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Blackmailing The Billionaire(4)

By:Melody Anne

As she opened her eyes, she moved around experimentally and realized she  felt better. The achiness throughout her body was still there but her  head wasn't pounding and she found that she had her appetite back. She  was starving, in fact. She pushed the button on her bed, raising herself  into a sitting position and waited patiently for the nurse to arrive.

"Are you going to stay awake for a while longer this morning?" the nurse  asked as she stepped into the room. She was carrying a tray that had  the most delicious aroma's coming from it. Cassie was more than happy to  see her.

"That smells so good," Cassie said with a large grin. She turned her  body too quickly and realized she wasn't as well as she'd first thought.  It wasn't quite as bad but enough that she knew she'd better take it  easy. She was hopeful she could eat a good meal and then talk the nurse  into letting her shower. She could imagine what she looked like, and she  was sure she'd frighten small children. "I just realized I've never  asked your name," Cassie said with some embarrassment. She wasn't  normally so self-absorbed.         



"You've been quite pre-occupied, dear. My name is Sally," she said in  her usual kind voice. She took Cassie's stats while she gulped down her  meal of oatmeal, toast, and fresh fruit. It was the best thing she could  ever remember tasting. She was disappointed when she wasn't able to  finish it.

"You haven't been able to eat solids in over a week, so don't be worried  about it. You've done well. I'll bring you a snack in a couple of  hours. You're going to want smaller meals more often to get your body  used to eating again," Sally told her before removing the tray.

Cassie didn't want to sleep any longer. She wanted to get out of bed. "Can I please take a shower?" Cassie pled with Sally.

"Are you feeling any dizziness right now?"

"None at all," Cassie told her. She wouldn't admit it if she was.

"I think we could try it today but I want to take you to the bathroom in  a wheelchair and I want you to use the seat. It's not going to do your  body any good if you fall and hit your head," Sally said. Cassie didn't  even try to argue. She was too relieved to have gotten her wish. Sally  helped her from the bed and into the bathroom.

The hot water cascading down her sore muscles was the greatest feeling  she could have ever imagined. It was pure heaven and she groaned in  disappointment when Sally told her she'd had enough and helped her back  to her room. She didn't realize how much the excursion had worn her out  until she laid back down. She closed her eyes for a moment and didn't  wake until much later, when the sun was starting to set in the sky.

As Cassie was finishing her supper, which was unlike any hospital food  she'd ever heard of, there was a knock on her door. She turned her head,  expectantly. She was a bit upset with herself that she was hoping it  was Max. She didn't need to start wishing for him to come see her.

As if her imagination could conjure him up, in he stepped. She took a  deep breath and scolded herself as she felt her heartbeat speed up. Max  looked at her while the treacherous machine hooked up to her heart gave  her reaction to him away. She turned from him and glared at the beeping  machine, trying to will her heart-beat to slow down.

"I … uh … just got back from the bathroom," she said, trying to explain her  rapidly beating heart. He raised his brow but didn't call her on the  lie, which she was grateful for. She berated herself for the stupid  excuse. She didn't know if she was more embarrassed he might think she  was unnerved by him, or exhausted from a small walk. Oh well, she  thought, there was nothing she could do about it.

"How are you feeling?" he asked as he stepped up next to the bed. He was  dressed in well-worn jeans that hugged him in all the right places, and  an old Stanford Sweatshirt. He looked good and she felt even more  frumpy in her paper-thin hospital gown.

"I'm feeling a bit better. You really don't need to stop in and check on  me," she said. She then noticed the bouquet of flowers in his hand. He  handed them to her and she stared at them, a bit stunned. She'd never  received flowers before and the gesture made her tear up. She could  smell the sweet scent filling the air. She tried to snap out of her  trance. She knew Max was a player and he gave flowers without it meaning  anything to him. She couldn't let it affect her.

"Thank you, Mr. Anderson. They're beautiful," she told him in a shockingly composed voice. "You really shouldn't have."

"It was my pleasure." The way he spoke sent tingles through her body. No  wonder women swooned at his feet. He was certainly swoon-worthy. She  wished he would just go away. She wasn't at her best. His voice was like  warm honey, and his shining blue eyes seemed to see straight into her  soul. She could feel the heat infuse her cheeks. The dang monitor was  beeping faster, the longer he stared at her - and his lips turned up at  the sound. He knew his effect on her and he was thoroughly enjoying  himself.

She'd been starting to feel better but the longer he stood next to her  bed the higher her blood pressure shot up. She was starting to hope for  unconsciousness once again.

"Well, thanks again for the flowers, but I'm really quite tired so … " she started.

"The staff said you don't have any family or friends in the city. They  said you recently moved here?" he interrupted, his expression never  changing. "They've also informed me you will be unable to care for  yourself for at least a few weeks once you're released," he finished,  never breaking his stare. It was almost as if he was daring her to argue  with him. She was in no way afraid to go head to head with the gorgeous  billionaire.         



Cassie thought back over her conversation with the nurse and how much  she'd revealed about her circumstances. She should've known the staff  would report all she said back to Max and his family. It wasn't like she  was the one footing the bill. She didn't like to feel vulnerable and  didn't like him knowing she was anything less than a strong and  independent woman.

"I'm perfectly fine on my own. I will leave here in a few days and I  have a comfortable apartment, where I can take care of myself," she said  a bit huffily. She was cringing when she thought about climbing up and  down the stairs to her apartment. They still hadn't fixed the elevator.  Of course, her place may not be a problem much longer since she didn't  have a job. It wasn't like a barista position was hard to fill on a  moment's notice.

"You're obviously not okay to take care of yourself. You don't even know  how to cross a street without getting hit by a car," he said, some of  his cool demeanor slipping. "For someone who is very lucky to still be  alive you're quite ungrateful."

As Max finished speaking, Cassie felt her temper rising. He hit her with  his car and then had the nerve to lecture her about being careless. She  counted to ten in her head, realized it wasn't enough, and kept  counting. When she hit a hundred and still felt like tearing into him,  she thought it would be better if she sat there and glared instead of  speaking. Getting in a verbal battle with him wasn't going to do either  of them any good.

He stared at her, neither of them willing to back down. He thought he  was in the right, and she knew she was. Finally, she was able to once  again speak, though she knew her words would come out between clinched  teeth.

"I don't know where you come off thinking I should be grateful for you  setting me up in this hospital, and I don't know exactly what happened,  but you hit me with your car, not the other way around. You don't get to  come in here and be a jerk!"

"I'm trying to do the right thing. You don't have anyone to take care of  you, so I want to make sure you get proper care. You don't have to be  so ungrateful about it," he said, still sounding as if nothing could  possibly penetrate his cool exterior.

"Well, I'm telling you that I don't need taken care of … " she snapped.  She wanted to add more when he rudely interrupted her again.

"You will not leave here by yourself, and that's final!"

Cassie took a few minutes to compose her features, trying to get control  of her temper. She could feel the headache starting to pound in her  temples once again, and was frustrated with him for that, too. He seemed  unhappy unless he was causing her some kind of distress.

"We aren't getting anywhere. I think we should both cool off and then  have this discussion when I'm feeling better." She figured if she played  the sick girl card he'd leave her alone and give her time to get her  thoughts together.

Max didn't say anything - he just stood up and walked from the room.  Cassie didn't know whether to feel happy or disappointed she'd gotten  her way. She told herself she was glad he'd left, but she didn't feel  elated to have him gone. She blamed her erratic emotions to the knock on  her head. That's all it could be. She lay back against the pillow and  closed her eyes, letting out a sigh.