Man, I need to get laid.
But I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
My thoughts are interrupted when the nurse comes back in with a very large needle.
When she walks toward me, I say, “Whoa. Whatcha got there?”
“It’s epinephrine. It will stop the reaction from getting any worse.”
“Don’t you have a pill or something?” I plead.
“This is much faster.” She gives me a warm smile. “Are you scared of needles, hun?”
“I don’t know ifscaredis the right word,” I stammer. “I mean, does anyone reallylikeneedles?"
Much to my surprise, Duke walks over to me. In his gruff voice, he commands, “Squeeze my hand.”
“Squeeze my hand as hard as you need to. It’ll help.”
I grab his hand. It feels big and rough but really nice against mine. That electricity is back, and I wonder if Duke feels it too.
Probably not because he’s not insane.
I close my eyes as the nurse gets the needle ready. My entire body shivers as the cold alcohol swab touches my skin. In anticipation of the pain, I squeeze Duke’s hand. I do it even harder when I feel the poke of the sharp metal piercing through. It’s over in a couple of seconds, but I don’t stop squeezing until the bandage is on my arm.
When I open my eyes again, it takes a moment for me to realize that I’m still holding Duke’s hand. Quickly, I let go.
“Sorry,” I say. “Did I hurt you?”
I look up into his dark eyes. He replies, “I think I’ll be okay.”
And then he gives me a quick wink. The man made out of stone actually winked at me.
It’s so quick that I’m surprised I catch it, and then it’s right back to the serious exterior he wears so well.
The doctor comes in a moment later to check to see how I am.
I’m fine, thanks to your nurse.
She tells me, “You’re already starting to look some better, but you’re going to need to give the medicine some time to work. We will keep you here for observation for a bit, and I’ll send you home with some antihistamines and topical cream to help with any itching.”
“Okay, thanks,” I say.
The doctor looks between Duke and me. “I do recommend that you not be alone tonight. Someone should look after you to make sure you’re alright.”
“Oh… well,” I begin, but Duke starts to speak instead.
“That’s fine. I’ll stay with her.”
My brows furrow in confusion, but I don’t speak until the doctor leaves the room.
When the door closes behind her, I say, “You don’t have to stay. I mean, I’m sure I’ll be okay.”
Without looking at me, he says, “I’m not leaving you alone. I’ll sleep on the couch, but I’m going to make sure you’re okay.”
I could continue to argue, but the tone in Duke’s voice tells me that there’s really no point.