MacNamarasLady, page 4
“I’m fine,” he assured her. Although the pain was sharp as Lucas helped him remove his coat, he was alert. He’d had worse. But not in a lot of years.
A black and white pulled up next to them, lights flashing, but siren now off. Two officers climbed out of their vehicle, guns drawn. “What’s going on here?”
Missy stepped forward into the light and both men slowly lowered their weapons. “I was attacked.” She pointed her finger at the guy sitting on the sidewalk with Cain Benjamin, who had come with Lucas from the wedding reception, standing next to him like a sentinel. “By him and another guy. One got away.” She pointed down the road. “Skinny white guy, about five foot ten, black jacket, white T-shirt, brown hair, dead blue eyes. He has a knife.”
One officer reached back into the car and grabbed the radio. While he was calling in to dispatch, the other officer came over. “What happened to him?” he pointed at T.S.
“He saved me.” Missy’s voice quavered and T.S. pushed Lucas aside and drew her into his arms, ignoring the blood seeping from his injury.
“It’s okay. Everything is okay.”
“And who are all of you?” the officer asked.
It was Lucas who responded. “Friends. They were both at my wedding reception just down the road. Missy called on her cell phone, her voice frantic. When she said she was being attacked, we all ran down.”
T.S. noted there were six other friends from the reception besides Lucas and Cain. Justin was there but, now that the cops were there, he melted into the shadows and disappeared. No one else noticed in all the confusion. T.S. couldn’t blame him. He wouldn’t mind doing the same thing and taking Missy with him.
Missy was shaking and he knew it was a combination of cold and shock. “I need a blanket.”
One officer put cuffs on the guy T.S. had brought down while the other one got a blanket and tried to put it around Missy. T.S. took it from him and put it around her shoulders himself.
More footsteps pounded on the sidewalk. He glanced up and almost smiled. Candy raced down the sidewalk. She was wearing sneakers and an old leather jacket over her wedding dress. Katie Benjamin was right behind her.
“Missy!” Candy cried and went immediately to her best friend.
T.S. hated to release Missy, but he suddenly wasn’t feeling so good. His stomach was queasy and the world was slightly blurry. He blinked to clear his vision, which worked, but he wavered slightly. Not good. Lucas caught him before he fell.
“Hey, buddy.” Lucas ripped the arm off T.S.’ already-destroyed shirt and wrapped it around the injury, which was now throbbing nonstop. “Time to get you to a hospital. You’re going to need stitches.”
“Only if Missy goes too.” He dug in his heels on this. He wanted a doctor to check her over and clean those scratches on her upper chest.
“You’re both going.” Candy stood beside Missy, determination radiating from her. She might be small but she was fierce when it came to protecting those she loved. T.S. liked that about her.
Another police car arrived along with the EMTs. They’d get this mess all sorted out, but only after Missy was seen by a doctor.
* * * * *
Several hours later, Missy sat in the hospital emergency room and stared at the door to the treatment rooms. T.S. was in there, waiting to get stitches. Stitches. It was still hard to believe he’d taken down two attackers by himself. He’d arrived just in the nick of time. She shuddered at the thought of what might have happened if he hadn’t.
“You okay?” It was about the hundredth time her best friend had asked her.
“I’m fine, Candy. You should go home. Both of you.” Lucas sat beside his wife, his arm protectively around her. “This is your wedding night.”
“Night’s not over yet.” Lucas’ droll remark made her laugh.
“I suppose not. But it soon will be.”
Lucas hooked a fallen lock of hair over Candy’s ear. “There’s always tomorrow. And I’m not leaving until I know T.S. is okay.”
Missy gave silent thanks for such wonderful friends. Not only Candy and Lucas but all the rest of the party guests who’d come to her rescue. The police had taken her statement here at the hospital. She knew all the others had gone back to Lucas’ place to answer questions.
An officer went in to talk to T.S., but had left a while ago with a promise to contact her when her statement was ready to be signed and if they caught her other attacker.
Missy pulled her coat closer around her. The blanket the nice officer had given her had disappeared while she was being seen by a doctor. She had some bruises and a few scratches, which had been cleaned. Her wrist was sore, but it was only a mild sprain. Otherwise she was fine.
But she felt dirty. Violated.
She wanted to go home and soak in a hot tub and scrub her skin until she couldn’t feel their hands on her anymore. She shivered.
“Are you cold?”
Candy’s concern had tears pricking at her eyes. Missy shrugged. “A little.”
Lucas rose without a word and returned a few minutes later with a cup of steaming hot chocolate. He put the paper cup in her hand and wrapped her fingers around it. “I figured the chocolate was safer than the coffee here.”
Missy nodded her thanks. If she spoke, she was afraid she’d burst into tears, which didn’t make any sense. She was fine. Everything was…fine.
She was halfway through the surprisingly tasty hot chocolate when a nurse wheeled T.S. out through the door in a wheelchair. Missy put the cup on the low table beside her and stood on shaky legs.
Lucas reached T.S. first. “How you doing, man?”
“A dozen stitches,” the nurse informed him. “But he’ll be fine with a few days’ rest.” She patted T.S. on his good arm. “Get that prescription filled and be sure to take all the antibiotics. Use the painkillers when you need them. Don’t be a macho guy.”
T.S. grunted, his eyes searching the waiting room. They stopped when they hit her. He stood and took a step toward her. Missy’s legs propelled her toward him without her having to prod them. She stopped about a foot from him.
“Are you okay?” His soft voice and deep concern wrapped around her better than any blanket.
“That should be my question,” she countered. He looked pale, but still as tough as ever. He was wearing a thin green top from a set of scrubs. His own shirt had obviously been ruined by blood and totally destroyed when they’d cut it off him. His dress jacket was draped over his good arm.
“I’ve had worse.” He shrugged and didn’t even wince. Missy wondered if it was the drugs keeping his arm numb or if he was really that tough. She figured it was probably a bit of both.
“Come on. Time to get going, folks.” Lucas rounded them all up and helped T.S., oblivious to his friend’s irritation.
“I don’t need help. I’m not a damn invalid,” T.S. protested as they left the emergency room.
“Of course not,” Lucas agreed as he helped T.S. to the car. Missy had to stifle a laugh when T.S. swore.
“You can drop me at my car,” Missy told them as soon as they were all settled in Candy’s car.
“You’re coming home with us. Both of you.” Candy leaned over the seat, her dark brown eyes luminous with unshed tears.
Missy reached forward and took her friend’s hand. “Thank you. I appreciate everything you and Lucas have done. But,” she continued before Candy could get too smug, “I need to go home.” She squeezed Candy’s fingers, hoping her friend would understand. “Plus, this is your wedding night.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Lucas pulled out of the parking lot and onto the road. There was still quite a bit of traffic this time of night, but it was lighter than usual and they made good time as they headed back across the city.
“I’m going home too,” T.S. interjected. “I’m going to be miserable tomorrow, so I’d rather do it in my own bed.”
They argued the rest of the way back, but Missy got her way. Kind of. “I’m going to follow y
“I’ll go with her,” T.S. interjected. “I’ll call a cab from her place.” He glanced at her and winked. “That way you guys can finally get around to your wedding night. Or morning. It’s getting so late the sun will be up in a few hours.”
“I agree with T.S.” Missy’s stomach filled with butterflies at the thought of being alone with T.S., but it was the least she could do. She also agreed with him. Candy and Lucas deserved some sort of wedding night.
Lucas pulled into a spot behind his building and turned off the ignition. “Okay. If you’re determined. But I’m walking the two of you to Missy’s car.”
T.S. grumbled while Missy said her goodbyes to Candy, promising to call her friend tomorrow, but not too early.
“I gotta lock my truck. I’m not even sure I closed the damn door when I jumped out.” That’s assuming his truck was still there.
“Done.” Lucas told him. “Cain recognized your truck, saw the door open and took care of it.”
“Tell him thanks.”
Lucas snorted. “Tell him yourself.”
Missy enjoyed the byplay between the men. She knew they’d been friends for years, but had no idea how they’d met. She’d asked Candy once, but her friend had been unusually vague about it. That had piqued Missy’s curiosity. She hadn’t asked for more details, though, not wanting to put Candy in an awkward position. However the men had met didn’t really matter, she supposed.
She’d never been so glad to see her car before. All she wanted was to get home and crawl into the safety of her own bed. Missy wasn’t sure if she’d ever feel safe again after tonight. “Are you sure you’re okay to drive?” Lucas’ question shook her from her dark thoughts.
Turning toward him, she planted a kiss on his cheek. “I’m fine. But thanks.”
“Let’s go.” T.S. sounded surly, but she figured he had to be in a lot of pain. He eased into the passenger seat of her car and pulled on his seat belt.
Lucas waited until she was settled and had the car started before he closed the door. “Drive safe.”
She waved and nodded. Missy glanced in her rearview mirror as she pulled away. Lucas watched them until they were out of sight. Neither she nor T.S. spoke all the way to her apartment. She thought he might have drifted off to sleep until he spoke. “Can I come up to your place and call a cab from there?”
“Sure.” As much as she wanted to be alone, she couldn’t leave a wounded man on the sidewalk or even on the porch while he waited for a cab. She owed him more than she could ever repay. She parked in the lot behind the building and led the way inside.
Her hands shook as she unlocked the door. Her heels clicked on the tiled floor as they walked to the elevator. The door slid open as soon as she pressed the button and they stepped inside.
The silence thickened around them. Not uncomfortable. Almost anticipatory.
She kept glancing at T.S. For a man who’d been stabbed he was surprisingly steady on his feet. She was in worse shape than he was in that regard. Her legs were like jelly, threatening to give out on her any second. Of course, her high heels weren’t helping matters.
They got out of the elevator when they hit the third floor and walked down the corridor to her apartment, the carpet muffling the sound of their footsteps. The distance had never felt quite so long before. She had the end unit because it was slightly larger than the other apartments on the floor. When she tried to put her keys in the lock, they slipped from her fingers.
Before she could bend down to pick them up, T.S. was there, scooping them up. He didn’t hand them back to her, but found the right key and let them in. She stumbled forward and he caught her with his good arm.
The keys clanged as he tossed them into the Depression glass bowl on the entry table. The door closed with a solid thunk. The metal lock slid into place.
Missy swallowed hard as T.S. moved toward her. She took a step away and her back hit the wall. His eyes were intent on her face. They were dark amber and practically glowed as he studied her.
She swallowed hard, her heart pounding in her chest.
“I’m going to kiss you now,” he told her.
Good to his word, he eased closer. Missy wasn’t certain she could handle his kiss. Not now. Not when she was so emotionally off balance.
Their mouths touched. Their lips barely grazed one another. It was a soft kiss. One that was an end onto itself, asking nothing, seeking nothing.
Missy burst into tears.
T.S. drew Missy into his arms. He’d been waiting to do it again since he’d seen her in the waiting room, looking so concerned about him. He kept his arms loose around her, not wanting her to feel confined. “It’s okay, babe.” He rocked her back and forth in his arms. He hated to see her like this. Missy was always so strong, so self-assured. But tonight had shaken that confidence.
She swiped at her eyes. Most of her makeup was long gone, but she still looked beautiful to him. “I’m sorry.” She sniffed and offered him a watery smile. “I don’t usually lose it like that.”
“I won’t tell anyone,” he solemnly promised. She gave a hiccup of laughter and her smile became more real.
As if suddenly realizing she was in his arms, she tried to take a step back. T.S. kept his arms locked loosely around her. “Give yourself another minute.” He kept his voice low and soft. She might not need the hug but he sure as hell did.
When he thought of her walking back to her car alone from the party he broke out into a cold sweat. What if he hadn’t decided to wait? What if she’d truly been alone? He didn’t want to contemplate what might have happened.
He pressed his hand against the small of her back, easing her forward until her head rested on his shoulder. She gave a sigh of relief and gave up the fight. Her arms slowly crept around his waist, hugging him.
In spite of the throbbing in his arm he felt great. Better than great. Missy was pressed against his body. Her chest rested against his. Her legs brushed his.
His dick sprang to attention. Oh yeah. Nothing wrong with that part of his anatomy. He brushed a light kiss against her temple while he continued to rub his hand up and down her spine. Calming her. Soothing them both.
She shivered and he frowned. Was she still chilled? In shock? Missy’s perfume mingled with sweat and a slight tinge of blood. A not so lovely reminder of their evening.
“You need to get a hot bath. You’re going to be sore tomorrow.” There might be no lasting injuries, but T.S. knew the psychological effects would reverberate for a long, long time.
“I will as soon as you’re gone.” She raised her head, took a deep breath and stepped back. This time he let her go.
He rubbed his hand over his jawline while he pondered how to tell her about his plans without having her blow her top. There was no way to do it. “I’m staying.” Blunt and to the point. Just like him.
“What?” Her eyes widened and she took another step back, which pissed him off. She should know by now he’d never hurt her.
“Look, you’ve been through a trauma. A shock.” He glanced around her apartment for the first time since entering. There was a fairly comfortable-looking sofa and two chairs in the living room area. The sofa was a rich, chocolate brown with overstuffed pillows. “I’ll sleep on the couch, but I’m not leaving you alone.”
“That’s ridiculous.” A spark ignited in her eyes. T.S. almost smiled at the flash of temper. That was more like his Missy.
He ignored the possessiveness of his words. He knew she wasn’t his. Not really. Not for keeps. And that was fine by him. He didn’t do commitment. But he sure as hell wanted right now with her. Beyond that, he simply wouldn’t feel right about leaving her alone. She might think she was fine but he knew better.
A trauma like she’d been through would come back at the most unexpected times. He was very familiar with nightmares and had plenty of demons of his own.
A dark wood entertainment center sat across from the sofa and housed a flat screen television, a stereo and a DVR. A bookcase in the corner was filled with books and picture frames but it wasn’t overflowing. Everything looked as though it had a place. A rug in rich tones of brown, beige and green covered the hardwood floor. The small dining area was adjacent to the living room. A table and four chairs sat beneath a pewter and glass chandelier.
He glanced at Missy. She was still standing just beyond the front door with her coat still on and her purse over her shoulder. She looked slightly lost and bewildered. He shoved out of the chair and went to her. “It’s just for one night. You could use the company and, quite frankly, I could use someone to keep a watch on me.” He hated playing the sympathy card, but a man did what he had to do.
“Oh. Of course. I didn’t think of that. Of course you can sleep on the sofa.” She frowned. “Maybe you should take the bed and I’ll take the sofa.”
He had to close his eyes against the sight of her when she casually mentioned him taking the bed. It was all too easy for him to imagine sharing her bed, with her. The sheets would smell like her skin. Every muscle in his body tightened in anticipation. The pain in his arm was nothing compared to the throbbing of his cock.
He almost salivated at the thought of her naked skin pressed against his. After he’d tasted and touched every square inch of her delectable body, he could lie on his back and let her ride him. She could be in control of their passion, taking him as deep and as hard as she wanted.
His erection twitched, becoming more uncomfortable by the second. Thank God the ugly green top they’d given him at the hospital covered the front of his pants. He didn’t think Missy was ready to deal with his raging hard-on just yet.
He heard a light swoosh of fabric and tensed as her hand touched his good arm. “T.S.?”
He opened his eyes and drank in her concern like a parched man after forty days in the desert. “I’ll be fine, Missy. Promise.”
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