IMPORTANT NOTE: Take a Bite Cafe will continue here until 18th October when it will transfer to my new site.
Megan doesn’t take well to taking time off
‘I can go up the stairs on my arse, you know,’ I said, arms around Jimmy’s neck as he carried me up the stairs to his flat.
‘It’s fine.’ He was looking at little sweaty and puffed for someone who was fine.
I kissed his cheek. ‘Babe, you’re nearly forty, you’re going to put your back out carrying on like this.’
We made it to the top of the stairs and I unlocked the door and pushed it open for him. He murmured thanks and squeezed us through the door sideways.
He shoved the door shut with his foot. ‘There, we crested stair mountain.’
I giggled. ‘Well, you are very good at mounting things.’
‘Oh, am I?’ He kissed me.
I ran my fingers through his hair. ‘Very.’
He nuzzled my face then put me down gently on the settee. ‘Need any help with your shoes?’
‘I can manage.’
He hesitated then nodded and went to fetch my bag. My back didn’t want to bend far enough forward, my leg didn’t want to bend closer, and my leathers felt tight against the swelling. One leg of my leathers was ruined where it had been cut to get at my knee, sure getting a knee brace on had been important but they were bloody expensive. I tried different angles, adjusting myself on the settee, and stretching out my arms which reminded me I’d landed on one. I exhaled in a huff, if I couldn’t get my shoes off I wouldn’t be able to get my leathers off or take a shower.
Asking help wasn’t in my nature, it was dangerous.
Jimmy came in and put my bag down near the door and propped my crutches against the arm of the settee.
‘Can you help me with my shoes?’ I mumbled.
He knelt down in front of me, gently loosened my laces and straps, and eased one boot off. ‘You look a bit glum.’
‘I’m not used to this.’
‘Everyone needs help sometimes,’ he said, carefully unfastening the other boot. ‘You help plenty of people, there’s no shame in letting them help you.’
I opened my mouth to say I wasn’t ashamed but his expression said he knew it was deeper than that, the roots of a fear dug deep into my being.
‘I can think of a few fun things…’ he said, quietly.
‘Hmm?’ I asked.
He touched the fastening of my trousers and I moved my arms so he could unzip them. He eased them down my thighs. ‘My poor bruised Sir,’ he murmured giving my darkening bruises feather soft kisses.
I ran my fingers through his hair. ‘I’d be careful with that, I’m not sure my muscles could take it.’
He chuckled then sobered and kissed my not buggered knee. ‘I was so worried about you.’
I stroked his hair. It would’ve been a good moment to say I loved him but I was an emotional coward. The resolution I’d had the night before had evaporated. ‘I know…’
He exhaled through his nose and kissed my knee again. ‘Let’s get you something more comfortable to wear.’
I smiled. ‘And what would you consider more comfortable?’
‘Well, I have plenty of shirts.’
I laughed. ‘Pervert.’
‘And proud.’ He kissed me deeply.
I cupped his face and kissed him back. ‘I… You’re amazing.’
He tucked my hair behind my ear. ‘And I haven’t even made you dinner yet.’
‘You’re creating expectations.’
He kissed my nose. ‘The expectation you’re worth it.’
I bit my lips, stroked his face and hugged him. That was actually quite painful.
I conceded that I did have to give the swelling time to go down and it hurt too much to stand or sit up for long periods so I lay on Jimmy’s settee with my leg up on pillows and working on graphics, social media, and a website for the café, in between naps and grumbling. Technically, I was doing work but it didn’t ease the frustration of remembering all the things I had to do at work. Would Mattie make Vincent’s coffee right? Would she remember to do the stocktake? Would she make sure all the salt and pepper mills were filled? If she forgot did she know where the emergency supply was?
I was supposed to be sitting still but I kept getting up and hobbling round on my crutches to make tea, not because I wanted tea, just because I was rubbish at sitting still. If I could’ve got my jeans on myself I would’ve found a way down the stairs and made an escape.
Jimmy kept popping up to see me on his breaks and somehow managed to avoid catching me.
When he finished work for the day I was sitting on the settee with my umpteenth cup of tea and watching a rom com with the intensity of someone plotting an assassination.
‘Bad day?’ Jimmy asked, carrying a large cardboard crisp box in his arms.
I paused the film. ‘Slow.’
He smiled. ‘I come bearing gifts.’ He put the box down on the coffee table and perched beside it.
I rested my hand on the edge of the settee and peered across.
‘Get well soon cards.’ He put a stack of cards beside the box. ‘Flowers.’ Two bunches of brightly coloured flowers emerged. ‘And more chocolate than one person can possibly eat, especially when they’re not meant to. Oh, and…’ He fished out a small box and handed it to me.
I laughed. ‘Ridged condoms? Subtle Nan.’
‘She said they’d give you a laugh. Along with this.’ He lifted out a chocolate penis in a see-through box.
‘Pretty sure that’s wildly inappropriate from a nan,’ I said.
‘Aye,’ he said, looking at it. ‘And yet I’d still like to watch you eat it.’
He grinned and kissed me. ‘Everyone misses you.’
I caressed his cheek. ‘You’re sexy when you’re worried.’
‘You’re trying to distract me.’
‘Maybe.’ I opened the preview page and turned my laptop to face him and winced when it caught the bruising on my legs. ‘Ta-dah. One website, plus associated social media accounts.’
He took the laptop. ‘It’s beautiful.’
‘I’m going to order some new cards and flyer with it on.’
‘You’re unstoppable.’ He kissed me softly and set the laptop aside.
I stroked his chin with my thumb. ‘I don’t feel unstoppable.’
‘Your problem is you like doing everything for everyone else but you don’t want to let people do things for you.’
I looked at him. ‘Damn you and your glaringly accurate insight.’
He chuckled. ‘You’re not weak or vulnerable just because you need some help.’ He put his hand over mine. ‘You’re safe with me.’
‘I know, I just…’ My breath hissed through my teeth.
He cupped my face and stroked my cheek with his thumb. ‘Scar tissue.’
I kissed him. ‘You’re a teddy bear.’
‘Maybe if you’re lucky later I’ll give you a cuddle and you can stroke my chest hair.’
‘Such promises,’ I said. ‘I’d like a cuddle now but I don’t know how that’s going to work when my leg complains every time I move it.’
‘I’ll put these flowers in water then I can carry you to bed.’ He got to his feet and took the bunches of flowers out the box. ‘I’ll watch rom coms and Disney films after negotiations.’
‘If there’s songs I will sing along. I need to know you’re okay with that.’
‘More than okay.’
Jimmy didn’t just sing along, he belted them out like showtunes.
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