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Brutal Intentions: Chapter 17


The nurse at the front desk takes one look at Laz and says, “I’m sorry, but we don’t have any emergency facilities at this clinic.”

“Oh, we’re not here for me.” Laz wraps an arm around me and beams at the woman. As he smiles, a cut on his lip splits open and blood oozes down his chin. “This is my girlfriend, Mia. She’s pregnant.”

I shrug out of his embrace and give him a pert look. “Less of the my girlfriend business. You’re still married, remember?”

“I signed the divorce papers today. I’m a free man.” He grins wider, showing me the empty space on his ring finger, and even more blood trickles down his chin.

Mom claimed she was going to give the papers to a private investigator, but something tells me she’s known exactly where Laz has been all this time.

I dig in my handbag for a clean tissue and dab carefully at the blood on his face. It’s difficult to find a spot on his face that’s not bruised or bleeding. “How are you feeling?”

“Ten million times better since I laid eyes on you.” He reaches out, his hand hovering over my belly. “Can I?”

I glance down at myself. “There’s nothing to feel. I’m only a few weeks along.”

Laz’s green eyes have grown soft, and he whispers, “I know. But can I please touch you there?”

Slowly, gazing into his eyes, I nod. He presses his large, warm hand against my lower stomach, and closes his eyes and groans.

“I can’t believe I’m standing here touching you and our baby like this. Are you sure this isn’t a dream? If I wake up and I’m still in that cellar, I’ll shatter into a million pieces.”

My heart squeezes painfully. I can’t imagine what he must have been through, locked up for weeks without light, without hope.

“If this is a dream, it’s pretty rancid,” Rieta says. “Laz, you really do stink.”

Does he? I haven’t noticed.

“Excuse me, which one of you has an appointment?” the receptionist asks.

“Oh! Sorry, I do.” I turn to her, feeling flustered and hot. I’d completely forgotten she was there. Laz keeps his hand right where it is on my belly, and I blush even harder. “My name is Mia Bianchi. I have an appointment at two o’clock.”

We’re directed to a room down a corridor and Laz limps along beside us.

“Laz, you really should go to the hospital,” Rieta tells him.

“Not until Mia’s finished here. I’ll do anything she wants as soon as she’s had her checkup.”

There’s only one chair in the room where we wait for the obstetrician, and Laz insists I sit in it even though he seems on the verge of keeling over.

“Are my uncles still alive?” I ask him.

“Unfortunately, yes,” he mutters. “How did you know it was them who kept me prisoner?”

“Who else?” I reply, thinking dark and angry thoughts about my uncles. Mom as well, because I’d bet everything I own on her knowing exactly where Laz has been the entire time she was crying about him running away.

A few minutes later, the obstetrician opens the door with a huge smile on her face. As soon as she comes into the room and catches sight of Laz, she gasps in shock. “Do you need a doctor?”

“No,” Laz tells her.

“Yes,” I say at the same time, and then roll my eyes. “Please go ahead. He refuses to go to the hospital until I’ve had my checkup.”

“I’m the father,” he tells her proudly.

“Oh. How . . . lovely.” The doctor frowns behind her spectacles as she directs me to take off my clothes from the waist down and get up on the table.

I change behind the curtain and make myself comfortable. The doctor pulls the curtain back and talks me through everything we’re going to go over at this appointment. Then she starts asking me questions about my diet, lifestyle, and when I conceived.

Finally, she shoots a look at Laz. “And is everything all right at home?”

I catch her professionally concerned tone and realize that she’s not only asking for my sake, but for the baby’s sake, too. She wants to know whether I’m bringing a child into an unsafe environment.

“Laz, um,” I begin, trying to find a way to explain away Laz’s shocking appearance. “Laz is a cage fighter, and he was in one final competition. Things got carried away.”

The father of my child comes forward and takes my hand. I consider slapping his fingers away, but the doctor is already watching us like a hawk, so I just smile.

“I’m all about Mia and the baby now,” Laz tells her. “Nothing else matters to me anymore.”

“Do the two of you live together?”

“No,” I say.

“Yes,” Laz replies at the same time.

I glare at him and then say to the obstetrician, “He’s the father, and while everything’s complicated right now, I’m safe and so is the baby. If that ever changes, you’ll be the first to know.”

The obstetrician casts Laz a searching look, but as he’s gazing at me with the goofiest grin on his bloodied face, she seems to decide he’s not a threat.

“I’ve had nervous dads, talkative dads, quiet dads. I’ve never had a bleeding dad before.” She shakes her head and goes to type at her computer. “I’ll order a blood test and a urine test for you, and we’ll do your first scan now as well.”

The doctor inserts the transvaginal ultrasound wand and we all stare at the monitor together.

I really didn’t think we’d see anything, but the baby’s there. Tiny, but visible on the shadowy monitor.

Laz steps forward and peers at the screen, his mouth open. “Fuck,” he breathes. “Would you look at that? Our baby, Bambi. That’s our baby.”

Suddenly, all the color drains from his face, his knees buckle beneath him, and he falls to the ground in an unconscious heap.

I sigh as I stare at him, totally out cold. “I’m so sorry about him. If we’re finished, I should get my boyfriend to the hospital if he wants to survive long enough to hold this baby in his arms.”

Rieta looks at me sharply, an amused smile on her lips. “Boyfriend?”

I shake my head at my slipup. “Don’t tell Laz I said that.”

The obstetrician finishes with the wand and lifts her phone. “I’ll order him a medical transfer to the nearby general hospital. I don’t think you two can manage him on your own.”

“You will? Thank you so much.”

A few minutes later, Laz is on a gurney being wheeled out of the room by two paramedics, and Rieta and I say goodbye to the obstetrician.

“Don’t let him do any more cage fighting. He’s obviously not very good at it.”

I promise her that he won’t. “See you next time.”

At the hospital, Laz is sent for X-rays, given a blood transfusion and a rehydration drip. He has two broken ribs and a hairline fracture in his right wrist. There’s not much the nurses can do about his bruises and black eyes, but they put tape on his split lip and make him comfortable in bed.

Laz has stayed passed out the entire time, and it hurts to see this strong, proud man in the throes of exhaustion, pain, and blood loss. Rieta and I sit by his bedside, watching him sleep.

“What do you think, Mia, is this the man for you?” Rieta whispers with a smile on her lips. “This beat-up, black-and-blue, absolute scoundrel of a man is the love of your life, forever and ever, amen?”

I reach out and sweep Laz’s dark hair back from his eyes so it’s closer to the way he wears it when he’s awake. I play with a few strands, gazing down into his handsome face. There’s a fierce ache inside me as I wonder how much longer it’s going to be before he wakes up.

I’ve missed him.

I’ve missed him so much.

“Unfortunately, I love this big dummy with all my heart.”

“I thought you did,” Rieta replies, grinning. “You want a soda or something?”

“How about a vodka and something?”

“No vodka for you, Mama.”

Oh, shit. Of course not.

“Juice, then,” I tell her, still gazing at Laz.

The door closes behind Rieta and I’m alone with Laz, perched on the edge of his mattress. I lean down and press a soft kiss to his lips.

“Wake up soon, my troublemaker. You and me? We’re having a baby.”


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