And I had to give it to him. That would make me unhappy too.

When I didn’t speak, he tore his gaze from me, his eyes caught Hawk’s for a brief moment, he turned and disappeared.


Lawson filled his space and I looked up at him.

“Sweetheart, I hate to say it, but I gotta take your statement.”

I sighed.

Then I remarked, “We have to quit meeting like this.”

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Hawk curled me closer into his side.

Lawson smiled.

Chapter Twenty-Five

You Promised

I opened my eyes.

There was mostly darkness in Hawk’s loft but a soft light was coming from somewhere close.

I was in his bed and he wasn’t. There was no weight, no warmth, no presence. Hawk had a presence. Even if he wasn’t touching you, you knew he was there.

This meant he wasn’t there.

Earlier we all waited at the hospital until Betsy wandered out of Brett’s room. She looked shell-shocked, I knew this and I didn’t even know her but it wasn’t hard to read. Hawk, Dad, Meredith, Elvira and me, along with Betsy and Brett’s parents, all waited until the doctors did their rounds and told Betsy there was no change, he was stable but critical and she should go home and come back in the morning.

Even though her parents were there, Hawk told Dad to take me and he took Betsy home. Her family may have wanted to quibble but Hawk, being Hawk, they didn’t. Elvira followed them because she was spending the night with Betsy.

Dad and Meredith took me to Dad’s friend, Rick’s house because Meredith and Dad were staying with them until their house was livable again.

Rick’s wife Joanie and Meredith tried to get me to eat but I said I’d wait for Hawk. He finally showed, Joanie whipped up some grilled cheese sandwiches under Hawk’s edgy, impatient stare, she wrapped them in foil, put them in a bag, hugs and kisses were exchanged and Hawk whisked me off to his lair.

On the way he didn’t talk, not even a word. I figured this was because his man was down, lying in a hospital bed, condition critical and his unconscious body was going about its duty of fighting for his life. I figured Hawk was hoping Brett’s body would win that battle because I hoped the same. Because this stuff filled his head the same way it was filling mine, and I knew Brett a lot less than Hawk did, I figured he needed to brood so I let him.

When we entered the lair, suddenly finding myself starving, I went direct to the kitchen while Hawk turned on lights. I unwrapped the sandwiches and put them on plates, cutting them on the diagonal. Hawk went to the fridge and got a bottle of water.

When he closed the fridge, I offered him his sandwich with a quiet, “Baby.”

He looked at me, looked at the plate, took the plate, went direct to the garbage bin, opened the pedal with the toe of his boot and dumped the sandwich straight in. Then he dropped the plate to the counter. Then I watched him prowl to his desk, turn on the laptop, turn on the desk lamp, sit down, snap open the top to the water and down a huge gulp.

As I watched this I realized I did not know him at all. I’d known him for a year and a half but I’d only been getting to know him for a week.

It appeared, when one of his boys got hurt, he got moody.

Understandable and good to know.

I ate my sandwich and gave him his space. Then I did the minimal clean up.

Then I stood in the kitchen and called, “Hawk, baby?”

His head came up from his study of the laptop screen but he didn’t speak.

“Do you mind if I watch TV?”

He shook his head once and looked back down at the screen.

Okey dokey.

I watched TV until I was about to fall asleep. Then I turned it off, turned off the lamps in the seating area and wandered to Hawk’s desk.

His eyes didn’t leave the screen.

I stood at the opposite side of his desk from him and waited to get his attention. After several long seconds, his head tipped back and his eyes came to me.

“I’m going to bed,” I informed him.

He nodded his head once and looked back at the screen. I bit my lip and tried to decide what to do.

Then I decided to do what I’d want someone to do if I was in Hawk’s position. I rounded the desk, got close, leaned into him and wrapped my hand around the opposite side of his neck. That neck twisted, his head dipped back and his eyes locked on mine.

“He’ll be okay,” I whispered with a squeeze of my hand and more hope than certainty.

Hawk didn’t respond and when I say this, he didn’t respond in any way. No hardening of the jaw. No muscle moving in his cheek. No flash in his eyes. Nothing. Zip.

So I pulled in breath, dropped my head and touched my lips to his then I moved them to his ear. “Come to bed soon, yeah?”

Then I gave him another squeeze and let him go, turned and moved away. I got ready for bed, climbed in and it took me awhile to find sleep but it came. Then it escaped me when Hawk’s weight hit the bed, his warmth curled into me, his arm slid around me, his knee hitched mine up and I felt him settle.

Tension I felt even in sleep eased from me, I relaxed into him knowing, with him curled into me, his heat seeping in, his power enveloping me, everything was going to be all right.

And now I was alone in bed, it was still the pitch of night and Hawk was gone.

I threw the covers back and slid out of his big bed, heading directly to the stairs. I knew that the light by the battered chair was on as I headed down them even though I couldn’t see it. I turned at the foot of the stairs, took two steps toward the chair and stopped dead.

Hawk was sitting under the light in that chair. He was wearing nothing but cargo pants and he was bent nearly double. He had one elbow in his knee, hand dangling between his thighs. The other elbow was also to his knee but his forearm was lifted so he could curl his hand around his neck. His head was dropped and it stayed that way.

“Baby,” I called softly and his neck bent back, his eyes coming to me but his hand didn’t drop.

Something was wrong with his eyes. Very wrong.

“Baby,” I whispered and started to walk to him.

“I was wrong,” he said quietly as I approached.

“About what?” I asked.

“Us,” he answered and I stopped.

“What?” I was still whispering.

“I was wrong about us,” he replied.

I felt my heart squeeze and, God, did it hurt.

“You were wrong about us?”

He dropped his hand from his neck, lifted his torso partially up but kept his elbows to his knees.

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