She knew she had been caught. There was no way she was going to get out of this one without explanation, and she most definitely didn’t want to talk about what just happened. “Fine” she blurted out at his request to walk with her to the corner. She knew it would take the skills of an experienced actress to pull off the next scene, to make it down the block on an ankle that throbbed as though it was being repeatedly smashed with a sledgehammer.
Trying to buy some time she said, “I’ll meet you up the bank.” And to her surprise he complied.
She attempted to stretch her ankle. OH this was going to be painful, and embarrassing. She had long since taken her feet out of the cold water to dry, and now she was attempting to pull her socks up and over her sore ankle. When she got that done, she attempted the shoes. That was even more miserable. She could do pain she reminded herself. She had proven that before. Just three blocks, then she could find some Tylenol and some sleep.
She attempted to stand, and when she tentatively put pressure on her ankle, the pain shot like electricity from the ankle up to her knee, gaining on her hips. She took a sharp intake of breath. Yes. This was bad. She was not used to relying on anyone else for help, and she definitely didn’t want to start now. She turned, faced the embankment, and attempted a step, determined to do this on her own.
She limped and hopped a couple steps, trying to find the best possible strategy for this feat, and then he was back. Crap. This is so not cute. Not a cute look for her at all.
“What happened?” he asked with concern in his voice.
“Oh, I must have sprained it. It’s a little worse than I thought, but I’ll be fine.”
“Hop on, I’ll give you a ride back.” He offered. He actually wanted her to hop on him and get a piggy back ride back to her apartment. Oh Lord help her. For whatever reason, it was tempting. Wrapping her body around his muscular neck and back didn’t seem all that bad, except she didn’t want to be such a burden. No burden to anyone. She can do this.
Noticing that she hadn’t yet declined his offer, he squatted down in front of her, “Come on, give my ego a break for a second. I promise I can get you three blocks down the street. I own a gym for Heaven’s sake. If I can’t make it, I should just shut the doors right now” he said lightheartedly.
For some reason she couldn’t explain, she agreed. She wrapped her arms up over his shoulders, and he grabbed the back of her legs and hoisted her up. Yes, his body was perfect. Oh and he smelled good. Intoxicatingly good. Freshly showered she noticed, before the trek down here she assumed, and he had a masculine scent that was all his own. His strong legs carried her, his back muscles working in rhythm with each step. She wasn’t sure where her arms were supposed to go. She used this excuse to brush his muscular arms, trace this cords in his neck, and run her hand through his hair.
He took a leisurely pace, and she appreciated the extra time being so close to him. She absorbed every second. She gave up the pretense of disinterest and let her hands wander as they pleased. He didn’t seem to mind, at least he didn’t verbalize anything against it, so she traced his collarbone under his tight t shirt, back up his neck. She rested her forehead, the not sore side, on the back of his head, and inhaled his scent. She wrapped her arms leisurely around him for the last block and just took it all in. She knew it couldn’t last, but it sure was awesome for the moment.
She pointed to the building across the courtyard, and he continued the stroll in that direction. When he arrived at the door, her body had melted around his. He smelled delicious. He felt incredible. His voice rumbled sexily in his throat when he spoke. He looked over-the-top handsome. And she bet he would taste good, too. She just wanted to lick him, to run her lips down….
Stop! Say something to the man already. She whispered, “Thanks,” not so much because she wanted to be quiet, but because it took everything within her to not drag him upstairs and help him see what fun they could have together.
She slid back down to the ground, noticing his height in comparison to hers, and slowly unwound her arms. Appreciating the last little trail down his back before she released the touch. When he turned around to face her, she saw that he enjoyed it as much as she did. His eyes returned her heat, but he didn’t make a move. They stood there for a second, catching their breath, before he broke the silence, “Anything else I can help you with?” His eyes begged yes. Oh yes, he could help her work off the restlessness of the day, maybe a little roll in the hay, maybe a sexual release she hadn’t had for so long…
She had the sudden realization that they were standing at the door to her building. If he walked through those doors, he would have too many questions. Why would an interior designer be living so sparsely? How could she answer? Would she lie? Would she attempt the truth? Would he be disgusted at her cowardice?
She awoke from the fantasy of making sweet love to him, and vigorously shook her head no. “You have been more than enough help. Thank you so much. I’ve got it from here.”
He took a step back, as if needing the space as much as she to think straight. “Alternate ice and heat, every twenty minutes. Ice and heat, got it?”
She nodded yes. “Ice and heat, got it.”
“When you heal up, I’d love to show you around my gym. It’s not too far from here.”
She smiled, knowing she shouldn’t, couldn’t let this go on. It got way too hot too fast. She didn’t want to get burned. Or burn him if she had to pick up and leave. She waved him off. She watched him go, and then she turned to her door, and hobbled herself up the stairs to her apartment.
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