One more shot rang out and I heard the shrill announcement. “It’s clear! We have him!”
“Hey you,” she said softly. Then she frowned, her hands were still cradling her stomach. “What happened?”
I shuddered as my hand went to touch her face. I was so terrified I was almost paralyzed. “It’s okay,” I whispered. “Everything is going to be alright?”
She shook her head in a confused daze. Then her hand left her belly and she raised it up to a place where she could see it. She saw that it was covered in blood. “No no, has my baby been shot?” she asked as reality dawned.
Immense panic gripped me at her words. In the distance, I heard my name called, but I did not turn away from her shocked, desperate eyes.
She gripped the front of my shirt, and cried tragically, “My baby... Luca. My baby.”
“Lorenzo!” I roared, as the first paralyzing shock of seeing her blood flow out of her wore off. He was our family medic and I knew he was present at the venue. “Where is Lorenzo?”
He was already rushing to my side. I quickly made room for him so that he could examine her. As he moved his hands over her quickly, Skye’s father and stepmother dropped to the ground a few feet from us. They looked stunned. No one said a word. My father shouted for everybody to move back. Angelo and Sienna rushed over and stood looking down helplessly at Skye.
Lorenzo turned toward me. Lorenzo was so afraid of me he was visibly shaking. Then he began to speak to me, not in English or Italian, but in Sicilian dialect. I understood immediately that he did not want anyone else to understand what he was saying. “It looks like the bullet has not hit any vital organs and the baby is still alive… but if you take her to the hospital, the doctors there might have to make a choice between saving the life of the child or the mother. They will always save the mother and let the child die. I am able to deliver the baby for you, but I cannot promise I can save her.”
Burning fury flared in my chest. I wanted to strangle him with my bare hands. What was the matter with him? Did he really think I was such a monster I would let her die? In a flash I remembered Alessa’s face as she begged me to let her live. How could I blame him? Everyone knew what I had done to her. And even today, I felt no regret. I was a monster.
“Stem her blood flow. I’m taking her to hospital,” I said through gritted teeth.
Someone had brought a first aid kit and he quickly and expertly bandaged the wound tightly.
I immediately went into action. “Can I lift her?”
“Maybe it’s better if we—”
“I’m not waiting for a fucking ambulance. We’re in Italy. It could come in an hour.”
“I was going to say that it would be better if two people carried her.”
“No! I’ll do it myself.”
I could tell the shock was now wearing off and Skye was trying hard to bear the pain. “It’ll be alright my angel. Everything will be all right. I’ll make sure of it. We’re taking you to the hospital now.”
I lifted her carefully into my arms and headed straight out to the waiting SUV.
“I’ll take you,” I heard Angelo say as he snatched the key from Matteo. “We’ll come with. you.”
“No!” I said. “This is your big day. There is nothing you can do for Skye. Everything will be fine. I’ll call you later.”
My father spoke up then. “Your brother is right. Stay and calm your guests down.”
“No,” he said stubbornly, “I want to support Luca,” but when he saw the look I gave him, he understood that I didn’t want him to come with me. I didn’t want to spoil his wedding any more than it had already been. He handed the keys back to Matteo and stepped back.
“She will be fine,” he tried to assure me with a squeeze to my shoulder.
Lorenzo got into the front seat while I carefully got into the back with Skye lying across my lap. Someone closed the door behind me and the car sped away. I stroked her gold hair. She opened her eyes and looked into mine. “If there is a choice to be made. Save my baby. He is my gift to you,” she whispered.
My eyes filled with tears for the first time in years. God, how wrong I was. How completely wrong I had been about her. I had let the past cloud my eyes over. She was indeed an angel. All the emotion I had forced myself not to feel bubbled over. My tears fell on her fair cheek. “Don’t cry, Luca. I love you.”