Lindsay lifted an eyebrow at Mark, still unsure if she was afraid of him or turned on by him. Maybe a little of both.
“I can get myself into a vehicle, thank you very much.”
He waved a strong hand toward the truck as though telling her to prove it. Lindsay looked at the truck, quickly realizing it was bigger than she’d initially thought. There weren’t rails underneath to help her up and just seeing the height she was going to have to jump to get in made her head spin.
She turned to look at him and found herself pressed against his chest. Her hands flew up to brace herself as his closed around her hips. A breath whooshed out of her as their bodies came together. His eyes darkened as he stared down at her from nearly a foot above. She’d never felt as small as she did standing before him. Her mind, and her body, wondered if they’d line up better if they were lying down, and she couldn’t stop the sway of her hips toward him.
Mark’s abs, and something a bit lower, twitched at her contact. He sucked in a breath and his fingers tightened on her hips, drawing her just slightly closer. His head dipped, as though he was going to kiss her.
“For goodness sake, Lindsay, just let the man help you into the truck,” her mother called out from inside the truck.
Mark moved back, the corners of his lips tipping up. “She’s right,” he said, his voice thick and raspy, telling Lindsay he was as affected by their contact as she’d thought. With her nipples reaching out for him and her girly parts doing a happy dance, he wasn’t alone.
Lindsay pursed her lips together in an attempt to hide her grin. Mark’s hands tightened on her hips again and she braced herself against his biceps, the bulky muscles dancing under her hands as he lifted her effortlessly into his truck.
As soon as his fingers left her body she felt the loss deep within her, like a part of her was gone. He closed the door between them then she saw him jogging around to the other side. Once he was settled back next to her he glanced over and winked at her, sending warmth and jitters through every last bit of her body.
Lindsay’s mom talked the entire way to the doctor’s appointment, asking Mark everything from what he did for a living to why he didn’t have plans for the day to if he was seeing anyone. Mark went along with it, answering every question and smiling over at Lindsay. When they finally arrived at the doctor’s office, Lindsay was feeling better, but Mark insisted she get checked out, just in case.
“A bump, but no signs of concussion. How’s your car?” the doctor asked Lindsay as he walked her out.
She cringed. “Not good. Mark was able to get it up the driveway, but it’ll need some work.”
“Well, at least you’re okay,” he said with a kind smile. Lindsay thanked him and walked back to the waiting room. Where Mark was waiting.
She dropped into the chair next to him and he grinned at her, immediately reaching for her hand. “Are you okay?”
His thumb teased the sensitive skin on the inside of her wrist, sending goose bumps across her entire body. “Yeah, just a bump.”
Concern filled his face and he immediately reached for her, his hand brushing gently over her head as though feeling for a lump.
“Nothing big,” Lindsay said, her hand drifting up to the bump hidden by her hair. “It’ll go down in a day or two.”
“Shit, Linds, I’m so sorry. I never meant to hit you.”
His use of a nickname affected her more than she cared to admit.
“Mom’ll be another hour or so. Did you want to walk around or grab something to eat?”
Mark nodded and pulled her to her feet. They walked outside hand in hand. The campus around the hospital had enough to keep them busy, but Lindsay knew exactly where she wanted to take him. They walked in a comfortable silence, Mark letting Lindsay lead him, until they reached the park that was nestled between the four primary buildings of the hospital.
“Wow,” Mark whispered, reverently, “I never knew this was here.”
“I come sit here while mom’s visiting the doctor. Thankfully she’s not here much anymore. She’s been in remission for nine years now.”
“That’s great. Have you been tested?”
Lindsay nodded and slid her hand from his. She walked over to the bench in the middle of the park and wondered how she would tell him. Lindsay hadn’t felt attracted to a man in years, since she found out what her future held. She was finally ready to take control of her future, and willing to accept she would be spending it alone, and Mark crashed into her world. Literally.
Mark came up behind her and rested his hands on her shoulders, not forcing her to turn, just holding onto her as though he couldn’t stand not touching her. He didn’t ask her anything else, just waited, letting Lindsay decide what she wanted to tell him, something she appreciated.
She didn’t know how she’d started to care for him so quickly. It seemed like when his car struck hers that it cracked not only her front quarter panel, but also the walls she’d carefully constructed around her heart.
And with those walls down, she was vulnerable.