It might have been a Friday, but it was the first day of a new gig that would last several weeks, and Percy was damned happy to have it. Nash, his patient—well, one of his patients—lay resting in a recliner. Although, “resting” probably wasn’t the best word to describe Nash’s fitful shifting. He was a sweaty mess in track pants, a wrinkled T-shirt, and fuzzy slipper-socks.
Percy stood when Nash’s eyes opened. Nash’s hand shook as he reached for the juice—or whatever the hell that beverage should be called—and two Tylenol tablets on the table beside him.
Nash paused his movement, brought the chair forward to a sitting position, took a deep breath as perspiration dripped down his face, and reached again.
“Here, let me.” Percy picked up the pills and held them out.
Nash presented his palm as he peered at Percy. Although Nash kept his face fairly neutral, the tightness of his jaw indicated he was likely to be a reluctant, if not hostile patient. Oh, well. He wouldn’t be Percy’s first. He pasted on a smile and handed Nash the beverage Myles had mixed up—water with lemon, orange, cucumber, and electrolyte drops—as Nash tossed back the pills.
“Hi, my name is Percy. I’m a home health aide. I’ll be staying here to help you and your boyfriend’s grandfather for the next few weeks.”
Nash narrowed his eyes. “Fiancé.”
“Sure.” Percy turned and grinned at Myles, Nash’s fiancé, otherwise known as the man who’d hired and would be paying him. As far as Percy was concerned, that made it just as important to keep him happy as it did his patients.
Myles ran a hand through Nash’s hair, brushing it back from his forehead, and patted his sweaty face with a damp cloth. “I’m going to leave soon to pick up Grampy. You doing okay? You got a little rest, anyway.”
“Yeah, I guess,” Nash replied. “Damn, I’m a drug weenie. It shouldn’t be this bad.”
“Everybody’s different. It doesn’t take much for some people to build a mild dependence.” Myles used the same serene tone Percy had learned to employ when dealing with unreasonable patients.
Nash squeezed his eyes closed, but the peace didn’t last too long. He reopened them. “I’m not addicted.” He bit out the words.
“I know you’re not,” Myles calmly replied. “There’s a difference between ‘dependence’ and ‘dependency.’”
Percy nodded, not that anyone was looking at him. Nash was too busy stewing, and Myles was focused on Nash.
Myles made a good point, though. Apparently, Nash had developed a physical dependence on the Oxycodone he’d needed after a gruesome accident. But the fact he’d quit taking the drug and wasn’t trying to get more meant he hadn’t developed a dependency. He certainly deserved credit for his strength of character. Too many succumbed to the temptation. Although, to be fair, they usually had a more chronic pain.
Nash flashed an irritated grimace at Percy then muttered, “Excuse me.” He pushed himself to a stand and walked stiffly up the stairs leading to the master bedroom suite.
“Want me to follow?” Percy whispered to Myles. The way Nash had pressed a hand to his abdomen indicated he was probably headed to the bathroom. One of those withdrawal symptoms rearing its head, and Nash probably wouldn’t appreciate his presence, so unless he was likely to fall…
Myles shook his head. “I think he’s steady enough. His symptoms should ease within a couple days. Sorry about that irritability, that’s the withdrawal. He’s not like that.”
Percy huffed out a sigh. He’d read up on the withdrawal symptoms, so he already understood that, but it was a relief to be working for a physician who also realized the patient didn’t have a personal issue with him.
“No problem. I’m pretty good with people. He’ll be eating out of my hand in no time.”