Chapter 21: Home
"Can you tell me what happened Avi?" I asked, hoping recounting the events would help her brain catch up to her body and decrease the shock.
It was beyond clear she was in shock. I wondered if she could even feel the blow to her head yet. I wiped a trickle of blood off her cheek from the cut on her temple.
Despite the throbbing in my shoulder. I had carried her to a safe place, and would continue to help her come back to herself. Help her come back to me.
Clearly this was her first time pulling that trigger. I fought to eliminate the guilt of not having been here to do it for her. I shuddered remembering my first time.
"I killed him. He hurt me, I shot him. He's dead." Her voice was low and emotionless. Her sentences were short and repetitive as she fought to grasp back onto reality.
"What were you doing before he came?" I tried again, this time adjusting my question to give her a starting point.
It was amazing the things you learned how to handle when you grew up in a mafia, not to mention raised by a doctor.
"Dishes, the kitchen was dirty." She frowned, then paused distracted by this thought.
I couldn't help but grin as I imagined her stress cleaning. It wasn't the first time I had seen it and I could just see how immerse in her work she would have been.
Looking down I verified my suspicion that she had headphones the cord tucked under her shirt to avoid getting caught on anything. She wouldn't have heard his approach, I shuddered internally.
"He came up behind me and covered my mouth." She paused again registering this thought.
In this manor she slowly told me everything that had happened. Often pausing to process the playback herself. I didn't rush her, I knew this was vital for her to come to grips with what had just happened.
I thanked whatever god was willing to hear from a sinner like me, that I had thought to show her where I stowed guns around the house.
After our first visitor I had decided to play it safe. As unlikely as it had seemed at the time, she had needed to know.
Suddenly a tentative smile spread across her face. "I'm safe. My monster is dead." She laughed slightly, as she slowly came back to herself.
I relaxed as her pulse slowed and the color slowly came back into her face.
"You beat him." I smiled down at her, running my fingers along her freshly bruised jaw.
"I beat him, and he called me weak." She chuckled looking up at me.
"You're far from weak, you are the strongest person I know. You're my girl." I smiled back at her. Then added in a whispered voice. "Marry me?"
"Yes." She didn't even seem surprised and for a second I wondered if she had understood me. Was she still too far gone?
Then she pushed up onto her elbow and kissed me hungrily.
I froze shocked for a split second before chuckling and wrapping my good arm around her.
"We are getting married." She smiled broadly, pulling back.
I laughed, gleefully, "I love you Aviana."
"I love you too." She looked at me then glanced down gasping. "You're hurt, you were shot?"
"It's nothing, Jay is coming." I shrugged, instantly regretting the movement.
"You carried me with a bullet in your shoulder?" She asked, astonished and maybe a little appalled.
"Adrenaline is an amazing thing. Anyway technically the bullet passed clean threw, there's nothing in my arm."
"Lay down!" She insisted, kneeling on the bed so she was hovering over me.
She helped me slide my t-shirt over my head then looked at the wound. "Well your right it went straight threw, you still need stitches though."
She stood and walked out only to return a moment later with Scarlet in tow. The next hour Scarlet worked to stitch and bandage my shoulder.
As she worked Aviana gradually laid down next to my good side. She was exhausted, a reaction to the shock as well as the trauma leading to it.
"You're lucky the bullet didn't hit your brachial plexus or artery. It was close." Scarlet worried as she fitted me to a sling. "You need to let it heal. Don't use your arm for at least a couple weeks everybody can help out."
"I'm fine sis." I smiled reassuringly at my sister.
"That's shot twice and stabbed once, I wish you were more careful." Scarlet glared at me.
"Who's counting." I waved my arm passively, then winced as a fresh wave of pain radiated up my arm.
"No moving it!" She snapped glaring at me.
I noticed Aviana frowning concerned, and I smiled at her saying, "I'm fine babe."
"I know." She smiled and chuckled, "Hell I have had worse than that."
It was my turn to cringe. Though I already knew this, I couldn't stop the reaction. I hated imagining her hurt, and after seeing that basement it was worse.
I wrapped my good arm around her waist pulling her closer and burying my face in her hair. Reassuring myself more than comforting her.
"Do you know who shot you? Did they get away?" She asked, changing the subject.
"Brent and no he's dead too." Relief spread across her face.
It was obvious how much fear she had been harboring, hiding even from me. She smiled calm and completely relaxed suddenly.
"Thank you Liam, so much. I can't say it enough." She sighed melting into my good side, as Scarlet adjusted the sling again..
"You know I think I like having a couple girls to wait on me." I joked smiling down at Aviana.
"Don't get used to it." She grumbled half asleep.
"No Avi stay awake I have to check you and the baby out too." Scarlet said sternly.
I was surprised, we hadn't told anyone yet and I wondered how long Scarlet had known. Apparently my curiosity was clear.
"I knew before you. That's why I hit you in the hall that day." She shrugged.
I nodded, that made more sense then I was willing to admit.
"Baby..." Avi smiled nervously wrapping her arms around herself.
"Unless you got hit in the torso chances are the baby is perfectly fine, but it's better to be safe than sorry." Scarlet smiled reassuringly.
I suddenly felt nervous. The feeling of unease managed to linger the whole time Scarlet poked and prodded, asking Aviana questions.
"What's your last name?" Scarlet asked.
"Johnson, I don't have a concussion." Aviana rolled her eyes.
"You can't know that. How many fingers am I holding up?"
"Yes I can, I know the feeling." Aviana mumbled.
"You are as bad as Liam." Scarlet threw up her hands in frustration.
Aviana giggled glancing at me.
"Be good Avi." I smirked back, running my fingers across her cheek.
"At least let me stitch up your head. It looks pretty bad." Scarlet pleaded.
"Fine, if it would make you feel better. However I'm telling you it would be fine and you should be spending time with Adam or checking on James."
"Nat and Ash are with James." Scarlet blushed ignoring Aviana's first suggestion of how to better spend her time.
"Is Adam all alone?" Aviana pushes.
"No he's helping Ian clean up the rec room." Scarlet responded
Aviana shuttered slightly.
"Are you hurting?" Scarlet asked, concerned.
"I'm fine." Aviana responded.
"Okay well here's some pain relievers, they'll help you sleep." Scarlet handed over the pills and Aviana took them obediently. "You should both get some sleep."
Aviana snuggled back into my side, as I threw back the pills Scarlet handed me.
"Thanks Scar." I smiled at her. "I think with you and Jay around here we are all in good hands."
Scarlet beamed, "Does that mean I'm officially a part of this?"
"Yes but not in the fighting part, leave that to Adam please." I groaned at the thought of her trying to fight off anybody.
Scarlet rolled her eyes but grinned before walking out.
I looked down at Aviana. It had been a long day for both of us, so I was glad to fall asleep with her in my embrace. Knowing she was safe in my arms.
We were, all three of us, safe. We would be alright. No better than that, we were going to be happy.