Reluctantly Yours

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Chapter 10

I stared at Shane in shock. His face was red and if looks could kill, Cooper would be much further than six feet under. Shane's fist went flying into Cooper's face and I screamed as I saw blood spray from his nose. I pushed myself between them and pushed Shane away as hard as I could, which wasn't much since he was much bigger than me.

"What the hell is wrong with you, Shane? Are you insane," I yelled at him. I turned to Cooper and his nose was gushing blood. He had his head tilted back, holding the bridge of his nose to stop some of the blood.

"Are you really defending him now? After what he did to you? He's not even worth your fucking time Bambi but yet you're giving it all to him!" Shane was livid and I could hear it in his voice. I locked my jaw and turned to him.

"He made a mistake. He was drunk and not thinking right. People make mistakes Shane!" My voice was louder than it had been before. His fists clenched at his sides as he looked down at me.

"Why can't you realize that about me? I've been doing absolutely nothing but thinking about you and wondering how the hell I could make up for it but you're being so damn stubborn that I don't even try anymore! It wasn't even my mistake to begin with. You were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. You didn't even listen when I tried to explain myself, because apparently all you hear from my mouth is bullshit," he yelled. I stared at him in shock. Not because he was yelling, or using unnecessary profanity. But because he was right. I was being hypocritical. I didn't really give him a chance to explain and when he tried, I shut him down and ignored him. I swallowed hard and blinked rapidly.

I gave him one last glance before guiding Cooper into the car without saying another word. I walked back around to the drivers side and stared at Shane over the top of the car. His jaw was working over time and he looked belligerent as he glared at me with anger and betrayal in his eyes. I took a sharp breath then quickly climbed into the car. I glanced at Cooper then pulled out of the lot.

"Do you want to go to the hospital," I asked quietly. He groaned and shook his head.

"No. I'm alright. It's not the first time this has happened. Shane has anger issues," he said, still holding the bridge of his nose. I scrunched my eyebrows together and looked at the road, wondering what he had meant by that.

"You're saying Shane has broken your nose before?" He nodded before speaking and I hesitated before asking another question.

"How- how long have you known Shane?"

He glanced at me with a strange look that I couldn't decipher. I turned and locked my eyes on the road before he began speaking.

"I've known Shane since I was thirteen. Mom knew him too and we took him in and helped raise him," he said. I quickly glanced at him and looked back at the road. This information shocked me because as far as I knew, Isabel hated Shane. I remembered her warning to stay away from him.

"What do you mean took him in and raised him? What about his parents," I asked out of curiosity. He sighed and looked out the window.

"Shane's parents died when he was thirteen. They were both at the wrong place at the wrong time and they were killed in the process. After that, he had no one, so we took him in and treated him like family. But as he got older, his behavior went wild. He got anger issues, and he was always emotional, but in a way I understood. He lost his family, and he was still broken."

"Eventually, he got into all kinds of trouble, drugs, fights, and all of that. He came home with a bunch of tattoos when he was sixteen and one time when he went for a fix, he dragged me along with him. I didn't actually do anything, I was just more of a backup guy. But the deal went bad and we got caught and arrested. That's when Mom put her foot down and told him that he needed to leave until he could fix himself. He left and hasn't come back yet but it's been two years."

I was in shock. I had no idea that Cooper and Shane had such a history together and I felt a twist of pity for Shane, and I knew that he would hate it if he knew that because he doesn't seem like the kind to go on pity. I gripped the wheel tighter as we rode back home in silence.

I found myself taking deep breaths as I held the phone to my ear. For some reason, I was nervous. I heard his deep voice rumble as he answered the phone, but something was off about it. His voice was thick and husky, but I had no idea why. I hesitated before answering. "Hello?"

"Bambi? I need you. Can you come get me?" I sucked in a sharp breath at his word and got the directions. I quickly jumped up from my bed and threw on clothes and shoes, then I rushed outside, quickly and quietly, after grabbing my keys.

Shane calling me at one in the morning meant that something was wrong. I shut myself in my car and turned the key in the ignition before spamming my foot on the gas pedal.

The whole drive over, I was biting my lip. He sounded upset, like he was having trouble to speak. I turned and drove absentmindedly. I didn't know what I would find once I got there, I just hoped that I made it in time. He wasn't in a particularly friendly neighborhood.

I arrived at the instructed location and sat in the car. I looked around through the light drizzle of rain in the darkness, but I didn't see anything. I called his number several times but got no response. When I redialed for the third time, I heard a yell from a nearby alley. It startled me and I dropped my phone on the floorboard. I reached under my seat and pulled out the aluminum baseball bat and slowly stepped out of the car.

I crept down the sidewalk, keeping close to the buildings. I heard more grunts and knew that it was the sign of a struggle. I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to think. My brain was screaming at me to turn around and run, but my gut was telling me that something wasn't right. I peeped around the corner and there were at least three men beating the guy on the ground between them.

My eyes widened and I ran up and slammed the bat as hard as I could into the nearest guys head and he fell to the floor. The other men jumped and booked it down the alley.

I looked down and gasped at the sight before me. The rain was mixing with the pool of blood around Shane and I knelt down next to his body.

"Shane! Oh my God, what the hell happened? Are you okay," I screeched in panic. I felt lightheaded but I mentally yelled at myself to keep it together because Shane needed me. He groaned and mumbled inaudibly. "I'm going to call an ambulance," I said, and started to stand to get my phone from the floorboard of my car.

"No," he choked out. I turned back to him, my eyebrows furrowed together. "Please. You can't call them. They'll take me to jail Bambi." I hesitated. If he was in this neighborhood and getting beat up by men like that, then I doubted that the police would let him leave without questioning, especially with his record.

"Well… what do you want me to do Shane? I'm not a nurse…"

"Just help me up to your car. I'll be fine," he said.

I began to protest but he cut me off. "I'll be fine Bambi," he insisted sternly. I nodded once and bent down to help him stand up. He was extremely heavy and I wasn't sure if I could make it all the way down the alley with him leaning on me.

He wrapped his arm around my tiny waist, which made it easier to support him. I opened the car door and blew out a breath as he slumped into the passenger seat. I ran around to the other side and closed the door. I reached in the back and grabbed the folded towel that I kept there and gently dried off his dripping dark hair, then gently dabbed at the blood on his face.

He was badly bruised, his cheek was purple, as well as his eye and his lip had a huge split in the corner, and was slowly oozing blood. He winced whenever I held the towel to a new injury on his face but he said nothing. He cried out once, when I dabbed on a tender spot, but I forced myself to purse my lips and keep going.

"Where else does it hurt," I asked once his face was remotely clean. He reached down and pulled his shirt up, grimacing as he did so. I sucked in a sharp, shocked breath as I looked down at his stomach. It was so bruised and purple, you wouldn't have been able to tell his skin tone just by looking there. I looked at him with wide eyes.

"Shane, I think you have a broken rib. We need to get you to a hospital," I told him. He squeezed his eyes shut and blew out a breath.

"No Bambi. Broken ribs can heal on their own. It's fine and I don't need a doctor," he insisted. I glared at him for a few minutes and finally pulled away to sit back in my seat. I pulled on my seatbelt and started the car, turning on the heat.

"Where to," I asked. His eyes shifted around the car and I clenched my hands around the steering wheel. I don't even know if he had a home. Before he could say anything, I spoke.

"It doesn't matter anyways. You're coming with me to my house so I can take care of you properly," I said in finality. He looked at me with surprised, wide eyes.

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