I’ve never done any kind of stitching on a human patient before, or been around anyone who had ever gotten shot.

“It’ll be okay,” Wes tells me, placing a hand on my lower back as I open the back door. I go right to the supply room and gather the necessary provisions into a shopping bag before locking the building back up and heading to my house. When we arrive, Z is sitting at the table still, but he now has the bottle of Jack my sister June and I bought when she was home visiting from college.

“You better not neuter me, girl.” Z smiles, and his words make some of the anxiety that I was feeling leave and a laugh to bubble out of my mouth.

“You probably need to be neutered,” I tell him, and he grins then eyes the stuff I begin to set out on the table.

“Can I ask how this happened?” I question softly, pulling the towel away from his shoulder and looking at the wound.

“No,” Wes says, pulling out a chair and taking a seat.

“You don’t think I have the right to know, when you show up at my house in the early hours of the morning, asking me to stitch up a guy with a gunshot wound, while refusing to take him to the hospital?” I narrow my eyes on him, and he doesn’t even flinch.

“Nothing you need to worry about.” He looks at Z, and I see some kind of silent conversation happening between the two of them, which pisses me off.

I dump some alcohol onto a piece of gauze and begin wiping down the wound as I look at Wes. “This is the last time I see you,” I tell him, even though the words leave a nasty taste in my mouth.

“You already know that’s not happening, July,” he says as his jaw clenches tight.

“No.” I shake my head, getting a new piece of gauze so I can clean the backside of his shoulder.

“I know twice you’ve called me a bitch without cause.” I shake my head then turn it so my gaze connects with his. “I know you made me feel like crap when you found my cousin in my house.”


“No,” I cut him off before he can say anything. “You didn’t even ask; you just jumped to conclusions.” I finish cleaning Z’s wound then look at Wes again. “Then you show up at my house and ask me to do you a favor, refusing to tell me anything. So, yes, this is the last time we see each other. I think it’s obvious we have no reason to stay in contact,” I mutter the last part then frown when I see Z is smiling at me.

“You are so fucked, brother,” he mumbles, looking at Wes. I ignore them both and start to thread up the needle. It doesn’t take long to get the wound closed up, and I’m surprised that Z doesn’t even flinch as I work on him. By the time I’m done putting a bandage over the wound, the sun is beginning to rise, casting an orange glow throughout the room, and my eyes are so heavy I can barely keep them open.

“Thanks, girly,” Z rumbles, standing up.

I sway on my feet in front of him, and a hand slides around my waist and Wes leads me back toward my bedroom. “Go wash up and go to bed, babe. I’ll clean the mess up.” I nod, not even caring. At this point, my body is completely exhausted. I’m running on empty, and not even coffee could help me now.

I go into my bathroom and take a quick shower then put on my robe from the back of my bathroom door, not even bothering with clothes, and climb into bed, where I immediately fall asleep.

I wake up to the smell of bacon, and roll to my side, coming face-to-face with Capone, who is looking at me with his tongue hanging out of his mouth.

“What are you doing here?” I sit up and look at the clock, seeing it’s after three in the afternoon, and then look around the room, making sure I didn’t just dream that I came home last night.

Capone climbs into my lap and licks my cheek then jumps off the bed and leaves out of the small gap in the door.

I stand up, tie my robe tighter around me, open my bedroom door, and head through my living room. Coming around the corner into my kitchen, I stop dead when I see a shirtless Wes standing in front of the stove, wearing only a pair of jeans and necklaces that hangs between his pecs, with a cross and dog tag on it. I blink, trying to clear my head as my body reacts to the way he looks.

“You’re awake.”

I lift my eyes and take in the extra scruff and the way his eyes are soft, like he just woke up as well. “What are you doing here?”

“One of the brothers came and picked up Z last night, and I stayed so that we would have a chance to talk when you got up.”

“Why’s Capone here?” I ask as the dog sits down at Wes’ feet, looking between the two of us.

“I had him dropped off. I didn’t like the idea of him being at my place alone for so long.”

“Oh,” I mutter, wrapping my arms around myself.

“I’m not good at this kind of thing,” he says, and I feel my nose scrunch up. “As you may have noticed, I can be harsh and jump to conclusions. But I can admit when I’m wrong and when I’ve fucked up. I’ve done both with you more times than I want to count. I won’t apologize for being me, but I will apologize for being an asshole. You didn’t deserve that.”

Wow. Okay, I didn’t know how to recover from that. I never expected him to apologize and to admit that he was an asshole.

“As for last night, not happening. I appreciate you helping Z, but this is not a situation that I would ever let you be involved in.”

“Thank you for apologizing.” I bite the inside of my cheek, not knowing what I should say or do, and my stomach takes that moment to remind me I haven’t eaten in over twenty-four hours, breaking into the moment with a loud growl.

“Sit, I made you breakfast.” He points towards my kitchen table and I take a seat, and the second my ass hits the chair, I immediately realize I have no panties on and my robe is not exactly long. He brings the plate over and sets it in front of me before I have a chance to get up and go to my room. Then he comes back a second later, setting down a cup of coffee. He gets a plate for himself and a cup of coffee, sets it on the table next to mine, and then sits next to me, his jean clad leg rubbing against my bare thigh. I squeeze my legs together as tightly as I can and pick up the coffee in front of me, taking a sip.

“Is it okay?”

“Perfect,” I mumble then look down at my plate. “You made this?” I look up at him then back down at the perfect omelet that is sitting on my plate next to two pieces of flawlessly cooked bacon.

“I did.” He smiles, taking a bite of his, and I follow suit and moan as the taste hits my tongue.

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