ACED EXTRA: An Alternate Point of View
****WARNING – ACED SPOILERS CONTAINED BELOW***
♠ IF YOU HAVE NOT READ ACED, PLEASE DO NOT READ ♠
When I wrote ACED there were a few chapters that I had originally wrote in the alternative perspective (i.e. I originally wrote it in Colton’s POV but decided to rewrite in Rylee’s POV after getting some feedback). The following is one such chapter. This alternate chapter is Chapter Fourteen of ACED but told in Colton’s Point of View. A few things to note before you read it:
I left it as is, meaning that the dialogue will not match the published Chapter Fourteen not all of the physical placement of characters.
This chapter has NOT been professionally edited… therefore this is a clear warning to the grammar gurus that I know there will be errors or sentence structure issues… so no emails are needed to tell me there are errors.
I chose not to use this perspective because after talking it over with a fellow author, we thought it left more impact to not know what was in Colton’s head in this scene. I still agree with my decision to write it the way I published it… but I still thought you all would like a little revisit with your Ace.
Not this time. No fucking way.
That’s the only thought that runs through my head on constant goddamn repeat as I stand in the doorway and push away images burned in my mind from that night so very long ago: the blood everywhere, the baby we lost, finding Rylee lifeless like a Raggedy Ann doll.
Not this time, I repeat as I step into the room and release the breath I feel like I have been holding since I hopped on the chartered plane after the race to get back here when I see Rylee. She’s asleep in the bed, bands are around her belly, the baby’s heartbeat owning the silence of the room in the most comforting of sounds.
Everything that is important to me is in that bed and yet I did this to her. The race. The video. The stress of it all has put them both in jeopardy.
I don’t want to disturb her, wake her from the rest I know she desperately needs, and yet I can’t resist – never can when it comes to her – so I move to the side of the bed and just stare. The curls of her hair on the pillow. Her dark lashes against her pale skin. The rise and fall of her chest. The glitter of my ring on her finger. The shine on the skin on her abdomen from being stretched with life beneath it.
Damn it, she still scares me. Unnerves me. Every damn hour of every day and yet there’s a part of me that needs that. Fear drives a man to go places he’ll never venture, to push himself beyond his reason, and here I stand scared shitless with a woman I can’t live without and a baby soon to be born when I swore those were two things I was never capable of.
Goddamn fear. I love it and I hate and yet I wouldn’t change a damn thing about it because I’m looking at the result of it right in front of me.
I shake away to overage of emotion that I’m still not good with. I’m just tired, worn the fuck out from the race and the sleep I should have got on the plane but couldn’t because I was too damn busy looking out the window hoping the scar tissue holding my heart together would hold fast until I was able to see her again and know she is okay.
And here she is, whole and strong and so beautiful and my fingers itch to touch her, but I hesitate even though she’s so much stronger than I ever give her credit for. It’s me I worry about now as I lift my eyes to watch the baby’s heart monitor on the opposite side of the bed.
My mind flashes back to a father I’ve never known. Doubts creep into my resolve and make me question if I’m going to be able to handle this. A little fucking late to ask myself, I know, and yet did he stand next to my mom at some point and wonder the same thing? Did he start out wanting to be a good man and then not make the connection with me so he left without a second thought? Or did he not know I existed at all?
The notion sticks with me as I stare at my whole goddamn world lying on the bed in front of me and that fear takes hold again. I just hope the fear will continue to make me more of a man this time around because I’m petrified I’m going to fuck this up.
I need to call Kelly and decide whether I want him to continue the search for my biological dad or not. The jury’s out on that one. I have enough shit churned up right now that I don’t need to muddy the already murky waters.
Drawing in a deep breath I know the only way to silence the disquiet in my head is to hold onto the one person in my life who never seems to doubt me, Rylee. Giving into the urge as inherent as breathing, I sit gently on the bed beside her making sure not to disturb any of the wires she’s plugged into. When she doesn’t stir, I shift so that I can lie down behind her, my front to her back. I breathe her in as she snuggles her back against me in her sleep like she knows I’m here.
We lay like this for a few minutes, the scent of her vanilla in my nose and so many thoughts, so many emotions, flood through me and yet I can’t put concretes to any of them. How can I even concentrate on them when she’s like this with me: Finding comfort when I’m the reason she’s so stressed out in the first place.
But I’m here now and I’m not going to let anything happen to her.
I hold tight to that truth with her body against mine, calming my nerves. I’m about to drift off, the ease of being right where I need to be pulling me into sleep, when her arm reaches back to grab my hand and pull my arm around her. Our fingers lace together and we sit in the silent comfort for a few moments.
“Hey,” I say, pressing a kiss into the back of her head, my voice thick with emotion.
“I’m sorry for worrying you,” she murmurs drowsily when I feel like the same words should be falling from my mouth.
“You two scared me,” I say, trying to put words the fear that lodged in my throat when my dad told me she was having contractions.
“Everything is fine now,” she explains. Her words do nothing to abate the fear that held me hostage as I was suspended on a plane in the air, helpless with only the warnings Dr. Steele has given us over the course of the pregnancy to occupy my thoughts. The high risk. The damaged arteries from the accident. The scar tissue from the miscarriage that could cause heavy bleeding during labor. The pressure on her fragile uterus that will increase the bigger the baby gets.
But I shake them away right now because I’m here and she’s okay and the baby seems content to not meet us just yet.
“Why was your blood pressure through the roof?” I ask although I already feel like I know the answer.
Because of me…
“There’s a lot going on,” she states softly and there’s something in her tone that makes me think I’m missing something, but I can’t see her face to know for sure.
“What haven’t you told me?” I ask hating the vague answers she keeps giving me.
“They gave me some type of steroids for the baby to help lung development,” she says, avoiding my question and fueling my temper.
“Rylee.” Her name is a stern warning not to fuck with me because I’m tired and worried and now I definitely know something is going on. “Whatever it is, let me help. Please. I’ll fix…” and my words fade off because the last time I said I’d fix it, I failed epically so why would she trust me now?
The silence stretches between us and I hate that it feels uncomfortable when we are body to body, our heart beating as one. I wait for the other shoe to drop when I had no idea there was one dangling by a shoelace.
“Someone wants to foster Zander,” she says causing my body to freeze in a war of emotions. The unwanted kid still lingering inside of me stands at attention knowing the worth that this must be instilling in Zander right now. And yet at the same time a part of me knows that as much as Rylee’s life mission is to give her boys a home and better life, she has to be dying inside with the fear she’s going to lose a boy that really never was hers to keep.
The stiffness in her posture confirms my assumption without her saying a word. “It’s his uncle. Ex-con. Druggie,” she states evenly when all of my senses revolt at the very idea that some piece of shit like that gets to even have the honor to know a kid like Zander.
“Money.” It’s my only response, and yet I know it’s the right one because I hear the uneven rattle as she draws in a breath.
“Zander called me, upset, scared…asking me to help him and I had no clue what was going on.” I can sense her getting riled up and pull her tighter against me.
“C’mon. Calm—” I stop myself from telling her to calm down since last time it was followed by a melt down worthy of global warming. And then I hear that damn hitch in her breath the same time I feel her body shudder and I know I’ll do whatever it takes to make her happy, keep the baby safe, and make sure that Zander is taken care of regardless of what that might be.
“How can I calm down?” she says as I hear the sounds on the monitors begin to pick up their pace in the room around us. “Teddy didn’t tell me and Zander is scared and there’s nothing I can—”
“We’ll adopt him,” I blurt out, my own comment surprising me because while adoption is something we had spoken about before, it had never been in this context.
“No, we can’t.” Her voice breaks and the sound pulls at every chord within me. “I couldn’t pick just one boy. That’s just…But thank you for saying it. The fact that you’d even consider it means the world to me.”
The sound of the baby’s movement on the monitor refocuses my mind to the here and the now. To what it might take to make sure Rylee and the baby remain safe and healthy. But as the sound of Rylee’s heartbeat slowing fills the room, I wonder just how I’m going to accomplish that without taking care of things for Zander too.
Her boys are her heart.
And she is mine.
So how do I prevent either of them from breaking?
At least in the hospital I can hear it beating, know it’s healthy. I hold onto that thought as the gentle staccato of her heart soothes the still erratic one within me.
“I shouldn’t have called and worried you…taken you away from your victory celebration,” she confesses, “but I was scared.”
“As long as you promise to take it easy and listen to the damn doctor then we’ll get you home and have our own celebration,” I tell her, the notion not lost on me that as always she is thinking about me when she should be thinking about her.
“Ha. And you expect me to keep my blood pressure down with how you like to celebrate,” she teases as she wiggles her ass against my dick causing me to muffle a laugh into the back of her head. “I have a feeling this victory lane is closed for business for a while.”
“Good thing I just claimed it in Indy.”
“You better be talking about a trophy, Ace.”
Hope you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading and for leaving reviews for ACED on the site you purchased it from. I truly appreciate it.
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