Only with You (The Best Mistake #1) - Page 22

What the hell am I doing here? Just when Gray was about to make a cowardly exit, the doctor finally came out. Frankly, Gray couldn’t understand why they’d all been banished to the waiting room in the first place. It wasn’t like privacy was needed to sew up a couple of fingers.

“Hi, everyone, thanks for waiting,” the doctor said somberly, as though he’d just finished rebuilding Sophie’s spleen from scratch.

Dr. Hoyne shook Sophie’s dad’s hand. “I have some good news. Sophie’s going to be just fine.”

“Oh good, we were so worried,” Will said, earning a punch from Brynn.

“Will she have any permanent nerve damage?” Marnie asked, her hand pressed against her lips.

Seeing the genuine maternal concern, Gray felt some of his irritation fade. Yes, in the grand scheme of medical emergencies, this was barely a blip on the radar. But to the Daltons, one of their own was wounded.

Hell, Gray felt like one of his own was wounded. Not that Sophie was his, even if it had felt that way for a few strange moments in his condo.

However, surrounded by her family and friends, who really knew her, he suddenly felt out of place. At the end of the day, he was just her boss. And no matter how blatantly the attention-starved little minx had flirted with him, he wouldn’t be the one she wanted to see right now.

“Which one of you is Mr. Wyatt?” the doctor asked Will and Gray.

Will pointed to Gray and grinned as if he were a sixth grader passing the blame for some pulling a girl’s hair.

“Great, come with me,” the doctor said. “Sophie’s asking to see you.”

Silence settled over the group.

And just like that, Gray no longer felt out of place. He felt like grinning. Sophie wanted to see him. Even after he’d flirted with her, made her help him cook, and then barely spoken to her while they waited for her name to be called, she was asking for him.

Of course, she probably hadn’t realized yet that she had an entire get-well committee on hand. Swallowing awkwardly, he followed the doctor down the sterile hallway.

All boyish hopes that Sophie might anxiously be waiting on the hospital bed for Gray to check on her faded when he heard her laugh all the way down the hall. Instead of finding a wounded bird holding a broken wing, he found a preening peacock, sitting hip to hip with an elderly man, giggling over what appeared to be an ancient photo album.

“Oh, Gray!” she said, her face glowing and smiling, instead of somber and in pain. “Meet my new friend, Mr. Bronson. He was just showing me pictures of when he and his wife went to the circus in Paris and the baby elephant escaped.”

Gray couldn’t figure out if he wanted to smile or just walk away in exasperation. He’d spent the past twenty minutes enduring glares from her overbearing family, and she was in here discussing baby circus animals with a man who looked like Santa Claus.

Her gaze fell on the doorway behind him and her smile faltered slightly.

“Mom? Dad? What…Wow, everyone’s here. What’s going on?”

“We came to see if you were all right, of course!” Marnie said, dashing to her daughter’s side and grabbing for her wrist. “Oh gosh, what a huge bandage.”

“Mom, seriously, it’s just a few stitches on each finger. I’ll be completely back to normal before my next dump.”

Everybody except Mr. Bronson winced. The old man patted her knee. “It’s good to be regular, dear.”

Sophie’s welcoming smile was long gone, and she fixed Gray with a glare. “Really? You called my entire family because of a little cut finger?”

“Oh no, that was me, dear,” said the plump redheaded nurse who had just entered the room. “I just sent your parents a text message to say how pretty you’d gotten over the years! I wasn’t thinking that they’d probably freak out that an emergency room nurse was seeing their daughter. Sorry, everyone. I just didn’t think…”

“Obviously,” Gray muttered.

“Don’t worry about it, Anna,” Sophie said with a reassuring smile. “I’m sure my family and friends feel silly for rushing down here.”

“On the contrary, Soph. I, for one, was terrified. I actually stopped at the hospital chapel on the way up here,” Will said as he dug through a basket of lollipops intended for six-year-olds.

“Knock it off, Will. Don’t mock the chapel. And don’t belittle Sophie’s injury,” Brynn snapped.

“Says the big sister who was more focused on ogling her ex than worrying about Sophie,” Will muttered under his breath.

Gray stiffened awkwardly. This was a

conversation he didn’t want to have…ever. Sure, he owed Brynn an explanation, but not here.

Sophie apparently agreed, because she scowled fiercely at her family.

“Dad, you can’t go abusing your hospital connections just to spy on your kids. I’m sure Anna or Dr. Hoyne could have told you over the phone that it was just a finger scratch and not head trauma.”

Both parents looked away guiltily.

“And Brynn,” Sophie said pleadingly, “please quit looking at me like I just shot your cat. Nothing happened between Gray and me; we were just together for work reasons.”

Brynn sputtered, obviously not enjoying being called out. “I wasn’t worried about that, I was just surprised…”

“And bitchy,” Will said around a neon green lollipop. Did the man never stop eating?

“And you,” Sophie said, turning on Will. “Thank you for coming down, but come on. You didn’t know better? You couldn’t have run interference?” She glanced meaningfully at Brynn.

Will shrugged, unperturbed as ever. “Brynn called me saying that there’d been an accident and that she was worried about you.”

“Brynn called you?” Marnie asked.

“And you actually came?” asked Dr. Dalton.

For the first time since Gray had met him, Will seemed to falter. “I came for Sophie, obviously. I was worried.”

Awkward silence settled over the group.

Gray wondered what his next move should be. Did he try to explain to the family why their daughter was at his home on a Friday night? Out of habit, he looked to Sophie for guidance. She was forever giving him hints on appropriate social behavior.

But not this time. She was too busy staring at the bandages on her fingers like she could heal them with her eyes.

Gray cleared his throat nervously. “Ms. Dalton, if you’re feeling better, I think I’ll let you spend time with your family. I’ll see you on Monday. Unless, of course, you need a ride home,” he finished politely.

Sophie’s head snapped up, her wide eyes blinking up at him.

“Ms. Dalton?” Will said. “What a stiff.”

Gray wanted to snap that he wasn’t deaf, but confrontation wasn’t really his style. Neither was playing nursemaid, and he silently begged Sophie to excuse him from this awkward mess.

“Sure, I can get a ride home from my parents,” Sophie finally replied, sounding uncharacteristically formal. “Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to drive me over here. I apologize for the”—she shook her injured hand in a little wave—“inconvenience. Hopefully it won’t adversely affect my typing skills on Monday.”

That made his head snap around and he met her gaze. “For God’s sake, you know it’s not your work I care about—”

Will cleared his throat.

“I should go,” Gray said finally.

Hating himself for his curtness, but feeling completely out of his element, he walked quietly out the door and nodded an awkward farewell before escaping into the blissful anonymity of the hospital hallway.

Traces of conversation followed him as he headed for the parking lot.

“Good Lord, did the man just bow to us?” Will asked.

“Interestingly, William, some men understand the basic concepts of being a gentleman,” Brynn said.

“How, by screwing his secretary?” Will asked.

“Now, I’m sure it wasn’t like that. He doesn’t seem the type to be interested in our Sophie,” Marnie said. “They said they were working.”

“On what, French cooking lessons? Or French something else?”

“Can we please go now? Please?” The faint request came from Sophie, and the pleading quality of her voice almost had him turning around. She sounded nothing like herself.

But he kept walking. He didn’t know the first thing about playing hero.

“Gray, wait up a sec.” His heart sped up for a brief second when he thought it might be Sophie coming after him.

He watched her approach, waiting for some sort of sting of regret that he’d let this beautiful woman walk away from him. At the very least, he expected some sort of physical regret that he hadn’t even tried to get her into bed.

But as he watched Brynn come toward him, he felt nothing. A removed appreciation, maybe. She was still lovely, and he could see them being friends. But any lingering hope that they might get back together faded for good. There was nothing here but friendship potential.

“Can I get a ride home?” she asked. “I know it’s out of the way, but I don’t want my parents to have to drive me and Sophie, and

Will…that’s just not happening.”

He was a little surprised by the request, but didn’t really mind. “Sure. My car’s parked just out front.”

She smiled in thanks and tucked her arm companionably in his. Gray waited for the alarm bells to go off in his paranoid mind, but nothing happened.

Brynn seemed more thoughtful than flirtatious, and he relaxed slightly.

While they waited for the elevator, Gray had the uncomfortable sensation of being watched, and he warily glanced back toward Sophie’s room.

Two very wounded eyes were blinking back at him, and he felt a stab of panic that he was seeing her here with Brynn. But before he could explain that this wasn’t what it looked like, her parents swooped around her, leading her in the opposite direction.

She didn’t look back.

* * *

Sophie gave the printer a soft kick. So much for her “minor” finger injuries not interfering with her work. The stitches from her parsley incident had been minimal, but the splint holding the two injured fingers immobile made even the simplest actions awkward.

Everything took her twice as long, from curling her hair, to typing up expense reports, to going to the damn bathroom.

Sophie’s patience had been fraying all week, and today she’d reached the breaking point. Hence the printer-kicking. She’d hoped to get out of work early today to stop by a friend’s birthday dinner, but instead it was seven o’clock and she was still stuck in the office. There was a pile of sales reports that needed to be printed before tomorrow’s board meeting, and, naturally, the printer with the built-in hole punch was out of ink.

Her choices were to try and figure out how to change the toner herself or use a different printer and do the hole-punching by hand.

Neither option would get her out of the office in the next hour with her crippled fingers.

On top of it all, she was spoiling for a fight and she knew exactly who she wanted to pick it with. Except the object of her frustration wasn’t exactly the type to lower himself to a good old-fashioned yelling fest.

He was more the ice-out-the-enemy type of fighter.

Something he’d been doing very well all week.

It had been six days since The Episode, and other than giving her curt work-related requests, Gray hadn’t spoken to her. He’d barely looked at her.

Either he was being a complete chickenshit, or whatever fuzzy feelings Sophie had felt that night at his house had been completely one-sided.

She glared down at the red, blinking error light. Stupid printer. Stupid job. Stupid Gray.

Stupid Sophie. That was the real crux of her anger. She was mad at herself for letting herself think that she might matter. Mad that she’d been ready to go back to his home after the emergency room and have a nice homemade crepe, and instead he’d left her there to go home with her dad while he walked away with his ex-girlfriend.

She felt the now familiar heat of embarrassment that always made her fingers tingle, and she shook her hand. Normally she liked Brayburn’s copy room. It smelled like paper and productivity. And since she was the only one that used the one on the executive floor, it usually felt like her private haven when the rest of the office felt too chaotic.

But tonight her precious copy room felt like a prison holding her back from the bubble bath that awaited her at home.

Resigning herself to the battle ahead, she found a stool and carefully teetered up its wobbly steps toward the toner boxes on the top shelves, giving a little grunt of triumph when she managed to grab the box and crawl back down the stool without falling and shattering her tibia. She so did not need another ER visit.

But getting the box down was only the start of the battle. This wasn’t a simple open-the-door-and-drop-it-in type of deal. Sophie stared down at the indecipherable images masquerading as instructions. Why didn’t they just tell you how to change the cartridge?

What was this first picture supposed to be? It looked like a UFO sitting on top of a tractor.

“Need some help?”

Sophie closed her eyes. Of course he would be here. She didn’t even muster the energy to feel surprised. Even if she hadn’t known the rough voice by now, Gray was the only one who stayed in the office this late. He probably considered it a sacrilege to leave the office before the nightly janitorial crew had left.

“Go away,” she breathed, not turning to look at him.

Not exactly the cool professionalism she was hoping for, but she’d been trying for cool professional all week. It was Thursday, and her feet hurt, her hand was throbbing, and she just wanted to go home.