“It’s nice to see you again, Nurse Riley.” Jackson mocked me.
“Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing about you.” I retorted.
The last time that I’d seen him in the office, he’d been wearing the doctor’s white coat, but now he was wearing the patient’s blue uniform. The few top buttons of his t-shirt were open, the sleeves folded shy of his biceps and that made all the tattoos visible that ran down the length of his arm. I was at such a distance that I couldn’t tell what the tattoos were about and that made me curious.
Jackson chuckled, a low rumble, the type that was best suited in an office cubical rather than a mental asylum. Looking at him, no one would think he was crazy but that was the truth. He was bat-shit psycho. What’s even scarier was that, he seemed like the kind of guy who could easily blend with the normal people if they didn’t know about the demons that befriended him. “Come on, don’t be like that. We still have that coffee date you were talking about.” He passed me that lopsided grin, obviously teasing me. “Shall I pick you up at seven?”
I folded my arms across my chest and stared hard at him. I was not in a mood for jokes anymore, not after what he had pulled last time.
“I thought yesterday was a good enough reason for you to quit working as my nurse. What made you stay?”
I placed the tray of food on the table beside his chair and quickly backed away, maintaining safe distance. He continued. “Do I scare you, Riley?”
“You wish.” I said. The way he called out my name gave me chills.
He laughed, like the lunatic that he was. “Then why are you standing so far. Come a little closer.”
“Thanks, but I’m good. I don’t think I need my skin chewed out.” I said.
“Are you sure about that?” He asked, his brow arched. “There are fan clubs all over the internet dedicated to me. The women who are part of that fan-club want me to dissect them.”
“And I’m supposed to be impressed?” I asked.
He smiled again. “Well, aren’t you? It’s not everyday that you meet a guy who can be sexy as well as handle the sight of guts and a severed head without throwing up.”
“I would say the men who are disgusted by the sight of it are actually normal, while you are quite the contrary.” I said.
Jackson laughed again. “Psychopaths are actually pretty normal.” He said grinning and then added, “Sometimes.”
“A psychopath can be a loyal husband and a lover, a good father and everything that you dream about. Just don’t peek into their basement.”
“Guess you forgot to add that they are also pathological liars and lack empathy.”
I watched his jaw tighten and his dark chocolate brown eyes staring at me. I couldn’t tell what he was thinking from his expressions but I sure as hell knew I’d said the right thing to tick him off.
And why exactly was I finding pleasure by stepping on his foot?
Just when I thought things had taken the wrong turn, his expressions mellowed.
I decided to tease him further. “So which type of a psychopath are you? Hannibal Lectar or Patrick Bateman?”
“Neither.” He said. “I’m more like Dexter Morgan.”
“Dexter Morgan didn’t chew people out.” I retorted.
“I forgot to add the part that I can be a bit more harmful.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “If you weren’t so crazy, I’d say you were interesting.”
His eyes continued to stare at me, like he could peek into my soul and read all my thoughts. And then he asked me the question that I’d least expected. “Do you have a boyfriend, Nurse Riley?”
“I do.” I lied, quite surprised by my ability to lie so easily.
“Who is the pathological liar now?” He asked.
Aaron was right. Jackson was smart, intelligent and someone I shouldn’t even be having conversations with. “Even if I don’t have a boyfriend, it’s not any of your business.”
Jackson grinned. “I’m starving. What have you got there?” he asked, pretending to peek into the tray.
“Well, it’s not human meat if that’s what you were expecting.” I said.
If he was fuming inside, and dying to kill me, he didn’t show. Well, he deserved a bit of taunting after how much trouble he’d caused for me. Jackson just smiled at me like I’d just complimented him. “You must be a psychic!” he exclaimed.
I was disappointed the insult didn’t have an effect on him. I took the lid off the food tray and placed it in front of him. It was the usual. Mashed potatoes and gravy with some salad. I instantly felt bad for him. The hospital needed to make variations with the food and I needed to put a word in regarding it to the hospital cook Mrs. Dorian.
I arranged things on his table neatly and also made his bed while being aware of being under the hawk eye. After that, I decided it was time for something that I most dreaded.
I approached him and for some unknown reason, my heart began pumping through my chest. I’d never felt this nervous while taking care of a patient before and yet, I realized that I was shaking. Maybe it was because of what happened with Dr. Paul that I feared would repeat with me. Jackson’s eyes were on me, watching my every move as I unbuckled the restraints on his wrists.
As if I had a premonition of the what was to occur, I backed away but not fast enough because Jackson was right behind me. I opened the door to make a run outside but he closed it shut while I was still trapped between his arms. I turned to face him and realized just then how tall he actually was. I could smell the detergent mixed with something else like musk.
I was shaking and Jackson was liking it, his smile told it all. If I’d never experienced fear, well, I did now. My resolve to stay strong seemed to have slipped into oblivion.
“What are you gonna do to me?” I asked.
He moved closer, his body pressed to me and his face inches away from mine. Softy, he whispered. “Well, that’s the question I’m asking myself. What do I do with you Nurse Riley?”
The wolfish grin was back.