I couldn’t keep the shock—and yeah, revulsion—off my face. It was a shitty thing to do, letting Doug know how I really felt at seeing him like that. The last time I’d seen him, in my bedroom in Upright, he’d been gorgeous, his clear blue eyes sparkled, and his sculpted body beckoned me senseless. The man taking refuge under the awning had been battered and abused by life. Even under his smile and obvious relief at seeing a face that should’ve been friendly, the empty space where hope should’ve lived was easy to spot.
He closed his eyes and slid farther down the wall, limp. Fear gripped my heart and my gut at once. I shook him gently, but he didn’t respond, so I hauled him up off the sidewalk and took him inside.
“Can’t.” I barely heard him, but at least he was talking. “They’ll kick you out.”
“Let me worry about that.” I got the stink eye from a kid behind the desk, but he didn’t make a move to stop me. I’d used my key card to get in; he could try to kick me out if he dared.
I practically carried Doug up to the third floor, and didn’t stop until we were in the bathroom. He didn’t look like he could keep his feet on his own, so I sat him in the corner near the showers and ran back to my room for a towel and a change of clothes, dropping my coat. He fell asleep while I was gone and woke with a start and a weak attempt to fend off a nonexistent attack.
Once I managed to convince him I hadn’t brought him there to kick his ass, Doug let me strip him down and shove him into a shower. Far too thin, sporting more than a few new scars and tattoos, he was still handsome underneath it all. Still Doug.