**This week’s prompt is hurt/comfort. And Eli and Chase are back. (You can get Enchanted Love here) Enjoy!**
I usually hated Wednesdays because that was Chase’s late night, but tonight, I was grateful for the extra few hours before his smile proceeded him through the door. Maybe by the time he got home, some of the bruising would fade and the swelling would go down. I nursed my bourbon and tried not to watch the clock, counting down the hours until Chase breezed through the door.
Far too soon, I heard the click of the lock, his footsteps, and then his jovial voice. “Hey baby! I’m home. What do you–Jesus. What the fuck happened to you?”
I tried to smile without making my lip split again. “It’s nothing.”
“The hell it’s not!” Chase hardly ever got angry, but when he did, it was never without good reason. Apparently seeing his fiance wearing bruises on his jaw and around his eye, as well as a cut lip and cheek was a good reason. He looked murderous, and he ran across the room to take my face gently in his hand and tip it so he could inspect the damage. “What happened?”
For a long moment, I didn’t speak. It wasn’t that I didn’t want him to worry, although that was a part of it. But there was only so much I could say, bound by confidentiality as I was. His fingers were gentle as he prodded at my wounds, but his eyes were blazing with fury. I needed to say something or my normally gallant and bighearted fiance would destroy the world. The thought made me smile, which made me wince, and I let out a sigh.
“A new resident.” That was all the information I needed to give. I knew he’d know I was talking about the Josef Adler House, the LGBTQ youth shelter I funded and operated. He volunteered there, but I didn’t know if the new resident would stay yet, so I was wary of sharing too much.
“One of the kids hit you? Eli, what the hell?” His voice went low, sort of dangerous, and I was quick to soothe him.
“Her father.” I sighed again, and gently eased out of his hold. “Who was under the mistaken impression his child was a boy.”
I saw the moment it dawned. The new resident was transgender, so it was even more imperative I kept things quiet. He studied me, even though the tension had drained out of him. Finally, he gave a single nod.
“You called security?”
“Of course,” I assured him. “Dimitri was already on duty, but he called in two others to keep things especially secure. There will be at least three guards on duty until this passes. And he reported the assault to the police.”
“Good.” Then he got up and walked away.
Huh. Not exactly the reaction I’d been expecting.
Not two minutes later, he returned. He handed me a bottle of water, and when I took it with my free hand, he confiscated my glass of bourbon. “You don’t need that. Take these.”
In his palm were two white pills, and I gratefully downed the aspirin with several large gulps of water. Once I was done, he took the bottle and set it on the coffee table, then lifted an ice pack and gently pressed it to the side of my face. I hissed at the cold, and Chase gave a mirthless laugh.
“Suck it up. You should have iced it right away.” He pulled the pack away and looked carefully at my cheek. “Do we need to get you checked out? He could have cracked your cheekbone.”
I tried not to melt under his ministrations. I loved him taking care of me like this, even if the reason for it left a lot to be desired. I leaned into his hold, and he immedately pulled me up against him, settling me against his chest so he could hold me and also keep the ice pack in place.
“No, I’m fine. Jenny checked me out and she assured me nothing was broken.” The NP we had on staff was well versed in every kind of bruise, laceration, broken bone, sprain, and strain. A lot of the kids we catered to faced violence at home or on the streets.
“All right. Twenty minutes with this on your face, and then a bath. Then more icing in bed.”
I wiggled a little, and tried to make my tone suggestive. “I can think of better things we can do in bed.”
Chase laughed, a more real sound, and kissed the uninjured side of my face. “Not tonight. Tonight, we take care of you.”
I hummed contentedly, and lifted his free hand so I could kiss his knuckles. I was careful to keep it away from the cut on the right side of my mouth. “I love you, Chase.”
“I love you too, baby.”
I knew he did. He showed it with his every action.