Unexpected consequences, p.17

Unexpected Consequences, page 17


Unexpected Consequences

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  “You’re already home, goofy,” Zeke chuckles, ruffling my hair. His eyes are glassy, his speech seriously slurred. “Les go to bed,” he says with a wicked grin. I roll my eyes, not wanting to point out that he’s in no condition to do anything other than sleep.

  “Go, have fun,” I urge him. “I have an early morning, so I’m going to head to my place tonight.”

  Zeke holds the wall for support, staring at me in disbelief. “But I thought this...” he holds up a hand as he tries to get rid of the hiccups. I cringe, fearing he’ll be racing to the bathroom soon. Sure enough, he’s sprinting down the hall less than a minute later.

  I have two choices right now. I can stay and make sure he’s okay or I can slide out the front door and avoid any possible confrontation. I don’t want to stay because it’s stirring up memories I’ve long worked to bury. But if I go, then I’m no better than my mother was, walking out on my father when he needed her the most. If she had stayed, maybe he would have cleaned up his act before it was too late.

  I toss my keys on the dining room table, irritated. I know Zeke isn’t my father, but I’m sure as hell not going to walk out that door simply because he chose to celebrate a huge success for his business. If I wasn’t so jaded by my adolescent years, I would probably be right there with him.

  “Hey, you okay in there?” I keep trying the handle of the bathroom door, as if it’s going to magically open. That would be a good thing because if I don’t hear a response from Zeke soon, I might bust down the door.

  “Pretty sure I’m not dying,” Zeke groans. Before he can say anything else, I hear him heaving again. “Just go away.”

  I shake my head, picturing him sitting in front of the toilet, one arm draped over the seat, acting as a pillow. “No can do, buddy,” I chuckle, my head thumping against the door. I promised I wouldn’t put myself in this situation. Until tonight, I never thought it would be an issue because Zeke has never had more than two or three beers. “Open up.”

  I hear the click of the lock as Zeke opens the door. Before I can push it far enough to get inside the small half bath, Zeke is leaning against the far wall, curled into himself. I don’t bother scolding him, I’m sure he’ll do enough of that tomorrow morning. Instead, I reach for a washcloth and run it under cool water. I slide down the wall so I’m sitting on the cold floor next to him. “Put this on your head,” I advise him. He grunts, but doesn’t reach for the cloth, so I press it to his head, wiping his face and neck. “You’re going to hate yourself tomorrow,” I laugh.

  Zeke twists his body so his head is resting on my shoulder. I rub his back, hoping like hell he doesn’t puke on me. Maybe I’m the one who needs to lighten up. They pulled off something amazing tonight; a sell-out crowd with almost no notice on a Monday night. And I overheard them talking about the band doing some more small gigs while they’re in the area. That’s definitely worthy of celebrating. One night doesn’t mean he’s going to turn into a complete asshole.

  “Thought you were leaving,” Zeke murmurs. I look down and see that his eyes are closed. I should probably get up and help him stumble to bed while he’s still marginally coherent.

  “Nah, I figured I need to stay and make sure you don’t drown in a pool of your own vomit.” I unwind Zeke’s limp limbs from around my body, steadying him against the wall so I can stand up. “I know how you rock and roll people are.”

  “Rock on!” Zeke shouts, throwing up devil horns. He’s blitzed. I pull him off the tile floor, sliding an arm behind him so I can guide him across the hall. We both look inebriated as we bounce off the walls and I’m pretty sure I’ll have a bruise from one particularly hard hit.

  Zeke falls into bed when I turn my attention to the small lamp beside the bed. I untie his shoes, tossing them toward the closet. He swats at my hand when I go to pull his pants over his hips. “You can’t take advantage of me, doctor,” he chuckles. “I’m under the influence.”

  “So noted,” I sigh. “Now, if you let me help you get undressed, I promise I won’t do anything questionable.”

  “Aww, you’re no fun,” he grunts, lifting his hips off the bed. “I always wanted a hot doctor to have his wicked way with me.”

  Part of me hopes he doesn’t remember this tomorrow. It’s going to be fun reminding him. At least he’s a happy drunk.

  “Sorry, buddy,” I apologize. “I think you need to sleep off your drunk, but I promise I’ll have my wicked way tomorrow night, okay?”

  “I’ll hold you to it.” Zeke’s voice is barely a whisper and I know he’s falling asleep. Exactly what he needs. Hopefully with the host passed out, the rest of them will go up to Dylan’s if they want to keep partying until sunrise because they’re not staying here. If I’m lucky, I can still get four hours of sleep.

  I pull the covers over Zeke and lean over to kiss his forehead. He reaches for me as I walk away, capturing my wrist in his hand. “Jeff?”

  “Yeah?” I look back and see that his eyes are still closed. Even though he’s awake, I can’t help but admire how peaceful he looks.

  “I love you,” he mumbles, dropping my arm as soon as the words leave his mouth. A soft snore follows, leaving no opportunity for me to respond. My mind is reeling as I walk out of the room.

  Surely he only said that because he’s drunk, right?

  Apparently, not having a job to go to means I have time to be everyone’s personal errand girl now. I didn’t mind it at first, but after a week of my phone ringing non-stop, I’m ready for a break. First, Zeke and Dylan asked me to help them draw up some new agreements. I’m sure they’re saving a ton of money having me do them, but they are paying me, so I’m not going to complain. Then, they asked if I would mind running some errands for Blessed Tragedy while they’re in town. That goofy fangirl side of me thought it would be awesome to be a personal assistant of sorts to a band, but once you find yourself at Target buying underwear for the bassist because he apparently forgot to pack them, the shiny feeling wears off.

  Today, I’m spending the day at Jeff’s house, waiting on a contractor to give him a bid on renovations. I’m not sure why he’s having work done on the house since he hasn’t stayed there in months, but whatever. Until I fumble with the key in his front door, I really hadn’t thought about how the three of us have essentially gone from fuck buddies to a committed relationship where we’re all living together. And for whatever reason, we always wound up at Zeke’s place, even when it was a casual arrangement.

  Despite the fact that I can’t think of the last time Jeff might have been here, there’s not a speck of dust to be found. The mail is stacked high on the counter, with the exception of a few envelopes that have fallen to the floor. I look through the cabinets, trying to find a bag to put everything in. It feels like an invasion of privacy, but I sort through the mail, throwing out all the junk mail before putting the rest in a paper sack. I can’t help but think it might be time for the three of us to sit down and have another talk. It seems ridiculous for Jeff and I to both have our own places when we’re never there.

  Pushing that thought to the back of my mind, I grab my Kindle and my phone and set off to find a place to relax. Jeff’s house looks like some sort of showcase instead of an actual home. The colors are neutral, the furniture sleek and modern. If not for the fact that he handed me a key over breakfast this morning, I wouldn’t know Jeff actually lived here. There’s nothing personal about the space; no family pictures, no mementos from the past, nothing. I can’t imagine him in such a sterile place.

  I curl up on the couch after turning down the central air. This July has been particularly brutal and the house is muggy. Once I feel the cooler air blasting from the vents, it’s a bit easier to relax.

  My phone ringing startles me a bit later. It seems the late nights are taking a toll on me. “Hello?” I answer groggily.

  “Hey, did you forget to go to my place?” Jeff asks. The words that follow are muffled and I realize he’s not talking to me now. I rub my eyes and try to find
a clock. Seriously, who doesn’t have a clock on the wall? “Sorry about that. Where are you?”

  “On your couch, why?” I look out the large front window and see a work van behind my Nissan. “Crap, I fell asleep.” I open the front door, ushering in a man who identifies himself as Chad, the general contractor.

  “Yeah, I could use a nap myself,” Jeff says with a big yawn. Now that two-thirds of us don’t have to be up at the crack of dawn, we’ve been going to bed later and later. Most nights, it’s because we have the guys from Blessed Tragedy at our place. As much fun as it has been getting to know them, I know Jeff’s getting annoyed that we seem to have lost our alone time. Maybe it’s not such a hot time to talk about moving in together.

  “So, the contractor is here now, as you know. Do you have time to go out to lunch?” If we can’t find time to spend together during the evenings, maybe I can smooth things over by meeting up with him during the day.

  “I’m sorry, babe. Things are insane around here today. I have two new admissions I have to evaluate and three getting ready to go home.”

  “Oh, okay.” I hate the fact that I hear the disappointment in my own voice. I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up, so there’s no one to blame but myself. It seems Jeff’s not the only one missing quiet time. “You want me to bring something up to you?”

  “That could work. Call me when Chad leaves and I’ll let you know when I can sneak away for a few minutes.” It’s not much, but I know he’s trying. He’s the responsible one who doesn’t get pissed off and quit his job. Again, my fault, not his.

  I need to talk to Zeke. It’s been over a week since his drunken rambling and every time I close my eyes, I hear him professing his love all over again. I’m not sure why it’s so hard to bring up, but it is. If I talk to him, I’ll know whether or not he meant the words and then I can start sleeping again.

  “Hey you,” Mary says sweetly as she drapes her arms over my shoulders. “You must be tired if I managed to sneak up on you,” she laughs. God, I love that laugh. I pull her around so she can sit on my lap. It’s sweltering outside, but it’s worth suffering through the heat to be close to her.

  “I missed you,” I whisper, nuzzling my head against her chest. It’s been a spectacularly shitty day and it’s finally getting better. I’m glad I didn’t turn Mary down when she offered to bring me lunch because she is just what I need right now. Mary reminds me that there are good people in the world when I’m surrounded by people who’ve hit rock bottom all day, every day.

  One of today’s admissions hit a bit too close to home for my comfort. A thirty-six year old man whose wife walked out with their two kids last weekend. He sobbed like a baby on my couch, telling me that he’s lost everything and I need to help him get them back. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that while I’ll do everything I can to help him, it might not be enough. That’s not my job. My job is to teach him how to cope with the stressors of life without turning to alcohol or pills. Certainly, I will be reaching out to his estranged wife to see where her head is at, but more often than not, by the time a couple gets to this point, it’s too late. Hell hath no fury and all that jazz.

  “Everything okay?” Mary asks. She turns to me and I nod. Having her near me, hearing her heartbeat in her chest, everything is damn near perfect. “Need to talk?”

  “You know I can’t,” I reply somberly. The scariest part is how badly I do want to talk to her. She’s the first woman I’ve known that I want to open up to. I need her to know about the skeletons in my closet because whether he meant it or not, Zeke telling me he loved me the other night made me admit to myself that I’m falling in love with both him and Mary. Before I can tell them that, I have to find a way to share this part of myself. They need to understand that I have certain limitations, as well as the reasons behind them, before we get any deeper into this.

  She slides off my lap and pulls sandwiches out of her bag. “I know, but if you ever do want to talk about it, you know you can, right?” She stares into my eyes and I know she’s letting me know she’s not buying the confidentiality cover-up. She knows there’s something else going on, but won’t push me to talk.

  “Yep. So, what did you bring me?” She puts down a turkey and provolone sandwich with tomatoes and alfalfa sprouts. I didn’t tell her what I wanted, but she remembered the sandwich that I special order every time we go to the shop on the ground floor of our building. I kiss her cheek, shaking my head slightly. “Thank you,” I sigh, turning my complete attention to my lunch. The sooner we finish eating, the sooner we can take a quick walk before I have to go back upstairs.

  Hand in hand, we walk along the front of the hospital. It’s not the most scenic route, but I would walk along the side of the highway if it meant a few more minutes of fresh air and Mary. “I was thinking,” Mary says as we wait for the walk signal at an intersection. “Why do we all have our own places?”

  She winces as soon as the words are out of her mouth. What’s that about? I’ve been wondering the same thing lately, which is why I’m making a few updates on my house. It’s pretty much inevitable that I’ll be putting it on the market before long since Zeke is the one who has a reason to stay where he is and I want to bump the sale value as much as possible. If the band keeps hanging around, I might see if they want to rent it out. Maybe then they wouldn’t be at our place every freaking night.

  I shrug, trying to hide the fact that this has weighed heavily on my mind. “I get what you’re saying, but do you think we’re at that point?”

  “Seems to me we sailed right past that point,” she giggles. “When was the last time you were home? If I had to guess, based on the mail on your counter, it was early June.”

  Shit, she’s right. It’s a good thing my housekeeper empties the mailbox when she comes over, otherwise I’m sure it would be overflowing by now. “You went through my mail?”

  She scrunches her nose, biting her lip as if she’s just confessed to something and she’s awaiting her punishment. It’s cute when she’s playing around, not so much when she feels she’s done something wrong. I’ll never understand women getting upset about little things. She has access to just about every part of my life, why would her sorting through envelopes be some arbitrary line? Hell, I don’t give a shit if she opened them because there’s nothing she could find in any of them that I would have a problem with her seeing. Nope, the only secrets I have reside firmly inside my head.

  “Hey, I’m not upset,” I assure her, reaching up to pull her lip from between her teeth. “Seriously, it’s not a big deal.”

  “Sorry, I just figured you might want it in case there was something important,” she says softly. Okay, if emotions are going to turn us into a bunch of babbling morons, we’re all going to have to sit down and have a long talk. I just told Mary I’m not upset and she’s still trying to justify her actions.

  “Mary, I said it’s okay. Thank you for taking care of it.” I lean over and place a chaste kiss on her lips. There’s so much more I would love to do, but not while we’re at my work. Rather than turn around and follow the main path back to the hospital, I lead her through the parking lot toward a service entrance. It’s not the most romantic walk, but I want to get her away from where so many people will see us.

  It’s cooler back here thanks to the shade offered by the buildings. Still miserable, but tolerable. After a quick glance behind me, I turn Mary, pressing her back against the concrete wall with her hands pinned above her head. “I swear, if I didn’t have to get back up there, I’d hitch up your skirt and take you right here,” I groan into her ear, nipping my way down to her shoulder.

  Her breathing hitches at my words, her thighs clenching around my leg. “I don’t think you would,” she taunts me. “You’re too much of a rule follower for something that scandalous.”

  I slide my hands between our bodies beneath the cotton of her dress. She’s not wrong that I’m normally the one of us most likely to walk the straight and narrow, but there’s some
thing about her that makes me want to throw my inhibitions out the window. My fingers ghost over her panties, feeling how much she likes the idea of a rough, fast fuck in public. “You want me to, don’t you?”

  Mary’s entire body arches toward me, begging for me to touch her. I kiss my way from the cap of her shoulder to the hollow of her neck before tracing kisses between her breasts. Every breath she takes is labored now. It wouldn’t take much for me to make her scream right here. I allow my fingers to slip beneath the damp satin, angling my body so no one can see us if I’m too pre-occupied to notice them walking up on us. She’s so ready for me, I seriously consider lowering my zipper enough to free my aching cock and claim her body.

  “Please, Jeff,” she pants as my fingers slide slowly through her folds, careful to not touch her where I know she needs it.

  “What do you want, Mary?” I know what I want. I need to talk to Zeke and tell him I’m taking Mary out tonight. It’s time for her and me to have the one-on-one time we’ve talked about. I want to bury myself inside her tight pussy, giving her every ounce of my attention. As I think about all the things I plan to do to her later, I slide my fingers inside, not waiting for her to tell me that this is what she wanted.

  “Right there,” she moans, leaning forward to bite my shoulder when she wants to scream. “Don’t stop! Please, don’t stop!” My thumb goes to work on her clit, working quick circles around the bundle of nerves as two fingers massage her front wall until she comes apart all over my hand. As she calms down, her body falls into me.

  “What about you?” She looks down at the considerable issue in my pants. This idea may not have been as brilliant as I originally thought now that I have to figure out how to get back to my office without anyone noticing.

  “I’ll be fine,” I lie. My balls are already aching for relief and it’s not going to get any better. “But I think I could use your help with something.”

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