A knock on the interrupts us. “I’m here to take you to x-ray.” A young man announces and jerks the curtain back.
“I guess I’ll be back,” I say awkwardly. The moment to respond has passed. Also, how am I to tell him I probably won’t call even if I need something? This little adventure is an exception to my normal independence.
Nathan helps me into the wheelchair, and I’m whisked to x-ray. Luce meets us there to speed my visit up. The scans don’t show a break. She has my ankle wrapped, discharge instructions in hand, and on crutches in record time. The x-ray technician wheels me back up to Nathan, and he takes over helping me hobble to the truck.
We’re close to my house when Nathan turns down the radio. He stares straight out the windshield as if he’s alone. “If you give me your key, I can have your car brought to your house tomorrow.”
Guilt tightens my chest. Through the squeeze, I force myself to look his way. “You don’t have to do that. I can take care of it.”
He cuts me a sharp glance but returns his eyes to the road. “Consider me… please. I don’t want to come off as desperate, but I might not be above begging. That kiss–?
“Shouldn’t have happened.” I cut him off and finish with my thought. I don’t want to hear what he has to say. I can’t have him tell me how it made his pulse race and his stomach clench. And I definitely won’t listen to him if he says he wants to kiss me again. If he does… if I let him voice the things I feel, I might not be strong enough to turn him down again.
Nathan’s fingers tighten reflexively on the steering wheel. “I don’t think you believe that,” he murmurs gently. “Is there someone else? You haven’t mentioned anyone.”
“There’s nobody else.”
The headlights of Nathan’s truck swing past my driveway as he slows around the bend, and my heart nearly jumps out of my chest.
Law’s truck is parked halfway up my driveway.
Nathan parks behind him, but since my driveway isn’t all that big, the tailgate nearly hangs in the road. I want to curse Law for being here, and for also being a dick to me. Now I have to hobble past that jerk while he forces me to listen to what he’s here to say.
Law exits his cab before Nathan turns his truck off. The two unintentionally mirror one another, climbing out of their trucks and rounding the bed. The difference, besides their night and day appearances, is that Law stops to rest his ass against the back of his truck and cross his arms over his chest, and Nathan continues to my door to help me.
I try not to look at Law. Really, I do. But I’ve always been hopeless where he’s concerned. His stare burns through the windshield, and like a magnet, my eyes find his. His jaw clenches and his eyes narrow, then he cracks his neck with a quick jerk in each direction. Whatever he’s doing here, he seems to gear up for a fight.
My door clicks and swings open, and Nathan reaches around me to grab my crutches from the back.
“No one else, huh?”
My throat dries and my heart sinks. Again, proving how different the two are, Nathan doesn’t sound pissed. Disappointment colors his tone instead.
I lean forward to grab the handle above the door and brace my other hand on his shoulder. He lifts his head and meets my eyes.
“No. There’s nobody else. You know me enough to trust I’m telling you the truth.”
“Then who’s he?”
We both turn to survey Law, and I sigh. I turn back first, but Nathan keeps staring. Or glaring. I study his profile. The soft round curve of his nose, his sharp jawline that leads to his smoothly shaven neck. I squeeze his shoulder to regain his attention.
“A memory. One I’d rather not relive at this moment.”
He delivers a short, rigid nod. “Need me to get rid of him?”
“Without being rude, I’d like to get rid of the both of you. I’m exhausted, and I haven’t eaten since this morning.” I smile to soften the words. I doubt the effect, because his brow creases and he frowns.
“Shit. I’m a damn idiot,” he groans. “All my attempts to take you to dinner, and here you are starving because I forgot to feed you through all this.”
“In that case, I’ll let you make it up to me Wednesday. Depending on how my foot feels. You should be off your work rotation by then, and hopefully, I’ll be healed. But it’s not a date. Officially. It’s two good friends hanging out with one another outside of work for the first time alone.”
Nathan chuckles and rests his forehead to mine. His hands clutch my waist. “I want to kiss you, but I have a feeling that wouldn’t be appropriate.”
My eyes grow wide with panic. “Please, don’t.”
His fingers flex into my sides, and he pulls me down from the truck, careful to keep my injured foot from hitting anything on the way down. Releasing me with his left hand, he grabs my crutches one at a time, and holds me steady as I put them under my arms. “I won’t. Just thought I should make you aware that I want to.”
He steps back to let me out and shuts my door.