I struggled with everything I had against the arsehole’s grip on me, but to no avail. He was bigger and stronger and I didn’t stand a chance.
All I could do was watch as Marcus advanced on Alex, held in place by the second of Marcus’s friends. No, Marcus didn’t just advance… he almost prowled towards him.
No, no, no!
Marcus was fucked in the head.
And now he was heading towards Alex with a bloody iron bar clutched in one hand.
I tried to push the bastard off me as Marcus raised his hand—and I could only yell in frustration, fear, anger as his arm then swung down and the iron bar smashed against the side of Alex’s head.
He dropped to the ground in a heap, as the guy who’d held him in place quickly let go the minute Marcus struck.
‘Alex! You fucking bastards!’ I kicked out at the arsehole still keeping me pinned, but to no avail.
‘Let’s get out of here!’ Marcus yelled—and all three of them bolted. Back the way we’d come, into the darkness, out of sight, away from the crime they’d just committed.
‘Alex!’ I fell to my knees in the gravel next to him, not caring that tiny, little pebbles of stone dug into my kneecaps. ‘Alex?’ I touched his shoulder. Blood trickled from where the iron bar had struck him. ‘Oh fuck, fuck, fuck. Alex!’
He was breathing though and his eyes were still open. He’s conscious! But he seemed to struggle with it.
I reached into my pocket with trembling hands and fished my phone out.
‘What the hell’s the emergency number for the ambulance?’ I muttered to myself, panic settling in. 112 were the police, so that left 110 and 113. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
113 sounded better in my head and I took a chance. It wasn’t like it mattered much—they’d put you over to the right one if you did call wrong.
I grabbed onto Alex’s shoulder as the line rang, pulling him up into my lap so he wouldn’t lie on the hard, uneven ground. I didn’t know if I should touch the cut in his head to try and stop the bleeding or not.
Someone answered. It didn’t register what they said, because my whole focus was on Alex.
‘My boyfriend’s been hit in the had with an iron bar,’ I said quickly, getting the most important information out there. ‘We’re in the marina.’ I glanced around. ‘We’re just at the end of the road, past the boats on land. We were heading through the shortcut when we were attacked.’
It was a woman on the other end. I could faintly hear clicks, which must mean she was typing something into a computer. She told me an ambulance was on the way.
‘What’s your name?’ she asked then.
‘How is your boyfriend doing?’
I touched Alex’s face. His eyes were closed. ‘Shit, he’s unconscious. He was conscious when I rang. Alex? Alex!’
‘Does he have a pulse?’
My hands shook, my breath came in short, panicked bursts. ‘Y-yeah.’ He was thankfully breathing. ‘He’s bleeding.’
‘The ambulance will be right there.’
I heard the sirens in the distance—and the blue lights lit up the dark marina around us as a yellow ambulance slowed down right in front of us.
Two EMTs jumped out, one headed to the back of the ambulance while the other came to crouch next to me.
I stepped back as soon as the other man came with a gurney. I answered their questions numbly, watched as they got Alex on the gurney and lifted it up.
They got him settled in the back of the ambulance, and while one of them got in front to drive, the other motioned for me to get in the back with him.
The short trip to the hospital happened in a blur.
Alex fell in and out of consciousness several times in the few minutes it took to get us there.
The EMTs rushed Alex inside and I followed, not willing to lose sight of him. When a doctor came rushing, they took him away though, and a nurse stopped me as I wasn’t allowed to follow.
‘Are you okay?’ she asked.
‘I’m fine.’ I tried to brush her off, to follow, but she blocked my path and I wasn’t willing to use my size and strength to force her out of my way. ‘My uncle—Th-Thomas Lister… He’s at work now. Can you g-get him?’ He hadn’t been the one to rush in to meet Alex, but he hadn’t been home for dinner, so he should still be here somewhere.
She nodded. ‘I’ll page him.’ She motioned me over to a chair. ‘You can wait here until he gets here. Are you sure you’re not hurt?’ She looked down at me.
I followed her gaze. My jacket had blood on it. Alex’s blood. ‘It’s his,’ I muttered, squeezing my eyes shut. ‘It’s his blood.’
She nodded curtly. ‘Your uncle will be here soon.’ She squeezed my shoulder, then rushed off. Hopefully to help Alex. They had to help him.
I drew in a shaky breath and buried my face in my hands.
This can’t be happening.
It fucking can’t be happening!
Alex, sweet, kind Alex… why the fuck had Marcus gone for him? He could’ve taken me instead. I was the one he knew—not Alex. Alex didn’t deserve this just because Marcus was a psychopathic piece of homophobic—
I looked up and saw Thomas rushing towards me, clad in his white scrubs and coat.
‘It’s Alex.’ My eyes burned and I pressed the back of my hands to them.
One of Thomas’s hands clamped down on my shoulder. ‘Hey, Kristina, it’s me,’ he said—and for a second I thought my sister was here with us.
When there was no answer, I quickly realised he was on the phone.
‘Listen, I need you to get some clean clothes for Andreas and get down to the A&E immediately.’
What about clean clothes for Alex?
‘Something’s happened to Alex. I don’t know the details yet. Just get him some clothes and get down here.’ His hand squeezed my shoulder again. ‘What happened, Andreas?’
I tried my hardest to get myself under control—and when I felt I could face him without bursting into tears, I finally let my hands fall to dangled between my knees.
Thomas was crouched in front of me, gaze taking me in from the top of my head to my feet. Probably checking to see if I was injured.
‘Marcus hit him in the head with an iron bar.’
Thomas eyes narrowed at the name. He’d heard about Glenn’s brother. Maybe he’d even had him as a patient. Marcus was known for getting into fights, and he didn’t always win them.
‘Hit him, just like that.’ My sigh was shaky as I still tried my hardest to hold onto my self-control. ‘He dropped and there was blood—I can’t lose him.’ And there went the waterworks. I brought my hands up to hide my face again.
‘They will do their hardest to make sure that won’t happen.’ He leant forward and wrapped his arms around my shoulders.
‘It was Marcus and two of his psycho friends. They held us—one held Alex, and the other pinned me, and then Marcus just—he fucking hit him in the head. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t help him.’ Fuck, that was the worst. I would’ve been able to take Marcus if it’d been just the two of us.
Thomas didn’t say anything, simply hugged me tighter.
‘I thought he was going to go for me, but then he turned and hit Alex instead.’ I couldn’t get the sight of the iron bar connecting to Alex’s head out of my head. ‘It should’ve been me.’
‘It shouldn’t have been any of you,’ he said, voice hard, determined.
Maybe not, but… it had happened to Alex. And now he was—
‘Can you find out how he is? Please? I have to—Just please.’
Thomas drew back. ‘Stay right here.’
I wanted to ask where the hell else I would go, but I only gave a jerky nod.
With one last squeeze to my shoulders—both of them this time—Thomas stood and walked off in search of some answers.
I sat back and prepared to wait, all the while praying—not that I believed in any god, but simply praying in general—that Alex would be okay.
He has to be.
Alex had to be okay. I couldn’t think about it any other way or I’d lose it completely.