The one good thing about Mick’s head hurting so freaking much was that he didn’t even think about his shoulder or his knee. Until he moved, that is.
Even then, the pain from his limbs seemed to radiate straight up into eye, his skull, his cheekbone pulsing and throbbing with every beat of his heart, as if his brain was raw, exposed to the open air. And on fire.
Until she’d touched him.
He shifted on the stiff hospital sheets and with his good hand, pointed to his forehead. “Please,” he said. Only it came out sounding more like nails on a chalkboard. He cleared his throat. “It helped. When you touched me.”
The girl – woman, he amended – crossed her arms and remained standing. Maddie. Peering cautiously into the already dimly lit room, he could see that she really was an angel. She wore something blue, soft and shapeless. A tight honey-blonde bun of hair, scrubbed skin that shone like silk and eyes so bright and warm and innocent. What hid beneath that ugly top, he wondered? Curves that could bring a man to his knees, he guessed.
Assuming he was standing to begin with.
“I don’t bite,” he added.
“You do smell though.”
He tried to grin. Failed. “You offering a bed bath?”
“And you said I had boundary issues.” But there was a smile in her voice. She pulled the chair closer to his bed and sat down next to him again. “Don’t get any ideas.”
“Current condition… notwithstanding,” said Mick, “I’m a man. Men always have… ideas.”
The words squeezed out like drops from a damp sponge but it was worth it. He was still able to flirt. After nearly offing himself out of sheer stupidity. Well, it was good to know his libido wasn’t damaged.
Not that he could do anything about it.
“Don’t worry,” he said. “I’m a lame duck. Sprained knee, dislocated wing. Not to mention the noggin. Which is killing me, by the way. Could be… the concussion, but it appears you … have a halo. Angels are sweet and merciful, so, not to beg, but… I’m begging. Since you’re here.”
Mick had enjoyed his share of female companionship over the years. Unlike his pals, his heart had never been snared, leaving him free to take to the air whenever he wanted, for whatever job sounded interesting.
Women tended to want men with stuff. Prospects. A future. The only thing he owned was his Cessna, a tidy stock portfolio and the clothes on his back. So it worked.
“I am here,” she said. And touched him.
“Ahh.” Wetness trickled down his temples and she brushed it away. That eye, the throbbing one, was swollen and tight, leaking. Tears? Was he crying? Or was it oozing blood? Probably not blood. People tended to freak out about blood.
She set an ice pack at the back of his neck, and wrapped another around his knee.
“Cold,” he said, shivering.
“I know. Sorry.” Her fingers pressed and kneaded, painful, but a different kind of pain than the headache. A better pain. Like a good pain was fighting to destroy the bad pain.
An epic battle, inside his skull, with him as spectator and gladiator at once.