Twenty

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[Liam]

Still groggy, I try to piece together what Ash is saying. The wind howls outside and I'm glad to have my whole family safe here in front of me.

"That's risky," Sam says deep in thought.

"We have to try. My information is limited, I have someone on it now, but this may just be a matter of showing him who's city he's in now."

"Wait," I blink heavily. "Are you going to. . . you know?"

I mime a gunshot.

"It shouldn't come to that."

Not very reassuring. I meet his gaze. He would do it too. Ash could kill anyone and get away with it. The money and connections on him and his family are enough to get away with a presidential assassination.

Besides, he has an out. He's leaving the country on June 1st. Fuck.

"This is my fault." Sam sighs.

"None of that," Ash hushes him. "Your problems are our problems."

I lay a hand on Audrey Rose's head. She breaths softly, curled up at the end of the bed, drooling on Sam's arm.

"We stick together, nothing is more important than this family." I agree.

"I'll keep you updated. For now though, Sam will you get a crib?" Ash asks.

Moments later Sam comes back with a rolling hospital crib, Audrey Rose goes down in it.

"Liam you need to rest, I'm going to find Camille and the Doctor's Collins. Sam, we're imposing already we better ask if they need help." Ash commands. "This blizzard is said to last for at least two weeks."

I lay back and settle into the pillows. Audrey Rose's soft breathing lulling me to sleep.

I was scared when they brought me in. The stab wound hurt so badly, the lights whirred past when they wheeled me down on the gurney.

I thought I was going to die. Without saying goodbye to my family, without telling my Aunt Lilly that I loved her. Without telling Evie. . .

Yet part of me. . . I wanted to see my mom again.

The howling wind outside forces me to close my heavy eyes. Maybe I'd see her in my dreams.

[Ash]

"Sam it'll be fine. They need more AB blood just suck it up." I pinch the bridge of my nose and try to coddle Sam into donating for the hospital. I want to go find Camille and check on her.

"What if I die? I haven't told Ollie I love him yet." Sam whines.

"They'll give you a cookie when you're finished." I try.

"Really?" Sam raises a brow. "Like that's gonna work on me. I'm not a child you know."

"What about a sticker, dear." The nurse smiles kindly.

"You know I'll donate but not because of the sticker or anything." Sam's face twitches as he tries not to smile.

When he finally settles in to be poked I run off towards the nurses station.

"Where can I help?" I ask a young nurse pouring over some charts. She glances up with a blush, doing a double take.

"Um. . . We ugh need you to fill out a volunteer sheet." She mumbles sliding the paper over the counter.

I scrawl out the information and sign my name.

"There. . . Alice." I read her name tag and watch her swoon.

"They could us—use help in the NICU." She points down the west hall.

"Thank you." I turn and make for the wing. At least that'll be something easier.

When I open the door I see Camille sleeping with two babies in her hands. A chill runs through me as I get the feeling I'll see her like this again.

She's been donating blood too, there's a bandage around her arm. I go to the nurse in the next room and ask who I should grab.

Carefully, as directed, I pick up a tiny little baby. Florence her name tag read. Taking the rocking chair beside Camille I cuddle the baby. Her mother had been a meth addict the nurse said.

"I hope you grow strong and healthy," I whisper. Her  eyes stay closed, unable to open, but she squirms in my arms.

When I look up, Camille is staring at me. She looks away when I meet her eyes. Strange.

"Camille?" I ask softly.

She stands forcefully and sways a bit. I move Florence to one arm and steady Camille with the other.

"How much blood did you give? Please, sit down."

"I'm fine." She says.

She walks to put her sleeping wards back into their incubators. Juliet and Bellamy their tags read.

I walk with her, concerned. She seems. . . cold. I haven't felt so unsure around her since the day she came tumbling through Evie's window.

"Camille?" I try. She meets my eyes.

My heart stops and I clutch Florence tightly. Her lashes are wet, her eyes pained. Silent tears run down her face.

"Why do you leave me out? I thought I was a part of this family too. . . I—I feel so foolish." She sobs quietly, not wanting to wake the babies.

Oh. What have I done?

"It's not like that. Not at all. I—We—I had to discuss something delicate." I reach for her with my free hand.

"And I couldn't be included?" She bats my hand away and I freeze.

I've never dealt with another person so closely. Of everyone in my life, I only care about her and Audrey Rose. Well, when it comes to what they think of me. How could I make her smile disappear. . .

"I don't want you to know what I'm capable of. I. . . I don't want you to be around me when I have those thoughts."

"That's what this is about?" She stops mid sniffle. "Asher Klein I don't care about that. I want all of you. The good and the bad. Don't leave me out."

"I don't want you to leave me." I admit.

"It would take an awful lot to turn me away."

"Camille." I sigh.

Florence squirms in my arms again and I look down.

"You're too rough with her. Girls just want to be held." She echoes what she said all those months ago.

So I reach out for her and hold her. Kissing the top of her head. Florence settles. Camille clutches my shirt and wraps her arms around me too.

I'm treading dangerous waters, but I've never wanted to swim so badly in all my life.

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