Chapter 24

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In slow motion I watched Leigh falling face first onto the bed. He landed heavily, then began to slide off. I slammed the door and threw myself towards him, just in time to catch his head as he thumped down to the carpet.

"Leigh! Leigh, wake up!" No good. His usually smiling features were slack, his whole body limp and heavy.

"What do I do?" I panted out loud. Pop! Of course. Scrambling through Leigh's pockets, I found his phone and dialled for help.

"Leigh, my darling boy!" Pop answered with his usual boom. "I don't suppose..."

"Pop, it's Keira," I broke in desperately. "Leigh's unconscious, these guys were chasing us, I heard a shot but he's not bleeding or anything, I don't know..."

Pop's turn to interrupt me. "They will have shot him with a sedative. You have to search him, Keira. Look for a dart or a puncture wound."

Frantically I pulled off his jacket and scanned Leigh's arms. Nothing. I reached down to unbuckle his jeans, but a glint of metal caught my eye. "There's a syringe hanging out of his calf!"

"Pull it out, quickly, and see if there's any writing on the outside."

The strange pharmaceutical words seemed dark and dangerous. I sounded them out carefully to Pop.

"Okay, now check his breathing and heart rate for me." Pop talked me through a very basic medical check on Leigh, the tension in his voice easing with every answer and measurement I relayed to him.

"All right, I believe Leigh will be okay for now. The sedative they used will wear off in a few hours and all his vitals are stable. Keep an eye on him and I'll get there as soon as I can, probably by morning. Now, tell me what happened, from the start."

Hearing myself relay the story, the awfulness of what had just happened hit me hard. I began to weep. "It's my fault, those guys were looking for me, Leigh was just trying to protect me, I shouldn't have let him come in the first place..."

"Keira," Pop said in a gentle voice, "this isn't your fault. If you hadn't thought so fast on your feet, things would be a lot worse. Leigh owes his freedom to you, if not his life."

I looked down on Leigh's kind face, wet from my tears. I cradled his head and stroked his hair. "I just want him to be alright."

"He will be, sweet girl. I'll be there soon." Pop hung up and I was left alone.

Over the next hour, I organised things as best I could. With great heaving and much difficulty, I managed to pull Leigh onto the bed. Pop had warned me that Leigh's temperature might spike because of the sedative. Keeping him cool was vital so I pulled off his shoes and jeans, leaving him wearing his t-shirt and boxers. I braced a chair under the door handle and placed a glass on top, a rudimentary warning system. Wetting a towel in the bathroom, I washed Leigh's face and checked his breathing and heart rate every five minutes.

Eventually, the chaos of the day caught up with me. Even though it was only mid-afternoon, I was exhausted. Unwilling to leave Leigh's side, I crawled onto the bed next to him. I put a hand on his chest, the steady rise and fall reassuring me that he wasn't going to suddenly expire on me. Promising myself that I would only close my eyes for a minute, I relaxed into the curve of Leigh's side and drifted off.

"I must have died." Leigh's voice woke me. Slowly opening my eyes, I registered that it was now black outside and we lay on the bed in almost complete darkness.

"Leigh!" I sat bolt upright, my hands roving over his neck, chest and face, checking for vital signs. "Leigh, are you okay?"

"Nope. I must have died."

"What? Why?"

"Because I've woken up with you lying next to me."

I finally looked into Leigh's eyes, really looked, and saw what had been waiting there for me all along. Leigh was my friend, my support, my perfect half. He'd caught me when I'd fallen every time. He made me breakfast every day, he made me laugh every day. Suddenly, I wanted more than just hugs. I wanted him, all of him. It wasn't a dark, sexual, mysterious longing like I felt with Noah. It was just the most natural progression in the world.

Leigh reached out a hand towards my cheek and the moment grew long. Two options lay before me: both had dire consequences. I could let Leigh hold me, I could be his. But what kind of person falls for two brothers? Wouldn't he think I'm flaky? How could it ever work? The alternative was to shoot Leigh down, tell him I didn't feel the same. But it wouldn't be true and I was a terrible liar.

I reached desperately for middle ground and bluffed my way through. Grabbing his hand before it reached my face, I shook it up and down. "I can't believe you're okay! I was so freaked! How do you feel? Pop's on his way, he should be here soon."

Disappointment clouded Leigh's face, but he rallied quickly. "I feel pretty good," he said, stretching his long limbs. "They shot me with something, didn't they?"

"A sedative. Who were 'they' anyway?"

"I have no idea, but whenever you hear of men in suits coming for you, it's never a good thing." He lifted the covers and inspected himself. "I see it's happened again."

"What?"

"It's a pattern really."

"What is?" I asked urgently.

"I'm in the city with my pants off again."

I laughed. I couldn't help it.

Leigh's face curled into a mischievous smile. "Did you enjoy taking my pants off?"

"It was for purely medical reasons, I'll have you know."

"It's fine. I just hope you're satisfied now you have the answer to the question you've always wanted to know."

Despite myself, I asked. "What question?"

"Whether I wear boxers or briefs." Leigh waggled his eyebrows at me and I laughed again.

When I fell quiet, Leigh was staring at me with a funny smile on his face and a question of his own in his eyes. I needed to break away, much as my body was telling me just to crawl back under Leigh's arm and stay there. I slid off the bed as nonchalantly as I could and moved to the window. "Leigh, I'm so sorry. If it wasn't for me, you wouldn't have even been there." I turned my back to him, staring out into the evening, unwilling to meet his gaze.

"There's nothing to be sorry for," he said, coming over to me, pantsless and all. "You saved me."

I felt his heat on my back, and somehow, even though he had been in his boxers for hours, I was now very aware of it. "It was my turn. How many times have you caught me?"

"Let's just call it even."

We both stood and gazed out the window silently. Outside the night cloaked the city and it somehow felt like a safer place.

"I tell you one thing about being chased though," said Leigh quietly.

"What?"

"Itmakes me worry even more about my brother." 


Honestly, I never meant to write a love triangle because I find them frustrating, but I do enjoy the dynamic of shifting feelings.  Emotions are liquid, so we 'feel' love and attraction as temporary, but when you truly love someone, it's an action, a pledge to care for them every day.  I believe more people need to know the difference between love as a happy feeling, and love as a commitment.

So for Keira, she's trying to work out the difference, and the boys are helping her do that nicely.  Please vote if you're still reading, and comment away!  Is it time to find out where Noah is?

I'll see you soon :) xxoo Kate

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