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Full Package(2)
Author: Lauren Blakely

“You let me know, Chase. I make a great ceviche, I’m incredibly neat, and I wouldn’t even charge you a dime. We could work out some other form of payment,” she says with a purr.

And my leasing agent has now officially requested that I be her boy toy. Fuck. Time to grow a beard. I know I look young for my job, but young enough to be asked to be a sugar boy? I turn to the glass window of the hospital and consider my face. Clean-shaven, hazel eyes, light brown hair, chiseled jaw . . . Damn, I’m quite a specimen. No wonder she propositioned me. Maybe I should take her more seriously.

Even though I have zero interest in serving as anyone’s sex slave, her offer is borderline tempting because I’m at the end of the line. I’ve scoured Craigslist and everyplace else, but I might as well give a kidney for a one-bedroom—that’d be easier than finding a pad in this city.

You know all those TV shows where the perky twenty-something advertising assistant nabs a swell apartment with a flower planter, bright purple walls, and a reading nook on the Upper West Side? Or when the wet-behind-the-ears dude with an entry-level post at a magazine lands a swank bachelor pad in Tribeca?

They lie.

At this point, I’d give my spleen just for a closet under a staircase. Wait, I take that back. I like my spleen. It’d have to be a closet on the first floor for me to give up an organ, even one I can technically live without.

“What do you think? You up for it?” Erica asks, in what no doubt is her best sexy-as-sin voice. “Bob said he’s fine with you being here, too.”

I frown. “Bob?” Immediately, I want to take back the question because I’ve got a sinking feeling Bob could be her vibrator, and I walked right into that one.

“Bob, my husband,” she says matter-of-factly, and now I wish we were talking about a toy.

“That’s quite generous of him,” I deadpan. “And please let him know that while I appreciate his magnanimity, a mattress in the locker room just opened up.”

I turn off my phone and head inside, my quick break over. Sandy, the curly-haired charge nurse, marches up to me, a serious look on her face as she tips her head toward the nearby exam room. But the tiniest twinkle in her gray eyes tells me my newest patient’s situation isn’t dire.

“Room two. Foreign body stuck in the forehead,” she tells me. That’s my cue to forget about square footage and unconventional living arrangements.

When I stride into the exam room, I find an angular, blond Aquaman perched on the edge of the hospital bed.

“I’m Dr. Summers. Nice threads.” I flash a quick smile. Always helps to defuse the situation. And besides, if I reacted to the three-inch shard of glass sticking out of the forehead of the guy in the green costume, they should take my goddamn license away.

He shoots me a rueful grin as he glances at his getup. The polyester outfit is torn down the right arm and ripped along the thigh.

“Looks like a fun morning,” I say, eyeing the crystal fragment in his skin. “Let me guess. Your forehead got intimately acquainted with a chandelier?”

He nods guiltily, the look in his eyes telling me he wasn’t trying to fly.

“And let me hazard another guess.” I stroke my chin. “You were trying to spice up your sex life by testing the whole idea of hanging from the chandeliers.”

He swallows, gives another small nod, then an unsteady yup. “Can you get it out?”

“That’s what she said,” I say, and he chuckles. I pat his shoulder. “Couldn’t resist, but the answer is yes, and there will only be a small scar. I’m excellent at stitches.”

He takes a deep breath, and I get to work, numbing his forehead before I remove the glass. We chat as I go, making small talk about his fondness for superheroes, then I tell him the latest of my apartment hunt woes.

“Manhattan is crazy,” he says. “Even in commercial real estate, it’s all gone through the roof.” Then he adds, almost sheepishly, “Though, I can’t complain since that’s my business.”

“Smart man. Square footage in this city is like a precious jewel,” I say as I finish work on the stitches.

Twenty minutes later, I’ve sewn up his forehead, and a nurse returns with the shard in a plastic Biohazard bag. She hands it to me, and I pass it on to the rightful owner.

“A souvenir of today’s visit to the ER,” I tell the guy, and he takes the bag.

“Thanks, Doc. The sad thing is we didn’t even get to the main event.”

“That’s why it’s an urban myth. You can’t really do it while hanging from the chandelier. And hey, next time you’re feeling adventurous, take a cooking class and then go home and use the table for dessert, okay? But make sure it’s a nice, smooth wood because I don’t want to have to remove a three-inch splinter from your gluteus maximus. That’s not as good a war story.”

He nods crisply. “I promise. No more acrobatics.”

“But kudos on having a woman who likes you that much,” I say as we leave the room.

He tilts his head. “How’d you know she likes me?”

I nod toward the row of chairs in the waiting room at the end of the hallway. A dark-haired woman in a busty emerald-green costume nibbles on her lip and checks her watch. When she raises her face, her eyes light up as they land on Aquaman.

“I’m guessing the mermaid brought you in? And waited for you?”

“Yeah,” Aquaman says with a dopey smile as he looks at his woman.

   
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