Home>>read Quarter Mile Hearts free online

Quarter Mile Hearts

By:Jenny Siegel

Quarter Mile Hearts – An American Muscle Novel

By Jenny Siegel

Chapter One

As soon as I hear the words ‘dad’ and ‘accident,’ I’m in motion. Throwing back the blankets, I climb out of bed and start to move around my small apartment. Stuffing my jeans, a couple of t-shirts, underwear, money, and a few toiletries into a bag, I grab my helmet and lock up behind me, still holding my cell to my ear.

“I’m on my way.” I end the call abruptly, cutting off the poor nurse mid-sentence. I pull on my helmet and fire off a text to my cousin to let him know I’m on my way before I swing my leg over my Harley and start her up.

It’s a three-hour drive to the hospital, and I don’t have a minute to spare. If anything happens to my dad… I shudder. My blood runs cold, and I force all negative thoughts out of my mind. The only information to penetrate my panic was Dad, accident, and something about collarbone and ribs. What the fuck has he gotten himself into? This is what I get for living three hours away and only visiting every six months or so. Even when I do visit, I keep them short and sweet. The only people I catch up with are my dad, my best friend, Beth, and her boyfriend, Aaron, who also happens to be my older cousin by a year, and his parents, my aunt and uncle.

The drive to the hospital is a blur. The miles pass without me even noticing, and my only thought is getting to my dad as fast as I can. When I get to the hospital, I park near the entrance and run inside, frantically searching for bed 6 in the ICU. The elevator takes forever. It moves up at an agonizingly slow pace, and the tinny instrumental music piped over the speakers is grating on my nerves, making me want to scream. At long last, the doors ping open and I search the corridor until I find him. Lying in a room on his own with tubes sticking out of his hand and propped up by pillows, he looks out of it. Even though I’m twenty-four, I want to curl up beside him on the bed like I did when I was a little girl. Instead, I sit beside his bed and take his hand in mine, squeezing it gently.

I sit there for a long time, just holding his hand, until a nurse comes into the room and offers me some water.

“Thanks,” I manage to croak out. “What happened?”

“From what I hear he crashed into another car. He has a collapsed lung, broken collarbone, fractured ribs, and a concussion.”

“Seriously?” What little color I had drains from my face as I grip onto his hand. “Where did this happen?” I manage to whisper.

“Oh, I don’t know the details.” I nod and let her carry on with her fussing before she leaves the room. After such an early start and a long drive, tiredness overwhelms me and I lay my head on the bed. Just for a minute. Then my eyes droop.

A hand stroking through my hair wakes me, and I lift my head to see my dad awake and smiling wearily at me.

“Dad,” I sit up and take his hand again.

“You didn’t have to come, Leigh.” He sounds groggy and hoarse. I reach for the water and pass it to him.

“Of course, I did. I got a call first thing to say you’d been in an accident. What happened?”

“Last night-”

“Last night?” My voice rises.

“I told them not to call you then. I didn’t want you tearing down here and something happening to you.”

“So, what happened?”

“I was racing and-”

“Wait, you were racing? Why the fuck were you racing?”

“Language.” He gives me a sharp look, but I ignore him, still trying to digest what he is telling me. I take deep breaths and will myself to keep calm.

He carries on, “It was a reunion   night.”

“A what?” I ask, confused, because I’ve never heard of such a thing.

“A few of us decided to get together once a month for old times’ sake.”

“Oh. My. God. After everything that’s happened?”

“Uh…” His brow furrows, and I can’t believe that he doesn’t understand what I’m talking about.

“Was it not bad enough that you would come home battered and bruised throughout my childhood? Then Uncle Donnie died, and mom walked out. All because of racing. Hasn’t it done enough?”

“Leigh,” he shouts, his voice booming around the small room, and then he winces in pain.

A nurse sticks her head around the door. “You need to keep the noise down.” She walks in and checks my dad’s pulse. “Mr. Storm needs to remain calm. He’s in a lot of pain right now and needs his rest.”

All self-inflicted.

“Sorry,” I mumble. “I’ll go now, but I’ll be in to see you in the morning.”

He nods, looking weak and pale, and instantly, I feel guilty for giving him a hard time.