“CHRIST, Kurt. When you said peace and quiet, you meant it.” Miles Taylor looked around suspiciously. The one-room cabin, while small, was fully modernized with all the conveniences one could hope for. Except for one.
“Where’s the bloody phone?”
Kurt Fulton set Miles’s suitcase down at the foot of the queen-size bed that was covered in an attractive, geometric-patterned quilt.
“The whole concept of you getting peace and quiet entails keeping you away from telephones, fax machines, the Internet, and anything else that’s going to keep you from the rest and recuperation you need.”
Miles grimaced. “I’ll rest when I’m dead.”
“And that, my friend, is the reason why you’re here.” Kurt shook his head at Miles. “You have to take this seriously, Miles. You had a heart attack. You could have another one if you don’t make some changes.”
Miles watched Kurt as he paced over to the front window. He understood Kurt’s concern, but he couldn’t escape the feeling of unreality that threatened to overwhelm him every time he looked at his friend. How could he ever thank the man who had not only saved his life but had literally held his heart in his hands?
“Well, if things are so serious, dumping me off in the back of the beyond with no car and no phone to contact my doctor is asking for trouble now, isn’t it?” Miles’s green eyes sparked at his long-time friend, sometime lover, and currently full-time doctor.
Kurt ran his hand though his hair and frowned. “It’s not like you’re just post-op, Miles. Besides, I told you: an old colleague of mine lives in the cabin up the hill. I’m leaving him your file and asking him to look in on you. Brenda, one of the locals, will come by once a week with your groceries and to do any errands you need.”
“I’m a fuckin’ prisoner, then?” As always when Miles became upset his accent thickened, emphasizing his British roots that the last several years in the States had never managed to erase.
“You’re not a prisoner,” Kurt recited for what Miles felt sure had to be the tenth time. “You can go anywhere up here you want. There’s a lot to see. There are the lighthouses and miles of beach to walk on. The sunsets are terrific, and the town has some great little art shops.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Miles crossed his arms over his chest, feeling the scar under his shirt as he did so. He knew denial would only take him so far; that was the reason he’d agreed to Kurt’s crazy idea in the first place.
“Come on, Miles.”
Miles could hear Kurt’s frustration in his voice. “It’s the best I can think of. I tried to let you do it your way but you were headed right back into trouble. At least, just try it… for me?”
“Even though I can’t believe you stole my cell, it’s not like I could ever deny you anything,” Miles grumped as he looked out the large picture window. Kurt was right about one thing. The view here was terrific. The cottage was situated atop a small series of sand dunes and looked down onto the big lake.
“Feel like I’m going to turn into a bleedin’ turnip just sittin’ around.”
Kurt reached out and caught Miles close in a tight hug. “You’ll be the blondest, tannest, and sexiest turnip I know.”
Miles returned the firm grasp of Kurt’s arms, knowing it was one of the few ways his friend could show his relief while still trying to maintain some professional focus.
“I did say thank you, didn’t I?” He mumbled against Kurt’s neck, his breath ruffling the sandy hair at the nape with gratitude he found difficult to express.
“For what?” Kurt joked. “My amazing ability to ignore you when you’re being a foul bastard? Or for carting you up here to the ‘back ass of beyond’ as you so delicately put it?”
“It’s certainly not the last part, I can tell you that!” Miles grinned. “And how many times do I have to tell you it’s ‘arse’, not ‘ass’?”
“Yeah, yeah. Tomato, to-mah-to. You go ahead and settle in. I’m going to take your file up to Drew and fill him in.” Miles watched as Kurt shifted his feet uneasily.
“Uh… Miles, go easy on him, will you?”
“What do you mean?” Miles asked.
“Drew’s a quiet kind of guy. He’s had some… personal troubles, and I know you, remember? Just don’t push, okay?”
“What aren’t you telling me here, Kurt?” Miles’s suspicions drifted back to the fore.
“Nothing,” Kurt muttered as Miles picked up the remote control to the television. “I gotta go, Miles. I’ll see you in a few weeks.”
Miles watched Kurt rush out of the cabin and sniffed as he turned on the television. No telling with Kurt sometimes. There was a large assortment of DVDs in the lower half of the entertainment unit but Miles thought he’d check out some international news instead; maybe he could catch a market report.
There was only one small problem with that plan.
Even half way up the hill to Drew’s cabin, Kurt could hear Miles’s yell through the open window of his truck.
“No fuckin’ cable either? Kurt, you wanker!”