“You were worried? About the tape and my reaction. You thought I might end this?”
Lucas stiffens and nods reluctantly. “I was afraid you might, yeah.
“I’m sorry you were worried.”
“I’m sorry you were hurt.”
She smiles at him, hooking her fingers in his belt loops and pulling him closer to her. “I know you would never hurt me.”
Brushing her hair back from her face, he searches her brown eyes intently. “You do?”
Nodding, Ash presses a kiss to the center of his chest, above his heart. “Let’s see what I can do to convince you, I’m not going anywhere.”
“You love him?” Jax asks abruptly.
Startled Ash’s eyes dance between Jax and Lucas walking across the room. Her mouth opens and closes silently, at a loss for words.
“You saved my life the night I was shot. I know that. But I would have been dead years ago if it wasn’t for Luke… And he’s into you in ways I’ve never seen him into anyone. So, if you’re not in this for real, if he’s just some celebrity screw for you, end it. Walk away. Before you break him.”
“I – ah – I just -” she takes a deep breath, then rushes on, “I didn’t want this morning to be the last time I saw you.”
Lucas’s eyes flash then crinkle as he smiles softly, pulling her closer. She shivers in response, reassuring him she is just as affected.
“Yeah?” Lucas whispers.
She nods, her chocolate eyes wide.
He presses a soft kiss to her lips. Exploring. Asking. Wanting.
She makes a small sound in the back of her throat and lifts to her tip toes, trying to deepen the kiss.
He lifts his head, waiting until her eyes slowly blink open.
“I’m really glad to hear that, Ash.”
She smiles softly and arches one eyebrow. “Yeah?” she repeats back.
Chuckling, Lucas confesses, “Hated that idea.”
Riley rushes out and Jax yells, “KitKats!” at the closing door.
Lucas looks at him incredulously but Jax isn’t the least bit intimidated.
“You didn’t have to be such an asshole to her. She brought me Duk’s.”
Lucas exhales heavily and collapses in to a chair. “I’m sorry. They are just everywhere lately.” He explains his outburst, knowing Jax will understand the history.
“So, what’s going on with you and the hot doctor?”
Lucas grimaces and admits. “Not as much as I’d like.”
Jax laughs then groans, clutching his chest.
“Serves you right. Laughing at my pain,” Lucas informs him.
“That is none of your business! What the hell are you even doing here?”
Ash jumps, hardly recognizing the angry tone bursting from Lucas as he storms down the hall, heading right for them.
He stops a few feet from their little circle and glares over her head to Ethan. Still having no idea what was going on, Ash is suddenly very sure between these two men is not somewhere she wants to be.
“You have no business here,” Lucas growls.
Ethan sounds bored as he responds, “Actually, business is exactly why I’m here. Dr. Carrington and the hospital have some very ambitious plans we’re interested in possibly supporting.”
“Then I suggest you keep it to those ‘plans’ and off of Jax. Keep your family the hell away from mine.”
Because she’d been out of the country she’s never seen the show. It has been years since he had met a woman who has absolutely no idea who he was. He liked it. A lot.
He liked that she seemed to want to get to know him. That she asks questions and actually listens to the answers. She doesn’t presume to know him because she’d seen edited clips of his life on television. To her, he was a blank slate.
She seemed to like talking to him. She laughs at his jokes. She’s comfortable with quiet. But she doesn’t like it when he is too focused on her. When he flirted. And since their kiss, she’d been very careful not to get too close or to be alone with him too long.
Ash is infuriatingly, intriguingly, attractively… skittish.
Ash hesitates just outside the door spotting Will waiting for her. Bracing herself, she moves forward and he steps forward to intercept her.
“Ash,” Will calls softly. He pauses, unsure what exactly he wants to say. Finally, he sighs heavily and settles on, “Just be careful. This guy – he’s…complicated.”
A flash of annoyance moves across her face and she stiffens. “Complicated. What does that even mean? No, never mind.” She holds up a hand, stopping any additional explanation he may have given. “I appreciate your concern, but this isn’t any of your business, Will.”
“I still care about you, Ash.”
She crosses the room and places a comforting hand on his shoulder. That touch seems to unleash something in Lucas.
He stands abruptly, gathering her into his arms. Lucas buries his face in the curve of her neck. Her arms return his embrace and he exhales roughly sending a delicious shiver through Ash’s frame.
As physical as Lucas is, he’s never been very comfortable with more tender touches. He never had a mom to kiss it better when he scraped his knee. Or a dad put a hand on his shoulder while reading a bed time story. He doesn’t cuddle the women he dates or hold hands walking down the street. His physical outlets tend to be more punishing than cathartic – boxing, tattoos, quick sex.
But damn. This feels nice.
“Wow.” Lucas looks impressed. “I’d love to hear those stories some day.”
“Maybe some day I’ll trade you for some of yours.”
He stands, stretching and makes a face. “Eh. You can watch all of mine on re-runs.”
Ash cocks her head, studying him carefully. Finally she offers, “Somehow, I doubt that.”
His eyes land on hers and stay, their intensity locking her breath in her chest.
“Thank you. For saving him.” He looks away first, glancing at Jax.
“Thanks for saving Gabby. If you hadn’t tackled her, she would have been shot too.”
An obnoxious clanging sound permeates the tense silence of the waiting room as Luke’s cell starts vibrating across the coffee table.
He snatches it up, notes Krista calling and quickly sends it to voicemail and shoves it in his pocket. It pauses for a beat and then starts vibrating again. Then again.
Finally, he puts it to his ear. “Not really a great time, Krista,” he snaps.
“Luke, I just heard. How is he? How are you?
“How did you hear already? Logan hasn’t even gotten to the hospital yet.”
He hears his producer sigh on the other end of the line and can almost picture her grimace. “Paparazzi listen to police scanners.”
This was the last thing he wanted to deal with right now.