Impossibly His, page 2
Micah stared at him for a moment and then burst into laughter. “Seriously? You think I’m working my way through the staff or something? You actually believe that rumor? Listen, I do a lot of flirting, yeah, but I can count on less than three fingers who I’ve actually dated or had sex with for fun from the hospital.”
Linus blinked rather owlishly behind his glasses. “I’m sorry. You’re right. I shouldn’t have said all that.”
He shook his head. “You’d hardly be the first to assume things. I’m young and having fun and I definitely won’t apologize for that. But I don’t sleep through the hospital staff.”
“I feel like an ass.”
Linus laughed then, to Micah’s surprise, and it was a nice laugh. And the fact that he thought it was a nice laugh freaked him out a little. Micah reminded himself he didn’t do guys like Linus.
“Anyway, we’re cool,” Micah said. “Actually maybe you should be my new BFF.”
He shrugged. “Hanging around a guy who has absolutely no interest in a physical thing would be good for both of us, don’t you think?”
“No interest, huh?”
But he didn’t sound offended at least, so Micah was glad. He didn’t want to sound rude but neither did he especially want to explain why he didn’t want to get physical with Linus.
“Yep. None.” Micah grinned. “Come on, Linus, can you honestly say you have any interest in me?”
“Honestly?” Linus shrugged. “You’re not really my type.”
For a second Micah felt the sharp stab of disappointment, but he quickly reminded himself he was not interested in Linus. So the rejection shouldn’t matter. No, did not matter.
“Great. We’re agreed. Besties, then?”
Linus laughed at that. “You can’t just walk up to someone you hardly know and say, ‘Wanna be my buddy?’“
“Isn’t that what that deer Fireball did to Rudolph in the cartoon?”
Linus frowned and then laughed again. “Yeah, he did. And look what that did for Rudolph.”
“Okay, you wanna do the hanging out part before you agree to be my BFF, fine.” Micah leaned back. “What do you like to do, doc?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know what you like to do?”
Micah rolled his eyes. “Okay. There’s a fair or something going on for the next week down the street from the hospital.”
Linus looked wary. “Yeah.”
“We’ll go to that. Hang out, do some rides, eat some bad food. What do you say?”
“Sounds like a date.”
“Nope. Just two friends.”
“Two besties?” Linus asked, his lips curving into a barely suppressed smile.
Micah nodded, grinning. “Okay.”
There was a reason Linus didn’t normally go to fairs, he soon remembered. He hated them. This little street fair, or whatever it was, certainly didn’t seem to be any exception.
Since it wasn’t a date, as Micah kept insisting it was not, Linus hadn’t really known how to dress. He guessed pretty casually, so he’d planned on shorts and a T-shirt, but the afternoon they decided to go, when they were both off work, it was cool and breezy. On the edges of the horizon were rather ominous clouds slowly inching their way toward the Los Angeles basin. Well, ominous for Southern California anyway.
“I don’t really like carnivals,” he announced to Micah after they paid for their tickets and went through the turnstile entrance.
“It’s a fair not a carnival.”
Linus frowned. “What’s the difference?”
“Well…” Micah seemed to think hard about this as he dodged two running children holding hands. “A fair has like animals and stuff. Like goats and chickens and pigs. A carnival has like, um, the bearded lady.”
“So then, what’s a circus?”
“Clowns, elephants, acrobats.”
“Oh.” Linus nodded. “I guess that makes sense.” He looked at the little map the teenaged girl had given him at the gate. “Are there animals here?”
“Well, no. I think that’s county fairs. This is just sort of a little local church one. To earn money for the parish or whatever.”
“Church? They aren’t going to stone us or something, are they?”
“Relax, doc. I won’t let anyone stone you. It’s gonna be fine. It’s a grand adventure.”
Linus sighed. “An adventure, I can buy. Grand, not so much.”
“Grouchy.” He grabbed Linus’s arm and yanked him toward a cart containing fluffy pink cotton candy. “Let’s get some.”
“That stuff will rot your insides.” Linus glanced dubiously at it and then at the pimple-faced teen staring mulishly back.
Micah smiled at the boy. “He’s a doctor. Don’t mind him. One, please.”
“That will be two-fifty.”
Linus turned away, barely suppressing a snort at the ridiculous price. He was supposed to be a good sport about this. Or that’s what he kept telling himself. He still wasn’t quite sure what he was doing going on a non-date with Micah Florentine.
They walked away from the cotton candy cart and Micah held the too-pink sticky stuff toward him. As Linus looked at him, he didn’t focus on the cotton candy, but rather on Micah. He usually didn’t look too closely at the guy. But really, damn, Linus had to admit Micah was cute. Chocolate brown eyes framed with the longest lashes he’d ever seen. And curly brown hair that looked unbelievably soft. He almost looked like a cherub or something he was so fucking cute, but in fact, he was too sexy for that.
Linus snatched some of the sticky fluff off the stick and popped it into his mouth. He made a face. He couldn’t help it. “That’s…pretty bad.”
Micah laughed. “I knew you’d say that. You’re so predictable, Linus.” He grabbed Linus’s arm again. “Come on, let’s get on the tilt-a-whirl.”
* * * *
“Are you okay?” Micah asked him for the fifth time.
Linus leaned against the wall of the bathroom. “I think I’m going to be sick.”
“How was I supposed to know you’d be such a wimp?”
He glared at Micah. “Fuck you. That ride was the worst ride ever. I think it needs to be inspected for defects.”
Micah bent over and turned his head to the side as he peered at Linus. “Are you gonna puke?”
“Is that how you speak to your patients, nurse?”
“Maybe. But you aren’t my patient.”
Linus blew out a long breath. “I think I’ll be okay. It’s starting to pass.”
“Great, because before we can get corn dogs, we should go through the haunted house.”
“Okay, seriously. Isn’t that like a carnival ride?”
Micah shrugged. “Fair, carnival, who cares? It’ll be fine, Linus. Nice and mild.”
“Except for the part where somebody jumps out at you and tries to scare the living shit out of you, of course,” Linus grumbled. “You’re getting far too much enjoyment out of making me suffer, I think.”
Micah laughed. “Honestly, no. If you’re that miserable, we can leave after the merry-go-round.”
“What about the corn dogs?”
“Well, they’re between the haunted house and the games.”
“Fuck. You mean like throw the ring around the bottle and win some stupid stuffed animals? Those games?”
“Yep.” Micah grinned. “I can see how much you’re looking forward to it.”
Linus shook his head, but he couldn’t help but smile. Micah really was too ridiculous, but Linus could almost admit he might be having just a small amount of fun. A tiny bit.
“Okay, Florentine, lead the way to the haunted house.”
It was almost two hours later by the time they made their way to the merry-go-round. It was one of those old fashioned ones with just regular horses instead of sea creatures or oth
“I haven’t been on one of these in years,” Micah declared, gazing at it. “I loved them as a kid. I used to go to the one at the park almost every weekend.”
“After you,” Linus said.
Micah climbed onto the metal platform and Linus followed.
“Think these will hold us?” Linus asked dubiously.
“Maybe not. But there’s a bench seat. We can sit there.”
It had room for both of them, but barely. Linus was very squished up against Micah and it made him suddenly, almost unbearably, aware of how attractive the other man really was. He didn’t mess around with guys like Micah, but he’d be an idiot not to recognize how appealing Micah was.
Linus reminded himself, as the merry-go-round began to play a rather mournful old Irish tune as it started moving, that Micah had rather bluntly informed Linus he wasn’t interested in him physically. If only he could tell his own body it wasn’t interested in Micah. Oh his mind knew. But not the rest of him.
“This music is pretty sad for a kid’s ride,” Micah commented.
“You up for coffee or whatever after we leave the fair?”
Linus looked at Micah, but Micah was gazing off toward the moving horses. He stared at Micah’s profile and realized he had the world’s most prefect pert nose. He tore his gaze away.
“Home sweet home,” Micah declared, gesturing with his hands as they entered his townhome through his garage. “And that grouchy cat is Sylvester.”
Linus crouched down next to Sylvester, who sat waiting in the kitchen. “Aren’t you a cutie?”
“Got any animals of your own?”
“Not here.” Linus straightened. “When you said we’d go for coffee, I didn’t expect to come to your house.”
“I know. Normally, I don’t invite just anyone here, but it’s close and I really want dark chocolate truffle coffee and I know I have some.”
Linus went to his coffee display to choose the K-Cup he’d have for his coffee. “You don’t invite anyone here?”
“Not guys. Well, you know, not guys I screw. This is my place. My sanctuary,” Micah said. “Sounds kind of lame I guess, but I don’t want to taint the place with hookups.”
“No, not lame.”
Micah looked at the coffee Linus had chosen. “Coconut, huh?”
“Yeah. With cream, no sugar.”
“Okay, go sit out in the living room and I’ll bring it.”
Micah brewed their individual coffees and brought them out to the living room. “So you said no animals here. Does that mean you had one before? Where are you from again?”
“Oregon. Tiny town called Murrits.”
“Don’t think I’ve heard of it.”
“Most haven’t. Had a dog. Actually it was my boyfriend’s dog. One of our friends wanted her when I was leaving so I let him have her.” Linus smiled. “Good dog.”
Micah took a sip of his coffee. “Is that why you left? You broke up with your boyfriend?”
“No,” Linus said softly. “Raj died. He had cancer.”
Micah felt like an idiot. “Geez, sorry.”
“You couldn’t have known. It’s not something I go around advertising. We had a great time while we were together and neither of us regretted a thing.” Linus sighed. “Well, except for the dying part.”
“Seems like you like to have a serious committed relationship.”
“That’s cool,” Micah said. “Nothing wrong with that.”
Linus grinned. “Except for you.”
“Well, yeah, except for me.” Micah laughed. “How long’s it been?”
“Three years. Anyway, I can’t really think about getting involved in anything right now. Maybe after I get more settled.”
“You like Dr. Spencer though, don’t you?” Micah asked.
Linus turned red. “How do you know that?”
“I’ve seen the way you watch him. He is cute, I agree.”
Linus looked like he was thinking of saying something, then he shrugged. “Was he one of the ones?”
“The less than three you slept with from the hospital.”
Micah nodded. “Yeah. Not going to lie to you, Linus. He came on pretty strong. But now? There’s nothing there. So if you want to go for it? Don’t mind me.”
Linus shook his head and took a sip of his coffee. “I wouldn’t. Really. But I don’t think he’s into me.”
Micah stared at Linus for a moment, appreciating his soft blue eyes. He smiled. “Well, then, he’s a total idiot.”
Linus laughed and once more Micah couldn’t help but think it was a nice laugh. Maybe one of the best laughs he’d ever heard.
“Thanks,” Linus said. “But I don’t need my ego stroked.” He put his coffee mug down on a coaster on the table next to him. “And now I really do have to go. Got a long shift tomorrow.”
Micah pursed his lips. “You could stay here.” He held up a hand when Linus narrowed his eyes. “I have a spare room. I’m closer to the hospital.”
“Well, it’s tempting, but I don’t have any clothes here anyway, so I’d just have to go home before shift.”
“Okay. But if you’re tired and don’t want to drive home late, it’s an option, you know?”
Linus seemed to consider it. “Well…”
Micah smiled. “You are tired, aren’t you?”
“A little. But since I have to go home anyway, it doesn’t make sense.” Linus stood. “But thanks.”
Micah stood, too. “Any time.” He walked Linus out through the garage and to the visitor parking where he’d left his car. “See you at work.”
Linus got into his sedan and started it. “Thanks, Micah. I had a good time.”
Linus nodded. “Really. I’m surprised, but yeah.”
“Oh. Hey. Do you play poker?”
“Yeah, like cards. Some friends and I play about once a week. If you’re interested, you could come to the next game. Check it out.”
“Okay, sounds good. See you, Micah.”
“Night.” Micah waved and went back through the garage and into his house.
* * * *
“So, what’s up with you and Florentine?” Geoff Spencer asked Linus as he plopped down in the chair across from him in the hospital cafeteria.
Linus looked up from the report he was reading. “Excuse me?”
“Rumor has it you two have hooked up,” Geoff said.
Linus shook his head. “People need to find something else to do other than engage in meaningless gossip.”
Geoff smirked. “Does that mean yes?”
“Why do you even care?”
“Mostly because I’m surprised. I didn’t think Micah was your type.”
Linus sipped his tea. “How so?”
“Flamboyant, flirty, slutty.”
The last one annoyed Linus especially. He’d come to like Micah as a friend, definitely, and he figured what Micah did in his personal life was his business and not subject to judgment by Geoff or anyone else.
“Isn’t this more about the fact Micah didn’t want anything more than sex from you?”
“What?” he asked with a frown.
“I know you liked him, Geoff. Everyone knew that. You pursued him, got him, and you wanted more. He didn’t. Isn’t that it?”
“You’re an asshole.”
Linus sighed. “Maybe. But you’re the one coming up to me asking questions that aren’t even your damn business. I don’t owe you an explanation of anything and neither does Micah. Sometimes things just don’t work out. You liked him, yeah, but I bet you weren’t really as serious about him as you thought you were.”
“Maybe,” Geoff muttered. “Yeah.”
“Look, the truth is, Micah
Geoff leaned back. “Okay. I’m sorry. You’re right. I am being a jerk. And mostly because my ego couldn’t take the rejection.”
“Figured. It’s okay. We all have our moments.”
“Thanks.” Geoff grimaced. “You know, you’re okay, Montgomery.”
“Right back at you.” He glanced at his watch. “And I gotta go.” He rose and started to walk away.
Linus turned back. “Yeah?”
“You free for dinner some time?”
He blinked in surprise. “Me?”
Geoff smiled. “You see anyone else around?”
“No.” Linus nodded. “Yeah. I am. Let me know.”
* * * *
“You’re really going out with Dr. Spencer?” Micah asked Linus as he gazed into his closet to decide what to wear. Micah leaned on the wall closest to the small walk-in closet.
“Yeah, I told you that three days ago.”
“You also told me you weren’t ready to date,” Micah pointed out. “Not that one.”
Linus had held up a light blue shirt in front of him while he looked in the mirror on the door. “Why not? It matches my eyes.”
“Exactly. Too matchy matchy. Pick something else.”
“Fine,” Linus agreed and hung it back up. “I don’t know why I even care. I don’t look good in anything.”
“Stop being petulant. You do so. Wear that brown one. Yeah, that. You’ll be fine.”
Linus yanked his T-shirt off his head and tossed it into a nearby hamper. He pulled the brown button-down shirt over his head without undoing most of the buttons. He nodded. “Yeah, it’s not bad.”
“Told you. And anyway, I thought you were out for a serious relationship.”
“Hmm. What do you mean?”
“Well, you don’t sleep around.”
Linus nodded. “Not usually. And who says I am this time?”
Micah straightened from the wall and snorted. “You forget, I already went out with Spencer. His hands were all over me.”
“I doubt that’s going to happen.” Linus looked at him curiously. “Even if it does, why do you care? Thought you didn’t care about him.”