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       Checkmate, p.21

         Part #3 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson
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Page 21


  Chapter 10

  "Rory!" he yelled again as he gripped the edge of the splintered wood floor and pulled, uncaring that the dry rotting wood was tearing into his hands as he widened the hole she'd just dropped through. "Answer me goddammit!"


  "Shit," he muttered, yanking his two way radio off his belt. He knew that he should call 911, but he needed help now. Besides, he wasn't about to leave Rory wherever the hell she just landed, alone, so that he could run outside and try getting a signal on his cell phone.

  "Andrew!" he said, clicking off and dropping the radio by his side so that he could widen the whole while he waited for a response. When one didn't come quick enough he tried again with the same results.

  Cursing his foreman to hell, he switched the radio to the channel he knew the James brothers used. "Craig, I need someone to call an ambulance and I need help down in the basement, fourth storage room to the right," he said, releasing the button with a click and praying that someone heard him.

  "Connor, what the hell is going on?" Craig returned almost immediately.

  "Rory's hurt. I need an ambulance and help," he said, quickly releasing the radio to set back to work on the hole.

  "If you hurt her, I will-"

  "I didn't hurt her!" he snapped, feeling his patience fray as his body shook. Please let her be okay, he prayed as he ripped another chunk of wood away with one hand. "Call a f**king ambulance and send some men down here now!" he snapped, tossing the radio down and promising to kill the bastard if he didn't move his ass.

  Not even a minute later he heard the sounds of men running in his direction.

  "Rory!" he heard Bryce yell.

  "In here!" he answered as he ripped another piece of wood off, but it wasn't wide enough.


  He tore off another piece and then another until he was sure the space was big enough for him to fit through. He grabbed her flashlight and aimed it into the hole and squinted. He couldn't see anything but a set of stone stairs

  "Rory!" he called down, but there was no answer.

  "Shit!" he snapped as he dropped down onto his ass and shifted until his feet were in the hole. He shoved the flashlight in his pocket and moved to go after her.

  "Where the hell is she?" Sean asked as he ran into the room with three of his brothers close behind him. He didn't need to look to know that Craig wasn't with them. The last he'd seen of the oldest brother he'd been on the roof tearing it apart. He also knew that Craig probably wasn't too far behind them.

  "Rory crashed through this hole. Make sure they send Fire and Rescue with that ambulance," he said as he lowered himself into the hole, quickly, ignoring the sharp shards of wood that sliced through his clothes and skin as he went.

  "Get the hell out of there and let one of us go. It's our sister down there," Johnny said, reaching to grab his arm and yank him out of the hole.

  "Back the f**k off. I've got this," he said as he sucked in a breath and worked his way through the opening. Johnny paused in surprise just long enough to give him a chance to work his shoulders through the hole and when he dropped down, he released his hold on the splintered wood and did his best not to fall down the stairs and land on Rory.

  With a grunt, he landed on his feet and quickly righted himself before he toppled over into the pitch black. He yanked the flashlight out of his pocket and turned it on, chasing away the darkness. He aimed the beam down the stairs and nearly dropped to his knees when he spotted her.

  "Oh god. . . . . . ," he mumbled even as he raced down the stone stairs. "Rory? Rory!" he said, trying to keep the panic out of his voice, but failing miserably.

  He dropped by her side, careful not to brush against her and quickly looked her over with the flashlight. She was on her side. Her left arm was obviously broken, blood trickled down her forehead and onto the dirt floor, forming a small pool of blood beneath her head and she was out. He wasn't sure what else was wrong with her so he didn't dare move her.

  "Rory? You have to wake up," he said gently as he pressed his fingertips against the cut on her temple, careful not to apply too much pressure and hurt her.

  "Is she okay?" Sean yelled down the hole.

  "Her arm's broken, she has a head wound and she's unconscious," he yelled back, never taking his eyes away from her.

  He heard her brothers arguing about who was coming down, but he didn't pay much attention to them as he placed the flashlight on the ground with the beam pointed at her. With a shaky hand, he pressed two blood stained fingers against her neck and searched for a pulse.

  When he didn't find it, he promised everything that he had and was if she would just be okay. Hell, he couldn't imagine a world without Rory in it, didn't want to think about that happening. The moment his fingers came in contact with the proof that she was still very much alive, he nearly sagged with relief.

  "Connor?" Rory said weakly.

  "I'm here," he said softly as he let out a shaky breath. She was going to be okay. He'd make damn sure of it.

  "We're all coming down!" Johnny yelled.

  "She's awake!" he yelled back, noting Rory's cringe. Her head was probably pounding, he realized and having five brothers fussing over her and bickering wasn't going to help with that. "Stay up there and make the hole big enough for the stretcher and EMTs!"

  There was a short pause before they started bitching, but thank f**king god they did as they were asked. He looked back at Rory and even in the dim light cast off by the flashlight he could tell that she was pale. Her mouth was pinched tightly and he had no doubt that she was struggling not to scream or cry.

  "Where does it hurt, Rory?" he asked quietly, trying to keep his tone soothing even though he was panicking on the inside. What the hell was he supposed to do? He didn't know jack shit about first aid. The one and only time he attended a class on first aid hadn't ended well.

  Then again, if the instructor had read the memo the school gave her, she wouldn't have made the mistake of placing them in the same class. She certainly wouldn't have ignored the other students' pleas, shouts and warnings about placing them together in the same group. Of course, he could have said something and Rory sure as hell could have said something, but they'd both been more than eager for a little payback after the incident at the convenient store the night before. It really shouldn't have surprised anyone when a demonstration in the Heimlich maneuver turned into him on his back with Rory straddling his waist and trying to shove a fistful of gauze down his throat or him flipping her off of him and onto her stomach and hog tying her with medical tape.

  He still wasn't sure why the principal kicked them out of the class or blamed them for the woman's meltdown. It's not like it took her an hour to spit up all the bits of gauze that Rory managed to shove down his throat. Curling up into the fetal position beneath the desk had been a bit much for something so minor. Clearly the woman had no business teaching kids if something like that would set her off into full blown panic attack that needed five teachers, four cops and the paramedics to get her to come out from beneath the desk.

  Now he was regretting not taking that course they offered every year at the community center. After this incident he was going to damn well make sure he went and he'd make his men do it as well. It was stupid not to have all his men trained in first aid, he realized as he grabbed the flashlight and ran it over Rory's body, taking a closer look to make sure that there wasn't any other damage.

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