“You’re so sweet,” I tease.
“You know it.” She throws me one last smile. Then, she turns on her heel and heads out the door.
“Well, that was interesting,” Tate says as he moves behind the wheelchair and starts to wheel me out of his office.
“Interesting is a word for it.”
“She seems nice. Angry but nice.”
“Mmhmm. You like her?” I ask, testing the waters.
“Do I like her?”
“Do you think she’s fuckable?” I clarify.
“She’s hot for sure.” He muses. “But she’s not my type.”
“No? She looks like your usual type.”
“Unlike yours, which is anything goes.”
“Variety is the spice of life, baby bro.”
We reach the elevator. Tate presses the button and comes to stand in front of me.
“So, you don’t want to ask Ava out?” I check.
He laughs. “No. She’s all yours.”
“I never said I wanted her.”
“Sure you don’t.”
“I don’t. I just want to fuck her.” Even if she is the most infuriating woman I’ve ever met. I’ll just gag her when we finally do it.
“Isn’t that the same thing?”
“Definitely not, brother. Have I taught you nothing?”
He laughs again. “Sorry to tell you, Gabe, but sex is going to be the last thing you’ll want to do when you’re in a cast. It’s uncomfortable as hell. Add that in with the pain you’ll be in. And I know you don’t like to take painkillers.”
Yeah, because I know how easy it is to get addicted to that shit.
I frown down at my foot. Christ, I didn’t think of not being able to have sex. I’ve clearly been too obsessed with thinking about screwing Speedy. I didn’t even consider the fact that I might not be able to. And it’s not like I’d be able to show my amazing bedroom skills off to her with my foot like this.
That means I can’t have sex with her until I’m fully healed.
“Exactly how long is my foot going to take to heal?” I ask Tate just as the elevator doors open.
“Depends on what the X-ray shows,” he says as he maneuvers me. “But six weeks at least.”
“Fucking hell,” I groan.
Six fucking weeks to wait before I can get inside Speedy.
Well, that sucks.
The doors on the elevator close.
“So, a Smart car did this to your foot?”
“Tate…” I growl.
“Ah, come on.” He laughs. “You know, if this were me, you’d be giving me shit for months about it.”
“Fine,” I sigh. “Get it off your chest.”
“Fuck, this is so exciting. I don’t know who to tell first.”
“Anyone but that fucker Vaughn West because, the minute he hears, I’ll never live it down.”
Tate goes silent behind me.
I crane my neck to look at him. He’s on his phone.
“What are you doing?”
He lifts his eyes from his phone and grins at me. “Texting Vaughn, of course.”
I walk out of the hospital, car keys in hand.
Gabe might be a monumental pain in the ass and wind me up like nobody’s business, but I put him in this position with my carelessness, and I should do everything I can to help him.
Probably not bickering with him would be a good idea, too, but, honestly, in an odd way, it’s actually fun, sparring with him.
If not a little surreal.
If you’d told me a few months ago that I’d be single, homeless as of tomorrow, and jobless and that I would hit Gabriel Evans with my car, break his foot, and spend a few hours verbally sparring with him, I would have laughed in your face.
Funny how life can change in the blink of an eye.
Or, as in my case, go to shit in quick succession.
“Ah, crap!” I complain, grabbing the parking ticket off the windshield of Gabe’s car.
Add parking fine to the damage I’ve done to him.
“Just fucking great,” I mutter to myself as I stuff the parking ticket into my bag and get in the car.
I move it into the parking garage and pay for the parking.
Heading back into the hospital, I get two black coffees from the cafeteria and some creamer and sugar in case he takes them. I’m a black-coffee girl myself. The stronger, the better.
Just how I like my men—dark and strong.
Not that Jeremy, my ex, possessed those traits. Well, he had dark hair. But strong? No way. Weak asshole? Definitely.
I had known he was difficult and selfish, but I didn’t realize how bad he was until after he was gone.
Don’t get me wrong; I was gutted when he told me he’d gotten an acting job in Australia, that he was leaving in a few days, and that he didn’t want me to go with him.
He said our breakup had been coming for a while.
He was right. It had been coming. And I know I’m better off without him. He was stifling me.
I’ve always been a strong person, but with him, I allowed myself to be weak. I let him boss me around and tell me what to do and be an asshole to me because I was afraid of losing him when losing him was exactly what I needed to do.
My only regret is that I wasn’t the one to end it.
I might have lost my job and my home, but I’m freer than I ever was when I was with Jeremy.
Things will work themselves out. I know they will.
They have to.
I take the elevator back up to Pediatrics. Unsure of whether to go back to Tate’s office or not, I decide to sit in the reception area and wait there.
I haven’t been waiting for long when Gabe arrives back in a wheelchair, Tate pushing him.
“What’s the verdict? Is it broken?” I ask Gabe.
But Tate answers, “First and second metatarsal. Clean breaks. And some tendon damage. It’s hard to break the first metatarsal, so you got him good.”
I wince. “Jesus. I’m so sorry, Gabe.”
He shrugs. “It is what it is. And, hold on, did you just apologize to me? Wait, I need to get it on camera that you did actually apologize to me once.”
“Hey! I’ve said sorry to you plenty of times since I ran over your foot.”
He grins at me, and I just shake my head, annoyed.
“Gabe, I’m gonna go sort out getting a boot fitted for you,” Tate tells him.
“Boot?” I ask.
“It’s instead of a cast,” Gabe tells me as Tate walks away.
“One of those mine?” Gabe nods in the direction of the coffees on the seat next to me.
“Yeah, sorry. Here.” I hand his coffee over. My fingers touch his in the exchange, and my whole hand heats. “I got it from the cafeteria downstairs,” I tell him, like he really needs to know. “Do you want creamer and sugar?”
“Creamer and three sugars.”
“Three?” I frown.
“It keeps me sweet.”
I raise a brow. “Sweet is hardly a word I’d use to describe you. But I only brought two sugars, as normal people have one or two.”
“I’m not normal.”
“Two will have to suffice.”
He puts his hand out for them, and I drop the sugar packets and creamer in his palm.
I sip my coffee, watching him pour all that crap into his coffee, ruining a perfectly good drink.
“How can you drink it with all that crap in it?” I ask as he takes a sip.
“How can you drink it without it?”
“Have you ever tried it black?”
“Yeah. It was one of the worst moments of my life. What about you? Ever tried it with creamer and sugar?”
“Wanna try mine?”
I consider saying no, but then the prospect of getting to put my lips where his have just been is too good of an opportunity to turn down.
He might be annoying, but he’s still hot as hell.
My future sex daydreams about him will just now have to involve putting a gag over his mouth.
“Sure. Why not?” Putting my own coffee down, I take his from him. I put the cup to my lips and take a sip. “Ugh! That’s disgusting.” I hand it back to him. “It doesn’t even taste like coffee. Just hot milk and sugar.”