I walked over to him, scared of whatever news had put that look on his face.
“How is she?” I asked, not bothering to say hello.
“Not good,” he said, standing up and facing me. “I guess the baby wasn’t right. They called it an octorpic pregnancy, or some such shit.”
“Yeah, that sounds right. The baby wasn’t in the right place. Instead of growing in her womb, it was in one of the tubes to her ovary, and then it busted the whole thing open. That’s what started all the bleeding. They’ve got her in surgery right now, but she’s lost a fuckload of blood, London. They said she might die. The baby never had a shot.”
I swayed, and he caught me, still holding my eyes.
“Reese and Gage put me here to watch for you,” he said slowly. “Gage said you were talking to the cops.”
I shook my head, trying to catch my breath.
“You don’t need to worry about that,” I told him quietly. “I didn’t give them any information. I’m not trying to get away from the MC, Painter. I want to go to California and save Jessica, and the only way that can happen is if I stick with the club. But right now I need to find Reese. He must be terrified.”
Painter nodded his head.
“Pretty sure he is, though he’d never cop to it. I can take you up there … But I need to tell you something first.”
“Just because you saved Em, and you didn’t talk to the cops? That doesn’t mean you’re safe with us, and Pic isn’t necessarily the one who’ll make that call. You need to understand what you’re doing here, London. If you go upstairs and find Pic, there’s still a chance the club won’t forgive you. Even if they do, that trip to Cali might be one way—this isn’t a game. Give me the word and I’ll go take a piss, let you walk right out that door. Got about two hundred bucks on me and it’s yours. That’s the best I can do.”
I reached my hands up and cupped his face, smiling at him sadly.
“That’s one of the most beautiful things anyone’s ever offered me,” I said softly. “But I need to go find Reese, and then I need to go to California to find my girl. Whatever happens, happens, and I’m okay with it. Now where do I need to go—can you show me?”
“I’ll point you in the right direction, but I shouldn’t go in with you,” he told me.
“Hunter doesn’t need to be seein’ my face right now. We got history, me and Em. I’ve come to terms, but he and I aren’t exactly friends. Don’t wanna stress him out more than I have to.”
Pieces fell together in my head, and I patted his arm, startled at how different he seemed from the young man I’d met just weeks ago. Painter put up a hell of a front, apparently.
Then again, so did Reese.
He escorted me as far as the corridor outside the surgical waiting area. I walked in, spotting Reese and Hunter immediately. Waiting with them were Horse, Ruger, and Bam Bam. There was also a young man wearing Devil’s Jacks colors I didn’t recognize. He was covered in tattoos and looked vaguely hipsterish with his skinny jeans.
Wow, if Portlanders could do that to a biker, they could turn anyone into a hipster.
Between him and Hunter sat a young woman whose face was streaked with tears and heavy black mascara. She looked like something out of a horror movie, but at least she showed some emotion. Hunter’s face was completely blank. So was Reese’s. I started toward them, and then stopped—across the room sat the same police officer who’d just been talking to me. Damn, but he was persistent.
He watched Em’s little support group closely, eyes speculative.
We didn’t need this right now. Maybe a little show would get him off our asses? I started walking toward Reese again, hoping like hell he’d pick up on what I was doing and not blow it. When I got close enough, I flicked my eyes toward the cop, then set myself down in his lap like I had every right to be there. I wrapped my arms tight around his neck and whispered in his ear.
“That cop over there is trying to save me. I told him you’re my boyfriend, and that I just got stuck in the storeroom looking for something you needed, so treat me like you don’t want to strangle me and maybe he’ll go away.”
His arms tightened around me hard, and I let myself pretend for a moment that I’d spoken the truth. That he actually was still mine, and that he would be relieved to find me safe.
“Thanks,” he murmured. “One less thing to worry about.”
“You don’t trust me,” I said softly. “I understand that. But I’m on your side, Reese. I screwed up and now I’m trying to fix it. I don’t expect you to forgive me, or that things will ever be like they were before, but I won’t betray you again.”
He nodded, then loosened his grasp. Apparently I wasn’t the only one aware of our audience, because none of the others showed the slightest hint of reaction to our little reunion. Hunter rose to his feet when Reese let me go, and walked over to us.
“I’m sorry,” he said, his voice strained. “They tell me she’d be dead already if you hadn’t saved her. I shouldn’t have jumped on you like that, London. Guess I just lost it.”
God, he looked so young and scared.
I put a hand on his arm, offering him a little squeeze. Easy to forget some of these bikers were essentially still kids, despite how tough they acted. This boy was scared shitless because he’d lost his baby, and he might be losing his girlfriend soon, too.
“Don’t worry about it. I understood what was happening and didn’t take it personally.”
The girl who’d been sitting next to him joined us.
“I’m Kelsey,” she said, looking me over. Her face was tight and strained, and her entire body radiated leashed tension. “I’m this asshole’s sister, which makes Em my sister, too. Thanks for what you did. That took balls.”
“Let’s just hope they can help her.”
As if summoned by my voice, a doctor stepped into the waiting room and we all looked up, trying to read his expression.
“You the family?”
“Yeah,” Reese said, standing to face him. “What’s goin’ on with my girl?”
“She’s through surgery and it went well, all things considered. You already know she lost a lot of blood. We transfused her in the ER and again on the table, and I think we turned it around. Unfortunately there’s no way the fetus can survive in an ectopic pregnancy like this one. Wouldn’t matter how early we caught it and there’s nothing she could’ve done to prevent it. Sometimes it just happens.”