I'm Only Here for the Beard(9)

By: Lani Lynn Vale


“Taco Bell,” he said. “It’s either that, or Rudy’s. And we’ve had Rudy’s three times this last week.”

I frowned.

We had.

But when it was either Rudy’s or Taco Bell, I chose Rudy’s every time.

But I was beginning to think that Sean wasn’t under the same mindset.

“Don’t we have to stay within our district?” I asked hopefully.

Taco Bell was about a quarter of a mile out of our district, and we weren’t technically allowed to go there.

I secretly hated the other two stations because they had all the food in their districts, leaving Stupid Taco Hell and Rudy Doody’s in ours.

And since I was a firm believer in sleeping as long as possible in the morning, I rarely, if ever, had time to make my lunch in the morning before I was expected to leave at oh, dark thirty.

“No,” he answered. “I called Bill to make sure it was okay. As long as we eat in the medic, we should be fine. And I’ll go in afterward to get us a refill for the road.”

Resigned now, I reluctantly pulled out of his arms, feeling the loss of warmth almost instantly.

Shivering at the remembered warmth, I turned on my heels and started walking in the direction of my room, vaguely realizing that the light was on in the bathroom, but the door cracked clearly showing me that Sean was no longer in there.

“You could’ve at least turned the light off,” I called over my shoulder at him.

He grinned unrepentantly and walked to the bathroom, retrieving his phone off the counter and his wallet off the floor as I retrieved my own phone off my bed and returned my supplies to my duffel bag and zipped it up.

“What was all that?” he wondered.

I turned to find him standing in the entranceway to my room, watching me zip the final length of zipper.

“Uhhh,” I hesitated. “Papers I was going over.”

His eyes lit up.

“I know medical supplies when I see them,” he drawled. “I’ve been a paramedic for ten years now, and I was an EMT in the Marines for a few years, too.”

So he realized I was lying to him.

Nice.

What do I say now?

He must’ve realized that I didn’t want to say anything, though, and let me out of it.

“If you don’t want to tell me, don’t tell me,” he drawled.

I bit my lip.

“I don’t want to tell you.”

His grin got wider. “Fine. Let’s go eat.”

“Let’s,” I scrambled up and shoved my phone into my pocket as I headed for the door.

I snatched my purse along the way, which happened to have an emergency stash of supplies needed for stoma care, my Kindle, a few chargers, and my wallet.

“You should really fear for your back’s health when you carry that thing around,” Sean said as he held open the door.

My mouth tipped up into a grin.

“Yeah,” I asked. “I’ll have to file that under my ‘I don’t care’ tab. It has a lot of shit in it I need.”

“You haven’t read that Kindle once,” he said. “I can see it in there, too. It’s that new Oasis one. Do you like it?”

“Yes, I do.” I nodded my head. “It’s lightweight, compact, and has a hella good battery life.”

I walked to the back of the medic, and would’ve picked up the baggie, but Sean started the medic up and put it into reverse before I could.

I bit my lip, wondering if he’d see me take it to the trash or not, and decided to get it when we got home.

I did manage to kick it to the side so it didn’t get run over, however.

The moment I was in the passenger seat, I let my bag fall to the floor between my feet and tried not to stare at my trash that I’d left in the grass.

Sean didn’t seem to notice, thank God, and backed out of the garage before shutting the door with practiced ease.

“Do you ever let others drive if you’re not in the back?” I questioned him.

He shrugged. “No.”

My mouth twitched. “Did you get wet on the way to work today?”

My eyes took in the gray skies that’d been pouring down water for the last six hours. It’d been raining when I’d woken up and now, four hours into my shift, it hadn’t let up once.

The poor city, I’d heard, wasn’t very accepting of the rain due to a flood that’d hit Mooresville about a year ago. A flood that the people of Mooresville, Alabama were still trying to clean up after.

Luckily, the rain wasn’t meant to continue much past the late evening hours, and it was supposed to dwindle down into drizzling rain—a paramedic’s worst nightmare—very shortly.

“Yeah,” he grunted. “Though my leather covered me most of the way. I just had to change my pants—which I planned to do anyway.”