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I look around the waiting area. A little couple probably in their eighties sit in the corner, holding each other’s hands.

“I happened to be there at the right time. What’s wrong with her?”

“She OD’d on cocaine, which caused a seizure. If you hadn’t found her and called 911, she probably wouldn’t be with us.” I let out a puff of air.

“I wanted to let you know that she is stable, and we will be releasing her in the morning.” He smiles, his brown eyes tired but kind.

He turns to my parents. “You must be very proud of your son. I only wish my daughter’s boyfriend was like him,” he says, patting my dad on the back.

“Reed, if you want to see her, you can. Visiting hours are almost over, so you should make it quick.”

He nods at all of us and goes to the nurses’ station.

I slink down in the slippery hospital chair. My parents along with Jax sit next to me. I’m tired and hungry.

“You want some coffee? Before you go see her?” my dad asks.

“I’m not seeing her.” My parents look at me and frown.

“Reed, I think you should at least stop by.”

“No.” I stand up.

“Son, I know this is awkward, but she’s your girlfriend.”

“No, she’s not. She never really was, Dad.” Tired, I rub my hands across my face.

“Truth is, I had just broken up with her. That’s why I was at her room to say goodbye. I’m not the good guy.” Leaning back, I close my weary eyes.

“For all I know, she planned it.”

“That’s a little harsh, Reed,” my dad says with a sigh. “Since we are all here, let’s talk.”

I snort. “You’re kidding, right?”

“Reed, even if this was a cry for help, attention… whatever, she’s still a human being. And you were spending time with her.”

“Dad, I’m tired. I don’t want to talk about my personal life.”

“Okay, I can respect that, but if you broke up with her because of Tess…”

“Did you know she was back?” I look at my parents. My mom nods yes.

“So… my whole family knew that Tess was back. And not one of you thought I should know?”

“Honey, we didn’t want you to be upset. You know how you are with her—look at what happened today.”

Suddenly exhausted, I stare at my mother. “Mom, Tess had nothing to do with Lexi being a nut job!”

“Shh, lower your voice. Someone could hear you. I’m not saying that. It’s only I wanted you to be happy. And if I had told you Tess was back…” Her voice trails off.

“We were waiting for her to contact us before we said anything.” My dad takes my mom’s hand.

“What?” Looking at all three of their guilty faces. “You seriously thought Tess would not come back to me?”

Jax sighs. “Reed, it was more than—”

“Shut up, Jax.” I stand up. “I’m tired. I need some sleep.”

My mom looks as if she’s going to cry.

Taking a breath, I try to get ahold of my anger. “Don’t worry. I’m not a complete ass. I’ll stop by and check on Lexi later. Hopefully she will get some help.”

“I didn’t know she was that bad. Should I talk to Dimitri?” My dad looks genuinely surprised.

“I think, when this happens, they make you get help. But yeah, she could use some.” Feeling slightly guilty about ratting her out, I look away for a moment and turn back to him. He frowns but nods.

“Reed?” My mom goes to hug me. “Please don’t be upset. We were trying to protect both of you. I thought you were trying to have a relationship with Lexi. I… I should have told you about Tess. I see that now.”

“I’m over it, Mom. Getting upset is pointless now.” I give her a hug and nod at my dad and Jax as I jog out the hospital doors.

Starting my new Ferrari, I command my car to call Brance. It rings and goes to voice mail. Slamming my fist on the steering wheel, I wince at the sting in my right hand where I punched the tile in the bathroom. I hang up and try again.

“Goddamn it, Brance, answer.” Listening to the phone ring, I reach over to disconnect right when Brance answers.

“Reed! You do know I’m under no obligation to answer to you!” Brance sniffs into the phone.

With a sharp exhale, I grip the steering wheel tightly and start to back out of the hospital’s garage.

“You sound like shit. Is Tess staying with you?”

“Nice, thanks for your good energy. Why would I ever tell you anything about Tess, you entitled dick?” He blows his nose into the phone.

“What the fuck, Brance?” I say, weaving in and out of traffic.

“I’m sick. And going to bed. Goodbye.”

“Don’t you dare, man. I have had a shit day and shittier three years. I’m on my way to your place. Let your guards know.”

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