“Mason!” I spoke the loudest I could with the pain of each breath. Mason was bombarding Alexi’s lifeless body with hit after hit. He needed to stop before he hurt himself, although Alexi deserved each and every strike.
“Scarlett.” He finally stopped, turning his gaze to me after realizing the damage he inflicted. Mason ran to me, pulling me onto his lap and embracing me once again. My entire being and soul relaxed, seeing him alive and here. I knew everything was going to be all right. “It’s going to be okay. I’m here now. I’m here.” My face fell into his warm chest, holding on tight, never wanting to let go. “I’m so sorry I let this happen.”
“No, this is not your fault.” None of this could ever be his doing. He is the reason I am still alive. If it was not for him, I would have been killed months ago, taken at the house and who knows what else. All that matters is that we are here now, together.
“I was so scared I lost you.” He lifted my chin with his thumb and forefinger. I gazed into his ice-blue eyes that felt like home. “Scarlett, I love you.” My heart smiled. A blanket of pure light covered my body, sending electricity from my head to my toes. For a moment, all the physical pain vanished. Tears of relief escaped my eyes.
“I love you, Mason.” He lifted my tired head back up to his. Our lips met, fitting perfectly into each other’s. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach. Is this what true love feels like?
Releasing from the kiss, my eyes widened, stunned by the sudden gunshot. In an instant, Mason turned, guarding me, and shielding my view. From what I could see, Alexi was sitting up, pointing at Mason. How in the hell is he alive?
*Bang Bang, Bang Bang*
I covered my ears; the sound of Mason’s rifle rang throughout my skull. Alexi’s body hitting the ground was the last thing heard. Mason turned back to me, his eyes rolled back as his body went limp and collapsed into my arms.
“Mason! No!” I pleaded with him, screaming as loud as I could through the pain. “Mason, wake up!” No. No. No! This can’t be it; this can’t be. “Stay awake. Please!” I shook him, trying to get him to just open his eyes. “Help!” I shrieked, “Somebody!” My cries echoed in the concrete room. I collapsed onto his chest, beating it with my fist. Please Mason, please."
Before I knew it, I was being carried away from the man I love by someone in uniform. Several soldiers surrounded Mason. My heart sank watching them perform CPR as they whisked me up the staircase. “No! Mason!” I cried, fighting with the man to let me go back.
My body was weak, and the pain was unbearable as I was thrown into an ambulance and taken to the nearest hospital. As much as I wanted to pass out, pretend none of this was happening, I was forced to stay awake.
Several agents were posted outside of my hospital room as the nurses and doctors cleaned me up and ran a battery of tests. I begged and begged for any information about Mason, but no one would tell me anything. Tears never stopped rolling down my face. I kept hyperventilating and screaming for anyone to just tell me anything about Mason, just to tell me he was alive. The realization that I might have lost him made my chest feel tight and heavy, like a weight was pressing down on me. He risked his own life for me. He may be dead because of me! Mason is the only man who can make my heart flutter, whose presence makes me feel safe; the one man whose lips make time slow and whose body fits faultlessly into mine, like we were made for one another. How could I go on without him in this world? He entered my life during the worst time, yet he made the darkness seem bright. He is the only man I want, the only man I need. This planet would be dull and unbearable without him. Please, Mason, please be okay.
The nurse finally gave me a sedative once the tests were done. My eyelids fluttered shut, gradually letting the calm of the darkness take over my mind.
When I woke up, my father was sitting in a chair next to the hospital bed, bent over awkwardly, his head lying by my feet. My eyes flickered, searching the room for any sign of Mason. That is when I felt a large, uncomfortable tube in my throat.
“Scarlett, honey!” My father rapidly rose from the chair, staring at me in shock. “She’s awake!” He yelled out the door, pressing the nurse’s button on the bed. “Careful, don’t move yet.”
What is going on? Where is Mason? I felt disoriented and highly sedated. Several nurses rushed into my room accompanied by a doctor, who rudely shone a bright flashlight into my eyes.
“Hey Scarlett,” the doctor spoke gently. “Welcome back. Don’t talk yet. We are going to get that ventilator out of you.”
Welcome back? Ventilator? Didn’t I just fall asleep a few hours ago? The nurses carefully pulled the long tube out of my throat, making me want to throw up. My mouth and throat were left feeling dry and irritated. They handed me a large container of water and ice chips to quell the fire.
“Miss Aberra, can you tell me what year it is?” The doctor gently asked me.
“2023, what is going on?” I was so confused. All I wanted was to see Mason, to know he is okay.
“Perfect.” A look of relief flashed across his face. “You’ve been asleep for 5 days, in a medically induced coma.” What the fuck? “After the incident, you sustained a minor brain bleed, which caused swelling. You also lost a considerable amount of blood. We have been giving transfusions and monitoring closely. You also sustained several rib fractures, resulting in a punctured lung, which has been healing nicely. Any questions I can answer right now?”
“Where is Mason?” My voice was groggy. Despite all the information, that is all I needed to know. Please let him be okay.
“I’m sorry, Scarlett. I’m afraid I can’t disclose any information.” He was firm. “Any other questions I can answer?”
I shook my head, wanting them just to leave the room.
“Okay, well, if you need anything, your nurses will be right outside your room. Just press the red call button, and if you think of any questions, I’m just down the hallway.” The doctor waved and walked out of the room.
One nurse got to work checking my vitals. As she took my blood pressure, I turned to her, tears in my eyes. “Can you tell me anything at all?”
She looked startled at my request, slowly lowering her stethoscope. A look of sympathy crossed her kind eyes, wanting to tell me everything. “He’s in the ICU, too. I’m sorry. That’s all I can say.” She whispered before finishing her tasks and heading out of the room.
If he is in the ICU, that must mean he is alive, right?! I tried to swing my feet out of the bed and search every room, but once my bare feet hit the cold tile flooring, I collapsed. My legs did not move, despite every ounce of my mind yelling at them to stand.
“Easy now!” My father grabbed my arm before I hit the floor. “It may be a few days before you regain your strength. Just rest.” He sat me back on the bed, lifting my legs back under the sheets.
How can I rest when I do not know how the man who saved my life is doing? Are they all insane? I need to see him now!
“Dad!” I shouted. “Please, just let me see him.”
“Scarlett…” My father paused. “I just think it’s best if you rest first. You’ve been through a lot.”
I groaned, rolling onto my side.
“It’s gonna be okay, Scar.” My father stroked my shoulder. “I promise.”
I felt water fill my eyes. I shut them tight, refusing to let the tears fall. Soon enough, I drifted back to sleep...