I looked at the door. Al still on my chest, legs between mine. Randy stood waiting to come in, and I nodded.

The door closed as he walked to the chair I’d been using for days, “So, you slept with my sister last night.” He was grinning.

“Yeah, I did and will every night for the rest of her life,” I replied.

She started to stir while we talked, “Mac.”

“Yeah, sweetheart. I’m right here,” I replied.

“Good morning little sis. How are you feeling today?” Randy asked.

“Sore and I need to use the restroom,” she replied.

I made sure her back was covered before I moved the sheet and sat up with her. I sat her across my lap and moved my legs to the side of the bed.

“Okay, I have you.” I stood and walked with her in my arms to the bathroom, “Randy, no one comes in while we’re in here.”

He nodded his understanding, “I got it covered, you take care of our girl.”

Al had her head buried in my chest when I closed the bathroom door.

“Mac, I can do this myself.”

She was holding on to me while she got her legs under her, “I’m so embarrassed.”

I raised her chin. She was looking into my eyes, “Sweetheart, there’s not an inch of your beautiful body that I haven’t kissed. Why would you be embarrassed in front of me?”

She just shrugged her shoulders. I unsnapped the hospital gown and let it fall to the floor, “You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever laid eyes on.” I kissed her, “You take care of business, and I’ll get your shower started.”

I stayed close as she sat, then opened the door, “Randy, would you get two clean gowns from the nurses please.”

“On it,” he replied.

I started the shower waiting for the water to warm, “Ready when you are, sweetheart.”

She stood slowly. I could see she was in pain. She took my hand as I helped her to the shower. She stepped in but didn’t let go of my hand, “Help me, please.”

I smiled, as I moved her hand to the bar on the wall, “Okay, hold on while I undress.”

Before I started, there was a knock at the door.

“Mac, it’s me,” Randy called.

I opened the door just a crack so he could give me the gowns. “Thanks,” I replied as I closed the door and stripped out of my clothes.

I stepped into the shower and held Al as she washed and rinsed her hair. I let her hold on to me while I washed her body. I helped dry her with a towel, then into the clean gowns. Then gave her a toothbrush with toothpaste. As she brushed her teeth, I brushed out her hair.

I wrapped my arms around her.

“Feel better?” I asked as I wrapped a towel around my waist.

“Yes, I do,” She looked at me, “but, I’m really, really sore.”

I kissed her nose, “I know, and if I could take your pain I would.”

“I know,” She smiled, “I love you.”

I smiled, “I love you too.” I kissed her gently, “Let me get you back to bed. Then I need a shower of my own.”

I helped her back into bed, ordered the three of us breakfast, and went to shower.

“No one comes in while I’m in the bathroom,” I turned to the door and opened it.

“Mac,” Randy said. As I turned back to him, he threw a duffel bag my way, “I went by yesterday and got you some clean clothes.”

I sighed, “Thanks, man.”


I walked out of the bathroom in clean jeans, a shave, and drying my hair when the door opened. The day nurse, who was also the nurse from last night, was standing waiting to be let in.

I snorted when her mouth opened at the sight of my bare chest. I get that look from every girl who has ever seen me shirtless, but only one girl’s look turns me on; Al’s.

I nodded her in, then took a seat on the bed next to Al.

The nurse turned her eyes to Al when I didn’t return her interest, “Miss Yates, how are we feeling today?”

Al smiled at me, and I knew she caught the nurse lusting after me, “Well I’ve no idea about we, but my fiancé’s doing very nicely.” She moved her hand to my arm, “I’m better, just a little sore,” she replied as I covered her hand with mine.

“Well, let me get your vitals. Then we’ll get you some breakfast.” She went to check Al’s pulse, blood pressure, and temperature, “Okay, everything looks good, Miss Yates, I’ll have your breakfast brought in soon.”

She turned to leave when the door opened to the doctors’ staff chef bringing our breakfast.

“No need nurse, I took care of breakfast,” I said as she walked to the door in a huff.

“Well! Dr. Baker will hear about this,” she said as she tried to storm out the door.

“Yes, I think he will,” I replied as the door closed.


The chef was setting up a buffet for us. “Chef Morgen, let me introduce you to my fiancé, Allyson.”

He walked to the bed, offered his hand, “It’s very nice to meet you, ma’am.”

Al took his hand, “It’s nice to meet you too, but just call me Allie.”

He nodded and returned to the food.

“Thank you, Chef Morgen. It looks delicious as always,” I said as he turned to the door.

“Thank you, Mr. Ross, Mr. Yates, ma’am,” He opened the door and was gone.


“Wow, that nurse was a little cold,” Randy said.

I was helping Al to her feet, “Yeah, she should be off by now. She was the night nurse that I refused to let in during the night.”

We walked to the buffet.

“I thought she was going to jump your bones when she walked in and I was going to have to kill her,” Al said as she put her hand on my chest.

“Sweetheart, I only have eyes for you,” I took her hand and kissed her palm.

“Gross, please stop! Remember I’m a single man and you’re ruining my appetite.” Randy picked up a plate, “I haven’t had Paul’s food since he graduated from culinary school.”

I gave a plate to Al, “You fix your plate first. Then,” I pointed to Randy and then to myself, “we’ll fix ours.” I moved my hands to her hips while she filled her plate, then walked her to the recliner to sit. Then moved the hospital tray to the chair so she could put the plate down to eat.

“Would you like orange juice?” I asked as I gave her flatware.

“Yes, please.”

I gave her a glass of juice, “I think I need to put on a shirt before anyone else comes in,” I moved to the bathroom as Randy filled his plate, “Hey! Leave some for me.”


I sat on the bed to eat because Randy was sitting in the other chair.

Al looked at me, “So how do y’all know this Chef Morgen?”

I looked at Randy then back at Al, and sighed, “He got into a little trouble a few years back, and I helped him out.”

She raised her eyebrows at me, “A little trouble?”

I smiled, “Yeah, he stole my truck.” I took a bite of egg, “He has a story a little like Jake’s. He was running from an abusive father. A father who had been selling him out to friends for sex.” I stopped to eat some more, the food was as good as I remembered, “So I took him in under the condition he finish school and go to college. While he lived with us, he helped Matilda in the kitchen and the things he cooked for us were restaurant quality.”

I saw Al had finished her plate and orange juice.

“Do you want anything else, sweetheart?” I put my plate on the bed and took hers.

“Some more of the quiche would be great,” she replied.

I nodded, put quiche on the plate, got more orange juice, and put them on her table. When she was eating again, I did too.

“So, tell me more about Chef Morgen.”

“Well a few months before graduation he came to me and said he wanted to fulfill our agreement, but he had no scholarships and couldn’t afford the kind of college he wanted to go to. I asked him what he’d like to do,” I stopped and watched her eat. I could see color coming back into her cheeks. That was a good sign, and I relaxed just a little.

“He told me he would like to go to culinary school. So, we talked about it. We did some research on schools. He wanted to go to New York City, but I was worried he might fall into some old habits, so I talked him into going to the Le Cordon Bleu of Dallas. I paid his way and now he’s the Doctor’s Staff Chef here.”

I finished my food and put the plate on the buffet, “Someday he’ll be a great chef with his own restaurant.”

I took her empty plate and glass, then moved them to the buffet.

“A restaurant you’ll buy for him?”

I smiled, “Maybe, he’s like one of my siblings, and I love him just as much as them.”

I moved the hospital tray and lifted her into my arms and sat with her on my lap.

“I like to take care of those close to me,” I looked at Randy. I don’t think he’s told Al who helped him buy the Flying J.

She leaned her head on my chest, “So, you’re a White Knight in Shining Armor,” She closed her eyes, “Why’d I ever leave you?”

“Shush, no regrets, only the here and now,” I kissed her head.

“Sooo…” Randy stood up to leave, “If you need anything else, just give me a call, and I’ll take care of it.”

“Thanks,” I replied. “Garth should be the first home on Saturday. If you could get someone to pick him up, then he can get the others as they come in,” I looked at him, “I need Angus to stay around the ranch.”

“I got it covered.” He smiled as he opened the door, “You just take care of my sister.”

“Done!” I replied as he closed the door.


I ran my hands up and down Al’s back.

“Are we going to postpone the wedding?” She whispered.

I lifted her head just enough to see her eyes, “Not going to happen. You are going to be my wife at 2 pm on the 31st,” I leaned down and kissed her.  “Rangers Clark and Gibson are going to run security at the house and at the Rusty Nail. The reception will be invitation only, Matilda and Half Pint have sent out invitations to most of the town, but if you aren’t on the list, you just don’t get in.”

“Okay, I don’t want to wait to marry you either.” She sighed. She was moving her hand up my side, and it felt good.

The door opened before I could do anything about it, “Dr. Baker, please come in.”

“Well, I see a little color in your cheeks, Miss Yates. That’s a very good sign. Very good indeed.” He closed the door behind him, “Would you mind moving to the bed so I can examine you, please.”

I stood up with her in my arms, settled her in the bed, and covered her with the sheet. Then sat next to her.

“Will I get to go home today?” she asked.

“I think so, but I would like you to stay close for a few days. Come into my office on Friday, before I release you to Alvord,” He was checking her over as he talked.

“I understand you made a few nurses unhappy last night, Mr. Ross.” He looked up at me and smiled, “It’s been a long time since I had someone brave enough to put a nurse in her place.” He put his stethoscope around his neck, “If she knew who you are, she wouldn’t have given you grief.”

I smiled, “She doesn’t need to know she was rude to a board member. I don’t want her to think I might have her fired.”

He took Al’s hand, “As if you would.”

“Yeah,” I replied.

“Board member! Of this hospital?” Al asked.

“Yes, and a few other boards as well,” I replied.

“Oh! My lord!” She smiled, “More than a cattle baron.”

“Much more,” Dr. Baker replied, “I made an appointment for 7:30 am Friday. Our first patients don’t come in until 9:30 am so the Marshals can secure the office without anyone knowing.”

“So, now I can get out of here?” Al asked.

He handed a clipboard to me, “As soon as Mr. Ross signs the release forms.”

I smiled, “I’ll sign away my life for this little lady.”

She smiled at that, “I don’t think that’s about to happen.”

I mouthed a ‘no’ to her, “I need to give the Marshals a heads up.”

“I did that on my way in, they said they would let you know when it was a go.” He looked over at the buffet, “So, I see Chef Morgen fed you this morning. It must be nice to be friends with people in high places.” He winked at Al, “Go easy until I see you on Friday, but you should be good for some fun.” He took the clipboard from me and walked out the door.

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