He choked. “Not necessary.”
“Are you sure?” she asked. “Because I really am a good medic, I promise, and—”
He choked off another laugh. “And you’re offering to do what, exactly?”
Uh . . . She bit her lower lip.
“Kiss it better?” he suggested in a voice that made her get a little overheated.
Note to self: not quite ready for prime time with Finn O’Riley.
He gave her a knowing smirk and moved to the door. Definitely with a slight limp. “You should take Elle up on her offer for a new frame,” he said. “That picture clearly means a lot to you and she’s got some beautiful things in storage.”
And then he was gone.
It was a matter of pride that Finn managed to walk across the courtyard without a limp. Or too much of one anyway. He’d thought about going up instead of down, heading to the roof, the only place in the building that he could go and probably be alone, but he didn’t want or need alone time.
Or so he told himself.
“What’s up with you, someone knee you in the ’nads?”
He turned his head and found Eddie in his usual place, sitting on a box in the alley. It was a good spot because from there the old man could see both the courtyard and the street.
“Isn’t it early for you to be up?” Finn asked him.
“It’s trash day.”
Finn went through his pockets for extra change. Coming up with a five, he handed it over.
Eddie smiled his gratitude.
When a shadow joined theirs, Finn turned just as Archer appeared silently at his side.
Archer had some serious stealth skills, earned mostly the hard way. He’d lost none of his sharp edges, which considering what he did for a living and the danger he still occasionally faced, was a good thing.
“What happened to your boys?” Archer asked.
Finn resisted the urge to cup his “boys” because they still ached like a son of a bitch from his collision with the corner of Pru’s box. “Nothing.”
“Maybe he finally got laid,” Eddie said to Archer.
Archer’s gaze cut to Finn’s face. “Nah,” he said. “He’d be more dazed. And happy.”
Spence joined them. “What’s going on?”
“The debate is whether or not Finn got laid,” Archer said.
Spence took his turn studying Finn’s expression. “He’s not happy enough.”
“That’s what I said.” Archer gave a rare smile. “Given how long it’s been, I’d assume he’d be doing cartwheels and shit.”
Finn took a deep breath as they both laughed at his expression. “How about I assume my foot up your ass?”
This only made them crack up harder.
Eddie got himself together first. “Gotta go,” he said and headed for the alley. Trash day was his favorite day of the week because he loved nothing more than to go dumpster diving for treasures.
Twice now, the entire building—all fond of Eddie and protective of him as well, had implemented a system where everyone bagged up anything that might be of interest to him separately so that he didn’t have to go searching.
And then they discovered that Eddie was dumping out all the bags into the dumpster regardless.
Turns out, Eddie liked the thrill of the find.
“You smell like a skunk,” Archer said to Eddie.
Eddie blinked. “Is that right? Well, I’m sure we have skunks around here somewhere.”
“You think?” Archer asked casually. “Because I’m thinking it smells like weed.”
“Huh,” Eddie said. “Good thing you’re not a cop these days, huh?”
Oh boy, Finn thought. Even Old Man Eddie knew better than to remind Archer of his cop days, which in turn would remind him why he wasn’t one anymore.
Archer’s eyes went flat. “You growing?”
“Only exactly what I’m allowed,” Eddie said and pulled out a laminated card on a ribbon from beneath his shirt.
“You selling?” Archer asked.
“Sir, no sir,” Eddie responded, adding a smartass salute.
Finn and Spence both grimaced. “Man,” Spence said. “What have we told you? Archer has zero sense of humor.”
Eddie grinned. For reasons that Finn had never figured out, Eddie liked to fuck with Archer.
Archer gave a slight head shake, like he was talking himself out of making Eddie disappear. “You know the rec center on Union?” he finally asked.
Eddie nodded. “Past the porn shop but before the COME TO JESUS sign?”