Struck by lightning, sounds pretty frightening
But you know the chances are so small
Hit by the A-Train, crashed in an airplane
Better chance you're gonna buy it at the mall
But it's a twenty-three-or-four-to-one
That you can fall in love by the end of this song
So get up, get up
No I'm never gonna let up so you might as well sing along
The odds are that we will probably be alright
Odds are we gonna be alright, odds are we gonna be alright tonight
The odds are that we will probably be alright
Odds are we gonna be alright, odds are we gonna be alright tonight
("Odds Are" by Barenaked Ladies)
“Dude, I swear. I’ve totally had sex with her,” Ashlyn whispered, readjusting the ice pack held to the side of her head.
“You’ve said that before, and every time, you’ve got the wrong person. A lot of people live in Anchorage; you sure she doesn’t just look like someone else?” Tobin scoffed, moving her hands behind her head on the hospital bed. She glanced down at the gash on her shin and the blood that had dried around it, making it look a lot worse than it really was.
The E.R. in Anchorage General wasn’t full, but it was busy enough for the doctors, nurses, and interns to be running around, caring for patients. Tobin was just glad that they’d had enough people on hand to rush the guy she and Ashlyn had rescued from a house fire into surgery.
She’d grown up in Anchorage, so this E.R. was familiar. It was where she’d come when she’d broken her arm in seventh grade. It was where she’d had her appendix removed right before her freshman year of high school.
It was where she’d woken up the summer before senior year, where her dad had broken the news, where her life had taken a sharp turn.
The beds were different now, and the doctors wore darker blue scrubs than they had when she was a kid, but it was still the same. It smelled just like it had back then, and a couple of the older nurses and doctors still looked at her the same way they had when she was seventeen and screaming.
“She’s got ink on her ribcage. Some deep, philosophical shit in German,” Ashlyn continued, recapturing Tobin’s attention. Ashlyn winced as she craned her neck to catch sight of the dark-haired E.R. doctor, feeling the pain in her head multiply. “She said something like she was new to the area. I swear that’s her.”
“Oh, let me just ask her to lift up her shirt then,” Tobin snorted, glancing at the doctor Ashlyn was claiming to have had sex with.
“From what I remember, it takes three beers and some sweet-talking for that to work with her,” Ashlyn grinned.
“I think I’ll let you do that,” Tobin sighed, taking a deep breath in and feeling her ribs ache. “You haven’t changed at all since college.”
Tobin let her eyes flit across the room, only stopping when her eyes landed on another doctor in the corner of the room who was putting a dislocated shoulder back in place.
Tobin had dislocated her shoulder before. She’d popped a couple of people’s shoulders back into place herself in emergency situations. It wasn’t anything new, and the scream that the patient let out didn’t startle her. Nothing really startled her anymore; nothing had for a long time.
But it was the doctor’s bright green eyes that stunned her the most. It was the way they met her own for a brief moment and sent Tobin’s heart racing that scared her. It was the way Tobin wanted her to look again that had her stomach churning.
“Think Bryce is gonna pull through?” Ashlyn asked, looking over at Tobin and noticing her attention was elsewhere. She shuffled around on the hospital bed she sat on, managing to catch sight of the person who’d captivated Tobin’s attention. A sly smirk made its way onto Ashlyn’s face when she noticed the gorgeous doctor Tobin was all but drooling over. “Fuck Bryce. You know her, Toby?” Ashlyn asked.
“What?” Tobin murmured, “Oh, no. I don’t.”
“I thought you knew every eligible bachelorette in town,” Ashlyn smirked. “You’re a bonafide, homegrown heartbreaker.”
“She’s definitely not from here,” Tobin mumbled. “And who says she’s a bachelorette?”
“No ring,” Ashlyn pointed out, gesturing at the doctor’s left hand.
“Lots of people take their rings off to work,” Tobin argued, looking at the doctor’s ring finger to check and see if there was a tan line, anything that would hint that she was married.
“Do lots of people ping my gaydar in Anchorage, Alaska?” Ashlyn countered. “Because that shit be pinging.”
“You think everyone is gay,” Tobin scoffed, pulling her eyes off of the green-eyed doctor.
“Everyone should be, but I digress. That woman over there definitely knows her way around a-”
Ashlyn’s head whipped around, her eyes landing on the dark-haired doctor she definitely knew. At the familiar way her last name rolled off her tongue, Ashlyn winked at Tobin and then refocused on the doctor.
“So, you remember me too, huh?” Ashlyn quipped, settling back in the bed with a cocky smirk.
“How hard did you hit your head?” the doctor laughed. “Your name is on the chart,” she added, tapping the plastic clipboard at the foot of the bed.
Ashlyn flushed a dark red, her eyes widening in surprise. “You- uh-” she spluttered, uncharacteristically tongue-tied.
“I’m Dr. Ali Krieger. I’m amazed you don’t have a concussion actually,” Ali replied, arching her brow in Ashlyn’s direction. It was painfully obvious she didn’t recognize Ashlyn, only furthering Ashlyn’s embarrassment and inability to form a coherent response.
“She’s got a super hard head,” Tobin said, glancing over at Ali. “Are you gonna stitch her up?”
“Where is it?” Ali replied, pulling on a pair of gloves.
Ashlyn dumbly pointed to the side of her head, removing the ice pack and lifting up a section of hair to reveal a small gash.
“I think this will be a quick fix,” Ali declared with a chuckle, grabbing a Band-Aid from her coat pocket and walking around the side of the bed so she could put the bandage on Ashlyn’s head. “It isn’t deep. No need for stitches.”
“I have a question,” Tobin said, a shit-eating grin spreading across her face despite the throbbing in her ribs and her shin.
“I might have an answer,” Ali replied, focusing intently on peeling the wrapping off the small Band-Aid and putting it on Ashlyn’s head.
“Do you have a tattoo on your ribs?” Tobin asked, ignoring the way Ashlyn was smacking the side of the bed to get her to stop.
Ali hesitated and looked past Ashlyn, narrowing her eyes in Tobin’s direction. “How hard did you hit your head?”
“Oh, I didn’t. My buddy here thinks she’s slept with you. She said you have German words on your ribs,” Tobin said matter-of-factly.
“Fuck off, Heath,” Ashlyn grumbled, her cheeks flaming.
Ali looked a little surprised at the turn of conversation, her eyes moving between Tobin and Ashlyn. But then she looked intently at Ashlyn for a few moments and froze, a sparkle of recognition in her eyes.
“Oh my God! We met at Sheridan’s right? A few weeks ago?” Ali asked, a chuckle leaving her lips as she stood back up and removed the gloves from her hands.
“Yeah, that’s me,” Ashlyn said weakly. “I think I need to get back to work now.”
“No more work for you today, Harris. A little R&R is in your future. But…if you find yourself at Sheridan’s tonight, keep an eye out for me,” Ali winked, tossing the gloves into a wastebasket and walking off.
“Duuuuude,” Tobin laughed, flopping an arm over her eyes. “Cute doctor is gonna help you R&R.”
“I hate you,” Ashlyn groused, but the small smile on her lips as she watched Ali walk away took the bite out of her words.
“You love me. If I hadn’t told her, you wouldn’t be getting a second night with her,” Tobin defended.
Even if that was true, Ashlyn wasn’t just going to let Tobin get away with the shit she just pulled. It was classic Tobin, but it was annoying nonetheless.
“Hey Ali- I mean, Dr. Krieger?” Ashlyn called out, capturing Ali’s attention.
“Ali’s fine,” she said with a smirk, putting down the next patient’s clipboard and stepping back over to Ashlyn’s bed.
“Who’s Doctor Green Eyes over there? Toby here needs to get stitched up and would really love her to do it,” Ashlyn grinned, pointedly ignoring the way Tobin reached out and smacked her arm.
Ali let out a loud laugh, making the green-eyed doctor glance over to their side of the room.
“Would you like me to get her? You definitely need stitches,” Ali said with a smile.
Ashlyn’s ‘Yes!’ drowned out Tobin’s croaked ‘No,’ sending Ali off to the other corner of the E.R.
“This isn’t the same,” Tobin whined. “I haven’t slept with her.”
“Maybe Green Eyes can help you R&R,” Ashlyn said sweetly, batting her eyelashes and looking the picture of innocence.
“She could be straight for all I know,” Tobin hissed, her heart racing when she saw Ali pointing the other doctor toward her bed.
“My gaydar never lies,” Ashlyn replied, hopping up from the bed with a small groan. “I’ll be in the truck,” she added with a salute for Tobin.
“Ash-” Tobin groaned, trying to get out of the bed and follow after Ashlyn, stitches be damned.
“I hear you need to get stitched up?” a warm, almost angelic voice stopped Tobin in her tracks.
Tobin froze, her legs dangling over the side of the bed and her stomach doing flips. “I- uh- yep,” Tobin mumbled, feeling a fresh bit of blood start to seep out of the gash now that her leg was hanging off the bed.
“Eloquent. Did someone check your head out?” the green-eyed doctor replied, her smile tinged with amusement.
“I didn’t hit it,” Tobin croaked out, wishing she had a bottle of water to chug really quickly.
“Good. Sit back for me...Heath?” the doctor asked, eyeing the chart quickly to get Tobin’s name before stepping up to the hospital bed.
Tobin hoisted her leg back up onto the bed, cringing at the even bloodier shin and the way her white socks were officially ruined. She already had to buy more pants since one of the nurses had cut the fabric, starting at the ankle and ending at her knee.
“It looks worse than it is,” she mumbled, keeping her eyes on her leg and not on those piercing green eyes.
“That your professional medical opinion?” the doctor teased, tilting her head to the side a bit as she looked from the wound on Tobin’s leg, up to Tobin’s eyes.
Tobin could feel a tiny smile creep its way onto her face at her teasing. She lifted her head slightly, her heart thudding against her ribcage when she saw the slightly amused smirk on the doctor’s lips.
“It’s my professional opinion, although I can’t say it’s founded in a medical degree.”
“Best leave those opinions to the doctors, I think.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Tobin saluted, leaning back into the pillow.
The doctor visibly cringed and pulled a chair over, settling on it as she tugged on a pair of surgical gloves. “Please don’t call me that. It’ll make me feel old,” she chucked.
“You don’t look old,” Tobin hummed.
Arching a brow, the doctor moved closer to the bed and dropped her attention to the gash on Tobin’s leg.
“You should probably leave the flirting to other people too,” the doctor replied smoothly, her lips still twitched up into a smile as she cleaned up the wound with soft touches.
“But then I wouldn’t get smiles like that. Best medicine in this place,” Tobin grinned.
Green eyes lifted to meet Tobin’s again, the small smile on the doctor’s face growing as a slight blush heated her cheeks. “You don’t want any other medicine? The stitches you need might smart a bit.”
“I’m sure it won’t be as bad as the time my co-worker gave me some emergency stitches with fishing line,” Tobin sighed, gripping onto the itchy bed sheets.
“I’ll try to be better than the fishing line,” the doctor replied, applying a local anesthetic to the wound and then starting the stitches.
“Already better technique,” Tobin winked, watching closely as the doctor made the first stitch.
The doctor just smiled again at the smooth compliment, her focused green eyes trained on the movements of her hands and the needle in them.
“Prettier stitches too,” Tobin added, lifting up part of her cut pant leg to show the doctor the thicker scar on the right side of her knee.
“How’d you get this, Heath?” the doctor asked, her brow furrowed slightly in concentration.
“The old scar or the one you’re working on...Dr. Press?” Tobin asked, glancing down at the doctor’s white coat where her name was stitched.
“Dr. Press is my mom. I’m just Christen,” the doctor replied quickly, looking up at Tobin with a tight smile. “Either one. Whatever keeps you talking and not watching me poke this needle into you.”
Tobin let out a soft laugh. “Sorry, it’s kind of relaxing to watch,” Tobin hummed, looking up at the ceiling.
“You watching me makes me nervous for some reason,” Christen admitted with a warm chuckle, turning her attention back to the stitches.
“Well, the old one was from a Search and Rescue mission. A co-worker and I were climbing down a mountain to where this hiker fell, and I slipped on the way down. The hiker had some fishing line and a hook to close me up until we got back to civilization. The latest was just your average clumsiness during a house fire,” Tobin shrugged.
“Hmm,” Christen hummed, finishing up the final stitch, her tongue poking out of the corner of her mouth as she focused. “Sounds like you live a dangerous life there, Heath.”
“It’s Tobin,” she said.
“What is?” Christen asked distractedly, sitting back with a satisfied smile aimed at her handiwork.
“My name. It’s Tobin. Only people at work really call me Heath.”
“Oh, sorry,” Christen chuckled, her cheeks filling with a pretty shade of pink as she blushed.
“The woman who stitched my leg up just apologized?” Tobin scoffed, rolling her eyes teasingly.
Christen shrugged her arms up and down as if to say, Yup, that’s me.
“You wouldn’t happen to know where a Nurse named O’Hara is, would you?” Tobin asked, looking down at the completed stitches and smiling at the perfect work Christen had just done.
Christen’s smile faltered just a bit. She pushed back in the chair and ripped her gloves off quickly.
“I’ll send Kelley around. Try to avoid danger next time so you don’t end up back on my table,” Christen advised, shooting Tobin a small nod before getting to her feet.
“Wait! I mean, maybe it’s not your job because you’re a doctor...I don’t know. All I know about doctors is from Grey’s Anatomy,” Tobin rambled.
Christen’s brow furrowed, her arms crossing over her chest. “What do you need?”
“O’Hara told me to wait for her for an x-ray about an hour ago, but if you know how to get that done, I don’t need to wait for her. Please?” Tobin asked, hoping that she wasn’t completely disrupting the hierarchy and order in the hospital.
Realization flashed through Christen’s eyes, bringing her easy smile back to her lips.
“Oh, that’s- okay. Um...what do you need to get x-rayed?” Christen asked.
“They wanted to look at my ribs,” Tobin sighed, lifting up her shirt and showing Christen the bruise that was blooming on her right side.
Christen immediately stepped closer, her hand falling to Tobin’s bare side. She prodded the bruised area, her forehead creasing in concern.
“Let’s go get that x-ray, Tobin,” Christen hummed, her eyes darting up to meet Tobin’s quickly.
“How do I ask for you every time? This is some speedy work,” Tobin said with an easy smile, the skin along the side of her ribs still tingling from where Christen had just touched her.
Christen just grinned and helped Tobin up from the hospital bed, careful not to jostle her ribs.
“A please gets you a long way in life.”
“Soooooo who was that tall drink of water?”
Christen choked on her sip of coffee and spluttered. She whipped around and saw Crystal, head of Neurosurgery and her newest friend here in Anchorage, grinning at her from the doorway.
Christen wiped the coffee from her chin and glowered at Crystal, stepping away from the coffee machine in the break room.
“A patient who was lucky not to break any ribs,” Christen replied breezily.
“She was super hot,” Crystal hummed, setting her own coffee cup under the machine and expertly pressing a few buttons.
Christen made a noncommittal noise but felt that stupid blush creep into her cheeks once more.
“Super reckless, more like it. Even for a firefighter,” Christen shrugged, her mind doing backflips to distance herself from whatever butterflies had fluttered around within her at Tobin’s easy smile and warm brown eyes.
The last thing she needed was to get distracted by someone who flirted daily with danger. Not again, and especially not with someone this heart-achingly beautiful. She barely survived the last one.
“All I’m saying is if I had a hot patient looking at me like that, I’d be stitching up that leg as slow as possible,” Crystal grinned, mixing some creamer into her coffee and taking a sip.
“I took the requisite amount of time to stitch her up. Hell, I think I went faster than my average,” Christen replied.
“You know what they say about all work and no play,” Crystal mumbled behind her coffee cup.
“It makes me happy?” Christen offered, following Crystal out of the break room and down the hallway, their strides matching one another’s.
“So, I can tell Shirley that she’s fair game?” Crystal asked with a smirk.
Christen choked on the next sip of coffee and glared over at Crystal. “Why do I bother trying to drink around you and your meddling?”
“Shirley was dying to take her for an x-ray,” Crystal shrugged.
Christen grumbled into her next sip of coffee, feeling suddenly very, very happy she’d made time to take the annoyingly attractive firefighter for her x-rays.
“Shirley’s in Peds. It’s not her job,” Christen scoffed.
“It’s not yours either really,” Crystal laughed.
“I’m an E.R. doctor, I was- I mean, I was making sure my patient was properly cared for after a traumatic injury,” Christen protested, knowing her excuse and her voice were weak enough for Crystal to pick up on.
“Your commitment to the job is really inspiring. Heart Eyes didn’t seem that traumatized, though,” Crystal winked, looking down at her pager.
“Heart eyes? No way. More like...flirt eyes,” Christen replied, hearing her pager beep as well. She checked it and sighed. “Gotta run. Let’s never talk about this again, yeah?” Christen asked, offering Crystal a small smile as she started toward the stairwell.
“All right, I’ll send Shirley in if she comes back,” Crystal laughed, following behind Christen.
“If you do, I’ll tell Pierre that his special, family heirloom vase wasn’t actually blown over by the wind last week!” Christen smirked.
“You wouldn’t,” Crystal gasped, jabbing a finger into Christen’s side.
“I would if Shirley takes Tobin for x-rays,” Christen shot back, unable to ignore the small flicker of jealousy inside of her, a flicker she had no business feeling.
“Ooooh you’re on a first-name basis with Heart Eyes,” Crystal cooed.
Christen just grumbled into her next sip of coffee and pushed open the door to the stairs. But even as she grumbled, a small smile graced her lips.
“That’s my sweater,” Christen sighed, looking up from her worn copy of Pride & Prejudice.
Ali was standing in front of the mirror dressed in her forest green sweater. Her mom had given it to her for Christmas last year, and even if she had yet to wear it, she wasn’t expecting her roommate to be wearing it tonight.
“Can I borrow it, though?” Ali pouted.
“Little late to the party there, Al,” Christen chuckled, pushing her glasses up the bridge of her nose and closing the book in her hand.
“There’s a very high chance that I’m gonna get laid tonight, and if I remember correctly, which I might not considering how drunk I was last time, it’s really good sex,” Ali said, lifting her right leg and looking at the boot option that she had on her left foot.
Christen rolled her eyes. “But why does that necessitate wearing my sweater?”
“It’s cold outside, and none of my sweaters are as cute as yours. Plus, if I wear yours, I can be positive that Ashlyn hasn’t seen it on me before,” Ali smiled.
“Ashlyn...which one is she again? The elementary school teacher or the bartender?” Christen asked. She pulled the wool blanket tighter around her, fighting off the chill in the air. It was barely November and it was already dropping below 20 degrees Fahrenheit at night. As a girl from California, she was definitely not used to this yet, even if she’d been here for a few weeks already.
“The really sexy firefighter who came in today,” Ali said, winking at Christen.
Christen couldn’t recall an Ashlyn. The only patient she really remembered working on all day was Tobin Heath, which Christen blamed on the stitches and long trip to get an x-ray taken of her ribs. She definitely wasn’t remembering Tobin for the playful glint in those brown eyes and the permanent cocky grin on Tobin’s face. Nope, not at all.
“She’s the one who came in with the patient who asked for you,” Ali smirked, choosing to wear her warmer, taller boots.
“Oh, her I remember,” Christen replied, feeling that same blush that had bothered her during her entire interaction with Tobin earlier color her cheeks again.
“She might be at Sheridan’s tonight too…” Ali sing-songed. “Want to join?”
Christen shook her head and held her book up in the air, fixing her glasses as they slid down her nose again.
“I’ve got Mister Darcy and the Bennetts to keep me company,” Christen replied.
“They definitely won’t fuck you tonight, though,” Ali sighed. “Come ooooon! It’s been a year. I think it might be good to get out there again and meet some people.”
Christen pointedly ignored Ali’s response. “Go on, get out of here, and leave me to my book.”
“Okay, but just put me out of my misery before I go. Would you want the firefighter to fuck you?” Ali asked, raising her eyebrows at Christen.
Christen wouldn’t dignify that question with a response, since she hardly knew anything about Tobin, other than her entire medical history of course.
“Goodbye, Al!” Christen called out, her eyes falling to her book again, not really processing the words on the page as she tried not to think about a patient in any way other than how she should be.
“Okay, I’ll tell her you’re on the fence if I see her!” Ali teased, pulling on a jacket and some gloves.
“Don’t wait up!” Ali yelled from the front door, slamming it closed before Christen could respond.
Christen rolled her eyes affectionately and focused on her book, realizing with a start that she was holding it upside-down and had been since Ali brought up fucking Tobin Heath.
“So you’re in love?” Tobin teased over the truck’s blaring siren.
Ashlyn smacked her gum and blew a large bubble, her smile almost ear to ear it was so big.
“It’s only been a week, dude,” Ashlyn replied, tactfully avoiding the question.
“You’ve had sober sex three times, and you left her in your house this morning with breakfast in bed,” Tobin scoffed, pulling on her helmet and making sure it was secure as the house came into view.
“Is that what love in your late 20’s is?” Ashlyn joked, tightening the strap of her helmet.
“That’s marriage, Harris,” Frank laughed before he parked the truck.
“Can it, old man. You wouldn't know marriage if it bit you on the dick,” Ashlyn replied, slinging her gear on her back.
Frank let out a huge laugh before jumping out of the truck.
“Someone’s cranky. Did she keep you up late?” Tobin teased, following Frank’s lead and hopping out of the truck before she got smacked.
“Up late and awake early,” Ashlyn grinned, jumping down and landing next to Tobin. The trio sobered at the sight of the flames and the smoke billowing out of the back of the house.
Frank sent the two of them into the house, staying outside to coordinate with the other people on scene and get water trained on the blaze.
Tobin headed through the front door, Ashlyn hot on her heels, walking slowly and keeping her eyes alert so that nothing would surprise them. She tapped her feet on the ground before each step, making sure that all the floorboards were sturdy. The fire was mainly located in the back of the house, but she knew there were two people still in the building, and she wasn’t entirely sure where they were.
The two of them climbed the stairs to the second floor, bracing themselves as they walked. They opened three doors before they finally found an elderly woman and a little girl, trying to get an upstairs window open on the side of the house.
“We’ve got you!” Tobin called out, stepping into the room and getting their attention.
“We’re with both of them,” Ashlyn radioed to Frank.
Ashlyn helped the older woman out of the house, keeping an arm around her as they walked and checking the floor as she moved.
Tobin lifted the little girl into her arms, following behind Ashlyn and following the same procedure. It wasn’t until they reached the front door that Tobin heard the barking coming from the kitchen.
“Ash!” Tobin called, lifting the little girl over the threshold of the front door and placing her on the top step.
“I got her!” Ashlyn yelled, waving Tobin back into the house as she hustled back to get the little girl.
Tobin slowly made her way into the kitchen where the barking seemed to be coming from, taking each step carefully. The flames had reached the back half of the kitchen, licking the cabinets and causing the paint to peel off of them in thin strips.
“Hey, buddy,” Tobin cooed, crouching down to get the dog’s attention.
The small, chihuahua snarled at Tobin and backed closer to the flames, away from Tobin and the rescue she promised.
“Don’t be dumb,” Tobin groaned, pulling off her glove in the hopes that the dog would smell her skin and let her pick it up and take it outside.
But the dog was, in fact, dumb. It jumped for Tobin’s hand, latching onto Tobin’s wrist and not letting go.
“Motherf-” Tobin wheezed, squeezing her eyes shut and scooping the dog up with her other hand. She wasn’t about to detach it and risk losing it in the fire. And the dog didn’t seem to have plans to unclench its jaw any time soon.
Christen looked up from her book, her brows furrowing at the sound in Dr. Jill Ellis’s voice. She couldn’t quite place the emotion.
It was a quiet night in the E.R., their only visitor having been a twelve-year-old boy who’d swallowed part of an action figure on a dare. But quiet nights had a way of turning into busy ones and bad ones, even in this slower city, and Christen had the sinking feeling that was possibly about to be the case.
“Bad?” she asked, jumping to her feet, Pride & Prejudice forgotten on the table.
Jill shook her head. “One for the books. Get down there.”
Christen hustled down to the E.R., pulling her curls into a loose bun as she eyed the no-longer empty room. Two firefighters stood on one side of a bed, and an elderly woman and a little girl stood at the foot of it. The four of them worked as a shield so Christen couldn’t see who was sitting on the bed.
“I’m Dr. Press, if you all would-” Christen started to say, approaching the wall of people around the hospital bed. Her words died on her lips when she saw not just who was in the bed, but what had brought her in. “Tobin?”
“His name is Winston, actually,” Tobin grumbled, setting off another round of snarls from the chihuahua attached to her wrist.
“Um...shouldn’t you have called Animal Services?” Christen asked, ignoring the slight flutter in her stomach at the sight of Tobin back in her E.R. Her honeyed brown hair fell in loose waves around her face and she had that annoyingly alluring smile playing at her lips. If possible, Tobin looked better than she had the last time she’d been in.
“Well we would have, but I thought you’d do better stitches,” Ashlyn said, pushing Tobin’s coat sleeve up her arm and showing Christen the blood that had already spread down her forearm.
Christen winced. “All right, I’m going to need you all to wait outside,” she said, pulling the privacy curtain closed, cutting the firefighters and the owners of Winston out. She ignored the hysterical wailing from the little girl about the health of her dog and focused instead on the woman she hadn’t expected to see back in here. Not less than a week since the last time she’d been in.
“How’d you manage this one?” Christen asked with a small smile, stepping up to the bed. She reached a hesitant hand out and ran her fingers along Winston’s head, hoping she could get the dog to relax his bite.
“He didn’t want me to save him from a house fire. Honestly, he probably started it. You can see it in his eyes,” Tobin mumbled.
Christen looked down and smiled at the dog, scratching his ears gently. “I don’t know, he looks pretty cute to me. You were just scared, huh, Winston? Tobin in that big uniform and all the gear probably made you really afraid,” Christen cooed, feeling Winston release his hold on Tobin’s hand with every soft word she uttered.
“I think he’s a little devil,” Tobin said, matching Christen’s soft tone of voice.
After one final ear scratch from Christen, Winston released his hold on Tobin and all but jumped into Christen’s arms, licking her cheek.
“Definitely the devil,” Christen chuckled. She quickly passed the dog off to the little girl who was waiting behind the curtain and then returned to Tobin’s side. “What is it with you and danger?” she asked, her arms crossed over her chest as she took in the soot on Tobin’s face and the tired look in her eyes.
“Am I supposed to say it’s my middle name?” Tobin teased, bending her wrist and wincing a little at the movement.
Christen narrowed her eyes, her gaze falling to Tobin’s wrist. She pulled on some gloves and took Tobin’s wrist in her hands, inspecting it.
“No pretty stitches this time. Just need to clean it, and I’ll get you prescribed some antibiotics just in case,” Christen murmured. “Coat off please.”
“Is this the first dog you’ve gotten in the E.R.?” Tobin asked, shedding her coat and then looking down at the little puncture wounds on her wrist.
“I had a few show up at my last hospital, but this was my first chihuahua, yes,” Christen replied.
“I’m glad I got to be a part of your first here,” Tobin smirked, running her uninjured hand over her forehead and pushing some baby hairs away from her face.
Christen’s lips twitched up into an amused smile, her hands falling from Tobin’s wrist. She took a step back, forcing herself to look away from the flexing muscles in Tobin’s arm as she pushed hair away from her face.
Christen busied herself gathering some antiseptic wipes and then set out to clean the small puncture marks on Tobin’s wrist, tactfully avoiding looking up at her amused gaze and playful smirk.
“You thought you got rid of me last time, didn’t you?” Tobin asked, watching Christen intently.
“The thought crossed my mind,” Christen hummed, poking the tip of her tongue out of her mouth as she methodically cleaned the wound.
“Oh, so I crossed your mind?” Tobin asked, tilting her head to the side and lifting her eyebrows a little. Sure, she was teasing a little, but the truth was that Christen Press had crossed her own mind dozens of times over the past week.
Christen immediately flushed, her hand holding the antiseptic wipe slipping just a bit.
“Just when I had to clear some paperwork,” Christen replied, the lie evident due to the tightness in her voice and the way the flush in her cheeks remained.
“Oh…” Tobin sighed. “You crossed my mind every time I took a shower.”
Christen choked on air and looked up, not having expected anything remotely resembling such a suggestive sentence to come out of Tobin’s mouth.
“I didn’t know if getting the stitches wet would be bad or not, so I kept trying to balance with this leg on the side of the tub,” Tobin added, her smile only growing at the flustered way Christen had reacted.
Christen narrowed her eyes and pressed her lips into a thin line, trying desperately not to smile or laugh or do anything of the sort. She knew she was still blushing furiously, and she was definitely having trouble getting that image out of her head.
“Cute,” Christen managed, her focus falling to the wound again, retreating to the safety of medicine, away from the glint in Tobin’s eyes and the way that glint was stirring something within her.
“So are you,” Tobin said, suddenly feeling a lot better about the dog bite.
Christen let out a surprised huff and shook her head just a bit, deciding to take the loss on the whole continued blushing thing.
“You sure lay it on thick, don’t you?” Christen asked, a little breathlessly. She deposited the used wipe onto the table and sat back, removing the gloves from her slightly shaking hands.
“Subtlety’s never really worked for me,” Tobin shrugged. “But if you’d like me to knock it off, just say the word. I’d hate to make a Mr. or Mrs. Press come after me.”
Christen got to her feet and discarded her gloves into a bin. “I’m not married,” Christen corrected, still feeling flustered and like her heart was going to beat out of her chest.
“And I didn’t hear you say the word…” Tobin said, a lopsided smile spreading across her face.
“You can get your prescription filled at the pharmacy,” Christen replied with a smile of her own. “Try to avoid chihuahuas and danger, Tobin.”
“But how else would I see my favorite doctor?” Tobin asked, grabbing her coat with her good hand and standing up from the bed.
Christen let out a warm, melodic laugh and turned around, walking away from Tobin and feeling, for the first time, like she’d made the right decision by moving to Anchorage.