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By N.A. Said All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Fantasy


When two ends meet... Lydia, a simple girl never asks for more in life. Everything changes when she starts her internship. There are secrets that she and her mother are unaware of. It begins to emerge one after another that nearly costs their life. Wanting to hide from his true self; Lance moves to the new city. Everything is according to plan until he meets Lydia. He has secrets of his own, big secret. Would she accepts him if she knew? In the mean while two parties are after them, willing to do anything to get their hands on the couple, even murder. Lance and Lydia’s relationship has now evoked new episode that creates havoc and chaos. They are the only one that could assemble the loose ends. Will they be able to overcome it? The story is filled with family drama as well as mystery and romance. For those who love action, you will not be disappointed.

Of Strawberry, Fresh Dew and Lemon

Lydia felt her body spun wildly and then sprawled helpless on the pavement. The sudden motion made her dizzy numbing her other senses. Supporting her body with shaking hands she tried to get up. Her painful shriek could be heard miles away when a hand roughly grabbed her hair and banged her head repeatedly to the course pavement. Blood splattered everywhere. She tried to reach out but her hands were stuck. Whimpering from stinging throbbing head she forced her eyes open and saw both of her hands pinned under black and grey running shoes. Someone was purposely standing on her hands! Intense pain shot up to her upper arms as the hard soles pressed down hard twisting her fingers. Her eyes were getting fuzzy from the agony. Her screamed stuck in her throat; no sound came out except for the flowing tears. With all her might she tried to stay awake knowing the consequence if she passed out.

“You lying bitch!” That voice, she knew that voice. “I was always nice to you and yet you never appreciate me! Not once!” Dr. Alfred? The sudden kick to her side made her heart stopped for a few seconds. She could feel something snapped – her ribs. Then there were scuffling nearby, groans and muffled curses. Something landed with a thud not far from her and more scuffling could be heard. Suddenly everything stopped.

Lying flat on her stomach, she tried not to move but the blood pooling under her face making her difficult to breath. Gathering her willpower she turned her face to the side and tried to move her body. She gave out a loud scream as she felt the excruciating pain stabbing her side.

“Someone please get a rope and tie this idiot,” a firm voice commanded. Lance! Lydia recognized immediately. She tried to call but her words were lost in her sobs.

“Shhh…. I got you now,” his voice was soft as he touched her cheek gently pushing the disheveled wet-with-blood hair out of her face. Someone passed him a small towel. He used it to stop the bleeding from her forehead, putting pressure on it as he placed his other hand under her cheek protecting it from the coarse surface. “Don’t move okay. There’s a lot of blood from your head and I think you might have broken ribs. Paramedics are already on the way,” he paused and took a deep breath.“I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t have let you walk alone,” he almost choked on the last word. Inhaling deeply he bent his head low hiding his face from her view. After a few more deep breaths he looked at her. This time there was hardness in his voice as well as in his eyes. “I swear to God if he ever does like this again I will kill him myself. Shhhhh…… don’t talk. I’ll be right here okay,” he gently coaxed, brushing away her tears. He felt like kicking himself for letting his anger show when he should be showing compassion.

Lydia gave a small nod. She could hear his voice fading and then blackness consumed her.

Lance kept on calling but no response came from her. He slapped her cheeks gently enough to awaken her but she did not even stir. Never in his twenty seven years of life did he feel so useless and scared. He did not know what to do.

Five months before.

Dr. Alfred Peters the young handsome junior doctor filled a glass with cold water from the water dispenser on the third floor hallway. He drank slowly looking to his left and right. Found the person he was looking for, he immediately put down the glass and ran to her side as she passed by. Startled Lydia nearly dropped the files she was carrying. Ignoring him she lengthened her stride.

“Are you free tonight?” he asked catching up to her fast walk.

“I’m not so sure. Why?” She asked just for the sake of asking, quite uninterested actually. She approached the counter at the end of the short hallway and past the files to the nurse stationed there. “Sister Emma asked if you could please key in the latest details. I need to go to ward 3C. Ward 3D took me longer than usual,” Lydia sighed softly. Nurse Mary laughed carefully balancing the heavy files as she dropped her heavy self to the seat she vacated.

“Mrs. Lisbon is giving you trouble again? I don’t know how you managed to talk rationally to that lady. She is really pain in the ass. Sorry Dr. Alfred, but she is,” Mary shook her head and continued with her work.

“Well, somebody has to do it,” Lydia said softly and turned, walking fast towards ward 3C. Even though she had been there for only ten weeks but Lydia has unique ways of handling difficult patients. In order to avoid unnecessary confrontations and headaches with the patients the nurses let her do the cajoling. Combining hectic working hours and mushrooming patients, they just have no time to act as counselors cum psychiatrists. Interns help were welcomed with open arms.

“Hey, you haven’t answered my question,” Dr. Alfred caught up with her.

“And you haven’t answered mine. I thought you are busy today, doctor? Dr. Beth was complaining that she was on her feet since six this morning and could only take a tiny bite before her pager starts beeping again.” She stopped at the door and faced him.

“We are busy. I’m taking a few minutes break to wet my throat,” he said then lowered his head towards her. “Why don’t we go for a candlelight dinner, just the two of us,” he suggested in a low voice grinning slyly. Looking around for uninvited onlookers he waited impatiently for her answer tapping his foot on the linoleum floor making annoying sounds. She took a deep breath and smiled politely.

“I’m sorry. I’m afraid I can’t Dr. Alfred because my shift ends at eight tonight. I will be too tired by then to even think of food. And I normally take heavy tea with the other interns during our break at five. As I told you before, I won’t go out again unless we’re in a group,” she stated firmly. “Why don’t you ask Jessica? I think she’s free and her shift will finish in two hours, same time as yours Dr. Alfred,” Lydia suggested gently, pointing with her eyes to a petite girl walking towards the linen room.

“I’m asking you! Not Jessica! Why are you being difficult? You’re not even pretty or smart, nobody wants to date you. Do you know that I’m doing you a big favor by asking you? You were eager to accept my invitation two months ago and now you’re playing hard to catch rejecting all my invitations!” his low voice increased an octave. His handsome face turned red and ugly with flaring nose and rounded eyes.

Lydia stood straight and lifted her chin, her self defense pose against verbal abuse. In strong firm voice she said, “The answer to your first question is because your invitations never include group, that’s why. I would like to correct your wrong statement; I accepted your invitation two months ago because you tricked me, and since I’m not up to your standard I’ll be making you a great favor instead. It will ruin your ‘reputation’ to be seeing with me. I’m glad that we’re clear about this and please don’t make me any more favors, I’ll be fine. Anyway, thank you for your kind thought.” She inhaled deeply controlling her anger. She needs to finish her internship with good recommendations. Getting angry to her superior would not help her case. Just then his pager beeped. “You’re needed somewhere else Dr. Alfred and I’m already late with this ward. I don’t want to get into trouble with Sister Emma. You know how she is.” His pager beeped again. He grunted, turned and walked away hurriedly. The male black nurse who happened to hear part of their conversations went to stand by her side. They watched as the irritated doctor vanished around the corner.

“For a doctor he sure is shallow. He still didn’t get it, poor fellow,” he chuckled.

“He’s not only shallow but ignorant as well,” Lydia stated. His laughter boomed the hallway. Lydia hurriedly entered ward 3C.

Lance was on his fourth round when a sweet mix smell of strawberry-fresh dew-lemon hit him. He stopped and sniffed but the smell had drifted away due to the sudden gust of wind leaving only traces of it circling around him. He continued to jog much slower this time hoping to catch the smell again.

After three rounds of jogging around the lake park, Lydia stopped to rest at one of the bench. Normally she could go on for eight rounds but somehow she found the day was beautiful than usual and the need to stop to enjoy it. She inhaled the cool fresh air slowly, loving every second of it. Fall was fast on its way and soon the trees will be bald leaving behind only naked trunks and branches. Much later the whole area will be covered with white cold snow. She closed her eyes and tilted her face up. The morning sun warmed her face. She smiled to it.

“Emmm..., excuse me. Can I sit here?” a gentle manly voice asked. Lydia opened her eyes and slowly turned to the voice. A handsome blushed bespectacled face stood waiting for her answer. She nodded. He smiled gladly and sat at the end of the bench which was long enough to accommodate four average size people. With him sitting there the space became smaller. He was quite a big man, not as in fat but more to a hunky muscular type. His blue eyes were on her for a second before he turned and concentrate on the black geese by the lake.

She noticed he was in sweat suits, still breathing heavily. Once in a while he took a deep breath and smiled to himself. Even though the sweats he was wearing hid his physique well but Lydia knew it was strong and tough just like the hands rested on his long thighs.

“Do you jog here often?” she started the conversation with a question that was playing on her mind. Her eyes too were on the animals that seemed to fascinate him. Two pairs of geese paddled gently in the water. They then waddled to the shore and rested under a willow tree. Its weepy billowing leaves half curtained them, making their own private place.

“I wish, but I just started work and that takes a lot of my time,” he chuckled softly. “Do you?” his eyes twinkled as he stared at her. He angled his body so that he faced her.

“Same answer as yours except that I’m doing a six month internship at Mount Jasper Hospital. I have another three months to finish before I’m off to work somewhere else,” she replied chirpily. “I seldom get weekend off and today is my lucky day,” she chirped, turned to him and smiled.

He was looking at her with interest. He smiled back. Lydia cannot help but noticed the light tint of red on his dimpled cheeks before he returned to watch the geese. Man seldom blushes but this one did. In actual fact he was really a handsome guy, blue eyes with long dark lashes but he hid it behind black plastic glasses, similar to what Clark Kent was wearing when he was not Superman. Strong jaw and confident personality indicates a stubborn and firm man but the red tint on his face earlier on confused her.

Her smile lighted her whole features. She was glowing, like Venus. He gave his head a little shake shattering the image. “I guess you’re not interested in Mount Jasper then,” he inquired. She nodded. Her pony tail bounced. Some brown hair escaped from the rubber grip that she used to tie her hair. They danced and fanned her face. His hands itched to push it away. “May I know why?”

“Not that I don’t like the city but I prefer somewhere quiet,” she gave a little laugh as her eyes moved from the lake to focus on him.

“I know what you mean,” he answered quietly, smiled and watched her with fascination. The sound of her laughter somehow made him happy.

The six feet hunk then rose and stood awkwardly. He seemed to lose confident, which was weird. She did not know why but he intrigues her. What puzzled her the most was that she could talk to him freely, a complete stranger. She never did that. She normally sticks to smile or one word conversation.

“I’m going for a breakfast at Papa’s Deli. Would you like to join me?” the surprised look on her face made him felt uneasy. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you or what but I’m just hungry and it would be nice to eat with someone rather than alone. I’m new here and I haven’t made many friends yet and…and… Look, it’s okay if you don’t want to, no pressure,” he stopped his ramble as she belted out a hearty laugh. She stood and walked away. A few steps ahead she paused and turned her head over her shoulder.

“What are you waiting for? I’m hungry too. Come on,” she waited for him to approach and watched as his face transformed from frustration to joy. “I’m Lydia,” she extended her hand introduced herself as he neared.

“Lance,” he grinned stretching out his hand, relieved that she was not angry with him. The moment their hands touched current flowed through, shocking them to the core. Lydia jerked her hand away cradled it to her chest. The current silently buzzed away.

“What was that?” she asked. Worry and curious were evident on her frowning face. He just stood staring at her and then down at his hand. “Lance?” Her call brought him back with a start. He smiled softly and shrugged his shoulder.

“I’m not sure,” he voiced quietly. “Let’s go,” he then said. One thing for sure he was really glad that he forced himself to get out of bed that morning. From the corner of his eyes he noticed that she was eyeing him suspiciously.

Their harmless breakfast together kept Lance awakes most nights after that, thinking about her. Her smiles, her voice, how her grey eyes twinkled when she laughed and how her thinking matched his. All that kept on playing in his mind over and over again. To enable him to get a few hours of sleep he had to go for a run to tire his body, thirty kilometers to be exact.

Without Lydia’s knowledge, Lance managed to get hold of her work schedules from the hospital with the help of a friend who used his friend through another friend who works in the hospital. Every time she finished work he would be waiting somewhere nearby to make sure she reached home safely. Not to look too obvious and to give her time he waited for a few more days before he made his next move.

Lydia was grocery shopping at a nearby supermarket when she bumped into Lance again. As she was in a hurry they only managed a few pleasantries and exchanged phone numbers, but neither of them made the call. The opportunity somehow did not arise. Both had a very busy week. It was into the following week that he called her. They talked for a while before they agreed to meet for tea the next day after her afternoon shift.

Lydia learned later that Lance works with one of the top computer firm in the city. Being a computer programmer his working time was always unpredictable depending on the project he was working on. Sometimes he had to work around the clock without a wink. At that particular moment he was on the finishing stage of a project which enabled him to steal an hour or two of his time to have tea with her.

Having finally met his mate but could not be together with her was torturing him. The job that he took before he found his mate was taking up most of his free time. Since after that first time when their skin connected, Lance was always on the edge, wanted to be near her. The previous week when he was called back home for a couple of days he did not feel too bad but after the second time they properly met and a few accidental touches thereafter had him hooked and restless.

Lance and Lydia went out casually a few more times, within the next two months. The first thing she noticed about him was when it comes to women. He was rather uncomfortable with them. He in fact would glare to those who purposely tried to get his attention but to most he was polite. She teased him once about him being male magnet attracting females around him but he hated the sound of it. He said that he prefers only one butterfly than a thousand moths. His serious statement silenced her.

People tend to look twice at them where ever they went. Maybe because of their weird combination, Lydia thought, but she was not bothered by it. He was a handsome man with a body that made women salivating on the spot but luckily he was not even aware of it. She on other hand was on the medium side, just five feet six inches without heels; not plump or thin but rather on the curvy side, a sexy curve, that what she was told.

Dr. Alfred asked Lydia out again but she told him outright that she was not keen into relationship and preferred to stay as friend and co-worker instead; an answer that was taken rather unhappily. He began to find or create fault in her work which was very unprofessional of him. There were times when he tried to grab her at dark corners but coincidentally someone was always around to rescue her. One night she sensed someone was following her after her late night shift. The lane that led to the bus stop was dark. She was beginning to panic and started to run but was stopped a half way. She screamed her head off.

“Hey, hey, it’s me,” Lance caught her arms, gave her a little shake. She opened her wide scared eyes and threw herself at him hugging him tight.

“Thank God, it’s you,” she whispered. Then, as though remembering something she pulled away and took a step back. “Were you following me just now? I’m sure someone was following me,” she looked at him skeptically.

“No, I just arrived. I remembered you mentioned about late shift, that’s why I’m here, to give you a lift home,” he told her. His eyes skimmed the dark lane behind her. She followed his gaze and shuddered. “Come on, let’s get you home.” He took her elbow as he led her to the car parked nearby.The current that flowed every time they touch calmed her. She was getting used to it.

By the middle of her fifth month Dr. Alfred was nowhere to be seen. Later, Lydia heard that he was assigned to sixth floor. She sighed with relieve.

She remembered the first time Dr. Alfred asked her out. That was her second week as an intern. He said that a group of staffs were going out for dinner and whether she would like to join them. Trying to fit in, she agreed. She realized later when they arrived at the restaurant that there were no other medical staffs. It was just the two of them. At first she enjoyed her dinner but was getting uncomfortable as he began to touch her, first her hand and then her thigh. During dessert time she made an excuse to the washroom. She then left him a note saying that she was sick, apologized for her sudden departure and took a taxi home. When he asked her out again a few days later, she set down her one rule; she will only join group outings.

“I pray you would be here today. I guess my prayer has been answered,” Lance said as he sat on the bench. He smiled and passed her a paper bag. Her almond shape grey eyes widened accepting the bulky brown bag.

“God must really love you then and love me too since I’m here, enable me to enjoy this good weather on a lovely weekend,” Lydia said smiling happily. Lance eyes were on her pink kissable lips, he groaned inwardly. Oh, God please let me have patience, he prayed. She opened the bag and gasped. “You brought me breakfast, very thoughtful of you. Have you had yours?” she asked pulling out a cup of take-away coffee and a big doughnut.

“I brought mine as well. I figure it would be nice to eat out here, more relax and be among the….geese,” he chuckled. The sound was nice and comforting. How could a chuckle be comforting? She shook to clear her head and smiled at him.

Something was tingling at the back of his neck, a sensation that something or someone was watching. He looked around and inhaled deeply. So far nothing was out of place; he did not smell danger, yet.

“I know what you mean. No matter how beautiful they are, as long as the geese stay there and don’t come here, I’m good. I only have one doughnut but there are a dozen of them. I won’t win,” she said with a serious face, biting into the thick doughnut. His eyes crinkled at the end and his lips pressing together restraining himself from laughing. But he managed to keep it for only a few seconds before he cracked and laughed heartily.

Finding ways to touch her, the opportunity came. The custard filling from her doughnut trickled down her chin. He reached out and wiped it deliberately slow with his thumb. Instead of wiping it off, he licked it away. She watched him in wonder, mouth slightly opened. His touch made her warm inside. The underlying current every time their skin met still exists, more so and she could not figure out why.

Lance settled back on his seat with deep breath smiling happily.

They finished their breakfast in happy mood and spent some time for small chit chat before they decided to depart. Lance inhaled her scent deeply filling his lung with her smell. The small touch managed to settle only an iota of his craving. They were walking and laughing when a sudden loud scream came from somewhere far ahead. Two men came running towards their way. On impulse Lance pulled Lydia to the side as he stepped forward and stopped them with just two hand chops and a side kick. He picked up the discarded stolen handbag and put near the unconscious men.

“Let’s go before those people arrive,” he said glancing briefly at a group of people that was fast approaching. He grabbed her hand and ran until they reached a junction that split the directions to their respective homes.

“Why do we have to run in the first place?” she was a little breathless, not much due to the running but to the excitement he brought. “We didn’t do anything wrong.” Her pony tail had come loose. The gentle wind making it wilder than it already was.

“Yeah, I know but I don’t like to answer questions, drag into investigations and surrounded by curious people,” he grinned cheekily.

“Yeah I understand,” she laughed. “But you can let go of my hand now,” she said jokingly.

He looked down at their entwined hands and brought it up kissing the inside of her wrist. Her heart leaped. His lips sent another type of jolting current through her. It warmed her whole body, almost pleasurable. When his eyes met hers she noticed his eye color deepened but gradually resolved to its usual blue color. Fascinating. She almost said it out loud.

“I’ll call you later, okay,” he said dropping her hand gently. She nodded wonderingly as she watched him walked away.

“Lance!” she called out loud. He stopped and turned. “Thank you for the breakfast and an exciting morning,” she said with a smile and gave him a little wave. He nodded and smiled a forlorn smile. Lydia took the right turn and vanished into the nearby lane that was blocked by tall hedges.

Smiling to herself Lydia walked fast. The warm feeling induced by his touch had gone, replaced by cold breeze that was hitting her face mercilessly. Even though she knew Lance for a short period of time, he made her feel happy, contented, confident and safe, whatever that meant but that was what she felt. 

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