Protecting Her
Author:Allie Everhart

“I’m a little tired. There were some complications during the delivery so they’re making me stay here a few days. Hey, since you’re a doctor, maybe you could pull some strings and get me out of here faster. I really want to go home.”

He laughs. “Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. You’re stuck here until they decide you’re ready to leave.” He takes a peek at the baby. “He’s adorable. What’s his name?”

“Garret.”

“He looks just like you, Pearce.”

Pearce stands next to Logan. “That’s what everyone says.”

“So did they send him home already?” Logan asks.

“Yes,” Pearce answers. “I felt sorry for him, being sent home with his father, who can barely change a diaper.”

“Pearce,” I say, smiling. “You did fine.”

“I’d love to see you change a diaper,” Logan says kiddingly to Pearce.

He laughs. “Yes, I’m sure you would. Someday you’ll be doing it yourself and you’ll see it’s not as easy as it looks.”

The door opens and I see long legs topped with a bunch of giant helium balloons. “Congratulations!”

It’s Shelby, but I can’t see her through the balloons. She hurries in, then stops abruptly when she sees Logan. She stares at him, the balloons still in her hand, now held off to the side. The look on her face is one I’ve seen before, on her, and other girls I’ve known. It’s that look that says you love the guy and want to be with him but aren’t sure that you should. It’s also the look that says you’re hot for him and want to be alone with him as soon as possible.

Logan does look very handsome today in a suit and tie, his dark hair slicked back. Shelby’s in a white sundress that’s short and shows off her legs. She has a golden brown tan from hanging out at the pool in Las Vegas all week.

“Hello, Shelby,” Logan says.

“Hi. I didn’t know you’d be here.”

“I heard Rachel had the baby and I wanted to stop by.”

“Yeah. Me, too.” She’s breathless. She definitely wants him.

“I’ll take these,” Pearce says, taking the balloons from her. He ties them on the chair next to the bed.

“His name is Garret,” Logan says to Shelby.

“What?” She’s completely flustered. “Who?”

“The baby.” He points to him. “His name is Garret.”

“Oh. Yeah.” She comes over and stands by my bed. “Can I see him?”

I hold him up for her and she smiles. “Oh my God, Rachel. He’s so cute.”

“Do you want to hold him?”

“No.” She backs away, holding her hands up. “I can’t hold a baby. I’d drop him, for sure.”

“Do you need to be heading out?” Pearce asks Logan. I swear, Pearce is actively trying to keep Logan and Shelby apart. I have no idea why. “I can walk with you back to your car. We should schedule a golf game before the weather gets cool.”

“I think I’ll stay a few more minutes,” Logan says, eyeing Shelby in that dress.

It’s a cute white cotton dress that has thin straps and is fitted at the top, then flows out at the waist, ending about mid-thigh. And she’s wearing strappy sandals that have a small heel.

“Rachel, how are you feeling?” she asks. “I was so worried about you after you told me what happened.”

“I’m fine. They said I might be able to go home tomorrow.”

She leans in to see the baby again. “You are so adorable.” As she touches his face I notice light red marks circling both her wrists. “Shelby, what happened to your wrists?”

Pearce was saying something to Logan but he stops suddenly and looks at Shelby and me.

“It’s nothing.” Shelby backs away and stands up straight. “Actually, it’s a funny story. I always keep rubber bands handy so I can put my hair up, and last week in Vegas, when I was at the pool, I put a rubber band on each wrist and then fell asleep on one of the lounge chairs, and when I woke up I had these big marks on my wrists.”

Logan comes over and picks up her arm, looking at her wrist. “That doesn’t look like a mark from a rubber band.”

She yanks her arm back. “Well, it is. I was dumb and I forgot to take them off when I got to the pool.”

He takes her hand, turning it palm-side up and running his finger over the mark. “You need to put something on that or it’ll scar.”

“I have stuff at home I can put on it.” She’s breathless again as his finger moves lightly over her wrist.

“I have a first-aid kit in my car.” He lowers her hand but keeps hold of it. “Come on. Let’s go. I’ll get you fixed up.” He gazes at her as he says it. A deep, intense, I-want-you gaze.

“Um, okay,” she says, not taking her eyes off him. “Rachel, sorry I can’t stay longer but I have to go into work later. I need to go home and get ready. But I’ll call you tonight.”

“Okay. Bye, Shelby. Bye, Logan.”

“I hope they release you tomorrow.” Logan smiles at me but motions to Pearce. “I don’t think this guy can handle another night alone with the baby.”

“I’m managing just fine, thank you,” Pearce says, smiling. “Give me a call and we’ll set up a time to golf.”

He nods and leads Shelby to the door. As she’s leaving, she glances back at Pearce and I realize they didn’t say goodbye to each other.

When they’re gone, I say, “Do you think they’re going to get back together?”