His heart stopped.
He wasn't breathing.
He hadn't breathed for two minutes now. One minute he had been breathing, and the next thing she knew, he wasn't.
Nova had grasped him by the shoulders, fear clutching at her heart, and she shook him briskly, shouting at him to wake up; to breathe so that she was assured she hadn't killed him. Assured that she had done everything right by the internet, and it wasn't her fault. He couldn't die. Not at her hands.
There was so much blood. She hadn't been fast enough. Panic had played a vital role when she was getting the bullet out from his shoulder. She had been shaken up by the blood that kept flowing down his chest, staining her hands and clothes. So much blood had made her froze, had made her hands shook. Nova should have stopped to calm down, but she hadn't. She had continued despite knowing her state of mind was something to look out for. And now, now she had killed Ghost. If the gunshot wound hadn't killed him, she definitely had.
Despite her mind screaming, Nova tilted Ghost's back and tried to look for breathing again. There was none. She pushed her fear down as she put her hands on the center of his rock hard chest and pushed hard and fast. She has had CPR training before, back when she was in medical school.
Without any thought into it, she leaned down to his face and pulled his mouth open, pressing her lips to his and feeling his cold and soft one. He tasted like honey. But that wasn't what was on her mind. She can do it. He has to breathe. He has to survive.
Nova continued her chest compressions, pinching his nose shut and covering her mouth with his to blow breath to him, but there was nothing. She wanted to scream. She didn't. She put all her weight straight down into his chest and watched to see if his chest rose. It didn't. She repeated the CPR again, telling herself that he was going to survive. She needed him to survive.
When she was on the verge of collapsing, Ghost choked out a breath, but his eyes were still closed. Nova almost gasped out a sob, relieved that he was alive. She had saved him. He wasn't dead. Yet his eyes were still closed. She didn't care. Until she was sure his chest was rising and falling, Nova took a step back and stared down at him while covering her mouth with her open palm.
For some reason, she wanted to cry. She needed the relief crying always brought to people. This was the first time she had thought she could lose him. She almost did, and the knowledge was like a slap to her face. What would Nova have done if he had? What would have happened to her if he didn't show up and his friends came looking? Would she be breathing? No, she was sure they would kill her for killing him. She was sure of it. They were dangerous men, and Nova wasn't exactly sure she wanted to be part of it anymore.
She wanted out.
This had shaken her to the core. She didn't want to do this anymore. She didn't want to play doctor for a criminal. Was she crazy in the first place to accept a job she hadn't been given a chance to decline? This, Ghost being her dirty little secret felt dirtier than ever. She somewhat felt like a criminal herself. All her life, Nova had been living a quiet life. Nothing about her life was special. She had a few friends, but never a close friend she could confide in. Most of her senior year, she had gone through it with her head down. She had never thought she would find herself in this situation. Teenage Nova would have kicked her for being so foolish. For treading on a dangerous path.
But it wasn't too late. She could still say no. She could go back to living her quiet life again. Nova could not even bring herself to touch him again, to risk it.
She moved closer to adjust the way he was laying on the couch so he would be more comfortable and his stitches wouldn't open. Wrapping her arm around his neck and using the other to circle around his waist, she lifted him a bit, and he weighed tons, but Nova was still able to move him. It was then she heard something drop to the ground.
Sighing, she reached and picked it up from the ground and made to put it back in his pockets when the phone vibrated in her hand. With a frown, she turned it around and noticed that Ghost had gotten a text from someone. Now, if she was a good girl, Nova would have put it back where it belonged. It was none of her business, anyway. It didn't concern her. But she didn't ignore it. As much as she wanted to, she couldn't. She opened the text that was sent by a guy named Mario. At least, this one didn't sound as if he could become her nightmare. But it didn't mean that he wasn't. It just meant that he had a nicer name than the others.
Where the fuck are u?
Nova stared at the text, mulling over the words. So, no one knew Ghost was here? Did he bring himself to her house? Before she could think more, another text was sent again.
I'm freakin' out. Carlos didn't make it, and you fucking disappeared. Where the hell are u?
It didn't take five seconds before another text went through.
If you don't reply back, I'm goin' to expect the worse. Don't make me track you down.
Her eyes widened. Track? As in this Mario person was going to track Ghost's location? Could he do that? What the hell am I saying? Of course, he would be able to do that. It didn't sound like Mario was kidding. If he tracked Ghost, he would be led straight here.
I can't let him track him. I need something. THINK!
An idea formed in her head, and she didn't dwell on it much before she was taking a picture of unconscious Ghost and sending it to Mario. And the minute she did it, it came back to her and she gasped in shock.
"What have I done?" she breathed out in shock. There was no way now that Mario wouldn't track him down. How the hell did she think sending a picture of an unconscious Ghost would make things easier? Did it never occur to her the consequences that might bring?
Mario could think he was kidnapped! And when he comes here, he would put a bullet through her forehead before she gets a chance to say a word.
She needed to calm down. Freaking out would not help her at all. Okay. Mario must have gotten the text now and she knew he would track the phone location. But what if the phone was switched off? Would he still be able to track it? She had to give it a shot. It was either that or wait for someone to break down her door and shoot her.
Nova switched off Ghost's phone as she held her breath and waited, hoping, praying...for what? Hoping she wouldn't die? Praying that Mario wouldn't be able to track his friend down?
Fuck this shit. She wanted out and she wanted nothing to do with Ghost and his friends. But the only way she would ensure that she never saw him again was to talk to him. The idea of talking to Ghost scared her. It made her skin crawl. But she was going to do it, and if she was going to, she needed to make sure he wouldn't slip out. She had to keep him here until he promised to stay away.
She had to tie him up.
Nova supposed this would either go the right way or the wrong way. She didn't let herself dwell on it much. Was cutting ties with him really worth her life? When he woke up and finds himself all tied up, when his gaze landed on her, would he still let her breathe afterward?
She knew too much. Maybe not much, but she knew what he looked like. God knows what she might have done while he was passed. She could turn him in. Those were the things that would run through his mind when she tells him she was done. Treating him so often, always scared of being found out, or his friends paying a visit to her wasn't something she could handle any longer.
It was a taste of how things used to be, a part of her that craved to get that inner peace she hadn't found in the short while he had barged into her life, and while her life hadn't been that great or felt the rush of thrill, her home was the safest place she had ever felt.
Now, she didn't feel safe so much.
She valued her life.
Her life came first, his came second.
But while it felt so easy to back out from Ghost, it wasn't. She didn't think he was going to make it easy for her. These sort of things didn't come so easily. And there were some fucked up feelings that tugged painfully into her chest, at the notion that today was going to be the last time she would ever see him again.
Nova was incredibly stupid for feeling something. For being so crazy enough to feel some tiny bit of sadness when she lets him go.
If he lets her.
But she was holding on to the fact that he would have no choice but to. It was her decision. Her house. Her hands. Ghost would have to make peace with it. She reasoned that even if he somehow objected to it, she would have to resort to a threat. Threaten to take him to the police. He was tied up, after all. A little voice alerted her in the back of her mind that even though he was defenseless, he wasn't powerless, and it took everything in her to bite down on the sour taste in her mouth and just handle what she needed to do.
She shuffled in her couch, eyes glued to the man whose life she had saved without a beat, who was now tied up with robes secured around his body. She had almost hesitated, thinking that his stitches would come loose, but she had pushed that voice down. If this was what it would take to get her life back, what choice did she really have?
When he began to stir, her heart pounded.
When those long lashes fluttered open slowly, she held her breath.