Hugs & Kisses xoxo

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Chapter 10

Karl had Everly and was leading her away.

"What the fück do you think you are doing?" The sound of a gun clicked as it's pressed against my head.

"Nooo!" Everly Screamed. Everly turned and she ran at me then I heard a gunshot go off. Her dad ran in front of Everly, covering her. He goes down, landing on top of her; everything happened so fast.

Blood was seeping through his shirt.

Bad guy 1: Dude, why did you shoot?

Suddenly gunfire goes off again, and both masked guys go down bullets impaled them. Everly screamed.

I raced over to Everly. I moved Karl off of him. There was blood all over both of them.

"No, no, no..." I lift Everly and held her close, sobbing. "I'm so sorry." I shook as I had her.

"Erik, help my daddy!" I heard her soft quivering voice submerge through my heavy cries. I moved her back and checked her over. She wasn't hit, thank God.

"Daddy?? Daddy??" She crawled over to him.

"He's hurt badly. This isn't good...daddy?" She was getting frantic. She kept rambling over and over. This isn't good.

"I called the paramedics. They should be here soon. Let's check him out." Troy said as he made his way over.

"I'm ok," Karl spoke softly. He was weak but still fighting. Karl, all of a sudden, gets up like he's aware of what's going on and stands up.

He was my hero at this moment. Seeing him look weak but then standing up like he was a freaking badass father showing his daughter he was okay. She needed this. He knew she needed this. She was freaking out.

"Easy, man." I wrapped my arm around Karl to steady him.

"I'm fine." I could feel his body shaking and trying to look strong and put together for his daughter.

"You're bleeding." She sobbed.

"I'm ok." He pulled her in for a hug, and she kissed his cheek as he Swayed and sunk to the ground. Shit!

"Daddy? We need to go to the hospital right now." She cried out. She hugged him while he lay on the ground.

The ambulance pulled in and drove down the street. Once they were parked, two paramedics walked over with there stretcher and gear.

"Help my daddy. Please." She whimpered. Her hair hung down; it had blood mixed into her hair.

"We will," the paramedics said.

"I need to call my mom. And my brother. Erik, I need to go to bed. It's so late." She was all over the place with what she should be doing—overthinking everything too many things going on to know what to do.

"I'll take you home." I pulled Everly in for a hug.

"Thank you, Erik," her dad said from the ground.

The paramedics got him onto the stretcher.

"No, I have to stay." She held his hand as he was wheeled towards the ambulance.

"Everly go with Erik," Karl instructed.

"But your bleeding. You could die."

"Miss, he won't die. It's just a flesh wound."

"He is ok?" One of the paramedics said calmingly.

We could all see Everly was freaking out. Who wouldn't, though? I was freaking out.

"Everly go home." He repeated himself.

"Okay!" She cried when he was taken away.

"Daddy!" She ran after the ambulance. This was so hard to watch. My nerves and anxiety were still on high alert after everything that happened tonight. I caught up to her. She was screaming for him.

"Everly. We can go see him if you want."

I didn't know what to say or what to do.

"I don't know what to do. Do I go home, or do I go to the hospital? I don't even know where I am. Is this a bad dream?"

She was pulling at her hair, pacing the ground.

"What do you want to do?" I asked her. I tilted her head up.

"I don't know." Tears ran down her face. She laid her face against my chest.

"Why don't we go home, and you can see your mom?"

"She'll be so sad. So so sad, my dad is her love, and she's going to be heartbroken."

"Do you want to call her while I drive?"

"Okay!" She nodded.

"It's going be ok, " I try and reassure her.

"This was a bad night. So bad. I was so scared. They put me in the trunk; it was so dark. Then the creepy basement." She was scrambling, telling me everything. She repeated it over and over.

"But you're safe now." I held her close in a gentle embrace.

I was scared for what may come from this night. So much disruption, fear, not knowing what was going on.

I helped her into her seat.

"I need a hug." She looked up at me with tear-filled eyes.

"God. I'm so sorry they took you." My expression faded to sadness and hatred for what she's been through.

She curled into a ball at the floor of the passage seat, holding on tightly to herself. Her body was shaking uncontrollably as she rocked back and forth.

I didn't know what to do.

"God, I'm so sorry they took you for everything that happened."

"It wasn't you're fault. It was those bad men." She turned to me with tears that trickled down her face.

I kneeled and wrapped my arms around her being careful.

"I felt so bad I couldn't help get to you sooner." I kept my emotions back, not wanting to add to her traumatic night.

She whispered against my neck. "Don't feel bad, they were frightening, and they had guns, and they could have shot you and hurt you. I can't lose you."

More tears ran down.

She sat up and leaned back in her seat. Her red puffy scared eyes looked into mine. "Hugs & kisses?" Her voice cracked.

"That I can do." I leaned in and hugged her close and breathed in her scent; thank god she's ok. Her hair smelled like flowers.

I leaned out and scanned her soft blue eyes, and I kissed her. It was nice and sweet. Full of emotions and worried unknowns, but at this moment, we both needed his. That touch...that comfort...that ease, that gentleness.

I lock my hands in her soft locks and softly release her lips.

"Much better." She attempts a smile, but there was still worry and fear behind it. Her trembling lips, her sad eyes, her racing mind with too many things running through, I wish I could take all this bad away.

"My heart is pounding." Some from the events of tonight and this incredible kiss. She took my breath away.

She placed her palm on my chest. "That's fast."

"It is. We should go."

"Ok."

Everly

I called my mom while Erik drove. He held my hand, which helped me calm down. I could feel him shaking too. I felt bad for him.

"Hello?" I heard my mom's voice, and I broke down. I couldn't hold it together.

"Sweetheart, what's wrong?" She asked nervously. "Where are you? Did your dad find you?" Her voice was filled with emotion and concern. Like she'd been crying.

"Momma listens to me; daddy was shot. He's going to the hospital by ambulance. Bad men took me." I said it so fast she couldn't understand me.

I repeated myself until she could understand me.

"Oh, my God." She was crying then the phone went silent.

"Mommy?" I called out. "Momma?" I repeated. "Oh, no."

"Here, give me the phone," Erik said, taking my phone from me.

Erik: Hello?

Luanna: Erik? What's going on?

Erik: Yes. Just go to the hospital. Karl is ok...I'll take her home.

Luanna: Please stay with her until I get back.

Erik: Okay

Luanna: Bye.

"What did she say?" I asked.

"She's going to the hospital. She said, you should go to bed."

"Bed...right. What time is it?"

He glanced at his watch, "Midnight."

"Midnight. On no...thats so late."

"It'll be okay." He rubbed his thumb over my hand.

"No, that's not enough time for sleep. I need 9 to 10 hours."

"One time, it okay. Tomorrow you can get more sleep."

"Mmm, okay. Will you stay with me?"

"Yes." He says.

"In my Bed?" I ask with hopefulness.

"Whatever you want." He says, smiling at me.

"Okay, I want to snuggle."

"We can do that." He smiles again, but he looks worried.

"Oh, and ice cream too."

Erik

"Hahaha, ok." My laugh was mixed with anxiety.

What happens tomorrow. Will her dad kill me for letting those men take her?

How will she handle the after-effects of what she's been through? Hell, I don't even know how I will. I couldn't stop thinking about everything that happened tonight. Images kept playing over and over.

Hearing her scream... she cries...When they put her in the trunk. She was then being locked in the basement.

"We can have a sleepover." She looked over at me with her sweet smile. Everly, I could ask me to do anything with that smile of hers.

"Sounds good." I smiled back at her.

"I've never had a sleepover before."

"Why not?" I can see her starting to calm down the more she talks. I need to keep her talking, so she stops shaking.

"No one ever asked me. I didn't have many friends. I didn't go to a regular school."

I felt terrible for her. I get her parents probably wanted the best for her and were only trying to protect her.

"Where did you go?" I asked curiously.

"I was homeschooled and sent to a center for 'troubled kids.' She replies.

"How was that for you?" I ran my hand over her thigh.

"Not very fun."

"Why?"

"Cause I felt like a test rat."

"How come." I fold my fingers in with hers.

"Cause I would get put in a room with different things, I would have to do, and then they would write things down in their notebooks."

"They probably just wanted to find ways to help you."

"Maybe. But it didn't feel right. I hated it...They would put me in a room with other kids who were 'like' me, and they would just sit there starring or screaming or pulling their hair out."

"Must have been scary?"

"Yes, it was." She nods her head.

"But you're not there anymore. So you don't have to think about it anymore."

"You're right."

I drove to Everly's house. I saw another car parked there. Luke ran out and hurried over to Everly.

"What the hell happened."

"Luke, it was so so bad." She whimpers, her voice cracks.

"Let's get you inside." He came to her and helped her inside. Luke's eyes widen when he sees Everly. "Holy shit, why are you bleeding?"

"Daddy. Daddy got shot." She was crying.

"What?" Luke looks in shock.

"Bad guys with masks. Darkness and boom...shot."

"What is she talking about?" Luke looks at me for an explanation.

"I have to go to bed. I need to sleep. Very very bad night," Everly ran off inside the house.

"Please say she is joking or having some sort of crisis or pumped her head?"

"She's right. It was a bad night. I need a minute." I walk off, feeling my stomach still somersaulting.

"Aaahhh!!" We heard her scream. We raced inside. We see her pacing on the floor.

"Blood, it's on me." She whimpered.

"Just go upstairs and change," Luke says calmly.

"Right. Change..." She hurries upstairs—she trips on the top step.

"Shoot." She giggled.

"Easy there."

"It's always the same step." She let out a flustered breath.

"Come down when you've changed," Luke instructed her.

"Ok. Jammies first." She nodded her head.

Luke turns to me, "Okay, what happened?"

"We went to get gas Everly went to use the washroom. Then these guys with masks went inside."

I explain everything up until her dad being shot.

Luke looks just as shaken up as Everly, and I feel.

"I grabbed her and pulled her back, hoping to keep quiet and unseen. I tried to keep her safe. I did. But it just all happened so fast."

I tried to explain it; it just made me feel worse and worse.

"Fuck, I gotta go check on her," I said.

"You can go, I got it from here." He sounded pissed at me.

I let something happen to his sister. He knows it's not my fault. But he wants to blame someone, and I know I feel immense guilt.

Luke walked off and headed upstairs. I shuffle my way outside. I took a seat on the step outside.

"How could I have been so stupid? She doesn't need me. I'm going only to put her in danger." I mumble to myself.

I need to stay away from her. Her dad is going to hate me if he doesn't kill me.

The realness of how close it could have been. My life flashed before my eyes. Then seeing her dad on top of her and then the blood, I thought for sure she was had been hit.

It's crazy that from a one-time meeting of this beautiful, intelligent special woman that I now feel incompetent and not enough.

I sat down in my seat, and I slam the door.

Tonight ended differently then I expected.

"Fück. Why do I care so much? She's invading my thoughts day and night."

I drove away angry that I wasn't able to do more and feeling like I should leave her alone and spare her from getting hurt...but my heart was shattering.

Everly

After I got into my room, I felt dizzy and unwell, like overly exhausted and drained.

I had a shower; there was so much blood. I shook the whole time. I cried so scared for daddy. He got hurt because of me.

I got out of the shower and wrapped the towel around myself. The mirror was foggy from the rain. I leaned in and drew Erik's name with a heart above the I in his name.

I exited the bathroom and pulled out fresh clothes.

I lay down on my bed so tired. I closed my eyes.

But when I closed my eyes, I saw darkness and those masks. I sat up, scared, shaking. My heart poured fast, too fast. Flashes of everything that happened was hitting me all at once.

Masks...

Darkness...

Blood...

Daddy...

Erik...

"N,o no-no-no. Stop!!!"

"Get out, get out!!"

"Bad thought."

I pulled my knees up to my chest. I rocked back and forth. Breathing was too fast.

"ERIK!!! ERIK!!" I cried out. I needed him.

I called out again; my door swung open, my brother stood there.

"I want Erik....right now. I need him." I say urgently.

"You need to sleep," Luke said with a worried tone.

"No, no, no...I need him."

"Just try and sleep."

"I...I...I...Can't...bad thoughts when I close my eyes."

"Want to talk about it?"

I want ERIK; I need him.

"Yes, but Erik. I want to talk to Erik. We were going to have a sleepover. My very first." I clapped excitedly.

"Everly calm down. You need sleep; then you can call Erik tomorrow."

"I can't sleep its too scary." I shook my head.

"I'll stay with you." Luke offered.

"I want Erik. Please..."

"He went home to sleep, and you need to do the same."

"It's so late." I looked at my clock that said 12:44 P.M.

"Yes, it is so sleeping."

"I'll try. But I miss Erik."

"Then the sooner you go to sleep, the sooner you can see him."

"Okay."

I slipped under my covers.

My bag.

I sit up. My bag isn't here.

I ran out of my room...I look everywhere; it was nowhere. It's in Erik's car.

....

Erik

The drive home was hell; I was fighting a headache from the stress; my stomach was still uneasy. I miss Everly, but my mind is saying I should leave her and let her move on...

But my heart ached, even thinking about never seeing her again.

I arrive home and head inside. I walk through my house and head to the kitchen. I grab a glass and pour myself a whiskey.

I see the guys are outside having a toke.

I head outside. The guys jump up when they see me. "Dude, what the fuck, did you hurt someone?"

I just shook my head and sunk to the chair.

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