“I told you not to spend any more time with those people,” Tamlin hisses at Feyre, venom laced in every word.
Feyre juts her head out in defiance, a new trait she’s come to terms with. It turns out that it isn’t always a bad thing to stand up for something, especially when that something is yourself. “Tamlin, you don’t get to tell me what to do.”
“Excuse me?” Tamlin growls, knuckles turning white from clenching the steering wheel. Feyre is trying not to panic at how he drives like a madman. It’s scaring her, but she knows that her fear will only upset him more, endanger her more.
She shouldn’t have left with him. Should have let Cassian and Azriel and Rhys chase her boyfriend off like they offered, but Feyre was afraid of there being a scene. So, she left with him, and now here she was.
“I’m an adult,” Feyre tells him, defensively. “And we’re in a relationship, you’re not my father.”
Tamlin snorts, “A lot of good that man ever did you.”
“That isn’t the point,” Feyre can feel her hackles rising. Tamlin does not get to insult her father; he never bothered to get to know him. “You can’t just boss me around, decide who I can and can’t spend time with. You don’t own me.”
“Someone has to look out for you!” Tamlin shouts into the tiny space of the car. Feyre feels the vehicle accelerate, and her heart races with it. The highway lights flash by as the speed down the highway, and Feyre knows they’re going way too fast to be safe in the rain.
“Tamlin!” Feyre calls out, tears prick her eyes. She’s scared and trapped and helpless. “Please, you’ve gotta slow down!”
“Don’t tell me what to do!” What irony.
“Tamlin!” Feyre screams. “LOOK OUT!”
Feyre wakes to the beeping of a monitor. Her head throbs and her mouth feels like it’s been stuffed with cotton. Feyre scrunches up her nose in discomfort, groans at the bolt of pain that shoots through her at the action. Shit, that hurt.
“Ms. Archeron,” an unfamiliar voice tells her, soft and sweet. “Try not to move too much. You’re very badly injured.”
Her eyes feel like they’re sealed shut, but Feyre manages to blink them open slowly. A hospital room, that is where Feyre is.
“What… happened?” Feyre manages to say around her heavy tongue.
The woman’s dark eyes are serious when she says, “You and your boyfriend were in an accident. The vehicle hydroplaned and crashed into another car.”
Feyre’s heart skips, “Is Tamlin okay?”
She thinks she hates herself a little for asking, but she can’t help it. Feyre does care about Tamlin; of course, she does. Otherwise, she wouldn’t still be with him. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have been in that car.
“He will be,” the woman says. “Would you like us to bring him here?”
Feyre is silent for a long moment. The woman holds her gaze. It’s likely she’s been responsible for Feyre while she was out of sorts; this nurse, or doctor, has definitely seen her bruises, her scars.
“No,” Feyre decides. “No, I want him to stay away from me, please. Can you keep him away?”
The woman’s eyes shine with pride. “Security is already watching your door. Would you like to file a report?”
“Uh, I think so,” Feyre says. Her mind is a little groggy. “But, I need to call someone first.”
“I could kiss you right now,” Feyre tells Rhys as he pulls a chair up to her bedside with a scrape. Her best friend’s smile is grim, and Rhys remains very, very quiet as he takes her bandaged hand in his.
“This place is so boring,” she complains, aiming for lightheartedness. It took a while for her friends to get to her. Feyre was airlifted to a hospital because of the severity of her spinal injury. She had months of therapy ahead of her.
But Feyre was alive.
“I don’t find this very funny, Feyre,” Rhys tells her, solemn. His violet eyes burn with complexity, and Feyre can’t figure out what it is he’s feeling right now. “You nearly died. That bastard almost killed you. I almost-”
His voice breaks, and instead of saying anything else, Rhys just presses his lips to the back of her hand. He breathes deeply, body trembling.
“We almost lost you,” he manages.
“I’m here,” Feyre promises, eyes burning with tears. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“Damn right about that,” Rhys swears. His grip tightens on her hand. “Amren is on it, and even if she didn’t become a fire-breathing dragon whenever the situation suits her, I’m never going to let that bastard near you ever again.”
“Thank you.” Feyre isn’t worried when Rhys makes those kinds of promises; she knows with him, it’s different. He’ll never try to control her like Tamlin, protect her to the point of suffocation. Rhys will still let her make her own choices, have her own life, but her best friend will be there with her along the way, lifting her up instead of holding her down.
When the tears escape her eyes at last, but Rhys is there to wipe them away.