45. Retrieving

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Now, was the wait really that long?

Enjoy!

Nicky's POV

2 Months Later . . .

Gunshots.

I bolt upright in bed as I listen to the deafening bangs of the gunshots that are coming from the front of the house I've been calling home for the past few days.

The gang. My mind tells me. But how did they find me? True I cut off the head of the snake, but that didn't mean I never considered the possibility of anyone else from the gang coming after me. Which was why, even though I thought the probability was high that I was finally safe, I still moved around as often as I could, and I still covered my tracks.

I throw back the covers and pull out the gun I keep in the nightstand. It wasn't as if I liked guns, especially after . . . everything, but there was no way I was going down easy. Ryder would be impressed I've even got a gun.

I feel a pang in my chest at the thought of Ryder but I shove it aside as I walk slowly and quietly down the hallway to the front door. Before I make it all the way out of the hallway and into the room, the door is kicked open and off its hinges.

It's pitch black outside and I can only see the silhouette of the intruder. I raise the gun instinctively.

"You shoot me again and I'm going to be even more pissed than I already am."

I freeze at the familiar voice, at the warmth that spreads throughout my body when I hear it. Ryder.

I lower the gun and walk out of the hallway, into the foyer. I put the gun on a table up against the wall and take in the lock of the door that's been shot off, as well the excessive amount of bullet holes in the keypad that was supposed to prevent the door from opening.

Ryder sees where I'm looking. "You need better security." His voice is a low growl, angry and hurt.

I say nothing as I switch on the light and take in his appearance. Worn out jeans, tousled brown hair, sunglasses clipped to the front of a black t-shirt stretched tight across his chest, showing his muscles, scuffed up tennis shoes, his FBI windbreaker, and green eyes blazing with barely controlled rage. His whole body is tense and practically shaking as he struggles not to do something stupid. Like strangle me.

He's majorly pissed.

"You look good," I say honestly.

His harsh glare doesn't let up. "Compared to what? The man lying on his death bed in the hospital?" He questions sarcastically and I flinch. He takes a step towards me, his eyes burning brighter. "The man you left lying in the hospital?"

I find it hard to speak. "I wouldn't have left if there was any doubt that you wouldn't make it."

"Now why doesn't that give me a warm fuzzy feeling inside?"

I glare at him. "You almost died because of me, Ryder. If you'd died I wouldn't have been able to live with that. So, I determined it was better for you if I left."

"After I'd taken my medication for the day and fell unconscious," He states. "I wake up and you're gone. No one can tell me where you've gone. No goodbye, nothing." His jaw tightens. "After all we've been through the least you could have done was say goodbye."

I shrug and wrap my arms around myself. "I thought about it and decided that the odds favored against it."

Ryder groans and throws his hands up in the air.

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