Today I realized I posted that I’d written a book and provided a link to Smashwords but I realized today I could post a chapter and maybe interest people into going to the site to find out more about it. So here is the first chapter. 🙂
Gail laid on the couch moaning. She couldn’t believe the pain. She thought to herself, what good was having a doctor for a best friend if she didn’t have any better advice than hot tea for cramps? That had been Sabrina’s, her best friend since they were both ten, advice. She is an experienced doctor and she advises tea for excruciating pain that was some advice for an experienced doctor to give especially a female doctor! Why after twenty-eight years, had her body decide that she’d had things too easy? It was fine for Sabrina to say it was natural; she wasn’t the one in pain.
Oh, goodness not the doorbell. Who could be ringing the bell? It seemed a million miles from the couch to the door. Why oh why, had she finally made the decision to move from her apartment into a house. If she was still in her apartment she wouldn’t have to cross the scarred hardwood floors that looked so bad they made her feel worse just to look at them. There would only be a small area of carpet to cross. Half way to the door Gail thought to herself this day couldn’t get any worse. Of course she couldn’t have been more wrong.
Standing on the other side of her door was one of the best-looking men Gail had ever seen. Tall, dark and handsome definitely described him, no matter how cliché. Who was he and why was he standing on her porch on this of all days. She was sure she looked at least as bad as she felt. Gail really did not want to open the door to this Adonis while she resembled Medusa; she figured she really didn’t have much choice as he started knocking after having received no answer to three rings of the doorbell.
Waiting on the porch Victor wondered if the owner would answer. He was a busy man and did not have the time or patience to deal with people who made appointments and didn’t keep them. His hand stopped in mid knock as he heard locks being undone. “Ms. Gray”, Victor asked as he watched the young woman swaying slightly in the doorway.
“Yes“, Gail responded; “Can I help you?”
Looking into her lovely flushed faced Victor figured she had forgotten the appointment she’d made for an estimate on the repair work she wanted done on her house.
“My name is Victor Wallace.” “I’m the owner of the restoration company you contacted a few weeks ago.” He saw several emotions play across her face. She seemed astonished and embarrassed that she had forgotten the appointment.
“I hate to state the obvious Mr. Wallace but I forgot our appointment today.” “I haven’t been feeling quite myself this morning, I’m sure you are very busy . . .”
Victor was sure that he could guess the rest of her sentence but he would not have a chance to hear the rest of the words. He opened his arms to catch Gail as she fainted in front of him.
Sweeping Gail into his arms Victor stepped inside and closed the door. He followed the sound of the television and found the cozy little den Gail had managed to set up. Laying the beauty that had almost literally fallen at his feet on the couch, Victor looked around the room, without really seeing it, as if it might offer him some answers about what to do next. He leaned down and felt her forehead. She was burning up with fever. He didn’t know much first aid but he knew if someone had a fever it was best to get the person’s temperature down.
As Victor straightened to go search for the kitchen or a bathroom, Gail moaned stirred slightly but didn’t come around. Victor had just stepped back into the foyer when the phone rang. Hoping it was someone that knew Ms. Gray and could offer some advice, Victor rushed to the phone. Sabrina was surprised to hear the deep voice that answered Gail’s phone.
“May I speak with Gail please?”
“Ms. Gray cannot come to the phone right now, are you a friend?”
Pushed past her limits after a fourteen hour shift and her last harried conversation with Gail earlier, Sabrina was in no mood to play twenty-questions with some stranger.
“Who is this“, Sabrina barked into the phone. Hearing the sharp impatience in the voice had Victor lifting one eyebrow.
“My name is Victor Wallace.” “I had an appointment with Ms. Gray today to offer an estimate on some repair work.” “I’m answering her phone because Ms. Gray has fainted and has yet to come around.”
“Fainted“, Sabrina fairly screeched. “What are you talking about?” “What’s wrong?” “Is she hurt?” “Did she hit her head?”
“If you will slow down I’ll try to answer your questions“, Victor told Sabrina. “I’m short on details but I can tell you that she has a fever and no, she did not hit her head.” “I caught her before she could hit the porch.”
Thinking back on the conversation she’d had earlier with Gail and the information she’d just been giving Sabrina was sure that Gail had appendicitis.
“You need to get Gail to a hospital now”, Sabrina ordered Victor. “Hang up and call the ambulance.”
“It will be quicker for me to drive her.”
“Whatever, just hurry and tell the attending that she is suffering from acute appendicitis.” “Knowing Gail, her address book should be there on the table right next to the phone, take it with you.” “Call me on my cell phone as soon as she’s admitted, I should be there in about six hours.”
Victor replaced the receiver that was only broadcasting a dial tone anyway. Wrapping the throw lying on the couch around her Victor lifted Gail and started for his truck. Luckily he was driving the Explorer instead of the work truck. Moving quickly Victor placed Gail in passenger seat; he tucked the throw around her and fastened the seat belt. After adjusting the seat so that she was reclining slightly Victor looked down at Gail. She was coming around slightly. She looked up and stared at him. Brushing her hair back off her face Victor told Gail not worry she would be fine.
Closing her eyes against the pain Gail hoped he was right. Victor closed the door and jogged around to the driver’s side. Starting the car Victor explained about the phone conversation he’d just had with Sabrina.
“Your phone rang after I laid you on the couch.” “The woman seems sure that you have appendicitis.”
Breathlessly Gail said, “It had to be Sabrina, she is a doctor.”
“She told me to get you to the hospital, Victor continued as he drove down the long drive that lead from Gail‘s house to the main road.”
Trying for a laugh Gail said, “I’m sure ordered was more like it.”
“You would be right“, Victor responded as he reached the main road and clicked on his hazard lights. “It will be alright, we‘ll be there soon.” Victor looked over at Gail; she’d lost consciousness again. He increased speed as much as he dared hoping to make the twenty-minute dive in ten minutes. He’d promised her that she would be all right and he intended to keep that promise.
Finally turning into the medical center, it was too small to be called a hospital but the facility attracted first rate personnel by offering a slower pace for experienced doctors that wanted a change. Victor pulled right in front of the emergency entrance. Hopping quickly down from the truck, he rushed around to the passenger side and scooped Gail up. Hurrying through the doors Victor almost collided with a guard who’d come to tell him he could not leave his truck there. After seeing the woman lying limp in Victor’s arms, the guard stepped aside and led the way to the nurse. The nurse on duty was Pam Fletcher.
Seeing Pam calmed Victor somewhat. He and Pam had attended high school together; she would know what to do.
“Pam this is Ms. Gray and I’m pretty sure she has appendicitis.” Pam opened the door and led Victor to the first cubicle. He placed Gail on the bed as Pam got a thermometer and blood pressure cuff.
“How long has she been unconscious?”
“About five minutes the first time at her home and most of the ride here so about twenty minutes.”
“Sir, you need to move your vehicle”, the guard said to Victor.
Seeing Victor so reluctant to leave the woman surprised Pam. “Go move the truck Victor, I’ll stay with her.”
“Thank you”, Victor said as he turned to follow the guard.
Thinking about Victor’s surprising attitude, Pam closed the curtain to the cubicle. Going back to stand next to the bed, Pam reached out to check Gail’s pulse. At her touch Gail opened her eyes again. Gail tried to sit up but pain caused her to moan and clutched the right side of her stomach. Easing back down Gail said, “I feel nauseous.”
“Hello Ms. Gray.” “Do you know how you got to the hospital?” Tilting her head to look at Pam, Gail thought about the question.
“A man name Victor brought me.” “I remember him telling me that I was going to be fine and that Sabrina had told him to get me to the hospital.” “My goodness I can’t believe I got into the car with someone I don’t know”, Gail said with a stunned look on her face. Pam laughed at the expression on Gail’s face.
“Well if you had to go out like a light with someone you didn’t know Victor was a good choice.” “You can’t find a more honest man than Victor.”
“Telling tales about me Pam“, Victor asked as he stepped back into the cubicle.
Seeing the embarrassment sweeping into Gail’s face, Pam smiled turned to Victor and said, “Good you’re back; I’ll go and get the doctor.”
Moving further into the room Victor went to stand next to the bed and looked down at Gail. He was glad she was awake again. She was more flushed than when he had left, he wondered if her fever was getting higher.
Unable to stand the quiet any longer Gail rushed to fill it. “Thank you for bringing me here.”
“You’re welcome Ms. Gray.”
“Please call me Gail.”
“Can I get anything for you Gail?”
“Ms. Gray I need to draw some blood“, Pam announced as she came back into the room.
Gail cringed as she heard Pam’s words; she hated needles. Gail forgot all about her embarrassment for causing someone she didn’t know so much trouble as she watched Pam gather the supplies she needed to draw the blood. She could feel her body tensing as Pam approached with the needle and vials.
Gail was able to watch as the nurse wrapped the tourniquet around her arm and probed the area for a vein. She had to turn her head as Pam swabbed the spot with alcohol. Gail clenched the sheet with her opposite hand as she waited to feel the pinch of the needle entering her arm. Seeing her distress Victor placed his hand over the hand Gail was using to clench the sheet. When she felt his hand cover hers Gail looked up at Victor. She was so touched by the concern she saw in his eyes she never felt the pinch of the needle.
“I’ll be back when the results of the test come back”, Pam said as she left the room.
Realizing she was still holding Victor’s hand Gail slowly released it. Victor pulled the one visitor’s chair in the room up to the bed saying, “It looks like we’re in for a bit of a wait.”
“I’m sure you’re very busy. I understand if you need to leave.”
“Ours was the only appointment I had today. I’ll stay unless you want me to leave.”
“No, I don’t want you to leave,” Gail replied even as she wonders why she wasn’t sending him on his way.
She was used to dealing with things on her own. Her parents had raised her to be independent. It wasn’t like she was complaining Gail thought to herself. She knew that she had wonderful parents and she had also had a good childhood. Her parents loved her. She just wasn’t used to gorgeous men coming to her aid. She was more familiar with bottom feeders like Darryl. Since she was feeling bad enough as it was, Gail just pushed any thoughts of Darryl back out of her mind. Victor was in a similar position.
He didn’t know why he had offered to stay. Having been burned more than once by love, he’d promised himself the rest of his relationships would be casual and brief. Yet here he was asking just asking for complications. He could only shake his head at himself. Victor looked at his watch; he’d known this woman for just over an hour and had shared more of himself than he had with the last three women he had dated.
Gail glanced at Victor and found him looking at her. She wondered what he was thinking. He really was a nice looking man. Tall, well over six feet, she was sure he would tower over her if they had been standing. He had shoulders that looked a foot wide and skin the color of expensive coco. His hands had wide palms and long strong fingers. He had a face with strong features. His nose looked as if it had been broken at least once. Dark brown eyes that edged towards black and plump lips that caused a woman to think about hours of kissing completed the package.
“What are you thinking”, Victor asked.
Knowing that she wouldn’t tell him that looking at his lips caused her to think about kissing, Gail told the other thoughts that had been running through her head. “That it’s nice of you to stay here with me when you don’t know me.”
“Just consider me the town welcoming committee.”
Gail smiled for the first time in days. It felt so good to smile again that Gail laughed, then groaned when the pain started again. Her smile should be outlawed Victor thought. Her face was already beautiful but when she smiled dimples popped out in both cheeks and her eyes brightened as if a switch had been flipped behind her eyes.
“Are you all right”, Victor asked with concern evident in his voice.
“Yes”, Gail answered her voice slightly breathless. With the smile still lighting her face she turned to look again at Victor.
“You have a beautiful smile.”
Gail eyes widened as she heard his word. She was saved from having to comment by Pam’s return. There was a doctor with her this time.
“Ms. Gray this is Dr. Hobson.”
“Hello Ms. Gray.”
Gail nodded to the doctor since Pam had placed the thermometer in her mouth.
“I’ve reviewed your lab results and would like to ask you a few questions.” “How long having you been having this pain?”
“It started last night.”
“Is there a burning sensation when you urinate?”
“No”, Gail answered.
Pressing in the area between Gail’s right hip and spine the doctor asked, “If I press here is there any pain Ms. Gray?”
Bolting almost straight up Gail answered, “Yes.”
“We are going to admit you Ms. Gray and prep you for surgery.” “Dr. Swan is the surgeon.” “She is an excellent surgeon and this is a very routine procedure, you’ll be fine.” Dr. Hobson said as he patted Gail on the shoulder and left the room.
“You’ll be taken straight to the operating room from here”, Pam explained. “Dr. Swan is very good and this is a short surgery in most cases taking a little over an hour.” Patting Gail’s hand Pam said, “I know you are frightened but there is no need to be nervous.” “The attendants will be here in a few minutes”, Pam explained as she left the room.
Gail was nervous. She had not been in the hospital since her birth. Victor watched as Gail worried her bottom lip with her teeth. She’s working herself into a fine state he thought. He placed his hand on her head and leaned down placing a kiss on her forehead. “You’ll be fine.” “I’ll be waiting for you after the surgery.”
Laying her hand over his on the bed Gail looked up at him and said “Thank you”.
Victor continued to stand beside Gail holding her hand until the Pam and the attendants arrived. “Ms. Gray the attendants will take you up to the operating room now.”
Victor squeezed Gail’s hand then released it as the attendants rolled her away.
“You look more nervous than she does Victor.”
“I know crazy isn’t it”, Victor said as he shook his head.
“Are you staying until she gets out of surgery?”
Smiling Pam said, “Let’s get a sandwich and I’ll show you the waiting area down from the operating room”.
Getting Gail’s throw Victor followed Pam out of the cubicle back to the emergency room waiting area. Standing near the entrance a woman wearing an annoyed expression surveyed the room. The woman was tall and slender, not reed thin but svelte and in the right heels she would top six feet. She was the color of coffee heavy on the cream with black hair and hazel eyes. The type of eyes that for one minute looked to brown then the next minute seemed to be green or gold.
Catching sight of Pam the woman started forward. “My name is Sabrina Hayes.” “I’m trying to get information about a friend that I believe has been admitted here.” Finally noticing Victor, Sabrina looked over in his direction and spotted Gail’s throw. She knew it belonged to Gail because it was identical to the one her grandmother had made for her. Focusing her attention on Victor, Sabrina started bombarding him with questions.
“How is Gail? Have they admitted her?” “Well answer me!”
Holding up a hand to halt Sabrina’s steady flow of words, “Gail was just taken to the operating room”, Victor said. “Pam is going to show me where I can get some lunch and the waiting room near the operating room.” “You can follow us if you like.” Taking Pam’s elbow Victor continued out the door not waiting to see if Sabrina followed.
“Pam, I’ll skip the sandwich just tell me where to find the waiting room.” “It’s on the third floor. Turn left out of the elevators.” “You’ll see the waiting area and a nurse’s station.” “You can wait there and they’ll let you know when she’s out of surgery.” “I’ve told the nurse there that you’ll be waiting for news. Her name is Gwen.”
“Thank you Pam”, Victor said as he squeezed Pam to his side. “You’ve been a great help today.”
Victor pushed the up button on the elevator. He knew that Sabrina was behind him but he said nothing. They moved into the elevator when the doors opened. Sabrina knew she needed to apologize but she really hated to admit when she was wrong. Taking a deep breath Sabrina said, “I’m sorry I have been so rude and abrupt with you.” “I know it’s not an excuse but I’m tired and worried about Gail”. “She’s like a sister to me.”
“You don’t have to apologize to me”, Victor said.
“I want to thank you for helping Gail.”
“Don’t thank me for helping Gail.” “I did that because it was the right thing to do and because I wanted to do it.”
Victor stepped out of the elevator as soon as the doors opened. The nurse at the desk looked up as Victor and Sabrina approached the operating room waiting area.
“You must be Pam’s friend.” “Ms. Gray is still in surgery. I’ll let you know when the operation is over.”
“Thank you”, Victor responded as he moved to take a seat in the corner.
“If you have somewhere else to go you can leave now“, Sabrina said as she took a seat. “I’ll be glad to pass along any messages to Gail.”
“I told Gail I would stay until she was out of surgery and I plan to be here.” “Fine, I’m sure that you’re busy but if you want to if you want to stay, it is fine by me.”
“Ms. Hayes I don’t know why you’re trying to rush me out of here but I’m staying.” “I promised Gail that I would be here when she came out of surgery and I’m going to keep that promise.” Neither said anything else until the nurse came more than an hour later.
Victor turned towards the nurse as she approached them. “Ms. Gray is in recovery now.” “The surgery went well. She will be moved to a room as soon as she comes out of the anesthesia.”
“Thank God”, Sabrina wailed as tears streamed down her face. “Thanks”, Sabrina could barely push the word out as Victor handed her a box of tissues from the nurse’s station.
“I’ve been so worried about her.”
“She’s going to be fine now the worse is over”; Victor said trying to calm Sabrina. Moving to the chair next to Sabrina, Victor patted her back and reminder her that Gail would be fine as she tried to stem her tears.
Finally gaining control Sabrina wiped her eyes and looked at Victor. “It seems I must apologize again.” “I’ve been rude to you and you seem to be a very nice man.” “I am very protective of Gail.” “She doesn’t trust easily.”
“Gail is a grown woman, I’m sure she is able to take care of herself.”
“I know that but she . . . never mind I’m tired and talking out of turn.”
“I understand being protective of those you love.” “You go and wash your face; I’ll wait here for the nurse.”
In the recovery room the nurse was checking Gail’s temperature, blood pressure and inserting an IV. “Ms. Gray, can you hear me?” “Wake up Ms. Gray.”
“I’ve never been in the hospital”, Gail mumbled. “I don’t want to stay here.”
“Your surgery went well Ms. Gray. We are going to move you to a room now”, the nurse explained. Gail continued to ramble as the nurse and attendant moved her into a room.
“A nice guy . . . said he would stay . . .that was so nice of him.”
The nurse smiled at Gail’s ramblings. “He’s a nice man, even nicer to look at too.”
“I noticed that also”, the nurse said to Gail. “He’s waiting to see you.” “Really, that’s so nice”, Gail muttered.
“Yes it is”, the nurse said smiling. “I’ll go tell him you are ready to see him now.” Drifting in and out Gail didn’t realize the nurse was gone.
“Mr. Wallace, she’s coming around now. She’s awake and talking.” “We’ve moved her to a room so you can go in for a few minutes.”
“Thank you.” The nurse led Victor to Gail’s room. “The woman that was waiting with me is in the restroom, would you please show her the room”, Victor asked the nurse as he moved past her into Gail’s room. Victor went to stand next to the bed.
“I’m awake, I was just thinking about how nice his lips are.” “I was thinking that earlier as well.” “He’d asked me what I was thinking but I didn’t tell him that I was thinking his lips made me think of hours of kissing.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
Looking towards Victor Gail said, “You are not the nurse.”
“What else have you been thinking but not telling me?”
Shaking her head Gail said, “Only one secret per hour”.
“Well since you’re unwilling to share I’ll tell you that your friend has arrived.” “She is very worried about you.”
”She shouldn’t have rushed here; she worked a fourteen hour shift last night. She thinks that she has to protect me.”
“I think that you are both over protective of each other.”
“I won’t argue with you about the truth,” Gail said as her eyes slid shut.
She looks better Victor thought. The lines of tension that the pain had caused had faded. She was lovely. She had clear pecan brown skin and brown eyes. He could not decide what color her hair was. It looked dark brown but it looked red whenever the light hit it. She had said she liked his lips; well he could weave a few fantasies around hers too. The rest of her was just as intriguing. She was full figured, with lush breasts, hips and thighs. Victor shook his head; the woman was lying sick in a hospital bed and look where my thoughts are he thought.
True he had not been in a relationship for several months but being attracted to Gail was not the problem. Being so emotionally involved with her after knowing her for only a few hours was. He didn’t know anything about her but he already knew he wanted to learn everything there was to know. I need to think more about this, Victor thought.
Looking at Gail, Victor could tell she was asleep by the easy rise and fall of her chest. Glancing at his watch he saw it was almost two o’clock. He was sure that the hospital had finished serving lunch by now. He wondered if Gail could eat anything yet. He decided to go to the café Pam had mentioned anyway.
Sabrina was coming into the room when he reached the door. “She’s sleeping. I’m going to get her something for lunch.” “You should get some rest also.
“I know, I’ll get the nurse to bring in a cot later.”
“If she wakes up tell her I’ll be right back.”