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|Hook Me(Men of Inked #2) by Chelle Bliss|
The woman touched her face, wiping away the tear. “He’s going to surgery. We’ll know more soon, baby girl. I know you adore your brother. He’s strong and a fighter. He’ll be okay,” she said wrapping the girl in a loving embrace.
“He has to be, Ma,” she said, crying on her mother’s shoulder.
“There, there, baby. Come on, let’s go.” She rubbed her back to soothe her sobs.
The older man motioned for everyone to follow him as he walked toward the door.
I turned at looked at Michael, pleading for him to stay with my eyes.
“I’ll meet you guys in a second, I need to talk to the doctor,” Michael said to his father after everyone else cleared the room.
“Don’t be too long,” Pop said, watching us with his head tilted, rubbing his lip.
Holding up my hand to him I said, “Five minutes tops.”
Nodding, he walked out, leaving us alone.
Mia threw herself in my arms with such force she almost knocked the wind out of me.
Wrapping her legs around my waist and her arms around my neck she said, “Oh my god, Michael. I was so scared it was you in that room.” Her voice broke as the words came out quick. “I wasn’t happy it was your brother, but I was relieved it wasn’t you.”
Leaning back, I put my finger against her lips, stopping her from going any further. She blinked, the corners of her mouth turning up.
“I’m fine, Doc. How’s my brother, really? Not the bullshit stuff you tell all the families, lay it on me.”
“Sorry,” she said wiping her eyes and swallowing. “It’s hard to say right now. He’s unconscious so it’s hard to determine the extent of his injuries until he’s been fully evaluated, Michael. Thank god he wore a helmet.” She slid down my body, resting her hands on my chest.
Holding her cheek in my palm, I caressed the soft skin. “Is he going to live?”
She leaned into my touch, closing her eyes. “I can’t answer that with certainty.” She didn’t open them as she spoke. “I know they will do everything they can, Michael.”
I inhaled and held my breath trying to not break down into tears.
Joe and I had a bond. He was my rock and my best friend. We busted each other’s balls for as long as I could remember. I couldn’t even begin to think about a day without him in my life.
I wouldn’t think about it.
I rested my forehead against hers. “Just keep me posted, Mia. If you hear anything or if you get any information before us, please don’t keep it from me. The waiting is driving me f**king crazy.”
She cupped my cheeks and whispered against my lips, “I will, Michael. I’m so sorry.”
We stood there for a moment, not moving, touching each other before I kissed her and let her go. “I better go before someone comes looking for me. I need to be there with them.”
“I wish I had met them under different circumstances.” She frowned, wiping the corner of her eye.
Tipping back her chin, I kissed her lips softly and smiled. “They won’t remember. It’ll be a blur after all is said and done.” I rubbed my nose against. “Message me when you get any information.”
“I will,” she said, before we walked in opposite directions.
After pacing for an hour and staring at the monitor that stated: Joseph Gallo – Surgery in Progress, my phone vibrated in my pocket.
Mia: They’re starting now. No internal injuries and he woke up before surgery.
I exhaled the breath I held in as I pulled out my phone. The sick feeling in my stomach and the lump in my throat subsided as I read her message.
I hated hospitals and wouldn’t feel at ease until he walked out of the front door.
Me: That’s good news, no?
Looking around the room at my family, I couldn’t keep the news to myself. They looked as shitty as I felt.
“I have news,” I said, as I stopped in the middle of the room.
Everyone looked in my direction with hope in their eyes.
“How?” Isabella asked, scooting forward in her seat. “Doesn’t matter,” she said shaking her head. “What is it?”
“My friend who works here said Joe has no internal injuries and that he woke up before surgery. They’re working on his leg and hand now.”
“Oh, thank god,” my ma said, as her body visibly relaxed in my father’s arms.
“He’s going to be okay?” Suzy asked, as she jumped from her seat and approached me.
“Yes, Suzy, babe. He’s going to be okay,” I said, wrapping her in my arms. I rubbed her back until my phone started to vibrate. I looked over her shoulder to read the message.
Mia: It’s great news. Still going to be a long recovery, but he’ll survive.
Suzy clung to me, her silent sobs of joy dampening my shirt. Needing the comfort as much as she did, I rested my head against her hair and held her.
“I was so damn scared, Mike,” she said, fisting my shirt in her hands.
“I know, Suzy. We all were. You know Joe. He’s not going out that easy. He loves you too much to go out that way.”
Instead of consoling her, she cried harder into my chest, breaking out into a sob.
“He’s never going back on that god damn bike. Over my dead body,” she muttered into my shirt.
I bit my lip, trying to hold in my laughter. “Good luck with that, Suz. But if anyone can keep him off that bike, it’s you.”