Read Breaking Brandon (Fate) Online

Authors: Elizabeth Reyes

Breaking Brandon (Fate) (9 page)

Ms. Brady glanced at Brandon, her poignant eyes looking even more innocent as he saw how she tried to hide the pain she was feeling. She quickly brought
her attention back to Rob. “No, um.” She winced now, unable to hide it anymore. Brandon had had his share of sprained ankles and ligament injuries, and he knew how painful they could be. “I guess she just assumed,” she continued, pressing her lips together for a moment. “This is Sergeant Billings. We work in the same building where I fell. He was there when it happened and was kind enough to help get me here.”

Rob and Brandon’s eyes met for a second before Rob turned back to Ms. Brady. “Ah, I see. Okay, wel
l, now that we got that straight, I need to get a little more information from you before we start with your vitals.” He looked down at her ankle. “Yep, that’s pretty swollen. It might even be broken.”

“Can you get her some painkillers first?” Brandon spok
e up, knowing firsthand how long this could take.

“I
can,
” Rob said, his brow lifting without looking up, “but I need to get some info from her first.”

Brandon looked down at Rob’s ID. Corporal Robert Lansing—ER. The fact that this young
corporal
hadn’t referred to him as sir was enough to piss Brandon off. He’d never tolerated that kind of disrespect, but the fact that the asshole didn’t even bother to look at him when he addressed him and that he’d used a condescending tone was more than Brandon would tolerate.

“Do you have a supervisor, Corporal Lansing?”

Immediately, he had both Ms. Brady’s and Lansing’s attention.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Nine

Lansing stared at Brandon wide-eyed. “Yes, I do.”

“Yes, I do,
what
?” Brandon raised his voice just slightly, but there was no masking his signature drill instructor demanding tone.

Lansing stood up a little straighter, blinking a little faster. “Yes, I do,
sir
.”

“Then I suggest you go get him or her in here now.”

“He, uh, he’s not here tonight, sir.” Lansing glanced back at Ms. Brady and down at her ankle again. “But, uh, I apologize for any disrespect. I assure you there was none intended, and, uh, I can get her those painkillers no problem. I just—”

“No excuses, Lansing. Ms. Brady is in a lot of pain. Go get them now.”

“Yes, sir,” Lansing said, nodding at Brandon and then at Ms. Brady.

“I still want your supervisor’s name,” Brandon informed him coldly.

“Yes, sir,” the corporal said again before walking away in a hurry.

The only reason he let him off the hook and didn’t demand he get
one
of his higher ups,
anyone
, was because getting Ms. Brady her pain medicine took precedence at that moment. But he had every intention of speaking with Lansing’s supervisor.

Brandon turned back to Ms. Brady. She was staring him wide-eyed.

“Are you really gonna get him in trouble?” she asked, her brows coming together suddenly. “For not moving fast enough?”

This time the little princess’s glare was not quite as amusing. He
didn’t expect her to understand, and he wouldn’t bother to explain himself, but it was still annoying as shit that she’d question him. The Marine code of honor and respect was not something you explained. It was something instilled in you by living it. “I said I’d be speaking with his supervisor. It’s up to his supervisor to decide whether or not he’ll be in trouble, but if he were my subordinate, there certainly would be repercussions.”

“Repercussions for
what
? He did nothing wrong.”

Lansing walked to Ms.
Brady’s side swiftly. “I’ll attach a saline lock to your hand in case you need more pain medicine again. That way I won’t have to keep poking you, and the relief will be instantaneous.”

Ms. Brady smiled at Lansing and thanked him profusely for doing what
he should’ve done the moment he’d seen the size of her swollen ankle and how much pain she was in. As he worked on getting the saline lock taped to her hand, he asked her quickly about any allergies or reactions to morphine and if she was by any chance pregnant to which she interestingly answered, “Absolutely
not
.” These were the questions Lansing indicated earlier that would take far more time to get to. “Now you’re going to feel a little woozy, Ms. Brady, maybe even a little like you’re drunk or high. Morphine is, after all, a narcotic, so expect some dizziness and even confusion, but don’t worry. It’s all normal.”

Nodding, Ms. Brady closed her eyes as he inserted the needle in the vein on the top of her hand. Brandon watched her strained expression as Lan
sing began administering the medicine through the saline lock. Slowly the still-pained expression began to ease as the morphine began to take effect.

“The relief will be almost immediate,” Lansing reminded her cautiously.

Yeah, no shit. That’s why he should’ve given it to her a long time ago.

“Be careful not to move your ankle, though.” Lansing warned. “Just because it won’t hurt to do so anymore, doesn’t mean you should. It’s still injured, and moving it might make it worse.”

After a few moments, she glanced over at Brandon, a silly smile spreading across her face and her eyes already drooping a little. “I feel better already,” she said with a slight slur.

Brandon nodded at her but said nothing and certainly didn’t offer any smiles. He knew all too well fro
m his own past injuries and those of many of his recruits what morphine could do to you—make you feel. He didn’t want to encourage any such behavior from her now that, given the circumstances, Lansing had probably given her a big fat dose of the stuff.

Lan
sing went back to what he’d begun to do before Brandon had demanded the pain medicine for Ms. Brady. In hindsight, Brandon understood a little now why Lansing had wanted to get all the information he collected now from her before shooting her up with the pain meds. Getting straight and coherent answers from Ms. Brady in this inebriated and confused state of mind took a lot longer than it would have if he’d done so before. Still she was out of pain now, and that’s all that mattered.

Listening quietly as she
answered all the pertinent questions, Brandon took note of some of the answers that shouldn’t interest him but annoyingly did. She wasn’t married or living with anyone. Her emergency contacts were her parents, who lived more than an hour away in one direction, and her sister, who lived a half hour in the opposite direction. She was twenty-seven, and the only medication she was on was one she said was for anxiety, but she hadn’t taken it in weeks. He noticed how she lowered her voice when answering that and a few other more personal questions, such as she just finished her menstrual cycle and she had been pregnant once but never full term. She’d lost the baby at six weeks a little over a year ago.

Brandon took a few steps away. “I can wait for you in the wait
ing room,” he offered, feeling as if he were intruding on her privacy now.

To his surprise, she shook her head quickly, holding her hand up to him. “No, please stay here.”

Seeing her sitting there looking so vulnerable and those big eyes practically pleading, he reminded himself she was on a strong narcotic. Just because her family wasn’t nearby and she was asking him to stay close wasn’t an invitation to take care of her. So why did it feel like it, but most alarmingly, why the hell was he hoping it was?

A
lready, he’d had every intention of getting her the care she needed and of making sure she got home okay. Hearing she lived alone with no close family made him wonder how she’d manage if her foot
was
broken.

This had to stop.

He walked back slowly to where he’d been standing previously but said nothing. The doctor finally came in after Lansing finished with all his questions, taking her vitals, and icing her foot.

A couple of hours later, after a thorough examination then waiting for an X-ray to be taken th
en more waiting, the morphine had worn off, and Ms. Brady was no longer woozy and smiling silly. But she did have one request that made Brandon wonder if it was still the morphine talking. “Will you call me Regina, please? Ms. Brady sounds so formal.” He nodded, but he refused to say it until he had to. “What’s
your
first name?”

He stared at her for a moment, taking a long slow breath. He should’ve left when she offered him the opportunity. He knew he’d regret this and already was. “Brandon,” he said finall
y.

She smiled, taking in his name. “May I call you that?”

“No” was his immediate response.

Her expression should’ve had him suppressing a smile; instead, he swallowed hard, feeling a bit panicked. He’d seriously fucked up by still being here with her.

“Okay, Regina,” the doctor said, pulling the curtain aside.

That curtain was the only thing that separated Ms. Brady’s bed from the one next to her in the emergency room, and it still felt too intimate for Brandon. She’d told him it was okay if he wanted t
o sit on the bed next to her, but he’d passed. Just being here with her this long was a mistake. Sitting next to her on her bed would be too damn cozy.

“Well, the good news is it looks as if there are no broken bones,” the doctor informed them as she place
d the X-ray up on the lighted board. “But your ankle
is
badly sprained with a few stretched ligaments. So you’ll have to wear an air splint for a week, maybe two, to keep the ankle immobile and make sure you don’t further stretch those ligaments.”

“Immobil
e?” Ms. Brady asked, sitting up straighter. “Does that mean I can’t go to work? I really need to be there.”

“It means you really should stay off your ankle as much as possible.” The doctor turned back to look at Ms. Brady. “What kind of work do you do?”

“Office work,” Ms. Brady said quickly. “I’m a structural engineer, and we’re in a middle of a big project, but I’d be mostly sitting all day in front of the computer, on the phone, in meetings—that kind of stuff—
all
off my feet.”

The doctor gave Ms. Brady a
knowing look, picking up on the fact that she seemed to be trying to convince her. Then she brought her attention back to the lighted board with the X-ray on it and pointed at the area in question. “See that?” She turned back and winced at Ms. Brady. “Those stretched ligaments are causing all the pain. You don’t wanna mess with those. If you rupture or tear one completely, that pain will be so much worse, and it’ll take a lot longer to heal. You really shouldn’t be putting any pressure on it, and driving alone will do that. But,” she shrugged, “I know what it’s like to
have
to be at work. I’d suggest you at least take one full day to stay off it completely before going back. When you do, make sure that you really are mostly sitting and try to keep it elevated as much as possible.”

Ms. Brady nodded, and Brandon felt something else he shouldn’t be feeling—relief. He shouldn’t care one way or the other if she followed her doctor’s orders or not. Just because he knew the doctor was right—she should stay off her a
nkle and for much longer than just a day—it shouldn’t be his concern.

The doctor examined her ankle again, feeling around to make sure where exactly the stretched ligaments were before adding the dressing and air splint. After all that, Ms. Brady was in pa
in again. They gave her another dose of the morphine, which took effect immediately.

“It’s a good thing it’s late because you’ll go home and will sleep like a baby.” The doctor smiled as she finished administering the medicine into Ms. Brady’s saline lock.

The doctor left, and Lansing was back in within minutes to remove the saline lock and give Ms. Brady the prescription the doctor had written up for her pain medicine.

“These are extra,” he handed her a few packets, “in case you can’t get to the pharmacy u
ntil tomorrow. You’ll probably be in pain in the morning when this stuff wears off.”

Ms. Brady smiled goofily, taking them from him. “Thank you, Rob. That’s so thoughtful of you.” She reached out and squeezed Rob’s forearm. “You’re a very sweet guy. I mean
t to ask you earlier. Are you married?”

Lansing smiled, looking as surprised at her question as Brandon felt irritated by it. “No, actually I’m not.”

He glanced back at Brandon, who stared him down hard. If the guy had half a brain, he’d give Ms. Brady her release papers and leave
fast
. He may know Brandon wasn’t her husband and that she’d referred to him as just someone who worked in the same building, but the guy had to know there was more to Brandon’s interest in being here. No guy, unless he was out of his mind, would walk into that emergency room and demand things like he had then spend all these hours waiting with a girl he barely knew. The last time Brandon had checked he was a sane man. So as much as he hated to admit it, the fact that he was still standing here already anxious to get her out of there so he could have her all to himself again, had all kinds of internal sirens going off—sirens this guy better damn well be hearing too.

Fortunately for Lansing, he did have a brain after all because he qu
ickly changed the subject to instructions on removing and replacing Ms. Brady’s ankle dressing and air splint. He gave her crutches then released her, rushing away to another patient.

Earlier while she’d been getting X-rayed, Brandon had hurried back in th
e golf cart, leaving it on the side of the building they worked in where it was supposed to be. He brought his Jeep back to the hospital instead.

Rolling her out to the Jeep, he was glad now that he hadn’t lifted the Jeep yet as he intended to. It was alre
ady high enough that he knew she’d have trouble getting in. He threw the crutches in the back seat, opened the window, and helped Ms. Brady out of the wheelchair. “Leave everything on the chair, Ms. Brady. I—”

“You said you’d call me Regina,” her voice wen
t a little high as she wrapped an arm around his neck and wobbled onto her good foot.

He adjusted her so he could get a good hold of her to lift her into the Jeep, and their eyes met. He’d never actually said he would, but he wasn’t going to argue. “Just l
eave your things on the chair. I’ll grab them once I have you in the Jeep.”

She wrapped her other arm around his neck and tilted her head to the side with a frown. “Why don’t you like me, Sergeant Billings?”

He stared at her for a moment but didn’t answer. Instead, he lifted her onto the passenger side of his Jeep and closed the door. He grabbed her things from the wheelchair and threw them in the backseat, walking around the Jeep in a huff.

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