Friday, September 24, 2010

Chapter Thirteen

New horizons…

Cassie looked around her home-away-from-home, at least for the next month or so and smiled. The room was filled with flowers and silly, ‘welcome’ gifts from family and friends. The three dozen roses from Georgio put a grin on her face that she just couldn’t make go away. She had been smiling so much that her cheeks actually hurt; it was a glorious feeling!

The roses were a deep pink, so deep in fact that they were just shy of red. She had never seen roses that color before; she couldn’t even decide exactly what color to call them. There were also roses from Sarah and Adam (but Cassie knew that they were really from Adam!) her parents, her employees, it was just amazing how many flowers were in this room. It smelled heavenly though and it was helped by the cookie bouquet she got from Lissa, Derek and Pam. That wasn’t going to last long Cassie knew!

It was late afternoon and Cassie looked out her window, watching the steel-colored clouds dance swiftly through the slate-colored sky. She couldn’t really say much for the view from her room; ground floor that viewed a parking lot with a few trees in the distance. But it would be what she made of it and hopefully she wouldn’t spend all that much time here.

She felt restless; ready to get on with things, push forward. Inactivity didn’t suit her at all and now that she was ready to relearn some of her motor skills, she was anxious to get started. They had written her therapy schedule on the whiteboard in her room and it looked challenging, especially for someone who hadn’t moved all that much in a couple of weeks. Aqua therapy sounded good and so did the massage sessions; core strength building sounded sort of frightening though. Time would tell how it all went she guessed with a shrug.

For the rest of this day though she was on her own; just her and oops, 10 cookies, since she had eaten two of them. She really did need to start moving around more if she was going to eat them all. She finally flipped on the television out of sheer boredom and quickly scanned through the channels looking for something to occupy her thoughts.

Because said thoughts of course were obsessing about a certain doctor in her life. Who hadn’t been in to see her yet she thought, with irritation!

Click…nope, click, click, click…no, oh wait, that’s Adam! She sat the remote down and watched Adam in Betrayer of the Heart, a dark comedy about a love affair gone horribly wrong. He was brilliant in it, Cassie thought , as she watched him in the film ‘stalking’ his love interest dressed in the most ridiculous disguise. It was sordid and twisted and hysterical. She was laughing out loud when there was a knock on her door.

“Come in,” she called out, wiping tears from her eyes and giggling.

“What on earth could be so funny?” Georgio asked, watching Cassie as she continued to giggle.

Her head snapped in his direction, thrilled to see him. This time the smile was all for him. “Hi! I’m so glad to see you!”

“You are?” he laughed. “You seem pretty happy anyway!” He watched the TV for a moment and commented, “Isn’t that your friend?”

“I don’t know that I would exactly call him a ‘friend’, yet anyway. But I have the feeling I had better get used to him because he’s going to be a permanent fixture in Sarah’s life. It’s kind of weird though; I look at him and I know him, but that isn’t him at all!”

Georgio looked at her with a puzzled frown on his face. “I guess I don’t understand what you mean?”

She nodded in understanding and told him, “Well, it looks like Adam, and sounds like Adam, but those aren’t his mannerisms at all, or the way he would talk. It’s bizarre…”

Georgio chuckled as he stood by Cassie’s bed, watching how happy she looked. He seemed almost unsure of what to do next. He finally reached out and took her hand and said, “How are you this afternoon?”

Cassie’s breath caught as she felt his warm hand touch hers. She blushed to the core because of the thoughts that the contact stirred within her. Grass green eyes met hazel eyes that seemed brighter today for some reason. Maybe it was the intensity she felt coming from him, she didn’t know.

Georgio watched the delightful blush spread over her and thought it made her look even more beautiful. It was delightful to see this side of her, no longer the patient, but the woman that he loved. He wanted to lean down and kiss her, but somehow he didn’t want their first kiss to be here, like this. But if they had to wait, well, that would seem like forever. He didn’t know what to do he realized. To cover his uncertainty he turned around to pull a chair over next to her bed so they could sit and talk.

Cassie turned the TV off and turned a bit to look at him. He looked, well, gorgeous. She sighed as she took him all in – jeans that clung tightly to his muscled legs and a deep blue Henley that made him look, well – gorgeous!

Cass, get a grip…

It was late Friday afternoon and he had obviously changed in to street clothes before he came to see her. He sat relaxed in the chair, one ankle resting on his other knee. She noticed a lock of his hair that was lying across his forehead and she ached to touch it. Cassie groaned and knew she had to get her mind off of all of this.

“The roses are beautiful Georgio; thank you so much. I’ve never seen roses quite that color before, such a deep, deep pink. I love them!”

“They reminded me of the color that sweeps over your cheeks when you blush; so delicate and beautiful Cassie.” He leaned forward in the chair and looked her right in the eye, causing a bit of a blush to make an appearance.

Cassie met his gaze for a moment and then shyly looked down, her teeth worrying her bottom lip. No one had ever really told her she was beautiful before, especially not when she looked a mess in a hospital. Sure, when her hair was done and she had makeup on she looked okay she knew, but this time in the hospital was not the finest of moments for her. She wondered what to say; where exactly did they go from here.

“Thank you,” she finely stammered, feeling very self-conscious.

“I mean it Cassie. No one has ever looked more beautiful to me.”

The moment was electric, it felt as if the room was filled with charged lightening and they both were aware of it. How do two people who care about one another deal with a situation like this? Hindered by physical limitations not to mention the lack of privacy, how did they cope with it all? Georgio pondered these thoughts for a moment and decided that what was called for here was communication, something that on a personal level he wasn’t the best at. Awkward, he was awkward at all this and the thought made him sigh.


“Yes?” The word left her lips in a hurried escape of breath.

He decided to just be honest with her and see where that got them. “Cassie, you know that, even though you are healing well and recovering quickly, that for a long time there are going to be physical limitations on your, uh, activities.”

“Like, for how long?” she asked, her heart sinking.

“It could be several months, in reality it will be. No lifting, using great caution bending or other, uh activities. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?”

Suddenly it all finally clicked in her head what he was trying to say. There would be no sex for awhile, a long while apparently. THAT was a frustrating development, but it certainly wasn’t insurmountable. She giggled, realizing how uncomfortable he was.

“You’re – hm, really not very good at this are you? Talking about what can or can’t happen with me?”

“No, I’m not. I’m not actually a very good communicator on a personal level.” He gave her an apologetic look. “I will try very hard though Cassie, I promise.”

“Okay, that’s a good start Georgio. You know, my ex didn’t really communicate about much at all and I just let that continue. I thought that was the way that people in relationships did things, maybe that you just didn’t need to talk much because you were married and so that made it all okay. Boy, was I wrong about that!”

“So, you’re trying to tell me that you are one of those types of women who actually expect the man in her life to talk to her and let her know what is going on.” He smiled at the irony in all that, knowing how bad he was at it. He shook his head for a moment and let out a long breath.

“You know, I can talk to patients about medical stuff, deliver bad news, that sort of thing with no problems. Right now I can’t seem to organize a stray thought about you, about us.”

“So, there is an ‘us’?”

“Yes!” he said immediately. “Do you want that?”

She took his hand and said, “Yes Georgio, very much. You don’t or didn’t have problems talking to me when I was in the hospital.”

“You were my patient. Here, well, you are someone I care about and so it’s…it’s personal now Cassie, which makes this much different. I have developed feelings for you, very real feelings and now I have to learn how to express them and open myself to you. I want that very much, but you have to understand that emotionally I have been, I have let myself becomes closed off on an emotional level, since Belinda died. It was just easier that way, you know?”

“I understand that, I do. It’s so hard Georgio, to take those first steps in a relationship; I know that so well. But if we don’t take those first steps, we get nowhere. I know that I have feelings for you too and I’m scared. Scared that I’ll screw it up, that I’ll blow this one too because let’s face it, I haven’t had a successful relationship yet, have I? I have gone and done the craziest thing in the world, I have fallen for my doctor, something that happens all the time they say because of some ‘hero’ worship thing. But that isn’t what this is Georgio. I am grateful for all you did for me medically, but what I feel is so much more than gratitude. I feel attraction for the man behind the doctor’s cloak; I am stirred in a way by you that has nothing to do with medical issues, it’s about the man that I have come to know. I want to know more still Georgio; I want to know all of you.”

Cassie’s eyes had tears rimming them and there was painful ache in her throat when she continued on. “You close yourself off, well in many ways I’m too open and that will be difficult for us. We can’t have sex for what, months? That isn’t good because frankly I want you now, even though I know it can’t happen. But I’m going to try as hard as I can to spend the next few months getting to know you as I hope you’ll do with me until at some point in the future we know that we are ready for that next step. We’ll take that one together, however hard it will be to wait. So in the coming months Georgio, we learn to communicate!”

Georgio smiled at Cassie’s words and said, “Do you have any idea how gorgeous you are when you get wound up? Your eyes flash a brilliant green, your cheeks flush that wonderful shade of pink and you are just incandescent Cassie.” He watched as she stared at him with a dumbfounded look on her face and he held her hand up and kissed it, trying to let her feel his emotions. “Cassie, oh Cassie,” he practically groaned. “We are going to have a lot to get through the next few months, not just medically, but apparently emotionally as well. But I will try to be open about myself and my life; hell, there isn’t that much going on in it, but I will let you in I promise. But you have to promise me not to keep talking about sex! It’s going to drive me nuts because I want you too and I do know even better than you that it can’t happen for a while.”

“I’ve never been in a relationship that didn’t involve sex Georgio. I can’t even imagine how this will work. How long will it be?”

He frowned, mentally reviewing what he did know about, the damage to her spine and the needed recovery time. What he didn’t know what how the physical therapy would go. “I only know about the injury itself Cassie. Usually a spinal compression injury takes a couple of months before any weight can be put on it. There’s no telling how it will all go with physical therapy. I’m saying Christmas at the earliest Cassie, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”

“Almost two months? Are you kidding me?” She rolled her eyes in frustration before an ornery thought crept into her mind. “You know,” she said, using her most seductive voice, “there are ways to do it that don’t involve pressure for me? C’mon Georgio, you’re a doctor, you must know about them!”

“Aaahh Cassie, you are going to kill me, you know that?” He looked into her eyes which were twinkling merrily and he laughed. “One step at a time, okay?”

She laughed then and crooked a finger towards him. “C’mere Georgio!”

He stood up, alarmed that something was wrong and she pulled him down to her and then pressed her lips against his. For a few seconds she was lost in the delight of feeling his warm lips moving softly against hers. Finally, he pulled away and looked at her, contemplating that kiss.

The kiss that had sent electrical shocks down his body, putting all his nerve endings on point! Wow, such a simple little kiss and it knocked his socks off. He sort of shook his head to clear it. It had caught him so unaware that he worried that it didn’t please her. He needn’t have worried.

Cassie was feeling pretty pleased with herself; she knew that if she waited for him they’d still be waiting, probably for days. Not too bad she decided, not too bad at all.

“I, uh definitely wasn’t expecting that. You scared me, I was afraid something was wrong!”

“It had to happen sooner or later Georgio; knowing you it would have been later, much later!” she teased.

“Well, I was unprepared you know.”

“Mm hm. So you are saying if you had planned it out it would have been even better?”

“Well, it probably wasn’t my best effort, you know, being caught off guard and all,” he told her, playing along.

She looked at him, her eyes narrowed a bit as she digested his words. “So, next time I can expect more?”

“Well, I think I can probably do better.”

“Really? Are you just going to let me imagine or are you actually going to show me Georgio?”

He sat down on the side of her bed and leaned down so that his face was mere inches away from hers and stared intensely into her eyes. She blushed again and his gaze swept down her face and neck and he chuckled. He ran a gentle finger down her nose and rubbed it lightly against her lips, making them burn with desire for him. She swallowed hard, realizing the tables had been turned.

This time when his lips met hers she melted against him, a low moan escaping her throat and she got caught up in the kiss. Even though he was gentle, his mouth sculpted hers, molding it until it was difficult to tell whose lips were whose and she was breathless.

When he finally pulled his mouth away he stared at her, taking in the high spots of color on her cheeks with pleasure.


“Oh yeah…better! Now do it again!” she challenged.


Copyright 2010 by Cynthia Hope Hodge

All rights reserved. You may not reproduce, or retransmit by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any other means without permission by the author.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Chapter Twelve

Breaking Down the Walls…

Georgio’s heart broke as he watched the tears flow down Cassie’s beautiful face. He had over-stepped, projected his own feelings and desires on to this wonderful woman and scared her badly.

It was something they teach you in med school, how to guard against things like this; how to keep the professional cloak about you so that this type of thing doesn’t happen. How could he have done this? He knew better, he had practiced medicine long enough to never do this. The guilt was over-whelming and he started to turn away, to just leave her alone so that she didn’t have to suffer his presence any longer.

Cassie’s head was reeling and for a moment she felt faint. The pain of the situation was actually physical for her; her heart ached with fear and loneliness, loneliness at the thought of never seeing him again. She knew he didn’t have the same type of feelings for her that she had for him but to have him just abruptly announce that she wasn’t his problem in 3 more days stunned her. She teetered on the fence between hurt and anger and both were present in her statement. “Have I done something wrong? I tried so hard to be a good patient, to do what you asked! Now you just want to –to get rid of me? I’m someone else’s problem now?”

Her words stopped Georgio in his tracks. She thought she was a problem for him? That he couldn’t wait to get rid of her? Cold fingers clutched at his heart threatening to yank it out of his chest. How could she think he wanted to abandon her? My God, he admired her, cherished her…loved her? Did he really love her? Could he possibly?

He did.

“Cassie, no, that’s not what I meant! I just meant that you will have different doctors in charge of your case at the rehab hospital. I’ll still come and see you though.” He watched her face as his words sunk in. There was a brief spark of something in her eyes. Did he dare believe it could be happiness?

Cassie’s heart leapt with joy! Maybe he didn’t just see her as a patient, maybe it was more. She knew she wanted it; she wanted him to see her as a more than a patient, someone win crisis. She wanted him to see her as a woman, a woman in love.

In love? Could she be?

The thought surged through her making her feel giddy. They say that patients often feel transference of emotion for their physicians, but she didn’t think this was what her emotions were. She loved him.

She did.

She cleared her throat and started to speak, “Georgio, uh, D…Dr. Gorman, I…”

He smiled then and knew it would be okay. He hadn’t read her wrong, she did have feelings too and outside this hospital they would be free to explore them. Only three more days and he couldn’t wait. He took her small hand in both of his and immediately felt the electricity spark again between them. “Cassie, Georgio is fine,” he said softly, wanting to reach out and brush that errant strand of hair out of her face, the one that often lay upon her soft cheek. He finally couldn’t resist and he reached out and tucked the hair back behind her ear, a gesture that he had longed to do so often. He saw something spark in her eyes then and realized it could be desire.

Cassie’s mouth went suddenly dry when he took her hand in his. If she could have jumped off this bed into his arms she would have. Then the touch of his hand against her cheek, such an intimate gesture took her breath away. A shiver crept along her spine and her eyes flickered with desire. For several long moments they held one another’s gaze and both imagined the future and all that it would hold for them.

“Cassie, do you understand that for the next three days you are still my patient? I mean, it has to be that way. But when you leave here, I would like, well, I hope that we can explore a different type of relationship with each other?”.”

She nodded and a few more salty tears trickled from the corner of her eyes; happy tears this time. His hand crept up and his thumb softly stroked away the tears. He wanted to kiss her so bad, but he knew he couldn’t; he wouldn’t be able to keep it all in perspective if he did. Her next move was almost his undoing.

She held his hand up to her mouth and placed a tender kiss into the palm, letting her soft lips linger in a warm caress. Her grass green eyes never left his and it was the perfect message of promise, of seduction. He felt himself grow hard again at the touch of those lips and he inwardly groaned. He wanted her and it would be months before she would physically be up for that type of relationship. How on earth would he be able to handle it?

He practically jerked his hand away from her mouth, afraid of the contact. He stood up and moved to the window, keeping his back to her in the hopes that she hadn’t seen his arousal.

She had and it at least made her feel like less of a wanton to know she wasn’t the only one who was aroused. For the first time in a long time she knew what it was to ache, physically, for someone. She felt the warm rush of moisture streak her thighs and that sent a blush up her face and made her breath catch in her throat.

“Is, is it still raining?” she asked in an attempt to take both of their minds off of their desire.

Georgio closed his eyes for a moment, thankful for the change of subjects. “NoYes, it’s still coming down. This is Kansas in the fall after all. Probably rain for days now.”

“Yes, I know. This is my favorite season. I hope I’ll be able to see some of it anyway. I love watching the leaves change, walking in the park, all of that. Although I don’t suppose I’ll be able to walk in the park this year, will I?”

He turned to look at her, more in control of himself now. He shook his head no, a sad motion that he wished he could have skipped. “No Cassie, you probably won’t be walking through the park in time for falling leaves this year. But next year I promise we’ll take that walk, okay? All the walks you want.” Those words spoke of the hopefulness of the future, of dreams of what would be.

She nodded, content with that answer. It was a promise, a bond between them and she accepted it joyfully.

His pager went off then and he looked at it with a frown. “I need to make a call Cassie,” he told her, pulling out his phone and punching buttons. “This is Dr. Gorman.” He listened intently for a minute, his brow furrowing in with his concentration. “I’m already in the hospital. I’ll be down in just a couple of minutes.”

“I have to go, I’m sorry. An emergency, of course.” He looked at her, wanting with all his heart to kiss her goodbye. Instead he took her hand in his and placed a kiss in her palm, mimicking her earlier kiss. She closed her eyes at the contact and sighed.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, alright?” he asked. His feet felt rooted to the floor; he wasn’t sure he could make them move.

“Well, I don’t know. I have a pretty full social calendar you know!” she quipped, trying to make him smile.

He willed himself to move, but his feet didn’t want to obey the command. He was mesmerized by her grace and beauty.

“Go on Georgio, someone is waiting for you to save them. Go…”

He nodded and started to back away; finally he turned and was out the door in a flash.

She watched him go with a new sense of peace. Yes, someone was waiting for him to use his amazing talent to save them. He had certainly saved her, from more than he could ever guess.


Cassie woke up the next morning with a smile on her face, which grew even bigger when Georgio walked into the room, looking tired but smiling at her too.

“Hi. Long night?” she asked, seeing the dark circles under his eyes.

“Yeah, it happens.” He stood there grinning at her, feeling like an idiot, but just seeing her made him smile.

It was only 6 am, but she felt enervated, just because he was here. “I just wanted to stop by briefly before I head home to catch a shower and change clothes,” he told her. It was only then that she realized he was wearing the same jeans and shirt from last night. So he hadn’t been home yet.


“You shouldn’t have wasted time on me; go home and take care of stuff. It’s not like I have anywhere to go you know!”

“Yeah, well, I just wanted to see you, for a – a minute.” God, he sounded like a love-sick puppy.

“So, this isn’t your official ‘making rounds’ early morning visit?”

“No, this is a ‘I just had to see you’ visit. Is that okay?”

Cassie swallowed hard and nodded. “Yes, it’s more than okay.”

He nodded in return and stood there looking at her, the woman he loved. Her hair was spiking up from the pillow and it made her look impish; she had never looked more beautiful to him. He sighed and finally said, “Well, I guess I’ll go. I’ll see you a little later for the ‘official’ visit, okay?”

“Okay. Bye…Georgio.” The last word was only a whisper, but he heard it loud and clear and it made his heart do flip-flops.

He tried to let his eyes, his face show her what he felt, and then turned and left, feeling suddenly lighter and less tired. It was going to be a great day!


The day that she was being moved the rehab hospital there was a knock on her door around 9 am and it popped open as Lissa came into the room, wearing a huge grin and carrying flowers and Cero’s chocolates!

“Lissa, what are you doing here?” Cassie said as tears sprung to her eyes.

“Grandma, Grandpa and I are flying out to California tomorrow to surprise Mom for her birthday so I thought I would come and see you today. How are you?”

“I’m good, great actually. They are moving me to the rehab hospital later.”

“Yeah, Mom told me. That is wonderful news Cassie. Are you excited?”

“More than you could ever know,” she answered, knowing that most of that excitement was because of the relationship that would be starting with Georgio.

“How is Dr. Gorgeous?” Lissa asked and was rewarded with a huge grin that spread across Cassie’s face.

“He’s great Lissa. And he won’t be my doctor anymore after I make the transfer!” A definite twinkle glimmered in her eyes as she spoke the words that now delighted her.

“Ah ha! So, that is a good thing, huh?”

“Definitely!” Cassie knew she needed to change the subject before she started blabbering like the village idiot. “I haven’t talked to your mom since she got to California. Is she enjoying her visit? How did it go meeting Adam’s boys, parents and the ex?”

“Really well. She likes Tamara a lot and the boys are great, she says. She has no idea that we all are coming out for her birthday. Adam and I have it all planned and have somehow managed to keep it a secret from her!”

“Which is amazing, I know. She has a way of sniffing secrets out, let me tell you! So what are the plans?”

“Well, we are flying out tomorrow afternoon and so are Derek and Pam. Adam has arranged hotel rooms for all of us, including his parents. Mom says they are all really nice people, which I’m really thankful for. I was afraid his parents might be kind of stuffy or something, but apparently not. The day after tomorrow his mother and Tamara are taking her to a spa for the day, to keep her busy so that Grandma and Adam can do the cooking for dinner that night. The good thing about that is that with Grandma and Adam cooking, we’ll all eat really well! And the next day we are having a barbeque on the beach at his house. Mom tells me the house is spectacular!”

“That sounds fun!” Cassie imagined the warm sand shifting between her toes and longed to be able to walk around in it; to be there with the family for Sarah’s birthday.

“Yeah. We’re uh, taking our softball stuff, thought we might work up a game!”

Cass groaned, she knew what that was about. “So let me guess, Adam probably doesn’t know that Sarah is a softball ringer does he?”

Lissa shrugged carelessly. “Who knows what Mom has told him? I just know it will be fun!”

Cassie laughed out loud and said, “Take it easy on him kiddo; who knows how fragile an ego Adam may have!”

Lissa giggled uncontrollably and when her eyes met Cassie’s, she saw the same thing in them. “You know, he doesn’t really seem to have much ego though, does he? I mean, he is just such a nice guy, not like a movie star at all!”

“I agree; he is amazing. So right for your mom, Lissa. I’m so happy for her!”

“And what about you Cassie? Have you found your Mr. Right?” Lissa watched Cassie’s face carefully as she asked that question.

“Maybe. I know that things are going to be different for us once I’m out of here. He won’t let anything happen between us while I am his patient, which if very frustrating, let me tell you. But I also understand that. So let’s just say that we have talked about what could be!”

Lissa leaned down and gave Cassie a warm kiss on the cheek and grinned at her. “Good. You deserve someone wonderful too Cassie. You’ve kissed a lot of toads; it’s time for your prince!”

“You think?” she laughed. “Toads, huh? Well some of them were…a few.”

Yes, a prince, she was ready for her prince, her happy ending. Was it finally here?

Copyright 2010 by Cynthia Hope Hodge

All rights reserved. You may not reproduce, or retransmit by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any other means without permission by the author.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Chapter Eleven

What might be…

“The girl is impossible!” Zeus declared to Hera

Bellowed was more like it, she decided. Pandora really seemed to bring out the beast in that man. Zeus liked to be the conductor of the orchestra, with all the instruments playing exactly as he directed. In this case, his plans weren’t working out so well. Hera smiled secretly to herself at the thought; it was good for him that someone didn’t jump when he ordered. Unfortunately, it was Hera herself that was catching the grief over it and she didn’t like that one little bit. No, they must find a solution to the problem! And soon, it had to be soon!

“Zeus my love, you told her that she could not open the jar. In fact, you promised her death if she ever dared to look inside. What do you expect of the poor girl? You’ve scared her half to death with your bellowing and threats. She probably doesn’t even gaze at it; much less contemplate opening it!”

“She’s a woman! What woman could ever resist what she was forbidden?” He pounded the table, causing an earthquake to hit the mountainous regions of the Roman held lands. He laughed as the humans shrieked and scrambled below his narrowed gaze, looking for safety.

Hera rolled her eyes and tried to distract her enraged mate. “Zeus, you need to provide her with a bit of an incentive to open the jar. Stir not her curiosity but rather her compassion and intellect. Entice her with her love of humanity and the possibility of help for the masses of the miserable humans. Cures for sickness, aid for the hopeless and such. How could she resist, hmm?” Hera smiled and ran a gentle finger-tip softly across Zeus’ lips before leaning up to kiss him. “Now my love, can we possibly occupy our time with something a trifle more fulfilling?” She turned to walk away from him and cast a teasing look over her shoulder to make sure he was following him. She needn’t have worried. He only had one thing on his mind right now!

Lucky for her!

Gentle rain was making the roads a bit slick Georgio noticed as he pulled out of his parent’s driveway. Well, it was that time of year now, more of this to come he knew. At least it was too early to freeze yet; he was thankful of that.

The fragrance of the covered dishes in the seat beside him made him smile as he thought about Cassie. His mom and sister’s had outdone themselves tonight; the meal truly had been a feast for the gods and he was sure Cassie would love the offerings he was bringing her. Her plate was heaped full of all sorts of delicacies that he had picked especially for her.

He had news for her tonight; she was going to be released into a rehabilitation center in three days. Her progress was remarkable and Georgio was so proud of how hard she had worked, how well she had followed his instructions to get better. So many patients with her type of injury only saw the worst of it; Cassie pushed through that and embraced recovery, even the parts that weren’t so great. Her patience for what was happening to her body was incredible; she rarely showed her fear or annoyance at what was happening to her. Occasionally though he had caught a bit of embarrassment over something and he thought it was a delightful treat to see her green eyes darken and the rosy blush sweep over her beautiful face.

He sat at the stoplight grinning like an idiot until someone behind him honked their horn, reminding him to pay attention. He was eager to get to the hospital to see her, couldn’t wait in fact. He gripped the steering wheel a bit tighter and pulled his attention back to the street when his tires spun a bit as he took off from a stop light.

Snap out of it Georgio!

He could see the hospital up ahead; the lights in the room of the buildings glowing in the darkness like a beacon, guiding him in. He pulled into the spot with his name on it in the doctor’s parking area and grabbed one of the plates of food to take up to Cassie. It was raining all out now and he wished he had an umbrella in the car but decided to just make a run for it after he pushed the button to lock the doors. He dashed across the walking area between the garage and hospital, careful not to drop the plate. It was covered with foil so he knew the food was protected although the same couldn’t be said for him. He smiled ruefully as he shook raindrops out of his hair and swiped a hand down his face to get as much off as he could.

“Good evening Dr. Gorman!”

Georgio looked up to see Eula Bright sitting at the information desk. She was one of the Red Cross volunteers who manned the desk to help visitors find their way around the confusing maze of hospital hallways and buildings.

"Good evening Eula. How are you this evening?”

“Dryer than you, apparently. Can I get you some paper towels to dry off a bit with?” she asked, smiling as raindrops trickled down his jacket and dripped onto the carpet.

“No, I’ll be fine.” He looked down at the floor and grinned before he laughed as he added, “the floor is pretty wet though. But it will get wetter as more folks come in this evening I’m sure! See you later.” He waved as he headed to the elevator bank and punched the up arrow button.

“Yes, I’m sure that’s true,” she murmured as he disappeared into the sliding doors.


Cassie had been restless all afternoon and evening. She shifted in the bed, thrilling to the fact as she watched her legs slide along under the covers. Even though she was stiff and her muscles ached like crazy, it was worth it just to be able to move them around a bit.

She adjusted the level of the bed again, sitting it up farther so that she could see outside her window. It was dark outside, but she heard rain coming down and listened to the toneless musical interlude the raindrops hitting the window made. She couldn’t see it, but she still smiled. It was fall in Kansas, her favorite time of year.

Cassie loved the trees as they wore their autumn cloaks; scarlet and yellow, brown and orange, the colors blending in the trees as the wind stirred them until they lost their tenacious grip and floated to the ground, or wherever the four winds took them. When they were kids she and Sarah would spend hours raking them into huge piles and then diving into them, coming up covered in bits of leaves and laughing like idiots.

Autumn meant hayrack rides and bonfires; toasted hot dogs and marshmallows, long walks in the park and cool, crisp air. How she loved snuggling in front of the fire, a cup of hot chocolate in hand listening to music and relaxing.

This autumn would be a bit different though she knew; this fall meant basically learning how to walk all over again and climbing stairs, doing all the ordinary things that we take for granted. She thought to herself that it was probably a good thing that toddlers learned how to do it when they were so young because worrying about it could drive a person crazy. Not that she felt like it was a long stretch for her.

She definitely felt crazy; crazy about a certain doctor that is. She was like some silly teenager, or might as well have been as often as she thought about him. All day long, each day she wondered when he would come in to see her; how she looked, if she had made any more progress for him to check out. She yearned to see him as he smiled at her, happy that she had passed another milestone. As long as he was her doctor she knew she could do anything – he was the best motivation in the world she decided.

Just then she heard a soft knock on the door and sat up a bit straighter, hoping it was Georgio. She was disappointed when Christine, the night nurse stepped into the room rolling the cart with her that held the charts and computer terminal.

“Hey there, Cassie!” Christine chirped, obviously in a good mood. “How are you doing tonight?”

“Hi Christine,” Cassie said, dipping her head down in the hopes that Christine wouldn’t notice the look of disappointment that streaked across her face. “I’m great, fine as frog hair, as a friend of my dad’s always says!”

“Fine as frog hair?” Christine laughed. “That’s one I’ve never heard before.” She grabbed the blood pressure cuff behind the bed and wrapped it around Cassie’s arm and started pumping the bulb up to inflate it.

Cassie lay still as the nurse took her blood pressure and waited while the notation was made in her chart. She was answering a few questions when there was another knock on the door and Georgio walked in.

He grinned as he saw Cassie sitting up in bed, patiently answering Christine’s questions. He held up the covered plate so that Cassie could see it and waited as Christine made a few more notations before asking her how Cassie was doing.

“She’s fine as frog hair doctor,” she quoted and grinned at his confused look. She shrugged and added, “Ask her!”

Cassie laughed out loud as Christine wheeled the cart towards the door. “Cassie, do you need anything else?” She looked at the plate of food that Georgio was unwrapping and inhaled deeply. “Ooh, smells like you are in for a treat! Just holler if you want something, okay?” She pulled the door closed behind her, leaving Cassie and Georgio alone in the room.

Georgio raised a quizzical eyebrow and said, “I’m almost afraid to ask, but what did she mean by that?” He grinned as he tilted the plate so that Cass could see the goodies that awaited her.

“Ooh, that looks and smells so good! I can’t wait!” She reached for the fork that Georgio was holding and he pulled it away, teasing her.

“Uh uh, not until you tell me the joke!” He watched her lower lip stick out in a slight pout and was shocked to realize that it made her look about 10 years old; shocked even more to realize that he wanted to kiss her, so bad in fact his mouth practically watered.

His eyes were sparkling as he teased her and one corner of his mouth was turned up slightly in a grin. She could see a bit of his beautiful white teeth and leaned forward a tiny bit, only stopping herself before she puckered up for a kiss! Geez Cass. She laid back down and eye-balled the fork and the plate sitting on the table. This guy was seriously trying to keep her from that delicious feast that was only 11 inches from her? Get real! She resisted the urge to growl.

His eyes went to the plate of food, then darted back to her face playfully. He tilted his head a bit and said, “Uh uh,” and waved a finger at her. “The joke?”

Cassie rolled her eyes in surrender; she knew she couldn’t grab the plate before he could so she said, “No joke really. It’s just a phrase a friend of my dad’s used to say.” She shrugged nonchalantly. “NOW, may I please have my fork?” She batted her eyes at him and grinned.

“Hm, sounds fishy to me, but okay.” He scooped a bit of hummus onto a piece of fresh pita bread and held it out to her. She leant forward and opened her mouth and as he popped the bite into her mouth his finger inadvertently brushed her lip.

Cassie jerked her head back feeling as if a bit of electricity had nipped at her. She closed her mouth and felt the tingle still on her lip. For a moment she couldn’t even chew, so lost in the sensation she felt.

Georgio likewise was feeling a few tingles of his own. His first impulse was to stick that lucky finger into his mouth because her mouth had touched it. He stared at it, not even noticing Cassie’s reaction. He brought it half-way to his mouth before stopping himself and a blush rose up his face. He wasn’t sure he had ever had a reaction quite like that before. He looked up at Cassie only to catch her eyeing his finger as well.

Cassie blinked and suddenly realized that he was staring at her. She began to chew the bite of food, but couldn’t have told him what it was; it might as well have been cardboard. Finally she swallowed and licked her lips.

Which almost was Georgio’s undoing, unbeknownst to Cass. The sight of that pink tongue on her full coral-colored lips made sitting down suddenly a bit uncomfortable. He almost stood up and then realized that would be worse so he just hoped she didn’t look down at his lap.

Who would have thought watching her eat could be such a sensual experience?

He realized that he was still holding the fork and he hastily laid it down on the tray table where she could reach it. “Shall, uh, would you like a coke or something to go with your dinner?” he asked to distract her.

She grabbed the fork, staring at it for a moment before answering. “No, I have water here, if I need it.” She took a bite of the spanakopita and chewed slowly, relishing the flavor of the spinach and cheese pie. “Um, this is fabulous! I don’t suppose your mother would like to come and work for me in my business would she?”

A slow grin spread across his face as he had a visual of his mother working for Cassie. The word ‘anarchy’ rose in his mind and he laughed and then had to explain why.

“SO, you’re telling me that she would take over the whole shebang huh?” she said with a grin as she scooped up some mousaka. The flavors were delicately balanced; fresh and delicious. She had never had any better.

“In no time at all, I promise you! But I’ll tell her you enjoyed her cooking. She’ll love your forever!”

“That’s awesome but will she spill her secret recipes?” she asked impudently.

“Maybe after we’ve been married for a few years!” As soon as he said it he realized what he had just said and wanted to crawl under the bed.

Great Georgio, way to scare her to death!

Cassie almost choked on her bite of keftedes, a type of Greek meatball. She hastily swallowed and grabbed her glass of water, bending her head to drink from the straw which also helped to hide how red her face was.

Married? He sees us married someday? The thought made her stomach do flip-flops, happy flip-flops.

They both choose to ignore the remark and Cassie took another bite of the mousaka. Georgio thought frantically of something, anything to change the subject. Anything…

“What’s this?” Cassie asked, pointing to something on her plate.

Georgio smiles, delighted with the distraction. “That is patatopita. It is a type of potato, um pie I guess is the word. It was my Yia Yia’s specialty.”

Cass popped a forkful into her mouth and savored the heavenly flavor. “Mm, it’s delicious. And a Yia Yia is?” she prompted, taking another bite.

“Grandmother. A Yia Yia is a grandmother. She died almost 15 years ago.” He said it sadly and Cassie could tell that he loved her a great deal.

“Tell me about her?” she asked. She listened to Georgio talk while she ate the remainder of her meal, finishing with baklava. She was a sticky mess after eating the flaky pastry layers with nuts and honey, but it was worth it.

Georgio smiled, noticing her trying to wipe her hands on a tissue. He went to the bathroom and wet a washcloth and brought it back to her. When she reached for it he shook his head and used it to gently wipe her mouth and then took her hand in his and softly wiped each one, slowly stroking each finger until it was free of the honey.

They were both mesmerized by the warmth of each other’s hands, the tingles that quickly spread up their arms. This time Georgio didn’t pull away. He took a deep breath and said, “You know Cassie, I have some really good news for you!”

“You do? What?” she asked, excited to hear whatever it was.

“Well, in three days you are going to be transferred to a rehabilitation hospital. You’ll start physical therapy to get you back on your feet. It will be exciting for you, I promise. Of course, it will also be tiring, but the end of your dependence on other people taking care of you will come quicker than you can imagine.”

Am I a burden to him, being his patient? Is he tired of having to take care of me like this?

Humiliation spread through her like wildfire. She had done the very best she could, honestly she had. She had improved so much quicker than everyone said she would, but was it still not quick enough for him? She wanted to pull the covers up over her head and cry.

“And, one more thing and this is the best part – you’ll no longer be my patient Cassie!” He grinned like an idiot as he said it. He would finally be free to be more than her doctor, he would be a friend and hopefully a lover sometime soon. He couldn’t wait for that time, although he knew that it was likely to be many months before she was ready for that part of the relationship. That was even saying that she wanted that.

He looked at her face then and saw it had blanched white and her lower lip was trembling. Huge tears started slipping down her small face, streaking her cheeks the way the rain had streaked his own earlier.

My God, what is wrong? Does she dislike me so much that she doesn’t want to see me anymore?

Georgio’s heart sunk with grief.

Copyright 2010 by Cynthia Hope Hodge

All rights reserved. You may not reproduce, or retransmit by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any other means without permission by the author.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Chapter Tomorrow, 9-10-10

Hi Everyone!

Tomorrow chapter eleven will be posted on blog and will go back to the normal schedule.  Thanks so much for your patience during this past crazy couple of months, I really appreciate your dedication and encouraging words.

There will be a change to the posting of comments on this blog and What My Heart Desires.  Engbunny and I have decided to put the word verification on them due to the amount of spam they have been receiving.  I hate to do this, but it seems it is necessary.

See you tomorrow!