“Bathroom,” he grunted.

They headed down the main aisle with its meager scrapping of various candy bars and an assortment of toiletries. Somehow on the same shelf. The tile floors were rusted. The overhead light was missing the covering and one of the bulbs was burned out. This was the last place she ever thought she’d see Beckham Anderson.


She made it to the bathroom and turned her nose up at the look of the place. It wasn’t warehouse gas station disgusting, but it certainly wasn’t going to be sanitary for what they needed to do. Oh well.

“Sit,” she commanded, pushing his ass down on the toilet seat.

The fact that he didn’t argue showed her how much pain he actually was in. Though he remained stoic and silent as ever, she knew what lurked beneath. He reached into his boot and unsheathed a wicked-looking blade.

He offered it to her. She looked at it in horror. Oh God…she would have to do this. Why didn’t they have Meghan with them? A fucking nurse would help right about now.

“I should get ice or alcohol or…or something.”

His eyes were dark as they stared back at her. “Just do it.”

Reyna took the knife out of his hand. She had to do this. There was no other option. Reyna sliced down the front of his button-down and peeled away the material. Beckham grit his teeth every time it pulled on the wounds. But she didn’t stop until he was shirtless. Six bullets were lodged in his chest. One had gone straight through his shoulder. Two more were in his arms. How the hell he’d held her with bullets in his arms was beyond her. And she hadn’t even gotten to his legs.

Reyna assessed the situation and then moved forward. Beckham wasn’t human. He could sustain much more pain than the average person, but he couldn’t go on with this.

The first dig of the blade into his skin made her queasy. He didn’t even flinch as she pushed the knife deeper into the wound. Lodging the point behind the bullet, she jerked it out of the hole. Blood gushed from the open wound, now no longer obscured by a foreign object.

A soft moan escaped Beckham as pain lanced him. Reyna rushed for a paper towel to staunch the bleeding, but Beckham stopped her.

“Finish it.”

“You’ll bleed out.”

“I’ll heal,” he said.

Reyna gritted her teeth and moved on to the next bullet. She had to find a place within herself that didn’t feel Beckham’s pain, that didn’t react to his short gasps, that didn’t acknowledge the blood rushing down his perfect chest. She was calm, numb, empty. She had to be. Her emotions were always too close to the surface, and any other way she looked at it she would break down at the sight of his suffering. It was easier to be present enough to remove the bullets but otherwise be absent.

She’d never been to this place before. Her courage had always sprung from her inherent hotheadedness. She’d been trying to quell that to a degree, but it was nothing compared to this moment. She needed steely inner strength. To be fearless.

All that mattered was that Beckham healed. Everything else slipped away. She’d deal with her feelings about what she was doing at a later date.

Her hands were steady as she dislodged a bullet from his arm. It had embedded into the bone and digging it out was a feat. And when it came free, it squelched and the bullet tinged on the ground. That was the last of the upper half. She stared down at his muscular legs, solid like tree trunks. Those beautiful legs with holes in them. She let the thought drift away and started in on his thighs.

Dig in, cut, pull, blood.

Rinse and repeat.

Again and again.

Her hands were coated with sticky red blood. Her body coated in a thin sheen of sweat. Her breathing even and measured. She didn’t risk speaking.

The last bullet came out with a small pop. That was it. That was the end. Everything rushed back to her all at once. A rattling sound penetrated her sharp inhale. Reyna dropped the knife, it clattered noisily on the tile floor. Blood was everywhere. The room looked like a fucking murder scene. Blood coated her clothes, coated Beckham’s body, it was all over the floor and the walls and even the ceiling.

Reyna stood on shaky knees and moved to the sink. She turned the water to the hottest setting and ran her now trembling hands under it. She felt the burn but all she saw was blood. She washed her hands and forearms until they were raw, and still all she saw was blood red.

She turned back to face him. “We need to clean you up.”

A gurgling sound came from Beckham’s throat. That was when she noticed what her brain hadn’t been able to process before.

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