Okay. I can do this. It's just Murphy's brother. No big deal. Not like I'm calling his mother or anything.
I flipped open the phone and found his contacts. Instead of typing L into the search like I probably should have, I let curiosity get the best of me and started scrolling. I was curious. I found Colby, Devan, and some other names I'd heard in passing. And, just for giggles, I scrolled past Liam and on to the O's, to see what he'd put me in there as.
Which made me smile.
Okay, it made me grin in an extremely stupid manner, and I was really okay with that. Curiosity appeased, I went back up to Liam and hit send before I could really think about what it was that I was doing.
It was then that I realized it was approaching quarter to one in the morning.
Liam picked up on the fourth ring with, "Hey, asshat, do you have any idea what the hell time it is?" Silence. "Murph? Murphy?"
"Hi," I croaked. And winced.
"Murphy? What's goin' on?"
Murphy looked at me with raised eyebrows.
"Liam?" My voice was rusty.
"Who are you and where's me - Oh. Olivia?"
I nearly dropped the phone; Murphy hid his face in his hand.
"Yeah, that's me," I said. "Murph's....in the hospital."
There was no freaking out on the other end, and I had expected freaking out because I was damned near close to doing it myself. Instead, there was only a sigh and Liam saying, "What's the asshat done now?" Pause. "Were you both at Colby's?"
"Yeah. He got thunked on the head."
Murph made motions has though to convey that said "he" was right there. I ignored him.
"I'll be right there. Don't let the fool wander off."
And the line went dead.
Well, that was...better than I was expecting, really.
Except that Liam was now on his way.
"He's on his way," I said, dropping the phone back into the plastic bag. I tucked my legs up onto the chair with me and wrapped my arms around them.
"Thank you," Murph said tiredly from the bed after a pause.
I rested my cheek on my knees so I could look at him. "For what?" I hadn't done anything spectacular except not become a sympathy puker in the ambulance, and Murph had gotten some truly awesome arc that last time.
"For not freakin' out," he said, trying to curl on his side and not being too successful. I uncurled and helped situate his IV line. He grabbed my hand. "For calling my brother." I let him twine our fingers together. "For not leaving." He looked up at me, a goofy smile on his face though I could tell he was using it as a ruse, and therefore knew his next words were genuine. "I like you."
"I know," I said dryly. "You've already gotten me in your pants."
He snorted and there was an odd stereo effect. My head whipped around and dear God did I wish the floor would swallow me whole. There in the doorway was an almost carbon-copy of Murphy except for the eyes - Liam had gray-blue eyes in contrast to Murphy's hazel.
I went to tug my hand from Murphy's, but he wouldn't let go, the traitor.
"Liam," Murphy slurred.
"Murphy Roarke, you asshat," Liam said, coming to stand next to me. Liam took in the IV, the bag, and our joined hands, and finally looked at me.
I felt absolutely and utterly naked in front of him. It was not a happy feeling.
"She is pretty, Murph," he said, and swatted his brother's leg. "Now what have you done to yourself?"
I blushed furiously; Murph said, "Dev was tryin' to play Prince Charming and I take a picture frame to the back of the head."
I looked from one brother to the other and deduced one thing - twins.
And yeah, hearing Murph say he'd been hit over the head confirmed my hunch. Devan's, actually, but hey, semantics.
"And I suppose you dragged Olivia into it?" Liam demanded, his eyes narrowing. "How much had you had to drink?"
"Nothing," Murph and I said together.
Liam looked at us like we had squids for heads.
"I'm dead serious, Murphy Roarke, how drunk were you?"
Now it was Murphy's turn to be offended. "Open your ears, William Connor, I'm sober and that's the way I've been all night!" He winced, and settled back against the pillow with a glare for his twin.
"He is sober," I said, and Liam seemed to confirm what Murph had been trying to tell him.
"Sorry, Murph," Liam murmured. "Are you concussed?"
"No, but my head hurts."
I breathed a sigh of relief. He wasn't concussed. Which meant that, while he had to tell his coaches, he probably wasn't going to be held out of practice or anything.
"When are they letting you out?" Liam looked at me on this one and I shrugged. I had no idea.
"When they come back with papers and some meds for my nausea," Murph said. "You drive out?"
"Yeah, asshate," Liam said. He turned to me. "Hello. I'm William - Liam - Murphy's older twin."
Murphy snorted. "By four minutes."
I shook his hand, my left still trapped in Murphy's. "Olivia." Liam looked at me, waiting for something else to pop out of my mouth, but I shrugged instead. I didn't know what Murphy and I were, and I was going to wait to have that discussion when Murph could concentrate and not wanna throw up at the same time. Still, my fingers and his stayed twined.
Murphy was dozing and Liam and I were having a contest to see who could be quieter while glancing at each other when we thought the other wasn't looking (basically sizing each other up, really) when the doctor came back in with papers to sign and anti-nausea meds for Murph. I was shooed into the hallway so Liam could make sure his brother didn't fall over pulling his jeans on. Once the curtain opened again, I noticed just how much they both dwarfed me. I had a hunch, but I'd have to pull out the program thing from the game to make sure.
Liam led the way to the parking lot and then into a modest Honda (which was by no means on the level of my Oldsmobile) and we headed back to campus.
I was sitting shotty while Murph lay scrunched in the backseat because looking at the passing lights made him want to hurl and Liam had told him he was walking home for break should he puke in the car. Not that there was probably anything left in Murph's stomach - he'd thrown up four times that night.
"So, you're the girl upstairs," Liam said at a stoplight.
"Yup. And you're his twin?" It was almost one-thirty in the morning, and my neurons weren't firing and I didn't care.
"Yup." He looked at me. "He didn't tell you yet, did he?"
I shook my head. "Usually meeting the siblings is just before meeting the parents." Which made my mind explode so I tried not to think about it.
"I wouldn't have chosen this way. He would have much rather gone out to dinner or a movie night or something." Liam turned into our parking lot. "My brother likes you, and I can see why." He grinned. "You can handle just about anything."
No. No, not really. I shrugged.
"Murph." Liam twisted around to look. "We're here, bud."
Murph cracked an eye open at his brother and heaved himself up and out of the car.
"You got him? My number's in his phone, if you need it," Liam said, and his eyes showed acceptance of me. Probably because I hadn't abandoned his brother and had to the guts to call him. "See you, Olivia."
"Thanks, Liam," I said, and had to hurry to catch up with a wobbly Murphy. He had his keys out and the door open, and, in hindsight, I realized that while my motives for following behind him on the stairs to make sure he didn't fall were good, should he go backward we'd both be screwed. Royally. And I'd make a nice cushion for Murphy and we'd need a second trip to the ER.
He made it to the third floor and there were some guys in the lounge that I didn't recognize. I gave them a loose wave and followed Murphy into his empty room.
"Was my brother good to you?" he asked, leaning against his bed and trying to tug off a shoe.
I nodded. I needed to get to know Liam a little better, but as far as first impressions went it was all good.
The shoe landed on Devan's empty bed. I didn't flinch; his head had to be killing him.
"Do - Do you want me to - " I stumbled as he removed his belt and the other shoe was somewhere near the dresser.
"Will - " He swallowed. "I'm sorry."
"What?" Now I was confused.
"This isn't how I wanted tonight to go."
The ER visit probably wasn't big on my to-do list, either, but tonight wasn't a total waste. I'd spent it with Murph, we were both sober, and we hadn't wound up in jail or with a visit to the Dean's office come Monday morning.
I bit the inside of my lip and leaned against the closed door. "It's all good. And I'm really glad you're not concussed."
Murphy fidgeted. "But...the doctor did say I should stay with someone."
Now it was my turn to fidget. And blush. "Really?"
He fidgeted some more. "Well, I mean, I could suck it up - "
"I don't want to go against your doctor's orders - "
" - Not a big deal - "
" - You could die in your sleep - "
" - It might be too much - "
" - I've never done this - "
"Will you stay?"
Silence filled the room. I gnawed on my knuckle. It wasn't that I didn't trust Murph - I had napped with him before.
Well, no, I'd napped in the bed, but it had been missing Murphy and
Oh, God, if I didn't get a handle I was going have a panic attack and piss myself at the same time. Which would, of course, be sexy as hell.
"I'll stay," I said, and crossed to his side of the room after grabbing his shoe from Devan's bed, and shedding my own by his dresser. Next to go was my Vera with my keys and ID and all that good stuff, which landed next to the Dell on the desk. I moved my own belt buckle to the side because that would tempt fate a little too much, and looked at Murph who looked at me.
"I get the inside again?" I groused, trying to lighten the tension, and had to have a boost from Murph up onto the bed.
Oh, lord, what had I gotten myself into?
I slid against the wall and, once the lights were off, waited, while trying to convince myself that having a panic attack was not going to be helpful. Next thing I knew, Murph was right there next to me, pulling the sheet and comforter up over my legs. We awkwardly acted and reacted to each other, and I knew I was going to feel awkward in his arms so we eventually wound up with my back against the wall and his head cushioned on my chest.
Which, when your sister takes every opportunity to remind you that you are indeed the President of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee, makes you feel incredibly insecure in how much padding is actually under the guy's cheek you're sharing a bed with. Considering it's your first date that's gone completely awry and his bed you're in, things are even better.
Then again, things could always be worse.
"This is just to make sure you don't die in your sleep tonight," I said, and he snorted, wrapping himself tighter around me.
"Uh huh," he muttered. "My head is killing me."
Which was my Pavlovian cue to start basically petting him. Not that I think he minded much. I was careful, not to touch the lump at the back of his head - I didn't need his reflex of throwing up to kick in.
"You okay with this?" he asked
Fully clothed in bed with a boy after an ER visit? Pretty sure I was golden with this.
"If I wasn't, I wouldn't be here." I grinned in the darkness. Might as well start the torment now. "Besides, I've already been in your pants. Isn't bed a step down from that?"
He winced. "Not going to let me live that down, are you?"
"Nope." I closed my eyes. "So, might as well shut up and go to sleep."
"And don't die, right?" There was a chuckle in his voice.
"I think I can handle that."
He was out in about five minutes, going completely heavy. Me, I lay there and tried to figure out exactly how I had wound up where I was.
Screw it. I'll figure it out in the morning.