Home > Beyond Just Us (Remington Medical #4)(5)

Beyond Just Us (Remington Medical #4)(5)
Author: Kimberly Kincaid

“Alright, alright.” Declan held up a hand. He’d been raised by a fierce woman, and he’d spent nearly a quarter of his twenty-seven years in the Air Force. He knew a losing fight when he was eye to eye with one, and she wasn’t exactly wrong. His body wasn’t likely to cooperate with any major commands he gave it until that dextrose worked its magic. “But it’s Declan. Or…what was it you called me earlier? Irish?”

“Oh.” The doc’s face flushed, and Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, she was pretty. “That was just to keep your attention so you wouldn’t keel over on me.”

“It’ll do, if you like. But no more mister.” He felt out of place enough. Being reduced to a formality on top of it? Not on Declan’s list of fuck-yes.

The corners of Dr. Michaelson’s mouth kicked up. “Will it get you into this gown any faster?”

He took the bag from her without releasing her stare. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Then I guess you should get moving, Irish. Carefully,” she added.

“Yes, ma’am.”

Declan ditched his clothes, albeit slowly and clumsily and, damn it, with help, swapping them out for the hospital gown and letting the male nurse tuck his jeans, T-shirt, and boots into the larger bag he’d provided from beneath the gurney. Declan still felt like hell, but being off his feet helped a bit. The oxygen mask the nurse handed over as he settled back against the gurney was another bump in the right direction, and Dr. Michaelson reappeared in a manner that suggested she hadn’t gone far in the first place.

“How come you’re not havin’ your resident do this?” Declan asked, gesturing to the IV bag she’d begun to hook up to the tube taped to his arm.

“I could,” she agreed. “Young’s a pretty decent student. But, as it turns out, my med school diploma isn’t just a wall decoration.” Her body tensed, so slightly that if her gloved hands hadn’t actually been on Declan as she spoke, he likely would’ve missed it. “Plus, you and Connor served together, and he’s already going to have his boxers in a triple-knot since I take it he doesn’t know you’re diabetic.”

Declan shook his head, his gut clenching. “I’ve got my reasons for not tellin’ him.”

“And they’re none of my business. These leads for the cardiac monitor might be a little cold. Sorry,” Dr. Michaelson said, and whoa, how had she already placed two of them?

She was done with the rest in a matter of seconds, and Declan admired her handiwork. “Nice. Well done on the IV, too. Usually the ink throws people.”

Her eyes traveled over his tattoos, which spanned both of his arms from wrist to shoulder. Never mind the one he’d gotten across his abdomen six months ago.

“It’s more by feel than anything else. Second nature once you do enough of them.” Shrugging, she checked the readout on the cardiac monitor standing next to his gurney “So, how long have you been diabetic?”

“No beatin’ around the bush for you,” he said. It was a classic deflection, of course.

And one she didn’t hesitate to call him out on. Of course. “I’m your doctor, remember? Taking a detailed history is part of my job.”

Declan blew out a breath. She’d discover the extent of things soon enough. At least Connor wasn’t here to hear him say, “I was diagnosed a little over two years ago.”

The lift of her brows was the only indication of her surprise. “Marcus, let’s get a CBC, blood gas, metabolic panel, and urinalysis on Irish, here. And tell the lab tech that I want the results rushed…unless he wants me to come up there and use my extensive knowledge of human anatomy and my wildly inventive imagination against him.”

“Well, Dr. Michaelson,” Declan said as soon as he’d jumped through all the medical-test hoops with the nurse and watched the guy duck out the door, presumably to hightail it to the lab, lest the doc hold him responsible for any delays, too. “What’s next, then?”

“I finish taking your history, then perform a more in-depth physical exam, and probably call in a consult from an endocrinologist.”

Declan’s smile was a total bluff. Christ, how had this gotten so bad, so fast? “So, we’re about to get cozy, then.”

“Enough that you should probably call me Tess,” she said, checking his vitals on the monitor one more time as she grabbed the electronic chart the nurse had left behind.

Surprise popped through his veins, evidenced a second later on the screen beside him. “Not exactly protocol, is it?”

“Nope. But I’m not exactly a protocol kind of girl, and it’s technically not Michaelson, anyway. At least, not anymore.”

He spun that one around in his head for a second, then two, before… “Ah. Recently divorced?” Not that marriage had really ever been on Declan’s radar, especially considering the raging mess his parents’ relationship had been, but seriously—what sort of idiot would let a smart, beautiful woman like this get away from him?

“Yep.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” she said, her tart smile tagging him center mass before spreading a tingly path over his skin. “I’m definitely not. At any rate, since you’re tight with Connor and I’m not tight with stuffy protocol, Tess is fine.”

“What’s your new one?” Declan asked. He knew there was business at-hand, sure, and it was pretty important. But he wasn’t exactly going anywhere, and this conversation was the most personal he’d had in…hell, he didn’t even know. The modeling gig he’d fallen into after returning to civilian life two years ago was great, but most everyone in the business freelanced. He’d never been particularly close with anyone he’d worked with since the Air Force had booted his arse, and he spent the rest of his time either at the gym or with a revolving door of doctors and specialists at the VA hospital. Add his gruff, introverted nature to the mix, and none of it was exactly conducive to quality one-on-ones.

Tess paused, clearly surprised. “My new one, what?”

“Last name. The one you’re going back to, I mean.”

“Oh. Well, my maiden name is Jameson—”

“Like the whiskey,” they both said in unison. Her eyes flared, and hey, what do you know, the heat in his blood did the same damn thing.

“Exactly,” she whispered.

But before Declan could think up some way to hang on to the unexpected normalcy and pure comfort of the moment, if only for a breath, Connor appeared in the doorway of the exam room, worry etched all over his face.

“Declan? What the hell is going on? Why are you here? What’s wrong?”

And just like that, Declan was reminded that normal no longer existed.

“It’s a long story, mate, and I’m afraid there’s no happy ending.”

 

 

3

 

 

The chances of Tess’s current situation taking the handbasket route directly to Satan’s backyard were far better than she liked, which meant she had to get things under control, stat. Yes, Connor was one of her closest friends, and no, she didn’t take that lightly. But right now, her first obligation was to her patient; namely, his right to confidentiality. No matter how tight they’d been in the Air Force, if Declan didn’t want Connor to know about his health condition, Tess wasn’t going to let the big guy in on so much as a syllable.

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