When he'd first heard that she had been near the scene of the explosion he'd stopped breathing for he wasn't sure how long. He couldn't believe it. She was larger than life, a fixture in his mind both when he was awake and asleep. It was her appearance in his dreams that bothered him - and usually left him turned on - most. She was too young and he too jaded with nothing to offer her.
He'd had no business leaving the hospital and Annie and Norma behind, driving to the scene in a mad panic from the fear of what he might find. The scene was chaos as was typical in these situations. Paramedics, fire trucks, and police were all there with the street closed off to the casual observer. He'd flashed his badge to get through the crowd control, unnecessary as they knew him by now, looking at where the dead might be collected and quartered off.
"Harry," he called, spotting Sheriff Harry S. Truman. "Harry," he repeated, closing the distance between them.
"Is she…?" he couldn't even say the words. The very idea of her life being taken from her like this was obscene. Had she escaped One Eyed Jack's only to fall prey to a different tragedy?
"She's alive. I don't know the how or why of it. She had God on her side or something. Whatever or whoever it was, she survived."
"Thank God," he murmured. He had been exposed to and believed in a variety of different things. At that moment, though, he gave a quick silent prayer to God.
"She's in the ambulance over there," Harry said, pointing to an area where there were a few ambulances. "The one just about to pull away. In case you wanted to see her," Harry said, with an all too knowing tone.
"Thanks, Harry," he said, taking off in the direction of the ambulance in question. He supposed it should bother him that it didn't phase Harry that Dale wasn't at the hospital with Annie. Or that he seemed to understand his concern for Audrey was more than just friendly.
He'd tried to deny it. He wasn't lessening what he felt for Annie. He'd suspected it was her innocence he was attracted to as much as anything. And he didn't feel like a cradle robber when he thought of her. He still recalled the disappointment he felt, everywhere, when he found out Audrey's age.
"Hold up," he called as one of the paramedics moved to close the door. "I'm riding with her."
"No one's allowed back here," the paramedic said who didn't look to be a day over twenty.
Dale flashed his badge. "I said I'm riding with her. Sheriff Truman pointed me in this direction so you can take it up with him if you want to waste time arguing."
"No, sir," the young man said, pushing the door open enough so Dale could step into the ambulance.
She was conscious, but her eyes were closed. She was battered, bruised, and covered with debris so he couldn't tell how hurt she was. Was all that blood hers? He took a spot next to the gurney near her head and took her hand gently. His first glimpse left him full of the feeling she was one very lucky woman to be alive.
Her eyes flickered open. "You're here," she whispered as the ambulance started its journey to the hospital. Was that relief in her eyes?
"I came as soon as I heard." Did that sound as corny aloud as it did in his mind?
"What about Annie?"
"She's all right. Norma's with her."
"Oh," she said, glancing at his hand holding hers.
He knew what she was thinking. That he was a cad of the worst kind, leaving his girlfriend at the hospital to come check on her. He glanced at the paramedic who was busy relaying her status over the radio. He leaned forward, carefully brushing some hair from her forehead. He couldn't remember ever seeing her look disheveled or unkempt. It was just a given to him that she was always a sight to behold. Something to give him the type of dreams he thought he'd outgrown years ago.
"Have you ever had something happen, Audrey? You thought you were headed the correct direction but you realize suddenly while not exactly wrong it's not the path you were meant to follow?"
"I think so," she whispered.
"That's how hearing you were at the sight of the explosion made me feel. I've already lost someone I love, so I know how it feels. My feelings for Annie are strong and real I won't deny that. But my reaction to her being hurt wasn't the same as it was finding out you were here."
"Because you thought I was dead."
"I hoped you weren't, that I'd find you in time."
"In time for what?"
"To tell you I'm sorry for pushing you away."
"Why did you?"
"You're so young."
"I'm not that young."
"In some ways, that's true." She wasn't as old as she thought either. A part of him found that refreshing and didn't want her near him to be tainted by his life, his career.
She turned her head so she was no longer facing him. He didn't miss the look of hurt in her eyes, though.
"Why did you come here? To tell me that you feel like that but you still won't do anything about it?"
"No, the nuances are for me to work out. I'm here because the thought of going one day without seeing you upset me let alone the rest of my life."
She looked at him again and he saw tears in her eyes. He hated himself for causing them, adding to her already existing pain.
"You mean that?"
"I do. I think I knew when I found out you were at One Eyed Jack's, but always the professional I told myself it was concern for someone potentially caught in the crossfire."
"I wanted you to find me so badly," she said softly, her voice sounding a little hoarse now that he paid attention. She'd never know how terrible he felt finding her note far too late. She'd gotten lucky. That made twice now, which made him pause. And had been part of the reason he'd run off in a panic to find her. He wasn't sure there would be a next time.
"Maybe you shouldn't talk so much until the doctor has cleared you."
She laughed a little, followed by a deep wincing.
"Are you all right?"
"Yeah, just laughing isn't good right now."
"Don't be." She pulled her hand out from his grasp, easy to do since he was barely holding it. He wasn't sure what the extent of her injuries were or even where she was hurt so he wasn't chancing it. She slid her hand to his face, touching him, cradling his jaw before cupping his cheek. "I have a confession."
"I thought…" she glanced at the paramedic who was checking the bag of fluid the IV was feeding into her. "You know I was seeing that guy?"
"Yes," he said. "He's left, though, hasn't he?"
"Yeah, he said he'd come back but I kind of doubt he will."
"Do you want him to come back?"
She shook her head, biting on her lower lip. Visions of kissing that lip, tasting her and finding out if she was as good as she looked filled his mind despite his efforts to think clearly. "That's not the point."
He saw more tears in her eyes and grew confused.
"What's wrong, Audrey?"
"I wanted it to be you."
"Me?" He frowned, perplexed.
"You know," she said, glancing at the paramedic coyly. "You. I thought you wouldn't ever see me like that. So, I…"
His eyes widened.
"I see," he said quietly.
He wasn't sure how he felt about that at all. Probably not for the reasons she feared. He could hardly expect anyone he got involved with to be pure and virginal, and certainly not someone who looked like Audrey Horne.
"Now you hate me," she said just as the ambulance pulled up in front of the Emergency entrance.
"Of course not. We'll talk more later. I'll make sure they've gotten a hold of your parents and then I'll find you."
"You're sure you don't hate me? It's just, I don't know what's wrong with me, and if I…"
He stood as the paramedics made to move her off the ambulance, brushing a kiss across her forehead. "None of that talk, Audrey. You'll be just fine. I am sure of it. I can't lose someone I care about twice, it just wouldn't be fair."
She laughed then, wincing again. "I guess not."
He watched as they lifted her up and off the ambulance, hurrying her through the doors where doctors were no doubt waiting for her arrival.
He ran his hand over his face, realizing he probably looked a sight himself. He'd been up most of the night, hadn't slept but more than a couple of hours. He certainly hadn't taken the time to shave let alone look in a mirror to see if he needed to comb his hair.
So, how had he gone from accompanying her to the hospital and ensuring her family was apprised of her situation to where he was now? He couldn't say for sure. And as the beads of water from the showerhead pulsated against his hands cupping her bare breasts he wasn't particularly sure he cared.
Her parents had left, assured she'd be fine and that a good night's sleep would do her wonders. She'd asked him to stay and he found, as she probably knew was the case, he couldn't say no to her. So, he'd stayed. And when she mentioned wanting to take a shower, well, he knew she had no intentions of ringing for a nurse to make sure she didn't fall in the shower.
His body had sprung to attention and things had gone downhill from there. Or uphill, depending on how you looked at it. She'd turned the water on while he shed his clothes, saving her hospital gown for last. The shower was small, but designed for two people in case a nurse needed to assist a patient so he did just fit.
It made his erection pressing against her perfectly round ass extra obvious. Not that she seemed to mind. He'd shampooed her hair, taking in the scent of her. He loved how she smelled. Whether it was shampoo, perfume, something else altogether, or a combination of those things he wasn't quite sure. There was just something very intoxicating about Audrey Horne.
Her breasts, as it turned out, fit perfectly in the palms of his hands. Not too small and not too big. Just enough for him to enjoy touching them and bring her pleasure. She let out a soft groan of protest as he released one. He kissed her shoulder, brushing her hair away from the back of her neck with his cheek so he could kiss her there as he slid his hand lower along her abdomen. He found the wet curls between her legs and groaned as she spread her legs at his touch.
He heard her catch her breath as he entered her with a finger, just the tip using his thumb to stroke her nub as he did. He couldn't stop from instinctively thrusting his hips, sliding his erection between her legs from behind. God, she felt wonderful and was so responsive. Her scent, the musk of her arousal now mixed in with shampoo and soap turned him on like crazy.
"I think Dale would be appropriate given the circumstances, Audrey."
"Dale," she whispered, and he could hear the smile in her voice without even looking at her. She pressed herself against his finger and thumb hard, arching against him in unspoken demand for more. Completion.
And he was more than willing to give it. And what a completion it was. He wasn't sure about her, but he thought he'd seen stars from her climax and her body's tight grip on his finger inside of her. She was still and quiet for a while. He'd wondered if maybe it was too much, if she'd moved or used her body in a way she shouldn't have. Her injuries, as it turned out, were luckily not that serious. There was just a number of them and Donna's father had recommended her staying overnight for observation.
"Are you all right, Audrey," he whispered, kissing the small love bite he'd left on the back of her neck.
She laughed, turning to face him. "Am I all right he asks," she said with a laugh, wrapping her arms around his neck. "That was amazing."
"I'd have to agree with you."
"You would, huh," she said, pressing against him. There was no question he was still deeply aroused. She slid a hand from around his neck, stroking his collarbone teasingly before making a beeline for the very hard evidence of that arousal. Another time and place he might have taken the time to be insulted she didn't appreciate the fact he'd kept himself in pretty good shape. He liked to think so, anyway.
Her hand gripping his erection was enough for him to forgive her not noticing.
"My, Special Agent, that's a mighty big weapon you have there."
He cleared his throat, returning her coquettish smile with what he hoped was one of his own. "All the better to please you with, my dear," he said with a wink.
"Hmm," she said, brushing her pelvis against him as she stroked him to where he was even harder than a moment ago. "Whatever do you plan on doing with it?"
"Shall I show you?"
"I thought you'd never ask," she said, moving to her tiptoes to give him a searing kiss.
"You want to here?" he asked, to be sure they were on the same page.
"I'll let you know if you hurt me, Dale."
She slid the hand remaining around his neck down to her chest, making an X over where her heart was. "Cross my heart."
"All right," he said, unable to deny the idea of taking her here, in the shower was arousing as hell. He couldn't remember wanting something, someone so badly. Things with Annie had just happened naturally. A part of him wondered if there were more than natural forces here at work between him and Audrey.
He managed to lift her and she slid her legs around him, he noticed a slight hesitation and her favoring of one side but she didn't complain. There was minimal room in the stall. He felt pretty confident while it was designed for a nurse to aid a patient it was not meant for sex. He was pretty sure they weren't the only couple to engage in this particular activity.
Her back against the tile wall, the water from the showerhead still warm trickling over her hair, her face, dripping down to her chest. It gave him an excuse to take a breast into his mouth as he entered her. She cried out, hand gripping his shoulder and he stopped.
"Oh God, don't stop," she said.
He took her at her word and continued sliding into her, until he was home. Home. He'd forgotten what it felt like to be at home with and in somebody. He felt that again now for the first time in years. A feeling he'd thought for sure he would never experience again. And while he knew he should feel guilty - for not feeling it with Annie and for it being someone as young as Audrey he felt it with - he just couldn't find it in him to do so.
He slid his mouth from her breast and she whimpered softly in protest. Until his mouth met hers. He needed that, the warmth of her mouth and her response to his kiss. Echoing the warmth of her body, accepting and responding to him elsewhere.
He slid a hand between their bodies, finding her nub again with the pads of his fingers. She bit his lower lip, but did not break the kiss as he stroked her. And God did she do the most amazing thing with her tongue to his just then. She gave a soft giggle, almost as if she knew how kissing him like that affected him.
He forgot for a moment he was supposed to be supporting her and almost let go, catching himself in the knick of time. She drove him to distraction that much. His thrusts grew harder, deeper, and faster and her body mirrored his, taking what he gave and demanding more. As much as she was able pressed against the wall anyway.
He couldn't be sure which of them came first. It didn't really matter, only that she had a second time. He didn't stop kissing her or pull out of her until he had to. Heaven help him, he didn't want to.
Gradually, she slid her legs from around his waist. Ensuring she was steady he stepped out of the shower, grabbing a towel for her. She'd asked the nurse for a second one and he used that one for himself, wrapping it around his waist once he'd dried off.
He proceeded to towel her off then, mindful of the bruises and cuts on her body. He hadn't been so concerned about them moments ago, but he needed her to know that he was worried. That he cared.
"Can you stay?"
"That depends on you. You might want to rest."
"I can rest with you here."
"You don't need to go back to her room?"
"No, I told Norma I wouldn't be back tonight."
"I can't just not see her again, Audrey. That wouldn't be fair to her. She deserves to know the truth."
"But you are going to tell her?"
He took her into his arms and carried her from the bathroom to her temporary bed. "I plan on telling you lots of things once I've adjusted to this, Audrey. Not seeing you again is furthest from my mind."
"And it doesn't bother you?"
"What doesn't bother me?"
"That I… Well, that I had sex with someone else?"
He chuckled, setting her on the bed before putting a clean hospital gown on her. "I guess I wouldn't be a normal male if I said it didn't bother me, but it doesn't in the way you mean. I had no claims on you."
"But I wanted you to."
"Audrey, you can't second guess or feel guilty about anything you did to this point. I'm not going to. You cared about him and were moving forward. I can't fault you for that and neither should you."
"Okay." She slid into the bed as he drew up the blanket around her.
"Your mother brought this from home I see," he said, noticing the top blanket was heavier and softer than your typical hospital issue.
"We'll have some explaining to do to them I'm sure."
"I doubt it. I don't think they care too much. You could take me with you to Washington and I doubt they'd notice."
"I think you underestimate them, but we'll refrain from putting that to the test for a while."
"Okay." She turned onto her side, patting the bed next to her. "There's room for both of us."
"I was going to pull up the chair."
"I know you were. I'd like to sleep next to you."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. I didn't get that the first time."
"All right," he said, curious what the first time was like. Not stupid enough to ask, though. "Let me get dressed."
"You don't have to."
"Considering a nurse could come in here any minute I think it's best."
"That's me," he said, returning to the bathroom for his clothes. He left his shirt unbuttoned at least and joined her in the bed.
"Are you all right?"
"Mm, I'm fine. It seems orgasms help with the pain a little."
"Don't ever do that again."
"Have an orgasm?"
He chuckled, tapping her lower lip with his forefinger. "No, put yourself in the position to get hurt."
"How was I to know there was a bomb in the bank?"
"You nearly gave me a heart attack."
"You have no idea."
"Well, it got us here. Are you complaining?"
"No, as long as it doesn't happen again."
"I'll think about it," she said, sliding her head to his shoulder. She let her fingers trail along his chest, lower to his abdomen. She slid her fingertips into the waistband of his pants.
She laughed softly. "All right, Special Agent." She brought her hand to the front of his pants, discovering her touch had the desired affect on him. "I think I need to learn how to break down your weapon."
"You broke it down just fine once already, it's just ready for more action."
"Well then, I'd hate to see it get rusted and stiff from lack of use," she said, working his pants open again.
"I think," he said as she slid on top of him. "Stiff is a good thing when it comes to this type of weapon."
She slid herself over him and he got to watch her this time. He saw her eyes close as she took him all the way into her. He watched, fascinated as she got a look of not just pleasure but the same sort of completion he felt being inside of her on her face.
"I think you're right," she whispered, rotating her hips just perfectly.
"I think I'm in for a long night."
"I plan to make it very worth your while."
"You're definitely on the right track."
She leaned down, breasts brushing against his chest as she found his mouth and her hands found each of his, gripping him for dear life as she rode him. He had no idea what he'd do if a nurse - or worse her father - walked through the door right now. As if reading his mind, she released one hand briefly and drew the blanket around them. Her movements grew slower instead of faster, and he realized she wanted more than just sex.
And for the first time in years, he knew he was ready to give more than that.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com