I scared him. Houghton found me curled up in my office at almost six tonight. I could tell by the look in his brown eyes that I had worried him. “I’m ok, Houghton. Just took a nap after last night.”
“I’ve been texting you for fifteen minutes.”
“Don’t you think it’s a bit ridiculous that we text each other in the house?”
“But at least we’re still the same zip code.” He grinned at me, and he stretched out on the chaise right next to me. His arms went around me. “Our guests will be arriving within the hour. I figured you’d want to be there when they get here.”
“I do.” Paige and Payton—Luc’s wife—are close friends of mine, and have been since I was shot. I am anxious to see the two of them. I like the rest of their group, as well. “I need to take a shower and change.” I always feel so grubby after a nap.
“In a minute. I’ll wash your back…first, come cuddle me. I’ve been lonely downstairs all day.”
“Uh huh, with Pippa and your lackeys all around you? Somehow I don’t think so.”
“None of them are you, Mrs. Barratt.”
“You’re full of it, Mr. Barratt.” I slipped out of his arms. If I don’t get away from him now it’ll be a while before I do. I don’t want to look rumpled when our guests get here. Luc will tease me mercilessly if I do. “I—“
Before I even realized what was happening, everything around me went dark and my head swam.
Houghton caught me as I fell.
Well. Houghton was staring down at me the moment my head cleared. “I’m ok.”
“Sure you are. I’ve called for a car. We’re taking you to see Lacy right now.” He lifted me off the chaise and walked from my office.
“Houghton, I’m ok. I just didn’t eat much today.” Come to think of it, I didn’t eat anything more than a vending machine muffin at the hospital this morning. “It’s probably the meds and a lack of food. I’m ok, I promise.”
“Melody Beck Barratt doesn’t faint. Even if she hasn’t eaten.”
“Houghton, I’m just fine. Put me down. If I feel sick, I’ll talk to Lacy tonight, ok? Or Jilly.”
“Don’t, Melody. Just don’t.”
I knew what he was thinking—Houghton’s biggest fear is something happening to me. I knew that; he’d told me so himself. Multiple times. I put my hands on his cheeks and forced him to look at me. “I’m ok. I promise. I think I just stood up too quickly. Sometimes…the pain pills can cause dizziness. Loss of equilibrium. You know that.” I’m not on a lot of pills now—nowhere near what I used to be—but I still took some for pain management. I will always hurt—or so I have been told.
Sometimes the side effects were worse than the original condition, though.
“I’ll talk to Lacy tonight about the pain pills. See what other options are out there. I promise, I will. Ok?”
He stopped walking. I know what he was thinking. He was thinking he could just carry me out to the car and to the hospital and get every answer he demanded.
Houghton tried to control everything, didn’t he? “Put me down, Houghton. I need a shower.”
“I’m sticking by your side until Lacy gets here. Just deal with it, babe. I’m not taking my hands off of you until she’s here.”