Hope Is Lost (Ocean Beach #2)(3)

By: Emma James

The pain Levi must have endured… I can’t even begin to fathom.

“Why the hell wasn’t I told about Levi? I mean, Keanu and I have been through this already, and I would have thought that was an icebreaker. I would’ve thought I was good to go for knowing about Levi, but obviously not!” I snap out.

Now it’s Levi’s turn for a dressing down, so I soften my voice. “Levi, when were you going to tell me, honey? Are you sure there are no more surprises waiting around the corner that you lot don’t think I’m capable of knowing about?” I pause to get myself under control. “This is the perfect opportunity to tell me because I really can’t hit anything else from this position.” I feel so many emotions at the moment. I’m having trouble sorting through them all.

They are all watching me like I’ve lost it, but I can’t seem to stop myself. I think the combination of seeing Levi and cracking my head open has me babbling and a little unhinged. As my world starts to spin a little, I begin feeling nauseous. A small groan escapes me, and Jase nearly jumps out of his skin.

“Sorry Jase, I’m feeling like I’m going to puke from my head hurting so freakin’ much. Not that I’m complaining.” I wasn’t supposed to let that slip out, but the darn room won’t stop spinning, so I flop back against Jase’s hard chest. “I think I might need a bucket…”

In my rant, I let the towel slip, and Jase picks it up and wipes my face then places it back over my forehead.

“I’m sorry for making a mess all over your mats,” I mumble out because I really am not feeling very hot. I just can’t seem to shut up. “I’m doing really well with my reactions to you and Keanu. Sorry, Levi, I’m not trying to be insensitive.” I take a moment to try and stay quiet, but I simply can’t. “I’m not sure why I have to make such a spectacle out of myself each time. It really is starting to get a little embarrassing.”

I’m waving my hand around now slowly, hoping it will counteract me being a blabbermouth.


“Levi what do you call your leg prosthetic?” Oh, God, is that even an appropriate thing to ask? “What I mean is, do you have a personalized name for it that I need to know?”

Somebody shut me up.

Gag me.

Trying to hide underneath the towel that’s on my forehead, I nudge Jase’s hand down a bit. When Levi nudges it back up so he can see me, he’s smiling a little.

“Wow, I would honestly have never known. You look beautiful.” I pause, hoping it’s enough to shut me up.


“I’m babbling… I know… It’s not you Levi; it’s me. Please know that. I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did, I—”

Levi silences me with a finger on my lips and a bit more of a smile appears. “It’s a running blade, Short Stuff. I use it in here so I can be light on my feet when I’m boxing, and like Keanu, I have different prosthetics, depending on what my day to day activities are, but we can talk about that later. Rest assured, I don’t have any fancy names like Keanu, although I do have a fancy prosthetic called the X3, and it’s the bomb.” He cringes slightly. “Maybe not the best word choice.”

One of the trainers brings over a plastic lined bucket for Jase to put beside my head, and when he hovers, Jase waves him away, knowing I wouldn’t want an audience if I’m going to puke my guts up.

“Well, you look as beautiful as always.” My voice is rising as I try to keep the nausea I’m feeling at bay.

God, I feel awful.

I try to sit up straighter, hoping that might help. “Levi, honey, I need you to understand that in no way do I want you to feel upset for my lunatic behavior. I got a shock and tried to hide it in true klutz fashion that didn’t end well for me. I’ve just made an ass out of myself… again.”

Whoa, this isn’t going to end well.

I clutch my stomach, and then my hand flies to my mouth. “I feel sick.”

Text helps Faith to hold the bucket as she empties her breakfast into it. When she’s finished he moves her slightly so he can use one arm to pull his T-shirt off over his head. Then he hands it to her to wipe herself up with it.

“Sorry about that everybody.” She lies back against Text’s chest and closes her eyes. “I think I might just stay here a bit longer”—she holds a finger up at nobody in particular—“and nobody tells my parents.” She lets the hand holding the towel slide down.

Faith sure has made a mess of her face. She looks like a victim of a college horror movie with a gaping gash and more blood spilt than should be necessary.

Faith opens her eyes briefly. “I’m good,” she mumbles.

Keanu has perfect timing. He appears over Levi’s shoulder, ready to hit the gym. “Shit! What happened to Faith? Is she going to be all right?” Now he’s looking accusingly at all of us with his hands on his hips in the way only Keanu can. “Who’s causing Faith to swoon? That’s my job?” Then he looks down at Faith who has her eyes open, smiling a bit of a crazy smile at him. “Hey, honey, whatcha doing making a mess of Text’s gym? He has a blood rule in here, you know.”

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