Their Protector: An MC Outlaw Halloween Romance, page 48
“Today?” he says, his hand over his mouth. “I need to check my schedule…”
“Clear your schedule,” I order.
“All right,” he says, not putting up much of a fight. “I can always make time for sushi. But I’d already promised Mae that I’d have lunch with her, so, can she come?”
“Sure,” I answer, automatically.
I’ve always liked Lance’s sister. And maybe she can put her head together with us to help us figure out what’s really going on with Dr. Davis.
An hour later, Lance and Mae and I are ordering spicy dragon tail and I’m armed with documentation.
“So, Lance, I need to talk to you about something really important,” I tell him. “And you too, Mae.”
I nod at her, remembering to be inclusive.
“And here I was thinking you were serious about simply celebrating with me,” Lance says, with a pout. But before I can feel too bad, he exchanges it for a smile. “Just kidding. I knew you wouldn’t be having sushi with me without an ulterior motive.”
“I like sushi but as you know, this definitely isn’t my favorite place,” I say, looking around at the smudged walls and a pile of used take-out containers stashed on the counter instead of in the trash, for some reason. I’ve voiced my concerns about the sanitary nature, or lack thereof, about this place to Lance before— I’ve even mentioned that perhaps we should call the Health Department and request a surprise inspection— but for reasons that will probably forever remain a mystery to me, he continues to like to eat here.
“Well, thank you for at least giving me the rare pleasure of your company in this esteemed restaurant you consider a dump.”
“Lance, I didn’t voluntarily pass Harlow onto you,” I confess. “And Dr. Davis is saying that I think he isn’t making progress.”
Lance crinkles his nose but doesn’t say anything.
“You know that isn’t true, Lance. You came to one of our sessions.”
Thank goodness , I think, even though at the time I was less than happy about him showing up. Now he’s a witness, for all the things I know that Harlow can do. He also knows my character, that I’m not one to lie or sneak around. Well, except when it comes to dating and having sex with our patient… oops.
Lance slowly nods.
“To be fair, though,” he says, with a shrug, “I only observed for a short amount of time, from a distance, and I didn’t calculate his speed or anything like that. That was all you , girlfriend.”
“Lance. Listen to yourself. Do you really think I’d make that up? Lie about his progress? Why ?”
He frowns but doesn’t say anything.
“You know I’m not that kind of person. And even if I was, why would I do it? What would my end game be?”
“To get in a few more one-on-one sessions with your secret crush?” Lance jokes.
“Very funny. And they’re obviously not so secret.”
“Okay,” Lance says, with a sigh. “I’m afraid to even go there with you. I don’t know what you’re getting at. And I don’t want to know. I can’t know. It would be against company policy.”
My shoulders stiffen up when he says this, but he continues and I try to focus on what he’s saying.
“Sure, I don’t think you’d lie or make stuff up, Whitney. But I don’t think Dr. Davis would either. And that’s pretty much what you’re saying.”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying.”
Lance looks at me in shock. But I figure this is one of those times when “go big or go home” applies. I can’t figure out any way to have this conversation with Lance, or Mae, except to accuse Dr. Davis of exactly what I think he’s doing.
Speaking of Mae, she clears her throat, and both Lance and I look at her, waiting for her to say something.
“I have had my own concerns about Dr. Davis’… methods,” she volunteers.
“See!” I say, holding out a flat palm in her direction to prove my point. “It’s not just me.”
“Right,” she agrees. “I’ve heard him make rather wild promises to patients just recovering from surgery, which he can’t possibly have any basis on which to stake his claims. I’ve also seen him… exaggerate their condition, make them look even worse.”
“Hmmmm. Well, that could go along with my theory. Thank you for that input, Mae. And both of you, look at this,” I say, producing a copy of my notes. “These were my notes after my sessions with Harlow. I made a copy.”
“To put in your ‘I love Harlow’ Album?” Lance asks. “That’s some level four stalker shit right there.”
“Very funny. I printed them out before I came to talk to you about Harlow’s progress, remember? And I also wanted to go over them with Dr. Davis. I couldn’t believe how great the results were, and I thought he should see them.”
“He has access to Harlow’s file,” Lance points out.
“Well, I know that now ,” I tell him. “But anyway. It’s a good thing I did print them out. Because now look at these .”
I show him the notes that Dr. Davis gave me earlier.
“These are notes that were doctored by Dr. Davis. Pun intended.”
Lance’s eyes widen as he sees the difference.
“See? I told you.”
“So, he just… changed them? And he thinks he can get away with that? What exactly did he say?”
“He threatened me. Said to go along with it or he’ll have my job taken away.”
Lance’s eyes bug out even wider.
“He doesn’t know I have these original notes. But I’m not sure how it proves anything. He will just turn around and say I made these after the fact, out of spite against him once I was no longer allowed to work with Harlow or something. I mean, he is one hundred percent certain that everyone here is so far up his ass that he can just do what he wants, and threaten who he wants, without consequence.”
“Hmmm,” says Lance, nodding his head. “I guess he’s right about that. Everyone swoons over him. He’s like some God around here. And even I have fallen prey to it. I can’t believe I’ve let myself be so fooled! I thought you were off base about your issues with him…”
“Don’t worry about it, Lance,” I assure him. “I thought that too. I was finally over it. I thought he had been lying about how far along Harlow had come. But then I realized he wasn’t lying. So I was fine with him, and feeling stupid. But now I find out he’s lying in the opposite direction. He wants us to think that Harlow hasn’t progressed as far as he has? That’s the part I can’t figure out. Why would he do that?”
Lance taps his fingers on the table, perplexed as well.
“Makes no sense to me either.”
“Me neither,” Mae pipes in. “But it does fit my general impression of him. I wasn’t so smitten, because of some of the things I’ve overheard him say to patients, that just didn’t quite add up.”
“No, you weren’t so smitten because you were smarter than all of us,” Lance says. And he’s probably right.
Our waiter brings our sushi, and Lance seems to forget about his short-lived concern.
“A bigger question that why he’s doing this,” he says, “is what are you going to do about it? Or not do about it?”
“I… don’t know. I thought I would start by talking to you, and take it from there.”
“Bad idea,” he says, taking a bite and then saying “ mmmm .” “Taking it anywhere, that is. Besides me. God, this sushi is delicious. It really is made in heaven. That’s why I love this place. I don’t care how many rats might be running around in the kitchen.”
“Ewww, Lance, that’s gross.”
I crinkle my nose up and so does Mae. Then I try to get back to business.
“Well, I can’t just let him get away with it!” I protest.
I’m so mad I don’t even feel like eating. And not just because I just looked back over at the pile of garbage.
Where are Lance’s principles ?
“Get away with what?” L
“So, what about you ?” I ask him, accusingly.
“What about me?”
“You’re just going to be his little puppet? You’re going to change Harlow’s results or let Dr. Davis change them as he wishes, for whatever reason or whatever he’s trying to accomplish?”
The more I say, the angrier I get.
“Because you know that once he found out I’m not going to go along with what he wants, he got me out of the way, but how many other people can he do that to?” I continue. “He’s going to count on you to do things his way from the start, or he’ll surpass you for someone else. He might even threaten you too. And that’s part of why I felt compelled to tell you about all of this.”
“Well, thank you,” Lance says, “although I don’t feel too grateful. I just feel confused. I think we should just wait and see what happens. Let me assess Harlow and see what I think. Maybe there are areas that do need a more experienced eye. I haven’t exactly been watching you that closely.”
“Hey!” I protest.
“It’s a compliment. I know you know what you’re doing. But I don’t really know Harlow’s situation. So, let me figure that out. And see what Dr. Davis does. Maybe you’re jumping to conclusions.”
I sit back in my chair and try to calm down. I glare at my sushi as if it’s my problem, while Lance scarfs his down like he hasn’t eaten in days. I suppose I’m so confused right now that there could be an answer I’m not seeing, but I doubt it. I know a threat when I hear one, and a threat is definitely what Dr. Davis delivered to me just hours ago.
“Just promise me you’ll remember what I said,” I tell Lance, in a last plea of desperation. “Don’t discount it, and don’t be blinded by Dr. Davis’ power.”
“All right,” Lance says, reluctantly. “I know you wouldn’t just pull this out of thin air. I’ll be on the look- out too. I just don’t want you to do anything you’ll regret. If you’re going to go after Dr. Davis, you’ll need a lot more clear-cut evidence than what you just showed me right now.”
He’s right. At this point my print outs mean nothing and it’s just Dr. Davis’ word against mine. I sigh.
“Thanks Lance. I really do appreciate you listening, and keeping an open mind.”
“Well, I’m fully on board with this plan,” Mae says. “I wish you both luck, and I’ll be cheering for you over in the surgery ward, unless there’s anything I can do besides go to lunch with you and lend my moral support. Also, I like this sushi too, I have to confess. So, I’m always down to come here with you guys whenever you might need me. Just buy me sushi. Of course.”
“Thanks, Mae,” I tell her, laughing. “And I will. No worries.”
“Speaking of that, are you going to just let that perfectly good sushi sit there?” Lance asks me. “Because if not, I have a plan for it…”
I shake my head and take a bite of it.
“This isn’t half bad,” I say, as I take another bite, not even realizing how hungry I must have been. Or else it just tastes really good.
“Now you see why I ignore the trash in the corner and the rats lurking in the side rooms,” Lance says, as Mae and I both laugh.
Whitney’s been calling me, but I’ve been ignoring her.
I talk to my brother Ramsey instead, in his car on the way to our dad’s gravesite.
“Long time no talk,” he says. “How’ve things been?”
I want to say: Fantastic, and then: Awful.
What a whirlwind of a few days it’s been.
But instead I just say, “Well, you and Jensen were right. Especially Jensen. I’m telling you now so that you guys don’t get to lord it over me yourself.”
“That trip to paradise with the elusive physical therapy lady sure was short and sweet,” Ramsey laughs. “Did it end before you even got her in bed?”
He laughs again.
“Well, at least you got something for your trouble.”
Something indeed .
I can’t help but flash back to her curvy ass, supple breasts, and her wet and welcoming pussy. How I made her come for her first time and then repeatedly after that, how I tasted her sweet juices running into my mouth and all the way down my neck. How I slipped myself inside her and took exactly what I wanted: all of her.
“I don’t know how I could have been so wrong about her. The chemistry was perfect, the sex was out of this world, her body was banging…”
“It just seemed so right because you were focused on all the wrong things,” Ramsey says. “So, did she get in trouble at work? For fraternizing with the feeble, wobbly patient who needs her help and her professional focus?”
“Not exactly. I don’t think they know about us at work, although they suspect. But I don’t really know what all they know, or what they’re up to.”
A memory pops into my mind, of the creepy way that Dr. Davis came to the dive bar after his award ceremony, when I was celebrating with my buddies.
Why does he always keep such close tabs on me? How much does he even know about me that I don’t know?
“So, what happened?”
I pause as my phone vibrates in my pocket, letting me know I have an incoming call. I take it out to see who’s calling, although I already know.
Whitney again, of course.
I ignore her, yet again.
“You’ll never believe it, but she was purposefully holding me back. Blowing smoke up my ass, telling me I was doing great, but then turning around and telling Dr. Davis and everyone else how much work I still need to do.”
“Un-fucking-believable,” Ramsey mutters.
“Yeah. It makes no sense.”
“Sure it does. The chick is crazy, and being in heat for you turns her even crazier. She wants to keep you on a short leash. Figured if she strung it out long enough, had enough one on one sessions with you at work and in the sheets, that eventually you’d put a ring on it. Happens all the time.”
It doesn’t feel like that was what was happening with us. But I don’t say anything. Obviously I don’t know much about how evil women can be, since I’ve never liked one enough to care. I’ve only ever stayed away from anything serious with them, due to our mom.
The reason I’m riding with Ramsey instead of Jensen— other than the fact that Jensen rides everywhere on his motorcycle while Ramsey drives like me— is because I wanted to talk to him about Whitney privately, instead of Jensen this time. Ramsey isn’t only the oldest among us but he’s also managed to be the Last Man Standing— the only one among us who hasn’t fallen for some chick. He’s the only voice of reason that hasn’t been clouded by possibly bad judgment.
Sure, Jensen was no fan of Whitney’s but he’d also let the silly “it doesn’t happen until it happens” talk slip through, which had derailed me. I know I won’t get any such crazy talk from Ramsey. Unlike Jensen, who has already fallen victim to “Commitment,” Ramsey will cut me right off and not entertain my delusions.
“Well, now Whitney keeps calling me, and I’m sure she’s going to try to give me some bullshit story that I’m just not in the mood to hear.”
“Yeah, you need to stay strong, Harlow. If you even go near her, you might cave.”
“That’s unlikely to happen. Dr. Davis assigned me to some new physical therapist.”
“Thank goodness you have him looking out for you,” Ramsey says. “Or who knows how long she’d be pulling these stunts while you were too love-blind to wake up and figure it out.”
“Yeah. Thank goodness for Dr. Davis.”
Story of my life , I think, but I don’t know why I’m beginning to resent Dr. Davis for that. Would it have been better for him to have just let me stumble my way through my mistakes until I figured it out on my own?
Of course not. Not for him— he wants me back to where the military will thank him for returning
I just think I wanted more time to figure it out, because that would have given me more time with Whitney. Who I need to remember is the enemy. And who was distracting me from my goal.
As Ramsey pulls up to the cemetery, my phone vibrates again.
“I’m going to step out. She’s calling again, and I’m going to tell her to leave me the fuck alone. So that my mind will be free to concentrate on Dad’s birthday.”
“There you go,” he says. “Stay strong. Don’t even listen to her words or you might start falling for them.”
I walk around to a shaded area and look at Whitney’s name flashing across my screen, for what I hope will be the last time.
“What?” I answer my phone, annoyed.
“Harlow. I’ve been trying to get a hold of you…”
“So I noticed,” I tell her, determined to stand my ground, even though I hate that her voice sounds afraid and worried. “Did you ever stop to think that if a guy doesn’t pick up after you’ve called him… I don’t know, eight or so times?.... that it might be a good idea to just stop calling him?”
“Harlow. I get that you might be confused. But we need to talk. Can you meet me—”
“No I can’t meet you,” I tell her, disgusted despite that fact that usually I’m on fire with desire for her.
To be honest, I still am— my cock is half hard right now, just hearing her voice— because I always am, for her. But I’m trying to let my other head do the talking for now.
She thinks we can just kiss and make it all better. She clearly doesn’t know who she’s dealing with.
“I don’t want anything to do with you, ever again. Don’t call me, don’t try to see me, don’t ask me to meet you.”
It’s one last plaintive attempt, but I refuse to fall for it.
“Please, Whitney. If I ever meant anything to you, then promise me you’ll leave me the hell alone.”
“Okay.” Her sigh sounds like one of those balloons that has had a small hole in it, that was struggling to stay in the air but finally admits to defeat as all air is being deflated from it. “Goodbye, Harlow.”