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Realistic or Modern Anchored by Love (Draft Four... lol)


Ten Thousand Club
"It just started," I whispered kissing her forehead again, laughing when Amelia emerged from her hiding spot behind the bar with the camera. After letting her take all her shots, I let go of Isabel, grinning at the two best friend's embrace. "Stay right there, "Opening the door that led onto the terrace, I revealed the rest of our dinner guests that would be joining us for the night. The entourage included all her family and close friends, plus my parents who all came to congratulate the bride-to-be.

"Let's eat, I'm still starving," I joked as everyone took their seats at the tables out on the rooftop. It was chilly for a November night but the lit torches kept our venue for the night toasty.

This is the start of forever. I thought as we made our way around the tables to greet everyone individually.
I can't wait until you're my wife.

I was over the moon for Isabel and Dawson. I knew how much Dawson wanted her to say yes this time and how long Isabel dreamed of this moment. She talked about it long before either of us realized Dawson would be the one to make her proposal dreams come true. Watching the moment through the viewfinder, it was difficult for me not get emotional, but I was afraid if I let it get the best of me, it would ruin the shots, so I did my best to keep my emotions at bay, and treated this like it was a regular assignment.

Once Isabel said yes, I made my way around the bar and went to congratulate and hug both of them. It was a privilege to be witness to this moment. The whole scene Dawson put together was beautiful, he outdid himself.

Once the crowd was let in, I giggled as they all catapulted toward the couple but my daughter ran toward me. Picking her up, I left kisses all over her face. "Hi, love! You look so pretty in your dress." Looking up at Jayden I smirked, eyeing him in his gray suit. "You look handsome, but I still don't think I would dig it every day if you ever became a detective," I whispered before I greeted him with a soft kiss. Taking his hand, I followed him to the table lined in gray table cloths and candles as centerpieces.

"Everything is so pretty," I whispered before the dinner began, following the newly engaged couple around the room with my eyes, I grinned when Jayden's voice pulled me back to our table. "Our best friends are finally getting married."


Ten Thousand Club
I didn't know what to expect when it came to what Dawson had planned for the both of us today but I can assure you, I wasn't expecting this. I wasn't complaining though. I had only ever dreamed of the moment I would be engaged and I never thought the proposal would be something as grand as this. My pilot, he knew me so well and I adored him for it because this proposal was everything I wanted and more. Only Dawson Covington would think to propose in the heart of downtown Dallas at such a prestigious mansion and make me feel nothing but loved and not just because of the grand location. What touched me the most about this entire proposal was the fact that my pilot included a smaller ring, one I knew was meant for when I went out on assignments.

When Amelia made her way out from behind the bar, I laughed with a knowing expression. I was glad she was able to capture what just occurred between Dawson and I. I was looking forward to having those photos forever and I trusted her more than anyone to capture them well. Taking her into a tight embrace, I fought back the tears that threatened to fall down my cheeks.

"I'm engaged, Best Friend," I said softly, squealing as we pulled away before Dawson revealed everyone else who was there for our dinner. Giggling excitedly, I was quick to embrace and say my hello's to those who bombarded Dawson and I. The night was turning out to be one I would always remember but like Dawson, I was now getting hungry myself.


After greeting everyone, I made my way over to the table Dawson said we would be sitting. I was grateful it was with the Acciolli family and when I made my way over, I gasped happily as Little Bel and Mateo ran towards me and hugged me.

"Hi my loves! You both look so good dressed like this," I told them with a chuckle, smiling when Bel nodded and began to tell me how excited she was for her Uncle Dawson and I. "Awe my love, thank you. C'mon, let's go sit down so we can eat. Aren't y'all starving too?"

With both toddlers quickly running to their seats, I went over to Jayden and Amelia, taking Jayden into an embrace first before taking Amelia into another one that I dragged out for some time.

"I can't believe this happened," I told the two of them, smiling as I looked back at Dawson who was at the Covington table, talking with Brett, Savannah and his parents. I loved everyone at that table and I was so glad they were here to celebrate this with us. Looking back at Amelia, I smiled brightly. "Thank you for taking the pictures by the way. I just know they turned out great."

After that, I sat down at the table next to Mateo, smiling when Dawson made his way over and everyone was now being served. Resting my head against his shoulder when he sat down, I released a content sigh. Looking at him, I kissed him lovingly.

"Thank you, Dawson. For all of this. I can't wait to be your wife."

Today was an exciting day for mine and Amelia's best friends. Today was the day Dawson proposed to Isabel, making it one step closer to becoming husband and wife. I knew Dawson wanted this day to happen probably just as much or even more than Isabel did but when Amelia came home from her breakfast with the pilot, I was touched to know Dawson asked for her approval before he went with his decision. Considering how everything ended the first time he proposed, I was more than appreciative he included my wife in this one.

With Amelia gone earlier than Little Bel and I, it was my job to get our daughter and myself dressed and ready for the dinner. I did the best I could, keeping Bel's hair down after I brushed it. She looked too cute in her dress and I knew she was more than excited for tonight. After I knew she was good to go, I got dressed myself, throwing on a grey suit I had in the back of my side of the closet. I didn't wear these often considering I wore my uniform mostly everyday.

When we arrived, I let Bel run off to Mateo who was standing impatiently with his Grandma Shelly. I stood off to the side and when Dawson revealed all of us to Isabel, I smiled at the happy couple as we all clapped. I opted to wait to give them my congrats but I smiled when my wife made her way over towards me. I watched as Bel quickly ran to her mom.

Chuckling at my wife's statement about my suit, I released a sigh before kissing her back softly in greeting. Giving her hand a squeeze, I led her and my daughter to the table with our names on it.

"You've said multiple times you're not a suit kind of gal. Good thing I wear the uniform," After sitting down with my girls, I noticed Amelia fixated on the newly engaged couple so I laughed softly before calling out to her to draw her attention back to the table.

"I'd say Dawson outdid himself with this, wouldn't you?" I asked her before chuckling at the excitement evident on her face. "Yeah, they are. It's about time."

When Isabel made her way over to the table before Dawson, I stood up to take her into an embrace, smiling when she and Amelia were quick to talk about everything. When both Isabel and Dawson sat down, everyone was now being served and I smiled at my best friend who looked more than relieved.

"Were you afraid she was going to say no, Covington?" I teased.

"Jayden!" Isabel said quickly. "If we're being honest, I was going to jokingly say no but I didn't think that would have gone well." When she admitted that, I couldn't help but burst out into a fit of laughter. Everything was finally coming together for not only the Covingtons but all of us and I couldn't wait to see what was in store.


Ten Thousand Club
December 16
It was a mid-afternoon with Jayden working a day shift with Liberty who was just released on light duty and my daughter with Jayden's parents who were visiting for the holiday season, I was pacing back and forth in my kitchen waiting for Isabel to come over. I called her nearly half an hour ago and asked her to come over, but didn't draw too much attention to the request despite being in a full blown panic attack. Sipping the warm tea from the mug to calm myself down, I slammed the glass mug down on the marble counter when I heard her let herself in. When she asked what was wrong upon seeing my worried facial expression, chapped lips from biting them too hard and wrecked fingernails, I tore the araclics off while waiting for her, I didn't answer her worried questions, just took her hands and dragged her into my master bathroom.

"Shut the door and lock it," I whispered not wanting Jayden to walk in on my confession, this was the only place he wouldn't immediately find us. "Just do it," I whispered again, seeing her concern only grow. When Isabel did what I asked, I pulled out a box from under the sink and pulled out six pregnancy tests individually, lining the sink with them. Simmering in silence for a moment, I once again failed to process the sight, as I had the first time when I witnessed it alone. My hands were trembling and it felt like I was breathing manually.

"How does this happen? We weren't trying, at all, and I was told this would never happen. What do I do?" I asked, knowing Isabel didn't have the answer, but considering I was afraid this would end horribly, she was the first person I wanted to confide in, especially since the last time she never saw it coming.


Ten Thousand Club
I was at home packing Mateo's bag for his visit to the ranch when Amelia called me and asked me to come over. She didn't sound like she needed me instantly plus I had to explain that I was waiting on Brett to pick up Mateo and once he was with his uncle, I would head to her house. Doing anything this morning with my son was a challenge. He was flustered that his father wasn't back home yet and naturally, I wanted to ensure him that Dawson would be home as soon as he could. His show this past weekend was up in Seattle and the Naval group was stuck there until the snowstorm passed. I was hoping Mateo going to the ranch would ease his mind just a bit.

Zipping up Mateo's outer jacket, Brett had knocked on the door. After yelling that the door was open and Mateo's jacket zipped, I let my son quickly run off toward his uncle. I giggled as I watched the two together before handing off the bag I packed for my son to Brett. Mateo was quick to talk his uncles ear off about the horses and how he wanted to go riding. Planting a kiss on his forehead before they left, I was quick to shut the door and grab my purse and keys to head out to Amelia's.

When I arrived to her house, I let myself in with the key we gave each other. I wasn't expecting to see the look of worry on her face but the minute I did, I was quick to ask what was wrong. I didn't know what it could possibly be. Nothing out of the ordinary had occurred that I knew of but I didn't question anything when she dragged me to the bathroom where I shut and locked the door like she asked of me. When she pulled out the box and showed the contents inside, I gasped as I took in the six pregnancy tests which all showed that Amelia was in fact pregnant. I didn't know what to think when it all sunk in but I knew one thing for sure, Amelia was more than panicking.

"Oh my god, Melia," I said, completely breathless before looking up at my best friend. "First things first, I need you to just take a second and breath. It's going to be okay." Once I managed to get her to take a deep breath, I bit my lip. "You don't have to be trying to have a child love but now that we know you have one growing in your belly, you have to tell Jayden. He deserves to know and I know all of this is scary considering what you were told after Bel but shit happens love. You're having another baby, Amelia!" I wanted us to be excited but I knew we had to work through the anxiety first. "What's running through your head? C'mon, tell me. We gotta work through this."


Ten Thousand Club
"I just don't want to get my hopes up, that's all," I whispered with a shrug of my shoulders and a shuttered sigh. "We went through hell to get Bel, we almost gave up, but she came after our last attempt. You know what they told me, Isabel, this is supposed to be impossible, and there's still a chance that what happened the first time will happen again. I just put it together this morning, my exhaustion and snack bingeing. We never did anything to prevent it because we thought there was no chance of it happening. That's why I took six because I am in denial. You saw what the miscarriage did to Jayden, neither one of us can go through that again. He was so hurt by it we almost went our separate ways, not that we would now, but I'm just scared, best friend," I replied putting all the tests back in the box and back under the sink, my hands sweating while I did. Rubbing them against my jeans as I stood, I shrugged again. "I just don't want to get excited until I know it's healthy and not life-threatening but you were the first person I called,"

Walking out of the bathroom, I threw myself on the bed, deep in thought, It was frustrating to me that I couldn't just be excited about the impossible happening on its own. I had to panic, thinking something must be wrong and that it would end in another tragedy. I felt irresponsible for letting it happen and I had not the slightest clue how to tell Jayden. It would always be a sensitive subject in our marriage. In the very least, I was overwhelmed, but I was relieved Isabel was here this time around.


Ten Thousand Club
I sighed softly after Amelia left the bathroom, staying inside of it and staring back at the tests in the box before I grabbed the lid and closed it, putting it back where my best friend had previously pulled it out from under the sink. I let out a small smile as I thought about having another niece or nephew, despite Amelia's worry and anxiety. Everything she was feeling was valid and I knew where she was coming from considering I had a miscarriage myself but sometimes the universe smiles on us and gives us a miracle, and I truly felt like this child was exactly that.

Walking into Amelia's room, I shook my head when I saw her laid out on her bed where I knew she was heavily in deep thoughts. I didn't want her to be. She was going to make herself sick so I decided to do what I always did in this kind of situation. Distract her and take her out. Or we can get takeout if she doesn't want to leave and watch movies.

"No ma'am, no sulking. Let's go. Get up. We're going to go grab some food or ordering some and watching movies here but what we're not going to do is sulk in our anxiety over this because you're right, we should wait it out to make sure it's healthy and not life threatening but god dammit Amelia, I'd say this is a miracle and that you and Jayden are having another child. That's something to be excited about. I feel like it'll be okay."


Ten Thousand Club
Lifting my head up from the bed, I nodded submissively. "Okay but I have to pick up a few things to tell Jayden later. I won't be able to keep it from him."
After lunch with Isabel and our spontaneous shopping spree to surprise Jayden, I ran back into the house knowing Jayden would be off his double shift soon. I hadn't seen him in nearly a day and a half and it wasn't helping my anxiety about our new situation. Sending a quick text to ask where he was, I laid my phone on the nightstand and went to work. Pulling out the gigantic whiteboard I wrote out the message, "You're going to be a Daddy to baby #2" in alternating blue and pink lettering. To top it off, I made blue and pink flowers out of tissue paper and taped it to the board alongside the six tests I took. Setting up the board against the bedframe, I lined the bed with baby essentials and a few of Jayden's favorite snacks. Once I was satisfied with set up, I left the room, closing the door behind me. I scattered off to the living room where I sprawled out on the couch where I waited for the officer's return.


Ten Thousand Club
Work was like pretty much any day. There wasn't too many drastic calls, a few house searches but nothing of major importance. By the end of mine and Liberty's double shift, we were both tired and ready to get home for some food and sleep. Also, I couldn't wait to see Amelia considering it had been pretty much a whole day since the last time we were together. This was the life we chose though and we both support each other in all that we do. Some days I just miss my girl a little more than others.

As I loaded my K-9 into the car so we could head home, I heard my phone go off and made a mental not to see who it was when I made my way to the driver's seat. After Liberty was comfortable in the back, I walked to the front and got in myself, pulling out my phone from my shirt pocket where I usually had it, chuckling when I read the text from my wife.

"Liberty and I just got off. We'll be home soon. I miss ya, hot stuff. Let's go out for dinner tonight?"

After I sent the text, I drove home, not hitting too much traffic in the venture from Downtown Dallas into North Dallas where Amelia and I, along with our best friends, lived. It was quiet, close to a lot of schools and despite the first worry of high crime, we've learned that it's like every other neighborhood.

Walking inside, I wasn't surprised Liberty beat me to greeting Amelia. The German Shephard was quick to jump on her the minute the love of my life came in sight while I closed the door. Laughing at the two, I told Liberty to get down before I walked over and greeted my wife with a loving kiss. Pulling away, I smiled at her.

"Hello. How are you? Yes to dinner out in the city today?" I asked hopeful. I didn't feel like cooking. My body was aching and begging for sleep.


Ten Thousand Club
In the time it took Jayden to get home, I pondered his reaction, not certain how he would respond to the news I had to tell him. The twenty-minute drive felt like over an hour to me. My palms sweating, I jumped up when I heard Liberty impatiently scratch the front door while Jayden fumbled for his keys to unlock the door. Riffling to myself, I stood at the end of the hallway that led out of the entryway, and when Jayden opened the door, Liberty plowed toward me and grabbed her two front paws when she jumped on me in a hello.

"Hey girl," I said in an excited giggle to see both officers walk through the door after not seeing them for a full day. I was always grateful when they returned home safe, but tonight I was especially happy to see them. Scratching Liberty's ears the way she liked, I let go of her when she pulled away and went to curl in her bed as she always did out of a matter of routine When Jayden and I met gazes I almost squealed. I missed him.

Accepting the long kiss, I returned the gesture before I hugged him, enjoying the embrace despite the faint scent of his sweat.

When he asked about dinner in the city, my face contorted into an expression of dissatisfaction.

"You just got home and you want to go back out there again? That's too much for tonight, love. We can just pick something up and come back here for the night. If we go out, you'll fall asleep at the dinner table before they can bring you your food."


Ten Thousand Club
I chuckled at Amelia's statement in regards to me falling asleep at the dinner table before my food was brought out to me. Considering I've been up for about twenty-four hours, I knew she was right, but I wanted to be able to spend time with her after not seeing her for so long. Sure it wasn't nearly as long as our lovely best friends went without each other but I hated leaving my wife every shift I had. Releasing a sigh, I nodded in agreement with her.

"You're right. I absolutely would fall asleep at that table so picking up something and just being home sounds better. I just wanted to take you out for a date but I promise I'll make it up to you when I'm actually not tired and can give you all the attention you want," Chuckling, I kissed her once more. "I'm going to go shower. Everything is tight so I'm hoping it'll help out. After we can go get something. Is Bel with my parents?"

When she nodded yes, I nodded back before I made my way through the hallway and into our room. What I saw on the bed confused me but as I read the sign, I felt nothing but confusion and joy form in the pit of my stomach. Amelia was pregnant. We were having another baby after we were told she could never conceive again. It was a lot to take in but as I stared at everything laid out on the bed, I couldn't help but cry tears of happiness before I turned around and saw Amelia standing there waiting for me.

"We're having another baby?" I asked her softly, taking her into my arms for the countless time while I kissed her lovingly. When I pulled away, I let out a nervous chuckle. "I can't believe it, and I can see you didn't either with your six tests." I teased. "This is crazy. Have you gone to a doctor yet? I'm going to every appointment. We're doing this together again."

I was excited for the new Acciolli addition but I was also nervous. I couldn't handle another miscarriage and I knew Amelia couldn't either.


Ten Thousand Club
Following Jayden to the bedroom, stopping in the hallway, I felt my palms begin to sweat again. Grinning at his shock, my heart fell into my stomach when he turned around with tears falling down his cheeks and onto his well-defined jaw. At the sound of his voice, I lost my own composure, starting to tear up myself, nodding hesitantly to answer his question. Laughing when he started to spew the questions, I hugged him tighter before I let go, our eyes meeting again.

"I just found out today, I don't know anything yet. I panicked, so I called Isabel, and then I did this," I rambled still in tears. "I'm scared," I finally admitted, shaking from my nerves at how Jayden would react to my own truth. I didn't want this to end in another argument. "What are we going to do, Jayden?"


Ten Thousand Club
Knowing that Amelia and I were expecting another child was both nerve wracking and exciting because of everything we had to go through to get Little Bel. My wife was also told she wasn't going to be able to have another one so I understood why Amelia was scared. There was a lot of unknowns with this news and even though I wanted to ride the excited cloud for as long as possible, seeing the tears stream down Amelia's face brought me back to reality.

Quickly cupping her face to wipe away the tears, I kissed her forehead in my small attempt of reassurance while she asked me what we were going to do. I didn't know how to answer that question but all I could do was reassure her we would get through this together.

"I know you're scared and that's okay my love. Now that we know, all we can do is set up a doctor's appointment and see what he recommends. I'll be there with you every step of the way, just let me know when and I'll get the day off. It's going to be alright, okay? Smile for me," Smiling at her I kissed her gently. "I'll go grab us food. What do you want? Something hearty because you're eating for two again."

Chuckling, I was going to take the night to spend with Amelia and reassure her that it was all going to be okay. It was then I realized once we knew things would be okay, we would have to tell Bel. I wonder how she'll react to that news.


Ten Thousand Club
Jayden's calm demeanor had a way of calming me down instantaneously no matter the circumstance. I trusted his reassurance. Nodding after pulling away from his kiss, I bit my lip, listening to his suggestion of 'hearty' food.

"I already told you once, you don't need to go anywhere else tonight. I can go, or better yet, I'll just get it delivered. Problem solved. You can go take your shower now, you need it," I teased, unable to resist his lips, I kissed him for the countless time in the twenty minutes he was home, unaware until now how much I missed him while he was away on a double. "I love you," I whispered going to clear off the bed so he could take his side when he returned.

Ordering the Chinese I changed into long-sleeved black cotton pajamas and curled into my side of the bed where Jayden found me a short while after. Though I wasn't planning it, I didn't deny him when he pursued me further. We rarely had the house to ourselves, and I needed the distraction after the news we got today and, as always, it felt nice to be desired.

Four Days Later...
I hated dressing for formal occasions but nonetheless, I had dressed for more than a few in the last month, and today was no different. It was Jayden's annual Christmas party, and since the whole statin and their families were invited, I knew it would be best to play the part of the host's wife. Slipping into the formal red dress completely bedazzled in tasteful sequins, I begin to second guess my outfit choice; with the slit leading up to my thigh and teasing cutouts on the right side of my waist and right above my chest, I bit my lip staring back at myself in the mirror, becoming flustered at my overthinking.

What were you thinking about picking something like this?

It was too late to turn back now, the party was in an hour and I didn't have anything else fit for the occasion. Nevermind the fact that I was paranoid the dress revealed our little secret when it was agreed to keep it a secret until after New Year's. After my first appointment yesterday, we discovered I was already almost nine weeks, and by the greatest miracle, everything seemed normal so far.

Sitting down on the ottoman at the end of the bed, I finished the ridiculous looks with a pair of clean white heels that banded at the ankle. Standing, I looked myself over again, shaking my head.

Who do you think you are, Amelia? Giggling at the sound of Jayden's heavy feet running up the stairs, more than likely to find me, turned toward him before he entered. When he came to a stop in the doorway I hung my head, embarrassed. "Do you think it's too much? I won't wear it if you hate it."



Ten Thousand Club
I was looking forward to attending the annual Christmas party held by the police department this year, especially because I was able to convince my lovely wife to attend with me considering she had gone to several formal events prior to it. I didn't know which dress she had picked out, all I knew was that it was red, so I opted to slight match with her by throwing on a charcoal colored suit with a white shirt under it and a burgundy colored tie. After I finished getting dress, I walked out of mine and Amelia's room and down the stairs when Isabel arrived to pick up Bel from us. Handing off the back and my daughter, I thanked the photojournalist again before I closed the door and ran up the stairs, going to retrieve my wife for the fun night ahead.

Stopping dead in my tracks at the sight of her, I stopped in the doorway and admired my wife. She looked beyond stunning in the dress she chose for today and I couldn't wait to walk in with her on my arm. It brought an immense sense of pride but when I saw her hand her head, I shook my head with a chuckle before I walked over to her and tipped her head upwards with a finger under her chin.

"You look absolutely stunning, Amelia," I whispered softly to her before kissing her gently. "It's not at all too much and I don't hate it. You have a coat to wear thought right? I don't want you freezing in the cold."

Giggling like a child, I let Amelia get the last items she needed before taking her hand and leading her down the stairs and out to the car before we drove to the hotel downtown where the party was taking place.

Upon arriving, I pulled into valet, opting to not deal with the parking considering the location of the Statler and where it stood in downtown. Going around to Amelia's side, I extended my hand out to her and walked in with her arm wrapped through mine, going to the ballroom we were directed towards. When we walked in and saw nothing but all white with a tree in the middle of the ballroom, I admired how all out the Chief went for this years party and I was more than excited to be here with Amelia.

"I'd say the Chief did rather well with this one this year, wouldn't you agree?" I asked my wife with a soft laugh.

After retrieving my mini from my best friend and her husband, I was excited to go back to the house with her and Mateo because it made me feel not so alone. After leaving the driveway, I asked Mateo and Bel what they wanted to pick up to eat and I wasn't surprised when both wanted Chick-fil-A. I was quick to oblige and drove to the nearest one, joining the to-go line where I ordered their kids meals and my food before driving us back to the house where they quickly got out of the car holding their drinks and ran to the door while I carried the food.

Unlocking the door, I let them in first and flipped on the light switch to the kitchen where I set the food on the counter and the toddlers made themselves comfortable at the dinning table. I separated the food from the massive bag before walking over and setting each meal in front of the respective child that ordered it. While they ate, I sat at the kitchen island with my laptop in front of me, working on some photos that were submitted on the D Magazine platform. I was grateful to have two toddlers excitedly talking to one another in such loud voices. It made the large house less lonely and it was something I needed with Dawson stuck up north.


Ten Thousand Club
"You mean the Chief's wife, not even a cop would put this much time into planning a party," I whispered in a giggle, keeping a grip on Jayden's arm. Secretly, I hoped we wouldn't be staying very long, events like these bored me and given that I couldn't occupy myself with a few drinks at the open bar, my interest was going to swindle more rapidly than usual. I couldn't admit that though, I knew Jayden had to make his rounds being one of the most seasoned men on the force with a decade under his belt, his professional circle was wide and I had to respect that.

Making the rounds with Jayden, I smiled and played the part, agreeing to every compliment he received. but there was one mam we greeted that for some reason I couldn't quite place, made my skin crawl when we met gazes. Keeping the smile on my face, I offered the man my hand respectively, expecting a firm handshake, but became uneasy when he brought his lips to my fingers.

I know you but from where?

Not catching his name as I was lost in thought, trying to place him, I continued to be lost as he and Jayden carried on their conversation, seems to be close colleagues.

Grinning at his comment of how I looked to Jayden, I nodded and thanked him before he told us to enjoy the evening, walking away.

"Who was that?"I asked Jayden in a whisper, once the man was out of earshot. "I think I know him, but I can't place him. Have I met him before?"

My cousin was coming staying the night and I was excited because she was my best friend! Plus, when she stayed the night, it was extra fun because momma did fun things like go to Chik-Fil-A and let us watch movies in her bed. I was so excited I didn't want to eat, I just wanted to play with Bel. Sneaking my toys to the table when momma wasn't looking, I gave Bel my favorite toy plane while I had the other. Giggling at my sneaky act, I shushed my cousin when she giggled too,

"Watch how high mine can go!" I yelled before I threw it as high as it would go, hoping it would go far, but I hurt Bel on accident instead. My plane hit Bel right in the eye before she started crying.


Ten Thousand Club
I knew Amelia didn't want to stick around long and if there was a chance the two of us could leave quickly, I would do just that. I didn't want her to be too bored tonight but I also knew I was going to have to make the rounds and say my hellos to everyone. It came with being a seasoned member of the department and moving up the ranks slowly but surely. My circle was wide and I needed to acknowledge everyone so they didn't feel neglected.

When we made our way to Sargent Perales, I greeted him with the same smile I did everyone else, chatting away with him after he greeted Amelia. When he commented on how Amelia looked, I chuckled and thanked him, smiling when Amelia did the same before he departed to continue making his own rounds. When Amelia asked who he was, I looked down at her curiously, thinking of where Amelia could have possibly known him from but wasn't able to place anything.

"That's Sargent Matthew Perales. He was my partner when I first started out and he was still a beat cop. I don't know how you might know him, though. I never though y'all's paths had crossed," I said with a shrug before Nick and Elise made their way over towards us. The couple looked nothing but radiant in a matching color of emerald for the party. I was thankful they found us because Nick and I were planning on sitting at the same table together.

"Wells, Elise. Y'all look nice," I said sweetly to which Elise smiled back and nodded.

"Thanks, Jay. I absolutely love your dress, Amelia!" She practically squealed while Nick agreed.

"Did y'all make your rounds already? Can we all go sit down now?" Nick asked before I nodded and followed the married couple to our table where we made small talk. Amelia seemed to be in her own head for some reason and I wasn't sure why but I was thankful Elise managed to pull my wife out of her head and asked her about Bel while Nick and I talked about how well the Chief's wife did planning this party.

While I was on my laptop going through this weeks submissions, I wasn't entirely focused in on the toddlers so when I heard Bel sniffle in an attempt to hide the fact that she was crying, I felt horrible for not keeping a better eye on them but I was livid with my son for thinking he wasn't in trouble and for giving his cousin what I knew would become a black eye.

"Mateo Gilbert Covington," I started, standing up instantly while I gave him a disapproving glare before walking to the freezer to grab an ice pack for my mini me's eye and wrapping it in a tablecloth. "You apologize right now, Mateo. This is unacceptable." When my son meekly apologized, I nodded before tending to Bel's eye. "Go put your toys up, Gilbert. Then come back and eat your food. After that, you're going to time out, me eschuchas?" I asked to which I saw him quickly nod before hurrying off. It was apparent who my son feared more out of Dawson and I. He's definitely his father's son.

"Let me see, Bel," I said gently, moving her hand away from her eye while I examined it and gently pressed the ice pack against the bottom of her eye. "That's seriously going to leave a shiner, I'm sorry love. Your cousin is so mean."

"Aunt Isabel, can I call my daddy?" I heard Bel ask sweetly and my heart ached because I knew she was going to want Jayden now but I didn't want to interrupt his time at the party with my best friend.

"He's at a Christmas party with your mom love. I can text him to see if he's not too busy to talk to you, okay? But for now let's finishing eating dinner and then we can snuggle up on the couch and watch your favorite Christmas movie." I was attempting to steer Isabel away from her injury. I knew once it stopped throbbing, she would forget all about it and go back to being herself again until Jayden and Amelia came to pick her up but I knew I was going to have to brace the couple about the shiner now evident on her eye.

Taking off the ice pack, I set it aside and let her finish eating, glaring at my son when he made his way back to the table and meekly sat down, eating his food in silence.

"Tu lo sabes mejor, Mateo," You should know better.

"I know, Momma."


Ten Thousand Club
The unsettling feeling only grew when Jayden confirmed there was no way I could have casually met his former partner in the past.

Why does he seem so familiar? I asked myself repeatedly, still trying to place the man. I wasn't going to let it go, that was the journalist in me. Thinking of any of the possibilities, the fear of his familiarity is what continued to nag at me. Not realizing how far gone I was in my own head, I jumped when Elise called out to me. Blinking, I turned to her to reply to her small chit chat.

"You look nice too, Elise, Bel is doing well, talking a lot for her age. I still don't know whether it's a blessing or a curse that she's so smart for her age," I replied, not realizing I was tugging on my ear out of anxiousness, one of my habits. "How's work at the hospital?" I asked while scanning the room subliminally for Perales, needing to get another look at him to try and place him again. Spotting him at the bar, I bit my lip, contemplating approaching the man. Deciding to act on the courage before it diminished, I turned my gaze back to Elise, "Hold that thought? I'll be right back, sorry, I think I got my wires crossed, work stuff," I explained, resting a hand on Jayden's shoulder in reassurance as I swiftly walked past him, approaching Matthew while holding breath.

"Excuse me, Sargent Perales?" I asked politely, letting go of the breath when he turned to face me with the same grin as he held before. "Sorry to interrupt, I was just curious, you look so familiar, and Jayden said we haven't met before, have we worked together before? I used to be a crime reporter for the Associated Press. Maybe I came to you for some notes or met you at a scene?"

When he filled the gap between us more intimately than I liked, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, it was only for a second though, because we both knew Jayden was watching.

"How could you forget me, Amelia?" He whispered sinisterly. "We had so much fun together, or at least I did until you begged me to stop." Gasping, I backed away.

I know who you are.

His whispers finally clicked, he was one of the men who got to "play with me" as a source of bait when Jayden's cover was blown, and until now, no one knew how Jayden's undercover operation was compromised. In the time it took Jayden to find me, four different men got their time alone with me, but I never saw any of them but Luciano because I was blindfolded and tied down. This was the man that did nothing but insult my husband the entire time he raped me, telling me Jayden deserved what was coming to him, taking pride in the fact that Jayden's cover was blown.

"It was you," I whispered inaudibly.

"You remembered! Now you better get back to your table and make some excuse to how we "know each other" or it's a promise that your doting husband won't cheat death again. It was nice to see you again, Amelia," he said in farewell, putting his hand on mine before he walked away and I ran back to the table, quick to compose myself, my heart racing.

"Hi, I'm back, what did I miss?" I asked in my usual cheerful tone, smiling when Nick asked why I was talking to Matthew. "He just seemed so familiar, I wanted to know how we knew each other, turns out I met him at a scene once. I should have known, I've worked with each of you at least once."


Ten Thousand Club
When Amelia excused herself, my eyes never left sight of her. I knew from the moment we said our hellos to Sargent Perales that something was brewing in Amelia's mind, despite how much she wanted to play it off like nothing was going on. Considering how long she and I have been together, I knew better than to believe what she gave us at face value upon her return back from a very short talk with Matthew. It seemed to have started out friendly, but the minute I saw him inch closer to her and fill the gap between them, I instantly become tense and defensive. I didn't like seeing how Amelia reacted to that. I didn't know what their story was of how they knew each other but I knew it wasn't good. It was then Nick turned to watch as well. By then Matthew had moved back again but I wasn't okay with how Amelia looked, nor did I like how Perales put his hand on top of Amelia's. It occurred to me no one else picked up on her habits like I did because Nick took what she had to say at face value. I wanted to know more but I knew Amelia wouldn't say a damn thing while we were here. We're going to have to talk about it at home.

Reaching under the table, I took Amelia's hand in mine, giving it a squeeze before I splayed it out flat on her thigh and began drawing out letters on it while Elise and Nick talked to us about how their work was going and where they were planning on going for the upcoming holiday.


I spelled out on her hand as fast yet slowly as I could so she knew what I was asking. We had done this before in multiple scenarios where one of us didn't want to draw attention to what the other was going through mentally. The one I remembered most was Amelia spelling out 'I love you' with a heart replacing love during the most important meeting with my lawyer before my trial began, which she followed up with 'Breathe'.

In that moment, I felt someone staring at us, and as subtly as possible, I met their eyes and tensed when I took note that it was Perales while someone was talking to him. What the hell is going on?

Before I could even start to attempt to figure it out, I felt my phone vibrate in my jacket pocket so I reached for it with the hand not splayed out while Amelia responded and read the text, chuckling when I saw the picture before shaking my head.

"What's up, Acciolli?" Nick asked.

"Isabel sent me a picture of Little Bel while sending a heartfelt apology for what Mateo did. He threw one of his planes and it hit Bel in the eye. Our daughter now has a shiner," I said before showing Amelia the picture and then Nick and Elise. I wanted to go to my daughter quickly but knew I needed to be here. There was something I knew was going to happen that was going to be announced today.
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Ten Thousand Club
Catching my breath in an attempt to not seem suspicious to my onlooker, I swallowed hard when I felt Jayden place his hand on my thigh before asking me if I was okay. This was when I had to make a split-second decision because Jayden's life was in danger. I thought after I married him and we put the trial behind us, I would never have to make another decision that put his life in my hands again. It made me sick. Biting my lip, I replied, slowly, because, I really needed him to get this.

B A D C O P I didn't elaborate any further because I didn't need him to make a scene right now, panic and leave, it was would be too obvious. Grinning at the picture, I tugged my ear again.

"I'm sure Mateo didn't mean it and Bel is a tough little girl. I trust Isabel handled it, you'll just have to give her extra snuggles tonight since you're her favorite right now," I replied gently. When it clicked for Jayden what I was trying to tell him, I pulled his leg before he could move. Giving him a stern look, I calmed down when he nodded in understanding. Now I was at a standstill, there was nothing that I could do discreetly to elaborate would be safe for Jayden. I knew now that the moment I knew who Matthew was, there was a target on Jayden's back and anyone else who tried to seek his safety.

This is all my fault, again.

When Jayden drew the "y" against my thigh, I bit my cheek to keep myself from crying at the thought,

What reason are you going to give him?



Ten Thousand Club
Bad cop. Okay, who the fuck? Matthew? Mob setup. Shit.

The last thing Amelia spelled out on my thigh was what instantly sent me into a panic. I didn't need for her to further elaborate on what she was trying to relay. I knew instantly what mob was trying to come into such a wonderful celebration and I also knew who their target was. Me. I was the reason so many people were about to be put in danger and whoever was the bad cop, I needed to get to their ass quick and get what information I could. I jerked my chair back, ready to start pursuing everything that was racing through my mind but Amelia's hand that previously pulled on my leg was now squeezing it to get my ass to calm down. I knew she was right. One wrong move and everything could go south in an instant.

Breathe, Jay. We'll figure this out but just act normal for now. Don't draw attention to it.

I took Amelia's hand back in mine so I could give it a reassuring squeeze, looking over at Nick who looked at us with concern. I knew he had to have picked up on Amelia's nerves and despite thinking he believed her lie, I should have known better considering he was being promoted to detective today. Giving him a nod, it was a if we were communicating to each other nonverbally.

Just relax for now.


We carried on as if nothing happened, as if Amelia didn't just alert me about a dirty cop and a potential mob setup. No, it was a potential one. I knew better than that. It was just a matter of when they would come. I have to warn everyone.

The announcement of promotions went rather well, those who received I believed were more than deserving of them. Nick was now a detective, me a Captain, and a few others Sargents. Overall, it was a pretty good recognition until someone caught my eye at the entrance, our gazes meeting instantly. He looked familiar and I knew from where when he grinned and glanced in the direction of Elise and Amelia. Fuck.

Pulling on Nick's hand, I leaned over to him to whisper something.

"Dirty cop, more than likely Perales. Mob set up now. In the back wearing the maroon suit," With that little information, I quickly walked off the stage and made my way to the table my wife and Nick's wife were sitting, staring up at us with pride while we received our promotions. My legs couldn't carry me to Amelia fast enough, but with the instant sight of a gun, I reached for mine which got the attention of other officers around me. They slowly did the same and looked where my eyes were glued. The mob is stupid for showing up to an event with a room full of officers carrying.

"Amelia, Elise, get down!" I exclaimed, shooting at the man before he could shoot at Amelia. Screams quickly erupted with the gunshot but I couldn't lose my focus. It was when the man pointed his gun on me that everything slowed down. He shot and my body instantly felt the pain. Fuck.

Instantly placing my hand on the abdomen wound, I pushed the pain aside while the adrenaline to protect my wife and everyone else here took over. Making my way to Amelia, I stood in front of her, moving the table so that it was now in it's side protecting the women. How the hell I did that with the excruciating pain amazed me but I just focused on keeping everyone safe. I didn't even get the chance to look back at the man before more shots were released, every other officer in the ballroom instantly putting their guards up and firing back. The shooter should've known he would be dead and it was me who killed him.

I looked over to Elise who was shivering, looking at me and then at my abdomen where I watched her look over my wound.

"Jayden get down and let me see! I have to get the bullet out!" She exclaimed while chaos consumed the room but I shook my head.

"I'm fine." I replied in a breathy tone. I could feel the blood loss setting in but I didn't care. When I heard a scream, I instantly knew there was more than just the one shooter and I was quickly becoming irritated. All of these men wanted to die today. With more shots being heard, I looked around the room for Perales, finding him instantly trying to vacate the premises. "Stop him, Serrantino!" I exclaimed to the Lieutenant closest to the door, watching him quickly grab Matthew and cuff him.

"Fucking shit." The pain was becoming too much but I wasn't going to stop now, these mob members deserved to die. Before I could do anything more, I felt my body instantly grow weak. Looking up at Amelia, I smiled at her. I had to keep her safe. I had to keep her and the baby safe. "Run to the car with Elise. I got your six. Run and go home, Amelia," When she refused, I used authority in my voice I know she wasn't used to hearing. "Amelia, go. Now."

As Amelia and Elise began to crawl their way out, I stuck near them, doing exactly as I said I would. Nothing was going to harm them. I would be sure of it. Another shot rang and more pain shot through me. Fuck. That was two. Two shots in one day. What a day to not being wearing a vest. I shot at the shooter who just shot me, making a direct kill shot. I wasn't sure what everyone else in the room was doing but once Amelia was out of the ballroom and with the hotel security escorting her and Elise out. I saw her look back at me but I gave her an approving nod. "I love you." I mouthed. After that, I leaned against a wall and slumped down to the ground. The pain was too consuming. The blood loss too much. Everything was becoming weak and the room becoming black. Fuck Acciolli.

"Jay! Jayden! Don't you dare close your eyes. Stay with us, bro!" I heard Nick yell but it was too late. At least Amelia's safe.


Ten Thousand Club
The night quickly turned into a nightmare My hunch was not enough to prepare me to watch my husband once again put his life over his own and quite literally used himself as a human shield to ensure my safety. It all happened so quickly, one moment Jayden and Nick were getting promoted and the next it was a rapid-fire gunfight.

Shaking at Jayden's demand to get down, I listened, feeling my heartbeat in my ears, I gasped at the first shot, watching Jayden take the first shot I screamed out to him.

"Jayden!" I screamed in pure desperation, tears falling down my cheeks, wanting to run toward him, I found my feet but was held back by Elise, "Let go, Elise, please. He's hurt!" I exclaimed in complete panic watching as he walked toward us, throwing the table down to shield us from the ongoing chaos. as he continued to stand in front of us, I swallowed my sobs, not wanting to draw attention to myself to further Jayden as a target.

"Jayden, let her help you please," I whispered through my cries but they were useless. As soon as a scream was heard and another shot was fired Jayden went back into action, making his injury secondary. In my own panic, I pulled out my phone, flinching at every shot and texted Isabel.

"Keep an eye on the news and stay with the kids, please. I love you." Sending it, hands shaking I struggled to catch a breath, even with Jayden still standing guard, my despair was heightened when I watched Jayden's demeanor begin to change. "Jayden, Jayden, look at me, look at me, please," I called before I watched him turn to me with a smile, one that made my stomach lurch. It was almost a smile of surrender. No no no. "Jayden," I called again. Shaking my head profusely when he told me to leave.

"I'm not going to leave you!" I argued, "This is my fault." I whispered kissing his cheeks Flinching at his authoritative tone at a time like this, I continued to shake my head. "Don't make me do this." When Elise pulled me away, promising that I would see Jayden again after this. "You can't leave me, Jayden," I whispered resting my head against his forehead. "I'll be waiting for you."

Reluctantly following Elise out, I let go of the sob I was holding, bringing a hand to my mouth when I saw Jayden say he loved me, unaware that he took a second shot for me.

"Elise you have to help him please, I can't bury my husband. We're having another baby, please."


Ten Thousand Club
In the blink of an eye everything at the Christmas party went from great to disastrous. I didn't know entirely why this gunfight was happening, but considering how quick Jayden was to tell Nick while on stage and then jump into action to protect Amelia and I, I knew it had to do with the mob related to Jayden's first time undercover. The time he went to trial for murdering a mobster that abused Amelia. It served that asshole right but it wasn't fair that Amelia and Jayden were still facing this two years later.

I watched everything unfold as calmly as I possibly could. It wasn't too hard considering I was a doctor who worked in the ER, one of the most traumatic areas to be. I was a surgeon, so my instincts to scan for anyone wounded and help them if I needed to kicked into high gear. I couldn't break the oath I took the minute I decided to go into this career. I needed to save lives despite risking mine but when I saw Amelia get to her feet, I was quick to look at Jayden and instantly saw the wound in his abdomen. He's hit. I wanted to help the now Captain but I pulled back his wife instead. I couldn't risk her getting hurt as well.

"Amelia, no! You know he wouldn't want you in the line of fire!" I exclaimed to my dear friend, keeping her low and against the floor. It was then Jayden made his way over to us and I saw the blood gushing out. Any same person would've gagged at the sight but this was something I was used to seeing. "Jayden, get down and let me see! I have to get the bullet out!" Like all officers, he was quick to protect the rest of us while paying no mind to his injury. Hearing Amelia's cries broke my heart. I knew she wanted Jayden to let me help him but he wasn't going to budge, but I also took note of his change in composure. Shit. If we don't get that bullet out and apply pressure soon, he's going to loose too much blood.

With Jayden telling us to get out, agreeing to be our six, I knew this was my safest way out to retrieve the medical kit in my car so I could come back and help those who needed it. But when I saw Amelia desperately cry out to Jayden the entire time and refuse to leave, I knew I was going to have to drag her out, so I did, and I didn't regret it considering what she told me once we were in the lobby with the hotels security. She's pregnant. Fuck. Think, Elise. Think quick. Medical kit, 911, Jayden, bullet.

Taking Amelia's hands in my own, I tried my best to soothe her, nodding rapidly at everything she told me.

"Amelia, Amelia," I couldn't get through to her. "Amelia!" I exclaimed a little louder. "I'll help. I need to run to my car and get my medical kit. While I do that, call 911 because Jayden is going to need to be transferred to Baylor stat. I'll be back to take the bullet out okay?" With that, I ran out the hotel and to my car, snatching my keys from valet and running as fast as I could, my heart racing. Hurry. Hurry up, Elise. Time is truly of the essence. You gotta stop the bleeding.

Unlocking the car, I quickly fumbled around in the back seat, cursing out Nick when I realized he moved the kit. Fucking hell, Wells. Shutting the door and running to the trunk, I was thankful I found it and ran off again, locking the car and pushing my way back into the hotel despite people trying to keep me out.

"I'm a doctor and my friend took a bullet. I'm going in whether you like it or not!" I exclaimed to which they backed off quickly so once I was in, I saw Amelia where I left her and smiled. "I'm going to help him. You called 911, right? Stay here. I'm sure you're in no state to Jayden in his."

With that, I ran back into the main ballroom and found Jayden sitting against a wall surrounded by my husband and a few other officers.

"Lay him down and move out of the way!" I told them, quickly kneeling beside Jayden when they did, grabbing gloves out of my kit and putting them on before I also grabbed a flashlight to wear on my head, some medical tweezers, thread in case I could stitch him up along with the needle, and a bottle of alcohol for cleaning. I removed the Captain's jacket and unbuttoned his shirt, pushing it aside with his jacket while I examined his abdomen. It was then I realized he was shot twice and that's when I heard an ugly cry. Shit. Amelia was here and now saw Jayden took two bullets for her. "Nick, stay with Amelia. Jason, come here and be my helper."

With that set in place, I acted quickly to help Jayden as best as I possibly could before the ambulance arrived. I examined the two shots in his abdomen and took note that only one wasn't as serious as the other. Dammit. He's going to need an operation.

Reaching into the wound with the easiest bullet to pull out, I did so perfectly, quickly examining the hole it left behind for reassurance that this was the right decision and it was. Good. I then quickly began the stitching process, first internally then the outer skin. I was so irritated that it was taking the ambulance this long to make it to us because when I finished up those stitches is when they arrived.

"Hurry up and load him in. He was shot twice, both his abdomen. One barley made it in and I pulled it out and stitched it up but the other one caused severe blood loss and is too far in. We need to get him to Baylor and operate on him stat." With that, they took him quickly, but I was amazed to see he had awoken from his unconscious state and looked around for Amelia. I knew this was going to be a long ambulance ride.

"Nick, I'm going with Jayden and Amelia. I'm the best chance he's got on making the ride alive. Meet us there when you're done here," I told my husband gently, kissing him lovingly. "He'll be okay. Stay safe."

With that, I rode with Amelia and Jayden to Baylor, getting down quickly with the crew once my coworkers met us outside and rolled him in. "He's going to need a blood transfusion stat. Let me know his type. Dr. Menger will do the operation." With that, Jayden was rushed into the OR and I released a deep sigh, hoping my work was enough. When I heard Amelia call out to me, I turned around and hugged her tightly.

"He'll make it, Amelia. I feel it." I whispered softly.


Ten Thousand Club
You need to calm down or Jayden is going to be upset with you for stressing if he wakes up. If.

Leaning into Elise, I cried, but when I caught a ragged breath I nodded at her reassurance Jayden would be alright. If it wasn’t for her, he really would be dead.

“Thank you,” I managed to mumble through my worried cries. “This is my fault, I’m so sorry.” I whispered, shaking my head defiantly when Elise tried to persuade me none of this was my doing, but I was the one who tipped off Matthew. He had to be the one who set this whole thing into motion.

I was trying to compose myself, but the fact that Jayden was still a target even two years later, was the worst nightmare I could ever endure as a cop’s wife, and because they continued to use me as his weakness to take bullets, the guilt continued to eat at me.

Why does he have to love me so much? I’m not worth this living hell and our kids need their father.

When a nurse came over to try and take me away for my own exam I protested. “I’m fine,” I insisted, but Elise pulled the Jayden card.

“Jayden would want to know you and the baby are alright.”

Nodding submissively, I got up, too afraid to go alone. “Can you come with me? We haven’t told anyone and I don’t want them to find out this way. I told Isabel, but she’s with the kids and Dawson isn’t home.”

In reality I was prepared to not hear a heartbeat anymore and I couldn’t bear to face that alone, after nearly losing my husband. Elise was my saving grace tonight.


Ten Thousand Club
I had just gotten the kids into bed when I finally had the chance to look at my phone and catch up on any emails from work or texts from Dawson or Amelia. I saw Dawson's first, a simple I love you that lit up my entire world. I really missed having him around, especially when I had to deal with two toddlers at once but I love my son and mini me more than anything. It was just hard being the bad guy with Mateo because he genuinely was upset with me for getting after him today but I had to push that aside. It was part of being a parent and I knew Dawson wouldn't have done much if he was here. Ridiculous. I thought with a giggle, shaking my head before opening Amelia's text thread. My entire body turned cold.

Quickly grabbing my laptop, I sat on the couch and went to every major news company in Dallas, looking for anything that could give me details on what the hell happened tonight at an event for all officers to celebrate and enjoy themselves. When I saw a live broadcast report at the scene, my heart broke as I read the headline on the bottom of my screen.

Breaking: Shooting during DPD Christmas Party, three injured

The aching in my heart told me Amelia wasn't one of the ones injured, but rather, it made it known to my brain that Jayden had to be one of them. He just had to be. As the Chief conducted an interview briefly explaining what occurred, I listened for anything that could give me a clue as to who the hell would be stupid enough to shoot up a ballroom full of officers but when I heard him say it was a setup, my heart dropped. It couldn't have been the mob, could it? Were they specifically targeting my best friend and her husband? I needed to text Amelia. I needed to know she was okay. The baby. Her and the baby had to be okay.

Opening the text thread between my anchor and I, I typed rapidly on my laptop as the walls seemed to cave in. No. Not now. Breathe. I couldn't afford to have a panic attack right now. I didn't need to wake the kids or waste any time trying to get more information.

"Hey, I just read this. The kids are asleep. Amelia, are you okay? What the hell happened? Call me."

After sending her a text, I made a new one with Nick Wells. I need to know more.

"Nick, it's Isabel. What the hell happened? Is Jayden okay?" I expected him to tell me he couldn't relay much information. "Nick, now is not the time to give me that bullshit spill. I need to know. Amelia isn't answering me. Is she or Jayden hurt?"

The three dots appeared on my screen then disappeared and stayed gone for a solid four minutes. In those four minutes, my world seemed to cave. Amelia couldn't have possibly been one of the three injured and if she was, I was going to personally kill the mob that was still after the beautiful couple. I felt my chest tighten up then. I couldn't do this alone. I needed someone to calm me down.

"Amor," I croaked out when my pilot answered his phone, the tears flowing freely now as the unknown consumed my mind. It was going to drive me straight into the never ending pit of anxiety. "Amor, Jayden and Amelia were at the Christmas party and then the mob, fuck they came after Jayden and no one is telling me anything and I- Fuck. I can't lose either of them, Dawson." My voice was beyond weak. "Dammit."

Standing next to Amelia while she laid out in a hospital bed, I watched the monitor closely, praying and hoping to see and hear a heartbeat from the child inside of her. I had the utmost faith that Jayden was going to make it out of this. Dr. Menger was phenomenal at what he did but I knew Amelia's stress levels were high, and I also knew how hard it was for her and Jayden to have their daughter. I couldn't bare knowing the couple might have lost their second child but my entire body relaxed when we heard it. The steady beating of the child inside my dear friend.

Thank you, Lord.

Looking down at Amelia, I smiled sweetly at her when she looked at the monitor now showing her baby and then over at me. I gave her hand a reassuring squeeze while the nurse smiled brightly at us.

"The baby seems to be in perfect condition, Mrs. Acciolli. I'm going to go ahead and clean off your stomach now and then we can continue the examination. Are you in any sort of pain or discomfort?" Nurse Jackson had asked my friend but I knew all Amelia cared about was that her baby was alive. You have to pull through now, Jayden. You can't leave them like this.

When the nurse left to go retrieve some items for the vital check on Amelia, I released a deep sigh.

"How are you feeling? Has Isabel texted you?" I asked, trying my hardest to do what I knew Isabel would for Amelia if she were here. I knew both women wanted her to be but she was watching the babies from what Amelia told me earlier and Dawson was out of town.


Ten Thousand Club
When the nurse stepped away for a moment, I nodded at Elise, staying quiet, still trying to process the night’s events. “I’m fine, just a little dizzy, but that’s nothing our of the ordinary lately,” I replied wiping off the cold gel from my stomach before Nick ran into the room. Grinning at his confusion; I soaked in his unknowing. “Surprise,” I whispered, seeing his horror only grow now that he understood why his best friend turned into an untouchable trying to protect me.


"I don't know," I answered abruptly, sitting up, now wasn't the time to be in pleasant shock when my husband was on the table.

"Nick, I need to talk to you, alone, please," I asked in a shaky breath. "Elise, can you call Isabel and let her know what's going on since your husband isn't legally allowed to?" I asked, thanking her politely when she left the room, leaving me with her husband.

"Detective Wells." I knew by addressing him this way, he would know this wasn't a friend to friend conversation. "I need to give a statement and you're going to want to record this, but my one request is, you give my husband time to heal before you break this to him or release it to the media. I think we both can agree he's been through enough tonight and doesn't need to wake up to bad news."

When Nick agreed, I took a deep breathe while he got himself ready and once he had, I told him everything I knew.

"Sargent Perales is responsible for blowing my husband's cover. I know this because, when I was kidnapped, four different men, sexually assaulted me, and he was one of them. I didn't originally report all four of them, because I didn't want anyone to know I was too embarrassed to be an object of a group of creeps sexual fantasy. It would have done more harm than good to Jayden at the time. Anyway, I know it was Perales because I recognized him tonight, and when I approached him about it out of curiosity he brought me back to the night he raped me. umm, I didn't see him, I was blindfolded, so I just recognized his voice, but he admitted to me he was the one who sold Jayden out to the mob and he is part of the mob, and when I remembered, he threatened Jayden's life if I told him what I knew, said my husband wouldn't escape death again. And that's when I knew he sent his mob friends to the Christmas party to "take care" of Jayden because he's a dirty cop who doesn't want to get caught. Whatever involvement he has with the mob, I'm assuming Jayden was coming close to finding out, so he continues to try to... murder him."

"Amor? What's wrong?" I asked before she began to sprew a horrific truth I couldn't comprehend at first. "What?" I asked in my own disbelief. The mob wants revenge on Jayden and Amelia. "Okay, Isabel, breathe, I'm sure you'll hear something soon and there were a lot of people there, maybe it wasn't them. Just stay with the kids and keep them safe since we don't know what's going on. Use the gun in the safe, you know the combo. If it is the mob, the might try to come for Jayden's daughter next. Call the police and tell them you have her. Don't let her go anywhere alone, she doesn't need to be traumatized. If you have to call my mom and ask her to stay with Mateo, I know you want to go to Amelia, but she needs you to keep her baby safe. That's more important to Jayden and Amelia than themselves. Can you do that for them?"
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