The perplexed young man in uniform looked at Max for a moment and shrugged, obviously convinced that the blood on Max belonged to Mia. Setting back to work, he stemmed the blood from Mia’s head wound, stabilized her head and neck, and started peppering Max with medical questions about his wife.
Yanking himself brutally from his own thoughts, Max went into autopilot, answering every question, responding coherently, giving the paramedic every bit of information he could to help Mia.
Mustering every bit of the Hamilton control he could find, Max calmed and buried his emotions. It should have been easy. It was something he’d done most of his life. But right now, it was an enormous effort, one that he almost didn’t care whether he accomplished or not.
Do it for Mia. She needs you to be sensible and get a grip on yourself.
With that thought, Max was able to totally rein himself in, become the rational man she had always expected.
By the time the ambulance arrived at the hospital, Max was in command of himself; the only signal that he hadn’t quite managed to completely bury his emotions was the steadfast, unwavering grip he retained on Mia’s hand.
By some unknown phenomenon, Max knew he was actually getting a second chance. As improbable as it was, his wife had been given back to him, and he wasn’t going to f**k it up this time.
His face grim, he never left Mia, even when he was instructed to wait somewhere else. He’d waited long enough. He had his wife in his grasp, and he wasn’t ever letting her go again.
“I’ve talked to all of her doctors, Max. Even the consulting psychiatrist. Her traumatic brain injury is fairly mild; she’s experiencing some symptoms of post-concussion syndrome with retrograde amnesia. She really doesn’t remember the last two and a half years or what occurred during that time.” Maddie was using her doctor’s voice, but her expression was concerned as she sat down next to Max in the hospital waiting room and covered his hand with hers.
Max released an exhausted breath before replying, “Could you put that in layman’s terms, Maddie? What does it mean?” Running a frustrated hand from his forehead to his jaw, he looked at his sister, unable to hide his pleading expression. He wanted someone to tell him that Mia was going to be okay. Anything else was just not acceptable.
“It means when she smashed her head into the cement, it scrambled her brain around inside of her skull and screwed up some of the tiny cells that exist inside the brain. She’s fine, Max. Really. There’s nothing significant on her MRI. The headache and dizziness will eventually subside and her memory should come back.” She removed her hand from his as Sam entered the room with a cardboard holder filled with foam cups of coffee, silently handing both him and Maddie a cup before taking one for himself and plopping beside his wife.
Max knew he should feel some sort of relief from hearing the words Maddie was saying, but every time he saw the vulnerability on Mia’s face, it made him want to kill someone. Problem was, he had no idea who to hurt for what had happened to his wife. Hell, he didn’t even know what had happened to her. Most of the time, he didn’t dare question the fact that she was back and whole. But he couldn’t help having a few moments of doubt, wondering where in the hell she’d been, what she’d gone through during the last few years. He was a man of reason, and nothing was making sense.
As though reading his mind, Sam commented slowly but dangerously, “We’ll figure out what happened, Max.”
Max could hear in Sam’s tone the words he didn’t say aloud…and the bastard or bastards responsible will pay if they hurt her. Max looked across his sister and saw Sam’s expression. As the two men’s eyes connected, Sam nodded once at Max, letting him know he meant business. Max inclined his head slightly, acknowledging Sam’s support, so damn glad that someone understood his irritation and frustration, his raw male need to get revenge for whatever had happened to Mia. Yeah, he wasn’t sure she had even been hurt, but someone had taken her away, and he wanted that person’s head right now.
“You need to sleep, Max. You’ve been here for two days straight. Go home and get some rest. Mia can go home in the morning.” Maddie’s voice was pleading, her eyes troubled.
Oh, hell no. They’d need an entire damn army to drag him away from Mia. She was confused and scared, and though Maddie didn’t know it, that was a rarity for Mia. He needed to be here with her. His wife was back, and nothing was taking her away from him again. With the uncertainty of what exactly had occurred, why she had disappeared, there was no way he was leaving her. “I’m staying. I’ll sleep when we go home,” he answered stubbornly, pulling the lid from his coffee and taking a healthy gulp. “You two need to take off. I’ll be fine here.” Shit, he wanted to get up and dance because his wife had been returned to him. He probably would if he wasn’t so damn tired and worried.
Kade and Travis had left for the day, but Maddie and Sam had stayed behind, Maddie hunting down the doctors to get the whole story after getting Mia’s permission to do so. Thank God his sister was a physician. Max needed to hear what was happening from someone he trusted, and in a language he understood.
Sam stood and clasped his wife’s hand, pulling her to her feet.
“I don’t want to leave you alone here tonight, Max,” Maddie said softly, her sympathetic gaze running over her brother and his disheveled appearance.
Max looked up at her, his heart warming from her sisterly concern. Putting his coffee on the table beside him, he stood up and pulled her into a bear hug. Sam plucked the coffee from his wife’s hand deftly as Max swept Maddie into his arms and squeezed her tightly. “Thank you for being here when I needed you, but I’m not alone anymore. Mia’s here. I’m exactly where I should be.” His voice was hoarse, his emotions getting closer to the surface with exhaustion.
Releasing Maddie, he told Sam, “Take her home. She’s pregnant with my nephew.”
Sam snorted. “You mean my daughter?” He raised a brow at Max.
Max rolled his eyes. “My nephew,” he argued good-naturedly. He knew Sam didn’t care whether Maddie had a boy or girl, as long as the baby was healthy. But since he’d learned that Sam was dreaming of a little girl cousin for Simon’s soon-to-arrive baby girl, Max immediately had to be contrary. It just wouldn’t be natural not to argue with Sam.
Sam took Maddie’s hand and slapped Max on the back. “Now you can have one of your own, buddy. See you tomorrow.” Sam exited the waiting room with Maddie, his parting words still echoing in Max’s brain.