I feel silly. I sit in the waiting room of the ER, staring at my bandaged right hand. The local anaesthetic is beginning to wear off and my hand is beginning to throb. I had cut myself this afternoon in the kitchen, while attempting to open a can of beans. What I thought was a benign cut turned out to be deeper than expected and I had bleed rather profusely to Ray Jr's horror. He had called a cab and as a result of my carelessness I received five stitches to my palm, courtesy of Miami General ER. The resident that stitched me up had deemed me fit to go home, but would only discharge me to someone who would take me home and watch for effects of the medication I had been given. I was in no shape to drive, not that I had driven here in the first place, and he wanted to be sure there would be someone to watch me when I got home. I had tried to assure him that my fifteen-year old son was more than capable but he had insisted on releasing me to an adult. There had been only one logical choice left, and I made Ray Jr call his uncle. Half an hour later, a rather worried looking Lieutenant of the MDPD crime lab walked into the waiting area, slipping off his trademark shades as he walked up to me. He greeted Ray with a quick "good to see you", then took the empty seat to my right. He lifted my bandaged hand gently, examining it critically as if he could see underneath the dressing. He didn't say a word but his gentleness surprised me. The resident who had refused to let me go home alone without adult supervision materialised. Horatio stood up. "Ah, you must be Ms Salas' brother-in-law." It sounded strange. We hardly kept in contact these days and it has been a long time since I had heard anyone refer to Horatio as my brother-in-law. What we had, seemed lifetimes ago. "How is she?" Typical Horatio, taking charge of the situation, ignoring me competely. "Five stitches to a rather deep wound. There isn't any nerve damage fortunately. You'll need to keep an eye on her, the pain meds tend to make people a little drowsy. She needs to come back in 10 days to remove those stitches. And watch for any signs of infection." Horatio nodded. "I'll do that." Satisfied, the doctor hands Ray my bag of meds and disappears into the busy ER. He looks down at me. "Ready to go?" "Yes." I stand up, but the drugs are making me feel as if I'm drunk. I feel lightheaded and take a few steps backwards. I immediately feel his hands on me, supporting me with one arm round my waist and the other hand gripping my upper arm firmly but not too tightly. "Maybe you'd like a wheelchair?" He suggests. "No." I hate looking weak in front of Horatio. "Take it slow then." He says as he leads me to the parking lot. We spend the rest of the evening at my place. Horatio cooks up a simple dinner and Ray helps with the cleaning up. I enjoy watching Ray Jr interact with his uncle. Later that night I settle into bed. I hear a knock on my door just as I pull the covers over my legs. "Come in." Horatio enters, my pain medication and a glass of water in hand. He wordless hands the pills to me, then the glass of water. He watches silently as I down the medication. "Thanks." I hand him the glass. "No worries." He smiles. There had been an awkward tension since he picked me up from the hospital. "Horatio - " "Yelina - " We share a laugh that dissipates the tension somewhat. "Ladies first." Horatio is still the gentleman. "I just wanted to thank you." "No worries." "It's late, you should go now." I know he has other obligations. "I err.... I'd rather stay the night, that is, if you don't mind." Horatio shifts his weight uncomfortably. "The couch would be just fine." "There's no need. Really." I don't understand why he's doing this. It's not as if I had nearly lost my life. "My hand doesn't hurt that much anymore." "Yelina," he uses that tone with me. The one that I used to give in to. "You heard the doctor." "I really - " "I insist." "There are some spare blankets in the cupboard." I point to my left, giving in to his insistence. Later on that night, I feel hands on my forehead, smoothing my hair. He has never touched me before, but I know it's him. My eyes snap open, my hand is throbbing badly. I sit up and reach to flick on my bedside lamp. Horatio sits on my bed, an embarassed look on his face. "I uh.... you were... you ummm, sounded like you were in pain." He stammers. "My hand hurts." I figure I must have groaned in pain while asleep. Worry is etched on his face. To my surprise he gingerly lifts my wounded hand, his lips gently brushing my fingertips. The awkwardness of the evening has vanished. Our eyes meet. I see hurt and longing in his blue eyes. I see love? I wonder if my own eyes betray the turmoil raging inside of me. His simple act of tenderness has awakened feelings I have surpressed. He leans towards me, but stops when our lips almost meet. Unsure if he should proceed. My heart thundering in my chest, I close the few inches between us. The kiss is light at first. A chaste kiss, unsure, testing the waters. Yet filled with simmering passion. My bandaged hand in still in his, and I feel his other hand caress my cheek, then move to the back of my neck, tilting my head back slightly. We deepen the kiss, and sparks ignite. I had no idea he is so good at this kssing thing. We try to convey years of pent up passion and want in this one kiss, but soon the need for air is too overwhleming to ignore. We break apart. His eyebrows lift as he mutters a soft, "Wow." I giggle. Giggle? Apparently he thinks I'm good at this too. My heart is still racing and my hand still hurts. There would be words in the morning, things we need to work out before taking this further. Questions to answer, doubts to clear. But the look in his eyes tell me he knows there's no turning back from here. I turn my head to the empty space beside me. "I think you'll find this more comfortable than the couch." He chuckles. My heart skips a beat. He slowly climbs into bed. It feels good to know that that empty space beside me will now be filled. We fall asleep, with the promise of a new tomorrow.