiles
“Well the earlier we have the dinner then the rest of the night will left to enjoy dessert.” Her seductive voice whispers in my ear before she nips my earlobe in her teeth. I groan with pleasure as I pull her on top of me. I consume her in a powerful kiss for the longest time before we hear a knock at the door.
“Shit.” I curse and she laughs as she jumps off me and pulls her clothes on. I race for the door and have a quick shower before coming back to get dressed. I kiss her quickly goodbye and capture her beautiful smile with my lips before racing down to meet Damien in his car.