I thrust it forward again. The pain radiating from my hand is nothing like the pain radiating in my heart as I feel him grab it too and thrust.
I take my last breath as the shard finds its location.
The warmth of the blood caressing my skin.
The room turns black.
With the text that Maggie found on her phone, I’m able to figure out where she is. I’m out the door before I can even hang up on Maggie.
Luckily, the location is close.
The wind batters me with each step I make, but before long, I’m walking up to the old bank.
Throwing the door open, I’m running into the building. My eyes scan the room, and then my stomach drops. I see his body first. He’s lying on top of Willow.
I run closer.
Her face is tucked under his, so I can’t tell if she’s alive.
But what I do see makes me dry heave.
There is so much blood. Too much blood.
Neither of them are moving.
I’m too late.
I shake the thought away as I bend to lift him off her.
Pulling her out from underneath him takes all my strength. He’s dead weight.
When he’s finally off her, she’s curled in a ball. Blood covers her body. But I can’t tell if it’s her blood.
“Please be okay.” I lean in and place my hands on her gently, trying to find her wounds. With my other hand, I swipe my phone, pressing the SOS button.
“This is nine-one-one. What’s the emergency?”
“My girlfriend was attacked. There are two bodies . . .” I fire off the address and set the phone down, touching along her neck to see if there is a pulse.
“Please, baby, wake up.”
She doesn’t move, but beneath her skin, I can feel the signs of life. She needs to wake up because a world without Willow is a world I don’t want to know.
“Please.” I place my lips on her skin. “Please wake up. I can’t be without you. I didn’t know what love was before I met you. You showed me what it means. You showed me the man I want to be, so open your eyes, because I want to tell you I love you.”
“Say it again,” I hear, and I pull back and see her eyes fluttering.
“You’re awake! Are you okay?”
She lets out a groan. “I hurt.”
“The blood . . .”
“Not mine. Well, at least not all of it. My hands.”
I look down at where her hands are on the floor, and I see crimson streaks. But nothing life-threatening. She goes to move, but I shake my head.
“Don’t. Not yet. The ambulance is on the way.”
She nods, and I pull her into my arms. As I hold her, we wait.
The police are here a few minutes later and the ambulance too. They usher Willow away to the hospital, and I ride along with her.
It’s cut and dry that it’s self-defense. But I have the files just in case they need proof.
Things fly from there. Doctors come in and out to check her. They reset her shoulder and observe her for a mild concussion. She has some bruising on her neck and cuts on her hands, but she’s going to be okay.
When we are finally alone in the hospital room, I take her hand in mine.
“That was the scariest shit ever . . . seeing you like that.”
“I’m sorry,” she whispers. “I was stupid. I led him right to me.”
I lift her hand and place kisses on each bandage covering her skin. “You weren’t stupid.”
“Then what am I?”
“Brave as fuck. The bravest person I ever knew, and I was wrong.”
“You were never the damsel in distress. You didn’t need me to storm the castle. You picked up the sword and saved yourself.”
Willow makes space for me on her hospital bed and I slide in next to her, never looking away.
“I love you.”
Liquid pools in her blue eyes. “I love you too.”
We both stare at each other for a while, but neither of us speak.
“Now what?” she eventually whispers.
“Whatever you want,” I respond. I know there is a chance she’ll go home. I hope she doesn’t. I hope she chooses me.
“I don’t know where this leaves me. The company . . .” she starts, and I know what she is saying. She has to go home. She has to go back to Madison Bay, Michigan. It feels like my heart is going to explode as I wait for my fate.
“Whatever you decide, I’ll support you. But I love you, and I don’t want to lose you. If that means coming with you, I will.”
“You would do that for me?”
I lean down and place my lips on her. “Don’t you know by now? I’d do anything for you.”
“I guess home we go.” She kisses me back. “Maybe not forever, but until I figure out what to do. I know I want you with me.”