The dishwasher rumbled to life and I wiped the counter down one last time. From where I stood in the kitchen, I could see Scandal and Dallas deep in conversation in the living room. I smiled to myself, then hung up the dishrag on the oven door handle. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw them both glance over at me. I turned and looked at them, but they turned away when they noticed. Dallas clapped Scandal on his less-bruised shoulder and I cringed, noticing Scandal did the same thing.

“Gentlemen,” I said and walked towards them. I spoke so they could hear me over the dishwasher and they looked up at me. “I’m going home to get some sleep.” I kissed Dallas on the top of his head and told him the pancakes had been delicious. “And Scandal,” I added, turning my attention to him. “Don’t forget to take the painkillers the doctor prescribed. You should probably get some rest, too.” I smiled at him and put my hand gently on the same shoulder Dallas had just clapped, then said goodbye and walked to the front door.

“Danielle, wait,” Scandal called. I stopped and watched him hurry to where I stood. “I’ll ride up with you.” He glanced back at Dallas, who looked as if he didn’t notice. But I knew Dallas pretty well and saw his imperceptible nod at Scandal. “Thanks for breakfast,” he said as we left.

“Are you really feeling better?” I asked as we waited for the elevator. I peered up at him, studying his face. His eyebrow was split and his face was bruised in places. The harsh fluorescent lights in the hospital had revealed more than I’d noticed when he and Dallas had stood in my apartment hours earlier. I fought the urge to run my hand over his forehead and took a step backwards.

The elevator door opened and Scandal followed me in, turning to press the button for the eighth floor. Then he turned back to me and said, “Much better.” He looked like he wanted to say more, but didn’t. He studied me for a moment and we didn’t break eye contact until the elevator stopped on our floor.

“Well, this is my stop,” I joked and walked out. Scandal was right behind me. “Get some rest, Scandal,” I said as we walked down the corridor.

“I’ll try,” he answered. We reached our apartment doors and stopped.

“I’m glad you’re okay.”

Scandal smiled that smile of his. “So am I.”

This entry was published on 03/16/2012 at 22:00 and is filed under blog. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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