“You know what you’re gonna get?” I asked, placing my menu on the table next to me.
“I think I’m going to get a steak. Probably the rib eye with a baked potato,” he said, making my mouth water.
“Oh, that sounds yummy. I wish I could eat a loaded baked potato, mmmm. Carbs are my favorite enemy.” I giggled at my own comment.
He let his menu fall away from his face. “You do realize you’re thin, right? You can eat whatever you want.”
I burst out laughing. “I’m ‘thin’ because I don’t eat whatever I want. That, and because I run like I’m being chased by a clown with a bloody knife. Thank God I have Ruger, he loves to run.” I smiled at the thought of my slobbery best friend.
The waiter returned and Brody ordered for both of us. Returning to our conversation, Brody asked how I came to own a drug-sniffing retired police dog.
“He couldn’t work anymore. He’s seven years old, which is young for a K-9 to be retired, but his hip dysplasia made it difficult for him to run down a suspect,” I explained. “I have to keep the remote close when I watch TV because if he hears sirens, he runs to the door and freaks out. And God forbid if Drew shows up in uniform or in a marked car. Ruger still has the drive, but his hips are too arthritic.”
“Poor guy, that sucks,” Brody sympathized. “I hope I never have to be put on the sidelines and watch people do my job.” His cell phone started buzzing on the table.
“Damn, sorry I thought I put it on silent, not vibrate,” he apologized, picking up the phone. “Shit, Leila, I’m sorry I have to take this. I’ll be right back.” He answered the phone and walked back toward the front of the restaurant.
As busy as it was, I knew our food wouldn’t be out anytime soon so it wasn’t a big deal. He’d be gone only a minute or two. I turned, looking out the window and watched the boats on the choppy water, when all of the sudden I heard a deep, sultry, yet gravelly voice.
“Excuse me, don’t I know you?” Turning around I was staring at the sexy-as-fuck badass biker from two weeks ago. Damn, is it possible he’s even hotter than before? Shit, what was his name?
“Yeah, you’re that nurse from the ER, aren’t ya? The one who patched me up and then refused to let me buy ya a drink.”
“Uh, yeah.” Shit, shit, shit. Horrible fucking timing, dude. I tried to look around him to see if Brody was on his way back.
“Why don’t you let me buy you a drink?” he offered.
“Actually, I am here with someone. He just stepped out front to take a phone call; he should be back any minute.” Silently I begged for tall, dark and slightly dangerous to leave before Brody got back.
“Leila, right?” he asked.
“Right, but how do you know my name? I certainly don’t remember yours.”
“It’s not every day that a woman turns me down. I tend to remember her name, and since there’s only ever been you, it’s a short list.” He stopped a waiter, took his pen and check pad, scribbled something down and placed a page in my hand.
Geez. Conceited much?
“Call me when you’re ready for that drink. Only live a few miles from here so if your friend doesn’t come back, call me.” He nodded and walked away. I looked down at the crumpled paper. Jaxon. I stared at the name and number and shoved it in my purse.
Thank God, that was close. I didn’t see Brody taking too kindly to Jaxon’s offer to take me out. Speaking of Brody, where the hell was he? Just as I started to look around, our food arrived. Okay, what the fuck? It had been more than five minutes. I looked at my watch. Crap, it was almost 5:30, visiting hours started in thirty minutes.
Do I get up and look for him? I didn’t have his cell phone number to even call him. I’d wait another minute or so and then if he wasn’t back, I’d walk out front and find him.
I took my napkin out of my lap and stood up to walk out when I saw Jaxon standing at the bar. He was wearing jeans and a maroon button down, rolled up to his elbows showing off his tats.
Okay, I had to get past him without him seeing me. I waited until he was talking to the tall, beefy, bald man next to him and made my way to the front door. I could see Brody on the phone outside on the sidewalk. He was pacing and swinging his hands. He looked pissed, almost as much as I was. I walked out the front doors, down the stairs and right up to him and just looked at him.
“Hang on,” he barked into the phone. “I’m sorry Leila, I’ll be inside in a minute.” Then he continued to yell into his phone about having this discussion too many times.
“Just thought I’d let you know your dinner is getting cold. You finish your call. I’ll see you later.” I spun around and walked back inside. I reached the table, grabbed my purse and took out my phone. I decided to call Barb and see if she could come pick me up. I’ll be damned if I was going to miss visiting hours.
I flagged the waiter down, got the check and paid for dinner. Barb answered and said she’d be here in five minutes. Rolling my eyes, I had a feeling she’d be here before Brody came back. I got my salad to go and left Brody’s food on the table. I took out a pen and an old receipt and wrote:
Don’t worry I paid for dinner before I left.
Of course, as my luck was running, I literally walked right into Jaxon coming out of the bar. Shit Lei, you have to stop texting and walking.
“Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention,” I excused myself.
“No worries, where’s your friend?” Jaxon asked and I was almost too embarrassed to answer.
“He got pulled away on business. I’m actually on my way out. My friend is waiting out front for me. See ya.” I smiled quickly and then rushed out the door. I skipped down the steps, passing Brody, walked over to Barb’s topless black Jeep Wrangler and hopped in. Brody came running down the stairs.
“Leila, I was just coming back in. Where are you going?” He seemed stunned I wasn’t waiting like a good little girl.
“Well, Brody, considering it’s almost six o’clock, I’m going to the hospital to see my brother. Since you were too busy on the phone, I called Barb,” I responded.
“Wait, it’s almost six? Shit! Leila, I am sorry. The call just got away from me. I was trying to…uh.” He stopped, stumbling over his words.
“Look, you obviously have things you need to handle and I need to spend some time with Drew. I’ll talk to you later Brody.”
“Wait, let me take you,” he pleaded.
“No. Why don’t you just call me later?”
“Okay, you’re pissed. I get that, but I told you I suck at this.” He pulled out his business card. “My cell is on there, text me your number, I don’t have it.”
I looked at the card and back into his baby blue eyes, took a deep breath remembering the last forty-eight hours. “Fine, I’ll text you. Bye Brody.”
He leaned in and kissed my cheek and whispered, “I’m really sorry Lei. Please, don’t run far.”
Just as I looked back up at him, I saw Jaxon coming down the stairs. I turned to Barb. “Let’s go, I need to get outta here.”
She put the Jeep in gear and drove away. I couldn’t help but look back at Brody. He was walking to the front door of the restaurant with his head down, but I could see Jaxon walking over toward him. Dear God, please let his car be near Brody’s and that be the reason he was walking in that direction.