A few weeks ago
I hate hospitals.
Absolutely despise the things. It always smells so strongly of chemicals and the metal of blood. Puts me on edge and yet here I am walking in through the front doors like an idiot.
I'm from the slums so I have so many memories of hospitals. My friends put in by a stab wound or sicknesses that could've been prevented by better housing and cleaner water.
Riley was one of them. She was in the hospital for months when she was a kid and now whenever I even see a hospital that fear I felt comes crashing over me again.
I’m a thirty-five year old woman with two daughters, both of whom are fully grown, and I still haven’t gotten over my fear of hospitals.
I take a deep breath and approach the attendant. “Hi, I’m here to see Mac. Could you point me to his room please?” The nurse looks up from her paperwork and I recognise the exhaustion on her face.
I imagine she’s been on shift for at least eighteen hours judging by the coffee stain on her front and the mass of paper gathered on her desk. Her hair is a little bit messy and her glasses are askew but she seems willing to help me out anyway.
“Of course. That biker of yours has attracted quite the attention since he got here, had to chase the nurses away from his room as he tried to sleep.” I smile awkwardly, I swear I’m well put together but Mac does not make that very easy on me and I don’t know how to function in basic conversations with or about him. “If you take the elevator up to the second floor, you’ll see his ward down to the right. Second door on the left.”
“Thank you, love.” I tap the counter before spinning on my heels and walking further into the building. I avoid getting taken out by a trolley and then a bed, the nurses controlling them apologising profusely. “Hold the lift!” I manage to shout just as the doors start to close. A hand lashes out and stops it, I slip through the gap and sigh in relief.
I don’t want to be here for longer than I have to.
“Hi.” I look over my shoulder to see a doctor wearing a pressed shirt and slacks with a lab coat thrown over top. He smirks at me as I study him. He probably thinks I’m checking him out when really I’m just figuring him out. Earns a solid six figures a year, drives a fast car for the adrenaline and likely to compensate for something, uses way too much gel in his hair and wants to sleep with me.
Definitely not a nice pick up tactic, for all he knows I could have a dying relative here and I’m heartbroken over it. “Hello.” Is my short response as the doors open on my floor, he follows me out, matching my steps with his own.
“So, are you here to see family?” He clears his throat, crossing his arms in front of him as he focuses all of his attention on me. His god awful cologne almost suffocates me as I put some distance between us.
I’m right outside Mac’s room now and I don’t need this idiot following me in there, it’ll already be incredibly awkward without him.
“Doctor!” He turns to greet the nurse and I slip into Mac’s room without him seeing. I hate my upbringing but sometimes I’m extremely grateful for the light feet I adapted to escape the cops.
“Eva?” Mac asks and I shush him immediately, hearing the doctor skulking about outside. I would’ve punched the creep but apparently that’s not standard hospital practice.
“Sorry about my impromptu arrival, a doctor was making advances and I really could not be bothered with it.” I clear the space between us and take the seat by the side of his bed.
He doesn’t look great if I’m honest, his eyes are ringed with grey and he looks deflated. He's wearing one of the hospital gowns and it's irritating his skin around his neck, his facial hair is growing in as well from not being able to shave and yet he is still annoyingly attractive.
That should be illegal.
I try to avoid looking at the heart rate monitor that keeps increasing the longer I stay, trying to avoid humiliating him further. He probably didn't even want me here in the first place so I shouldn't make this any worse for him than I already have.
“It’s, uh, fine.” The only problem with the heart monitor is it is now glowing red, which never means anything good. The nurses come flying in, looking dishevelled and blushed, with the doctor from earlier following close behind.
He spots me straight away and I fight the urge to smack him in the face.
I lean onto the armrest instead, placing my head on my hand as I watch them fuss over him. I can tell he doesn’t appreciate the attention, especially because the both of us are aware as to why his heart rate took off which I imagine he’s embarrassed by. He wouldn’t be if he knew that my heart was doing the same just without the machine pointing it out.
That would be mortifying.
“I should probably go.” I tell him as the gaggle of people leave. He can’t recover if I give him a heart attack. I’m not sure my heart can take the strain either. As I stand to leave, his hand grabs my wrist and my heart stops.
His calloused skin feels good against mine, warm and comforting, strong. “Thank you... for coming.” He looks away from my gaze and coughs slightly.
“I’m sorry you were harmed, Mac.” I pat the hand attached to me, managing to pull myself away from the awkward encounter and almost sprint out of the place.
I still hate hospitals.
“You really must stop taking me to Mexico just to irritate your father, Matias. One of these days he’s going to disinherit you.” I tell him as we walk through the private airport, having landed seconds ago from a three day trip to his father’s house.
Matias may run the American branch of the Mexican Cartel but that doesn’t stop daddy dearest from getting involved in everything.
The wedding was great fun especially since he hates Lucia and I in equal measure.
“He would not dare, I have made more money in the last five years than he has in his entire career.” He tidies his suit and tightens his cuff links as I get into the limo. He can drive his own car, he’s very capable, but both him and Lucia have this need to spend every penny they make just to spite Matias’s father. “I still can’t believe that man.”
“You mean the disgusting comments he made about your wife or his need to get involved in every level of your organisation?”
“Both! My wife is the better half of me and she is everything to me, he knows that I would give up the cartel for her without question.”
“Have you ever considered that that could be the reason he hates her so much? The fact she could take you away from your family at the smallest notice?”
“She is my family.” When I first met him, I didn’t think it would be a good idea for Lucia to get involved with him. I mean he was the heir to an extremely dangerous and lethal cabal of men, most of whom had a very misogynistic view about the role of the Queen. She also has a temper that could make or break their relationship, thankfully that fire melted them together instead of forcing them apart.
They love each other fiercely though, that’s why I think his father is always undermining their relationship. He also blames me for her upbringing so I get the kick back when she supposedly ‘misbehaves’. She’s twenty-five years old and somehow I’m still responsible for her behaviour.
“Fair enough.” We make the rest of the trip in silence. He taps away at his phone while I watch the world pass through the tinted windows.
Unfortunately, when we arrive at Matias’s mansion there is a very upset Juniper that looks ready to crumble into a pile of tears on me.