Authors: Zara Cox
Tags: #Erotica, #Literature & Fiction
Raising a gentle hand to his cheek, she looked into his kind eyes and smiled. “You were wonderful to me the last time, just when I needed a kind soul, and I’ll never forget it. That’s the main reason I asked for you today; to say thank you. You’re a kind and generous man.” She dropped her hand. “But not this time. I’m sorry.”
Disappointment flashed through his eyes, but he stayed where he was. “There is someone else,” he stated, a rueful smile curving his lips.
Was Enzo her
? Not even close. But to keep things simple, she nodded.
“Is he good for you?”
Her smile slipped. “No. He’s very, very bad for me.”
His gaze turned contemplative. “But he’s what you need?”
Such simple words, but their grave accuracy summed up her life. She needed Enzo to keep her from the abyss that threatened to suck her down. “Yes, he’s what I need.”
Hans nodded, slowly straightened, and resumed the massage. When he finished, he laid a warm towel over her. “Did you know that the lack of hair in the pubic area is said to enhance sexual pleasure?”
Smiling again, she closed her eyes. “I’ve heard, but I don’t believe it.”
“I know this for a fact. I have noticed the difference with my girlfriend. If you like, I can wax you?”
Her eyes popped open. Hans stared back at her, his face deadly serious. The urge to break into hysterical giggles seized her, whether from Hans standing there talking about his girlfriend while sporting a hard-on for her, or the fact that he wanted to shave her pubes off, she wasn’t sure. The closest she’d ever come was a bikini wax. She’d never bothered with anything more extreme since Enzo had mentioned he loved her curls.
Now she thought about it and smiled. Why not? Didn’t philosophers say to try everything once?
“All right then. Go for it.”
Half an hour later, he stood back and smiled at his handiwork. “Beautiful. You look beautiful down there.”
Musing at the surrealistic nature of the whole thing, she took the mirror he held out and examined herself. The sight of her clit and labia peeking between her legs was so unexpected, she gasped. Heat flooded her. The thought of Enzo seeing her like this turned her on even more. She handed the mirror back, suddenly eager to be rid of him.
“Thank you very much, Hans. You’ve been great.” She made a mental note to leave him a huge tip when she checked out.
Half-impatient, she watched him gather his equipment. Finally, she followed him to the door. He paused and turned back to her. “I can come back tonight and give you a Tantric massage, if you like. It can be very fulfilling and relaxing also.”
She shook her head. “Thanks, but no. This one’s done the trick. I haven’t smiled in a long time, but you made me smile today. It was very good to see you.”
“You too, Miss Mayfield. I am moving to LA in a few weeks. Maybe I can get in touch, give you some more massages?”
“Yeah, that would be great.” Stifling a sigh, she plucked a business card from her bag and handed it to him. “Call me when you’re in town.”
She closed the door and rushed to the bathroom. Shedding her robe, she stood in front of the mirror. Why did the sight of her shaven mound turn her on so much? Tentative fingers strayed down, touched, and she gasped at the sensitivity of her skin. Would Enzo like it?
Her blood thrummed. If Hans was right, she’d just been handed a whole new avenue of pleasure. Suddenly, she couldn’t wait to get back to LA.
The thought scared her a little.
Lexi entered her apartment, dropped her travel case on the floor beside the door, and lobbed the keys onto the table.
The trip had been a resounding success. The Johnsons had taken one look at the third property she’d shown them and immediately fallen in love with it. Caution against using their heads instead of their hearts when buying property had finally, grudgingly, led them to agree to a second viewing the next day. Luckily, they’d felt the same; or rather Mrs. Johnson had managed to convince old Mr. Johnson it was the right property for them. They’d put a down payment on it there and then, and left Lexi to finalize the purchase.
She’d gotten the transaction underway this morning before boarding the plane and, with any luck, the Johnsons would take possession of their brand new condo in four weeks’ time.
In the kitchen, she extracted a bottle of water from the fridge and poured herself a glass. First water, then a much needed shower. Her flight had been delayed for an hour, and the jeans and midriff-baring top she’d worn for comfort now felt sticky and unbearable. Weary, she set down the glass and headed into the living room. The flashing light on her answering machine made her pause. She rarely received calls on her landline unless... Cautioning herself not to think the worst, she crossed over and pressed the button.
The tremulous voice on the machine sent shivers of apprehension down her spine.
“Lexi, it’s Mrs. Harding, Fiona’s mom. I’m at the hospital. Th-there’s been a change. When you get this message please call me on—”
With shaking hands, she replayed the message, grabbed the phone, and punched in the number. The cell phone rang once and went to voice mail. Cursing, she tried again, her insides twisting in savage knots. When it went to voice mail a second time, she hung up and reached for her cell phone where she kept the hospital number on speed dial. Her trembling fingers impeded her so much, she had to try three times. When the hospital operator came on line, her voice came out in a croaky rasp.
“Neurological wing, please,” she said in a rush, and then tried to take deep breaths as the call was redirected.
A harried voice came on the line. “Nurses’ station.”
“This is Lexi Mayfield. Can you tell me the condition of Miss Fiona Harding, please?” she shot out without preamble. Silence greeted her request and all she heard for interminable seconds was a rustle of paper on the other end. Gritting her teeth, she fought the urge to scream.
Finally, the nurse spoke. “I don’t have a Lexi Mayfield listed as family, so I can’t give out confidential details of the patient.”
“No, you don’t understand. I’m—” What? A friend of a friend, whose sole presence in Fiona’s life had been a short-lived acquaintanceship that had ended in total disaster? In desperation, she asked, “Is Nurse Simpson working today?” The older woman knew her, so maybe Lexi could convince her to bend the rules, just this once.
The nurse gave an impatient sigh, clearly of the opinion that Lexi was a time waster. “No, she doesn’t start her shift until four.”
Lexi glanced at her watch unnecessarily, very much aware that it was the middle of the afternoon. She grabbed her bag. The only way to get answers would be to get to the hospital as soon as she could.
“Can you tell me if Ms. Harding’s parents are still there?”
“Like I said I—”
“Can’t give out any information. Fine. Thank you.” For nothing.
She slammed the phone down and rushed to the door, her thoughts in turmoil. In the hallway, she tried Mrs. Harding’s number again, but got the same voice mail message. This time, Lexi left a message to say she was on her way. With no cell phones allowed in the hospital, she doubted Fiona’s mother would get the message, nevertheless…
Forty minutes later, she arrived at St Jude’s. The mid-afternoon traffic for once had been blessedly light. Lexi hurried into the building and stabbed an impatient finger for the elevator. Once it creaked its way down and opened, she rushed in and stabbed the button again for the seventh floor. As it rose, so did her heart, until it lodged in her throat. Her eyes burned with the need to cry, but she blinked rapidly. Tears were no use. What she needed to do now was pray.
Like floodgates released, a torrent of prayers flooded her mind, speeding through like a bullet train.
Please, please God, let her be all right. I can’t take another tragedy. I’ll do anything…Please don’t let her die because of me. Please, please…
She opened her eyes as the elevator doors opened and stepped out into an empty corridor. The corridors are never empty. For some reason this made her heart pound harder. Tightening her hands on her handbag straps, she walked on shaky legs to the nurse’s station, which stood unmanned.
Please, please …
She bit her lip to stop a whimper of despair. Gaze riveted on the last door, she walked toward it, her breath loud and harsh in the quiet space.
As she approached, she heard muted voices, whispering from within.
Taking a deep breath, she knocked softly and entered.
Margaret and Gary Harding sat next to their daughter’s bed, their eyes on her face.
Lexi’s own gaze zeroed in on Fiona. She lay as Lexi had left her on Thursday – still and unmoving. Desperate, she checked for signs of life. Icy hands curled around her heart. The ventilator was off and her intubator had been removed.
Whatever sound she made caused the older couple to look her way. Steeling herself against their pain, she forced herself to look at them, while inside, her heart tore with agony.
“I—I’m so, so sorry. I know it’ll never be enough, but please I want you to know how sorry…” She choked and her throat closed up. Tears filled her eyes. The hand she lifted to swipe at them felt cold and numb.
God, what had she done? Another life ended because of her!
Her heart clenched further when she saw different emotions cross their faces – anxiety, sadness. Pain.
Mrs. Harding motioned her forward. Lexi tried to shake her head, but Fiona’s mother beckoned harder.
She went forward and allowed her hand to be taken by Margaret's.
Swallowing around the lump in her throat, she tried to continue, “I’m so sorry, Mrs. Harding. I…I went out of town…just got back and heard your message. I—I tried to call, but they wouldn’t give me any information.”
“I know, I should have said more, but I’ve never liked answering machines, and I don’t have your cell number so…”
Lexi tightened her grip on the older woman’s hand. “I’m so sorry. I’ll never forgive myself, never.” She heard the wobble in her voice as she fought back the tears.
Please, please...help me be strong for them…please.
The other woman’s eyes filled with tears, and Lexi felt her heart break. Why was this happening? Her eyes went to Fiona’s still, pale face, struggling to find the words to express the emotion locked inside. From a distance, she heard Maggie speak and tried to focus.
“Oh, please don’t cry, Lexi. It’s good news, or at least we hope to have good news by tomorrow. You see, Fiona woke up this morning.”
Lexi closed the door to Fiona’s room with unsteady hands, and finally allowed the tears she’d held back to fall. Now thankful for the empty corridor, she slid down onto the floor, buried her face in her hands and gave in to her quiet sobs.
Her prayers had been answered!
“Fiona's not out of the woods yet, but the doctors are optimistic with the results of her initial tests. Another batch of tests had been ordered and they’ll know more in the morning.” Those had been Margaret's words.
According to her, Fiona had just opened her eyes while the nurse had been checking her vital signs this morning.
“That's just like Fiona, to frighten the living daylights out of that poor nurse! Anyway, the nurse asked her to blink if she knew who she was and understood what the nurse was saying, and she did,” Fiona’s mom had related through her tears. “Half an hour later, she went back into her coma, but the doctors assure us it sometimes happens. The brain scan shows heightened activity and they’re optimistic she’ll come round fully in the next twenty-four to forty-eight hours.”
Lexi fished a tissue out of her bag and blew her nose. She’d wanted to stay longer but recognized their desire to be alone with their daughter. Maggie had assured her she’d let Lexi know if anything happened, and she’d gratefully grasped the promise.
Physically and emotionally drained, she pulled herself away from the wall and made her way to the nurse’s station. Nurse Simpson looked up from her charts and smiled.
“Ah, there you are child. I just got in and heard the good news. I hope those are tears of joy?”
Lexi’s smile wobbled. “Yes, they certainly are.”
“Well, all right then. Now, get yourself home, you look exhausted. There’s nothing you can do now but wait.”
Lexi nodded, fresh tears stinging her eyes. She approached the desk and, after a moment’s hesitation, handed over her business card. “Nurse Simpson, I know I’m not family, but would you be kind enough to call me if anything changes before morning?”
The nurse tucked the card into her pocket. “Don’t worry, sweet pea, I will. And in my opinion, your selfless devotion makes you part of the family. Now, don’t start crying again. We’ll take good care of your friend. Just get yourself home and look after yourself now.”
“Thank you, Nurse Simpson.”
“Call me Ada,” she invited with another smile.
“Thanks, Ada. See you later.”
With much lighter steps than she’d arrived with, Lexi walked to the elevator and pressed the button. The slow response made her debate whether to take the stairs. Surely in a hospital as advanced as this, someone in administration could authorize an overhaul of such an outdated elevator? She breathed a sigh of relief when it finally arrived.
Only when the doors opened, she wished with all her heart she had taken the stairs.
Enzo, Cara, and a doctor occupied the small space. Cara was the first to see her. Enzo, facing away from her, was deep in conversation with the doctor.
At her outraged gasp, the other two men looked up. Enzo’s gaze locked with hers and everything fell away. A myriad of sensations tumbled one after the other through her.
The shock, surprise, and intense lust she glimpsed in his eyes echoed her own feelings, but the anger she couldn’t reciprocate. Like a hypnosis patient following the swing of a stopwatch, she followed his gaze when it darted to his sister and returned to her. Cold indifference replaced the anger, and her heart plummeted further.