Chapter Twenty-Nine: Live & Let Live
“How is she?” Dom demanded as he entered the waiting room, with Nicola and Paolo close behind him.
“She’s still in surgery,” Ren said as he stared at the wall across from him.
“What the hell happened?” Dom asked as he studied them. “Why was no one there to prevent this?”
Sofia took a deep breath, then told her family everything she knows. Ren filled in the few blanks he knew, then everyone stood in silence.
“I should have been there!” Jayme hollered as he kicked a trash can.
“Don’t,” Isabella said as she pulled her son into her arms.
“But I’m her brother. And I haven’t been much of one since we got here,” Jayme said with a cry.
“I’m so sorry, Papa,” Sofia cried.
Dom sighed as he pulled his eldest into his arms. “None of us knew it would go this far,” he whispered as he kissed the top of her head. “And you were there when your sister needed you most.”
“It’s my fault,” Isabella said with wide eyes, as she turned from her son to look at the rest of her family. “When Martina had disappeared, I should have phoned someone. But I was just so relieved to be rid of her. If I had to hear her call me Mom, one more time, I was going to throttle her, myself. I was so selfish!” She hollered with a sob.
“Not you too,” Dom whispered as he handed Sofia over to Nicola, then moved over to his wife and took her into his arms.
In their sorrow, no one had noticed that Dom hadn’t reacted to the letter Martina had found and placed under Ren’s door and how he had known it was from Aurora. Or the note for Aurora to meet Ren in his bedroom.
Hours went by, and no one said a word as they waited for someone to come tell them how their Gem was fairing.
“Mr. and Mrs. Jilani?”
Dom and Isabella looked at Ren and Sofia. They had thought to keep her identity as safe as they could, without faking her name.
“How is she?” Isabella asked as she stood.
The doctor nodded to her. “She is in recovery. The cuts were pretty deep, and she’d lost a lot of blood. How she had stayed conscious for that long is beyond me.”
“She’s my daughter, that’s how,” Dom said with a proud smile as he stood next to his wife.
The doctor nodded, “from what was described to me of her attack, staying on her feet saved her life.”
“Can we see her?” Ren asked as he got to his feet.
The doctor nodded, “I will have a nurse take you to her room.”
They all moved towards the door, and the doctor held up his hands.
“Her immediate family only.”
“This is her immediate family,” Dom said with agitation.
The doctor sighed, “fine, but only two at a time.”
Aurora opened her eyes to a bright light. Where is she?
“You’re safe now,” a gentle voice said from her left.
Aurora turned her head and stared at the stranger smiling down at her.
“Where…” She started to say, then choked.
The man, who looked to be a doctor, held a small plastic cup with a straw up to her lips. She took a small sip and sighed.
“You’re in the hospital. Your sister and fiancé brought you here; after you were attacked.”
Fiancé? She thought, her eyes squinting at the doctor. Oh!
“Ren,” she whispered. “Where is Ren?”
The doctor smiled, then patted her hand. “Your family went home to shower and change. They have been here for the past two days. Ren has barely left your side.”
“Two days?” She whispered, then her eyes opened wide as she sat up.
The wedding! She thought, in a panic.
“Easy now,” the doctor said as he pressed her back down onto the mattress.
“You were lucky. If the mugger had been able to force you to the ground, you wouldn’t be here now.”
She looked at him, confused. Mugger? She wondered. Oh, right, perfect.
Ren and Sofia had thought of the perfect way to explain what had happened to her. But how are they going to explain Martina?
“Your friend wasn’t so lucky. There must have been more than one; because your friend’s neck was snapped, as the other guy stabbed you,” the doctor informed her, as though he could read her mind.
What a silly thought.
She took a deep breath, and tears streamed down her cheeks.
“I’m sorry,” he said, mistaking her tears as sadness for her friend’s death.
But she wasn’t sad, she was glad. So, what kind of person does that make her?
“I do want to talk to you about something, though,” he said as he placed his hand over hers.
She stared up at him with fear in her eyes.
“Did you know?” He asked.
She nodded, “I’ve known for a while.”
“Do they know?”
She shook her head. “I don’t want them to know about my…my…condition.”
The doctor sighed, “they will need to know.”
She nodded as she looked at him. “Can we keep this as doctor-patient confidentiality?”
The doctor nodded and patted her hand again.
“Is it bad?” She asked, her eyes open wide.
He shook his head. “Everything is fine.”
Aurora slowly opened her eyes and stared into the most beautiful chocolate brown eyes she has ever seen.
“Ren,” she whispered.
Ren grinned, “hey, babe.”
“What time is it?” She asked as she looked around the room.
He smiled “around three.”
“A.m. or p.m.?” She asked as she tried to see the clock, then remembered she was in the hospital, and there was no clock beside her bed.
He chuckled, then gently kissed her lips. “P.m.”
She sighed as she reached out for him, then sucking in a breath and moaned as a pain shot through her upper body.
“Don’t move,” he said as he closed his eyes and kissed her forehead. The thought of how close he had come to losing her, ran through his mind, for the hundredth time.
“There, she is.”
Ren stood and turned to the door, where Sofia and Nicola stood, smiling at Aurora.
Aurora smiled back. “Hi.”
“I am so happy to see your eyes open, Piccolo,” Sofia said as she moved closer to the bed.
“Yes, you gave us quite a scare,” Nicola said with a smile as he lightly squeezed her toes through the hospital blanket.
“The doctor said that I was out for two days,” Aurora said as she watched her family around her.
“The longest two days of my life,” Ren said with a nod, a frown forming on his beautiful face.
Aurora reached her hand out to him, and he took it in both of his and held it.
“The worst part is over now,” Sofia whispered.
“No, it’s not,” Aurora said with a shake of her head.
“How’s that?” Sofia asked as she raised her left eyebrow.
“Trevisani is expecting a wedding, followed by my death. I know Martina wasn’t claimed to be me when the police found her body.”
The three others in the room looked at each other, then at Aurora.
“So perceptive, Piccolo,” Sofia said with a smile.
“The wedding was postponed for a week,” Ren said as he leaned over and kissed her cheek. “Everyone knows something happened to Dom’s daughter.”
“What are we going to do?” Aurora asked.
Nicola moved over to the other side of the bed and gently patted her leg. “Don’t worry, little sister. The wedding will commence, and you will be there…”
“Papa wants me to take Martina’s place as the bride,” Sofia said from the foot of the bed.
“That makes things easier,” Aurora mumbled.
“What was that?” Sofia asked, her eyebrows furrowed.
Aurora looked at her sister as Nicola and Ren chuckled, knowing what she meant.
“If there’s an attack, you are a better choice for the bride then Martina. She would have withered and let them kill her,” Aurora said as she hastily tried to explain away her words.
Sofia grinned as Nicola and Ren laughed.
“Oh, hello,” a nurse said as she walked into the room.
“My family thought they’d surprise me with a visit,” Aurora said to the nurse, with a bright smile.
“I see,” the nurse said as she looked at the others, her eyes stopping on Nicola, then Ren.
Aurora could swear she heard the nurse panting. But who could blame the woman? Nicola and Ren are both tall, broad, and very toned. Not to mention gorgeous, good enough to eat…
“We were just leaving,” Sofia said as she took hold of Ren’s arm to get him to move out of the nurse’s way.
Ren kissed Aurora’s lips, then moved out of the woman’s way, so she could check Aurora’s IV and vitals.
Aurora reached out for Nicola as he moved away from her. He stopped and looked at her. She motioned for him to come in closer, and he leaned in close enough for her to whisper into his ear.
“Your boxers are under my bed.”
Nicola pulled back from her, his eyes opened wide as he stared at her.
She laughed at the shocked look on his face. “Ask Sofia. She will know,” she said with a yawn, then closed her eyes.
“She must rest now,” the nurse said as she ushered them out of the room.
“What did she say?” Ren asked as he looked at Nicola.
Nicola’s eyes were still open wide, and he had the most confused look on his face.
“She said that my boxers are under her bed.”
Sofia growled as she headed for the elevator.
“I had wondered where these went,” Nicola said as he stood up from under Aurora’s bed, his boxers in his hand.
“Give me those,” Sofia said with an angry growl as she snatched the boxers from his hand.
“Hey,” Nicola said with a frown as Ren chuckled. “What are you going to do with them?” He asked as he eyed her.
She snorted, “I’m going to burn them.”
“Ah, come on. They’re my favorite pair,” Nicola said as he snatched them back from her.
She made a noise he had never heard her make before, as she placed her hands on her hips and glared at him.
“That bitch had her hands all over those things, as she planted them here, and made plans to kill my sister and blame me for it. Every time I see you in them, I will think of THAT!”
He tossed the boxers at her. “You’re right,” he said as he watched the boxers land on her head.
Ren laughed, and Nicola’s face turned beat red, then paled when Sofia screeched in agitation as she pulled the boxers off her head.
“Think that’s funny?” She growled at Ren.
Ren stopped laughing and looked down at the floor. “No, ma’am.”
Nicola kissed Sofia before she decided to kill them. “I’ll buy a new pair,” he said as he leaned his forehead against hers.
She sighed, “you bet your ass you will.”
Ren laughed again, then threw his hands up when Sofia turned and glared at him.
“I’m going,” he said with a laugh, then left the room.
“Go easy on him, love. It’s good to see him laughing again,” Nicola said as he wrapped his arms around her.
She smiled up at him. “I know. I was just giving him a hard time. He has been Mr. Mopey Pants; since Aurora was attacked.”
“So, have you,” he said, his eyes roaming over her face.
She sighed as she looked up at him, a sad look on her face. “We all have.”
He nodded, then dipped his head for a kiss. She moaned as she kissed him back.
“About the boxers,” he said as he lifted his head and looked at her.
She grinned, “they’re going into the furnace.”