Nick was relaxing on the couch when he heard the door. He felt stupid over the panic attack but was really surprised it hadn’t happened sooner, with his lifestyle. Everyone had been so understanding about the incident, but what was a man to do with two women fighting over him? What did she want now, he wondered? He wrapped himself back up in the blanket and threw open the door, ready for another confrontation, but found Angie there instead.
“I wanted to come by and see how you were doing and apologize for what I did.” He saw the sincerity in her eyes and it moved him.
“Don’t worry about it. Kathy has that effect on some people. You either love her or you want to kill her, and sometimes you want to do both. Come on in if you want,” he said, stepping aside.
“You should have a great view of the fireworks from here. They should be starting pretty soon. We can watch them from the deck.”
“Is that such a good idea with the bears?” Nick asked. He dropped the blanket and walked into his room to put some clothes on. He’d been lounging comfortably on the couch in only his boxers.
“Remember this time you have a gun.” As she watched him leave the room her body ached with anticipation. He was lean and well-muscled. She wanted him like no other and was willing to pay the price. To have this man for a little while would be better than not at all.
“We should be up high enough so we won’t have as many bugs,” Angie said. “And there’s a nice breeze.”
“Great. Bears, bugs, anything else I should know about?” Nick replied sarcastically.
“Bats, maybe,” she said quietly.
“I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that.” He zipped up his jeans and headed back out to Angie.
She looked at his body, scarred by knife and gun. The wound on his chest still looked raw and angry. It made her shudder to think of the pain he must have endured. What a price he had paid to keep the people of L.A. safe. To her, there was nothing more heroic or erotic.
Nick saw the pained look on her face. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking.” Kathy had moved past that horrified stage a long time ago. “I’ll go put a shirt on; I know how bad it looks.” The sight of his battered body wasn’t for the faint of heart.
She grabbed his arm as he turned to leave. “It doesn’t bother me. It makes me sad to think of the pain.”
Physical pain, emotional pain, it was all a blur. He was vulnerable now and to acknowledge any of it would overwhelm him. The cold, steely exterior he showed the world wasn’t the real him. There was a warm and compassionate soul underneath the surface. He looked into her eyes, which tonight were deep and dark like an angry lake. To see his pain reflected in her eyes tore at his soul. There was sadness and a hunger there. It frightened him the way she could see through him. He pulled her to him, wanting to take that pain back, but by sharing it with her; it became less. Being with her in some small way lightened his burden. Could there be a deep lasting connection between them? He needed to find out. He kissed her and her response surprised him.