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Consumed

Consumed

Page 37

Just as she started off for the glowing entrance, a tall figure came out from the ambulance area.

She recognized who it was immediately.

Changing trajectory, she headed for Danny, and he seemed to know it was her because he stopped.

“Hey,” he said gruffly as she came up to him.

“Moose got in touch with me.”

“He does that, doesn’t he.”

He hadn’t bothered to shave, his face rough with stubble, and his windbreaker was wrinkled, as if it had been wadded up somewhere. But his jeans were clean and he smelled like soap even in the rain.

Which he didn’t seem to notice, even as it dripped off his nose and hair.

“What the hell happened?” she asked.

“Moose didn’t say?”

“No, he just texted that Emilio was going to be admitted for observation. Was it a fire?” Danny shook his head and she frowned. “So he was in an accident?”

“No.”

“Oh . . . God.”

“I gotta go.”

“Where?” she asked before she could stop herself.

“I’m doing a favor for Chavez.”

Danny said a quick good-bye and walked away. And Anne told herself to stay put.

She lasted two heartbeats with that before she jumped forward to catch up with him. “I want to help.”

Danny didn’t slow down. Didn’t look at her. He just kept striding through the storm. “What?”

“Emilio.” The wind changed direction and blew her off-balance. “I want to help you with the favor. It’s all I can do for him.”

“It’s nothing I can’t handle myself.”

She grabbed his arm. “Danny.”

He stopped and stared over her head. “I don’t need your help, okay.”

“Please, this is about Emilio. Not us.”

“Right. Sorry. I forgot we’re supposed to put our head in the sand and pretend there’s nothing going on—and spare me the there-isn’ts. Everything is about us. Your fucking arm, my shit. It’s all about us, Anne. And yeah, sure, you’re more mentally advanced, or whatever you want to call it, than I am. But out of the two of us, I’m the only one who sees clearly.”

She put her hands on her hips. “This is about Chavez—”

Danny threw up his hands and walked off into the storm muttering to himself.

Anne ran after him. “What does Emilio need?”

Lightning flashed overhead, the strobing reminding her of being on a scene, and as the answering thunder rolled through the night sky, rain got into her eyes, making them burn. As they came up to Danny’s truck, she expected him to just get in and drive away. But of course, he refused to follow any pattern of behavior.

He stopped again, put his hands on his hips, and stared down at her. “What’ll you give me.”

Anne blinked and pulled her hood further forward. “Excuse me? Are you even serious?”

“I want something.” He didn’t seem to notice it was pouring or that gale force gusts were tackling them from all sides or that they were having to shout over the storm. “And no, not sex, for fuck’s sake. But quid pro quo.”

She pointed back at the ER, and on cue, more lightning flashed. “There’s a man in there fighting for his life.”

Danny shrugged, his face slick and reflective of the hospital’s security lamps. “I have something you want. So gimme something I want and I’ll let you help.”

“You are an asshole.”

“I know.” He tilted his head and adopted an expression like he was doing long division in his head. “Let’s see . . . I need help out at the farm clearing brush. Could be another opportunity for you to prove you’re perfectly fine—plus, if we need to call an ambulance out there, it won’t be one of us who responds, so there’s that. Or . . . you could promise me that you’ll come to Moose’s Saturday night—”

“Fine. I’ll go with you,” she snapped.

“See.” He started to smile. “So easy. Now get in my truck. We’re going to Timeout to find Josefina.”

Anne was talking to herself as she went around and got in. As her feet squished in her soaked running shoes and a trickle of water snuck passed the open collar of her Patagonia jacket, she was cursing him.

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