When she noticed that we had heard, she shrugged. “Nights can be the best shift or the dullest. The girls are in a tizzy about another guy. He likes to streak naked down the halls at night. If he looked like you, I don’t think the other girls would mind.”
“Can you tell us that?”
As she typed something into a computer, she shrugged again. “He’s due for another run soon so you’re going to see it with your own eyes if your door is open. Take it as more of a warning. Don’t get scared if you see a flash sprinting past your door. He doesn’t go into other patients’ rooms.” Then she patted my other leg as she moved around the bed. “You’re looking better, girly. You should get discharged in the morning.”
Two minutes after she left, we heard her yell, “Stop right there, four-thirty-two! Do not go into the nursing ward. Four-thirty-two!”
A streak of bare flesh darted past our door.
Mason grinned at me. “It’s like we didn’t even miss Fischer’s party tonight.”
My nurse sprinted past our door, followed by another two.
Except there are no nurses at those parties. I tried to say that, but I couldn’t. My mouth must’ve twitched because Mason turned sharply to me. “Are you okay?”
I nodded, sighing at the same time, except I couldn’t do that either. Breathing was difficult so I took a small breath, followed by another one. I was closing my eyelids again when he said my name.
My heart began racing as I heard how serious he was. I frowned.
He took a deep breath. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do here. I don’t know if I’m supposed to distract you. If I’m supposed to make you laugh, or if I’m supposed to be reassuring you. I have no idea what to do, so all I’m doing is just being here.”
Oh goodness. My heart raced faster.
His voice grew rough again, and he added, “You can’t talk back to me, and I need to hear your voice. I need to know you’re okay.”
I tried to squeeze his hand.
He laughed to himself, lifting them, kissing the back of mine. Then he pressed it against his cheek and took another deep breath. “I’m so f**ked up right now. We were going to fight the Broudou brothers when that chick showed up. I don’t even know who she is. She took off when we finally got to your room, and I haven’t let anyone else in here. Logan was supposed to tell people you’re fine.” He broke off and cursed under his breath. “I’m so goddamn sorry.” He frowned before he shook his head again. “What I’m trying to say is that everything will be okay. Kate won’t hurt you again. I’ll take care of her, and I’ll end this thing with the Broudous. I know it’s been bothering you, too. I’ll take care of everything. I know you’re going to stay at your dad’s. That’s fine. I want you to know that I’m fine with that. I made him agree to let us stay there, too, so we’ll all still be together. What the hell am I saying here?”
I wanted to smile at him. I wanted to pull him into me and have him wrap his arms around me, but I couldn’t do either. I couldn’t even tell him to shut up because I loved him, too. That’s what he was trying to say, but he was never this awkward about it. I lifted my hand to his cheek. I cupped the side of his face the same way he always cups mine, and I pulled him to me.
“Sam?” His eyes grew wide and he hesitated.
I pulled again, this time firmer.
He relented until I had moved his face right to mine. I couldn’t feel it, but I pressed his lips to mine. When he pulled away, I saw him brush at something on his face before he settled back into place beside me again.
We remained like that for the rest of the night, but right before I fell back asleep, I felt him kiss my hand.
I was smiling on the inside.
It sucked being an invalid.
I was released the next day, and it took an entire afternoon before it was decided that I’d stay at Malinda’s house for the first week. I couldn’t go back to school for a week, and she didn’t have a job. It made sense. I would move into David’s after the first week since I’d still have four to six weeks to heal. Of course, Mason and Logan followed me where I went. David already agreed, but Malinda hadn’t been told of the arrangement. When she was informed, both were adamant. David leaned close to whisper, “I warned you they’re protective.” A bright smile was plastered on her face, and she waved him off. “Oh no. It’s completely fine. The more the merrier.”
She didn’t know what she was getting herself into. She must’ve caught my reaction because she broke away from David’s side and took the chair beside me. She patted my arm and leaned in close to me. “I mean it. Those two have become your family, and you are David’s family so that means all of you are welcome in my home, at any time.” Her warm chocolate eyes doubled their sparkle as she added, “I grew up with twelve brothers and sisters. You think three more kids are going to scare me?”
She really had no idea what she was getting herself into.
When I was discharged and being wheeled out of the hospital, I felt like I was part of a Brady Bunch sort-of family. All eyes were on us as we left, but most of the nurses waved to Mason and Logan. David was shaking his head when all six of us got to the parking lot. Mason had pulled his Escalade up to the circle, and I was loaded into it. Logan hopped into Mark’s car. As everyone followed behind David’s Luxury SUV, which I assumed was owned by Malinda, Mason said that Mark and Logan were going to a party that night.