Their Protector: An MC Outlaw Halloween Romance, page 47
But I can’t help but wonder if I should. It bothers me that this doctor is blackmailing me like this, but I can’t see any way out of it right now. I need time to think and plan.
“Which option will it be, Whitney?”
When I still don’t answer, because I figure it best to say nothing than to get myself into more hot water with whatever might come out of my mouth, Dr. Davis says, “I’ll go with Option A for the time being, but if I hear one little protesting squeak out of you, or any reason to think you’re still carrying on this ridiculous, torrid affair with Harlow, I’ll be sure to have Plan B as a backup.”
And with that, he leaves my office, taking my courage and dignity along with him.
Even though I have to work for Dr. Davis today, I’m so happy I could fucking whistle while I do it. And whistling, like cuddling, is another thing I never fucking do. Or never used to do.
I’m still on cloud nine from my night with Whitney, and looking forward to seeing her again. For once, I don’t even care that she’s been the subject of my every waking thought.
And I’m also excited to talk to Dr. Davis about my physical therapy results. Whitney had mentioned a wrinkle— something about Dr. Davis thinking we shouldn’t work together— but I know I can iron it out. It must be a misunderstanding that a chat with Dr. Davis should easily clear up.
When I go to knock on his door, he’s already in his office, and waves me in as if he was expecting me.
“Hello, Harlow,” he says, in a serious tone.
“Hey Doc. What’s up? Were you able to talk with—”
“With Whitney Reid?” He asks, with a knowing nod. “Yes, and as a matter of fact, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”
“Okay, good,” I say, sitting down.
“I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Harlow,” he says, a frown spreading across his face. “But please don’t be mad at the messenger. Whitney has reported that your progress is slower than she would expect and that you need even more work than she is able to provide you with at this time, being a new intern and everything.”
I can’t believe it. I have no idea what’s going on, but there has to be some explanation.
“That’s not at all what she’s been saying to me,” I tell him, racking my brain to find some explanation.
“Well, here it is in black and white,” he says, handing me my file. “And from what I’ve seen and heard at the facility, it appears that Ms. Reid has a little crush on you. So maybe she’s not as forthcoming with you as she was with me, or she just can’t help but tell you what you want to hear. She seems to me to be a little weak, like someone who always plays it safe. So, who knows what she’s really thinking? People like that are squirrely.”
I look down at the notes from Whitney, which definitely lay out a different story than she’s been telling me. She had said she had given me all 9’s and 10’s for aptitude but her charts document 2’s and 3’s at best. Her notes state that I’m basically incapable of doing anything I’m supposed to be able to do.
I scratch my head, perplexed.
“But Dr. Davis,” I protest, suddenly finding half my brain. “It’s not just that she told me that I was able to do these things. It’s that, I was literally, actually, able to do them. I ran these distances in much shorter times than are shown here.”
“According to whom?” Dr. Davis asks, raising his eyebrows at me.
Fuck. Of course Whitney had been the one with the stopwatch. But why would she fudge my times? Why would she tell me I’m doing great, and tell Dr. Davis I’m doing so poorly?
I know she didn’t lie about my progress. I know I’m in tip top shape, almost as good as I was before the accident. But obviously Dr. Davis doesn’t believe me because Whitney’s notes say differently. And why would they say differently?
I stand up, angrily pushing my chair against Dr. Davis’ desk. I have to go talk some sense into her.
“Look, Harlow,” Dr. Davis says, clearing his throat. “I don’t know what’s going on with that woman but I have to give her the benefit of the doubt. You’ve been accusing me of holding you back but now her notes show that you’re not ready.”
He smirks at me, as if his plan makes perfect sense and I should thank him. He definitely knows I’m interested in Whitney— he probably correctly assumes I’ve fucked her. But he also knows I’m a player, so he thinks I’ll forget about her and move on for the sake of my career as a SEAL. He’s underestimating my level of commitment on multiple levels.
“So, let’s just concentrate on going forward from here,” he continues. “You think you’re ready and this physical therapist did not, but she’s only an intern. So, you’re being re-assigned, and certainly another physical therapist— a real, actual one— will be able to give us some clarity. Some insight into this situation. Maybe the truth lies somewhere in between what Ms. Reid— who is obviously goo-goo-ga-ga over you— thinks your abilities are, and what you think your abilities are. We’ll find out soon enough, and we can address this head-on.”
He’s playing on my normal instincts to cut and run, but I’m not going to do that this time. I need to figure out why he’s saying I’m less advanced then I am. And I need to get through this with Whitney no matter what.
“Oh, and another thing,” Dr. Davis says, raising his eyebrows innocently. “When I talked to Whitney this morning, she said she never wants to hear from you again. I wouldn’t advise calling her or trying to contact her, as she will only ignore you, and you don’t want to look like a fool.”
I stare at him. If he’s right about that then Whitney must be telling me one thing— which I definitely think is the truth— and writing down another thing just to hold me back. She’s used to dating losers like Tony so maybe she was looking for a reason to keep me along longer. Maybe she doesn’t even want me to go back into the military because then I’ll have to go overseas.
Why would he tell me so confidently not to contact her unless he was sure she wouldn’t answer me? If so, then talking to her isn’t going to do any good. I really was sleeping with the enemy.
Now the events and outbursts the last time I saw Whitney were starting to add up. Dr. Davis must have found out how badly she reported that our sessions were going and started the process of switching me over to another physical therapist.
Whitney was probably shocked he’d taken action against her, and was sure I’d find out. That’s why she was so nervous, and had tried to call things off with me.
Is that right? I wonder.
I’m so confused, and have no idea what to think. I don’t want to doubt Whitney, but I also don’t want to be a fool just because I fell in love with her.
I fell in love with her.
I’m no better than my dad— not thinking clearly because I’m so in love with a woman who isn’t any good for me. Is that what’s going on here? It can’t be. Or is it?
“All right,” I tell Dr. Davis, at a loss for anything better to say.
I guess he wins. Whitney wins. Everyone wins but me.
I storm out of his office, determined to never talk to Whitney again. I wish I never would have talked her into being with me in the first place.
I never should have fallen for her, no matter how hot her damn ass is.
Today is my dad’s birthday. And it’s also the day that Jesse Morrow, the airmen I met at the office, is having surgery. I feel that it’s fitting to swing by the hospital and honor Jesse’s request that I be there, before I honor my dad’s memory with my brothers.
I hope that things go well for Jesse, because otherwise it’s been a sad time for me. I can’t help but wish that Whitney was here by my side. Then I have to remind myself that she’s the enemy.
I tell the receptionist that I’m an employee of Dr. Davis’ and she lets me through to the surgery ward. Peering through the glass windows, I can see that Jesse is out of sur
I open the door and gently slip inside. Dr. Davis isn’t here.
Lance is here though— Whitney’s boss— and there’s a nurse in the room too.
“Hi Lance,” I whisper, surprised to see him here. He looks just as surprised to see me here, and understandably so.
“Harlow,” he says. “Nice to see you. This is my sister Mae. She works here as a nurse.”
“Nice to meet you, Mae.” I shake her hand.
“I met Jesse while I was doing a consult with him for future physical therapy sessions,” Lance explains. “He was a little bit… nervous… about this surgery so he asked me if I could stop by and see him.”
“That’s what he asked me too,” I tell him.
“He must have made a favorable impression on a lot of people,” Mae says, smiling. “Because he asked me the same thing, so I made sure to swap shifts with another nurse, so I could be here for him as well.”
I look around the dimly lit room, amazed that so many people have come together to wish Jesse well. He’s an amazing guy, and I really do wish him all the best.
“Well, we’ll step out now, so that the two of you can talk,” Mae says. “Nice meeting you.”
“He can talk?” I ask her.
She smiles and shrugs a little bit.
“He has some ways to communicate,” she says. “It’ll be a little while until he’s fully comprehending and talking. But you can always come back and visit him later.”
“Great,” I tell her, making a mental note to do so.
“Bye Harlow,” Lance says, “Nice seeing you.”
They slip out the door and then I walk up close to Jesse’s bedside.
“Hey there, buddy,” I say. “I brought you something.”
It’s just a get well soon card, with a gift certificate to Dion’s Pizza, for when he’s feeling up to it. But he just stares at me blankly, as if he doesn’t recognize me.
“I’m Harlow. We met recently?”
He mumbles something, but I don’t think he’s very coherent.
“I hope you get well soon,” I venture, unsure of what to say.
He blinks at me and slightly smiles, as if he’s recognizing me, and trying to say that he hopes so too.
“You hope so too, right?” I ask him.
He gives me a faint thumbs up, and I chuckle.
“You sure do have your ways of communicating,” I tell him. “Lance’s sister, the nurse, was right.”
He smiles at me again.
I’m thinking of what else to say when I hear a ruckus by the door behind me
I turn around to an angry Dr. Davis, storming into the hospital room after pushing his way through the door.
“What are you doing here?” he demands.
“Jesse asked me to come,” I explain, incredulous at his outburst. “Remember? You were there?”
“But I never said that you could.” He looks angrier than I’ve ever seen him. “In fact, it’s a terrible idea.”
Dr. Davis shakes his head back and forth, as if at a loss for words.
I have a feeling that the fact that Dr. Davis doesn’t want me here talking to Jesse means the news isn’t great for Jesse. I don’t want him to be worried. So I dart my eyes back and forth at Jesse’s bed and say, “I was just coming to wish Jesse a fast recovery and let him know that everything went just fine. Right?”
I’m nodding my head vigorously, pleading with him to agree with me so as not to scare Jesse. Luckily, though, when I look back at Jesse, he’s falling asleep, with the thumb of his hand still partly raising in the thumbs up position.
Finally, Dr. Davis squints at Jesse, rolls his eyes, and then turns back to me as he says, “Well isn’t it obvious? This is a surgery site. You’re not even wearing a mask. You could contaminate it.”
“I’m sorry,” I say, feeling stupid. “But I just wanted to comfort him, because he was so scared.”
“He has no idea you’re even here,” Dr. Davis snaps. “He’s on morphine.”
His tone tells me that he thinks I’m an idiot. I peer again at Jesse’s bedside and notice all the IVs and tubes everywhere.
But he gave me a thumbs up sign , I want to protest. He smiled at me.
But as usual, Dr. Davis has a way of making me feel stupid.
Of course it was useless to come. He’s probably so out of his mind on pain medicine he won’t even know I was here. If anything, I should have come prior to his surgery, to reassure him one last time that everything will be fine. Right?
“Well, is he going to be okay?” I ask.
“He’s fine, Harlow. Please, get out of here.”
“Will he be able to rejoin his unit?”
“Harlow.” Dr. Davis lets out an exasperated sigh. “You know there’s no way to know that yet. It is far too early.”
“Okay. Well. Can you please let him know that I stopped by, and that I’ll be in touch?”
Dr. Davis nods impatiently as I realize I don’t have Jesse’s contact information. Something tells me this isn’t the right time to ask for it.
“Thanks,” I say instead. “And I’ll just leave this card here for him.”
I place it on his bedside table, beside other cards, flowers and balloons that are on display. I’m glad to know Jesse has other people cheering him on through his surgery.
“Fine. I’ll see you later, Harlow,” Dr. Davis says, as he begins checking on Jesse’s medication, as if he’s a recovery ward nurse or doctor, instead of a plastic surgeon specialist.
“See you later.”
I walk back to the parking garage, trying to convince myself that I did everything I could to be here for Jesse. And also that there wasn’t something sinister about the way that Dr. Davis rushed me out of the room.
I’m embarrassed that I turned into a puddle of quivering mud when Dr. Davis was in my office, but I’m back to being determined not to let him get away with whatever it is that he’s trying to pull. I don’t know what exactly that might be, but I’m not going to let it happen.
It’s clear to me that I should have trusted my first instincts when it came to Dr. Davis. He has bad intentions and he needs to be stopped. I just need to figure out what exactly he needs to be stopped from doing.
And I have to do it in a way that won’t jeopardize my job.
I’ve been trying to call Harlow, but his voicemail just picks up without his phone ever even ringing. He obviously has it turned off.
I panic, but then remind myself to stay rational. I haven’t ever called him before, so for all I know he leaves his phone turned off at work during the day the way I usually do, and then checks it later. I leave him a voicemail but decide that even though it’s urgent, that’s about the best I can do right now.
Since I have nothing else to do in the meantime, I go visit Lance.
“Hey there, Hot Shot,” he says, as I enter his office.
“Dr. Davis stopped by. He cleared up the little misunderstanding.”
What now ?
I have stopped even trying to understand what’s going on.
“Oh, you know, he just told us that you were concerned about working with Harlow and wanted to ensure he was getting the very best training possible.”
“I…” I start to say, but Lance doesn’t let me get a word in edgewise.
“I think it’s very professional of you, especially since I know what a raging girl-boner you have for him,” Lance continues. “Since you can’t trust your judgment, it’s best to pass him on. And I’m the one who has been assigned to work with him from now on. So thank you!”
“Lance. You don’t understand. Listen to me…”
My mind is racing, trying to figure out a way to make him believe me. I can’t just dump
Nor can I tell Lance all about my suspicions here , as it’s clearly Dr. Davis’ territory and I don’t even know what he’s up to. He seems to know an awful lot about Harlow, and me, and Harlow and me together. For all I know, he’s got spies, or some sophisticated surveillance system or something.
“And you know what?” Lance says, a smile coming over his fact that I wasn’t expecting. “I think you were right that Harlow is good people. I was just over at the surgery recovery ward because our next potential physical therapy patient, Jesse, wanted me to drop in on him. I guess he wanted Harlow to do that too, because Harlow was there, checking on him. Isn’t that just the sweetest thing you’ve ever heard?”
“He… Harlow was with Jesse at the hospital?”
“Yes,” Lance says. “And with me, and Mae. She worked tonight specifically so that she could do the same thing. I mean, we only all saw each other in there for a little bit of time, since the poor guy’s half out of it. But Harlow was really nice while he was there, and I do think he means well and cares about people.”
“Wow,” I say, both impressed that Harlow was doing such a nice thing but also glad that there was an explanation as to why he wasn’t answering my calls. I doubt he wanted to have his phone turned on in a recovery ward of a hospital. He wouldn’t have been able to talk.
I feel certain that as soon as he gets my message, he’ll call me back. I know that what he had was real. Sure, it was sex, but it was something more than that—something that Dr. Davis can’t destroy, no matter how much he wants to blackmail both of us. I just have to warn Harlow and figure out a way for us to still be together without Dr. Davis finding out and it affecting my job or Harlow’s treatment. Who knows what Dr. Davis is capable of.
“I want to take you to lunch,” I tell Lance, knowing how much he loves to go to lunch.
Sushi, to be exact. He loves sushi.
“To Sushi Heaven. To celebrate your newest patient. Congratulations.”