Great. Just great. I knew I should have brought an umbrella.

Leave it to Julienne to choose tonight to go out, have drinks and get wasted like there's no tomorrow so she can forget about her trashy ex-boyfriend. He cheated on her, and her usual response to being broken up with was to go out, party, and drunkenly trash-talk the loser who did her wrong.

I only had two Angry Orchards, but Julienne hit it off with some guy in the club after way too many shots, and she left without telling me first. Now, I was stuck walking in the light rain, not even bothering to get a cab of my own. Julienne kept driving the idea of taking a cab into my brain so that I wouldn't have to drive home drunk, but I never planned on getting even close to drunk. I shouldn't have listened to her. My best friend was one of my favorite people in life, but she didn't think things through sometimes. She could be wild, unhinged, especially when she was pissed, specifically at Demetri. I never liked him, anyway; I knew he was flaky at best, much too suave to be a one-woman man. However, he had been so smooth, cunning, and gentlemanly with her, that my suspicions soon subsided. But, I always had the underlying feeling that something was just too perfect about him.

I was just trying to miserably shield myself from the sheets of rain, which were soaking through my tight, black dress and black leather jacket. I ditched my heels, carrying them with me on my fingers. The last thing I needed was to slip, especially with the slight buzz going throughout my body from the alcohol.

Maybe I could text David to come get me.

Ugh, no. I don't want to seem like a baby. Plus, it's raining way too much out here. My phone would be fried in seconds.

David would do nothing but berate me for not calling sooner. Plus, if I even mentioned Julienne, he'd get even more mad. The two never really got along all that much, and I didn't know why. They were always snarky toward each other, with constant eye rolls and spews of backhanded compliments. I loved them both, and they both loved me, but they often refused to be the in the same room with one another. It's been that way ever since I became best friends with her seven years ago. I've known David for longer; since we were in middle school. I quickly accepted that the two would never be friends, but as long as they didn't actually murder each other, I couldn't make them get along. Although, on occasions, I had to ask them to behave at special events.

I continued my way down the street, searching for some sort of short cut to get me home faster. I wasn't far from my apartment; in fact, Julienne and I could have walked to the club if we wanted to, but I was always about safety first.

And if Julienne had bothered to tell me she was leaving, I would have made sure the guy she was going with was safe, too. Crap.

I yanked my jacket off, slinging it on top my head while I pulled my phone out and shot her a quick text, telling her to let me know if she was okay. I kept walking while I added a couple more messages, and blatantly ignored the sudden catcall whistle that echoed in the night from beside me as I passed someone.

"Hey baby, where you goin' like that?!" a cocky male voice rang out, and I rolled my eyes, sliding my phone back into my jacket pocket and slipping it back on. "Hold up a second!"

"Hey, girl, wait up! Lemme holler at you for a minute!" he yelled again, and I could hear his voice coming closer.

Just keep walking, just keep walking, just keep walking.

Man, this would have been a good time to bring pepper spray!

"Hey. I'm talking to you!" he slurred suddenly, yanking me back by my jacket.

I tried to yank myself away from him, but my foot slipped on the slick pavement, and I crashed to the ground, just as the glass bottle in his hand did. I went to catch myself on my hands, and felt the unmistakable sharp sting of something slicing into my hand. I cried out, yanking my hand away from the danger, and watched as the dark, crimson liquid freely streamed out of my palm and onto the pavement. The rain hit my skin, sending blood streaming down my hand in clear, reddish streams.

"I said I was fucking talking to you!" the guy spat angrily, and I felt his hand grab my hair tightly, and push me further down. I cried out again, reaching up to loosen his grip on me. I fought and pulled on his hand, trying to free it from my hair. My scalp screamed in protest at the amount of force he was using, and I tried to sink my nails into his skin so that he'd let go.

He was suddenly pinning my arms down, hovering over me, and I could smell the sharp, pungent scent of alcohol on his breath as he barked out a sick laugh. The smell made my head swim, and my stomach churn as I began to thrash and kick to set myself free.

"Get off of me!" I shrieked, trying to kick my legs up far enough to hit him in the groin, but the sound of him unbuckling his belt got in the way. I panicked, thrashing and screaming even more as I realized what he was trying to do.

"There now, shh, shh, shh," he crooned drunkenly. "This won't take long, baby. Just let me have what I want! I think I deserve it after you tried to run away from me!"

"No! No, get off of me, get off of me!" I cried, attempting to swing my fist in his face.

I knew I succeeded when I saw his head whip to the side, and heard the grunt of pain erupt from his mouth.

That was the last thing I saw, before I was suddenly yanked up off of the ground, which sent the guy flopping onto his back from the sheer force of whoever had their arms anchored around my torso and waist.

The arms were solid, warm, and strong, and I didn't have time to register if this person was a danger or a friend.

"What the hell are you doing?" the owner of the arms roared, his voice deep, strong, and commanding. It sliced through the damp air like a sharp knife, icy and clipped.

The drunk man, seeing my apparent hero, was now scrambling to get on his feet. My hero's arms suddenly left me, as he stormed over to the man, heaved him up by the lapels of his jacket, and throttled him.

"What the fuck is wrong with you?" he asked, but his voice wasn't stormy or angry like I expected. It was calm, much too calm, but it held the same warning, lethal tone. The man laughed drunkenly.

"Hey, look man, I was just-"


My hero all but threw him to the ground, causing the guy to land with a hard, wet thud. I could already faintly hear the sound of sirens a mile away, but my eyes were glued to the man who just saved my life. His back was facing toward me, so his identity was completely unknown to me. He wore no jacket, but his shirt was light blue, and he had black pants and heavy shoes on his feet. He was tall, standing well over six feet, and his hair was dark, almost as dark as my clothing. His build wasn't huge, but he was definitely sporting more than a medium build of muscle beneath his shirt.

The drunken man was triggered by my hero's actions, and shot up from the ground, swinging angrily and cursing. My hero easily caught his wrist, and his arm shot out like lightning, smashing into the guy's face. Even over the rain, I heard the audible crack of his nose, and saw the spurt of blood that came with it. I heard myself gasp, and step further away from the altercation.

"I already called the cops," my hero spoke calmly, but darkly. "Don't you ever put your hands on her like that. Or you will be dealing with someone much worse than the police."

The drunk man seemed to cower in fear now, his eyes widening at the man standing above him. He glanced at me, and then ahead of him as the sirens became louder in the distance.

The sting in my hand caught my attention, and I made a pained sound, not realizing that my fist had unconsciously clenched while watching the scene before me. I brought my palm up, seeing the glistening, clear shards of glass wedged into my palm. Blood continued to stream freely from the wound, and at an alarming rate.

"Are you all right?" my hero asked from beside me now, and my head snapped up. My mouth opened to speak, but my words got caught in my throat.

Holy...macaroni and cheese.

Oh my god, is this really happening?

No, no, this can't be happening. This kind of stuff only happens in novels.

Except this wasn't a novel.

This man was beautiful.

Or, maybe beautiful wasn't even enough to describe him.

Shocking, bright, icy blue cat-like eyes stared into mine, framed by dark, long lashes. His face was easily that beyond any model's, with high cheekbones, dark brown hair that swept over his forehead, and full lips. The rain drops that streamed down his face, and dripped onto his cheeks from his hair only accentuated his beauty. He looked like he came straight out of a Dolce & Gabbana cologne ad with all of the rain drops splattering onto his cherubic face.

His eyebrows were tense and furrowed as he concentrated on me, and his eyes moved down to my palm.

"Let me see," he murmured, his fingers holding my hand in his as he examined it.

A sudden shock, a zing of electricity shot through my skin when his fingers brushed my skin, and I jolted. My heart galloped and thundered at this man's touch, and I had zero clue as to why.

Did he feel that, too?

"You have glass stuck in your hand," he talked loudly over the rain, his voice urgent. "I need to clean this up for you, before you lose too much blood. This cut's pretty deep. Are you all right with that?"

He looked up at me again, and suddenly, I was unsure. This man, though way too handsome for words, was a complete stranger. I couldn't go with a stranger. After what just happened, I was one hundred percent sure that I was never allowing Julienne to leave without me ever again on our outings. Hell, I just might invest in one of those leashes that parents use on their toddlers.

But, you can go with this stranger.

The hesitation must have been apparent on my face, because my hero gave me an easy smile, robbing me of my breath.

"I'm not going to hurt you," he promised, the urgency lingering. "But, I need to give you medical attention. This wound is serious. Please, let me help you."

Give me medical attention? I echoed in my mind, and my eyes fell on his shirt.

There, in the top right corner of his chest, was the red, stitched letters, "EMT".

Answer the man!

I blinked a few times, looking back at him, and gave him a shy nod.

"Okay," the word fell from my lips.

The car ride was silent for three whole minutes.

My hero insisted on driving, after finding out I was walking home.

"I just live right up here. I hope you don't mind. I have a first aid kit at my place. Just keep the pressure on your hand," he said, his voice smooth and attentive. His voice was so sensual on its own, I wasn't sure how any female on this earth could focus while listening to a voice like his. I simply nodded, not trusting my voice. It was bad enough that I was easily being turned on by that alone.

I would text Julienne about this later; or, tell her when she came home tomorrow. She was going to freak out. However, David wasn't gonna know anything about this. The moment he found out I was in some strange guy's apartment, he'd hunt him down with a baseball bat in hand.

I wondered idly about which event she'd be freaked out most by: the stranger she'd wake up next to, or the fact that I was sitting in a car with an extremely gorgeous EMT.

"Are you sure you're okay?" he asked tensely. "I didn't mean to scare you back there."

"I'm okay for having glass shoved into my hand," I joked, smiling, though my voice trembled. He chuckled, a deep, musical sound, and I had to tell myself to keep breathing.

God, get a grip, Cheyenne.

When we finally got up to his apartment-his very nice, lavish, spacious apartment-he led me to his kitchen, where he made me sit at the island on a comfortable bar stool chair.

"I'll be right back," he said. "I'm gonna get you something dry to wear, and my first aid kit. Just don't take the pressure off your hand."

I nodded, and watched him as he walked down the hallway into what I assumed was his room.

God, his back is so toned. And that shirt looks nothing but amazing on him.

God, I was pathetic. How did I even get here, in this gorgeous man's apartment, where I'd be skipping a hefty hospital bill?

I glanced around the room, taking note of the very modern, electronic appliances he had. Everything was silver and gray shiny steel, with flat buttons and screens. There wasn't a fingerprint to be seen on anything, and his granite counter top did nothing but gleam. His living room held a seventy inch flat screen TV, along with two big lounge chairs that flanked the huge couch in the middle of the room. His floors were a light pine hardwood, while the kitchen was made up of gleaming, shiny ceramic, champagne colored tile.

This is so much nicer than our apartment could ever be.

My hero's footsteps returned, and I tried not to gawk at him as he got to work on my hand. He unfolded a bath towel, which he draped across my shoulders, and apologized for not getting me any dry clothes yet.

"I need to work fast. The wound is really deep, and you're losing blood," he said apologetically, and I told him it was okay.

He removed the emergency cloth he had in his car from my hand, and I felt the pain creep back into my nerves. He sat on the bar stool across from me, examining the deep cut.

"Does it hurt?" he asked me, peering up at me through his dark lashes. He poked and prodded the area, and I gasped in pain when he got too close to the cut. Red liquid oozed out, and he made a small noise as he dug around in his first aid kit. I couldn't help but stare at his profile, noticing just how perfect his nose was, though the end was slightly upturned. His lips curved like a perfect cupid's bow from the side, though the front view was much different. His jaw flexed and clenched slightly, and I could see the beginning of five o'clock shadow across it.

"Take off your jacket," he told me, and I furrowed my eyebrows at him. When I didn't move, he slid his eyes over to me.

Icy, frosty and blue, and now, I could see slight flecks of darker blue within them. Mesmerizing.

"I need full range of your arm. You need to take off your jacket for that," he explained, flashing me another easy smile.

"Oh! Sorry." I suddenly understood, ignoring the fact that my mind totally went to the gutter, and slid my jacket off as carefully as I could without hurting my hand.

When he saw me struggling, he moved behind me, sliding the black leather off of my shoulders and my arms. His fingers brushed across my skin again in the process, shocking me with the strange tingly electricity again. It didn't hurt at all; quite the opposite, in fact. I felt the blazing in my cheeks as I settled my arm back onto the counter, knowing my dress was tight and pretty low cut.

Leave it to Julienne to force me into a dress that I didn't want to wear in the first place. God, he can probably see my nipples through this. Anything for my best friend, I guess!

"Don't worry about it. You've had one hell of a night, it seems," he replied, his tone professional as he sat back down in front of me. He gathered the supplies he needed, and got to work on plucking the pieces of glass out of my hand. "Just stay still. This shouldn't hurt you, okay?"

I watched him as he removed each shard of glass with precision and concentration. The way his hand gingerly held mine up made my heart skip, and my cheeks flush.

There's that wonderful, tingling feeling again. Maybe I'm going crazy. He doesn't seem to feel this at all.

His face looked so serene, yet so focused, and I drank in every one of his features, wondering again how I got so lucky to be rescued by this man. Was he even single? If he was, wouldn't his girlfriend have a fit seeing me over here?

His apartment was deathly quiet, aside from the air conditioner quietly running, and the barely audible plink of the glass as he dropped them into a dish. So, maybe there was no girlfriend?

"So," he began casually. "What's your name?"

I cleared my throat.

"Cheyenne," I replied quietly.

"Cheyenne," he repeated, smirking, and the sound sent a strange thrill through my body. My name coming from his lips made it sound like a secret, like he was testing the word out. "Beautiful name. Beautiful girl. Makes perfect sense."

"And your name is?" I asked, lifting an eyebrow.

"Alec," he answered, and his own name made my heart skip twice as much.

Gorgeous guy. Gorgeous name. Makes way too much sense.

"And, you're an EMT?" I asked, glancing at his shirt again. He never even changed his clothes. He just sat here, dripping wet, while idle drops of rain trickled down his face from the ends of his hair. It was way too sexy for anyone to witness in real life.

"Yeah," he replied, dropping the last piece of glass into the dish. He grabbed the brown plastic bottle of hydrogen peroxide, stuck a plastic syringe into the mouth of the bottle, and loaded it up. He aimed it over my palm. "This won't hurt. It's just going to bubble. I'm going to see how deep your cut is."

He squirted the clear liquid over my palm, and just as he promised, it didn't sting. He produced a tiny flashlight from his breast pocket, and shone it on my hand, turning it to and fro.

How bad was it that I wanted him to keep touching my hand like this? And, possibly my entire body?

"How bad is it?" I asked, my voice and hand trembling. I glanced between him and my palm as I chewed the inside of my cheek, trying to decipher his expression.

"It sliced your palm clean open. I'm gonna need to put sutures in it."

I remained silent as he applied a topical numbing solution on my palm, and groaned quietly as he began to stitch me up. I looked away, trying to focus on the shiny steel appliances in his kitchen instead. My body began to tremble all over, from the cold or the adrenaline, I didn't know. I could only feel the slight pull of my skin as he worked, and I focused on breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth. Though I felt no pain, the tugging feeling was bound to make me feel sick.

"Do you wanna tell me what you were doing this late at night, in the rain, walking home alone?" he asked suddenly, and I fought the urge to look at him. If I did, I'd have to look at my hand, too. I swallowed, clearing my throat.

"I was at Starlight, the club," I told him hesitantly, trying to force the tremble out of my voice. "I was having drinks with my best friend, but she left with some guy without any word. So, I trudged on home because we were supposed to be there together, and I didn't wanna call a cab because I don't live far from the club. I was texting my best friend to have her tell me that she was okay, and then some guy just whistled at me out of nowhere."

"And he attacked you?" he asked slowly.

"Um," I began, rubbing my lips together nervously as I recalled the moments before he showed up. "He, um...pulled me down by my hair, and I kinda fell on the glass. He had a bottle of alcohol in his hand."

"Does your head hurt? Are you dizzy, nauseous, or lightheaded?" he asked with more urgency, and I thought about it.

Sitting here with you, alone, in your apartment while you give me free medical attention and send weird shocks of pleasure through my body? I actually feel pretty freaking amazing, Mr. EMT. Aside from the fact that my body can't seem to stop pumping adrenaline through my body, which is making me shake like a leaf.

I felt safe with this guy, and I didn't even know him. Even the way his arms had wrapped around me, made me feel completely secure when he pulled me away from that drunkard.

"My head does kind of hurt, but only where he pulled it," I admitted, absentmindedly sliding my fingers into my hair. "He pulled pretty hard."

Then, Alec was standing in front of me, moving his fingers all over my scalp, underneath my hair.

Holy shit. We're getting pretty close there, aren't we, Mr. EMT? Never mind, please keep touching me like that.

"Does this hurt?" he asked softly, as his fingers reached the tender area, and I winced hard. "Okay, how about here?"

If I said it hurt everywhere, Alec, what would you do about that?

Oh my God, stop it. Get it together!

I winced again, even hissing in pain when he found another spot, and he hummed in response.

"No bumps, but you're gonna be tender for a few days," he said, his voice suddenly hard. "Can I offer you some ibuprofen or Tylenol?"

"Sure," I answered slowly, and I heard the rattling of pills as he shook two into his palm and gave them to me. He brought me a bottle of water from his fridge, and I took the pills silently. I also didn't realize how thirsty I was, until I downed more than half the bottle. He picked up the towel that slipped onto the floor after I ditched my jacket, and wrapped it back around my shoulders.

"How much alcohol did you have tonight?" he asked, grabbing two more bottles of water from the fridge, and setting them on the counter.

"Just two Angry Orchards. I'm pretty lightweight. I was already kinda buzzed when I left," I answered honestly.

Alec sat back down, and suddenly pulled my chair closer to his, effortlessly. My cheeks flushed again, and my wide, questioning eyes locked with his as he leisurely picked up his utensils again.

"I need you just a little bit closer," he explained coolly. "Easier access to your hand. I'm not gonna hurt you."

I nodded at him, but couldn't ignore the charge in the air from our closeness. His knee was just a hair's width away from mine, and his head bent down close to my hand as he continued to close it up.

Somehow, the more he touched me, the less I began to tremble.

"And keep drinking water," he added. "If you're a lightweight, it'll make your head hurt worse."

I silently sipped my water and stared at him, my curiosity only piquing. My eyes watched the muscles in his forearms flex as he stitched, and I subconsciously bit my lip at the sight.

God, I wonder how much this man can lift.

"How long have you been an EMT, Alec?" I asked, sadly looking for an excuse to use his name, and boy, did it send a thrill through me when I did.

"About four years," he replied. "I started when I was twenty two."

So that makes him a year older than me. Good to know.

"And, do you always bring injured girls to your apartment so you can fix them up?"

He chuckled, deep and low, and it shamefully set my lady bits on fire. Crap.

"No, I can't say that I do. You'd be the first," he smirked at me.

"Wouldn't your girlfriend hate that?" I asked, trying not to grimace at how embarrassed I was.

God, I am so obvious that it's pathetic.

"I wouldn't have brought you here if I had a girlfriend," he replied slowly, his smirk growing bigger as his eyes gleamed.

"You're living in this huge, fancy apartment, and you don't have a girlfriend?" I asked stupidly, my eyes wide as saucers.

He didn't reply; he just grinned slowly at me, and went back to work.

"Seeing as you're in my apartment, and you were traveling alone, I'd say you don't have a boyfriend?" he asked smoothly, and I just about died.

"No. I've never had one," I admitted softly, and his head snapped up.

His eyes bore into mine, ice blue meeting blue-speckled green. His eyes narrowed slightly as his eyes slowly began to roam over my face, and then down my neck, all the way to my toes before lifting back up to my eyes.

"Then I'm gonna have to keep an eye on you," he murmured, concentrating on my hand again.

"For what?" I snorted.

"To make sure idiotic, disgusting guys like that don't try to hurt girls like you," he replied with an edge, snipping the edge of another suture off.

"Girls like me," I repeated slowly, and he blew out a breath.

"Beautiful. Innocent. Sweet. Need me to go on?" he asked tightly, but he gave me another panty-dropping smirk.

"What makes you think I'm innocent?" I asked, raising an eyebrow. "You don't even know anything about me."

He traded the scissors, needle and thread for another syringe filled with water, and shot it over the now closed up area.

"You've never had a boyfriend," he listed intelligently. "You're a lightweight, which means you hardly ever drink, or don't drink at all, and you willingly allowed me to bring you into my home. You're innocent."

He squeezed a tube of translucent, slightly yellowish ointment onto his finger, and spread it over the sutures, his finger moving slowly and deliberately. If I didn't know better, I would have thought he was doing it on purpose. He held my hand in his again, his tucked underneath mine, supporting it as he covered the entire area. He seemed to be taking his time with it, and I was enjoying it, way more than a normal patient should. But, although he was being as gentle as possible, the area was extremely sensitive, and my hand involuntarily jerked away. A whimpering groan of pain sounded from my lips, and I scrunched up my face, watching as he paused slightly before guiding my hand back.

"I know, I know," he mumbled. "Just bear with me for a second. This has lidocaine in it. You shouldn't feel anything in a minute."

He was very convincing, and I tried to be patient. I decided to allow him to keep distracting me.

"How does that last one make me innocent? Bad girls go home with guys, too," I defended, but my breath was beginning to turn shaky.

"You read my shirt," he pointed out. "You easily believed that I was an EMT, and so you trusted me."

I froze, my body stiffening.

"You're not an EMT?" I asked, panic creeping over me. His head shot up, and his hand landed on my upper arm.

"No, I am," he reassured me, his eyes serious. "I am an EMT. I can show you my license, if you want. I was just making a point."

My body relaxed when he touched my arm, and Alec leaned in slightly, his voice lowering.

"Look. You're safe with me. Okay?" he breathed, the distinct scent of cinnamon and mint hitting my nostrils. "Nobody's gonna hurt you."

I inhaled it, the spicy, cooling scent that was coming off of him. Was it gum, mints, toothpaste? Pure Alec? I didn't know, but it calmed me instantly, and I nodded, exhaling.


"I didn't mean to scare you. Not my smartest move after what happened," he said, pulling back. He ran his hand through his hair, and I had to force myself not to stare at his bicep as it flexed with the motion. "I'm sorry. Okay?"

I nodded shyly, watching him while he finished up with my hand.

"How did you find me?" I asked softly. "How did you know I was in trouble?"

He cleared his throat, and kept his eyes on his supplies as he ripped open a gauze pad and carefully applied it over my stitches. Eyeing the black, criss-cross-like sutures, I realized he was right. The lidocaine had kicked in, and I could hardly feel anything.

"I had just got off of my shift, and I was parked not too far away at the hospital. I was trying to find my car," he explained, his voice deepening. "I heard you scream, and I went to investigate."

A strange warmth flooded through my chest as I thought about that. How slim the chances were of someone being nearby when incidents like that happened. Though I was out in the open, the streets had been dead when I was walking them. If Alec hadn't shown up, or hadn't just finished his shift, I would have been in worse shape than I am now, and not just physically.

How odd it was, the way strangers could completely change the trajectory of another's course.

I found myself shooting out of my chair, and clinging tightly to Alec's neck as I hugged him. My good hand gripped his shirt tightly as my eyes squeezed shut, and my injured hand hung limply on his other shoulder. Uncontrollable tears fell from my eyes, and I began to cry, both relief and fear running through me. Relief, because he saved me, but fear because of what could have happened. It scared me, what happened to me, and I was shaken to the core at the lucky hand I was dealt tonight. My mind was shot and frazzled, and the only thing my body could tell me was that I needed someone to hold onto right now.

God, he smells good. Like cologne, cinnamon, and mint.

"Thank you, Alec," I said, my voice thick. "You saved my life."

Alec froze, before slowly bringing his arms around me, his fingers resting on my waist. My chin rested on his shoulder, and I hoped he couldn't feel my heart jumping out of my chest. It felt inexplicable, being pressed up against him. I could feel the firmness of his muscles through his EMT shirt, and the warmth that seeped through it, despite the cold dampness that the rain drenched it with. I felt warm, despite being in my tight, soaked, freezing dress. This man, who I didn't even know, was giving me this warm, fuzzy, electric buzzing that pounded through my veins. I felt safe and excited at the same time.

"You're welcome," he replied softly, the vibration of his voice buzzing through me. I felt his hands rub up and down my back comfortingly. "It's okay. You're safe now, all right? Nothing's gonna happen to you."

His words washed over me, giving me the comfort I needed. Somehow, I really did feel like nothing could hurt me as long as I was here, with him. I believed this stranger, even if it was just the shock of events working my mind, and I nodded, feeling the fear slowly trickle out of my body. My cries began to subside as Alec continued to repeat the same words, or something similar, and I was finally calm enough to speak after a few minutes. My body felt much warmer, and my trembling had nearly stopped.

Realizing how abrupt I was, I reluctantly pulled away and sat back in my appointed chair, holding my injured hand out to him. I avoided his eyes, feeling the warmth of blood flood my cheeks, and the wetness sting my eyes.

"Sorry," I sniffled, feeling my ears heat up. Alec sat up straight, clearing his throat. He picked up a roll of gauze, and began wrapping it around my hand expertly.

"It's okay. That's the best form of a thank you that I've gotten in my entire career," he said humorously. "It's not everyday that a beautiful woman hugs you for saving her life from a low life drunkard."

Oh Lord, he's called me beautiful twice now.

I croaked out a laugh, despite myself.

"I'm glad that I trusted you," I said quietly.

"Me, too," he agreed, putting the last bit of medical tape on my hand. "You're good to go."

My eyes inspected it, turning it around at every angle. I had to give it to him; the man was talented.

"Thanks," I said in amazement. "I hardly felt that."

"Distraction is the best medicine," he grinned, cleaning up the mess on his counter.

"I thought it was laughter," I said, confused as I wiped my eyes with my good hand.

"It is. For normal people," he said, smiling like he was telling a private joke. "For EMTs and patients, it's distraction. Takes the patient's mind off of the pain, and helps us do our job much faster."

"What, was I a bad patient?" I asked, raising my eyebrow at him.

"Not at all," he complimented me. "You were one of the easiest patients I've ever had. I see much worse than a sliced palm every day."

"Oh. Right," I realized. Suddenly remembering the towel that once again was lost, I pulled it out from behind me, and began toweling my hair. It wasn't dripping now, but it was still fairly drenched. I used my left hand to do all the drying, keeping my right cradled in my lap. When I started dabbing at my dress, Alec stood up, closing the first aid kit.

"Wait right here. I'll get you some dry clothes," he said, his voice gravelly and rough. I lifted my head, watching him as he departed, and couldn't help but appreciate his backside once more, including the way he walked.

God, I'm in trouble.

I shook my head, chiding myself as I gave my attention back to my dress. When my eyes fell on my chest, it occurred to me just how low my dress had fallen, and I suddenly had a clear idea of why Alec sounded so rough. Blushing, I yanked it back up, mumbling to myself about cleavage as I continued to try and dry off.

"Uh..." I heard Alec say as he approached, holding a stack of folded clothes. "They might be too big for you, but this is all I have. I hope you don't mind."

"Oh, it's okay," I assured him with a smile, taking the clothes from him. "Anything is fine."

"The bathroom's right down the hall, first door on your left," he told me. We stared at each other for a few beats before I responded.


I changed quietly in the bathroom, peeling the sticky, wet dress off of my body. I kept my thong on, deciding against going commando in Alec's clothes.

Yeah, knowing how hot I've been getting for him, he'd have a boat load of questions as to why there's mysterious fluids on the inside of his sweatpants.

He gifted me with a soft, light gray hoodie that had the Star of Life printed on the upper right hand corner of the chest, and a much larger version of the logo printed on the back, both in dark blue. I slipped it on, sighing quietly at how stupidly good it smelled. It smelled like laundry soap, but something else that had to be completely Alec, because it was unlike anything I've ever smelled. It was extremely similar to what I smelled on him earlier, and it was intoxicating. When I checked myself in the mirror, I decided that the hoodie was plenty long enough, and I didn't need the sweatpants. Though I was pretty tall already, standing at five-foot-nine, Alec's hoodie ended almost mid-thigh.

I grimaced at my red, blotchy eyes and ruined makeup, and decided to scrub it off in the sink. Once my face was clean, I peed and returned to the kitchen, sweatpants in hand.

"Erm, I didn't need them," I told Alec, giving them back. He simply folded them with a nod, tossing them onto the counter.

"Do you mind if I check your vitals? It's protocol, and I forgot to check them earlier. Just to make sure you don't have any other injuries, or a concussion," he asked, putting on his medical voice again.

"Sure," I said, settling myself in the bar stool again, feeling warm, dry and comfortable. He dug a stethoscope out of a huge, almost suitcase-like bag that wasn't sitting on the counter before. He sank into his own chair, putting the ear plugs into his ears.

"Just breathe normally," he instructed, and I knew I was screwed. My heart galloped when he pressed the round end to my chest, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I mean, whose heart wouldn't be spazzing out over a hot EMT standing right in front of you while you wear his hoodie in his kitchen?

He didn't comment on my thundering pulse, and put the stethoscope away without a word.

Maybe he'll just think it's adrenaline. Maybe. Hopefully.

"Why didn't you take me to the hospital for this?" I asked, watching as he pulled out his little flashlight again.

"Your injury wasn't life threatening, and I already knew how to create sutures," he said, testing my pupils with the light. "Plus, it's always a good day when I can save you from handing over $500 to a hospital, whereas I did it for free." He smirked, something I was shockingly able to notice as I blinked away the colorful spots in my vision from the light.

"I guess that's true," I said with a giggle.

He chuckled with me, and then told me to follow his finger.

"How do you feel? Are you feeling sick, nauseous, lightheaded? Tired?" he asked, as I went through the motions of following it. I shook my head, folding my hands in my lap.

"Okay. Turn your head this way," he instructed again, his fingers coming up to cup my jaw lightly to show me the motion. The electricity zinged from his fingertips onto my skin, and I felt him jerk his fingers away as if he'd been shocked. I turned my head the other way when he told me, and then looked straight at him.

God, his eyes are incredible.

"How's your hand?" he asked, packing everything up. "Don't try to bend it, by the way. You'll rip the sutures."

I stared at him, gazing at his profile once more. I saw the faintest hint of a blush on his cheeks, and saw his Adam's apple move up and down in his throat. Was he nervous, too?

"Um. Fine," I said, dazed. He turned back to me, his stare lasting a little longer than normal before giving attention to my hand.

"Hold your hand out for me. Palm up," he requested, and I did. "Wiggle your fingers."

I did that, too.

"Can you hold up two fingers?" he asked, demonstrating it. I did that. "Three?"

I struggled to get three up, and he smoothed my fingers out. My fingers twitched involuntarily at the feeling of his skin on mine. I inhaled a slightly shaky breath as the warm tingling sensation spread throughout my hand.

"That's good," he commended. "Three is normally more difficult, since it requires more use of the muscles in your palm. I want you to try to make a fist, but go super slow."

I nodded, concentrating as I followed his instructions. My fingers made it all the way down to the middle of my hand, lingering loosely, but I couldn't completely make a fist.

"Good," he appraised again. "Nothing seems out of the ordinary. If you have any swelling or extreme redness over the next few days, call your doctor. I think you'll be fine, though. Just try to keep it clean, don't do anything strenuous. You'll have to change the gauze and reapply the ointment a few times a day."

"What about you?" I asked, and then clapped my good hand over my mouth.

Oh my God, that was stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

He smirked at me, looking extremely amused at my screw up. My hand slid away from my mouth, and I stumbled over my words.

"I didn't...mean it like that, I meant...I just...you know, about..."

"I know what you meant," he said slyly, zipping his medical bag up. "I'm not a licensed doctor. I'm just an EMT. Your primary doctor is the one who should know about this, anyway. I can put in a medical record for you, if you want. Just incase you have any problems."

I shook my head, my face red as a tomato. God, is it hot in here?

"It's okay," I mumbled. "I've had stitches once before. I'm sure I can take care of them again."

I ignored the twist and drop of my stomach as I thought about the possibility of not seeing Alec again. God, what was wrong with me? I'd only met the guy an hour ago, and I was already obsessed with him. I needed help.

"Here," he said, reaching into the side pocket of his bag, and handing me a small, white card. "That has my number on it. You can call or message me if you need anything."

Oh my God, hot EMT guy was giving me his number. Holy shit, holy shit, oh my God. Take the card, you idiot!

I took the card, noticing the blue Star of Life in the top left corner, Alec's name, phone number, job title, e-mail address, and the name of the hospital he was associated with.

Alec Vincent.

God, as if his name couldn't get any hotter.

"Are you sure?" I asked hesitantly, meeting his eyes shyly.

"Yeah, of course," he said, grinning. "I told you I was gonna keep an eye on you, didn't I? A good EMT always keeps his word."

"Let me guess. It's part of your job description?" I cracked a smile as I rolled my eyes.

"You catch on fast," he commented. "But, seriously. If you need anything, don't hesitate to reach out."

I stared at his phone number on the card as if it was going to disappear before my eyes, and I nodded again.

He slung the bag over his shoulder, and stood from the chair.

"Are you hungry? I can make you something if you want," he offered kindly.

Can you make me a hot serving of Alec Vincent? Oh, wait.

I nodded, finding the time on the microwave clock. The green numbers glared 1:42 at me.

"Holy crap, is that the time?" I balked, scrambling for my phone in my jacket pocket, which was on the back of my chair. I unlocked my phone screen, opening the texts I got from Julienne.

"Yes. Is something wrong?" Alec asked.

"It's late. I have to-" I started, but an extremely loud clap of thunder cut me off, alarming me. I whipped my head to his giant window, which took up the entire wall behind his TV, and watched the sky light up with lightning. The rain was pouring down in buckets, and it dawned on me that there was no way I was getting home tonight.

"Go," I finished weakly.

"I can't let you go out there. It's way too dangerous," Alec said as if it was obvious. "You can sleep here tonight, and I'll take you home in the morning if you want. No point in spending money on a cab."

"But, of course, I'm not gonna force you to stay here against your will. I would strongly advise against you trying to get home in this weather, but..." he shrugged.

Looks like I'm staying with Mr. Hot EMT tonight.

I looked at Alec again, who was staring patiently at me. He shrugged again, leaving it up to me.

"Okay, I'll stay."

He nodded sagely, heading toward the hallway.

"Good choice," he said with a small grin as he walked backwards. "I'll be right back, and then I'll make us some dinner."

I forced myself to look away from his retreating form, and focused on my phone. Julienne finally texted me, apologizing for leaving so abruptly. She told me to call her ASAP, and I tapped the phone icon next to her name. I wandered into Alec's living room, stopping at the ginormous window as I heard the phone ring on my end.

She didn't pick up, and I left her a voice message telling her to call me as soon as she woke up. I told her I was fine, and not to worry, and that I'd see her in the morning. With a sigh, I pressed the red phone icon and watched the rain mockingly splatter against the giant window.

How did I get stuck in hot EMT's place again? Should I be thanking the drunk guy, or punching him? Or, should I be thanking Julienne for ditching me?

With a heavy sigh, I turned back around, making my way back into the kitchen.

Alec was there, in a gray T-shirt and sweatpants, hovering over his fancy, electric stove. He turned his head slightly, and I plopped onto the bar stool chair, taking an interest in what he was cooking.

Or, maybe I'm just watching the muscles in his back tense up when he moves. God.

I was too busy staring, and didn't see him turn around to face me, because his muscles were everywhere. And anywhere there was muscle, I stared hard.

"Is everything okay?" he asked, and I snapped my eyes up to his, blinking. He smirked, and I knew I'd been caught.


"Do you see something you like, or do I just have something on my shirt?"

"Yeah," I drew out the word, ignoring the fact that he just called me out. "Everything's fine. I was just calling my friend. She didn't pick up. I'm a little worried that she left with a stranger."

"So did you," he pointed out with a smirk. "You can thank her for letting you stay with the hot EMT. The drunk asshole did nothing."

I froze, my cheeks feeling as hot as the fourth of July.

Oh my God, did I say that out loud? How could he have heard me?! Oh god, this is embarrassing.

"Uh...I. Uh...You...you weren't supposed to hear that," I stammered weakly, avoiding his gaze as my hoodie-covered hands covered my cheeks.

"I have very good ears. EMT, remember?" he chuckled. "I'm just teasing you, Cheyenne. Although, I do accept the compliment."

I would have laughed with him, really I would have. Except, my stomach began to churn, and I felt funny. I tried to laugh, but it came out like a breathy, nervous groan.

What is wrong with me?

I tried to breathe through my nose and out through my mouth, but my stomach continued to turn, and the nausea came pretty quick. I clutched my stomach, and an unnatural chill spread throughout my body. My breathing turned shallow, and I was pretty sure the color drained from my face.

"You okay?" Alec asked. I could hear the urgency rising in his voice.

"I'm...I don't...feel very..." I stammered as I clamped my hand over my mouth and darted for the sink.

No sooner than that, did I puke up the contents of my stomach, most of it containing water. I could taste the acidic, putrid, slightly apple flavor of the alcohol I consumed earlier, and my stomach convulsed, pushing everything out of my system. The motion hurt, and I couldn't stop the upchuck of fluids as they continued to purge out of me.

God, this tastes disgusting. I feel like someone rammed a truck into my gut.

I felt my hair being gathered away from my face, and the water being turned on in the sink.

"You didn't eat before you drank, did you?" he asked, and cue the medical voice.

When I was finally done dry heaving and panting, I rinsed my mouth out and groaned. I shut my eyes as I stood up straight, and ran my hoodie-covered hand over my mouth while I caught my breath. I shook my head a moment later.

"Not really," I croaked. I chose to focus on my breathing, and not the humiliating fact that I just puked in Alec's sink.

This night really keeps getting more embarrassing, doesn't it?

I flipped back through the day in my mind, remembering that I hadn't quite had a full meal today. I had toast for breakfast, and a PB&J for lunch. Julienne and I were supposed to grab dinner after our night out, so I hadn't filled my stomach up beforehand.

"That can make you really sick," Alec informed me as he washed the rest of my vomit down the drain. "Alcohol, plus being a lightweight, plus no food equals nausea."

I didn't say anything.

"I'm sorry I threw up in your sink," I croaked in a dull tone as I wiped the vomit-induced tears out of my eyes.

"It's all right. No big deal," he said coolly, as if this happened all the time. "I was afraid that I was the one who made you throw up." I coughed out a chuckle, and shook my head.

"How do you feel now? Are you dizzy at all?" he asked.

I shook my head again, grateful that the feeling had passed. I felt normal, aside from feeling a little exhausted from throwing everything up.

"Okay. That's good," he noted, guiding me back to my seat. He kept his hand between my shoulder blades all the way there, and gave me a new bottle of water.

"I think you chugged your water a little too fast," he mentioned. "Don't drink it just yet. Wait about five minutes, and then start with small sips. Dinner will be ready in about twenty minutes. Pasta okay with you?"

I nodded, taking a deep breath. Alec watched me momentarily, and then suddenly picked my wrist up, pressing two fingers on the inside of it. He brought his left arm up, concentrating on the watch on his wrist.

"I'm okay," I told him, clearing my throat. I wasn't gonna tell him that I didn't want him to take his hands off of me, though.

He didn't respond, and instead kept taking my pulse.

"Hm," came his serious voice, lowering his wrist and removing his fingers from mine. "Lemme know if you feel dizzy at all. Okay?"


He went back to the stove, finishing up dinner. Whatever he was making, smelled amazing, and, a few minutes later I curiously found myself wandering over to where he was standing.

"Did you come to watch?" he asked with a smile.

"I'm just curious," I said with a shrug. I saw a cream sauce bubbling away in a sauce pan, while pasta cooked in a pot on the back burner. I watched as he sprinkled dried herbs into the sauce, and tilted my head with interest.

"Do you like to cook?" he asked as he stirred it around.

"Yeah. My best friend can't cook," I snickered. "I've been watching Food Network since I was eight, so I do all of the cooking at home."

"Impressive," he commented, and dug a spoon out of the drawer beside his hip. He dabbed the spoon into the sauce, and handed it to me. "You can be my taste tester, then. If you feel up to it."

I stared at the spoon, and then him.

"I don't know, did you poison that?" I asked in a deadpan voice. He cocked his head at me, feigning hurt.

"Now hold on," he said dramatically. "A true gentleman feeds his victim first, and then poisons her."

I raised an eyebrow at him, challenging him. He stared back at me, shoving the spoon in his mouth quickly while he tasted it. I tried not to look at his lips as he subtly licked the extra sauce off of them.

"There," he said, flicking his wrist and pointing the spoon at me. "See? Not poisoned." He grinned good naturedly.

I cracked a smile as I took the spoon from him, and dipped it in the sauce. I dragged the excess off on the side of the pan, and lifted it to my mouth.

The sauce was amazing. I had to hand it to him; he was quite the chef. There wasn't one thing I could point out that it needed. The creamy, pungent, herbaceous Parmesan flavor of the sauce made my taste buds sing, and my tongue darted out to clean my lips. I nodded in surprise, handing him the spoon.

"That's actually amazing," I told him, looking up at him. "It's perfect."

I saw his eyes linger on my lips before sliding his eyes up to mine.

"Good," he said in a low voice. His fingers brushed mine as he took the spoon from my hand, and I didn't know how long we stared at each other before Alec cleared his throat and turned back to the stove.

I went back to my seat without another word, wishing he would have slammed me up against the fridge and...

A flash of pain in my palm had me jumping and hissing in response. I brought my hand to my chest, realizing that I accidentally must have tried to make a fist. I quickly sat down, and Alec nearly caught me in the act, turning his head suspiciously. I flashed him a smile.

"Something wrong?" he asked, giving me a once over, and I shook my head, hiding my hand in my lap.

"No," I answered sweetly. "Just...tripped and stubbed my toe."

He narrowed his eyes at me and glanced at my hand, but otherwise turned his back to me. I looked at my palm; it looked okay, and there wasn't any blood seeping through the gauze. But God, did it hurt.

I kept my palm open, waiting for the pain to fade away.

Alec set a bowl of hot pasta in front of me five minutes later, and my eyes widened happily at the creamy, cheesy noodles.

"Bon appetit," he announced, and, using my left hand, I twirled pasta onto my fork. It was pretty difficult, but I got the hang of it.

"Did you put extra poison in mine?" I asked casually.

"I thought about it," he replied smoothly, smirking. "But, then I decided that I wanted to keep you around a little longer."

"But, the poison is what makes it taste good," I complained around a mouthful of pasta. God, I needed the recipe for this. It was heavenly.

"Well, do you want me to kill you now or later?" he asked, raising an eyebrow at me. "I told you, a real gentleman feeds his victims first."

I snickered, wiping my mouth over my bowl, because I was dangerously close to spewing it everywhere. I chewed thoughtfully, pretending to think about his offer while I swallowed.

"Later," I decided. "I refuse to die without stealing this recipe from you."

"I'm glad you like it," he grinned proudly. "I would have been really ashamed if you hated it."

"God, this is terrible, Alec. Where'd you make this, in your bathtub?" I teased him sarcastically, as I shoveled more into my mouth. It was his turn to laugh, the deep, musical sound coming from deep within his chest. I almost choked on my pasta; the sound went right between my thighs.

Shit. I shouldn't have made him laugh. I can't get weird stains on his hoodie!

He, too, was having a laughing fit over a mouthful of pasta, and even the sight of him wiping his mouth with a napkin was stupidly cute. I sat, chewing slowly, watching him automatically.

"Okay. You're funny," he chuckled, and I blushed, taking a sip out of my water bottle. "The sweet, innocent girl is a spitfire, too."

"Only on Saturdays," I smirked, taking another sip.

Oh my God, I'm flirting with Mr. Hot EMT. Shit! And I'm not even buzzed anymore!

"Do you normally drink on Saturdays?" he asked carefully, and I shook my head, passing the water bottle back and forth in my hands.

"I don't drink hardly ever. Period," I said. "Julienne-that's my best friend-she got dumped recently, so she wanted to go out and forget about her ex. It's a normal reaction for her. I usually just go for support, but she wanted me to drink, too. She was already drunk by the time I finished my first drink, so she never really knows that I secretly stay sober every time we do this. Someone has to be responsible."

"That is really responsible of you," he said softly. "But, why didn't you just drive her if that's the case?"

I nodded. "She insisted that we take a cab, because she was so sure that we'd both be drunk, but I tried to tell her no. She wouldn't let up. I didn't know she was gonna leave with some guy she found on the dance floor. I thought she'd dance with a few guys, and get it out of her system. I love her, so much. She's like a sister to me, but she is wild. When she's set on something, she doesn't look back. Not that it makes her any less appealing, but you gotta be a special kind of person to put up with her. She and I are complete opposites. She's Drake, and I'm Josh. It works out pretty well, actually."

Alec laughed loudly at the metaphor.

"I can see that. She shouldn't have left you alone, to be completely honest, though. It was obviously dangerous for you," he said, his eyes darkening. "I never like seeing women walk alone, especially at night. It's not safe. You never know who's lurking around."

"Yeah, ain't that the truth," I scoffed. "When she finds out what happened, I'm sure she'll be thankful towards you. She thinks highly of anyone who looks out for me."

He shrugged, pushing a hand through his hair. "No problem. Just doing my job."

"You say that like it's nothing," I pointed out, studying him. He smiled tightly, suddenly very interested in his water bottle. He turned it around and around on the counter as he spoke.

"It's no big deal," he said leisurely. "As long as people come out alive, I'm happy. I don't need special recognition for what I do. I'm not a hero or anything."

I sat, still and frozen, his words shocking me. This guy was a hero! He literally saved my ass, and he thought it wasn't a big deal? Did he know how important his job was, much less he himself? Something in my heart twisted, and I shot out of my chair, grasping his forearm in both of my hands. I needed him to pay attention. His eyes moved slowly from his water bottle, to his arm, then to me. His eyebrows pulled together slightly in question, and regarded me carefully.

"Yes, you are," I said with conviction, my eyes burning into his. "To me, you are. Do you know what that guy could have done to me? He would have raped me. And left me for dead. I'd be laying in a hospital bed, not knowing what the hell happened to me and why if it wasn't for you. He was so close to getting what he wanted, and you...you stopped him, and I should be lucky that the only thing I escaped with was this." I held up my right hand. "I will take this over what would have happened any day. I would have been so messed up if he had succeeded. You are a hero. Mine, at least. You have one of the most important jobs anyone could ever have, and because of that, I'm standing here, alive. Without a hospital bill, might I add."

A look of quiet surprise and interest crossed his face, his angelic features shifting with each word that left my mouth. He seemed to listen, concentrating deeply on me. His eyes narrowed slightly whenever I mentioned the attacker, and he sat up straighter after I was finished. His expression was serious, but he smirked slightly when I chuckled about the hospital bill.

"So you are a hero. You saved me. I owe you my life," I finished, giving his arm a gentle squeeze, and he smiled serenely with a shake of his head.

"You don't owe me anything," he said. "I'm relieved to know that I saved you from...that. Your words are more than appreciated. I'm flattered that you consider me specifically your hero."

He grinned cheekily, and there was teasing Alec again. I dropped my eyes down, focusing on my hands that were still on his arm. I tried to smile back, but it probably looked more like a grimace.

"I actually thought no one was gonna show up, y'know," I said, my throat feeling tight. "I just kinda thought I was screwed. I would have kept fighting him off, but he was really strong for a drunk guy."

"Hey," he murmured, covering his hand over both of mine. I looked up, meeting his eyes. "You're safe now. Don't worry about him anymore, okay? I'm pretty sure he's gonna stay in jail for attacking you."

"How do you know that? He could be bailed out for just being drunk," I explained weakly, and he shook his head at me.

"It's my word against his," he spoke defiantly, firmly. "And, seeing as I'm an EMT? They'll use my medical standpoint as evidence, and yours, too. I was the one who tended to you, so I have more than enough evidence to convict him."

"But, what about him? You broke his nose," I recalled.

"Self defense. He swung at me first, remember?" he smirked.

"You're really smart," I blurted, amazed with his tactic. I wouldn't have even thought about any of that. He laughed quietly, and God, I didn't have the heart to ask him to stop laughing, because it turned my insides to Jell-O. This man was sweeping me off my feet, and I couldn't even find anything remotely wrong with him. He was sweet, funny, incredibly smart, and gentle.

"Well, thank you. Are there any other compliments I can fish out of you tonight?" he teased, grinning brightly as he tugged playfully on my fingers, and I rolled my eyes.

"I think if I give you any more, your ego will inflate to the size of Jupiter," I replied sarcastically, and then turned serious again. "But, I'm serious. Thank you, again. A million times."

"You're welcome," he replied softly, nodding once.

We kept staring at each other for a few more moments, and, unable to help myself, I couldn't find any other way to express myself. I threw my arms around his neck for the second time tonight, the feeling of gratitude swelling in my chest. He returned the embrace more easily this time, securing his arms around my waist.

"You're quite the hugger, aren't you?" he laughed, and I actually joined in this time, tears springing into my eyes.

"I'm sorry I keep hugging you, I just..." a tear escaped, and I sniffled. "I'm just glad you were there. I don't even wanna think about what would have happened if you weren't."

Alec stood then, pulling me closer to him as he tightened his grip. I was pressed right up against him now, and I was convinced that it would be utterly impossible to let go of him. He was so warm and comfortable, and I could feel every curve and crevice of my body fitting and molding perfectly to his. My heart was beating faster, but it was comfortable in a way. I liked that it was beating like this, because of him.

"Did I hurt you? At all?" he asked carefully. "I know I was rough when I pulled you away from him. I wasn't really thinking when I did it."

I thought back to that moment, never remembering any pain. I barely even registered it when it happened. I shook my head, my chin resting on his broad, hard shoulder. I could smell him again, and it was both calming and dizzying me, in a good way.

"No, you didn't," I answered quietly.

Alec exhaled through his nose, long and slow as he nodded.

"Good." His voice was low and gravelly.

We stayed like that for the next few minutes, and though I didn't want to let go, I didn't want to make Alec feel awkward. I reluctantly pulled away slowly, moving back into my seat.

"I'm okay now," I told him, clearing my throat. "Sorry. Again." I turned back to my food, and got to work on twirling another forkful with my left hand.

"Don't be. Shock is normal after what you've been through," he said, copying me. "I don't mean to sound rude when I ask this, but...was there nobody else for you to call when you left?"

"Are you trying to kick me out?" I joked.

"No! No, God, no," Alec said, raking his hand through his hair again. It was clear that he missed the joke. "I was just...fuck."

I snickered, stabbing my fork experimentally into the noodles. My stomach filled with a bout of butterflies as I tried to stop the giggles. Getting back at him felt good, and his answering blush was proof that I was successful.

"You really know how to work a guy up, don't you?" he asked, barking out a nervous laugh as his hand stayed in his hair. "You actually made me think I'd offended you."

I put down my fork, and shook my head as my giggles died down.

"No, you didn't. I just had to get you back for the 'hot EMT' thing." I exhaled satisfactorily, wiping away fake tears. "Ah, that was a good one."

"Very clever," he mumbled, narrowing his eyes as he tucked into his food again.

"To answer your question. Yeah, there was. I could have called David, my other best friend, but he would have just given me crap for trying to walk home, and I wasn't about to put up with that. He's kind of protective."

"He sounds like a good guy," Alec commended. The small crack in his voice was evident, and I bit back a smile.

"Yeah. We've been friends for a long time. He's kinda like a big brother." I turned my head, watching Alec as he ate. His strong jaw tensed and worked with the motion of his chewing, and I bit my tongue so not as to make any sudden noises. I was terrible, really, I was.

"I'll bet he would've done the same thing, then," he said, polishing off his bowl. I had to force myself to look away from his lips when he licked them. It took me a moment to realize what Alec meant, and I fixed my eyes on the dishes instead.

"Oh, he would have done much worse, actually. He would have murdered the guy for touching me. Literally," I said, shuddering and grimacing at the thought. "Then I'd have to worry about bailing him out of jail."

"Guess that makes two of us," Alec admitted coolly, but the edge in his voice didn't escape me.

I stared at him in shock, an unexplained warmth blooming in my chest. It took me a moment to find my words, and Alec looked back at me.

"You were gonna kill him?" I stammered, and Alec just smiled as he stood to collect our bowls, but it wasn't friendly. It was dangerous, and it made my stomach flip.

"I was dangerously close to it, but jail wouldn't look good on my records," he said in a dull voice, though his smile never left.

I turned in my chair, staring at his back as he cleaned up.

"But you don't even know me," I said confusedly. "I mean...not that I'm not...flattered or anything, it's just..."

Alec just shrugged, putting the freshly washed dishes in the draining rack. He grabbed a dish towel and dried his hands off, turning back to me.

"Hey, I didn't do it, right? At least you can know that I would have," he grinned, and it brightened his face, replacing the darkness that had just been there. "Consider it a compliment."

I just nodded, my stomach still flipping and flopping as I rubbed my neck.

"Thanks," I said, my pulse thudding heavily from the stupidly hot notion that Alec would have killed the man for touching me.

Maybe I read too many novels. I need to get back into the real word, stat.

"How's your hand?" Alec asked, pulling me out of my reverie. I pulled my hand away from my neck, realizing I'd used my right hand, and stared at it blankly.

"Uh. Good," I said. "I think the pain is going away. It's kind of just a dull ache now."

He strode over, taking my hand and examining it. He pulled back the layers of gauze, peeking at my stitches. I was alarmed to see a small trickle of blood underneath the gooey ointment, and I glanced up at him nervously.

"You didn't stub your toe," he said calmly, knowingly. I averted my eyes in shame, fighting off the pleasurable shudder that wanted to come from Alec wiping his finger across my palm, getting rid of the blood. I shook my head, allowing him to finish up his work.

"How'd you know?" I mumbled. He made a sound halfway between a snort and a laugh, meticulously working the gauze back into place.

"When someone stubs their toe, they either groan, or they yell, 'fuck!'. You hissed in pain, which is completely different. Hissing indicates a sharp, quick pain. Groaning usually follows throbbing pain," he explained expertly, calmly.

"Why didn't you call me out earlier, then, if you knew?"

God, this was embarrassing. Again.

"I had a feeling you'd know if you ripped your stitches, and you didn't. Plus, if it was really serious, you would have told me," he said with a shrug. "Your hand's fine. Just irritated the wound a little bit, but it's still fresh, so it's really easy to open it up. Just be careful with it for the next week."

I nodded, finding his doctor talk extremely cute.

"Okay. Thanks."

"Sure," he said, stepping away from me. "Well, I think I'm gonna hit the hay. It's been a long day, and I worked a fourteen hour shift. Follow me, and I'll show you the guest room."

I followed him silently, and was instantly comfortable with the room after he gave me an unnecessary tour of it. It was a simple, very clean room, with gray bedding, off-white walls, and modern accessories. It was almost twice as big as my room in my apartment. I idly wondered what kind of guests Alec would have over if the room was this fancy. Or, maybe he just liked modern furniture.

"I, uh. I put your clothes in the dryer so that they'd be dry for you in the morning," he said, folding his arms.

"Thank you," I said sincerely, my eyes still roaming the room. "This is immaculate."

"Just a simple little room," he grinned, shrugging. "Is there anything else I can do for you before I head off to bed?"

I racked through my mind, trying to think, and remembered the horrible puking incident. My tongue moved around the inside of my mouth.

"Yeah. You got a spare toothbrush anywhere? I wouldn't mind getting the vomit taste out of my mouth," I said, grimacing. Alec chuckled.

"Bottom right drawer in the bathroom. The toothpaste should be in there, too."

I nodded. "I think that's it. I've got everything else that I need."

"All right. Good. I'll just be across the hall if you need anything," he said, smiling softly, and I returned it.

"Thank you. For everything. I appreciate it."

"Don't worry about it," he said, grinning. "It's been a pleasure."

I nodded again, and he rubbed the back of his neck again before saying goodbye and going to his own room. His backside mocked me once again as he disappeared behind his door, and I marched straight into the bathroom, trying to shake off the lust fest that was my mind. I found a brand new toothbrush and his toothpaste, busying myself with scrubbing the weird, pasta and vomit taste in my mouth. I was lucky enough to also find some mouthwash, and fountained it into my mouth. When my mouth finally felt fresh, I was calm enough to settle into bed and get the rest I needed.

Yeah. If only it had been that easy.

Yes, the bed was beyond comfortable, and not one thing was wrong with it. It wasn't even solely the fact that Alec was so close, yet so far away.

It was the consistently loud crashes of thunder, lightning and rain that was keeping me awake. The volume crashed through my mind, preventing me from mentally settling down completely. I tossed and turned, trying to ignore it and will my mind to shut down, but to no avail. I laid there for about an hour, before I threw the fluffy comforter off of my body and tiptoed into Alec's living room. His door was closed, so I knew he was still in there, most likely sleeping. I padded my way into the living room, taking a seat on his luxurious couch that was almost as soft as my blankets. I gazed out of the huge window wall, internally grumbling at the light show going on in the sky. Droplets of rain reflected and glistened on the glass whenever lightning struck, and I felt like I couldn't do anything but wait for it to stop. I didn't mind rain, or even storms; but I hated the loud noise of thunder. It grated against my ears, and caused an uneasiness within me that reminded me of what I'd been through today. The darkness, combined with the weather, didn't help in calming my nerves.

Instead, I tried to work my mind into exhaustion. I sat and soaked in the images of Alec I had in my mind; his eyes, his smile, the way he rubbed his neck, pushed his hair back, the way he teased me and took care of me...

He was so complex and mysterious, yet so casual, cool and simple. I was sure he could smooth talk anyone he wanted, but he also was good at focusing on any tasks at hand. He was extremely intelligent, sexy, and utterly sweet. It amused me how I was able to fluster him with the mention of David, and wondered why he seemed so bothered by it. We didn't know each other in the slightest, yet I felt a comfort and ease with him that held the weight of a lifetime. I felt like I'd known him forever, but how was that possible?

I saw movement out of the corner of my eye, and it brought me out of my thoughts, making me jump almost a foot in the air. My hand flew to my chest, and I swung my head in the direction of it.

"Hey. Sorry," Alec whispered, halfheartedly holding his hands up in surrender. "It's just me."

He sank into the couch, sitting beside me, but not too close. My knees were drawn up to my chest, nearly leaving the entire length of my legs exposed. I felt my pulse quicken at his close proximity. My eyes were automatically drawn to him, watching his face in the darkness as he did the same to me.

"Is your hand bothering you?" he asked, glancing down at my hand, and I shook my head, throwing a glare at the window.

"No. It's the thunder. It's too loud for me, so I can't sleep." I sighed. "How come you're still up?"

"Oh, I couldn't sleep, either," he replied, each word tumbling out very slowly, and it came out more like a question; like he was trying to convince himself that was the true reason.

"I don't think anybody could sleep with all of this going on," I said, rolling my eyes at the cursed weather. Another loud boom of thunder crashed, and I tried not to tense up at the noise.

"Are you scared of thunder?" he asked, but he wasn't teasing. I decided to turn so I was facing Alec, and away from the window as if that would stop it from bothering me.

"Not really. I just hate loud sounds. It can scare me, if I'm alone," I admitted, nestling my hands into the front pocket of my hoodie. Er, Alec's hoodie.

"Well, you're not alone now," he smiled at me, even though his words made my heart palpitate like crazy. "Maybe you should get your mind off of it, so you won't be scared."

"O...kay," I squeaked. "How do I do that? It's louder than a dump truck out there."

"Distraction is the best medicine, remember?" he grinned. "The easiest way to do that is to talk. So, tell me about yourself."

"I'm not doing that," I said. "How do I know you're not gonna try and murder me now? Or stalk me?"

"Well, I did already feed you. So, I guess the only thing left to do is poison you. You're already in my house," he smirked, a jokingly dangerous tone taking over his voice.

"Touché," I said, rolling my eyes. "You've already learned things about me tonight. I haven't learned hardly anything about you, except that you're an EMT, your last name is Vincent, you can cook, and you have exceptionally good hearing."

"That sounds like a lot of information," he smirked again. "I only know that you love cooking, you have two best friends, you don't favor drinking, you're responsible, and you've never had a boyfriend."

This man was both challenging me and turning me on at the same time.

"See! You know more about me than I do you," I exclaimed, pointing at him. "So, I get to ask you a question first."

"All right, then give me your best shot," he challenged, grinning hugely.

Suddenly, I felt excited. I could ask him anything I wanted. Was he a virgin? How many girlfriends has he had? How in the world is he single?

"Why'd you become an EMT?" I asked instead. He turned to face me too, resting his arm on the back of the couch. I tried not to stare at our knees, which were almost touching now.

"Just felt like it. Helping people seemed like a pretty cool idea, and I like hard work. So..." he shrugged, holding my eyes.

Oh, I can tell you like hard work. Look at your biceps.

Oh my god, Cheyenne. Shut up!

"But, isn't it hard...seeing people that don't survive?" I asked tentatively, and he nodded, averting my eyes for a second.

"Yeah. It is," he said quietly. "But, it's an even harder truth to accept that we can't save everyone. We're only human, and we do everything we can, but sometimes the circumstances are just too much against us."

My heart twisted, though I knew nothing about the hardships of his job. I wouldn't be able to handle it myself if I was EMT. I was too much of a sensitive, emotional person.

"It's okay. You saved one today," I tried to comfort him, smiling. "Today's circumstances didn't seem to be against you too much."

He returned my smile with his own, a motion so boyish and charming, that I was glad he couldn't see my blush in the dark.

"I am glad about that," he agreed. "What about you, Miss Sweet and Innocent? What do you do?"

I narrowed my eyes at the name, but answered him anyway.

"I'm in the process of applying to be a children's counselor. I make money by doing gigs at the club sometimes. Bars, too, but the club has been pretty consistent lately," I said shyly, and his eyes seemed to brighten at this. He tilted his head.

"Really?" he asked, interested. When I nodded, he paused for a moment before shaking his head and laughing. "I'm sorry, I just don't know what's more interesting: the fact that you want to work with children, or that you have a musical talent."

"I'm not that great," I protested, rolling my eyes and shrugging. "It's just sometimes. I sing a few songs and make money. That's it. And yes, I wanna work with kids. I love being around kids. They need to be heard, and given more attention. They're often emotionally neglected, and then they grow up to be angry, bitter adults who carry their emotional trauma with them, and that can lead them to make regretful choices. I want to stop that, or at least prevent it as much as I can. People write them off as being too emotional, when it's the other way around: we're the ones that aren't emotional enough, and we turn a blind eye to their emotional and mental health until it's too late..." I trailed off, seeing Alec's face, and covered my mouth with my sleeve.

"Sorry. I went on a tangent again," I apologized, my embarrassment growing twofold. Alec continued to watch me with such a deep, concentrated, amused look, and he shook his head lightly. A sudden flash of lightning came through the window, highlighting the angular features of his face, and I saw the sharpness of his jaw and cheekbones for a few seconds.

He looked like an angel.

"You don't have to apologize," he said, slightly raising his eyebrows. "That was really passionate. You must really love kids if you're willing to pursue a career that involves something so crucial. I've never seen someone get so fired up about it before."

I moved my hand away from my mouth, rubbing the end of my sleeve nervously between my thumb and index finger.

"Yeah, I just get really...I just want them to feel heard, and safe, and secure." I shrugged, gazing out the window. Even though Alec didn't mind my rant, I was still extremely embarrassed. I wanted to hear him talk more, rather than me. I cleared my throat, and then felt Alec's fingers grip my anxiously fiddling ones. I looked at our hands, and then him.

Oh my god, Mr. Gorgeous EMT is holding my hand. Basically. Figuratively.

"You're gonna be an amazing counselor," he said sincerely. "Seriously. Those kids will be lucky that they have you fighting for them so hard."

I raised an eyebrow, not meaning to cut this sweet moment short.

"This is coming from the guy who doesn't think he's a hero, when I'm here, sitting on his couch?" I said lightly, and he pulled his hand away, turning his gaze to the window. I fought the urge to crawl into his lap and rub my cheek against the sexy stubble on his face that was only getting darker by the hour. I watched his chest as it lightly moved up and down with each of his breaths. I could see his pecs through his shirt, and I wanted to whack myself with a banana peel so that I'd focus.

"Okay, fine. You win," he relented, turning his head back to me. He flashed me a charming smile. "I see what you mean, Miss Sweet and Innocent. We both fight hard for people, is that what you're trying to tell me?"

"Yes," I said, grinning for the first time. "You catch on fast."

"Well, you did say I was really smart," he grinned, holding his head confidently. I rolled my eyes, hitting his knee playfully.

"Don't get too cocky, Mr. Hero," I said sarcastically, and he feigned surprise, gasping dramatically.

"Abuse," he accused back sarcastically, his eyes wide. "I never thought Miss Sweet and Innocent would go to such great lengths to-"

I cut him off by rising onto my knees and continuing to playfully smack his shoulders, using my left hand. I pretended to use my right hand, and we both erupted in laughter as he tried to shield himself from me.

"I am not abusive!" I laughed. Alec snuck his way around my advances, and swooped his arms underneath to tickle me.

"Oh no, help, help! Someone help me, she's attacking me!" he cried playfully. In the midst of me leaning forward just as he leaned back, his legs opened just enough for my knee to lose its place, and I slipped right into his lap. He finally grasped my arms and easily stopped me by pinning my arms against my sides. The breath left my lungs as I realized what had just happened.

I was sitting. In Alec's lap. With my legs straddling his thighs.

I'm in Mr. Hot EMT's lap. Oh my God.

Our faces were inches away, and I could make out every single shade of blue in his eyes. My mind continued to administer shock to my body, and all I could do was allow myself to drown in the incredible icy blue ocean that was this man's eyes. He was frozen, too, completely aware of our position. He stared at me, and I stared at him, a heavy dosage of uncertainty and curiosity permeating the air. Being this close to him now, actually against his body, the electrical charge was more insistent and apparent. It charged the air just as strongly as the thunder and lightning struck the sky, and suddenly there was nothing in this world except me and this ridiculously handsome man.

I could see it now; the hesitancy and the question in his eyes. It was right in front of me; he wanted this just as badly as I did, and it was then I knew that I wasn't the only one who felt this incredible sensation between us.


"Yeah." His voice was nearly gone, but ten times lower. I could see the flush on his cheeks now, the one that matched mine, even in the dark. I could smell and almost taste the clean, cinnamon and mint scent that was coming off of him, which only made me want this even more. My arms had wound themselves around his neck when I fell, and, though I had zero kissing experience, I knew what I wanted.

I leaned forward slowly, bit by bit, watching his eyes for any sign of rejection. When I saw none, my eyes fluttered closed, and I was just a few centimeters away from his lips now. Alec's hands left my arms and gripped my hips firmly, as if to stop me. I stopped, opening my eyes to meet his. My heart thundered with confusion and fear, as uncertainty swam in his eyes.

"Are you sure?" was all he asked in a strained voice, as if he knew this was my first time. I could see his jaw clenching, like he was trying to restrain himself.

As I gazed at this man, I only formed one coherent thought.

I've never wanted anything more than Alec in my entire life.

"Once I start, I won't be able to stop," he warned me, his voice dripping with barely-contained want.

Sliding my good hand into his hair, I answered his question by pulling him to me and crushing my lips to his.

God, it feels just as incredible as I imagined.

The blazing fire spread all across my body, and I felt the hoodie slip off of me. Alec's hands burned my skin in the best possible way, and neither of us did anything to hold back what we both knew we'd been feeling the entire night.

The thunder and lightning were all but forgotten after that.

NOW they had sex LOL. This is the beginning of the story! I'm excited to write this, and I hope you're all excited to see what unfolds. I have so much planned for this, but not everything yet. I'm gonna pump out some chapters and see where this goes! This is kind of a drabble/lightly planned story. Also, just to let you know, I'm not a person who writes lemons, so I'm just gonna heavily indicate what happens cuz I don't think FF's need descriptive lemons all the time. Review and lemme know what you thiiiiink!