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About the author:
Currently she lives in Miami, Florida with her husband and two children. She just can’t be away from year round summer and beautiful beaches.
What inspired you to write your book?
I am a book addict, and prefer to read a book than to watch the television. A long as i can remember I’ve always had stories floating around in my head, and finally decided to put them on paper to free my cluttered mind.
Here is a short sample from the book:
I got to work half an hour early. That was a new record for me. I barely made it on time most days. At the hospital entrance, I noticed several television vans with their antennas stretched sky high. Something big was happening. I would probably hear about it later.
I walked into the hospital feeling like a teenager going to meet her boyfriend: all anxious, excited, and deliriously happy. What was I doing? And why was I acting like this? What were the chances that he was really interested in me? Maybe it was a game for him. He was way out of my league, and if this ended badly I was going to be right back into that dark hole, buried even deeper. I was absorbed in my thoughts when I heard my name being called. I looked around: it was Jenn, my best friend, standing by the emergency room entrance. I waved and continued to the employee entrance. I did not want to be seen here; she would notice that I was not wearing the ring given to me by my deceased ex and make a big deal out of it.
“Kyra,” she called again. “I’ll come up later.”
“Later,” I called back.
I hoped she would be so busy tonight she would not find the time to come up.
I heard the voice of Amanda, my nurse manager, before I saw her on the unit. I wondered what she was still doing here. She was hardly ever here this time of the evening.
“Kyra, I hope you got a good sleep.” She took my hand like I was a child. “Come, let’s go to my office.”
“Am I in trouble?”
She smiled and closed her office door behind us. “You know, you are one of the best nurses on this unit. I have never gotten a complaint about you from anyone, patient or coworker. Everyone loves you. Your coworkers think of you highly, you are a hard worker, and you never complain about anything.”
“Amanda, am I getting a promotion or a raise?” I interrupted.
I knew where this was going. Her praises were always followed by requests for a favor. If Amanda was here at this time of the evening, obviously waiting to speak to me, something was definitely wrong.
“I need a favor,” she finally admitted.
“Please, Kyra, I need you to work with me on the new schedule.”
“What new schedule?”
“First, those are for you.” She pointed to her windowsill. I turned to see an elegant silver vase containing some stunning yellow and orange orchids with intricately woven red veins and bright red lips. The vibrant hues were amazing and reminded me of Mark’s vibrant, multi-faceted, hazel eyes.
“From whom?” I asked, pretending not to know who they were from.
“Mr. Mark Stone.”
“Wow, they are beautiful,” I said with just a little excitement in my voice.
“I’m not sure if you saw the news vans at the entrance of the hospital. Our VIP, Mr. Stone, seems to be very newsworthy, and that entire media circus is for him. So, we changed his name today again to Phillip Jacobs. Security has a list of his visitors, who should know the security code. Security will call you or him when he has a visitor, and they will escort visitors up to the room.”
“Also, for his safety, we would like for him to have the same staff members throughout his treatment.”
She leaned back in her chair and paused.
“Kyra, I wish I did not have to ask you this, but can you pick up an extra day Mondays through Thursdays?”
“I’m sorry, but you know how busy I am with work, school, and clinical.”
“You made me feel so proud this morning when I did rounds on our VIP. He had nothing but good things to say about you and the hospital. Then my boss, the chief nursing officer, and the chief executive officer, visited him; they were all very impressed.”
She leaned forward in her chair. “Kyra, he is requesting that you be his nurse.”
“No, Amanda, you can’t do this to me.” I shook my head.
“Please, Kyra. He thinks very highly of you, and he wants you to be his nurse.”
“So, you want me to work Mondays through Thursdays, for how long?”
“About two weeks.”
I was having a hard time already fitting all the things I had to do in a week, and now I needed to work an additional night. Luckily I did my clinical hours at Dr. Sanchez’s practice. He was Jenn’s fiancé, so I could work around my clinical hours.
“Okay, but only for two weeks, and there’s going to come a time when I’m going to need a big favor.”
“And when that time comes, I’ll be happy to grant it.” She looked relieved. “Jasmine will do the rest of the week, and if you guys need to switch days around please feel free to do so.”
“Also, my evaluation is coming up, and I need my six percent raise. This new three percent is not going to do it.” I stared her in the eye.
“Six percent and that’s only between us.” Amanda agreed.
Next to the orchids was a sealed envelope with my name. I picked it up and placed it in my back pocket. “Get home safely,” I said.
“Thank you, Kyra,” she said sweetly.
Sophia, Mark’s day nurse was tied up with another patient, so I went to see him. I entered the sitting area and a man who looked like a bodyguard glanced up from his newspaper. He placed the paper on the chair next to him and stood up. He looked like a wrestler, well-built and tough.
“Change of shift?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said, a bit uncertain, wondering if he was going to frisk me before I entered. “I’m Kyra. I’ll be the nurse tonight.” I showed him my badge.
“Go on in, ma’am.”
“Thank you.” Glad that he did not frisk me, and upset that I had to be screened to see my patient, I took a deep breath to calm myself, knocked, and entered the room. A delicately balanced scent of lemon, cedar, and lavender floated up my nose. Whoa, it smells good in here.
“Hi, Kyra, nice to see you. Are you all right?” Mark asked, concerned.
“Why would you ask that?”
“You don’t hide your feelings very well, Kyra.”
“I’m fine. How was your day?”
“It has gotten much better now,” he answered. I noticed his eyes shifted to my left hand.
He was sitting up in bed in a tight white t-shirt and some white basketball shorts. I could see every ripped muscle on his chest and arms. No more hospital gown, even though he could make them the latest fashion craze. The hospital pillows were gone, except the ones elevating his left leg. He had his own pillows and a plush, comfy bedspread. He smiled, his eyes twinkling. I was drawn closer to his bedside; the green in his eyes was more vibrant than ever.
“Are you in any pain?” I asked, hoping he would not ask about my ring less hand.
“Sophia medicated me twice today. When she cleaned the pin sites, that solution stung like hell.” The sparkle from his eyes disappeared as he remembered the pin site care.
“I’ll medicate you before I do the dressing.”
There was a knock at the door and Gabby, his beautiful, bubbly sister, stuck her head in.
“Hi, Kyra,” she said. “Just checking on my brother.”
She had a mischievous look on her face.
“I’m fine,” Mark said, sounding annoyed at his sister’s interference.
“Haganos saber si podemos volver,” Gabby said.
Let us know when we can come back.
She gave him a wink and her head disappeared out the door. The door closed. I smiled to myself. He kicked them out at the change of shift when he knew I was coming.
“So, what are we calling you today? Is it Mark or Phillip?”
“My name is Jared Stern, but my friends call me Jay.” He paused; our eyes met. “You can call me Jay.”
“Well, Jay sounds like a great nickname for your friends to use, but I don’t know you that well so I’m going to stick with Jared,” I said. He looked away because I couldn’t. If only he knew the things he could make me do by looking at me the right way. His eyes shifted to my left hand again.
“Is there something you would like to ask me?” I turned to write the names on the board of everyone who would be taking care of him tonight.
“Am I allowed to?”
“Please go ahead. This might be your only chance.”
“I noticed you are not wearing your ring.”
“You are very observant, Mr. Stern.” I turned around. I was not prepared to spill it all. I took a quick glance at him. He was waiting for an explanation, but I said nothing.
“You are an enigma, Nurse Kyra.”
“Mr. Stern, you made an observation which does not necessarily warrant an answer. You should have asked me a question.”
“You’re right.” He chuckled. “Can I get a do-over?”
“You had only one chance. No do-overs.”
He gave me that sad, boyish look. “I trusted you enough to tell you my name.”
“I took it off to clean it when I got home, and forgot to put it back on.”
“Have you ever played the game ‘Truth or Dare’”?
“Well, we should play. Here are the rules,” he said. “One truth or dare per day, so use it wisely. There is a twist to our game, though. The question is asked first. You have the choice to reply with truth or dare, and then you have twelve hours to carry out the dare.”
“I prefer not to play games.”
“Why not?” he enquired.
“Fine,” I conceded.
“We start tonight.”
“You used up your question already.”
“That was before the game arrangement; furthermore, I did not get an answer.”
“I have to go. Call if you need me.”
“Did you get your orchids?” he asked as I turned to leave.
“Thank you, they are beautiful. I got distracted when I came in and totally forgot.”
His eyebrows raised. “Distracted, by what?”
“They are exquisite. Thank you very much.”
“Did you read the card?”
“No, not yet.”
“It’s tucked in your back pocket.” He pointed at me.
My hand instantaneously went to my back pocket. I forgot I put it there.
“Orchids are the most delicate, beautiful, exotic flowers. They symbolize beauty, affection, elegance and perfection. I think orchids are your flowers. They are a perfect symbol of you.” He said in his warm soothing voice. His eyes never leaving mine.
There was a knock at the door. Thank God. It was getting too hot in here for me. I needed to escape. “I’ll get that.”
I opened the door, and of all people it was Jenn standing there.
“What are you doing here?” I asked Jenn.
“Who is it, Kyra?” Jared asked.
I stood back and gestured for her to come in.
“Jenn,” Jared said, like he had known her forever. “Come on in. You two know each other?”
“Unfortunately,” Jenn answered jokingly. “She is my best friend.”
She placed her arm across my shoulders.
“I came to see how you are doing, and also to thank you for that lovely bouquet.”
“You guys have been exceptional. I am very happy with the care I’ve received, and the nurses are simply the best.”
“We try our best.”
“So, Jenn, how did you guys meet?”
I was about to panic. Jenn looked at me and gave me her I’ve got you look. “It’s a long story and I have to get back to the ER.”
“Jenn, I’m looking forward to seeing you again. Please stop by anytime,” Jared said.
“I felt like I walked in on something,” Jenn said as we walked down the hall.
“No, you didn’t.”
“What is going on?”
“Just drop it.”
“You are going to tell me everything.” She reached into her pocket, took out her iPhone, touched a few keys, and handed it to me. On the screen was a huge bouquet of flowers.
“They are beautiful, Jenn,” I said.
“These are those beautiful fake flowers that you could not tell if they were real or not…they felt real, even smelt like real flowers.”
“I remember we looked at them in that store, and they were very expensive. A bouquet like that would cost hundreds of dollars.”
She nodded with a big smile on her face. “What did you get?”
“I’m sure they are beautiful,” she said, as she placed her phone back in her pocket. “Kyra, I think he likes you.” Jenn gave me a hug and whispered into my ear, “Where is your ring?”
Nothing escaped her.
“I’m coming up for lunch. Tell me about it later.” She was gone.
I had just gotten to Three South to help a fellow nurse with a dressing when my phone rang. It was from Room 825.
“Mr. Stern, how can I help you?” I asked.
“What’s with the formality?
“I’m off the floor right now.”
“Kyra, when you find time, can I please have some pain medicine?”
“I’ll have someone come in and medicate you.”
“I’ll wait.” Then, in a very low sexy voice, he said, “I only want you to medicate me.”
The phone almost fell from my hand.
“Jared, there is no need for you to suffer in pain.”
“Kyra, I’ll wait, and please don’t send anyone else.” Click. He hung up.
The dressing was in a very intricate position on a large woman. It took three nurses to fix this dressing: one holding the leg, one holding up the belly, and me getting up under there to fix the dressing. Fifteen minutes later, there was no leak anymore. I felt so dirty and tired, like I had done twelve hours already. I hurried back to my floor, so that I could medicate Jared.
The wrestler bodyguard was still in the sitting area. He looked up from his phone and nodded. I knocked on the bedroom door and entered. Jared looked very uncomfortable; he was in pain.
“Jared, why did you let yourself suffer unnecessarily?” I asked as I injected the med into his intravenous line.
“Are you mad at me?”
“Yes, I am.”
“I’ll suffer in pain if that’s what it takes to see you again.”
I ignored that comment. “Do you want me to do the pin site care now?”
“It was done once today already.”
“It’s ordered for two times per day. I’m sure you want to get better and get back to your life.”
I prepared the supplies and removed the old sponges from the pins when the questions started.
“Kyra, how long have you been a nurse?”
I was concerned about the look of a pin site. It looked inflamed, and he winced and swore under his breath when I applied the new sponge with the disinfecting solution.
“I’m sorry,” he apologized. “That really stings.”
“That pin site is a bit inflamed.”
“What made you become a nurse?”
“My friend Jenn was instrumental in my decision.”
“So, Jenn was the reason. She must have made quite an impression.”
“We met under difficult circumstances. She was a total stranger to me at the time, but she really helped me through everything with her compassion and generosity. She went above and beyond to help me and my son.”
“You have a son?” he asked, surprised.
“Yes, his name is Nathan, and he is ten years old.”
“You have a ten-year-old son? I’m sorry, but how old are you?”
“Take a guess.” This was not a strange question for me. I got asked my age a great deal, and I liked to have them guessing. A patient of mine told me once that I looked like I should still be in high school.
“You don’t look a day over eighteen.”
“I had a patient last week who refused to let me put a Foley catheter in him because I look younger than his daughter, and she was eighteen.”
“So, are you going to tell me, or should I keep guessing?”
“People think my mom is my sister. I hope I look as good as she does when I get to her age.”
“I have no doubt you will.”
He stared at me. I busied myself, but the compulsion to look at him overcame me. I looked up and he was staring at me. His eyes tugged at my heart.
“It’s very impolite to stare,” I said, and quickly looked away.
“I could have said the same to you on several occasions,” he replied.
“Did you read your card?”
“No, not yet. I’ve been busy.”
I finished his pin care and cleaned up.
“You have very gentle hands, Kyra.”
“Thank you. How is the pain?”
“I’m very comfortable, thank you, but there is one other thing.”
“What is it?”
“Can you please read the card?”
“Yes, right now,” he insisted.
I removed the envelope from my pocket and took the card out. He had a beautiful, scripted handwriting.
“Lovely handwriting,” I commented.
“Thank you. Read the card, Kyra,” he insisted.
My eternal gratitude for taking such good care of me.
I thought you were an angel when you glided into my room that first night.
Your elegance, beauty, and poise confound me.
I thought it was the drugs, but that angel never went away.
You have a great heart and a beautiful spirit that shines through in all that you do.
Hope you enjoy your orchids. They remind me of you: graceful, delicate, exotic, beautiful and strong.
Orchids have been eloquently described as “living gemstones.”
That’s what I think you are – a living, precious jewel.
I should not have read it in front of him. I did not know how to respond, so I continued to look at the card, reading it over again. What could I say? “Thank you. You shouldn’t have?”
“Kyra, take a breath,” he said gently.
“I’m sorry, Jared, I…I don’t know what to say.” I fidgeted with the card.
“You don’t have to say anything.”
“Jared, what I do is my job, and I haven’t done anything for you that I would not have done for any of my patients.” I lifted the card. “Thank you, but this does not feel right.”
“Kyra.” He took hold of my hand.
Please don’t do that, I thought. I couldn’t handle his touch: the warmth, the electricity that traveled up my arm.
“From the moment you walked into this room, I knew it. I have never been more certain of anything.”
“Stop, please stop.” I pulled my hand away. “Jared, this is way too fast for me. You don’t know me and I don’t know you. A guy like you must have a girlfriend or a wife somewhere…I come with baggage and issues…”
“That makes two of us. We can help each other.”
“Listen, Jared.” I sat on the side of the bed, which I realized immediately was a bad move. “This is wrong. I would be crossing professional boundaries here. Do you know how much trouble I could get in? I could get fired…or even lose my license. I am a professional caregiver, and I can’t do this. This is very, very…unprofessional and unethical.”
“Are you finished?”
I nodded in response.
“So, what you are saying is that as long as I’m your patient…”
“It is unacceptable to have a relationship with a current patient and for up to six months after discharge.”
“So, is there a chance?”
He obviously refused to listen to what I was saying.
“Did you hear what I just said?”
“And I’ll repeat. Is there a chance?”
I sighed and avoided his eyes. “No…I don’t know…I don’t think so.” I was confused.
“You don’t know. What’s holding you back aside from the regulations? There must be a way around that.”
“You don’t know me.” I was stressing now. “I can’t do this.”
“We’ll get to know each other, Kyra. That’s what it’s all about. Just give it a chance.”
“No, I can’t. It’s not right.”
“I’ll ask Dr. Anwar to transfer me to another hospital, or I’ll even sign out against medical advice.”
“Are you crazy?” But his eyes said otherwise; he meant it.
“Yes. I am about you.”
“Jared, we can’t end our nurse-patient relationship to pursue an…an…”
“Intimate relationship,” he concluded.
“I can’t do this. I’m not willing to risk my career for…”
“Kyra,” he said gently. He lovingly stared at me.
Why did I look in those beautiful, vibrant, hazel eyes that hypnotized and rendered me helpless under his spell? He had to be a warlock or a sorcerer, because I could not move. My mind was telling me to get up and go, but my body was not responding. I was frozen. His hand reached to the back of my head and slowly pulled me toward him.
“Please stop,” I begged nervously. My heart quivered. My entire being yearned for his lips on mine, but that nagging wretched voice in my head annoyingly repeated, He’s your patient, he’s your patient…
“Do you really want me to?” he asked in that velvety smooth voice, his lips inches from mine.
He was intoxicating, both in his scent and his touch. The closeness had me mystified.
“Do you want me to stop?” he repeated, his lips brushing against mine. “You’ll have to stop me, Kyra, because I don’t think I can.”
I closed my eyes as he captured my lips with his. There was a flicker of light in the dark hollow space where my heart belonged. The flicker transformed into a bizarre, intense aching feeling in my chest. His tongue gently circled mine. My insides felt weak. He sucked my tongue and then my lips, sensually, slowly, and softly. The ache radiated down my torso and into places that I never knew could ache. I wanted more and yet I wanted him to stop. I was scared.
The aching in my chest radiated to my arm, coupled with dizziness, extreme weakness, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat and tingling. I had all the symptoms of a heart attack! I opened my eyes and focused on the code blue button on the wall. I wondered if I should press it. I was probably being punished. I needed medical attention. I felt like I was dying. If I were, I would die happy.
I closed my eyes and did what I had longed to do. I took those full, sexy lips in my mouth. His hand tightened at the back of my head, and a moan escaped me. This kiss was the catalyst for all the buried, foreign emotions I’d thought I no longer had. Then I heard voices from outside the door. I pulled away.
“Fuck!” Jared said.
I stood up and mumbled, “I have to go now.”
“Kyra,” Jared called.
“What!” I snapped at him, disappointed that I gave in so easily to his alluring magnetic charms.
“Don’t fight it.”
“Don’t fight it,” I repeated. “I’ve got to be crazy. I think I need a psych evaluation.”
“I’m sorry, but I can’t be your nurse anymore,” I mumbled.
There was a soft knock on the door, and then it opened. J.C. and Gabby came in.
“How is my brother?” Gabby asked as she entered. “Is he being good, taking his medications, listening to his nurse?”
“He’s doing just fine,” I answered, and escaped out the door.
“What’s up, Jay?” I heard J.C. ask, just before the door closed.
I needed to go to the ladies’ room. I did not realize how wet my underwear was.
I sat in the office and collected myself. What the hell happened? I had never felt this way about anybody: the attraction, the magnetism, the longing, the intense arousal were unbelievable. How could I have kissed him and loved it so much? Why did he stir up such mind-blowing emotions in me? Why couldn’t I control myself when I was around him? He was my patient and this was so unethical. How was I going to handle this? How could I distance myself from him when I was forced into this situation? I couldn’t tell Amanda that I refused to take care of him. He had already threatened to sign out against medical advice, or ask for a transfer. I couldn’t imagine what would happen if he actually did. I would be up in the office being questioned and interrogated by everyone as to why Jared Stern wanted to leave after he had spoken so highly of us. What happened on my shift that had changed his mind about the hospital? What would I say? He thought there was a possibility that we could be together if he left. This was a no-win situation. In the end, the nurse was going to get the blame no matter what.
I needed to maintain professional boundaries. I was the nurse, the one with the power from a professional standpoint. I was the one who should have established and maintained these boundaries, but we had a power imbalance here. He had stolen the power, or maybe I did not have it to begin with. He had the power to have my nurse manager jumping through hoops, along with everyone else in the hospital, as a matter of fact. I had never had the power.
I jumped as my phone rang. The number displayed on it was Jared’s room.
“Mr. Stern, how can I help you?”
“Kyra, can I see you for a minute?”
“Is there something I can bring in for you?”
“Can I have something for the pain?”
“You sure can.”
I hang up and dialed Marie’s number. She was glad to medicate Jared for me, even though I knew he would not be happy. A few minutes later, my phone rang again: it was Jared. I did not answer, so it was forwarded to the nurses’ station. My phone rang once more, but this time it was Claire, the patient assistant. She informed me that Jared wanted to see me. Five minutes later, my phone rang again: Room 825 was displayed on it.
“Mr. Stern, how can I help you?”
“Did you get my message?”
“Yes, I did.”
My iPhone vibrated in my jacket pocket.
“Please answer your cell phone,” Jared said.
I was puzzled for a minute. I could not understand how he knew my phone was ringing. I looked at my iPhone; it was displaying a number I did not recognize.
“Answer your phone, Kyra,” he repeated emphatically.
I numbly accepted the call.
“This is more private. I don’t trust those phones you guys carry around,” he said.
“How did you get my phone number?” I was puzzled.
“I can find anything that I need,” he said confidently.
That did not surprise me. He could probably get anyone he wanted, too. I was sure.
“Are you avoiding me, Kyra?”
“No, I’m not,” I lied. “You are not my only patient, you know.”
“I detect some hostility in your voice.”
“Kyra, I can’t apologize for what happened earlier.”
“Please forget about it. What happened earlier was a stupid mistake, and it will not happen again.”
“I can’t forget about it, Kyra. Can you?”
I could not, either.
“Good night, Kyra. I won’t bother you for the rest of the night.”
“Good night, Jared.”
I hoped that I could make it through the night without going back to that room. Everything was going great, until four AM, when Claire called and told me that Jared’s blood pressure was very elevated. I went into the room to check on him, and to retake his blood pressure. He was sitting on the edge of the bed. His pillows, the linen, and his t-shirt were all soaking wet.
“Does he have a fever?” I asked Claire.
“No, he doesn’t,” she answered.
“It was just a nightmare, Kyra,” Jared said.
What was he dreaming about, to have him sweating so profusely and with such extremely elevated blood pressure?
“Kyra, can you help me?” Claire asked.
“Sure.” He was looking so hot in his tight, white, wet t-shirt and wet, unruly hair.
“I need to make the bed. Can we put him in the chair?” Claire asked.
“I prefer to stand,” Jared said. “I know I can’t put any weight on my left leg.”
He was out of bed yesterday with physical therapy and did very well, so I knew he could handle this. I helped him to stand, and I stood in front of him. He placed his hands on my shoulders. This was the first time I had seen him standing. His five foot, ten inch, well-built stature intimidated me. I felt the warmth from his hands on my shoulder, and the tingling started. I stood as still as a statue, never looking up, but I felt his penetrating gaze. I wished Claire would move a little faster making the bed.
I felt him wobble. “Are you okay?” I asked.
“I’m good. And you?” he asked.
“You need to learn how to relax,” Jared whispered in my ear. His lips were a little too close for comfort.
“Claire, can you please hurry? I think he’s getting tired,” I tried to conceal the uneasiness in my voice.
“Almost finished, Kyra,” Claire answered.
He wobbled again. I instantly looked up. There was a devilish smile on his face. I frowned at him. He began to lightly massage my shoulder.
“Could you please stop that?” I whispered.
“Just trying to loosen you up.”
“I do not need loosening up. Please stop it,” I repeated.
“Kyra, I need to go get some pads for the bed,” Claire said.
“Can we put him back to bed first?” I asked Claire. I did not want to be left alone with him like this.
“I’m fine. I can handle standing a little longer,” Jared intervened.
Claire left to get the supplies.
“Jared, what are you doing? Are you intentionally trying to get me in trouble?”
“Relax.” His hand stroked my cheek, and then lifted my chin so that I was staring into his eyes. He lowered his head to kiss me.
“Please…please, don’t,” I begged quietly. Claire could be back at any minute, and I would be in such a dilemma if she returned and found me in a lip lock with my patient. It would be all over the unit like wildfire, a sure way for me to get fired. They would probably want to set an example out of me. The embarrassment would make me quit before management had a chance to fire me. The caution sirens were on blast in my head, but my body was saying yes. I closed my eyes and waited for the kiss.
“Open your eyes, Kyra.” I smelled his sweet breath.
I opened my eyes and found his face inches from mine. I felt myself sinking into a trance-like state. “Do you realize I could lose my job or, even worse, be brought up on charges of sexual misconduct?” I said in a daze.
“And who would dare bring you up on charges?” he said softly.
“The Board of Nursing.”
His lips brushed against mine. I closed my eyes again. Butterflies fluttered around in my stomach. My v-jay twitched. The outer door to the sitting room opened; Claire was coming back. I regained my composure and prayed that she could not feel the romantic tension in the room.
“Finished, Kyra,” Claire said. We helped Jared back in bed.
“Claire, do you need me for anything else?” I asked.
“No, Kyra, I’m fine.”
“Do you want to change your shirt?” Claire asked Jared.
I turned and walked out of the room. I did not want to see this.
When Claire was finished, she found me at the nurses station to tell me that Jared was waiting for me to take his blood pressure. She had offered, but he refused her.
He was going to get me in trouble.
Jared stretched his arm out as I entered. As I put the cuff on his arm, a lock of hair that was tucked behind my ear fell loose. I saw his right hand coming up toward me.
“Don’t move,” I said. My other patients would have listened to me, but not Jared Stern. He tucked the lock of hair back behind my ear. As he did so, his hand gently caressed my ear lobe and down the side of my face. A shiver ran through my spine. I stood up and pressed the button on the blood pressure machine.
“Just trying to help.”
I’m sure you are. He did not have that mischievous look on his face, but no doubt he was enjoying it.
“Your blood pressure is fine.” I took the cuff off his hand.
“What’s on your mind, Kyra?” Jared asked.
“There is nothing on my mind.”
“When something’s bothering you, there is that distant look on your face, and there’s this tell-tale line that forms right between your eyebrows,” he pointed out.
I looked at him, puzzled.
“I read people very well. So, are you going to tell me, or do I have to use my truth or dare?”
“Well, you can’t use it yet.”
“Technically, it’s tomorrow.”
“Nothing’s bothering me.”
“Fine. Truth or dare, and I can tell if you are lying.”
“How can you tell if I’m lying?”
“That, I won’t tell you just yet. So, truth or dare?” he suggested.
“Truth,” I answered. This might work out to my benefit.
“What’s on your mind?”
“I was wondering if you had a girlfriend, and what would she think if she knew you were coming on to me.”
“Ella and I have an uncomplicated relationship. She is more a companion than a girlfriend.”
“What does that mean?”
“She’s there when I need her.”
I was saddened and disappointed that Jared might not be capable of providing the type of relationship I sought, a committed fulfilling relationship with strong emotional ties. Ella did whatever he wanted, was there for his satisfaction, came running at his beck and call, put up with his indiscretions, and there was no emotional attachment on his part. What kind of woman would subject herself to such a relationship? He might not even care that much about her, but I was sure she had feelings for him.
“Don’t over think it, Kyra. It works for us.” He was watching me closely.
“Do you have more than one companion?”
“Have you ever had more than one companion?”
“It’s almost change of shift. Have a good day, Mr. Stern.” I picked up the blood pressure cuff.
“Kyra,” he said softly. “It would be different for us.”
“Have a good day.” I answered. I left the room dejected at the realization that Jared might be one of those guys I’ve spent years trying to avoid.
At twelve noon, I was still awake, lying in bed, my mind racing with unanswered questions. How did he get my number, and what else did he know about me? Why hadn’t Ella visited him? I would have heard if she did. Why did he consider his girlfriend a “companion”? What was this baggage that he came with? Was he always like this or did something happen? From my Google search, they had been together for five years, and everyone thought they were a match made in heaven. One thing was for sure, they looked good together.
I finally fell asleep, and was awakened by a splitting headache. I rarely had headaches, but when I did, something was wrong. I looked at my phone; it was three PM, and I had a text message from a number I very much recognized.
Jared’s text: Hope I didn’t scare you off. Sweet dreams. See you later. Jared.
Sweet dreams. Yeah, right.
What was I going to do about my situation? I could not control my feelings for Jared Stern. Love speaks from the heart. Once that heart makes that choice, the mind, body, and soul succumb, and it has no alternative but to follow. The heart had ruled; it was out of my hands.