When We Fall

When I Break - 3

Kendall Ryan

Chapter One


I knew I needed to stay calm and assess the situation, but McKenna showing up here tonight had really thrown me off. And not to mention a very pregnant Amanda waddling across my floor, groaning in pain, was putting me a little outside my comfort zone. My head was spinning like a fucking top.

Think, Knox.

I checked on McKenna again. She was sprawled across my bed where I’d laid her down, and her body was limp and pale. She was breathing, but she wasn’t responding to my voice or touch. She had passed out cold from the shock of finding me in my bedroom with Amanda. I would have to deal with the repercussions later. My guess was that McKenna had driven back from her extended stay in Indiana, and finding me with Amanda in my bedroom—along with the soundtrack of Amanda’s moans—had McKenna assuming the worst. Next, I tried to get Amanda to sit down and rest, but she pushed me away, insisting that walking was helping.

Knowing I was seriously out of my element, I grabbed my cell phone and dialed my neighbor, Nikki. She had a baby; surely she’d know if this was false labor or the real thing.

“Nik, yeah. Hey, my friend Amanda thinks she’s going into labor, but she’s not due for another several weeks—”

Nikki cut me off, saying something about a guy named Braxton Hicks and timing contractions, but before I could hear the rest, Amanda let out a bloodcurdling scream.

“I’m peeing, I think I’m peeing! Am I peeing?” She squatted on the floor, her pants growing darker with a wet stain.

What the fuck? I cursed under my breath and crossed the room to give her a hand.

Nikki, overhearing the entire thing, laughed. “Her water just broke. Get her to the hospital. This baby’s coming early.”

Christ. “McKenna’s here and passed out—I can’t just leave her. And Tucker’s here, too. Can you come over?”

“Sorry, I’m out of town at my mom’s,” Nikki said.

“All right. Gotta go, Nik.”

“Good luck.”

I hung up the phone and helped Amanda remove her wet pants and underwear, then gave her a pair of my sweats. I’d worry about cleaning up the puddle of water on my floor later. In all the commotion, Tucker had come upstairs and was now peeking around the open doorway. “It’s okay, Tuck, you can come in.”

He ventured inside the room slowly, looking around at the two women, his eyes as big as saucers. McKenna was still out cold. “What happened?” he asked.

“Kenna’s all right, I promise. And Amanda’s going to have her baby.”

Amanda let out a low moan and sat down on the bed next to McKenna. Doing the only thing I could, I picked up my phone and dialed 911. The paramedics could make sure McKenna was all right and give Amanda a lift to the hospital. While I waited for them to arrive, I sent Tucker downstairs to gather up some towels. He didn’t need to be up here seeing Amanda in agonizing pain and worrying about McKenna. It wasn’t healthy for his little mind to try to process all that was happening. I was having a hard enough time keeping my own stress level contained.

A few minutes later I heard sirens and ran downstairs to meet the paramedics. One man and one woman rushed inside and followed me and a wide-eyed Tucker up the stairs to my attic bedroom.

They assessed Amanda and determined that she was in active labor and got her ready for transport. Then they turned their attention to McKenna. I didn’t breathe a full, deep breath until I saw her eyelids flutter and open. Her eyes met mine, and all the fear and anxiety knotting inside me relaxed just slightly.

“Hey, angel.” I leaned over her on the bed and pressed a kiss to her forehead.

“What happened?” she asked, pushing up on her elbows to sit up.

Tucker edged himself closer, nearly climbing into her lap. It seemed I wasn’t the only one who’d been worried about her.

“Tuck, give her some space.”

McKenna took his hand and squeezed, showing him that she was okay.

“You came in and saw me and Amanda, and you passed out,” I explained.

Her gaze shot over to where Amanda was sitting on the sofa with the paramedics on either side of her. “Oh my God, is she okay?”

“She’s in labor. They’re gonna take her to the hospital. She came here about an hour ago, complaining of a backache and contractions, and said she didn’t have anywhere else to go.”

McKenna chewed on her lip, taking in the chaos across the room.

“Sir?” One of the paramedics called me over and I kissed McKenna’s forehead again, then went to them.

“How is she?”

“She’s doing great but progressing quickly, so we need to get going.”

Amanda grabbed my hand. “You’re coming with me, right?”

I hadn’t planned on it, but the fear in her eyes pulled at something deep inside me.

“I need someone,” Amanda insisted. “I can’t do this alone. Can either you or McKenna come with me?” Her voice was shrill, bordering on hysterical.

Shit. Amanda was right. And since McKenna had just driven five hours and then had a fainting spell, I didn’t particularly want to send her off to the hospital for what could very well turn into an all-night process. “Of course I’ll come.”

While the paramedics brought Amanda downstairs and loaded her into the ambulance, I explained to McKenna and Tucker that I was going to the hospital. McKenna’s crystal-blue eyes turned hazy and she blinked several times, looking away.

“Will you be okay here with Tuck?” I asked her. “The guys should be home soon.”

McKenna nodded. “I’ll be fine. And you’re right, someone should be with her. We’ll talk when you get back.”

Unable to stop touching McKenna, I kissed her temple and told Tucker to take good care of her, then dashed down the stairs to grab my keys. I would follow the ambulance in my Jeep.

Chapter Two


I’d imagined the worst when I heard the feminine moans coming from behind Knox’s closed bedroom door. My heart had shattered and crumbled into a million pieces as I came to the conclusion I’d lost him in the weeks I’d spent away. I’d chosen to go to Indiana and stay there while my friend Brian recovered from his car accident, but the second I heard what I thought was sex happening on the other side of that door, and that I’d lost Knox for good, I wanted to take back every moment I’d spent at Brian’s bedside.

Knox being in his bedroom with a laboring Amanda was the last thing I’d expected. And I knew that said something about the level of trust I had in him. If I wanted to be here, and see where things could go with us, I needed to work on my trust issues. But one thing at a time. I swung my legs over the side of the bed and tested my weight on my shaky legs.

“Should we go downstairs?” I asked Tucker. He nodded, taking me by the arm and helping me up from the bed. “I’m okay, buddy. I promise.”

He was so sweet and chivalrous, and just eight years old. It was an adorable combination. “Do you want to watch the new Spiderman movie? I got it for Christmas.”

“Sure, buddy. You get it started, I’ll be right down.” I wanted to throw the wet towels into the washing machine, figuring that the amniotic fluid currently soaking into the hardwood floors should be cleaned up before Knox got home.

After starting the wash, I met Tucker in the living room. He’d made a big nest of pillows on the couch for us and had the movie all cued up.

“Ready?” he asked.

I nodded.

Tucker grabbed the remote control. “I fast-forwarded it to the best part.”

I chuckled at his efforts, not bothering to explain that I’d prefer to watch the movie from the beginning. His enthusiasm was enough. He hit play and an action scene, complete with good guys and villains, played out before us. I decided it was actually rather thoughtful of him to fast-forward just to the good parts. Plus in the weeks since Christmas, I guessed he’d already watched this at least a dozen times.

I wondered how long Amanda’s delivery would take and if the baby would be okay. She was delivering really early, but I knew she was well into her third trimester, so I hoped that meant the baby was developed enough to be all right. I was glad I had Tucker cuddled in my lap to distract me. Otherwise I’d probably be pacing the floor, completely stressed out and worried.