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Chapter 4

Hospitals freaked me out. Never liked them. It reminded me of when my mom died and the Doctor came out saying there was nothing they could do. It makes me think of all my Blood brothers I've lost to the game, saying the final goodbyes and watching the life leave their limp and bloodied bodies as their girlfriends scream on the side lines.

Except in this scenario, I was the one who felt like screaming.

Nikki's body was on a stretcher as nurses and paramedics worked over her, muttering medical talk I didn't understand.

There was no life to her at all. She looked like a fragile porcelain doll with her paled skin and blood-stained clothing.

The nurses stuck needles into her, and started sewing up some of her cuts. Nikki didn't flinch or even open her eyes. When they put a needle into her arm for an IV, I turn away as nausea crept up my throat.

I'm a killer, I've taken lives on command, left them bloodied for nothing without so much as a second thought. But being next to Nikki when she was barely hanging on left me wanting to take her place and take her pain away.

I watched the steady pulse of her heart on the monitor, willing it to keep beating.

"We need to take her for an ultrasound and x-rays to make sure she isn't bleeding internally." One of the doctors looked at me as if I'd understand any of it. "If you want to head back to the waiting room, one of the nurses will keep you updated."

I nodded as the nurse lead me outside of the room as they got Nikki ready to be transferred.

I turned the corner into the waiting room to see a sea of red as the Bloods waited. Tyler came up to me first.

"How is she?" His eyes were widened in a state of panic.

I've never seen Tyler this worried before, not since I got shot on the block.

"They're taking her for tests now to make sure she's not bleeding internally." I repeated what I was told by the doctor. "She had some nasty cuts. It looks like they took a lighter to her skin too. She had burnt skin."

Tyler swore.

"Shane! How is she?" Kristen came up beside him, tears flowing freely down her cheeks.

I shrugged. For once in my life I didn't have an answer. I don't think I've ever seen a girl get jumped that bad in my life.

"We'll find out soon enough, Kris." Tyler said to her, putting an arm around her shoulder. "Why don't you go sit with Michelle? There's not a whole lot we can do but wait."

I just remained quiet because Tyler was better at calming her down, I think. I hadn't seen my sister in four years so I doubt I would've been any source of comfort. Hell, I probably would've scared her more than anything.

There was a time when she was little that she would always come running to me to make her feel better, whenever she'd fall off her bike or lose her favourite doll. She'd wrap herself around me and cry heart wrenching sobs into my shoulder, soaking my t-shirt as the world had done her so wrong in her five year old mind.

When mom died her and I sat on the floor of my room- the house eerily quiet and haunted with loss. We held each other and didn't let go until the morning.

Before I got locked up, I was always the favourite in her eyes. Tyler was the authority figure, the parent who always nagged to clean up your room or eat your supper. I was the one who's room she ran into when she had nightmares, I was the one to comfort her when she dropped her popsicle and it melted.

A part of me felt guilty that I missed out on so many years of her life and wouldn't be able to get them back. Now that she was older, she understood I was a killer, a drug dealer. Our relationship would probably never be the same and I hated how fucked up that made me feel.

Michelle sat, her narrow green eyes watching me. She didn't say much- but damn she didn't miss a single look or word someone else muttered.


"It's not your fault, Shane." She spoke quietly- almost a whisper so only her and I could hear.

"I don't know what you're talking about."

She gave me a pointed look. "You blame yourself. You couldn't have predicted that. Mark and Seth should've stayed with her."


That fucker sat across from us, looking uninterested.

Once upon a time he was my other brother. Now, I wanted to kill him. He was the reason we were here. He's the reason Nikki got jumped.

Seeing red, I stood up, my sneakers squeaking on the floor.

"Shane..." Michelle reached an arm out to hold me back but I was already across the room.

Mark looked up as I clocked him dead center in the face, feeling the bridge of his nose crumple against my knuckles, sounding like a satisfied crunch.

"Yo, what the fuck, man?" Mark leapt to his feet, touching the blood on his face.

Come at me, I fucking dare you.

"Stop it!" Tyler stepped in between us. He turned to Mark. "Just leave. I'll calm him down."

Mark shot me a glare before taking off through the automatic doors.

"What are you doing?"

"He left her! He's the reason we're fuckin' here right now!"

"I know that. But you've got to hold it together. Do you want to let your little sister see you murder someone?"


I forgot.

Kristen was sitting in the corner, her arms crossed, looking at me apprehensively.

"All we can do is wait." Michelle touched her hands on both mine and Tyler's arms. "Come on, go for a smoke, go for a walk. But all we can do is sit here until we hear something."

Seth snored lazily in one of the chairs, his head pressed against the window.

"C'mon," Tyler took Michelle's hand, "Let's go have a cigarette."

As the two of them took off, I went and took a seat beside Kristen.

Her body went stiff as a board and I tried to ignore the jab.

I wondered if she knew that the rose tattoo I had on my arm was for her.

We used to be so close.

"Sorry about that. About Mark."

"Don't be. I remember you had a temper." She said nonchalantly. "I've seen worse. Did the nurses say if she's going to be okay or not?"

I shrugged. "They just said they wanted to make sure she wasn't bleeding internally."

"Oh." She hung her head.

Say something to make her feel better, you asshole.

"They haven't come out to say anything yet, so that could be a good sign."

"Really?" She looked up at me with those blue-grey eyes.

The blonde hair.

Mom's eyes and hair.

She resembled our mother so much that it was hard to look at her sometimes.

"Yeah, sure Kris."

"How badly was she beaten?"

"You don't want to know, believe me." I still felt sick to my stomach at the thought of her limp, lifeless body.

"Were you scared?"

"I'm not scared of anything."


We sat for a moment in silence, before Kristen turned to me, a smile across her face.

"Wanna go look at the babies in the nursery?"

There were a million things I would rather do than look at crying little gremlins, but I hadn't seen that smile on her face since she was a little girl.


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