Only You (Red Hook 5) - Page 9

He smiled and looked like he wanted to cry. He brushed her bangs out of her face and she could see his hand tremble. “I am fine. And you will be, too. You need rest.”

Alicia nodded and a dark-haired nurse came in with a cheerful look. Alicia had hoped it was her friend Holly, but Holly worked in the ER. She gave Alicia a glass of water and two tablets. “Doc will be in soon to chat with you. Let me close these blinds. The sun won’t help your headache.”

She swallowed the tablets and closed her eyes. It hurt to think, so she let herself drift off into sleep.

Later, she would demand answers.

* * * *

“This is hard, Noah.” Alana hugged her husband in the waiting room. She buried her face against his chest. Noah hugged her. He looked tired and emotionally spent. Tony was exhausted, too, but he was not leaving yet. He had peeked in on Alicia several times during the night, but she had been sedated.

They had taken turns being here all night so Alicia would not be alone. Now it was morning and Alicia was finally awake.

“She doesn’t know what happened to her. How can I tell her about Janice?” Alana sobbed quietly. Alana told them how confused her sister was and all she remembered was the car behind her hitting them.

“I know, babe. I’ll tell her about Janice. Let her rest for now. Doc said she has quite the bump on her head. Her whole body is banged up. She is going to be fuzzy about the events, but soon it will all come to her. Give her peace while she can have it,” Noah advised.

Tony was sitting down on a hard, uncomfortable chair. He stayed silent and just listened to everyone talk around him. He was so relieved Alicia was alive and would get better. Matt and Holly had left a few hours ago to get some rest. Drake and Jasmine were due to come in and take over for the morning shift. Tony wasn’t sure he could leave Alicia here and go home. The doctor had given them a list

of her injuries. Concussion, dislocated shoulder, and bruises all over. Tony had wanted to kill someone. They were all anxious to know what happened and who was behind this, but the doctor told them not to force her to remember. All he was waiting for was a name. Whoever had touched her would pay.

“Can I see her?” He asked Alana and not Ray. Ray had been glaring at him all night. He had already jumped on him earlier, yelling that Tony would not see Alicia unless it was over his dead body. If Ray was not Alicia’s brother, he would have said that could be arranged.

He knew Alicia’s memory of what happened might be hazy, but he was sure she remembered everything about their fight. He just hoped Dee didn’t show up. Lately she seemed to show up everywhere he went. She was a real nuisance and he was losing his patience in being nice. He already had Helen kick her out of the station with a warning.

Alana wiped the tears off her face. She gave him a shaky smile. “Sure. I am taking my mom and dad home to rest. Faith and Adam have my son, so I am going to get him. I feel the need to hold him.”

Alana walked back into Alicia’s room and came out with her parents following her. They said their good-byes. Ray came out a few minutes later. His expression was serious and hard. “Better hurry. She is drifting in and out. If you upset her, Noah won’t save you from me kicking your ass.”

Ray didn’t look happy to allow Tony access to his sister. Tony couldn’t blame him. He did hurt Alicia, even though he didn’t intend to. He was anxious to apologize. “I don’t plan on upsetting her, Ray. I know I haven’t acted like it, but I care for your sister a lot.”

Tony slowly opened the door. Alicia was lying on the bed with her eyes closed. She had a stark white bandage on her head. Her left cheek had a large, purple bruise on it. Tony knew her wrists were rubbed raw from being tied up. What kind of hell had she endured before escaping and wandering the roads of Greene County? As much as he wanted Novak, he didn’t want to traumatize her with the horrific memories.

“Alicia?” he whispered. There was so much he wanted to say, but now was not the time. She was injured and vulnerable. She looked so fragile, all he wanted to do was scoop her up into his arms and hold her.

She turned her head to look at him. At first, her eyes lit up. Then she must have remembered, and her eyes went dim. He wanted to cry like a baby. She looked so delicate lying in this cold room. She had a blanket over her body. All the white in the room made her black hair stand out. He wanted to make so many promises he had never made before. It reminded him of when his mom had been sick and he’d begged God to let her live. She hadn’t, and he had been filled with so much bitterness and rage.

“Where is Noah? Is something wrong?” Her voice was scratchy and rough. She avoided looking him straight in the eyes, something she had never done since the moment they met. He had been his usual grumpy self, and she had blithely ignored him and went on being cheerful and chatty. It bothered him, but he deserved it.

“I just wanted to see if you are okay. Noah is in the waiting room with your brother,” he answered, getting closer to the bed. He hated seeing her so hurt. “Your parents need to rest. Alana took them home.”

“I will be fine, so the doctor says,” Alicia answered politely. “Are you here to question me about the car accident? I am having trouble remembering what exactly happened. I remembered the lights were too bright and the car hit us. That’s all.”

“No. I think Noah will talk to you later after you’ve rested,” he said, pulling the chair closer to her bed. “I was worried about you, Alicia. I have been waiting hours for the chance to see you. Matt, Holly, and I were here all night but we didn’t want to wake you. I had to see you for myself.”

“Why? You made it clear you don’t want my friendship. I got your message loud and clear,” she said bitterly. A lone tear escaped from her eye. She turned her head away from him.

“I know I shouldn’t be telling you this while you are hurt. I need you to know the truth, Alicia,” he said softly. “I thought I was holding you back from meeting Mr. Right. I thought I was too old, too rough to interest you. I messed up bigtime, but it all snowballed out of control so quick. I should have tried harder to explain.”

“You hurt me by flaunting your relationship with Dee in front of me, especially once you knew I had feelings for you,” she said angrily. Her eyes were shiny with unshed tears. “I enjoyed our times together, Tony. I looked forward to them. Why does it have to be about my age? Do I act immature? Who gave you the right to make decisions for me?”

“I didn’t have a relationship with Dee. We shared one kiss, that’s all. I swear,” he stated, knowing she was right. He felt like a little boy being chastised. With anyone else, there would be hell to pay. He stayed quiet. She deserved her chance to let her anger get out. He would take it without saying anything back.

“I am sorry for hurting your feelings. I didn’t intend that. I do like you, and I have missed you so much. I regret what I did.” He was sincere about that but she looked skeptical.

“Fine. You apologized. Please excuse me, but I am tired.” She closed her eyes, letting him know she was done talking. Tony sat with her in silence until he knew she was asleep. He got up and took one last look at her. He had his work cut out for him, but at least she was alive for him to have the chance. He would protect her at all costs. He went back out into the waiting room, trying to hide his weariness. Drake and Jasmine were there talking quietly to Noah and Ray. Alana had left with her parents.

“She is out again,” he told them. Jasmine got up and patted his arm. Her blue eyes were shimmering with tears. “I won’t leave her alone, Tony. I know you care about her, and so does she. She’s hurting. Just give her time.”

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