Quench Me by Amy – Chapter 33

Republisher’s Note: Manny are dealing with how serious their relationship is to both of them.

Quench Me by Amy – Chapter 33

When I walk through the doors of my bedroom at 11:30 a.m., I’m surprised to see Danny sitting on my bed. I immediately drop the bag that I was holding and join him there.

“What are you doing here in the middle of a work day?” I ask, snuggling close.

“Since you’re not working and we can’t have lunch at the hospital cafeteria, I thought we could go to Company together,” he answers.

Gently nibbling his earlobe, I reply, “That’s a great idea, and a very nice surprise.”

Turning to kiss my cheek, he says, “Ray’s going to meet us there. I hope that’s all right with you.”

“Of course it is, Danny,” I say. “I’d love to see Ray again.”

“He’s been bugging me since last Friday for the three of us to get together again, and I thought it might be nice to grab lunch together today.”

“I can’t wait,” I reply, jumping up off the bed. “Just let me change clothes.”

The pink tank top and cut off jean shorts with frayed edges are not the sort of thing I want to wear out to lunch, especially when Danny is wearing is usual business attire, and I’m sure that Ray will be dressed nice, with or without the collar. I rummage through my closet and find my lavender sundress with pink baby roses embroidered around the neckline. Perfect.

“You know, Michelle,” Danny begins, still watching me from the bed. “I kind of like you in those shorts. If I hadn’t already called Ray, I might be tempted to stay here with you for my entire lunch break.”

“I hope you’re always tempted,” I say, as I throw my dress across the pillows on my bed, and drop to my knees to search the closet floor for my white sandals.

“Always,” he replies. “So, where have you been this morning in that sexy get-up?”

“At the gym,” I reply. “I had to take care of a few things.”

“Not the gym…,” Danny says standing up in shock.

Finally locating both the left and right sandals, I stand up from the floor and answer, “Yes, the gym.” I wait for a response, but getting nothing but a tightly clenched jaw from him, I continue. “I had a rented locker there that still had a few of my things in it, and needed to be cleared out. I also owed money for half of this month’s fee.”

“I can’t believe you went there by yourself!” he exclaims, with obvious frustration. “Was that bastard there? Did you see him?”

“Calm down, Danny!” I say, trying to keep this from escalating any further. “Do you think I’m that stupid? I called before I went there. I talked to the manager, Sydney. She’s a nice lady. I asked her if Tanner was there, and she told me he wasn’t. Apparently, he doesn’t even work there any more because there were too many complaints from female customers about his come-ons.”

His jaw relaxes a little, and his face softens. “You should’ve called me,” he says sweetly. “I would’ve gone with you.”

“Danny, I’m a grown-up,” I say with a smile, as I pull my tank top over my head and hurl it toward the clothes hamper. “Rick has finally accepted that, and you have to as well.”

“I just want to protect you,” he answers. “I love you.”

“And I love you,” I reply. “And I love that you want to protect me. I don’t want you to stop. But you can’t be with me every single second of every single day.” My shorts go the way of my tank top, leaving me wearing nothing but pink panties and a pink bra. I reach for my dress, and begin stepping into it.

“I know that, Michelle,” Danny says. “But that animal attacked you, and I don’t even want to think about what would’ve happened if I hadn’t gotten there when I did.”

“I don’t either, Danny,” I say, slowly backing up to him. “Can you zip me up?”

His hands work on the bottom of the zipper, and soon I feel the fabric of my dress across my back as he zips me all the way up. “I know that God sent you there that night,” I continue. “I don’t believe for one second that it was a coincidence. But I’m twenty-four years old, Danny. I take care of myself pretty well.”

“But you can’t trust everybody, Michelle,” he says. “You can’t always know what the other person’s intentions are.”

“I realize that,” I reply. “And believe, me, I’ll never go into a dark parking lot alone again, without my keys in my hand and my finger on the alarm remote button, AND my cell phone handy. But, I live in this house, practically alone, considering Rick’s schedule these days, AND I’m getting ready to move back into an apartment… alone.”

“Yeah, and I’m not too crazy about that either,” he says, staring at the floor.

“Why? Don’t you want me to have my own place?” I question, quickly fastening my sandals on my feet.

“I just don’t like the idea of you being alone, that’s all,” he admits sheepishly.

“Danny, there’s an apartment complex FULL of people,” I say. “It’s not like I’ll be completely isolated from the entire world. Please trust me to be responsible for myself.”

“I do,” he says. “I just worry about you.”

“I know and I worry about you too, but it’s time for life to move on for me, and for Rick. It’s time for him to move past his divorce, and build some semblance of a life for himself. And it’s time for me to get back to where I was before Abby left.”

“You worry about me?” he asks, as his eyes light up with the possibility. “About what?”

Now sitting at my dresser, powdering my face and applying soft, pink lip stick, I say, “I worry about lots of things, Danny. When you’re driving in your car, I wonder if the other drivers on the road are paying attention. When you went to Atlanta, I wondered if the pilot was awake and alert. Lots of things cross my mind, but I don’t let them rule my thoughts.”

“I’d die if anything ever happened to you, Michelle,” he says, coming up behind me and lightly caressing my shoulders. “Call me a worry-wart if you want to, but it’s the truth.”

Smiling as I stand up from the dresser, I wrap my arms around his neck, and reply, “I feel the same way.”

After a long moment, staring into each other’s eyes, Danny brings my hand up to his face, and kisses each fingertip. “Now, let’s go meet Ray for lunch,” he says. “And by the way, if we hadn’t been having a serious discussion, that little strip-tease you did would’ve caused us to leave Ray sitting alone in the restaurant.”

Laughing as we walk out the door, I say, “You always make me smile, Danny Santos, and I love you for it.”

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