Chapter 10

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As soon as Hawkes stepped through the front door of the crew headquarters, carrying Emerald's body, he shouted for help. All eyes turned to him, but no-one moved as he walked in and straight across to the stairs. "Lorell! I need help!" He shouted, sagging under the weight of the limp body. No-one was moving to help and so he just kept going as long as he could. He made it to Emerald's bedroom, kicked the door open and surprised Lorell, who was doing paperwork with his headphones in.

"What the hell?" Lorell instantly jumped to his feet on seeing the state Emerald was in. Hawkes ignored him in favor of dropping Emerald onto her bed. He briefly explained how he had been leaving a date with Krista to come home, and how he saw two shadows attacking Emerald. He admitted to trying to help and how it took the focus off Emerald long enough for her to drag herself across to her backpack and grab her gun. The whole time he talked, Lorell examined his girlfriend for injuries, finding a shallow knife wound in her forearm, indicative of a defensive wound, and more than a few cuts and bruises elsewhere. He looked terrified and so Hawkes didn't blame him for avoiding going anywhere near the cut in her thigh.

"Did she shoot anyone?" He asked, with a clear anger in his voice.

"I don't think so. She was a bit out of it already, and she was in a lot of pain. She just shot up in the air, to get them to back off. It worked. She stayed conscious enough to help me tie up her leg, and then she passed out." Hawkes explained gently, surprised to see Lorell just sitting there, brushing blood and wet leaves off Emerald's face and hands as if that would help. He didn't blame him for being in shock, or being upset, but he wasn't a doctor. He didn't know if what he had done, would do any good at all.

"Look, I know you love her but you have to think straight. Those two guys who jumped her...they knew exactly where she was going to be and when. I think you should call back the whole crew. I beat up the guys pretty badly and if two of your guys come back with injuries matching what I gave them, then you have the proof they tried to take out Emerald. They don't like that she overrules you. She's a threat to the way the crew functions." Hawkes spoke quickly, trying to get the point across to Lorell. He nodded in agreement to getting a doctor and then avoided addressing the real issue. He didn't want to accept that his own boys were responsible, or that he was the reason Emerald was in trouble.

Hawkes headed out the door and shouted down to the boys, demanding they bring a doctor. He reasoned it with Lorell that it was better to have to bribe a doctor than to have Emerald bleed to death. And that seemed to catch his attention and wake him up to reality.

"Then what do I do? You expect me to send her away?" Lorell asked what he was supposed to do about the boys and their feelings towards Emerald. He couldn't help it if two of them didn't like that he listened to her opinions and changed his decisions because of it. It wasn't Emerald's fault if he changed his mind after listening to one of her arguments.

"No. Make it clear that anyone who messes with Emerald is taking on both of us as well. She's my friend. I'll stick by you both. I'll keep her safe." Hawkes knew it could be dangerous, but he had already got in close with Lorell and Emerald, more so than he would have expected so soon into his time in the gang. He couldn't risk Lorell losing his position as leader, or having him getting depressed because Emerald wasn't with him any more. And for once, Lorell seemed to understand. He nodded curtly and then looked up at him from Emerald's pale, limp hand.

"You're the rookie...you have to do it." Lorell explained honestly, with a slight question in his voice that asked Hawkes if he was prepared to make such a move. Normally he wouldn't pass off a job, but if he tried to tell the boys to back off Emerald, her attackers would only try again. His opinion wasn't enough anymore, he needed someone strong, someone capable to be with Emerald at all times and protect her when she couldn't protect herself. She had never been a fighter, she was a healer. She didn't believe in fighting unless her life depended upon it, and Lorell was stunned but pleased to see that there were a few scrapes on Emerald's knuckles, letting him know that she had fought back.

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