The Ghost (Professionals Book 2)(13)By: Jessica Gadziala
Would we be sharing?
Would he be taking the couch or a cot?
Would he make me?
With a small exhale, not entirely believing he wasn’t capable of such a thing, my head turned back to inspect the left of the room where a living space was set up facing the outer wall where a huge penny brick hearth was situated. There was a comfortable-looking brown and black plaid couch and a somewhat beaten-up looking coffee table in front of it.
Again, oddly, no dining space.
What was with these men and refusing to eat at a proper table like a human being?
“Pretty self-explanatory,” he said, waving a hand around. “Go on and check on your stitches. If there’s an issue, let me know.”
“Do you have medical training?” I asked, inspecting him a bit.
“No, duchess,” he said, lips twitching. “But I’ve had to stitch myself up with nothing but fishing line and a sewing needle. And lived. Figure that is more than you can claim.”
“Fair enough,” I agreed, moving off toward the hallway, peeking into the room to the left, lucking out in finding the bathroom.
My stomach dropped slightly seeing the prominent stall shower with a simple thick white shower curtain. I would have to clean up eventually. This was the only way. It was impractical to be afraid. Out here in the middle of nowhere.
Impractical, but some things were not rational.
Fear most especially.
Taking a breath, I closed the door, moving over toward the sink cabinet where a large mirror was hung, and lifting up my shirt.
No blood, thankfully.
Just red and angry-looking.
I had little individual containers of saline to use on it once a day. Once I had my bags, maybe after I convinced myself to get in the shower, I would clean it out. Maybe that would help with the pain.
“What’s the verdict?” I heard from outside the door a few minutes later as I attempted to get myself together.
“It’s okay,” I told him, moving to open the door. And there he was, with my toiletries and clothing bags. A part of me wondered if he had run out to grab them, so I didn’t insist on helping. Which was, well, sweet.
“I want to take a shower, but I’ll let you go first.”
It must have shown.
On my face.
The fear, the panic.
“Nothing,” I insisted, shaking my head.
“You’re afraid to shower?” he asked, seeing right through me.
“It’s just… I…” I was stammering. I never stammered. Something about his light green eyes was unraveling me.
“Fuck that,” he said, shaking his head.
“Go turn the water on. I’ll get you some towels.”
“No, really. I’m fine. It’s fine,” I insisted.
“It’s not fine,” he shot back, shaking his head. “And you’re not fine. Some fuck came at you in the shower and attacked you. I get it. I do. That’s an invasion. It’s traumatic. But he wins when you refuse to step back in there.”
“I do. I get it,” he said, disappearing. It wasn’t until he came back with the towels that I realized he wasn’t just going to let me have this. “Don’t give me those eyes,” he said, voice going a little soft again as he put towels down on the sink vanity, then moved to turn the water on.
Then, he did the oddest thing.
He shut the door.
From the inside.
“What are you doing?” I asked as the steam from the hot water started wafting through the air, instantly making my shirt start to stick to my back.
“If you don’t break this now, you never will. So you’re going to break this now. How else are you going to start a new life? Explain to new friends or new boyfriends why you are terrified of the shower?” he asked, using reason. And reason, well, it was always the best argument to use to approach me. “So you are going to turn around and get in that shower,” he explained, reaching behind his back, producing something from his waistband.
“I am going to turn my back on you and watch the door. And you can get in that shower knowing that if by some impossibly small chance someone found us here, that I would take them down before they got anywhere near you.”