When Tessa had come to check on Ava, she found the young girl on the floor, wedged between her bed and nightstand. She had been crying for some time, scattered tissues around her.
“What happened to you?” Tessa asked as she crouched down. “You look like you’re going to be sick. Was it something with Ian?”
“You make it sound like I’m dating him,” Ava said softly, as she crawled out from her hiding place. She stared at Tessa for a few minutes before she burst into tears and latched onto her. “Ari’s hurt,” she whispered, her voice shaking.
“I know. Alex is taking care of things. He’ll be here soon.”
It didn’t take long for Ava to fall asleep, nestled in Tessa’s arms.
Alex had entered the infirmary quietly. He didn’t need to see the entire room to know that she was in the first bed. He took a chair by the wall and brought it to her bed. He sat down and looked at her.
Ari’s brown hair was pulled back from her face, revealing a large bruise that covered her cheek, and a black eye. Those were the wounds he could see. He didn’t want to know about the ones, if any, under the blanket.
“You’re going to be okay,” he said, reaching out to take her hand. “We’ll find out who did this to you, I promise.”
He wished more than anything that she would squeeze back.
Ava woke up sweating and gasping for air. She reached a trembling hand toward the bedside table before someone grabbed her fingers. She screamed and drew back into the wall.
“Don’t do anything stupid,” someone hissed.
Definitely male. It just wasn’t Ian.