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|Hook Me(Men of Inked #2) by Chelle Bliss|
“Where have you been all day, Michael?”
“I’m coming, Ma. I had to work out.”
“We have to be here for your brother while he’s in the hospital. No one likes to be alone.”
That’s the problem with an overbearing Italian family. Mine had a tendency to be up each other’s ass all day, every day.
Joe probably wanted some time alone with Suzy, but knowing my parents, his room had more people in and out all day than the Bunny Ranch is Vegas.
“Ma, you know my fight is coming up soon. I have to make sure I work out every day. I’ve slacked a bit and needed to blow off some steam. I’m jumping in the shower and I’ll be there. How is he, by the way?”
“He’s looking better and they moved him to a regular room. He’s out of the woods, thank god.”
“I’m glad to hear it. Anyone call Tommy yet?”
“No, I don’t think he needs to know about it. Joseph will be fine. No need to worry him, Michael.”
“Ma, he deserves to know.”
My parents aggravated me with the bullshit. Thomas would want to know if something happened to any of us. He was going to be pissed when he found out he was kept out of the loop.
“We’ll see, that’s for your father and I to decide. Get your butt up here.”
Thomas had been able to use his job to avoid Sunday dinners and family events that would bore any breathing human. My parents never harped on him.
“Let me get off the phone and I can get there quicker, Ma.”
Her soft laughter filled my ear. I loved the woman, but at times she drove me berserk. “Very true. See you soon, baby.”
She called all of us baby. Guess it was better than jackass.
My parents smothered us with love at times. Suffocated us, but at least we knew where they stood. We loved them unconditionally and whole-heartedly.
“Bye, Ma,” I said, as I tapped end before she could get another word out.
I walked in the bathroom, thinking about Tommy as I turned the phone over in my palm. I couldn’t keep this from him. It just wasn’t right.
I sent him a messaged before climbing in the shower.
Me: Call when you have time, got news.
I showered quickly, wanting to get to the hospital before my ma called again to chew my ass out.
As I grabbed my keys to walk out the door, my phone began to ring.
“Hi, Mike. What’s going on? I don’t have much time, but I wanted to check in,” Tommy said quietly.
“It’s Joe. He’s alright now, but he got into a bike accident on Sunday.”
He sucked in a breath before replying, “How bad?”
“Fucked up leg and a broken hand. He was thrown, but he had on a helmet or else we’d be planning a funeral right now.”
“Fuck, I’m going crazy not being able to see everyone and know what the f**k is going on.” He sucked in another breath before exhaling.
“You smoking again?” I asked.
“Yeah, when in Rome, brother.” I shook my head. I couldn’t imagine the life he led or what he had to do to blend in with MC that he’d been assigned. “Should I come home?”
“Nah, I just wanted you to know.”
“What the f**k took so long to get me the word?” he bit out.
“Ma and Pop didn’t want to bother you and make you worry,” I said as I climbed in my truck.
“Mike, text me anytime to tell me when bad shit’s going down. I’ll always call as soon as I can. Don’t let them hide shit from me, ya hear me, brother?”
“Yeah. Are you okay, Tommy?”
I felt relieved talking to him. Every day I wondered if he was okay or even if he was alive. Being cut off from him was scary as f**k.
“I’m okay, just some crazy shit going down. I got it, though. Don’t worry about me, Mike. Give my love to everyone. I gotta run.”
“Take care of yourself, man. Watch your back.”
“Tell everyone I love them, Mike, please give Ma a kiss for me.” His breathing had grown a little more uneven.
“Love ya too, Thomas,” I said, tearing up as the line went dead.
I hadn’t cried since I was a kid and got hurt on the school playground, but hearing Thomas’ voice made it hard to keep my composure. It had been over a year since I’d seen him and I felt relieved knowing he was okay and ready to fight another day.
Wiping the mist from my eyes, I threw the phone on the passenger seat and headed toward the hospital.
Walking down the halls of the hospital I kept my guard up, expecting psycho Tammy to pop out of nowhere. I’m sure she was stalking the halls looking for me.
Walking into Joe’s room I said, “I’ve arrived.”
Izzy looked at me and rolled her eyes. “About time, you ass.”
“Love you too, sis.” I blew her a kiss and smiled.
“Thank god for a private room,” I laughed as I looked at them all.
Poor Joe, they were here staring at him all day.
“Joe, how ya feelin’ man?” I approached his bed and kissed him on the cheek.
He puffed out a breath, adjusting his body. “Bored to death and ready to get the hell out of here.”
“I can only imagine, but I think you’re going to be here a while. Sorry I wasn’t here sooner.”
“Don’t worry about it. You have shit to do. When’s the fight?”