Lily scratched her chin with the gun in her hand. She had to come up with a way to get in touch with Giuseppe. And she had to get a nice little ransom for Nico. But how? Lily wasn’t a seasoned kidnapper. She didn’t have a criminal mind, no criminal energy. Sure, she had stolen Giu’s money, but it was for a good reason. She was not naïve enough to believe that he would recognize it as an act of charity. Nico drove over a bump in the road, and Lily winced. Her side hurt. Until that moment, she had tried to ignore that a bullet had hit her. Henry shot her. Lily felt the blood leaving the tiny wound. It was soaking her shirt. She moaned in pain, pulling her leg up on the seat. She was worried that she was in over her head and that she was losing control of the situation. She hated the way she felt: helpless and weak. In the movies, people got shot and either die or run a marathon with bleeding limbs. Lily snorted; both options weren’t ones for her. Nico looked at her as if he had something to say, but he stayed silent.
“We need to stop for supplies,” Lily announced through gritted teeth. She needed a break, and she felt like moving. Restless energy was flowing through her body. Lily scanned the area and saw signs pointing at a large department store.
“You okay?” Nico asked. His kidnapper grew paler by the minute. It would have been easy to stop and get rid of her. But he was concerned about Lily. And intrigued as well. He wanted to hear her story. She seemed kind enough, even while she was pointing a gun at him. There was something about her that made him want to help her, and it wasn’t the oath he had sworn when he became a doctor.
“Pull over there,” Lily pointed at a sign and ordered Nico to pull up to the parking lot of a department store. She put the gun in her bag, feeling it’s weight pulling at the handles of the cloth. “We need some food and other things.”
Nico parked and got around to open Lily’s door. She blinked, ready for an attack, but it didn’t come. Nico held out his hand, and Lily blinked again. He noticed the blood on her shirt but didn’t say anything. There was no time to argue, but a plan was coming together in his mind.
“Do we need to split up? I am sure Henry called the cops. Or a neighbor did. After all, there was a shot.” Nico took Lily’s bag. She didn’t say anything, her side with one hand. Lily didn’t dare to look down her body. She didn’t want to see how badly she was injured. “Or we stay together, and you tell me what to get so that we can get this done faster?” That option was more to Lily’s liking, and she nodded.
“Yeah, that,” she croaked. “And we will find us a motel or something until I figure out a plan.” Lily wanted to sound in charge, but her injury made it hard to think about anything else than the hole in her body.
“You could also wait in the car? I promise to be back,” Nico offered, knowing that it was best if Lily was kept off her feet. Lily shook her head, dismissing the idea. “I am okay; let’s go.” She took a deep breath, breathing through the pain.
At the store, Nico and Lily stocked up on convenience food and snacks. Nico sneaked medical supplies into the cart, and he insisted they buy clothes for them both. Lily agreed, too weak to fight, and she didn’t bicker when Nico stood in the beauty aisle and chose deodorant and shampoo. Their shopping trip only took them twenty minutes, powering from isle to isle, always checking if no one was looking at them funnily or recognizing them. People were watching them, of course. They were an odd couple, and even a blind person could have seen that Lily was not well. Nico did his best to keep pretending that he hadn’t noticed his kidnapper’s injury.
At the checkout, he put an arm around Lily. She tried to shake him off, but he didn’t let go. For a moment, she leaned into him, grateful for the support, but then she remembered that she was supposed to be in control and straightened herself with a moan. Nico’s arm was still around her waist.
“Are you okay, Miss?” the cashier asked. Lily merely nodded. “Cramps,” she replied with a tortured smile. “Nothing a hot bath and lots of chocolate can’t cure.” The cashier smiled emphatically while Nico paid for their groceries with his credit card. Lily didn’t say a thing, and she did not react to the things Nico had added to their shopping. It worried him. If she went into shock, he didn’t have a choice other than calling an ambulance. He took the bags and guided Lily back to the car. There was no more time to lose.
“You’ve been shot,” Nico finally said when they reached the car, and he unlocked the doors.
“I am okay,” Lily replied through clenched teeth, getting into the car.
“Let me take a look!” Nico didn’t wait for her affirmation; he knelt next to her and had his hands on her jacket to assess the injury. Lily was overwhelmed and scared and shoved Nico’s hands away. Furious, she reminded him that he was not in control.
“Let’s get this straight, you will never touch me again. Are we clear?” she threatened.
“I don’t need to be here. I could have run a while ago and left you.” Nico answered dryly, rounding the car, and got into the driver’s seat.
“Why didn’t you?” Lily groaned and hid her face behind her hands. “I am the world’s worst kidnapper.”
“I don’t know. Maybe I have my own reasons.” Nico finally admitted. He pulled out of the parking lot, and both stayed silent for a long time. Lily had not given any directions, but the silence and the sound of the car were comforting. Before long, pain and exhaustion got the best of Lily, and she fell passed out. Nico gasped and reached to feel for her pulse on her neck. It was steady, but she needed medical attention. “Fuck,” he whispered, driving faster.