Word Count: 620 (not so good)
He went to find her that afternoon, increasingly anxious. She was passed out on the couch in front of the TV, the news muted, English subtitles scrolling across the bottom. They were showing the footage as well, replaying the explosion again and again.
Colton switched it off.
The news anchors were already hyping it, speculating about who Renee was. Was she a hero? An accomplice who backed out at the last minute? Was it a diversion from the real explosion?
He shook her shoulder gently. Her eyes opened slowly, groaning as she pushed herself upright.
“I hurt!” she said pathetically. He had to smile.
“I know, me too.”
She sat with her eyes closed for a moment, her lips thin with pain.
Rosa was right. She was very pretty. Even with her lip cut and her eye swollen.
She felt her bandage, wincing.
“Do you need more pain killers?” he asked, concerned when her grimace of pain didn’t ease.
“No,” she said shortly. “I can’t take any more until…” she opened her eyes to peek at her watch. “Six.”
He sat on the couch, as far from her as he could get. It didn’t make his heart stop thumping.
“Do you need a doctor?”
“No.” She snapped. She sighed. “Sorry. I’m just tired.”
“Its okay,” he said, trying to joke. “I owe you my life. I think I can put up with it.”
She smiled then, turning her head to look at him. “Hopefully, not for long.”
He hesitated and she saw. “What?” she asked. “What’s happened?”
“Nothing,” he assured her. He was starting to worry about that himself. He expected the police to be banging his door down already. “Its just…look, this is going to suck, but you need to stay here. In Spain. Married to me. For awhile.”
“So people don’t think we did exactly what we did. Get married so you would have resident legal rights, be protected by my name.”
“How long is ‘awhile?’” she asked warily.
“Until this investigation is over.” He hedged. Her glare dragged the words out of him. “And then long enough afterward to make it look legitimate.”
“How long?” she repeated sternly.
“Maybe a year, two?”
She swore and he flinched.
“Sorry,” she muttered. “Its not you, of course. I’m sure you’re a great guy and everything.”
“Thanks,” he said, feeling somehow insulted. He gave himself a shake. His emotions were jangling around discordantly. And she wasn’t pretty, maybe rating, at best, cute. Nothing on his last girlfriend. She’d been a model. Or maybe it was a gymnast?
“But I really, really, don’t want to live in Spain.” She continued. “I have a job. Friends. My career.” She put her head in her hands. “What are my parents going to say?”
“You haven’t called them?” he demanded.
“I did. They’re on vacation, too. In Yellowstone, backpacking. It could be weeks before they check their messages.” She sighed, rubbing her eyes. “Man, I’m tired.”
“Go get in bed,” he suggested. “I’ll have Rosa bring you something to eat later.”
“Thanks.” She said, smiling at him again. His heart lightened. She’d sounded distraught, hopeless. He helped her to her feet, steadying her as she swayed.
He was tired too. Tired enough he only watched dumbly as his body leaned forward and kissed her.
She jerked out of his arms. Her slap burst pain across his temples.
“Oh!” she gasped. “Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean-sorry! I’m sorry, Mr. Savage!” She rubbed his cheek as he scowled at her. “You startled me.”
“I guess.” He muttered, embarrassed and angry. And not sure why. It had been a friendly kiss, meant to comfort.
He was glad when she fled upstairs, furiously red.