Resisting Her

By: Kendall Ryan

Chapter 8

“Okay, so no questions, no objections. You’re going,” Marissa pressed.

Cole dragged the phone from his ear, blowing out a sigh. “I don’t know, Marissa, I’ve been pretty busy with work lately.” She didn’t need to know that he was currently on vacation.

“Oh Colby, you’re gonna love her. I met Sali in my yoga class. She’s gorgeous, fun. Close to your age. I really think you’ll like her. How long’s it been since you’ve been on a date?”

Fuck. The last thing he wanted to do as go on some blind date, but even more than that, he didn’t want to get Marissa pissed at him, because if he did, she was likely to come over to give him a piece of her mind and then she’d find Savannah here.

Marissa had been urging him to use dating websites, but he’d adamantly refused. He’d rather get a quick lay than have to sit and listen to a girl he wasn’t interested in prattle on about how her last manicure was chipping after only two days — no joke, that was the actual dinner conversation of his last date.

But with his second to last single friend getting married that past summer, Cole was beginning to realize it might be time to look for a good girl. He just wasn’t good at dating. He never seemed to meet the expectations women had. He was forgetful, he wasn’t romantic, and he worked too much. He didn’t know many girls that would take him the way he was, but he didn’t want to be someone’s project. He wasn’t changing. Hell, he even pissed Marissa off and she was family — she had to love him.

“I arranged it so that you guys could meet at Liam’s,” Marissa said. “You’re there every weekend anyway, so what’s the big deal?”

Marissa had a point. His best friend Liam owned an Irish pub practically walking distance from his condo. “Fine, I’ll go,” he muttered into the phone. Since Marissa regularly threatened to create an online dating profile for him, he occasionally complied to keep her off his back. “Sali, huh?”

“Yes! Okay, well I already arranged everything. You guys are meeting two weeks from Saturday at seven for drinks. That’s it. Simple, huh?”

“Okay.”

“Would it kill you to thank your sister?”

“Thanks, Rissa.” He rolled his eyes before ending the call. It was still a couple weeks away, maybe he could find a way out of it.

***

The following day, before heading to the gym, Cole dropped Savannah off at her therapy appointment that had been pre-scheduled by the facility coordinator. After a vigorous workout and a quick shower, Cole was dressed and back in his SUV, headed to pick up Savannah.

He entered the doctor’s office, took a seat in the reception area, and began flipping through a magazine. A few minutes later, the office door opened and Savannah emerged with swollen eyes. Cole sprung to his feet.

The doctor stepped around Savannah towards Cole. “Is this him?”

Savannah nodded, her eyes locked on Cole’s.

Christ, this wasn’t good. He could get in trouble with the Bureau for even being here with her. The doctor, mid-forties with graying hair at his temples, strode toward Cole and extended his hand. “I’m Doctor White, but call me Malcolm. Do you mind if we have a word, Cole?”

Cole nodded. It was the only thing he could do, though he was confused and on edge. What had Savannah told her therapist about him?

As soon as they were seated in his large office, Malcolm cut to the chase. “She told me who you were. But don’t worry—doctor / patient confidentially and all that. Plus I don’t care who you work for. I get the sense that you want to help Savannah, so I wanted to offer some guidance.”

Cole leaned forward, his hands on his knees, ready to listen to whatever the doctor had to say. It seemed that they were on the same page. This was about Savannah.

“These sessions will help, but they’re only once a week. Savannah needs to get into a regular routine. She needs some semblance of normal in her life.”

Cole nodded in agreement. No shit, doc. That’s the brilliant advice he probably charges three-hundred dollars an hour to deliver?

“She seems to have a caring, nurturing spirit.”

Cole recognized as much; she loved to cook and seemed content to feed him and stay at home. But he waited, wondering where this conversation was heading.

“She needs someone or something to care for. Do you have pets, plants, anything?”

“Ah, no.” Cole scrubbed a hand over his scruff.

“So it seems at the moment what she’s putting her caring energy into is you. That concerns me.” Malcolm frowned. “Savannah could grow quite attached at this vulnerable point in her life. You’ll need to be careful.”

If the doc felt it necessary, he’d buy her a plant, but he didn’t see how watering a cactus once a week would help. Not to mention he was enjoying Savannah funneling her nurturing energy into taking care of him. “Got any advice for me?” Cole asked, shifting in the stiff leather chair. He didn’t like admitting that he had no clue what he was doing, but he needed the advice, and since Savannah had already told the doctor about him, there was no use pretending he wasn’t involved.

Dr. Malcolm White laced his fingers in front of his round stomach. “Watch for withdrawn or self-destructive behaviors. She didn’t have the normal teenage experience, and even though she’s wise beyond her years, it’s possible she could go through a late rebellious stage — wanting to experience the typical teenage things she missed out on.”

“Okay…” Cole wasn’t sure what he meant, but he thought of his own rebellious years… sneaking out to go to parties, drinking too much, getting in fights and fooling around with girls he had no intention of dating. He couldn’t see Savannah behaving like that. She seemed too sweet, too innocent.

“And there’s one other thing…” The doctor swallowed and met his eyes. “She’s not ready for any type of romantic relationship, physical or otherwise. I don’t know what your interests in her are, but…”

Cole held up a hand, stopping him there. “I have zero interest in starting a relationship with her. And as far as anything physical…she’s just a kid.”

The doctor frowned. “I wouldn’t say that. She’ll be twenty in a couple of months, more than old enough for a relationship; I just don’t think she’s ready yet. She’s got a lot of healing to do first.”

Cole nodded. “Listen, like I said, I’m not interested in that with her.”

“She’s an attractive girl. I had to bring it up.”

Cole didn’t respond. He couldn’t. His voice, along with his self-assuredness had disappeared. The truth was he had no idea what he was doing with Savannah. Not a clue. But he knew one thing; he felt a compelling need to keep her safe. He’d just have to shut off any attraction he felt for her.

He accepted a stack of self-help books from Dr. White, unsure if they were for Savannah or him, and stalked from the office.

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