Olivia stood still, frozen with shock, her eyes wide with fear. Danny put his gun back in his holster and rushed to her. Walking behind her, he pulled a knife from his boot and sliced the zip-tie from her wrists. She put her hands to her throat, trying to assess the damage done by the blade. Danny then stood in front of her, lifted his hands, and cupped her face in his palms, observing her expression and watching her terrified eyes.
“You okay? How bad is it?”
“Not too bad,” she whispered still holding tightly to her throat.
“Let me see, Livy,” he said as he moved her hands away slowly. He examined the wound as the sirens blared in the background. “It’s not too bad. You’ll probably need a few stitches.”
Olivia felt stiff, but her brain worked perfectly. She knew her life was spared because of Danny. “Thank you,” she whispered, tears brimming in her eyes.
“You’re welcome,” he said. “You sure you’re okay? Medics are coming.”
She nodded, her lower lip quivering a little, the tears now streaming down her face. She hated feeling so vulnerable and victimized. It made her look weak again, like she couldn’t handle the job. This angered her.
“Come here,” he said pulling her into an embrace. She trembled in his arms. “It’s goin’a be okay. I got ya.”
As he held her shuddering body close to his, a connection formed instantaneously between them. Born of dramatic circumstances, Danny’s protective nature swept over him and he now knew nothing would be the same. He felt that he must protect Olivia at all costs, almost as if it were a spiritual calling. He knew in that moment, without a doubt, he’d die for her.
He couldn’t explain how one such incident could cause an intense reaction. He’d had partners before, female ones even, but somehow, she was different. He couldn’t describe it and didn’t even want to. It was just something he knew. Without their consent, the game changed.