“He’s . . . a fool.”
I blink, surprised. Not by the words— Gabe and Nick rib at each other all the time in that weird man tradition. But it’s the vehemency in the tone that throws me off guard.
“If you . . . were . . .mine . . .” Nick closes his eyes, and I almost run to get that nurse to check if he’s all right. “I wouldn’t . . . flirt . . . around.”
Forcing a laugh, I pet Nick’s hand. “You know as well as I that I’m not Gabe’s, and vice versa. We’re just—” I manage not to choke on the word. “Friends.”
“Because . . . Gabe is . . . a fool.” Nick’s eyes slide back open, and despite all the pain medication he must be on, his blue orbs stare directly at me— and it feels like, into my soul. “Braelin . . . I . . .”
My soul shudders. Because then I know what’s happening. How could I not, when Nick and I are so similar?
We both know the pain of unrequited feelings.
“Nick—” I begin, because I need to get in control of this conversation before it becomes the nightmare I’ve always feared for myself, only for the most injured man in the room.
But I can still see something break in Nick’s eyes just at my one word.
Then Gabe strides in. “Nick! Braelin! What did I miss?”
I blink, not sure what to say or do or think.
Nick’s piercing eyes turn from me to his partner. “I was just . . . telling Braelin not . . . to let you . . . hurt . . . her.”