Hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday and/or weekend.

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Chapter 13

“Saved another one I see,” Dr. Kenner smiled as Lauren wiped a name from the ER white board. “You’re down right amazing.”

Lauren blushed under the effusive praise that Dr. Kenner never seemed to be short on. “This was hardly one for the medical journals,” she deflected. His brand of sunshine was going to take some getting used to.

He smiled good naturedly saying, “I’ll be the judge of that.” Dr. Kenner turned to leave, but stopped short. “Oh, I almost forgot, I approved your request for time off. If moving means you’ll be staying then you can take as long as you need.”

“Thank you, but I should only need a day or two.”

Signing the leasing application had gone smoothly enough. Lauren had to explain why her name wasn’t on the forms. When she alluded that Jess would more than likely be that Mrs. Lewis they spoke about, the realtor was eager to get them out his office. His pride had been kicked twice at that point.

“What was that about?” Jess asked as they returned to the hospital.

“Nothing. I think he was just reinforcing your assessment about the size of the LGBT community here.”

Jess nodded in understanding. “Told you I needed you to stay.”

The days off would be needed for Lauren to begin building her life, her new life. She was proud to have a job and apartment in such little time. A couch and bed were likely to send her over the moon.

While filing charts a familiar figure caught her eye. She watched a young lady turn a corner noting her long, dark hair and slimmer than slip hips. Lauren’s mind immediately turned to Kenzi and her rapier wit. In that instant she missed everything about home, even her strained relationship with Kenzi.

Thoughts of home and Kenzi sent her mind to Bo. Lauren closed her eyes and could still see every detail of the succubus’ face. She could smell her scent and feel her strong arms wrapped around her body. Lauren was overcome by grief so strong it sent her careening toward he nearest supply closet. Not the safest hiding place, but she would never make it to the bathroom without avoiding embarrassment.

Tears poured down her cheeks, her shoulders shaking under the weight of her melancholy. She’d never see Bo again, never hear her voice soothing away her fears, never feel her skin against her own or see those endless pools of mocha turn to ice in an instant as she protected the ones she loved.

A tentative knock sounded and before Lauren could regain her composure Jess was filling the rest of the tiny space. Lauren looked into her face, so much like Bo’s, and felt herself shatter into a million tiny pieces.

Jess’ arms were around her in an instant. She didn’t utter a single word as she allowed Laruen to release her sadness all over her EMT uniform. It was long moments before Lauren could pull herself together and her color only returned when she saw the wet spot she’d created.

“I’m sorry. Your shirt—”

“Don’t worry about it.” Jess placed a hand gently upon Lauren’s cheek using the pad of her thumb to wipe away the last tear to escape its prison behind Lauren’s lashes. “I’m sorry.”

Lauren frowned. “What for?”

“For whatever made you feel this way.”

They were a hare’s breath apart, the air between them mingling deliciously. At this distance with her eyes blurry from tears, Lauren could pretend, she could almost believe that Jess would be good enough. With her hand gently stroking her neck and their chests almost pressed together, Lauren could immerse herself in the fantasy.

Before she could jump, before she was to push reason aside and take the comfort being offered, Jess took a step back. “You have to go.”

When Lauren would have questioned why the PA system sounded requesting her presence at the emergency bay. She stared at Jess for a second longer before going to the door. She stopped before leaving, giving Jess one last look.

Thank you.

“You’re welcome,” Jess rejoined with a smile.

Lauren would be awake for hours that night thinking about how she never said, “thank you,” aloud.

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