Back to Stars, Stripes & Motorbikes. Autumn has had an accident…and Linc comes to visit her in the hospital the next morning:
Linc stayed at the hospital for hours. While Autumn was in surgery for some internal bleeding, he sat with the now-cantankerous Murphy, who had yet to be officially released from the hospital yet. To keep his new friend happy, Linc demanded and sought out regular updates on Autumns surgery.
Two hours after they’d arrived at the hospital, Murphy was cleared and Clay showed up with clothes for all three of them, plus Murphy’s old prosthetic. Once Autumn was finally out of surgery and in a room, Linc sat with Murphy until she somewhat woke.
In a stroke of luck, as bad as her arm had looked at the accident, it hadn’t required surgery. While she’d been under anesthesia they’d fixed it up as well without having to cut it open. After all was said and done, and Murphy had been set up with a cot, Linc had gone home.
Every inch of him wanted to stay and make sure everything was all right, but he didn’t have the right to sit bedside vigil—at least not an overnight one. First thing the morning, he was back at the hospital though.
In the room sat one simple vase with a single large blue daisy. Spread around it on the table were dozens upon dozens of cards. Murphy sat beside Autumn, his hand on hers.
“Morning, Murphy.” Linc passed the cards to sit next to Murphy. “How’s she doing?”
“Good.” Murphy’s spirits had improved, as he even wore a sly grin as he checked the clock. “Woke up a couple of times last night. She’s in a fair amount of pain still, but overall she’s looking real good. They say she should be out in a day or two.”
“Glad to hear it.” Linc furrowed his brow as Murphy checked the clock again.
After a third check, Murphy smoothed his hands over his short hair and straightened his wrinkled shirt.
“Something going on there, sir?”
“No. Not at all.” Murphy resumed holding Autumn’s hand. “Why?”
“No reason, I guess.” Before Linc could say more, the door opened after a brief, brisk knock. A nurse bustled in, heading straight for the machines beside the bed.
Murphy straightened in his seat, a wicked grin on his features. “You’re five minutes early, Lucy. I knew you couldn’t stay away.”
“Oh, you hush now.” Even as she scolded him, the pretty older nurse blushed. “My rounds went faster than this time.”
“Well then you’re finishing them early. This is Linc, by the way. Now that he’s here, maybe you can show me where that coffee machine is. I wouldn’t mind the help before you head off your shift.”
“It would be my last task of the day.”
Linc couldn’t stop his double take. There was no doubt Murphy knew where the coffee machine was, he’d been to it last night. After another quick glance at Lucy and her rouge cheeks, Linc could only chuckle. “You know, Murphy. I’m happy to sit here for a while. You’re probably starving. Maybe you should have some breakfast.”
“What an excellent idea. That is, if Lucy could show me the way to the cafeteria.” Murphy clapped Linc on the shoulder. “If that’s all right with you, Peanut.”
Sure enough, when Linc lifted his gaze, Autumn was blinking lazily at her dad. She smiled and nodded. “You need…eat…” A small sigh slipped through the air as her eyes blinked slow a few times before closing again.
Murphy needed no further encouragement. Linc took his place closer to Autumn as he bustled about, telling Lucy he’d be along in a minute. After a few minutes, Murphy leaned down to kiss Autumn’s forehead.
As the pair spoke quietly, Linc let his gaze wander to afford them some privacy. The slew of cards on the bedside table drew his eye, each one he could see mentioned Grady. Most of them said they would be making a donation in his name in lieu of flowers for her. Linc was distracted from his curiosity by Murphy’s hearty farewell.
Once the room was quiet and still, Autumn groaned and let out a shaky breath. She smiled up at the ceiling, and shook her head. “Thank you, I guess. If you hadn’t suggested breakfast he would have continued stuttering and hemming and hawing. My dad will face battle, but cowers in fear at the thought of asking out a woman. He’ll flirt, but date?”
“Glad I could help, then.” Linc chuckled and rose so he could meet her gaze. “Now that he’s gone, how are you really doing?”
“Fuck, it hurts.” Her nostrils flared when she tried to move. “But what really sucks is being restricted. I hate this. I hate it.”
“I feel your pain on that one.” Linc shuddered. The worst part of his healing process had been when he’d been on restriction. “Something tells me you’re not one to sit still.”
“No, I’m not.”
“If you’re worried about the shop, I already offered to help.”
“No.” She sat up, her features twisted in panic. Immediately she winced and sank back against the bed. “I mean, you don’t have to.”
“I know I don’t have to.” Linc leaned back and shrugged. Maybe if he kept it casual she wouldn’t freak out again. “I’d planned on being in town for at least a month anyway, I just failed to plan for something to do. Now I have something. I’m not one to sit around and do nothing any more than you are.”
“Did Dad ask you to help?”
He snorted and leaned forward. “Really? You think your dad is going to just straight out ask me for help? He knows you’d kill him, and me. I like your dad, but he’s a sneaky one.”
“Don’t I know it?” The smile she’d lost in her shock flickered back into view. “That’s why I appreciate you doing the same to him a few minutes ago.”
“Hey, anything to help a guy out. You good with him hooking up with your nurse?”
“Uh, yeah. I’ve been pestering him to start dating for years.”
“Well, you finally accomplished it.”
“I hope so. Maybe he’ll stop meddling in my life.”
“Sure. Keep telling yourself that.”
She giggled, a sound that seemed helped along by the drug. “I know, right?”
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