Based on Lay Me Down by Sam Smith:
Can I lay by your side?
Next to you, you
And make sure you’re alright
I’ll take care of you
I don’t want to be here if I can’t be with you tonight
He could feel her breathing, the slow, deep breaths and he knew she had fallen asleep as she lay against him. It would have been easy to close his eyes too, with the crisp autumn air drifting in through the open hatchback and the soft, soothing sounds of nature just outside, but he didn’t want to miss this moment. It was a rare treasure to hold her in his arms and simply listen to her breathe–to know, at least for this moment, that she was here with him, that she was safe, that they were together–as it should be.
Yellow lights flashed through the window and she stirred in his arms.
“The tow truck’s here,” he whispered, trying to hide the disappointment. He would have been happy to spend the entire night there with her. The venue no longer mattered. He would go anywhere, do anything–if it meant he could be with her.
She scooted towards the edge of the trunk, jumping to her feet and looking over her shoulder for him to follow.
An older gentleman approached and Phyllis walked over to him, smiling easily and gesturing to the car. Billy stood back, watching her. He saw her open the car door and then step back, her face confused.
“What’s going on?” Billy asked, stepping up behind her.
Phyllis turned, sighing in irritation. “Well, apparently, he can rescue my car, but he has to leave me stranded. I can’t ride in the car while it’s being towed–obviously and he can’t let me ride in the truck, so I’m stuck here…” She saw the look on his face and knew exactly what he was thinking.
“You can ride with me,” he said quietly, standing close enough to her for her to feel the warmth radiating from his skin.
“I’m not sure that’s a great idea,” she said quietly, as she watched the man attach her car to the truck.
“You’d rather spend the night out here?” He smiled as he looked down at her. He did enjoy this–the fact that she almost had to accept his offer of help… “with the raccoons and the bobcats….you could create your own version of Jungle Book out here…”
“Ok,” she huffed. “You’re right. I don’t want to stay here. I want to go home, soak in a bath, have a glass of wine.” She closed her eyes for a moment, imagining how nice it would feel to slip into a warm bubble bath surrounded by candles, a nice glass of red wine in her hand. She’d lean back against him, letting his arms wrap around her….Her eyes flew open, focusing on him. The look in his eyes made her wonder if he could read her mind. “Alone.” she managed, clearing her throat.
Billy nodded, a knowing smile on his face. “Lets go.” He reached for the helmet, handing it to her. “Here.”
“Where’s yours?” She asked, holding the helmet in her hand.
“Only brought one tonight,” he said quickly, hopping on the bike and starting it up, “didn’t expect to be picking up any passengers.”
Phyllis stood still. “I think you should wear it.”
“Not up for discussion,” he said as he reached out and took the helmet from her hands. He placed it on her head, pulling the strap tight under her chin. “You gonna hop on?”
She climbed on the back, her body reacting immediately to the close contact. She took a deep breath, her hands roaming over his chest of their own violation.
Billy breathed in. “Ok back there?” The sharp intake of breath had been impossible to miss and the surge of heat from her body as she’d pressed up against him had been matched only by the heat that also coursed through him.
He felt her nod he released the kickstand. This would be quite the ride.
“Just lean on me.” Billy walked slowly, watching her face contort in pain with each step. “Alright…Alright…that’s enough.” He scooped her up, his arms wrapping around her comfortably–as if this was exactly where she was meant to be.
“Billy,” she hissed, “I can walk. I told you–I’m fine. It’s just a sprain.”
“Right,” he responded, glancing doubtfully at her. “I’m fairly certain sprains don’t cause the foot to bend that way.”
“What do you mean? She struggled to look at her foot, her eyes glimpsing the contorted bone for a moment.
“No…no..no..no..no…” Billy grasped her face gently, turning her face back towards him. “Let’s not look at that…you just look at me ok?”
Phyllis took a breath, the pain getting worse as the foot continued to swell. She looked at him, a small cut on his forehead bled slowly. “You’re bleeding,” she said softly, reaching into her pocket and grabbing a napkin. She dabbed at the cut gently. “A little chicken grease shouldn’t hurt anything,” she smiled.
“Don’t worry about me,” he said. “I’m fine. I just want to get somebody to take care of you.” His eyes scanned the busy ER.
“I think we’re gonna have to wait. Why don’t we just grab a seat?”
Billy nodded, stepping over to two vacant seats and helping her settle into one. He pulled a vacant chair in front of her and lifted her leg gently. She grimaced as he touched her foot, removing her shoe. “Sorry,” he whispered. “You need to keep this elevated.”
He sat beside her, his eyes studying her stressed face. She was clearly in pain, probably more than she would ever admit and he hated not being able to fix it for her.
She could tell he was blaming himself for this and it wasn’t his fault, though she knew she’d never be able to convince him of that. “Billy–stop it….”
“Blaming yourself…you had to take that turn–if not we could have been hit. That idiot was flying. He was headed straight for us.”
“If I hadnt turned as sharp, we would have hit the grass–the bike wouldn’t have kicked back as hard, you might not have been knocked off…”
“Or we could have not made it far enough off the road and he could have killed us. You saved us.”
“I’ll always try to take care of you, Phyllis. I’ll do everything in my power…I know what you say..I know what you say you feel or don’t feel, but it doesn’t change what I feel.”
Phyllis saw the look in his eyes as he spoke. It was so hard not to react to his intensity. “Billy…”
The nurse touched her shoulder softly. “You can step into bay 3 now,” she said quietly.
Billy nodded, leaning down and helping her up. “Later,” he said quietly. “Right now lets focus on you. That’s what’s important.”