The nurse wakes me from my slumber, her eyes crinkling as she offers me a cup of tea.
“Thank you,” I whisper hoarsely, taking the steaming mug from her hands.
“Sleeping is good now, she’s just recovering,” the nurse smiles, glancing at Jolie in the hospital bed. “It was a good bang to the head, but she’s clearly strong.”
“She is,” I reply, not able to return her smile. “I just want her to wake up.”
“She will, she’s just dealing with a lot. Give her a few more hours and she’ll be wondering what she’s doing here.”
The nurse checks Jolie’s pulse and blood pressure effortlessly, her eyes on the watch that dangles from her breast pocket.
“Get some rest,” she whispers, closing the door behind her softly.
The wheels of the nurses trolley continue down the hallway outside Jolie’s room, and I close my eyes. The tea must’ve been freshly made, because it was almost too hot to hold. I push it onto the window ledge beside me, exhaling as I gaze at the woman carrying my baby.
She looks vulnerable in her hospital gown, the sheets tucked in around her as she sleeps peacefully.
Why didn’t I see this side of Rad coming? I know he’s a cunt, but his obsession with Jolie clearly ran deeper than either of us imagined. I can’t stop replaying the phone conversation in my mind, Jolie’s frightened voice as she tried to argue with Rad.
I’ll never forget the sound of his belt buckle loosening, nor sound his hand made against her skin.
I should be grateful he didn’t finish what he started, but it’s difficult to be grateful when the woman you love is in a hospital bed.
Rad’s the guy I call when I need someone taking care of. He’s the hot head, the one that will do anything for money. His position within the club meant he got away with fuck loads when it came to the law, but this was too much.
Beating a woman, no—a pregnant woman, was lower than low.
Trying to rape her whilst her boyfriend listened in is even worse.
I drop my head in my hands, wishing I’d taken Jolie’s anxiety about Rad knowing about the baby more seriously. I should have known after he attacked me and torched my car that he was missing a few vital brain cells.
Stone had listened to the call, his eyes reflecting his name the entire time. Stony grey, until he slipped his sunglasses on. He’d taken Rad, and not said a word to me or anyone else.
But I’m not finished with Rad.
I just need to consider what I’m going to do to him, and whether the price I’ll pay is worth it.
Because without me, Jolie is defenceless against this cruel fucking world, and she’ll be left with a baby too.
If I go to prison for killing Rad, I won’t see Immie grow. Or my baby.
I can’t do it, or have anything to do with it. But fuck, if he comes near Jolie or me again, I’ll blow his fucking head off.
Get a grip, Cohen. Children to think of.
I can’t leave her. I’ve only just fucking found her, and I want to wake up to her a damn sight more than I have so far. Every day, in fact.
I almost fall off the chair, jamming my elbow on the arm as I jump up to see Jolie smiling at me.
“Hey, baby,” I whisper, lifting her hand to my lips. She’s blinking slowly, her hazel lights dimming as she yawns.
“Is the baby okay?”
Her eyes widen then, and I nod, smiling widely. “The baby is fine.”
Jolie relaxes then, her eyes closing.
“I’m so sorry, Jax,” she whispers with a sob, her lips pressing together as she tries not to cry. “I didn’t realise he was even capable of such things.”
“Don’t even waste your energy on that prick,” I say, leaning forward to kiss her forehead. It’s clammy, and it concerns me. “I’ll get the nurse, just stay there.”
“Where else am I going to go?” She croaks out, allowing her eyes to close once more.
I pull open the door, my eyes scanning the empty hallway for any sign of life, when I see the nurse from earlier push her trolley out of a room.
“Nurse! She’s awake!”
“I don’t need—”
“You do. I’m not risking you again,” I argue, cutting my eyes at her as she stifles her laughter.
“You think me moving in with you is the right thing to do?” Her freshly washed hair hangs loose around her shoulders as she watches me hang her clothes up, biting her lip.
“No, I know it’s the right thing to do,” I shrug, wondering why someone can wear anything as stupidly strappy as this dress. My fingers are too fat for this shit.
“I own my house, Jax.”
“If I live here, I insist on contributing to the mortgage,” Jolie says firmly.
I try to hide my smile, turning back to the wardrobe. I’ve folded her stuff up for her so she feels more at home. Despite her insisting she feels fine, the nurse told me to keep a close eye on her.
So I am.
“Fine, whatever makes you sleep easier,” I snort, keeping the fact that there is no mortgage to myself. I’ll save the money she gives me in a savings fund for our baby. Then she won’t complain.
Jolie is dozing already, her knees tucked up to her chest in the foetal position. I stop, watching her sleep for a brief moment, before finishing her space in the wardrobe.
My phone beeps, and I glance down to see a text from Stone.
How’s the girl?
Okay, just sleeping. Thanks for your help.
One day I might need a favour from you.
Consider it done.
Maybe I’ll need a few.
You got it, mate.
I can’t grumble.
He got me to Jolie’s like a bat out of hell, and since then we’d neither seen hair nor tail of Rad.
I shuffle over to the bed, sliding into the covers beside Jolie. I snake my arms around her waist, and she wriggles contentedly against me, exhaling a deep sigh as she does. My hand drifts over the soft skin of her stomach, caressing the bump as I always do.
The bump is hard, yet still. My fingers dance over it slowly, my face buried in Jolie’s hair as she snores softly in my arms.
“I love you both,” I exhale, as I feel Jolie’s fingers meet mine.
“We love you too,” she murmurs sleepily, and I shake my head in wonder.
How does she do that? Sleep like the dead yet wake like some sort of all knowing creature when I spoke to her?
“I want to know the sex,” I confess, burying my head further into her neck. “I know this is your first time, but I wasn’t with Larah when she went through this. I just want to prepare.”
Jolie moves her head backwards, her eyes bleary as she studies me with a faint smile. “Really?”
“Yeah, I want to choose the name, and decorate their room. I want to make a cake, whatever they’re called to tell everyone what we’re having—”
I’m rambling now, but it’s important to me. I may not get this chance again.
“Ok, Jax, if it’s that important to you, okay,” she kisses my lips, her hands lost in my hair as we both turn to one another, our mouths devouring one another.
I can’t get enough of her.
“I’m sorry, I’m so tired,” Jolie breaks the kiss, groaning as I move away, resuming our earlier position of Mr & Mrs Spoon.
Her eyes are already closed, but I can’t sleep. Not yet.
I know it’s crazy, but I feel like I have to be prepared to fight battles for her in any capacity. Jolie is the sun that lights up my sky, and without her there’s nothing beautiful to see. No sunlight oozing over green hills in the morning, or the way the sun dances from roofs still slick with rain from the night sky.
She’s my Queen, and I want to be her King.
Even if that means I don’t sleep.