Ok, so here it is. The final chapter. Apologies on taking so long to get there, but a big thanks to all those who have read it, and even more to those who have reviewed! Feedback is the best. Hopefully, there will be more stories to come soon!
Caroline sits, head on hand, stirring her tea absently. Things are ok again. For now, anyway.
'I told you,' he said as they left the physiotherapy wing.
'It's not like you to boast,' she said, rolling her eyes. But she couldn't argue.
A flustered Martin scurries into the mess and out again, making a high pitched noise like a siren. A frantic male nurse follows, yelling something about claiming his prize. Boyce strolls casually after them, grinning. But Caroline doesn't notice.
He put his hand on her shoulder. Reassurance or merely an excuse for physical contact, she didn't care. It felt warm through her coat and she liked it.
'How about a drink then, to celebrate?'
'Celebrate what, exactly? He was with her but it's ok because he fantasized that it was me?' Caroline stopped and faced Guy. 'I'm sorry… I know you're trying to help. Being selfless must be a hard task for you –'
'Ouch,' said Guy, his face betraying genuine hurt at the remark.
Caroline didn't miss it. 'Ok. That was a low blow.'
'Yeah, right in the bollocks. But I suppose they're hard to keep yourself away from…' A smarmy grin crept onto his face, and he tried to move in closer. Caroline kept her composure, thrusting a finger at his chest to keep him at bay.
'Sorry. But they are. Just saying.'
She knows she shouldn't think about it. She should forget it ever happened. But as she stands there, still stirring her now cold tea, she can't help but recall the details. It's like a film is stuck on loop and she can't look away. She doesn't want to look away.
'You need a lift?' he asked.
'We came here in a taxi though – '
He lurched forward and scooped her up like a fireman in an action movie.
'Guy! Put me do – what are you doing?'
He was grinning stupidly. 'Giving you a lift,' he laughed, and she groaned at his terrible pun. And that's how it started, all heroic acts and awful jokes. That's how it had always been between them. Caroline caught herself watching him, her face too close to his as he held her there. Guy was grinning like a kid at Christmas. She couldn't remember ever seeing Mac smile so freely. As much as she tried, she couldn't remember Mac smiling at all.
'Jesus Caro. How much do you weigh?' he grunts as he suddenly drops her, clutching at his back.
'Oi! Fuck off,' she mutters, picking herself up; but she can't help secretly grinning.
She should have known then, she thinks. She should have stopped it all, made an awkward excuse and got a taxi home.
The room is all but empty now, and Caroline flops into one of the more battered seats. She tries to sip her tea, but pushes it aside with disgust when she realises it's stone cold. 'I hate cold,' she mutters to no one in particular.
He was so warm against her side as they walked home. He was holding her hand again, she wasn't sure when that had happened but she made no argument. He didn't let go to unlock the door. He led her inside and sat her down in her armchair and vanished for a moment, reappearing with a bottle of scotch and two mismatched glasses.
'You'd better not be planning anything,' she warned him, half seriously.
'Neither had you,' said Guy.
They never even opened the bottle of scotch.
'Alright, Doctor Todd?'
Mac's voice tore Caroline viciously back to reality. 'What? Yes…er I mean…fine, yep. Fine.'
He slumps down beside her and reaches for her hand, weaving his fingers between hers. 'So I was thinking,' he says, looking at their hands, 'maybe you want to come watch a movie or something at mine tonight?'
Caroline should feel ashamed. She should tell him. She should refuse, do something, escape; she simply smiles and says, 'Yeah, I'd like that.'
'Cool, cool. I'll er, see you at about eight then?' He stands and turns to leave, flashing a fleeting grin back at her.
He won't stop smiling.
Caroline starts to wonder if he's laughing at her. At what she's letting happen. But she's too distracted by his hand running up her thigh. Their kisses are desperate and frenzied to begin with, as though they've been contained forever. He is more gentle than she expected, more precise.
She weaves her fingers through his dark hair and doesn't compare it to Mac's. She feels his rough chin and doesn't consider how different he feels to Mac. She wonders why there's never been this desperate need before.
'Caroline,' he whispers. 'Are you sure?'
She silences him with a slow, deep kiss.
'Just one thing, Guy. One promise,' she breathes. 'Mac can never know.'