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By:L. A. Casey

I heard a patting sound. “We’ll protect her, and the baby.”

“We have to, they’re both my life.”

“She’s a Slater, we take care of our own.”

I heard the pride in Kane’s voice when he said, “Yeah, I guess she is a Slater.”

“She is, and so are the other three. Bronagh, Branna, Keela and Aideen are it for you guys, I can tell just by the way you all talk about them.”

Kane sighed. “Ryder and Branna are struggling.”


“Dominic mentioned he was worried about them,” Damien murmured.

“It’s bad, and I don’t think they’re going to come out of it still together.” He lowered his voice more. “Don’t say that to any of the girls, God only knows what they will do if they knew Ryder and Branna might break up for real.”

I inwardly rolled my eyes.

We weren’t stupid, we knew things with Ryder and Branna weren’t good. We were just more optimistic than the lads that they would work it out. I had faith in the pair of them. Everyone has their bad patches, and this was Ryder and Branna’s.

I opened my eyes and moved when I heard a voice outside the door of my room. It sounded similar to Damien, which meant it was Nico.

“That’s Nico,” I rasped.

Kane looked at me with surprised eyes before he switched his attention to Damien and jerked his head in the direction of the door. Without speaking a word, Damien leaped to his feet and shot over to the door and hid behind it.

Kane rubbed his hands together and looked to me. “Ten euros he cries.”

I snorted, but didn’t take the bet.

Kane and I looked to the door when Nico stepped into the room, pocketing his phone.

“Hey,” he smiled at me as he slapped hands with his brother. “I thought you’d be sleeping.”

“I’ll sleep later,” I whispered.

A shadow moved behind Nico, and with a hidden smile, I watched as Damien crept up behind his brother.

“Are you feeling better?” Nico asked me, his eyes filled with concern.

“Of course she is,” Damien responded. “She finally saw my face in person, and that makes everything better.”

Nico swung around so fast he almost tripped himself up.

“Damien!” he roared. “What the fuck?”

Like lightening Nico sprung forward, and dove onto Damien who was laughing as he opened his arms wide. Nico’s chest collided with Damien’s and his arms wrapped around his twin while his face dropped to Damien’s shoulder.

Damien was smiling as he clapped his hands against Nico’s back, but he soon lowered his head to Nico’s shoulder and they let their emotions out.

I let my emotions out too; I was in tears watching them.

“You’re both making Aideen cry, you assholes.”

Both Nico and Damien laughed as they separated and wiped their eyes discreetly. They only parted for a second though, because they quickly hugged again. They patted each other on the back a lot and called each other crude names.

“You fucking dick,” Nico stated and punched Damien in the shoulder. “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming home? I was not prepared, bro, not prepared at all. You just made me fucking cry!”

Damien laughed and wiped under both of his eyes. “What? You’re too cool to cry?”

“I don’t cry!” Nico growled, brushing the back of his right hand across his cheeks.

I grunted. “You cried when Kane was in hospital and we found out he was going to be okay.”

Kane perked up. “Aww, sweet little brother, you do care.”

“Fuck you, Kane!” Nico snapped then flicked his eyes to me. “Couldn’t have kept that to yourself, could you, princess?”

I grinned. “No, husband.”

Nico’s lip quirked.

“What does she mean by husband?” Damien questioned, his eyebrow raised.

“Yeah,” Kane chimed in, his brows drawn together. “What the fuck does she mean by husband?”

Nico chortled. “The day you collapsed I had to pretend to the security guard in the ER that Bronagh, Branna, Aideen and Alannah were all my wives. He said they needed to be family so I said they were. He believed me, too,” he said proudly.

Kane waited only a second before he burst into laughter. Damien and Nico quickly followed suit.

I rolled my eyes.


“Worst day ever,” I whispered.

That shut them up.

Kane leaned over to me and kissed my head. “I think the worst day ever occurred last night, babydoll.”

When I got hurt.

I blinked. “Do you think he knows I didn’t die?”

The brothers’ faces hardened. Any mention of Big Phil, or their old life, seemed to have that effect on them.

“Wait till I find that motherfucker,” Nico grumbled under his breath.

“Not here,” Kane muttered to his brother then focused on me. “Don’t think about him, he doesn’t deserve a second of your time. Think about our little one. It’s not long now until he is here.”

I didn’t think I would ever stop thinking about the man who almost killed my unborn child, an innocent student, as well as me.

I thought of Caleb then, and felt so grateful to him. Most teenage boys wouldn’t have risked getting hurt in order to help a teacher of theirs, but Caleb did. I met his parents earlier in the day and thanked them profusely for their son’s bravery. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him, because like me, his throat was pretty torn up from coughing. The good news was he would be leaving the hospital soon, which comforted me; it meant he wasn’t harmed as badly as he could have been.

I smiled for Kane’s sake and said, “She.”

Kane grinned. “You aren’t going to let up on that, are you?”

“Nope, because she is a girl,” I whispered.

“You’re going to give my son a complex, calling him a girl all the time.”

I smiled wide and rested my head back against my pillow.

“Where is Bee?” Damien asked Nico as the three of them sat down.

Damien sat back down on the end of my bed, but was mindful that he didn’t touch my injured leg. You couldn’t miss it though even if you tried. The cast on it was bright blue, and there was a ramp of sorts along with pillows tucked under it to keep it elevated.

Nico jabbed his thumb over his shoulder. “She was following me up. She wanted to park my car.”

“And you let her?” Damien gasped.

Nico laughed. “I taught her how to drive, she’s decent.”

The ‘for a girl’ he implied in that statement was silent.

“I want to freak her out,” Damien stated happily. “How will I do that?”

Nico stood up and shrugged out of his grey hoodie. “Put this on and sit with your back to the door. There are no extra seats so she will sit on your lap thinking you’re me.”

Oh, this was going to be so good.

Damien had a shit-eating grin on his face as he put Nico’s hoodie over his head. Nico moved over to the door and hid in the same spot Damien did only minutes before. Damien then sat in Nico’s seat and pulled up the hood as Kane fluffed up the blanket on the bed, making it look like there was less room to sit down than there really was.

We waited a few minutes, but when the door to my room opened, we all held our breath.

“Hey,” Bronagh whispered as she stepped into the room and closed the door behind her without turning around.

“She’s awake,” Kane smiled. “No need to whisper.”

“Oh,” Bronagh frowned and walked over. “Have you slept much?”

I shook my head.

“How are you feelin’?” she asked as her eyes scanned the room for a seat. When she saw there was none, she did exactly what Nico said she would do. She touched Damien’s shoulder and she moved around him and sat on his lap. Damien’s arms went around her, snuggling against her.

“I’m much better,” I whispered, smiling.

Bronagh’s eyes brightened. “I’m so happy to hear that, after last nice that’s so good to hear. You’re on the mend.”

I nodded my head and just stared at her.

She was unknowingly resting against Damien’s chest. She glanced at Kane and myself and furrowed her eyes when she found us staring. She leaned her head back to speak to who she thought was Nico, but as soon as her eyes landed on Damien’s face, she instantly widened them.

“Damien!” she screamed and wrapped herself around him.

I threw my uninjured arm up in the air.

“How can she tell?” I rasped and tucked my burned forearm against my chest. “I want to know the difference between them, I don’t like not knowin’.”

Kane was laughing at me, and so was Nico who came out of the corner of the room. He lost his smile as he walked over and kicked his brother’s leg when Damien’s hand slipped very low on Bronagh’s back.

“Oh, give me a break,” Damien groaned. “I haven’t touched her in years!”

“I love you, but I’ll break all your fingers if you don’t let go of her.”

Damien removed his hands from Bronagh and held them up in the air. Snickering he said, “She’s the one who is all over me, bro.”

“Damn it, Bronagh,” Nico snapped, but he had a smile on his face as he said it.

“I’m not lettin’ go,” Bronagh cried. “He might run away again.”