Undercover Groomsman

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Chapter 9

I sat on the floor, the blood continuously dripping down my face as panic ensued around me. My eyes darted around the bar looking for Declan. Where the hell did he disappear to? More importantly, why tackle me to the ground as he did? Sure, he probably didn’t want my dead body on his conscious but there was more to it. It seemed- almost rehearsed. There was something about the way his body covered mine and shielded it from danger. Almost like he knew what he was doing and had done it before.

My mind was brought back to reality when I heard someone screeching my name. Glancing up, I saw Audrey’s frightened eyes scan the now destroyed interior of the bar from the crowds’ panic. She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw me in the middle of the almost empty space. Audrey shot across the bar and reached me in record timing.

“Margaret are you ok?” Her eyes did a quick assessment of me before widening her eyes. “Oh my god, you’re bleeding. Did you get shot?” Audrey helped me up from the ground. I couldn’t help but cry out in pain as I slowly got to standing position.

“No, I’m not shot. This all Declan.” I winced at the slightest facial expression. “I think the fucker broke my nose.”

“He broke your nose?! Where the hell is he? I’m going to fucking kill him!”

“I don’t know where he is but it’s not like that. He tackled me to the ground when the shots rang out. As you can see, it didn’t end to well.” Audrey shook her head, swiping a wad of napkins off a table and shoving them in my direction. “This should help until we get you to a hospital.” Audrey took me by the shoulders and led me towards where Thomas stood in the back of the bar, his own eyes searching the place.

“Jesus Christ Margaret, what the hell happened to your face?” His skin paled as he got a closer look at my features.

“Declan broke her nose in the commotion.” Audrey barked out, turning her harsh stare on Thomas. “I’m taking Margaret to the hospital. Find Declan Thomas, or so help me god I’ll kill him myself.” She didn’t wait for him to respond as she ushered me away from him and out of the bar, all while muttering under her breath.

“Audrey it’s fine, you don’t have to do all this- “

“Yes, I do. At least, I need to do this. If I do not, I would be murdering Declan and I can’t do that. I am getting married in a little over a week. Besides, Orange has never been a good color on me.” The napkins I had pressed into my nose were quickly being stained red as Audrey set me in the passengers’ seat. My eyes shut from exhaustion as I leaned my head against the cool window, jolting slightly when Audrey started the car and pulled off down the road.

After examining me, the doctors had confirmed that I had in fact broken my nose. Luckily, it was a clean break and there was no need to set it. I would have been sent home, but the doctors were concerned about my overly high blood pressure. Audrey tried to tell them that it was because of the bar incident, but they were not having it and decided to keep me overnight for observation. So not only was my nose broken and would take up to three weeks to heal, I was stuck in a hospital!

If there was anything, I hated more than being forced into social situations, it was hospitals. Not only was there a constant rush of new people coming in and out, but many people felt the need to give me pity and rush to take care of me. I had a broken nose; I could still do things for myself!

Once I had settled in, Audrey left to quote “get some food for me that wouldn’t be as shitty.” After much grumbling from my end, she promised to bring me something with chocolate in it before leaving me to my own device.

With nothing else to do, I picked up the book Audrey had bought in the gift shop downstairs to keep me sane. It was some sort of Cozy Mystery by Amanda Lee. It wasn’t normally my cup of tea but what else did I have to do with my evening?

It was not long until I found myself getting sucked into the book, eagerly turning the pages to see what would happen next. I had not realized how into the book I was until I heard a soft knock on the door, causing me to jump slightly.

Declan stood in the doorway of the hospital room, a cautious smile on his face. He stood there for a few moments before slowly entering the room.

“You better hope Audrey doesn’t find you here,” I spoke, tearing my eyes off Declan and setting them back on the words in front of me.

“At least I’d be in a hospital.” The smile didn’t quite reach Declan’s eyes as he approached the hospital. “What’s the prognosis?”

“Broken nose, nothing too serious. As long as I ice it several times a day, it should heal in a few weeks.”

“Then why are you staying in the hospital?”

“They were concerned because my ‘blood pressure was too high’.” I sarcastically raised my fingers to do air quotes before flinging them back on the bed. “Which I call bullshit. I just survived a shootout, of course my blood pressure’s going to be high. Now it’s probably worse because I’m in a hospital.” I squeezed my eyes shut as my head hit the pillow. “Have I mentioned how much I fucking HATE hospitals.”

“No, but I’ve gathered as much.” Declan sighed, roughly running a hand through his hair. “I’m sorry about all of this Maggie, I mean it. You wouldn’t be in this position if it weren’t for me.”

“I also might not be alive if it weren’t for you. I’d take a broken nose over being dead any day.” For the first time since entering the room, a genuine smile lit up Declan’s face as he stared at me from the foot of the bed.

“Thomas and I decided it’s best if we stay clear of Audrey’s wrath for a few days, so we decided to go camping for a few days. His version of his last hoorah before he’s married.” Declan dismissively waved his hand through the air.

“Probably the smartest decision you’ve made since I’ve met you.” A chuckle escaped his lips as he came towards the side of the bed. He stood still for a moment, before bending down to place his lips against my forehead.

“I’m going to make this up to you when I get back Mags, I promise,” Declan whispered, his breath warming my ear as he pulled away. And just like he had in the bar, Declan seemingly vanished before I was able to get a grasp on what had happened.

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