“Wait,” Budd ground out. “You mean—”
“Let’s go, brother,” Brett stopped him. He stepped forward and urged his brother away. “She’s not part of this. Let’s go.”
“LET’S GO,” he barked at him now. “They’ve got school problems. It’s not the right time for this.” With that last word, he shoved Budd ahead. He was a few inches in front of me now.
Budd opened his mouth to argue, but it only took one punch.
He was right there. I reacted. I didn’t want to hear any more from him, so I punched him. I hit him across the face—one hit—and he dropped. He was out cold. I turned to Brett, waiting to see what he was going to do.
The other Broudou stepped back and murmured, “I ain’t here to fight any more. You need to go take care of your woman.”
It was in the back of my mind to question him. He said we had school problems, but I could see from the other goliath-sized Broudou that he knew better. I didn’t care. Not then. I needed to get to Sam. That was my first priority.
I jerked my head towards my car and said to the girl in black, “Get in my car. You’re going with us.”
Her eyes popped out, but she scrambled around the unconscious Broudou and climbed into the passenger side. Logan was already in his and didn’t wait. He peeled out of the parking lot. I sat there and waited, clenching and unclenching my fingers around the steering wheel while they moved Budd from behind my car.
They had one more second before I was going to run over him.
Brett dragged his brother clear on the last second, and I reversed, spinning around on the fourth second.
Mark was alone, waiting for us in the lobby at the front of the hospital. He stood as we rushed through the door. Nothing was asked, nothing needed to be asked. He gestured down the hallway. “I was waiting for you. They’re in a different waiting room. The doctor’s with her right now.”
Logan frowned. “What are you doing here?”
He gestured to the girl who had followed behind me. “She got my mom.”
Logan and I turned to regard her.
“Uh …” She wavered at our attention. “Um …” Clamping her mouth shut, her cheeks got red, and she began pulling at one hand with the other. “I just found the first adult who looked …” She shrugged. “I don’t know why I picked her. I didn’t know her.”
I didn’t care. I turned back to Mark. “Where’s Sam?”
She finished, “She looked capable. That’s why I picked her.”
Logan grunted. “No one cares anymore.”
“And she was standing next to the principal,” she added. “That was another reason why I picked her.”
We whipped around. David Strattan was coming towards us. His hair was sticking up, there were bags under his eyes and his Fallen Crest Academy athletic jacket was wrinkled. Blood was smeared all over it.
I faltered. There was not much that scared me, but I was scared now. I couldn’t look away from the blood on Sam’s dad’s shirt. That was her blood. It had to be. I was gutted at what they had done to her.
“Where is she?” My voice came out hoarse. No way could I be weak. Not now, that’s for damn sure. “Where is she?”
“The doctor is with her, but I’ve been told that it’s not as bad as it looks.”
I growled. That didn’t make it better.
“They think,” David moved to stand between us and the hallway. His hand lifted in the air in a calming motion. “They think she’ll have a few fractured ribs, but most of the damage is superficial.”
“What’s that mean?” Logan demanded.
“It means she looks awful, but it’s mostly bruising. Her face is swollen. She couldn’t open one of her eyes when I was with her, but they’re sure it’ll heal on its own.”
“Where is she?” The need to see her was too powerful. I could barely hold it in, and I looked down the hallway. I’d go from one room to the next to find her. “Where is she?!”
“She’s with the doctor, Mason.” Mark moved forward.
I jerked my head to him. “Who’ve you told about this? If that f**khead Adam walks through here, I’m laying him out. I won’t tolerate him coming in here and acting all buddy-buddy with her. Not now.”
“Not now, Mark,” I interrupted him.
Mark lifted both hands in the air and took a step back. “I didn’t call anyone. I swear. I wouldn’t do that to Sam.”
“Fuck this,” Logan bit out before he shoved past the older Strattan. He started down the hallway and I went right after him. We weren’t getting answers, not the ones we wanted. We’d find her ourselves.
“Boys,” David called after them. “Mason, I really need to discuss something with you before seeing Sam.”
I shoved open a door. “I really need to see Sam first.” She wasn’t in that one. I moved to the next.
“Mark, maybe you can take the girl to the waiting room?”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I’ll show them to her room and then I have some things to discuss with them after. Go. I’ll send your mother in a moment as well.” I heard the exhaustion in David’s voice.