Chapter 17 - Another Minute
Jill sat on the queen-sized bed. The room was luxurious, decked out to show off the hospital’s prestige and professionalism. It was a room meant to impress. She scrunched up the intricately designed brocade bedspread in her fists as she ignored the French windows which perfectly framed the city lights below. She’d had two days to get used to the room and bore of the view, now she counted the minutes.
She knew the time. She’d agonised over every second tick by since the hands had sat on the twelve and the three. At first, she’d glanced at the clock face, listened to the ticking, allowed herself the luxury of closing her eyes and hoping. But as the time marched on, she’d become more and more focused on that damn clock and its hideously slow hands. It was tormenting her. She wanted it to be over but at the same time she didn’t want it to be done.
The last two days had been hell. She’d been stuck in this room. She’d watched movies, flicked through magazines, read books, played games and memorized the view. Now she wanted out. But the price to leaving was high.
She’d missed him. She’d woken alone each and every morning. She’d argued at the wall, yelled and had no one to yell at, glared at the television people, and beaten the life out of her pillow, but none of this helped. She needed his touch, his presence, his smile, his face and his voice. It had been the longest two days of her life.
But that didn’t mean that she had a choice in doing what she had to do.
Why did he have to do that? Why did he have to say those words? What was she going to do now? She knew what she should do but it didn’t gel with what she wanted to do. Why did he do that? Why was he making her do this?
She glared at the clock, as the second-hand ticked on its journey, as if it was responsible for all her problems.
The surgery had started at 3:00pm. That was as much as they would tell her. No one knew exactly when it would be over. This wasn’t something they’d done before so the best they could give her was an estimate.
Six hours. Six long hours.
Doctor Peters had cringed when he’d said that it shouldn’t be less than four hours. In this was the implication that if he walked out of theatre in less than fours hours that would be because Mrs Grant would not have survived the procedure. The fact that it was now ten past nine, of course, didn’t guarantee success but it meant that either the operation was going well enough to continue or that Tom was sitting outside her door, too afraid to come inside and tell her the bad news.
There was nothing she could do but wait. And watch the clock.
It wasn’t just the operation that had her worried. She bit her lip and had that fight in her head again. She’d had this fight continuously for the past day. It was driving her insane. She never won and yet she still argued with herself. She went over all the points again, hoping that this time they made more sense than last time.
She missed him so much.
She growled at herself, she couldn’t think that way, as the second-hand taunted her.
Think about something else, she exhaled and inhaled.
Doctor Peters had been giving her updates. She knew that Tom was well and working hard. He’d spent the last two days familiarising himself with the new equipment, doing simulations, watching other procedures and memorising every detail, every plan and every contingency. And he’d slept. She’d asked Doctor Peters to make sure he was sleeping. That was important.
Somewhere in her stored memory she brought up the images of him sleeping. Reclined in the chair or the feel of his chest under her as he breathed deeply. His face relaxed, the tension gone, he looked so angelic.
Would Tom even show up tonight? Would it be Doctor Peters who came to deliver the news of how the operation went? She knew that he’d be watching. He’d already told her that there were so many doctors who wanted to see this that they had closed off the theatre’s viewing gallery, allocating seats to senior doctors, and were live broadcasting the operation into the doctors’ lounge for everyone else.
The pressure he must be under. It was bad enough that he was operating on Mrs Grant, her friend, and that this was his ‘brainchild’, but to have everyone watching and analysing. She couldn’t do it. She couldn’t handle that sort of stress.
Apparently, Mrs Grant had been quite chuffed by the ‘media-attention’. Her five minutes of fame, she’d told Doctor Peters.
Jill laughed out aloud. That was so like Mrs Grant. Jill watched the second-hand tick as she remembered all the times that Mrs Grant found something to say to bring a smile onto your face.
When was she going to see him? When was he going to appear at her door with his serious expression and his blue eyes locked on her? He probably wouldn’t be here straight afterwards. With so much pressure, he’d be exhausted. He might need to talk to the waiting doctors, they might wish to congratulate him. If this went well, then he’d be expected to celebrate afterwards.
He might not turn up until tomorrow. He might not turn up at all. He might be regretting his rash words and avoid her completely. Two days was a long time, he might have had a rethink. He might have realised that he was tired and not thinking when he confessed. He was very tired.
She exhaled a long breath.
She missed him, too much, so much that her head was spinning.
She had no way to guess what he was going to do. Given this whole thing, the ‘love’ thing, was so out-of-character for him, she couldn’t really know how he was going to behave. Afterall, it didn’t make sense for him to say those words. Nothing that the nurses had told her indicated that he would say anything like that. It was only Catherine who’d told her that he’d said that he’d loved her and then he’d claimed that she’d misheard him.
Would he do the same with Jill? Would he make light of the words he’d said and laugh them off as a misunderstanding? That was a possibility, but Jill wasn’t convinced. Something inside her couldn’t imagine him retracting those words, it might have been ‘hope’, but she still couldn’t see him denying he’d said the words.
Clear or not, misheard or deliberate, it was not what she’d expected from him. Jill shuffled through all the gossip she’d heard, the warnings she’d received and the speculation that they’d given her. At no point did they say that he’d confess his love to her. It just didn’t make sense.
Why did he say that, why?
The door of the room swung open. She pulled her eyes off the clock. She lifted her eyes to the person standing in the doorway. He was still wearing his green scrubs. The tunic like shirt was untucked and hung from his shoulders with its ‘v’ neck showing a glimpse of a white cotton undershirt. His hair was messy from whatever he’d used to cover it during the procedure and he looked tired.
Her mouth felt dry. She tried to swallow but ended up just biting her lip. She didn’t know what to say. She just looked at him.
He didn’t take his eyes off her as the door swung closed behind him. He walked across the carpet as she watched him. He stood at the edge of the bed. He stood there, arms hanging at his side, face expressionless, and eyes unblinking. As she watched him he seemed to drag his eyes from her face, then he did a quick visual survey of her body, as if he was looking for something that would indicate damage.
“You’re alright,” he said in a tone that didn’t indicated it to be a question.
She was about to answer when he leaned over and caught her face with his hands and dropped his lips onto hers. This time he didn’t hesitate. He took her kiss with so much need that it surprised her causing her to lean backwards. He followed her movement, encouraged it, swept her up in his arms as he knelt on the bed. Without thinking, her arms went around his shoulders, one hand splayed out just below his neck in the centre of his upper back and the other found its way into his hair. She was cradled in his arms, like a historical heroine in pyjamas, as he kissed her.
Her eyes closed, her brain emptied itself of everything but his kiss. She gave in, to herself and to him. She moaned softly and one of his hands edged lower down her back to the top of her bottom. He didn’t need anymore encouragement this time. His kiss became savage as he twisted his head and invaded her mouth. His tongue lashed hers as he lowered her to the pillows. He didn’t break the kiss as he lay her flat and balanced himself over her.
Needing to breathe, she ripped her mouth from his and pushed her head back against the pillow, exposing her throat. His lips found the skin there, his head lowered as he arched his back to allow his mouth access. He ran his kiss down her neck to the neckline of her nightshirt.
Her hands came loose and found themselves sliding down his hard chest, ironing the fabric as the headed down his body. Then she eased them around him and found skin. Her fingers delved under the heam of loose, shapeless tunic, under the tight cotton t-shirt and relished his warm smooth skin of his back. The feel of it was erotic and made her hungry for more. She pushed her hands upward, from his waist up towards his shoulder-blades, exposing more to satisfy her need. She ran her fingers up and dragged them downwards, loving the groans that came from him as she did.
His hips dropped onto her as his body responded to her encouraging hands. His lips found hers again and made up for lost time. His tongue probed hers as his hips ground themselves against her thigh, demonstrating of the effect this was having on him. The untailored square-cut scrubs pants with their drawstring waist did nothing to hide the erection that was pressed against her soft sensitive skin of her inner thigh.
She gasped as she realised that her nightshirt had ridden up, the soft pants in the matching fabric were sitting low on her hips, and, in her exuberance, she had one leg wrapped around his corresponding leg. He took advantage of the fact that their lips were separated, balancing himself on one arm the other went up and over his shoulder. His hand grasped a fist full of fabric and in one decisive move he dragged his whole shirt ensemble over his head and with minimal effort it was free of his body and landed with a little sound on the floor next to the bed. Then, before she could admire, react, or explore his naked chest, his lips were back meshed with hers and he lowered himself onto her. Now his upper half was free of clothing he seemed to desire the same from her. His hands went inside her pyjama top, drawing patterns on her skin.
Her brain flicked. Somewhere in the deep recesses of her mind, something woke up and a panic light flicked on. This shouldn’t be happening.
He was still kissing her. His hands were still edging up the fabric on the nightshirt upwards, inching their way towards her breasts. She was underneath him and he was a man on a mission. She blinked as she tried to get her brain back on-line. Was this really happening?
One hand skimmed over the lace of her bra as he groaned his appreciation. His hand cupped, his fingers kneading, the thumb and forefinger pinched the lace in exactly the right place to pinch the nipple sending an electric pulse south. Involuntarily, she moaned. Her hips rotated as she felt the buzz tingled in her groin. Showing his mastery of the situation, he pulled himself upwards and pressed his hard length against her private place. The pressure, and positioning, was perfect as her hips finished their rotation by grinding her clothed centre against his erection. She felt her breath hitch as her body demanded more. It wanted that. It wanted all of that.
She couldn’t stop herself. Her legs wrapped around him and secured him in place. She danced her hips against his as she forgot everything but the need that was building inside her. He kissed her as he kept time with her movements. He didn’t move to remove the clothing. All the layers of fabric only increased the friction, and she couldn’t stop despite her need to have him inside her.
He let her set the pace, responded to her, didn’t overwhelm her with his own need, all he seemed to want was her pleasure. She wanted him, but something was wrong. She made a small groan of frustration, as she felt the burning need increase but for some unknown reason she couldn’t bring it to a head.
He must have recognised what she was feeling. He took over. As if that groan was as clear as words, his hands lifted her hips as he made it clear that she was now under his control. His thrusts were harder, confident and more decisive. He didn’t hurt her, instead he allowed her to focus on the pleasure without worrying about the action. With the perfect rhythm he swept his arousal up and down her centre touching on every sensitive spot in-between. Just when she thought she couldn’t take it anymore, he increased the pace so that she couldn’t tell where the point of pressure was.
Her body fell apart. The explosion started in her groin but quickly ate every through every fibre of her. She arched her back as the air in her lungs rushed out in a long high-pitched moan. Collapsing to the bed, she fought for breath.
“I want you,” he whispered as his hand went to the cord at his waist that was securing his pants in place and the knot was gone.
Wait? What? What just happened?
“Tom,” her voice was still breathy.
“I want you now,” he growled as his hands were busy with the clothing.
As the spots in her eyes vanished and the breath returned to her lungs, reason returned. This shouldn’t be happening. She couldn’t let this happen.
“No, Tom,” she forced the words out of her mouth. They felt wrong, but she couldn’t do this, “Stop Tom.”
“Stop,” he froze in place, balanced over her, one hand holding his pants that were now sliding off his hips.
“I’m sorry,” she closed her eyes, screwing her face up with shame and embarrassment, “I can’t do this.”
“Can’t do this?” he repeated like he didn’t understand the words.
“I’m sorry, I’m not ready for this,” she felt tears budding in her eyes.
He swore a breathy expletive as he rolled off her, pulling his trousers back to his waist, bunching the waist in his fist, as he landed on his back next to her on the bed. He closed his eyes and swore another harsh word. He didn’t look at her, he focused on the ceiling as he muttered under his breath.
She cringed as she smoothed her clothes down but didn’t otherwise move. She wanted to run a mile. But that wasn’t going to happen, she might have graduated to crutches yesterday, but that didn’t qualify her for marathon running. She didn’t have a choice but to stay where she was and listen to his annoyance.
She couldn’t believe that she’d just done that. She bit her lip and quickly wiped the tears away. He had every right to be furious with her. She’d lead him on. She’d teased him and then stopped him. It wasn’t fair, it was mean and selfish, but that didn’t mean she shouldn’t have stopped him. She couldn’t have sex with him. She couldn’t do that. She didn’t have a choice but to stop him.
“I’m sorry,” she sniffed as she spoke.
“What?” his voice was sharp, and his jaw was clenched as he turned to her, “What are you sorry about?”
“I shouldn’t have, I didn’t mean to, I’m so sorry,” she blubbered, tears flowing freely.
“Jill,” he breathed out her name as he rolled to look at her, “This isn’t your fault. It is mine. I shouldn’t have pushed you. I’m at fault, not you.”
“But,” her chin wobbled, “I shouldn’t have. You’re angry with me.”
“Shh,” he soothed her as he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her back into his naked chest, “Don’t cry. I’m not angry with you. I’m angry with myself. I promised that I wouldn’t rush this and yet here we are. I’m furious with myself that I put you in a position that you had to do that.”
“But,” she held him as she cried. She was embarrassed but having his arms around her made her feel so much better that she couldn’t help but snuggle closer.
“No buts,” he said into her hair, “And, just in case you missed it, I missed you. I missed you a lot over the last two days.”
“Oh,” she could still feel his arousal even though he was doing his best not to push it against her.
“The surgery went well,” he sighed.
She cringed, she didn’t think to ask. She felt terrible that she didn’t even ask that, but he didn’t seem to notice. He spoke in a low voice as he told her about Mrs Grant's operation. She wanted to know but her eye lids were so heavy, his skin was so warm, he smelt so good, and she was so tired.
She closed her eyes just for five minutes.