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.