Rock hard, p.49
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       Rock Hard, p.49
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         Part #2 of Sinners on Tour series by Olivia Cunning
Page 49

  Author: Olivia Cunning

  “I fuckin’ hate hospitals anyway,” Trey said. “How long are they going to keep him in here?”

  “At least until they can take the tube out of his throat. ”

  “He has a tube in his throat?” Brian whispered, paling under his stage makeup.

  “I’m going to sneak into his room and stay with him while he sleeps,” Jessica told them. “Will one of you distract the nurse for me?”

  “Is she hot?” Trey asked.

  “I don’t know,” Jessica said, exasperated.

  “That would be a no,” Trey said. “But I’ll do it for Sed, because he needs you, Jess, no matter what stupid shit he told you. ”

  Jessica smiled in appreciation. She wasn’t sure if Trey was correct, but she wasn’t going to let Sed get away that easily.

  And now that he’d be unable to talk, he’d have to listen to her for once.

  Trey went to schmooze the nurse. He could charm the pants off a rattlesnake, and probably had more than once. While the nurse’s head was ducked, Jessica crept through the partially open door of Sed’s hospital room.

  The only light came from the private bathroom. When her eyes adjusted, she quietly pulled a chair up beside his bed and sat next to him. She couldn’t believe such a big, commanding guy could look so frail. She took his hand, the one without an IV, and touched it to her cheek.

  “I’m here, Sed. Everything’s going to be okay. ”

  He didn’t respond. Not even with a twitch, but that was okay. They were together. That’s all that mattered to her.

  Chapter 45

  Sed felt like he’d been run over by a train. He peeled his eyes open, but everything was blurry, so he closed them again. He tried to remember what had happened. He remembered being onstage, the pain in his throat, and choking on blood, but nothing after that.

  He lifted his hand and winced as something tugged at a vein in the back of his hand. He tried his other hand, but someone was clinging to it. His throat felt strange. He couldn’t even swallow properly and he couldn’t close his mouth.

  Panicked, his heart thudded in his chest like a jack hammer. He jerked his hand away from his unknown visitor’s and reached for his throat. Someone stopped his progress.

  Jessica whispered, “Sed, it’s Jessica. You’re in the hospital. Can you hear me?”

  He tried to form words, but nothing came out. Not a solitary sound.

  “Don’t panic. There’s a tube in your throat to keep your airway open. As soon as the swelling goes down, they’ll take it out. How are you feeling?”

  He rolled his eyes toward her and she smiled at him, her fingers stroking his hair. He tried to convey his level of displeasure with a look, but she seemed oblivious. What was she doing here? She was supposed to be in school.

  “You’re getting your color back already,” she said. “I couldn’t believe how much you bled. They had to give you a transfusion. ”

  He freed his hand from hers and lifted it to his neck, wanting her to tell him about the injury. He hoped she knew Sed sign language, because he had a lot of questions.

  “Everything’s going to be okay,” she promised. “You blew a vessel inside your throat. It’s not near your vocal cords or anything, but you’ve got to let it heal. That means no singing and no talking for at least a week. ”

  He mouthed the word “What?” to the best of his ability.

  “It won’t be so bad. I’ll take care of you. ”

  He gave her a stern look and pointed to the door.

  “I’m not leaving, Sed. And you can’t tell me what do, because you can’t talk. ” She offered him a self-satisfied grin. “I’m dropping out of school to take care of you. ”

  He shook his head vigorously, but had to stop because it sent waves of pain down his throat.

  “We need to talk. Well, I need to talk and you need to listen. ”

  “Jess…” he tried to say, but her name came out as a huff of air.

  “I’m never going to pass Dr. Ellington’s class. Let me tell you why. ” As she told him how her professor had nonchalantly revealed their video to her classmates, Sed’s fist clenched tighter and tighter. Why did people always treat her so unfairly? Didn’t they see how wonderful she was? He couldn’t stand the thought of her giving up her dreams because someone else thought she should. He wrapped an arm around her and urged her head down on his shoulder so he could rub her back and stroke her hair with his free hand.

  “So I guess it didn’t matter that I got a chance to earn my scholarship back. ”

  Sed couldn’t believe how calm she was about the situation. Shouldn’t she be fighting that Dr. Ellington bitch tooth and nail? He supposed a person could only take so much abuse and humiliation, but Jessica wasn’t the type to take injustice lying down. That was one of the things he loved so much about her.

  A nurse entered the room. “Good to see you’re awake, Mr. Lionheart,” she said. “Are you comfortable? One blink for yes, two for no. ”

  Was he comfortable? He had a fucking tube down his throat. Did she really need an answer to that question? He blinked once though.

  “Later, we’re going to take that tube out and see if you can swallow, but you have to promise me that you won’t try to talk. You have a lot of damage in there and if you don’t completely rest your voice, there’s a chance you could lose it permanently. Do you understand what I’m saying to you?”

  He blinked once, but knew it would be damn near impossible not to talk. Especially when Jessica was making one of the stupidest decisions of her life.

  Jessica leaned back and looked down into his eyes. “You’re not going to chase me away again,” she said. “I don’t care how much of an asshole you pretend to be. I know better. ”

  He rolled his eyes at her and she smiled.

  “I’ll make sure he doesn’t speak,” Jessica said to the nurse. “Even if I have to keep his mouth shut with duct tape. ”

  The nurse grinned. “Good, because I get the feeling that this one doesn’t follow instructions. ”

  Sed tried to protest, but realized it was no use.

  “The doctor will stop by soon to explain your condition better. ”

  Sed gave her a weary thumbs up. When she stepped out of the room, Jessica climbed to sit on the edge of the bed with him.

  “I’ve got our entire situation figured out,” she said. “This is how things are going to be between us. ”

  Oh really? He was interested to know how she’d figured out an impossible situation.

  “First, we’re dating exclusively. No more games on either end. Are you in agreement? One blink for yes. I’m not taking no for an answer. ”

  He tried grinning around the piece of plastic between his teeth, but it hurt his mouth, so he blinked. Once. A beautiful smile lit her face.

  “Great. I’m moving into your condo while I finish school…”

  One blink.

  “…but I’m paying rent. ”

  Two blinks.

  “You are not allowed to argue with me, Sedric. I’m calling all the shots here. Also, I’m dropping out of law school. ”

  But she’d just said she was finishing school.

  “I’ve decided it’s not what I want to do. I still want to help people, that’s why I was going to become a lawyer, but I think I want to become,” she flushed, “a nurse. Don’t laugh. ”

  He couldn’t have laughed if he tried. And he wouldn’t have tried anyway. She’d make a wonderful nurse. She was gentle and caring, yet tough enough to be perfect for the job. But none of that mattered. Suddenly giving up on her lifelong dreams had nothing to do with a change in interest and everything to do with the people at that school who had power over her. And when Sed was back on his feet, he would be exerting his power over them, even if it meant Jessica would never forgive him.

  “I am going to file an official grievance against the
dean and Dr. Ellington. I don’t want anyone to think they chased me away and I gave up. ”

  Sed squeezed her hand. But she was giving up. Didn’t she realize that? And he couldn’t stand to see her this way. Defeated. He knew what he should do. Support her in her decision. Stand back and let her do what she thought she needed to do. Even though he was incapacitated in a hospital bed, it wasn’t in him to just take these things lying down. And normally it wasn’t in her, either. What was she so afraid of?

  “I do think I’ll go to class tomorrow though. I really need to tell that bitch off. Publicly. ”

  There’s my girl. He welcomed that spark of fight in her.

  “Even if I report them, I doubt anything will happen to either one,” she murmured. She glanced up at him. “Dean Taylor was right. I don’t have any credibility. ”

  Sed scowled. When had the dick told her that?

  “Do you think it’s worth it? Should I even bother filing a grievance?”

  Sed blinked emphatically. Or at least he hoped it look emphatic and didn’t look like he had bleach in his eyes.

  “You’re right. I’ll go. I’ll never feel right about it if I don’t at least try to set things right. ”

  He smiled and blinked in agreement.

  “I kind of like you this way,” Jessica said. “All placid and compliant. ”

  Don’t get used to it.

  “I should leave you alone so you can rest. ”

  He blinked twice. Under no circumstance did he want her out of his sight. Now that they were officially a couple, he planned to take full advantage of her company.

  Jessica scooted closer to him on the bed and stroked his stubble-rough cheek with the back of her hand. She leaned over and brushed her lips against his temple. His jaw.

  “I can’t wait to take you home and pamper you. In every imaginable way. ”

  He was definitely up for some pampering and was already imagining every way.

  Someone cleared their throat and Sed looked up to a gray-haired man in a white coat. His doctor, he presumed.

  Jessica turned her head to glance at the doctor and then smiled down at Sed. “We’ll talk more later. Or rather, I will. ”

  Sed decided he liked it when she talked. He’d try to make an effort to listen more often. She kissed the tip of his nose and then moved away from the bed.

  The doctor stepped closer to the bed. “I’m Dr. Jarvis—ear, nose, and throat specialist. I’ll just cut to the chase here. Mr. Lionheart, you can’t keep punishing your throat. All that growling and screaming has frayed your vocal cords and damaged the lining of your throat so badly that you tore an artery. An artery, Mr. Lionheart. I’ve never seen an injury like it. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you’d been swallowing swords for a living. I’m putting you on a voice restriction order for a week. No talking, no singing, and definitely no screaming. After that week, you need to see a specialist again and hope there’s significant improvement. If you don’t give yourself time to heal, you might never sing again. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

  Sed couldn’t breathe. He hadn’t realized how serious his condition was. He choked on the tube as panic squeezed his throat.

  “Do you understand?” Dr. Jarvis repeated.

  Gasping for air, Sed blinked once.

  “We’ll take that tube out now and see what we have to work with. ”

  A nurse stepped up on the other side of the bed. She placed a hand on Sed’s forehead to ease his head back. “Relax, Mr. Lionheart. This won’t be pleasant, but it will be over quick. ”

  He tried to relax, but it wasn’t easy. As the tube was pulled free, it felt as if his throat was being turned wrong side out. And then it was gone. His throat felt tight and sore, but at least he could bend his neck. His first instinct was to try his voice, but the doctor already had a tongue depressor on his tongue.
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