His love looked absolutely broken, but he couldn’t comfort her. Not yet. Tucker had seen the gun in the Monster’s hands, and he needed to take absolute precaution when entering this scene.
If the Monster had laid another hand on her, he would have finished the bastard off in the blink of an eye, to hell with his own safety, to hell with how this would look to the police. But the sicko just kept on his drunken rage, giving Boss and Brad time to get positioned.
After a few excruciating minutes, Tucker moved to gain a better view. When he shifted positions, he saw Brad perched along a tree and Boss between some bushes. There. They could all three see each other, as well as the Monster and Ann. Time to take control of the scene.
He took a quick peek at Ann and his heart swelled with pride. Ann escape the ropes and was waiting to make the move. He was ready to make his move, too. Damn they were a great team.
Boss signaled the tactic they would use to take over the situation, and Tucker tensed his muscles, prepared to launch.
When Ann slumped forward, Tucker’s heart sank again. He was too late! It nearly unraveled his focus.
The Monster took a single step towards Ann and all three descended upon him.
Tucker went straight for the pencil dick Reginald. As he got within a few feet, he heard the click of the gun. Someone had pulled the trigger, but nothing had happened.
Tucker flattened the Monster to the ground and subdued him more roughly than necessary. He finally had his hands on this monster, and he wanted to beat him bloody. But then he looked back and saw Ann in Boss’s arms. She was limp. Her blonde, bloodied hair hung over Boss’s arms. He wanted to hold her more than he wanted to kill the monster.
Brad came over and subdued the Monster, and Tucker ran over to Boss and took Ann from his arms. She was a bloody mess. They dialed 9-1-1 and waited for help to arrive.
Tucker took note of Ann’s body and realized she most likely had a couple of broken ribs in addition to egg on her head and gash near her mouth. Her perfect mouth. Oh he wanted to kiss those sweet lips. She was such a fighter. She didn’t deserve any of this.
He had to think on the positive side. That is what Ann would have wanted. She was still alive. Still breathing. She would live to see another day.
He hoped. He hoped he was right.
The police arrived shortly and made quick work of Reginald.
The EMTs arrived shortly thereafter and took Ann off on a stretcher. She still had not come out of it; she was still passed out, oblivious to the chaos that was happening around her.
The police had a million questions, but he couldn’t think straight. He wanted to be with Ann. He wanted to comfort her, to be there when she awoke, because damn his twisted heart she most likely would wake frightened.
The rest of the afternoon whirled by, answering questions for the police, filling them in on what he knew, how this event came about, and everything in between.
When he was finally free, he headed straight for the hospital. That night he stayed by her side the entire night. She looked so frail. She was hooked up to a million different monitors and machines, her face had been cleaned and bandaged, but she still had specks of blood in her hair, a startling contrast to the white of her hair.
She looked so small and vulnerable. That was not the Ann he had grown to know. Despite her small size, she always took life on in a big way. Big dreams. Big accomplishments. She ran fast. She showed up to play even when it was difficult.
He would never get used to her looking so fragile. This was not the Ann he knew, the one who took life by the horns. The one that wanted to rumble in the gym, that wanted to run in the park, the one that coaxed him into a spanking. No, she had so much spark and so much energy. She needed to wake up, to live life without fear, and selfishly he wanted to hear her voice again.
She would be free to go back to her old life, he realized with sudden keen awareness. When she woke, with the Monster facing decades of time behind bars, she would be free to return to her home, to her first home, across the country. She would be free to once again take over her business, pursue her passions, and live freely.
That thought hurt, a crippling pain, as he realized how many miles would be between them. A relationship probably wouldn’t be in her future with him. When she has the whole world at her beck and call, and men lined up for days just to see her pretty face, he would be an afterthought. The one that made a living “beating people bloody” would not seem so appealing.
He didn’t like looking at his profession that way. He helped kids get ahold of their lives and make something of themselves, not learn to fight or beat each to a pulp. They learned self-control, self-discipline, how to defend themselves, how to throw a punch, how to win. It wasn’t a dog fight. It was a battle of technical skills, athleticism and focus.
He knew not everyone would see it that way, though. His heart sank a bit. It might be best if he just left now, and let her go about her life when she awoke, free from the awkward conversation that was destined to follow, and free him from the worst heartbreak of his life. He should just go home and lick his wounds in private.