Jenny stared in through the ICU window at Ma Donnelly, who was currently balancing on the precipice of life and death. She'd remembered being in the exact same position for Seany and, even before that, Jimmy. They had survived. And she wondered, crossing her arms in an attempt to block out all the otherworldly badness around her, whether the Donnelly family could be lucky a third time.
But, then, could the Donnelly family ever be called lucky? Was someone lucky to have survived an 'accident'. Or would the luckier thing be to have never been in the 'accident' in the first place? What did one really count as luck anyway? After all, Kevin considered himself the luckiest in the family and she had yet to see him win a single bet.
At the reminder of Kevin she glanced over to the young man standing beside her. He had always seemed the most carefree of the brothers, even when you included Seany, he was the brother that could be happy, even when everything had gone to shit. Kevin wasn't carefree or happy now, though. No, his face was pinched in a mixture of worry and hatred.
It was an expression she had never seen on him before and she hated to admit that it scared her; if life could turn Kevin into that than she didn't know if she could survive it. Worse, she didn't know if she even wanted to.
Jenny thought back to Samson, still probably lying broken and bleeding on the stairs of her building. Look what life had done to her. She had done that and, even more horrifying, she didn't feel bad about it. Not a single drop of guilt. Not when all she needed to do was think back to the touch of his grubby hands, pushing and needing along her exposed flesh, the utter suffocation of his weight on top of her, crushing her beneath him. Jenny remembered the scream that had nearly tore her throat apart trying to get out. The scream she would never let go while her father remained in the other room.
When Jenny stepped into her bedroom, she'd thought she'd prepared herself for the worse. She knew full well what would happen the moment she closed that door and, yet, she hadn't been prepared. Nothing could prepare her for that.
So, no, she didn't feel guilty. She couldn't. And that scared her more than anything else.
Taking a breath, she turned back to Kevin and touched his hand gently, comfortingly. "She'll be fine." Because she was still supposed to be the same Jenny Reilly, the one who believed it would all be fine, and would never beat a man to death with a pipe.
He didn't spare her a glance, eyes too focused on his mother. "Yeah."
Jenny swallowed and looked down. "I'm going to go get a drink. You want something?"
The brunette received no reply and, upon ducking her head once more, she turned away from the window and headed towards Sean, Jimmy and Joanie, seated together on rather uncomfortable looking chairs. Joanie was asleep, head resting against a stony faced Jimmy's shoulder and Seany was on the edge of his seat.
She wanted to say something, some comforting words of wisdom, but the phrases died on her lips. Instead she asked the only thing she knew how to, the thing she was used to repeating every day of her life. "You guys want a drink? Food?"
You could take the girl out of the diner but you could never quite take the diner out of the girl. Jenny just hoped that remained true.
Jimmy, like Kevin, didn't answer and Seany just shook his head with a small, polite smile her way. Baby Seany – he didn't deserve any of this.
Nodding her head, Jenny turned away from them and headed down the hallway. She really had no real intention of getting a drink and instead headed to a particular room a few doors down, there was a lone figure standing outside it, face expressionless.
It hadn't been hard to figure out what had happened last night. After all, sometimes Jenny thought they should have been called the Gossiping Irish instead of the Lucky Irish. All she had to do was follow the trail of rumours until it led her to the hospital and Ma Donnelly's room.
No-one had questioned the brunette when she'd just rocked up; in fact, they'd barely spared her a glance, too shocked with their present situation. Tommy had avoided her the whole night, apparently deeming her a problem he couldn't handle at the moment.
"Hey," Jenny greeted softly.
She bit her lip and turned towards the window he was facing, gazing in on Dokey's still form. Whether or not he would survive the encounter with the Donnellys was still open for debate. Even if he walked out of that hospital room, Jenny would lay money that he wouldn't get far, maybe not even past the reception desk.
"How's he doing?" Jenny asked quietly, more for the sake of small talk than because she cared at all about Dokey.
"Better than Ma." He paused and stowed his hands away in his pockets. "He won't be getting out of this hospital," he added, unknowingly echoing her thoughts. Jenny nodded, not saying a word, and he continued. "How's everyone else?"
"Tommy, don't." She resisted the urge to grimace as she accidentally used the same tone she'd spoken in back back at the diner, after he'd told her he loved her for the second time. Her heart had been screaming 'yes' then and she remembered thinking that whoever said the heart ruled the body had been wrong. So very wrong.
This time he turned to face her, confusion written plain across his face, also mixed in with a little hurt. She didn't need to guess to know he was remembering the same thing.
"For once in your life, think about yourself, not your family," it was a plea more than anything, a desperate plea, because they both knew that continuing down that path would only lead to his eventual destruction. Hell, starting on that path was what had led them here.
After a pause he replied, choosing to change the subject in an effort to prevent them from going there. "I called you." And she wondered how he could ever consider this a better topic.
Jenny swallowed, eyes welling. "I wanted to answer." It didn't matter that she hadn't been there to hear the phone, that one truth was all that mattered. And telling him that she hadn't been there would just open up a whole other can of worms.
However, it seemed fate was not on her side. Tommy frowned, something catching his attention, and he reached out a hand to touch the collar of her black jacket. "You've got blood on your jacket?" His tone was disbelieving and he looked at her questioningly.
Jenny squared her jaw and willed the water in her eyes to evaporate. "Samson's."
Now he looked even more confused and stunned. "Jenny . . ."
The brunette however shook her head, swallowing, and reached up to take his hand, threading her fingers through his as she brought it down to rest between them. "Don't." It wasn't something that she wanted to remember and it certainly wasn't something that she wanted him to think about, not now, maybe not even ever.
They both had their scars. Didn't mean they had to talk about them.
The brunette looked away for a moment and saw Joey slouched in the corner, looking like a kicked puppy. She sighed and turned back to face Tommy, taking a tentative step towards him. He seemed to know what she wanted for within a moment he had enveloped her in a hug and Jenny closed her eyes, wrapping her arms around his waist.
Right now, she knew she was in the arms of a murderer and, yet, she had never felt safer in her life. She wondered whether it was wrong, given everything that had happened, to feel lucky right now. Because she did – feel lucky that was. In the arms of Tommy Donnelly, how could she not? And that was Irish luck for you. It would place you in the middle of a maelstrom and then, when it looked like there was no way out, it would shine you a beacon. It was up to you what you chose to do with it when it came, though.
Sighing, Jenny closed her eyes. "I love you, too."
. . .