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“Shh, Dee… Look at me. It’s okay. I’ve got you.” I turn and focus on him, trying to calm the rapid breathing that has my ribs screaming.

“Did you find him?”

He shakes his head, and when I hear a snarl from the side of the room, my eye shifts to Maddox, who looks as if he’s about to snap in half. Beck yells at him to either calm down or leave the room before making me look at him again. “It’s okay; I need you to believe me, Dee. We’re working on it, okay?” I see his eyes pleading with me… begging me not to close him out.

I take a few shallow breaths and focus on his eyes. “Okay. I trust you, Beck.”

His shoulders sag with my whispered words, and his eyes drop for a second before he looks back at me. I gasp when I see the moisture forming in his eyes.

“Thank you, God, thank you…” He leans up, kisses me lightly before sitting back down, and starts to rub my arm again. I can tell from the way his lips are pressed tight, and the slight flare of his nostrils, that he’s trying to compose himself.

Destiny comes back in the room, and she gives me the pain meds, and checks the machines one more time before leaving. I try to stay awake, afraid that if I fall asleep, I might not wake up again. Clearly understanding me better than I understand myself, Beck recognizes my reluctance to close my one good eye. He brings his face back to my ear and starts to whisper softly, again.

Between his deep voice speaking softly against my neck, and the strength I pull from just his touch, my eye starts to close, and my heart starts to calm. The last thing to filter through my mind as I listen to his voice is how lucky I am that he’s even here. It doesn’t even matter that I can’t even understand the words, he’s here. For everything that I’ve put him through, my depression and PTSD, and my stupid mind letting the past rule my present, he still hasn’t given up. If this isn’t proof of just how far he really will go to fight for me, then I don’t know what is.

I let his love wrap around me, and drift off to a dreamless sleep with the knowledge that when I wake up he’s still going to be here, and it’s up to me to fix this now.

Chapter 12

When the doctor finally told me she would be released, I want to actually hug the lady. For the last week, I’ve sat by her side, hoping and praying that I would finally get to take her home.

First, they wanted to keep her because of the swelling to her brain from repeated blows. God, just hearing them say that over and over had my body ready for a fight. When her head wasn’t the main worry, it seemed that her kidneys were. And finally, a few days ago, she stopped pissing blood. We would’ve been out of here before now, but they wanted to monitor her kidneys to make sure there wasn’t anything else going on.

I think we were all ready to get her out of this room and back to Georgia. Dee was starting to get frustrated with the constant poking by the staff and lack of good food. All I could do was smile, because even though she was here, she was fighting mad. The important part was that she’s here at all.

Being this far from home wasn’t ideal either. Having to keep everyone back there up to date with her progress had become more annoying than anything else. Somewhere around day seven, I finally passed the phone to Maddox around day seven and told him to keep them fucking happy. To be honest, I didn’t really give a shit about keeping anyone up to date.

I only have eyes for Dee, and all my focus is on keeping her comfortable and making sure that she feels safe. I look over at her sleeping face and I physically hurt when I see how swollen it still is.

When she finally opened her left eye two nights ago, just a crack, she announced that she could see. We all released the collective breath that we had been holding since the doctor had warned us there was a chance her vision could have been impaired from the injury.

Her eye really was the least severe of her wounds. There wasn’t much of her body that wasn’t covered in nasty black and purple bruises, right down to a few of her fingers.

I lean back in the chair that I’ve pulled up next to her bed, and let my mind think about the call that we got Monday morning that all but stopped my heart.

When Maddox came bursting through my office door with enough force to literally rip it off the hinges, I knew something was wrong. All it took was one word—Dee— and I was out of my chair and following him out the door. Coop had already brought the truck around, and we hit the road from there.

He filled me in during the drive. Her assistant called his phone in a panic. She had come to work to find the whole office trashed. She would have missed Dee, but in her panic, she tripped over some overturned boxes. When she fell, she had a direct line of sight into the break room. By the time she had gotten to Dee’s side and called 911, she said she could barely find her pulse. That was the last update we got. I spent the rest of the car ride thinking that when I finally made it to her, she would already be gone. The unknown was bad enough, but when I couldn’t stop thinking about what I would do if she were taken from me, the crushing agony was almost too much to bear.

Now, here we are almost two weeks after her attack, and still no answers. Those first five days when she wouldn’t wake up were the worst. There was enough time for Maddox to fill us in on what he had been investigating for her. I was livid at first, but then I tried to put myself in her shoes, and slightly understood why she would go to Maddox. When she finally woke up enough to tell us what happened during the attack it still felt like we were playing with a deck that was missing half the cards. She didn’t know who the man was, and even if she knew how to find the employee he wanted, she didn’t even know how to get in contact with him.

The police came and got her statements, documented her injuries, and left with the promise that they would be investigating things. There wasn’t anything left behind to give us a single clue as to who did this.

The last call Maddox had with Greg, he filled him in on everything we knew. Our best hope was finding this Adam character, and hopefully, he would shed some light on this mess. I didn’t ask Maddox how that call went, and wasn’t sure I wanted to know. I logically knew that Greg couldn’t help when he didn’t know what was happening, but the other part of me, the one that wanted someone to blame, couldn’t stop the what ifs from hitting me hard. Knowing that he was probably just as upset as the rest of us was the only thing that kept me from lashing out.

“Beck, you really need to head back to the hotel for a few hours and get some sleep. You aren’t doing her any favors by running yourself into the ground.” Coop smiles sadly. “I’ll stay with her, but please, Man… you look like shit.”

“I’ll walk out that door the second she’s ready to go with me. Not a second before, so shut the fuck up about it.”

He opens his mouth to argue some more, but snaps it shut tightly when he sees how pissed I’m getting. He’s lost his damn mind if he thinks I’m leaving her again.

“Leave him alone.” Maddox hasn’t said much since we’ve been here, but when he spits those words out, Coop wisely shakes his head a few times before walking out the door. Maddox is silent for a beat longer then laughs with no humor. “That douchebag. I got back to the hotel last night and walked in on him banging Dee’s assistant. Shouldn’t be shocked, but fuck, you would think he knows when he should keep that shit locked up.” He shakes his head a few times, clearly still not believing just how bad Coop has gotten when it comes to sleeping around.

Well, to be honest, I didn’t even see that one coming. Chelcie is always a real quiet girl, but I know she loves Dee, so this whole situation is really messing her up. I should have been paying more attention to Coop’s level of comforting.

“Did he say anything about it?” I ask, not taking my eyes off Dee.

“Yeah, some bullshit about helping her to remember she’s still alive. Said she kept freaking out, and he didn’t know what else to do. What a dumbass.”

“That’s… well, I’m not really shocked. It is Coop.” What can I say, we all know he’s an asshole when it comes to chicks, but I really hoped he could keep it in his pants until we got back home. Chelcie doesn’t deserve the hit it and quit it approach that he takes, regardless of why she slept with him.

“Talked to Axel this morning. He’s having one hell of a time keeping Izzy in Georgia.” His condescending tone has my head snapping in his direction.

“And you sound so pissed about that because?” I don’t think anyone else has noticed how far apart she and Dee have become recently, but if anyone has noticed, it would be him. I swear this man sees everything.

“Right, don’t play me for a fool. I’ve seen Dee since that motherfucker got ahold of her and Izzy. I’ve seen her struggling, and you picking her back up. I saw her breaking in two, and it wasn’t anyone but you gluing those pieces back together. Not once did her best friends even see one damn thing. Not Izzy, not Greg, not one of them. So yeah, I’m a little pissed about it.” His eyes stay on her battered face for a few more beats before meeting mine. “Everyone else kept giving you two shit, thinking you were playing some stupid fucking game, but if they would’ve opened their eyes for one second longer, they would’ve seen her hiding in plain sight with you fighting all her demons for her.”

I don’t keep eye contact with him. Hearing Dee’s and my private struggle broken down into a few sentences brings it all home.

Two long fucking years.

Two long years of me worrying that she might never come back from the place inside herself when she had become lost.

And now, right when I felt like she’s finally healing this happens, and I honestly don’t what kind of lasting effect this is going to have on her. I can only hope that she’s become strong enough to realize that she has all the power in the world to become whole again and a man who’s willing to fight tooth and nail to help get her there.

“How long have you known?”

I feel Dee’s hand tighten on mine, silently letting me know that she’s listening, too.

“Since you carried her out of Heavy’s.”

My eyes shoot to Dee’s face. Even with her eyes still closed as if she’s sleeping peacefully, a lone tear sneaks out and slides down her face, telling me that she knows just how much Maddox has seen.

“You never said anything, not once. I don’t understand why you would be pissed if you watched it right along with them.” I keep my tone light, but inside, knowing that I am apparently as transparent to Maddox as it gets, and he still kept his mouth shut is a little hard to stomach.

“Wasn’t my place. And before you get pissed, I didn’t just sit back and ignore it. I watched, and if I thought for one second that you didn’t have it handled, I would’ve stepped in. Not going to lie. There was a time, when you both were attempting to make each other jealous, or pissed enough to stop trying, that I almost said something. Wouldn’t have done me a bit of good, though. She doesn’t need me sticking my nose where it doesn’t belong. It’s always been you. Not everyone would have the patience to stick around when that end result is a big unknown.”

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