“There’s a spare meal on the cart, doc,” a familiar voice calls out from the doorway.
It’s the same ward assistant who brought me up.
“I suppose you’ll be staying for dinner and outside of visiting hours, too?” the nurse says dryly, not trying to hide her annoyance or humor him anymore.
“That’s a great idea, thanks!” Foxx booms loudly, beaming a smile at me. He lowers his voice once they all file out.
Their murmuring comments amongst themselves are obviously about him acting the way he is. And miles away from his department.
“It can be like a date…or something,” he says to me. “I mean. I was gonna ask you someplace for coffee, and well…,” he starts to stammer.
He looks tongue-tied and frustrated until I put him out of his misery.
“A real date or a pretend date?” I hear myself ask him.
Proud of myself for asking, but at the same time, preparing myself for real disappointment on my real date with him.
“A real one,” he says tenderly. And to prove his point, he leans down, tracing some hair back from my face, giving me that look again before he moves away just long enough to grab the trays with our food and wheel the hospital bed table over.
I could never get tired of that look of his, especially when it’s looking down on me while I’m on my back.
“It’s like five o’clock,” I remark, which makes Foxx chuckle to himself.
His fingers poised over the tray covers as if he’s almost scared to look at what’s under them. Or he’s a magician with a trick up his sleeve.
It smells great, though, but seriously, who eats dinner at five?
“All part of the plan,” Foxx assures me, lifting the lids and making a face before shrugging, saying it doesn’t look so bad. Still, it’s just a few different colored puddles and a piece of what I think is meat.
“We feed you early, so you’ll go to sleep early,” he says knowingly.
Kind of like on airplanes, I guess. They feed you and draw the blinds.
“What there is of it,” he adds, hovering his face over the food.
The small plates and servings look like they would be an appetizer for a man his size.
“You can have mine,” I offer. But he shakes his head, telling me in a firm tone that he’s gonna make sure I eat every last bite.
“I’ll match you mouthful for mouthful. It’s not like I’m asking you to put something in your mouth I wouldn’t eat myself,” he adds with a little growling grin of his own.
“You’ll need your strength too, and this really doesn’t look that bad,” he says again, setting himself down in a chair as close to the bed as he can.
He urges me to eat as he reaches for his own tray.
Propped up in bed, with knife and fork in hand, I take a bite at the same time Foxx does, and we both share the same look. It’s not the date he’d choose, I know. But I’m feeling like the luckiest girl in the world right now.
To be honest, I don’t care about the food.
Anything with Foxx is heaven, and the way he makes the whole world look, smell, and taste whenever he’s near makes me feel like I could be in a five-star restaurant.
Uhhh. A five-star, three-course dinner for two? Probably wouldn’t even come close to how much all this is gonna cost.
I feel my throat go tight at the thought and cough on my food.
In seconds, Fox has set his tray aside and is moving me forward, making sure I haven’t got anything stuck.
“I’m okay. Just went down the wrong pipe,” I wheeze. But Foxx can tell there’s something else on my mind. And he spells it out for the third time. Only this time, I feel a thrill when he does.
Like, this is actually happening. Foxx de Silva and me.
“I told you not to worry about anything, Mandy. And I mean it. Once you’re feeling better we can have a nicer dinner. And for god’s sake, don’t worry about money. We’ve got plenty of that,” he says firmly.
Only settling to finish his meal once I’m good again.
Did he just say ‘we’?
I barely settle Mandy into her bed when I’m called to the phone. Maybe my CCTV idea is right. Somehow they always seem to know where to reach me.
It’s Dr. Braddon from the ER, again.
Mandy’s results are in, and she’s given the all-clear. That’s good news.
“I figured I’d save you the trouble of coming down to ask me yourself,” he adds dryly before hanging up on me.
That’s even better news. Saves me wasting more time away from Mandy. The phone began ringing again after I just hung up.
Mark Chandler this time, my boss.
How the fuck do they know where I am?
Is it that obvious I’ve staked my claim on Mandy?