Chapter 7 - Too Far
Upstairs, there was a small space that overlooked the downstairs area. couches and tables were stacked up against the railing, a temporary position to allow for the dancefloor. The pile backed up against a weathered wood-paneled wall. Large framed images aligned perfectly with the tops of three black doors. “This is the second bedroom, bathroom,” we walk past the first two doors and he opened the last to what looked like an office. A spread of Apple products sat on a modern, glass desk. “And this is my studio.”
The room was warm and welcoming, despite the dark gray walls and lack of windows. Some editorials hung in magazine-sized frames beside the desk. I took a step inside to get a better look, but when I saw the bed in the corner. Shit.
I turned to leave. Ziggy pushed the door closed and turned me to press my back against it.
I pushed my hands against his chest, trying to gain some distance from him, but it didn’t work. He leaned forward with obvious intention. I turned my head and his kiss landed at my cheek. “Oh, come on.” He laughed, though he didn’t seem amused.
“Ziggy, I can’t do this. You are my patient.”
“I’m not your patient right now.”
His proximity exuded a heat-filled wave of sensuality. My breathing shallowed as I become aware of how his body felt against mine. I fought to stay focused.
“You of all people know how important this night is for me. This is probably going to be my last party, my last night of fun. This is the night I’ll get to have my last, crazy fuck, and it’s supposed to be with you.”
I was surprised, but I shouldn’t have been. “I’m pretty sure I get some say in that.”
“I guess you said enough when you brought your fucking boyfriend.”
“He isn’t my . . .” I saw no point in finishing that sentence.
“Yeah, yeah, but that’s exactly why you brought him, isn’t it?”
I let out a heavy sigh. He ran the back of his fingers gently against my cheek. He turned my chin to make me look at him.
“There is a very good chance I’m not going to make it through this, Sabine. You know how I feel about you. I’m the dying guy obsessed with his nurse,” he said. I stared at him and feel my cheeks warm. His hand gripped the nape of my neck. “All I want is to show you just how much I want you . . . while I still have a chance.”
I opened my mouth to speak but nothing came out. I knew I needed to say no, but I didn’t want to. So, I hesitated.
He took advantage, leaning closer once more. He tilted his head and his mouth hovered over mine for just a second. I let my eyes close, and then he kissed me.
When Ziggy kisses you, it demands your complete attention. The passionate way he sucked my lips, the teasing breath of a pause before he took them again . . . The man knew exactly what he was doing. His kisses captivated me, teased me. I placed my hands on his cheeks, not wanting him to stop. I was so distracted by his tongue in my mouth that I barely noticed his hands sliding to my chest.
Kissing him made my brain stop working, leaving only my body to take over. It was just our lips, our tongues, our excited breaths. His thumbs circling my nipples beneath the thin material of my bra. A warmth pooling between my thighs.
He cupped my ass with both hands, pulling my hips forward to grind against his. I felt his erection beneath his tight pants. moved his mouth to my neck, sucking it gently, the sensation causing me to sink my teeth into my lip to keep from moaning.
Admittedly, I imagined it—feeling him inside me, the hot, sweaty minutes and the pleasure we could share. But what I couldn’t imagine was how I would be able to care for him during his treatment after it was over.
“Ziggy . . .” I meant to stop him, but my brain couldn’t manage to complete a sentence. He reached down and began lifting my dress. His fingers looped into the sides of my panties and pulled them down slowly. I snapped back into reality.
I pushed him away. “Ziggy, no. I can’t.” I moved away from him, pulling my panties back up.
“I can’t have sex with you, I’m your nurse.” That didn’t seem like a good enough reason for him, so I tried to think of another. “And I’m not a cheater.”
“Who are you cheating on? Your non-boyfriend?” he laughed.
When he stepped closer, I dodged him again. “I can’t.”
He sat on the end of the bed, leaning back on a hand, his knees spread wide. “You sure?” he asked seductively. He rubbed a hand over the crotch of his pants and slowly unbuttoned the top of his fly and unzipped it. He used the same hand to signal for me to come over. “Come on.”
I fought myself to stay where I was. “I really can’t.”
“But you can.”
“No, Ziggy. I can’t. I have to go.”
I turned to leave and he leaned over with a painful groan. “Stop it, that’s not going to work.”
He looked up at me, his face was red and strained. He didn’t look like he was fooling.
I went to him quickly. “Lay back.” I lifted his shirt and pressed on his abdomen. He lurched in pain. “You’re very inflamed. Do you have the ibuprofen they ordered for you?”
“What? They only gave me pain meds,” he groaned.
“Ziggy,” I sighed in frustration. “They gave you both. Where did you put them?” He pointed to the door to the bathroom behind me. I went in and looked through the medicine cabinet. I found it, unopened, and administered the appropriate dose into my palm. I walked back out and found Max standing in the room. “Hey,” I said to him.
“Hey. You two hanging out or something?” he asked suspiciously.
I sighed, walked over to Ziggy, and handed him the pills. “These won’t stop the pain completely, but it will help. You should have followed the doctor’s instructions like you were supposed to.” He glared at me from under his brows. I knew I had angered the beast in more ways than one. “Take the pills, Ziggy, and get back to your party.”
I took Max by the arm and walked with him out of the room. We went back down the stairs, and I tried to shake off the last of my desire and the disappointment I felt in myself.
“Sorry, Sabs. Marie said he took you upstairs. I thought he was trying to put the moves on you.”
I let out a self-deprecating laugh. “No. He’s just . . .” I didn’t know what to say.
“Really sick?” Max finished for me.
“Yeah.” Let’s go with that.
I had asked Max to let us leave nearly twenty minutes ago, but he could not seem to wrap up his conversation with his stupid friends. I sat impatiently on his lap, counting seconds until he would help me. I looked over and pretended not to watch Ziggy stalk around the opposite end of the room. He looked miffed and I hoped it wasn’t only because of me. He walked to the stage and whispered to the DJ. When the song finished, the sound dimmed.
“Hey, party people!” The DJ called out to the intoxicated crowd. “Our gracious host would like to say a few words.” He smiled and handed over the mic. I grew nervous.
Ziggy took it, walking toward the front of the stage. “Is everyone having a good time?” Everyone cheered. “I said, is everyone having a good time?” People around us cheered louder. Max stood us both up, wrapping an arm around my waist. I wanted to push it away. “I’m glad. I’m really glad to have one last night with all you people that call yourselves my friends.”
He smiled and someone in the crowd whistled. I picked up on his sarcasm, but I couldn’t figure out why he had it. I looked around me and everyone was smiling. They shouldn’t have been.
“I took a bit of a hiatus recently – which no one seemed to notice. No one asked me, ‘where have you been Ziggy?’ or ‘Wow, Zig, did you lose weight?’ So let me just fill you all in,” he said, walking across the stage like a TED Talk presenter. “I’ve been in the fucking hospital for the last month. Three straight weeks and not a single one of you checked in to ask if I was okay, called to see why I had practically vanished off the face of the earth. Because none of you actually give a shit about me.”
My eyes went wide as I watched the train wreck happen before me.
“You only care about my money, my connections, my opportunities. Well, live it up tonight, because there’s a good chance you won’t be seeing me again,” he looked a little broken but he won’t falter in front of the crowd. “Because I have fucking cancer.”
My heart was in my throat. The crowd murmured and shuffled awkwardly. I hid my face in my hands as if not watching would make it stop.
“There is of only one person here tonight that knew that before now, and even she didn’t want to come.” I looked up and saw him staring right at me. “But she did because she knows there’s a fifteen-percent chance of surviving the next few months.”
Max looked over at me, causing his friends to do the same. My eyes started to water with a mix of anger and frustration.
“So please. Eat my food, drink my alcohol, and have a great fucking time. Just know that you are all pieces of shit.”
He stares at the crowd for a second then gave the mic back to the stunned DJ and left the stage. He walked through the crowd toward the staircase, blowing off person after person who swarmed around him in an attempt to apologize. He didn’t care to hear them but maybe he would hear me.
I ran over and caught him at the bottom of the stairs. He stopped and raised an eyebrow at me when our eyes meet. “You shouldn’t have done that,” I told him morosely.
He laughed and looked down at me with condescension, “What the fuck do you know?” Then he walked away.
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