A Bounty's love

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Not out of the woods yet

A bounty’s love

Chapter 19: Not out of the woods yet

Luke rests his head on mine and I lose myself in his green eyes. So thankful he is here alive and well.

Kylie: What about.......

He stopped me with his lips on mine before I could finish, already knowing what I was going to ask. He pulls away sitting on the edge of the bed taking my hand in his. With a non-expressional look.

Luke: Max is dead.

I look away facing the dark window. I should feel something. Guilt, grief, anger, relief. Anything. Perhaps it’s the amount of crap in my system from the surgery, the few moments of my own death but I feel nothing. What was I supposed to feel. I had already gone through a roller coaster of emotion from his betrayal. Living in fear from the unknown.

Luke remains silent. Just his hold around my hand is enough to keep me grounded.

I turn back welcomed by his most loving expression of compassion. My heart beats for this man. The love I feel for him stronger than ever. Our moment is interrupted by the heavy Irish accent of my uncle Mic followed by Aunt Martha. Luke walks around to the other side of the bed and takes a seat.

Uncle Mic: You truly are a Murphy. We take a licking and keep on ticking.

I wince from the pain caused by my faint laugh at Uncle Mic.

Kylie: I learned from the best.

He gives me a kiss on the forehead and pats my hand before letting Martha past who comes in with a not so gentle hug. I feel her tears on my cheek.

Martha: You gave us quite the scare, what you did was by far the stupidest and yet bravest thing you could have done. I couldn’t be prouder of you.

I give her hand a squeeze holding back my own tears.

Martha: We are so thankful that you’re here.

Uncle Mic: They said we only had a minute to say our hellos since visiting hours are over. So, we’ll leave you two to rest and come back in the morning.

Martha kisses my cheek and blots the tears at the corner of my eyes before she goes. Uncle Mic kisses my forehead again.

Uncle Mic: We love you kiddo.

Kylie: Love you too.

He wipes at his eyes and walks out with Martha. Nurse Beth comes in checking my vitals and asking common patients questions.

Then turns to Luke.

Nurse Beth: There’s a fold up cot and a blanket in the closet over there next to the bathroom. The cafeteria is open 24hr down stairs if you need anything but she cannot have anything until morning.

Luke: Thank you

Another nurse walks in. She’s a little younger. Pretty Asian with long silky black hair pulled into a tight pony tail.

Nurse Beth: This is Nurse Mary she’ll be taking over for me for the night. I’ll be back in at 10 in the morning.

She pats my arm with a warm smile.

Nurse Beth: You are a lucky girl.

She winks looking Luke’s way and bids goodnight.

Nurse Mary: If you need anything at all push the button on your right.

Luke and I both say thank you at the same time. He brings the chair as close to the bed as he can resting his chest over my arm. My hand in his. He brushes back my hair and gently runs his knuckles down my cheek carefully avoiding the bruising. His eyes gloss over as emotions begin to take over. This man who’s been a rock is shedding and becoming vulnerable before me.

Without saying anything he leans further kissing me softly on my lips. He pauses to look into my eyes and sucks in a deep breath.

Luke: I thought I had lost you. I don’t know what I’d do if I had. I love so much Kylie. I love you more than I’ve ever loved anything in my life.

Kylie: I’m sorry that I ran away from you. I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.

Luke: Shhh. All this is on me. I lead him right to you. I put you in danger when I was only trying to protect you. I jeopardized the chance of us having kids. Because I’m a selfish prick that needed you for myself.

Us having kids. The sound of the words repeat in my mind.

Kylie: You thought about us having kids.

His smile is big at first then fades.

Luke: Yeah

My lids are getting heavy. Exhaustion takes over. I touch his cheek and muster up a slight smile before sleep finds me. Though not for long. Throughout the night Nurse Mary does her rounds and it’s as if they know right when you’re in a good deep sleep and choose that moment to wake you. I chuckle to myself at the thought of it being some kind of diabolical plot by nurses.

This causes a pain to shoot through my insides. The flash of the gun startles me. Max is hovering over me with a ghostly glare but a wicked smile. As he reaches for me, I try to swing but my arms are confined. I try to scream but there’s something over my mouth.

The faint sound of beeping grows faster and louder. I feel the tears flooding my eyes.

Luke: Kylie!

Nurse Mary: Miss Murphy.

Their voices draw me from the nightmare. Luke has one hand held tight to his chest with the other holding my shoulder down. Nurse Mary has my other arm and shoulder. The physical pain is excruciating but it is nothing in comparison to the mental pain. I squeeze my eyes shut.

Nurse Mary: on a scale 1-10 how’s the pain.

I look at her through blurry eyes and whisper.

Kylie: 3

Nurse Mary: I’m going to give you a little something to help the pain.

She injects morphine into the I.V. I look to Luke finding comfort in his beautiful handsome face before sleep comes again.

The sun finds its way through the one turned blind blanketing Luke’s outline as he sleeps with his head nestled against my arm. His hands intertwined with mine.

Nurse Mary walks in with a smile.

Nurse Mary: Good morning Miss Murphy. How are you this morning.

She whispers to not wake Luke.

Kylie: Ok.

Nurse Mary: That man has not left your side once. You are a very lucky woman.

Luke: I’m the lucky one.

His voice is groggy. Taking us by surprise. He squeezes my hand while rubbing sleep from his eyes.

Nurse Mary: Well the Dr will be in shortly. Nurse Beth will be back on in an hour. In the meantime, how about, we get some food in you. I’ll have someone bring up some jello and juice.

Kylie: No thank you.

Nurse Mary looks at me puzzled about to say something when Luke interrupts.

Luke: She hates jello. What about apple sauce or pudding?

Nurse Mary: alright. And Mr. Parker it would do you some good to get something too. She’s in good hands.

Luke smiles at her but shakes his head no as he returns his gaze on me. I pat his hand.

Kylie: You should. I’ll be fine.

Luke: I know....

He kisses my cheek but remains rooted to his spot. Till there’s a commotion outside. Luke stands immediately moving to the other side of the bed standing between me and the door.

A voice booms from the hall.

Voice: Where is she!

Suddenly the door bursts open. A very distraught Aron comes flying into the room and freezes. His look distorts to anger as he locks eyes on Luke.

Aron: You son of a bitch!

Aron fly’s at Luke with a fist. They are pretty equal in height though Luke has a little more thickness and a lot more training. Luke takes the first punch as if intentional but then ducks and weaves at Aron’s following punches.

Kylie: Aron STOP!

I yelled out loud and instantly regret doing so as a sharp piercing pain radiates through my insides. Holding my side, I look away grinding my teeth. My monitor beeps louder and faster.

Luke: Baby you ok.

Luke rushes to my side and starts hitting the nurse’s button. Aron stands dumb founded as the nurse and Dr rush in. The pain slowly dulls replaces by a cold sting in my veins followed by darkness once more.

They say when you die your life flashes before you. That didn’t happen the first couple times that I flat lined, and even though I didn’t think I was dying right now, it was happening. I stood off in the distance like a bystander watching short films flicker on a big screen.

My mom stands in a park with the biggest smile as She lifts 5-year-old me and twirls. It was the happiest I had ever seen her. Before Jack. At that moment things turn dark. I’m standing in our old apartment Jack is just walking away after having his fill of me. He turns looking right through me as he walks out of the room sending a chill through me. What the hell.

Laughter echoes through the apartment. As I follow the comforting sound, I find myself in Gwens home. Her, Aron, and I are relaxing in her living room drinking wine sharing the different stories of artists we’ve worked with. A warmth fills me as other happy memories flood in. I see Ryan’s face the first time he made me run. Aron doing a victory dance and spinning me after we closed a big art deal. Even a happy memory of Max from our first date at the carnival flashes.

The moment is lost when his loving look turns menacing and I am once more forced to re live the night of the gala. After the shower he lies us on the bed facing each other. I begin to shiver as I watch the color drain from his face and blood pool around his body. I realize we are in my apartment in Seattle. My chest tightens.

Max: You will always be mine Kylie.

I shudder in fear as his eyes change ghostly pale and a bloody hand reaches for me. I can’t move. I can’t breathe. I feel myself fading again. Only I’m not cold any more. I hear my name whispered. There’s a faint beep in rhythm with my heart beat. I hear my name again and find myself being pulled from the darkness.

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