Ricky shook his head, blinked back sleep and took another swig from his coffee cup. He grimaced at the cold, black, sludge and dropped it into the bin beside him with the others. Pushing up from the stiff hospital chair, he yawned, arched his back and then rubbed at his face as he took a turn about the small room.
With a soft tap on the opened door, Will walked in and handed Ricky a fresh cup of coffee.
‘Thanks.’ Another yawn encapsulated his tired smile and he watched quietly, taking sips from the cup while Will checked Taylor’s vitals, adjusted the flow of her IV and scanned her chart. ‘How’s she doing?’
Will turned. His brows were raised, eyes searching the room as if he was trying to make sense of something.
‘What is it?’ A lump hitched in Ricky’s throat.
’I didn’t believe it when the nurses told me at the station …’ Will’s voice petered off and he looked back at the chart in his hand.
He looked at Ricky and blinked. ‘Sorry, man. Taylor’s doing good. Really good. Her vitals are all stable. She’s bouncing back like nothing I’ve ever seen.’
‘What does that mean?’
‘It means it’s good. Just … unusual. From the complications she had, I would’ve expected her to be like this for at least a day or two and then be closely monitored for another few days before we moved her from ICU. The way she’s going, we could move her out of here today.’
Ricky felt his shoulders drop and a wave of relief tumbled down his spine. He looked over at Tay, her chest rising slightly but otherwise laying still. Some of her colour had come back to her cheeks. If she didn’t have the tube down her throat, he would have thought she’d been faking it all along.
‘Go home, Ricky. She’s fine and you’ve been here for over fourteen hours.’ Will made a face. ‘You look like shit.’
Ricky took another swig of the coffee. It was definitely hospital grade. Black and bitter; and it would keep him awake a little while longer. ‘I told you, I’m not leaving.’
His phone vibrated in the pocket of his sweat pants and he pulled it out. Charlie’s name flashed on the screen.
‘What do you have?’
‘I’m sending you a couple clips of video. Let me know what you want to do after you check it out.’
He hung up the phone and clicked on the video Charlie had sent through. Will came around to his side. ‘What did he say?’
‘He has video. Hopefully of the dick who did this.’ Ricky glanced at Taylor and clenched his jaw.
A black and white security cam recording flickered to life. It was from a street cam and after a second, a dark figure stumbled into view. It moved to the other side of the frame and reappeared on another. Ricky fast forwarded to the end. The guy could be seen walking into a park. He knew the park well. If this was the last of the footage Charlie had found, then the guy was still there.
Ricky worked his jaw. The bastard was still carrying the knife. There was probably a blood trail all the way down the street.
‘What are you going to do?’
Ricky looked at Will. His own jaw clenched as his eyes stared at the screen; the dark figure no longer there.
‘I have a few things in mind.’ Ricky watched as Will pursed his lips, the dip in his brow deepening.
‘Perhaps you should leave—‘
‘Leave it to Charlie?’
‘This little shit had the audacity to take a knife to my little sister. He’s not going to be doing a whole lot of anything once I’m done with him.’
Will opened his mouth, but Ricky cut him off. ‘No one messes with my family. When Tay wakes up and I know she’s okay, I’ll be hunting that bastard down.’
For a moment, the beep of the machine was the only sound in the room.
Will nodded, then shook his head. ‘I know how you feel. I just wanted to make sure you’d thought it all through.’
‘Believe me. Every. Single. Way.’ It had been the only thing running through his mind.
A choking sound cut through the air. Ricky was at Taylor’s side in an instant, her eyes wide and frantic. He squeezed her shoulder. ‘You’re okay, T. It’s okay. You’re in the hospital.’
Her gaze swung towards him and locked onto his.
‘It’s okay. Will’s here.’
Her eyes darted towards him on the other side.
‘Hey, T. It’s alright. You have a tube in your throat that was helping you breathe, but now we can take it out.’
Will switched off the machine and unhooked it from the tube in her mouth. ‘I want you to take a deep breath for me.’
Taylor’s eyes watered as she took in a breath.
‘Now let it out.’
He pulled the tube from her mouth. She hacked, tears spilling into her hair.
Ricky bent over her and brushed the wet stains from her face. A wave of dizzying relief wafted over him. She was okay. She was going to be okay.
Now he could hunt.