ENGAGING JAYDEN

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JAYDEN


After checking in at the front desk of the hospital we were assigned different rooms. Gage wouldn’t have it. He hadn’t let me out of his sight since the cabin; even though Knox and Spencer had shown up shortly after the police. I sat on the bed and Gage took the chair beside me. They took blood and urine samples from me and aside from getting stitches where Jamie had hit me over the head with the butt of his gun the doctor said I was fine. He gave me tylenol for my headache and said that I was okay to go home. Spencer, Knox, Abel and I stayed because Gage was going to be getting x-rays for his hand soon. The doc said it was broken; he just needed to see how badly.

“I’ll go ahead and start your discharge papers , Jayden.”

“Thank you.” I smiled. I was happy to see the nurse go. She was in her forties by the looks of it and was a mother hen. She had gotten me a warm blanket, juice and a popsicle. She turned on the HTV show saying that it always settled her nerves. I was just tired of being prodded at. All I wanted was to crawl into my bed and have Gage hold me. It couldn’t happen soon enough.

“Where’s the patient for room 310?” I heard someone ask. That was Gage’s room in which he hadn’t stepped foot in.

“He’s sitting in room 308.” Someone replied. I heard a whisper but didn’t make it out.

A man entered my room; surprised to see four men filling it. He looked at each one asking, “Which one of you is Gage Buchanan?”

“That’d be me.” Gage replied.

“I’m here to take you down for x-ray.”

Gage’s eyes shot to me. I noted the worry in his gaze. He didn’t want to leave me. “I’ll be fine.” I reassured him. I motioned to his brother, Knox and Spencer. “I think I’m in good hands with my entourage.” I smiled in hopes to make his shoulders untense a little.

He lifted his chin an inch but he hadn’t loosened up any. I wondered how long it was going to take for him to relax. He kissed my lips, “I’ll be back.” He left the room with the radiologist and I heard him say, “Make this quick.”

“Do you think he’s going to unwind anytime soon?” Spencer drawled.

“No.” Knox scoffed.

“I’ve never seen him like this.” Abel spoke. He never lifted his eyes from his computer. He said his boss sent him some information he had to work on and that he was flying back tomorrow morning. “But, then again...He’s never loved a girl either. Did you know his last girlfriend was in the eighth grade?”

“Seriously?” Spencer furrowed his brows like he’d never heard such a thing.

“Of all the things that’s what surprises you?” Knox laughed and shook his head.

The nurse walked in with a stack of papers in her hand. “Alright, Jayden... Just a couple signatures and I’ll send you on your way.”

She went over the release forms and after signing a couple I handed back her pen. “Is it alright if I stay here until Gage gets back? He won’t like coming back to an empty room.”

It seemed that the doctor and her were the only two who understood as to why Gage was on edge as he was. The other nurses figured I was two doors down from what was the big deal. Honestly, I would have been fine whether Gage stayed in my room or not, but I did prefer him with me. I knew Jamie— rather Beak couldn’t get to me while he was handcuffed to his hospital bed. But, I still was vulnerable.

“Sure thing, sugar. You just sit here as long as you need. Anyone coming in bothering you, just tell them to talk to me.” She winked.

I smiled and gave a nod. “Thank you.”

Just then I heard, “Oh, your room is one door down.”

“I’m not going to my room.” I knew that tone. When Gage spoke like that, it meant he wasn’t going to budge.

“You need to wait,”

Gage was now standing at my door shouting, “What the fuck does it matter if I sit in this room or that room? It’s going to be about forty-five minutes before I get my results anyway?” I looked at Knox who had his eyebrows raised in amusement. He didn’t look surprised.

“We prefer you to stay in the room you were assigned.” The radiologist replied.

“To fucking bad.” Gage’s voice was still heated. “When my results come in, send the doc to Jayden’s room.”

He stepped over the threshold and pressed his lips firmly to my forehead before he sat in the chair beside my bed. He leaned back, his knees bent as he tried to relax and stared at me.

“I’ll take care of it.” The nurse left the room.

I forced a smile. He was still wound up from earlier. He had come down a few notches but I knew the slightest thing would set him off— Like a radiologist telling him he couldn’t wait in my room was the perfect example. After today, even though Jamie had a police officer placed outside his hospital door, I knew it would some time before Gage let me out of his sight. I moved my gaze to his arms. Disoriented when I woke I had clawed at his arms and tried pushing him away thinking it was Jamie holding me. The blood had dried and they were red and swollen from the nurse cleaning them earlier.

“Knock—Knock.”

I turned my attention to the door. “Hey, Chief.”

“Jayden,” He gave a lopsided smile, “I just wanted to check in with you and see how you’re doing?”

“Just a few stitches.”

“Did they check to make sure you didn’t have a concussion or anything?” He altered his weight to one foot and rested his hand on his gun.

“Yeah. They ran a lot of tests. I’m okay.”

“Good.” He waited a moment before he addressed Knox. “I wanted you to know that I had Jayden’s car towed to the shop. I figured that’s where you’d want it to go.”

Knox looked to Gage with an arched brow.

Gage lacked all sense of humor. “Her cars all fucked up.” He said plainly. “The front end is all bashed in, radiator’s shot.”

Knox clearly didn’t care being that it was because Gage was trying to get to me that caused it. “What happened?”

“I rammed into a cattle gate.”

“That’d do it.” Spencer said under breath.

“Airbag go off?” Knox asked.

Gage nodded. “The road was skinny and overgrown with trees...paint’s scratched and gouged to shit.”

Knox shrugged it off.

“I’ll buy you a new one.” Gage said to me. There was no smile. I didn’t like seeing him like this. I needed him back to normal. Or close to it at least. He was a beast just itching to lash out.

“Yeah, your Land Cruiser isn’t ready.” Knox interrupted.

“I know about the Land Cruiser.” I admitted. “I overheard you guys talking about it a while ago. And knowing what I do now...I don’t want it anymore.”

“Jayden, you sure? I know what it means to you.” Knox sat forward.

“It used to mean something to me.” And it did. “Now, all I’m going to see is how he taunted me.”

Knox gave a sad smile and nodded in full understanding. The room was quiet for a moment before the Chief cleared his throat. “I came to let you know that Jamie is still in a coma.”

Nervously, I swallowed. I recalled seeing Jamie’s face covered in blood as the ambulance rushed him out.

“His cheek, nose and jaw are broken. So, he’ll need surgery at some point. Not to mention his lack of several teeth and split tongue. All the stitches on his face makes him look like Frankenstein.”

I saw Gage’s jaw clench and his breathing became shallow. His one good hand was in a tight fist. His eyes were hard.

“I’m ok, Gage.” I reassured him. “I’m safe now.” I tried to reiterate what he told me back at the cabin as he held me close.

He rubbed his jaw and took a deep breath.

“I just thought you should know.” Chief cleared his throat again. “I also wanted to apologize for not handling this better. I should have paid more attention to Jamie’s behavior— I mean he’s always seemed a little different you know...since he was a kid and I just— I just never thought twice about it.

“I’m sorry, Jayden. I put Jamie on your case because you dated his brother and you knew the family well. I thought you’d be more comfortable talking and working with him then some of the other boys. I’m sorry.”

“It’s ok, Chief. You didn’t know. None of us did.”

I could tell the Chief was taking it hard. He looked to Gage’s brother. “Abel, I wanted to thank you for coming down here. To be honest I don’t think we would have ever found out it was Jamie until it was too late— If we ever did.”

“Anything for my brother.”

“You’re a good brother.” Chief acknowledged. He let out a long breath. “I spoke with Brock and his mother after I brought them in. They lawyered up real quick. Didn’t say much. But Brock wanted me to know one thing. Wanted to get it off his chest I think. Brock...he ah— He told me—” He looked to the floor and rubbed his forehead. His voice was broken when he said, “He’s known that Jamie attacked you since the beginning.”

“That mother fucker.” Spencer didn’t raise his voice but it was as hard as stone as he shot to his feet, knocking his chair hard against the wall. He looked around and I knew he was trying to hold himself back from punching something.

Knox sat quietly. I knew he was seething inside.

Gage looked to the ceiling and squinted; his forehead wrinkling. I could only imagine what was going through his head right now. Hearing this was only adding fuel to his state that was barely manageable. I heard a slight pause in Abel’s typing though he quickly revered. Hearing him type I asked him a while ago how many words he can do per minute. When he replied two hundred and forty-eight I nearly fell over. He laughed when I told him I’m more in the forty range.

Spencer pointed at me. “That’s why that scarecrow mother fucker told you he forgave you for being attacked.” I’m sure the whole hospital could hear him. “You remember that bullshit? I should have hit that fucker harder than I did.”

“Is everything alright, Chief?” The police officer that was stationed outside my door popped his head in.

“Yeah,” Chief nodded.

“No—” Spencer countered, “Everything’s not alright. What kind of fucking question is that?”

Knox and Gage shared a look and it made me uneasy. Knox stood like he didn’t have a care in the world and I knew better. “I’m going for a walk.”

“I’ll come with you.”

“Chief?” I said just as Knox and Spencer left the room. I knew they were headed for the exit.

“Handson.”

“Yeah, Chief?” The police officer outside my door popped his head in.

“Send out an APB for Brock. I want them to bring him in right away. Have them check his and his parent’s house— Oh, and the Pub too.”

Hanson did what Chief demanded immediately before he asked, “What’s going on?”

“Knox and Spencer are on the lookout for him and we need to find him first.”

“Why?” Handson looked uneasy.

“Because they’re going to kick the shit out of him.”

Gage scoffed with a shake of his head. The menacing chuckle he gave sent chills through me. “If he lives through it he’ll be lucky.”

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