Allie and Jacob’s first meeting.
The bell rang one more time as the pregnant aide moved the elderly woman to a room halfway down the long wall. At least she was gentle with the residents, Allie thought as she walked to the inner administrative area in the front lobby. Walking past the large reception cubicle to the outside door, she sighed loudly before looking up and dragging in a deep breath. It caught tight in her lungs at the sight of the large man standing in the darkness of the warm June day. Tall and dark, he towered over the top of the doorway. A hint of fear leaped into her heart. Shaking her head against the strange feeling, she unlocked the door and moved a half-step from him.
“I want to talk to the supervisor.”
At the biting anger in his deep voice, she almost stepped back to the reception desk. She inhaled a needed breath as she watched his large hand reach into his suit pocket before jerking it out as if stung by some unknown insect. Glaring at his statue-like stance, she asked, “It’s two in the morning.”
“I’m well aware of what time it is.”
The violence echoing in the man’s quick response moved over her like a fierce storm, thundering in her beating heart.
Why was she responding to this stranger this way? He wasn’t the first irate family member she’d had to deal with at Lakeview, but it was rare for his type of behavior late at night.
“Are you the supervisor?”
“I’m only a charge nurse now,” Allie said while studying the solid man. “I could get the supervisor for you.”
Staring up into his blank face, she swallowed around the dryness invading her mouth and forced her gaze to linger on his forehead, and not to wander to his chiseled cheeks and firm chin. His gaze traveled down her form and then slowly back up her blood- and urine-stained uniform. His hard glance had changed to confusion. The metal gray color of his eyes darkened to a gray so black it spoke of thundering tornados.
A sudden urge to run entered her. Instead she drew in a cleansing breath and squared her shoulders.
Allison Callaway never ran away from a problem at work. In life, yes, but never at work.
“Ah, Miss Callaway?”
Surprise lifted her head up, bringing her fingers up to play with the ends of her hair. “How do you know my name?”
He pointed to her name tag.
“Oh.” She dropped her hair against her back and stood up taller. Still her five-feet-eight inches didn’t come close to the man’s overwhelming height. He stood like a Marine, at attention, in full dress uniform. A little ruffled and round shouldered, from tiredness, she suspected, yet he still sent out an aurora of command, of stubbornness.
Oh, get it together, Allie, you’re acting like an idiot.
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