Hope Is Lost (Ocean Beach #2)(4)

By: Emma James

Levi steps away from Keanu a little defensively. “Nobody hurt her. She did it to herself. Short Stuff’s making it into an art form.” Levi’s attempting some humor in light of what has happened.

Keanu looks a little worriedly at Levi. “I gather she got a look at that leg of yours. I can see a shirt here for Faith.” He holds his hand up dramatically, using it to express each word. “CAUTION: LOSS OF LIMB AND SHITTY MOCKTAILS CAUSES SWOONING. She could wear a nice tank top with that printed on it, and on the back, it could say, THESE ARE MY TRIGGERS.” Now he’s looking at us all and pointing his finger at us. “Nobody else lose a limb. That’s an order.”

“Keannnuuu.” I know it’s his way of coping, and I love him, but he really does need a filter sometimes.

He ignores my warning and focuses on Faith. “This is shaping up to be quite a memorable few days for you, honey. Gotta admit, you’re not boring.” His attention settles on all of us. “On a more serious note, what are y’all standing around for? She’s bleeding all over the place, and that head of hers isn’t gonna fix itself. Chop! Chop!”

Then he leans over and gently kisses Faith on the top of her head.

“Sorry to see you are in the trenches again.” He drops his voice. “Don’t worry about Levi. I’ve got him.” He gives her a wink that puts a small smile on her face. “You might also wanna pick up some toothpaste on the way out.” He screws his face up and waves his hand in front of his face, and she smiles a little bit more. “That’s my girl.”

Once I help her get up, my brother is attached to her before I can do anything else, his arm secured around her waist.

“Okay, looks like we are off for a trip to Doc’s office.”

Text turns and starts heading towards the front entrance of the gym with Faith.

I call out to my brother. “I’ll drive, and you look after Faith in the back seat.”

With the fierce protectiveness vibe coming off him, I know there’s no way he’s letting go of her or being separated from her. He’s marked his territory, and nobody is getting between him and Faith at the moment.

“Whoever else wants to come along for the ride can pile into the Hummer; otherwise, I’ll talk to you later.”

Keanu and Levi follow us out to the front entrance.

“I’ll stay here with Levi. I’ve been through this already with Faith, so I’ll do some counselling with my good buddy here.” Keanu looks over at his best friend, slapping Levi on the shoulder. It looks like he needs some reassurance about his manly good looks and a dose of, it’s-not-your-fault. “You can call me Dr. Phil.” Levi rolls his eyes. “I expect Faith to be looking as good as new by the time we see her next. Or at least in the condition you brought her to The Cage in.”

I shake my head at Keanu. He’s always the humorous one when things get a bit sticky, but it’s part of what makes Keanu so special.

He waves us off. “Keep in touch. I’ll let Retro know Faith has bonked herself again. We’ll come over later and say hi. ”

Fuck! I can’t stop my hands from shaking, and my heart needs to slow its pounding beat. When I looked over the stairs and saw Faith laid out, my worst fears hit me like a derailed train. I can’t lose Faith, too.

I nearly lost it on those stairs until my brother told me what she had done. I saw two things: blood and Faith. And that was enough to bring my worst fears to my mind. When she was flat on her back, I was looking around for a gunman. My first thoughts were somebody had shot her. What else was I supposed to think? I’ve been in one massacre, and it does crazy things to your mind. Stuff stays there and haunts you.

Who would have thought she had hit the staircase? What’s more, how the hell can you keep hitting your head like she does? You can’t make this shit up when it comes to Faith.

I know Keanu was trying to make light of what happened. His eyes kept zeroing in on me and what I must look like to him. I know he tried to keep it light for Faith so she didn’t flip out, because I was doing enough flipping out for the both of us. This is my first time seeing her hurt, though. Keanu and Levi have already witnessed her attack on the coffee table.

Only her forehead is split back open, nothing more, and I need to remind myself of that. She has all her body parts intact, she’s alive, and there’s no bomber or danger imminent. I really need to get a grip. It’s not good, but it’s not life or death. The one thing I have learned is Faith is tough; she bounces.

Shit. I have to apologize to Levi. I shouldn’t have behaved that way. I was acting like a jealous prick.

We all forget Levi has lost a leg. We only see him as a whole person, but he’s reminded of it every time somebody takes a second glance at him. He plays it off as being about his good looks, but I know he is aware that people are reacting to his lost limb. He’s a model who carries his confidence well, but underneath it all, he lost a limb, which we all take for granted. I just made him feel worse than he was already feeling.

It wasn’t about it being his fault, because it wasn’t. It was my caveman instincts taking over. Nobody can see that, but I feel it.

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