Sushi for lunch.
Which meant she’d made Eddie sick too. “I’ve got to go,” she said abruptly. The last time she’d had food poisoning she’d laid on her bathroom floor for two straight days. Privacy was required for such things, serious privacy. Standing on wobbly legs, she pulled some money from her purse and dropped it on the table. “I’m sorry—” She clapped a hand to her gurgling stomach and shook her head. “Later.”
She got a cab, but the traffic and the ensuing stop/ start of navigating said traffic just about killed her. She bailed a block early and moved as fast as she could. When she cut through the courtyard of her building, she slid a quick, anxious look at the pub. Please don’t be there, please don’t be there . . .
But fate or destiny or karma, whoever was in charge of such things as looking out for her humility, had taken a break because all the pub doors were still open to the night. Finn stood near the courtyard entrance talking to some customers. And like a beacon in the night, he turned right to her.
She kept moving, her hand over her mouth, as if that would keep her from throwing up in public. If she could have sold her soul to the devil right then to ensure it, she totally would have.
But not even the devil himself had enough power to alter her course in history. She was dying at this point, sharp, shooting pains through her gut combined with an all-over body ache that had her whimpering to herself with each step. Holding back from losing her dinner had her sweating in rivulets.
“Pru,” came Finn’s unbearably familiar voice—from right behind her.
“I’m sorry,” she managed, not slowing down. “I can’t—”
“We need to talk.”
Yep, the only four words in the English language destined to spark terror within her heart. Talk? He wanted to talk? Maybe when she died. And given the pain stabbing through her with the force of a thousand needles, it wouldn’t be long now. Still, just in case, she moved faster.
She wanted to say look, I’m about to throw up half a loaded pizza and possibly my intestines, and I like you, I like you enough that if you see me throw up that half a loaded pizza, I’ll have to kill myself.
Which, actually, wouldn’t be necessary seeing as she was about to die anyway.
“Pru, slow down.” He caught her hand.
But the more she put off the now inevitable, the worse it would be. “Not feeling good,” she said, twisting free. “I’ve gotta go.”
“What’s wrong?” His voice immediately changed from playful to serious. “What do you need?”
What she needed was the privacy of her own bathroom. She opened her mouth to say so but the only thing that came out was a miserable moan.
“Do you need a doctor?” he asked.
Yes, she needed a doctor. For a lobotomy.
With sweat slicking her skin, she ran directly for the elevator, praying that it would be on the ground floor and no one else would want to get on it with her.
Of course it wasn’t on the ground floor.
With another miserable moan she headed for the stairwell, taking them as fast as she could with her stomach sending fireballs to her brain and her legs weakened by the need to upchuck.
And oh lucky her, Finn kept pace with her, right at her side.
Which made her panic all the more because seriously, she was on a countdown at this point, T minus sixty seconds tops, and there would be no stopping or averting liftoff. “I’m fine!” she said weakly. “Please, just leave me alone!” She threw her hand out at him to push him away so she could have room in case she spontaneously imploded.
A very real possibility.
But the man who was more tuned into her body than she was had apparently not yet mastered mind reading. “I’m not leaving you alone like this,” he said.
She pushed him again from a well of reserved strength born of sheer terror because she was about to become her own horror show and didn’t want witnesses. “You have to go!” she said, maybe yelled, as they finally got to the third floor.
Mrs. Winslow stuck her head out her door and gave Pru a disapproving look. “You might be getting some but you’re not going to keep getting some if you talk to your man like that. Especially after shoving him into the dumbwaiter the other night.”
Oh for God’s sake!
How did everyone know about that?
Not that she could ask.
Hell, no. Instead, she stopped and pawed through her purse for her keys before dropping it to scratch and claw at the door like she was being kidnapped and tortured.