She curses herself. How stupid she feels. See, this is what happens when she lets herself be stupid, when she lets her imagination get the better of her sense – she ends up looking like a fool. A fool with a twisted ankle. This never would've happened in her damn Uggs.
She curses these shoes, these stupid bloody stilettos. Bloody expensive, they were, and she can't even walk ten minutes in them without nearly breaking her ankle! There was nothing wrong with her good old sensible pumps, so why the hell did she buy these damn shoes?
"Kate!" Jake says, popping up from his seat as she limps weakly into the Old Bailey dressing room. He takes her arm, helps her sit down. She groans in relief. "What happened?"
"Nothing, really, I just wrenched my ankle a little." She sticks out her sore foot, showing him the cause – the black patent ankle-strapped deathtraps marketed as women's footwear. Despite the hot throbbing in her ankle, despite not being able to feel her toes, it's hard to deny the fact her leg looks pretty amazing in the shoe. "It was these damn shoes."
She watches his gaze travel down past the hem of her skirt, down her leg, and land on her foot, sticking there, lingering. "I see." His voice sounds gruff.
Her hobbling has made her late – he's already dressed for court. She reckons he's pissed they're running behind. "Let me just get dressed-" She stands up. For half a second. But her ankle won't have it and she yelps in pain, involuntary, plopping down on her arse on the wooden bench even as Jake reaches to steady her. "Sorry," she says unnecessarily.
"Here," Jake grunts, kneeling down in front of her, immediately eliciting her protests. Which he ignores and which die on her tongue when he touches the back of her leg. His fingers run down her calf, surprisingly gentle, tickling a little and shooting startling shivers up between her thighs. His touch coaxes her leg up again and he takes her foot in hand, his head bent over it as he starts to undo the tiny buckle on the strap around her ankle. She stares at the top of his head, his thick dark hair. Not for the first time, she wants to touch his hair quite badly. She grips the wooden bench.
He peels the strap back and eases the ridiculous shoe off, resting her foot on his knee. He holds up the shoe by its pointy heel, eyeing it. "Well there's your problem," he says archly.
"You were the one always complaining about my ruddy slippers, weren't you?" she says defensively.
"Yes, this is all my fault," he says, looking up at her, a wry grin dancing around his mouth, dark eyes glittering.
Yes, it is. Because he kissed her cheek. Because she couldn't stop herself from imagining…things…after that. Because he more or less ignored her for the next week after that. Because she wanted to get his attention with a hot pair of shoes. Because he is why she bought these dumb shoes in the first place - like a damn fool.
Well, she got his attention, didn't she? But definitely not the way she wanted.
He keeps his gaze on her, his thumb gently smoothing over the tender skin at her ankle. "It's already swelling," he says. "We should get you to a doctor."
The spell his touch is weaving almost convinces her to agree to anything he wants. Anything, anything, anything at all. But she shakes her head emphatically. "No, we're due in court—"
"I'll ask the judge for continuance—"
"—and what's a doctor going to say that I don't already know? Put ice on it, keep it raised, take some ibuprofen. I can do that later."
"Kate, you can't stand to question the witness if you can't stand."
"Just prop me up behind the podium, I'll be fine." She digs into her shoulder bag, roots around, finds what she's looking for. "Here, put these on me and help me to the lift," she commands, handing him her back-up shoes. Pink rubber Crocs.
He takes the Crocs almost like they might bite. "Now these are more like my Kate."