I'm Only Here for the Beard

By: Lani Lynn Vale

“Ready, Dad?” I asked him.

He nodded, opened the door, and promptly fell on his face.

Chapter 2

The closest I’ve come to double penetration is eating both Little Debbies at the same time.

-Text from Naomi to Aspen


Oh, my God. Oh, my God, oh my God, oh my God!

I was shaking. Literally shaking.

This had been my very first shift without a training medic either hovering at my side or available to ask questions—though, I was sure if I’d run into trouble the sexy man who was my partner would’ve helped.

Jesus Christ, but a man shouldn’t be as sexy as him. It ought to be illegal, because I couldn’t stop myself from staring at him.

Surely, I wouldn’t be able to function like this much longer.

Oh, God. This place was supposed to get me away from hot men, not put me into close quarters with them!

I washed my hands thoroughly in the sink, splashed water on my face, and then pulled down eight paper towels before roughly scrubbing my face dry.

Holy shit, I’d just delivered a baby!

Once I was as composed as I was going to get at this point, I lifted my shirt up and checked out my new reality…at least for the next few months until I could have the surgery that would reverse it.

Testing to make sure the bag was secure, I sighed and tucked it back under the shirt that I wore to help hold it in place.

Then I tucked my clean shirt in, shoved my dirty one into a Wal-Mart sack and then deep into the depths of my backpack.

Once I had the backpack settled on my shoulders, I opened the door and frowned at seeing my partner there, standing with his back to me, staring at someone like his heart was being ripped in half.

Frowning, I walked up to his side and asked, “What’s wrong?”

He jerked away from me like I’d scalded him with hot water, then cursed. “Sorry. Nothing is wrong. Why would you say that?”

The big man was lying to me.

I knew it with absolute certainty.

I studied his profile as he returned his gaze across the room. To a woman.

The woman was in front of the hospital reception desk standing next to a man that looked to be one of the doctors that worked there. She had long brown hair that was French braided down her back, and she was wearing a pencil skirt and a white flowy blouse that was tucked into the top. She had a wide black belt that covered her waistband, and I hated her instantly.

She was the type of woman who would look good wearing anything.

She probably wore her hair down to the gym, too.

“Who is she?” I asked as if he hadn’t just lied to me.

Sean sighed.

“An old girlfriend.”

The emotion that was in those words made my heart hurt for him.

But not too much.

The man was drop dead sexy, built like a linebacker with a fucking smile that was so beautiful it hurt my heart to look at it. And that beard. God, a man with a beard was my weakness. It always had been.

“Your ex is in love with another man,” I felt it prudent to point out.

He shot me a glare and started walking in the opposite direction of the woman and the man she was trying everything in her power to catch the attention of. Although, the man was trying very hard to ignore her. He’d, of course, seen us standing here. If I had to have my guess, that man was likely a cop and missed nothing.

“Do you know that man?” I asked Sean’s back as he passed through the exterior sliding door.

“Yes,” he grunted.

I hurried after him as his strides became faster.

I made it to the passenger door of the medic as he put it in reverse.

For a second there, I was worried he was going to back up and leave before I’d even gotten in, but he surprised me by staying put until I had my ass firmly planted in the seat.

What he didn’t do was wait for me to put my seatbelt on. He was nearly to the intersection before I’d completely situated myself.

So, me being me, I blurted out my life story.

“I’ve fallen in love with four men over the course of my life,” I whispered. “When I was eighteen, I met a man who was four years older than me. We hit it off, got engaged, and then he cheated on me with my sorority sister,” I started. “When I was twenty-two, I met another man who I fell in love with. We were great until we weren’t. He beat the shit out of me. When I was twenty-five, I met another man I adored. We hit it off, then three weeks into our relationship I found out that he was married with four kids.” I steadied my breath. “It took me nearly four years to try again. And when I did, I watched as that man, who has become a very good friend that I never had a chance with, married another woman. So, yeah, you likely have some heartache on the horizon, but it’s not going to hurt forever.”

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