By: L. A. Casey

I had a headache.

A pounding headache.

My stomach was queasy and I felt a little dizzy.

I felt like shite.

I felt like this because I was scared.

I was so damn scared... and all because of a damn plastic stick!

I tried not to look at the stick that would decide my fate as I sat in the main bathroom of the Slater brothers’ house. I focused on the tiled floor and the grout that cemented them in place just to avoid looking up. I counted the tiles and each time I only got to ten or eleven before my head automatically turned to look at the counter.


I hissed at myself and stilled my movements before I could take a peek. I didn’t want to know what the stupid stick said, but I had to know. It was eating away at me and had been for the last hour and a half. I looked up at the ceiling and blinked.

I wish you were here, Ma.

I needed my mother. I needed to vent to somebody about the fucked-up day I’d had. I swallowed and pictured my mother in front of me, and I mentally unloaded everything to her. I told her everything.

Today was a pretty eventful day to say the least.

It was moving day for Keela and Alec. They moved out of their box-sized apartment into a beautiful house, directly across from the brothers’ place in Upton. As a leading member of the fucked-up friendship group we upheld, we were all drafted to help pack up boxes in the old apartment and then unpack them in the new house.

Everyone had some fun packing up, but we also had arguments... and a lot of other bullshit to deal with. Keela had more bullshit than anyone to deal with.

My girl was stressed, and I put it down to moving because that was stressful, but she revealed to me that she wasn’t doing good and it wasn’t just because she was moving to a new house. She was having nightmares about an incident that happened with her uncle and the brothers thirteen months ago. Keela never liked to talk about what happened. I knew the gist of what went down, but not everything. I didn’t know what caused Keela to be so scared... scared enough to still be having night terrors so many months later.

Her nightmares weren’t her only problem though. She wasn’t comfortable with how fast Alec was moving with their relationship. She wanted to enjoy him in the dating game, but he wanted to get married and have babies right away.

The kicker?

Alec knew none of this. Nothing about her nightmares and diddly-squat about her hesitation with what she wanted out of their relationship. This all came out of course... during a surprise housewarming party that Alec arranged. Keela wasn’t impressed at all. She had a bit of a meltdown, and if things weren’t bad enough already, her uncle, cousin Micah and Micah’s wankstain of a husband, Jason, showed up.

You know, the uncle who was really a gangster, the cousin who put the B in Bitch, and her husband who was the biggest dickhead ever? Yeah, those bastards. They showed up, and they caused arguments and physical fights. They had found out about the party thanks to my bastard little brother, Gavin. He was somehow close to Brandon and Jason now, however that situation was too fresh for me to think about right now. I needed time before I even thought about the little fucker that I helped raise.

The whole situation was bad, but what really put the cherry on top of our fucked-up-day-cake was the stupid thing myself, Branna, Bronagh, and Alannah did in Keela’s bathroom for fun.

Before shit hit the fan, we had some drinks to unwind from a long day of packing and unpacking and we thought it would be funny to take pregnancy tests. And it was funny... until Keela showed up and knocked the pregnancy tests into the sink and mixed them up. That wouldn’t normally be a problem, but guess what one of the test results turned out to be?

You guessed it.

One of us was fucking pregnant, and we had no clue who it was.

We had Keela to thank for that.

It got scarier when Alannah ruled herself out of the line-up because she swore there was no tick in her clock for at least six months. So that left Bronagh, Branna, or myself to have the pleasure of being with child.

Ha! Pleasure my arse.

I prayed it was either Bronagh or Branna who was pregnant, simply because those two were in committed relationships, while I wasn’t. The closest I ever got to being in a relationship was the hate/hate thing I had going on with Storm—and he was a dog. And he hated me.

We were going to see who the unlucky lady was, but Keela ran out of pregnancy tests, which, of course, was just fucking typical. She was on her way to go get some more tests when the bastards I mentioned before showed up and things got put on the back burner for an hour or two.

Things were calm now though, and Keela went on her way to our local supermarket with Kane Slater—he was a prick in plain sight—to get more tests. I was impatiently waiting for them to return and so were the lads.

All three of them—Nico, Ryder, and Alec—were sat in the sitting room of Alec and Keela’s house trying to piece a fucking shattered vase back together. I knew it was a lost cause, but I still came over to Ryder’s house for glue when he asked for it.

I had to go to the bathroom though, and that’s how I ended up sitting on a toilet staring at a pregnancy test. I spotted the box on the counter and it had one test left in it. I knew Branna would’ve wanted to use it, but I had to know if it was me who was pregnant.

I just had to know.

Plucking up the courage to actually check what the result was turned out to be more difficult than I anticipated. I was about to peek at the test results when my phone buzzed for what had to be the tenth time in the last five minutes. I didn’t look at it when it first rang because I thought it was Gavin. Giving up, I took it out of my trouser pocket, glanced at the caller ID and saw it was Keela.

I clicked answer.

“Aideen! Finally!” Keela’s voice cried.

I froze. “Keela? What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

“No,” she whimpered. “It’s Kane, he collapsed.”

My heart stopped beating, my stomach churned, my throat closed up, and my head spun. I was acutely aware of how I felt at that moment—I was absolutely terrified.

“What the hell do you mean Kane collapsed?!” I shouted into the speaker of my phone.

“I mean exactly that. We were in Tesco and he just dropped. No warnin’ at all—he just fell. The ambulance is here and the paramedics have him on a stretcher. I’m goin’ to head to the hospital with him. Can you let the brothers know and tell them to get their fuckin’ arses to the hospital right away? None of them are answerin’ their bloody phones.”

My voice was raspy as I asked, “What about the girls? Did you try them?”

Keela hissed, “Their phones are ringin’ out, too. I’m goin’ to fuckin’ kill them all. I’m scared shitless and none of them are answerin’ their poxy phones.”

I blinked my eyes and was surprised when tears fell onto my cheeks.

What the hell?

I quickly wiped under my eyes then took a few deep breaths to calm myself. I would be no good to anyone if I freaked out. I was pretty focused until my best friend showed signs that she was cracking. I squeezed my eyes shut when I heard Keela sniffle on the other end of the phone.

“It’ll be all right, Kay,” I said, hoping the comfort I offered helped her because it did shit for me.

“Just get the brothers and meet me at the hospital, please.”

She hung up and for a long moment, I sat unmoving and tried to process what she’d just told me, but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. It was probably best because I quickly sprung into action by jumping up and running out of the bathroom and out of the Slater household without a backward glance. I sprinted across the road and crashed into Alec and Keela’s front door slamming it open in the process.

“Lads! Omigod, lads!” I screamed as I ran into the sitting room.

“Aideen!” Ryder shouted and grabbed hold of my shoulders when I stumbled into the room. “Calm down and tell us what’s wrong.”

I inhaled and exhaled a couple of times trying to get my breath back. When I did, I looked from Ryder to his brothers and back again.

“Keela called me from the supermarket.”

Alec moved closer. “Is she okay?”

I nodded my head. “She is.”

Nico moved closer, too. “And Kane?”

Tears gathered in my eyes. Again.

I shook my head. “She said it happened so fast. He was standin’ beside her one second and on the floor the next.”

All the brothers widened their eyes, and from behind them Branna and Alannah gasped.

“She tried to ring, but no one answered their phones,” I continued. “She is on her way to the hospital with him. We have to go there right now.”

The next few minutes were a blur of activity with the lads shouting and the girls crying. We all ran out of Alec and Keela’s new house and piled into cars. I went with Ryder and Alec, and Nico went with the girls to get Bronagh.

“He’s goin’ to be okay, isn’t he?” I asked the lads as Ryder flew down the bypass with Nico following close behind before he turned down the road to go get his girl.

I felt a comforting hand grip tightly onto my shoulder. “He is going to be okay.”

I hadn’t talked to God in a long time—not since my mother died when I was little—but on the drive to the hospital I prayed we’d find out what was wrong with Kane and if he was okay. I prayed harder than I ever had before, and I begged Him to let Kane be okay.

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