Chapter 3

Two days had passed, and Frank was finally being released from the hospital. Rachel had stashed his pain meds in her purse, because she wanted to make sure he took them. Knowing Frank, he'd endure the pain, so she was going to make sure he didn't suffer because of his stubbornness.

"You're coming home with me," she insisted, as she helped him slide into the back of the limo. Frank sighed, but he was too tired to argue with her. When she got in, Henry took off toward the house. Rachel closed the window, enclosing herself and Frank in privacy. She sat across from him, and she leaned back into the seat. Their eyes bore into each other's.

"You can't get what you want all the time, Rachel," he insisted.

"Sure I can," she replied, folding her arms across her chest. "I got you to come home with me."

"Only because I didn't want you pulling on me and ripping the stitches out." Rachel rolled her eyes.

"Fletcher's gonna be so happy you're coming back."

"You know I haven't made my decision yet. I think it'd be best if someone else took my place."

"Frank…"

"Listen to me, Rachel. I care too much about you. That would get in the way."

"You mean I would get in your way." Frank sighed. "No, I get it, Frank. I'm a big girl, and I understand what it means. You get involved with me, you move on to your next client, and you'd be too busy worrying about me to worry about the person you're trying to protect. That sums it up right there, Frank. You wouldn't trust anybody else to protect me."

"That's not what…"

"Yes it is," she insisted. "The way I see it is that the only way you're going to know I'm safe is if you stay and protect me yourself. Frank, it'll be different this time. You can take as much time as you need to heal. I'll stay in…I won't go out to the clubs. I'll do my interviews from home."

"You just won an Oscar, Rachel. This isn't exactly the best time for you to put your career on hold."

"If that's what it takes for you to stay, I'll do it." He had to give her some credit. She really was trying.

"We both know that's not gonna happen."

"If you don't want to stay, Frank, just say so. Just tell me now." Her eyes dared him, and he couldn't tell her the truth. He couldn't tell her that all he wanted was to be with her. He didn't want to be her bodyguard. He wanted more than that. He wanted to take her out to smoky little bars and dance with her. He wanted to take her to movies with subtitles just to see the look on her face. He wanted to take her to his house and spend the evening wrapped in her arms. He wanted to bring Fletcher there and show him all of his college football memorabilia. He was too attached, and that fantasy could never become a reality. They belonged to two different worlds.

When Frank said nothing, Rachel moved across to sit next to him. Her hand moved to take his, and she ran her fingers along the back of his hand. He stared down at their hands entwined together. Taking a ragged breath, he tried to find the strength to pull away, but he couldn't. His gaze traveled from their hands to her eyes, where he found her own gaze waiting for his.

"I'm a selfish woman, Frank. I want what I want, and when I can't have it, I act out. You should know that by now. I don't want to see you get hurt, but I don't want to see you leave."

"It's part of the job. I protect you, I leave, I move on. You move on too."

"What if I don't want to?" Her eyes were glazed with exhaustion, need, and desire. She was playing with fire here, and he was too weak to resist.

"We all have to move on," he replied, as she leaned in slowly, her hand moving up to caress his cheek.

"Why?"

"It's life."

"Life is also about living, Frank. That's exactly what I want to do." She pressed her lips against his, first soothing him with a few gentle kisses, but her lips began to burn with pent up desire that she'd suppressed for so long. She couldn't go too far. No, it couldn't be like that. But she needed to feel him and know that he was real. It had all been like a dream. If she had lost him, she would be lost too.

"Rachel," he breathed, as she moved away for only a second to get a little more comfortable.

"Don't worry. I'll be careful," she whispered, motioning toward his injured arm. Her kisses burned a trail from his lips to his neck, and he closed his eyes, circling his good arm around her waist. He softly massaged her back, as her body writhed against his. She moaned softly, as she captured his lips again. When she pulled back, rocking her body against his, she traced her fingers across his lips.

"Do you really want to move on, Frank? Do you really want to leave?" He couldn't answer. She knew the truth. He pulled her back against him with amazing force, considering his condition, and she smiled against his lips, opening up to him and letting his tongue glide in to massage hers.

She craned her neck, as he placed sweet kisses against her pulse. She bit her lower lip, reveling in the feel of his body against hers. But it was when she heard him wince that she backed away, moving to the seat across from his again.

"I'm sorry, Frank."

"No it wasn't…it wasn't you. I'm sorry."

"Here," she said quickly, pulling his pill bottle from her purse. She gathered a couple of pills and held them out to him. He was reluctant, but the look in her eyes told him he'd better do as she asked, or he'd be facing a whole lot of grief from her.

Once he'd swallowed the pills, and she was satisfied that he was feeling better, she scooted back over and sat next to him. He wrapped his good arm around her, and she rested her head on his chest. She felt safe again, and to tell the truth, so did he.

When the limo pulled up to the gates and was permitted through, Henry rolled to a stop and got out to help Frank out. Fletcher came running with the dog to greet them, and Rachel smiled as Fletcher eagerly told Frank everything he'd done in the past couple of days since he'd seen him last at the hospital. She appreciated the way Frank was with her son. He was the only man that Fletcher had ever really connected to. He'd never known his real father, and it was nice to see him bonding with someone. Though, now she feared that if Frank left, she wouldn't be the only one that was hurt. Fletcher would be too.