Shock watched helplessly as Livâs eyes flooded with tears. He pulled her into his arms and held her, but she was stiff and unresponsive.
âWeâll go see her right now,â he said.
âBut â¦â She choked back a sob. âWeâre so far away.â
It was true the drive here had taken the better part of a day.
âI know, but Iâll get you there in three hours. Rip, stay with her while I make some calls.â
* * *
As Liv watched Shock stride from the room, she felt guilty for having been so stiff in his arms, but she couldnât give herself over to the comfort he offered. She couldnât allow herself to start relying on him, even for emotional support.
A few minutes later Steele and Tempest came to the door.
âWhatâs going on?â Steele asked.
âLivâs sister isââRip glanced at Liv uncomfortablyââin the hospital.â
âSheâs dying,â Liv said. Oh, God, how could this be happening? Sheâd done everything she could to prevent this. To see that her sister got healthy again.
She wobbled as her knees threatened to buckle, and Rip caught her elbow, then led her to the bed. She sank onto it. Tempest hurried over and sat down beside her. Liv welcomed the feel of the other womanâs arm around her waist. She rested her head on Tempestâs shoulder, needing the warmth and comfort of another person desperately.
A moment later someone handed her a glass of water and she took a sip, still trying to stifle her sobs.
âDo you want to talk about it?â Tempest asked, her lovely face filled with warmth and concern.
Liv drew in a deep breath. Maybe it would help.
âJuliaâs been sick for quite a while now. Sheâs been in the hospital. I thoughtââ Her throat closed up and her fingers clenched into a fist as pain tore through her. She sucked in a breath as a tear streamed down her cheek.
Tempest pulled her close and hugged her and Liv settled into the hug, resting her head on Tempestâs shoulder and closing her eyes. Tempest stroked her back and Liv soaked in the warmth and support.
When she had collected herself, Liv sat up, wiping her eyes. âI thought she was getting better. They did surgery and they thought she was improving. I â¦â She pushed away the insistent tears. âI never would have left her otherwise. Now sheâs unconscious and unresponsive.â
Tempest squeezed her arm and handed her the glass of water again. She sipped, but her hand was unsteady, so Steele took it from her and Tempest pulled her into a hug again. Steele put his hand on her back, and Liv felt grateful for their presence.
âOh, Liv, Iâm so sorry,â Tempest said.
Liv just nodded.
Liv eased away from Tempest, her gaze locking on Shock, who stood in the doorway.
âIâve arranged a flight. A car will be here in five minutes.â
Liv stood up, feeling shaky. âI need to pack.â
âDonât worry about it. Weâll buy what we need when we get there.â
âI want my bag,â she said adamantly as she stood up. She walked to the closet where sheâd stowed it and pulled it out, then walked into the bathroom and started tossing things into it, like her hair dryer, toothpaste, and moisturizer. She didnât know why, but she had to have her bag. She had to have her things, even if it was just a collection of toiletries, like her own hairbrush.
Shock followed her into the room and rested his hands on her shoulders.
âLiv, itâs okay. You really donât need to worry about this right now.â
âI â¦â Then her chin quivered and tears fell from her eyes. âI just â¦ Iâll feel better with my own stuff.â
He squeezed her shoulders gently. âWhatever you want, sweetheart.â
He helped her pack the things into her backpack. Once the counter was clear, she glanced around