Once the pain had subsided some and I was comfortably back in his massive truck silence took over. I couldn’t help but think about all the little glances, the handholding and the way he took care of me. His warm eyes were full of concern when I would catch him looking at me, it was enough to melt my heart. God, why am I letting him get to me, I wondered as the buildings passed by. I tried to put it out of my head as I watched him. His face was kind of scrunched up and I wondered what it was that he was thinking about in this moment.
“Are you trying to break the land speed record, Elliot?” I tried to break the silence.
“Uh… no. Oh man, I didn’t even realize I was going this fast,” he answered, after clearing his throat.
“It’s okay. I didn’t mind,” I laughed.
“So is your boyfriend… I mean is he going to be angry that some other guy took you to the ER?” he sputtered out.
“No boyfriend Elliot. No girlfriend either in case you were curious,” I answered, putting him out of his misery.
“Oh. Good. I mean good that I won’t have an angry significant other beating down the door later,” he laughed.
“Nope. Although Davy might get a little pissed I didn’t enlist him for the job,” I said softly.
“So your Davy’s sister then?” he asked.
“All my life. He is a little overprotective, you know how brothers can be,” I answered. “But he has so much going on that I really didn’t want to bother him.”
“I can understand both sides of that coin Taylor. Middle child extraordinaire here,” he laughed, as I felt some of the nervous tension leave the air.
“Ah, so really what you’re saying is you are totally screwed up then? Middle Child syndrome and all that?” I joked.
“Your words wound me… But yeah pretty much.” Elliot laughed harder.
After the laughter came the awkward silence once again and I honestly didn’t know what to say next. I couldn’t stop myself from thinking what it would be like to be with this man sitting next to me. What did his excited smile look like and what did he look like after a shower with his hair damp and messy. Did he always smell this good, or dress this nice? What happened to him to make him the two-wheeled wonder as he called himself? Finally, after my mind began wandering in all things Elliot, he spoke.
“So… do you work at the bar every night?” he asked cautiously.
“Nope. Just helping out for a while. I’m a receptionist during the day, though it’s not my chosen course either. I’m a photographer, well kind of. Just with things they way they are for Davy, he needed help. His wife is sick and he can’t be at the bar much in the evenings so I took it upon myself to help out when I can. It doesn’t leave me much time to photograph much anymore. I need the day job for insurance and stability till I can get my business up and running… wow. I just completely over shared didn’t I?” I said, feeling my cheeks getting red.
“Its okay Taylor, I don’t mind. Everyone has a story,” he said softly, looking at me with those whiskey eyes. “Even me…”
“I’m a good listener ya know…” I answered quietly.
“Someday maybe…” he said, his eyes growing darker as the light changed.
We pulled into the parking lot at the bar and before I knew it he was getting out of the truck. “You don’t have to come in.”
“I want to…” he said shyly.
I waited and tried hard not to watch him quickly set up his chair and lower himself down, then rearrange his legs before he shut the door and my view was taken away. He was at my door before I could process what I’d seen and preceded to take my bag and help me out of the truck. A girl could get used to this treatment, I thought with a chuckle.
“What?” he asked.
“Just thinking a girl could get used to this,” I said shyly.
“Chivalry is not dead m’lady” he chuckled.
“Where did you come from?” I thought out loud.
He looked at me with a lopsided grin that made my knees go weak, I wasn’t sure if it was the pain meds or his grin that made me trip but quickly his hands reached out and steadied me. “You okay Taylor?”
“Yeah, I think the pain pill might be kicking in…” I said, as my body ignited to the fact that his hands were around my waist.
“Maybe you should have Josh take you home when he’s done,” he said, with a concerned look taking that grin away.
“We’ll see,” Was all I could manage as we entered the now empty bar.
“Ah, I see the good doctor didn’t abduct you after all,” Josh yelled to me with a smirk.
“Nothing but a gentleman,” I shot back.
“She should be good to go, Josh, though the pain meds might be making her a little woozy,” Elliot said wheeling up to the bar.
“She’s right here…” I spit out, before I could stop myself.
“Ah, return of the angry coffee girl…” Elliot turned to me. “I was wondering if she’d make an appearance tonight…”
Slugging him in the shoulder with my good hand. “Please, that was nothing like this morning Elliot.” I joked.
“She’s a spitfire man,” Josh interjected.
Looking from josh to Elliot, I just shook my head and took a seat at the bar.
“Really though Taylor, all joking aside, I really wish you would let Josh take you home,” Elliot said, his concern returning.
“No can do… I didn’t drive tonight,” Josh said, still smirking.
“What? How did you get here then?” I asked.
“Jenna drove me,” he answered.
“Of all the times for her to bring you…” I said, feeling exhausted as the night started to catch up with me.
“Maybe the good doctor can take you?” Josh said with a wicked grin.
“I can if you want,” Elliot said softly, inching closer to where I was sitting.
“You have already done so much for me tonight, though. I couldn’t ask you to do that…” I said, feeling sad that our time was coming to an end.
“It is fine Taylor. I don’t mind. Really,” he said, patting my leg and letting his hand linger a little before taking it away.
I stared at his hand there on my thigh for a slight moment and then when he caught me it was gone. I wanted to tell him that I didn’t want him to take it away, that something inside me needed that touch from him. Instead, I turned from him and shoved those feelings down.
“I don’t want you to think I’m some damsel that always needs saving Elliot. I can manage for myself,” I said, immediately unhappy with how it came across.
“Oh. Okay. Well, it was an…interesting evening. Take care of your hand Taylor…be safe getting home,” he said, whipping his chair around to leave.
Josh was glaring at me as I watched Elliot wheel away and slowly I realized I didn’t want to leave things like this.
“Elliot wait…” I said softly, as I followed him outside.
“No, it’s okay really Taylor. I get it. No more knight in shining armor and all that,” he said, forcefully turning to face me with an angry scowl on his face.
“I didn’t mean that I didn’t appreciate what you did and how you were there for me tonight Elliot. I just meant that I’m not just some weak girl. I’m sorry if I came across too harsh,” I said, wishing I could just get a glimpse of that grin from earlier.
“Taylor listen, I don’t want to be a dick here so I’m just going to go. Please take care of your hand if you need anything or have any questions here is my card. Call me if you need anything,” he said flatly as he held out his card.
“Elliot…” I reached for the card.
“Have a good rest of your night Taylor,” he said, turning to go.
“Okay…” I nearly whispered, watching him climb up into his truck, his movements fluid.
I watched sadly as his tail-lights disappeared out of the lot and was left staring into the night. I shoved the card in my pocket and went back in to find Josh had been watching out the window.
“Really Josh? Spying on us?” I spat at him as I walked to gather my things.
“What just making sure he didn’t do anything weird,” he laughed.
“No, he’s a nice guy Josh,” I said, searching for my car keys. “Which is something I can’t really say about you, you peeping tom.”
“Please, if anything happened to you I’d be as devastated as Dave. Not to mention the fact that he would probably kill me,” he chuckled as I walked toward the door.
“Listen whatever your reasoning was it was creepy and I’m beat. Are you good to finish closing up here?” I questioned.
“Yeah I’ll be fine. Go get some rest. Be careful Taytay…” he said.
“See you tomorrow,” I answered, before closing the door behind me.
What a day it had been I thought as I drove home the six and a half blocks to my little one bedroom apartment. I tried to keep Elliot out of my thoughts but it was just so hard. The way his eyes found mine when I needed them tonight and the sweet way he held my hand was enough to keep me awake on the short drive and before I knew it I was home and tossing my things down to find my bed. I thought briefly about calling him to let him know I’d made it home safely but didn’t know how he would take it. He left me tonight with such a defeated look on his face that he probably wouldn’t answer anyways I thought as I changed my clothes. After setting my alarm I stared at his card for a while before finally deciding a text wouldn’t hurt. There was just something about him that kept me wanting more.
Just wanted to let you know I made it home in one piece. Thanks again for everything you did tonight. Taylor.
Not even bothering to wait for a response I let myself drift off to sleep, those strong hands and whiskey colored eyes making their way into my dreams.