However, I hadn’t caused any of his other injuries, but I felt directly responsible for the sprint he’d had to do earlier to catch up to me. And I cringed every time I thought about him picking up my weight so effortlessly and carrying me to his car.
My ears perked up like an alert dog’s as the doctor started to speak.
“Rest, ice, the brace, and keep it elevated to get the swelling down,” the doctor said in a voice loud enough for me to hear. “Your meniscus is torn, but the tear is in an area that gets good blood flow, so if you do what you’re supposed to do, it should eventually heal. Physical therapy—”
Jett interrupted in a cranky tone, “I know the drill, Doc. No sense wasting your breath on my injury. I’ve had more PT than any person should ever have to have in their lifetime. I go through the routines myself at home now.”
“I can see that that you’ve had a long road with this leg,” the doctor said in a more sympathetic voice.
“My knee was already a mess anyway,” Jett said flatly. “Whatever I did to it tonight is no big deal.”
“It has taken a beating,” the doctor agreed. “But you didn’t have to add another injury. No more sprints for you in the near future. You’ll need to be re-checked, and your orthopedic doctor in Seattle wants to see you once you’re back home so he can see how you’re healing.”
“Got it,” Jett grumbled.
I had to hold back a squeak of surprise as the curtain was suddenly jerked open, and I could see Jett’s unhappy face staring at the doctor like he wanted to punch him.
“The nurse will bring all your discharge instructions shortly,” the doctor said right before he exited and pulled the door closed behind him.
The room was silent for a moment before I finally said, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“It’s nothing, Ruby. Don’t worry about it. I’ve had far worse injuries than this one,” he answered in an annoyed tone.
Somehow, I knew he wasn’t irritated with me, but he should be.
“I didn’t cause your other injuries,” I replied, my voice heavy with regret. “This is my fault. I shouldn’t have run away, and there’s no way you should have been carrying me.”
“Enough!” he said in a booming tone. “I might have scars, and my leg isn’t the greatest, but I’m not a fucking invalid. The last thing I need is to be treated like I need to hang it up just because I have a leg that doesn’t always cooperate.”
I was a little scared of the volume of his voice, but if I looked at things logically, I could see that he was more frustrated than angry.
He sat up with a blanket still covering his legs as he continued in a calmer tone, “You didn’t cause this, Ruby. In case you didn’t notice in the car, I had some pretty severe injuries from a helicopter crash a few years ago. I’ve been doing workouts every day to strengthen my quads so they supported my bad knee better, but it was always going to be weak and prone to injury. I’ll heal.”
“You shouldn’t have come after me,” I said in a tearful voice as I sat up and was finally able to look him directly in the eyes.
I won’t cry. I’m not going to cry.
We were both still in hospital gowns, and we were staring each other down. I might have seen the humor in having a hospital argument if I didn’t feel so crappy about what had happened.
“There was never any question about whether or not I was going to find you after you bolted,” he growled. “We were in a shitty area of Miami, and you were almost naked. I wasn’t going to leave you after I’d just gotten you out of harm’s way.”
My chest ached from his words. “Most people would have,” I said in a voice that was almost a whisper. “But I guess most people wouldn’t have tried to help me in the first place.”
I dropped my head and we lost eye contact. Jett was intense, and I wasn’t quite sure how to deal with a guy like him. What kind of person tears after somebody who’s in trouble with no consideration about injuring themselves? Not anybody I’d ever known.
I was intimidated by guys who were bigger and louder than I was, but I’d also learned that actions meant more than words. And Jett had been there when nobody else could or would have been.