When Khải marched through the waiting room door, her whole body went stiff. Seeing a ghost would have made more sense to her. What was he doing here? Why had he come? When he crossed the room and crouched in front of her, scowling at her ankle, she had no idea what to think. Was he going to yell at her?
“What happened?” he asked. “The doctor saw you already? What did they say?”
“I twisted it on the stairs. The doctor thinks it’s sprained. He’s waiting for the X-ray.”
He lifted the ice pack away from her swollen ankle, and his frown deepened. “Can you move your foot?” When she wiggled it, he said, “Up and down? Side to side?”
A door cracked open, and a nurse called out, “Esmeralda Tran.”
Esme stood and prepared to limp to the exam room just like she had earlier, but before her injured foot could touch the ground, the earth spun. She found herself cradled in Khải’s arms like a heroine in a movie, and her muscles tensed.
“You don’t need to carry me. I can walk. I’m heavy.”
He rolled his eyes and followed the nurse through the halls. “You’re not heavy. You’re a tiny human.”
“I’m not ‘tiny.’” But she couldn’t put much outrage into the words. His hold on her was secure, and he wasn’t breathing heavily. He made her feel safe. And small. She loved it. Back home, her mom and grandma always asked her to get things down from the top shelf or carry the heavy packages because she was so much bigger than they were.