Offensive Behavior (Sidelined #1)(10)

By: Ainslie Paton


“In or you’re both out,” said the driver.

“Aarrgh.” She wedged herself into the seat beside Reid and read out the address on his driver’s license. He had a couple of fifties and hundred dollar bills in his wallet, more than enough for this cab. She’d drop him off and continue on home, call herself a superhero for saving someone’s butt after all.

His place was only a five-minute ride away. Total swank job. A South Beach warehouse conversion, all steel and glass and nothing like she expected from a man who seemed as if he’d left good times behind. But for all its imposing grandeur and probable view of the bay, dropping him at the hospital might’ve been a better idea.

The driver shifted eyes up in the mirror. “He your boyfriend?”

“Nope. Don’t know him from Adam.”

The driver sighed. “I’ll help you get him to his door.”

“You are a Good Samaritan.”

“No, I want my backseat available and there’s no way you, tiny person, can get him home alone by yourself.”

“I’m fine,” Reid said, and flung his door open, getting his feet to the ground but not making it upright.

Zarley gave the driver a fifty and there was no pretense there’d be any change, though the fair wasn’t a quarter of that amount.

Together they managed to get Reid out of the cab and moving to the security door, where he mumbled a code that got them inside after much fumbling about.

“You going to leave him like this?” the driver said while they rode the lift, Reid propped between them, a mass of shakes, as though he was freezing cold.

“I’m fine,” Reid said.

“And my mother still loves me,” said the driver.

Yes, she was going to leave him. Maybe he had a wife, though no ring, or a roommate. There was a door buzzer and they pressed it and that roused Reid further. He placed his hand on a sensor pad on the wall and the door opened.

The driver backed off and he’d called the lift back and disappeared inside it before Zarley had a chance to stop him.

Reid staggered inside the apartment, an overhead light turning on automatically as he moved passed it. She could’ve left him then, but there was obviously no one else home so she followed him inside. She’d get the name of the guy who was with him last night and call him to come around.

Holy shit, this place. She could see the moonlit bay and the bridge out the huge floor-to-ceiling windows. Reid made it to an ugly sofa in front of a truly enormous wall-mounted TV; that along with a games console were the only things in the vast room.

Maybe he’d just moved in.

Probably she should get him a glass of water.

She took a quick tour. The place was huge and echoey, barely furnished. Some kind of stone floor. There was a single kitchen stool in the too clean to have ever been cooked in kitchen, and a monster-sized bed in the master bedroom. Another room was full of boxes, half of them sealed, and a glass-topped desk covered in a mess of paper on which two different computers hummed. There was a home gym that was seriously the bomb. All it lacked was a pole.

She moved back into the living room, feeling like she should tiptoe for no good reason. She’d forgotten the water.

He made her jump when he spoke. “You can go. I’m fine.”

She waited to see if that was all he’d say, and it was. “Normally that would be followed by thank you.”

“Thank you,” he mumbled, then he tried to stand and ended up on his knees on the floor.

She went to him as he struggled to get his feet back under him. “I need to call your friend from last night.”

He looked at her with unfocused eyes and recognition bloomed. “Lux.”

“That’s me.”

“Fuck.”

“Thanks for that. Look, I can’t leave you alone because I’m a total sap. Tell me who to call.” She’d taken his phone when she got his wallet in the cab. She waggled it in his direction while putting his wallet on the cabinet that housed the games console.

“No one.”

“Someone.”

“Too much trouble. Go.”

“I’m not leaving you alone, you could, I don’t know, die.” Could you die from food poisoning? It would be just her thing that from Lucky’s brand you could.

“Dying is too good for me.”

She clapped her hands on her legs. “At last, something we can agree on.”

“Get out.”

“Wow. Neither furnishing nor manners maketh the man.”

He got himself back to the seat of the sofa. “I’m offensive.”

“No argument from me.”

“I’m a jerk.”

“I’d have said asshole, but who cares what I think, right?”

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