I leaned over the edge of the bed and watched Chris sleep. He really was handsome, even in sleep with his features slack, and making light snoring noises.
He snorted and shifted. I watched as he blinked a few times, and ran a hand over his face. I giggled seeing his shorts tented in the front.
He blearily looked at me, then followed my gaze. He put a pillow over his lap.
“That’s natural.” He said, his voice still groggy with sleep.
“I know it is. It’s still impressive.”
“It’s trying to show off for you. Giving you a sneak peek for tonight.” He chuckled.
I giggled some more. Chris rolled over, then crawled to the side of the bed and kissed me. “Good morning. You are beautiful when you wake up.” He kissed me again.
There was a soft knock on the door.
“Come in,” Chris called.
“Good morning,” Grace said as she eased into the room. She paused when she saw our sleeping arrangement. “Oh dear, this isn’t because of yesterday?”
Chris cut her off. “No, this is because of where we are in our relationship. This has nothing to do with Mom or Mike.”
“You should have said, we just assumed. That’s what I get for leaping to conclusions. You should have said something, we could have figured something more comfortable out. You haven’t brought someone home in so long. Well, we figured she was,” Grace paused. “Special.”
“This was fine, we were plenty comfortable.” Chis looked up at me, reaching for me, “she is special mom. I don’t have to be sleeping with her to know that.”
I blushed hard.
Grace smiled. It was a lovely warm smile that showed how much she loved her son. And it felt nice to have the same smile directed at me. “I just wanted to let you know we were going to be off running some errands this morning, but we’ll be back for lunch. How late are you planning on staying today?”
Chris looked up at me and shrugged. “I guess we’ll head back after lunch?”
I nodded in agreement. I was eager to get Chris home. Alone.
She closed the door and we were alone again. Chris stroked the side of my face. He looked at me with an expression that made my gut clench and my toes curl. There was a lot of emotion in that look.
“You are very special Natalie, I hope you know that.”
I closed my eyes and leaned against his palm.
“I am so totally in like with you Chris.”
“I’m in like with you too Nat.” He laughed and kissed me.
I’m special and we’re in like. It was a good feeling. I’m not sure if I had changed, or if Chris had, but there was a definite change in us today, knowing what would happen when we got back to my apartment. I held on to his hand a bit more, I leaned against him a bit more. It felt like he held on to me longer when he pulled me into his embrace. We were constantly touching.
Lunch with his parents was pleasant, made more so by the noted absence of his jerky brother, who had decided to go hang out with friends.
Grace hugged us both, and Pat actually gave me the rest of the butterscotch bars to take home. The butterflies in my stomach started a riot as soon as Chris pulled out of the driveway. In less than two hours we should be back at my apartment.
“What are you so giddy about?” Chris asked.
“I’m not giddy. I’m nervous.” I confessed.
“What is there to be nervous about?”
“Seriously?” I glared at him.
“Oh right, that.” He chuckled. “Yeah.” He sighed.
“You aren’t nervous?” Why wasn’t he nervous? Why is it that the girl has to be the nervous one about being seen naked for the first time, and guys seem to be perfectly fine with it. Like its no big deal.
“I wouldn’t say that exactly. More excited than nervous.”
I watched the golden hills of dead grass roll past my window. Yeah, butterscotch definitely. Chris’s hair was butterscotch.
Chris navigated through neighborhood traffic once he pulled off the freeway. He pulled into a corner drug store and shut off the car.
“I’ll be right back.” He announced as he jumped out of the car.
I stared at him when he slid back into the car. He handed me a small brown bag before he started the car and pulled out of the parking spot/
“Whats this?” I said as I eagerly looked in the bag.
It contained a black box with gold lettering.
“Oh.” I giggled nervously
There was a loud bang. And I jerked to the side.
“Natalie!” I heard Chris yell.
My head hurt. Bright lights and confusion. People kept asking me my name. My leg hurt. I sat in the car and was told not to move. I don’t think I could have moved if I wanted to. I groaned.
Large capable arms moved me to a board, then I remember seeing sky. Flashes of colorful lights illuminated the trees. I could hear faint arguing somewhere behind me. Someone was asking me my name and the date again.
“This will pinch.” A voice said, then I felt a sharp stab.
I vaguely remember them closing the box doors around me.
“Natalie, Natalie, I need you to wake up.” A gentle hand rested on my shoulder. I yawned, then discovered I couldn’t stretch or move. My eyes shot open in panic.
“You’re restrained, it’s okay,” the nurse soothed my fears immediately.
“Why am I restrained? My safe-word is octopus. You can let me go now.”
The nurse chuckled. “You’re restrained because they didn’t want you moving before they could find out the extent of your injuries. Do you remember the accident?”
“Vaguely. How’s Chris?” I asked.
“Who? Oh, the driver? My understanding is he’s fine and should be here soon. He didn’t ride over in the ambulance with you.” She explained nothing. I was strapped down in an emergency room,with no Chris to tell me what was going on.
“I’m supposed to ask, was there a dog in the car with you? Or a cat maybe?” The nurse asked.
“No.” I wanted to shake my head, but there was a strap across my forehead holding me still. “Why?”
“The EMT said you kept muttering about butterscotch. They thought it might have been a dog once they realized you weren’t asking candy.”
I snorted a small laugh. I started humming I want candy in my head. “No, dog. Huh. I wonder what I was thinking?” I said out loud. I knew exactly what I was thinking. I wanted Chris, even if he was just nearby, sitting in the room with me, or holding my hand. I wanted to know he was safe. I wanted his presence so that I would feel safe.
“Oh well. Sometimes those pain meds make people say strange things. Someone will be in here soon to take you for x-rays. We’re gonna keep you strapped down until we know for certain okay?”
“Okay,” I muttered. She left me alone, and I started to cry. This was not how I thought tonight was going to go.
“Nat?” Chris’s soft voice said my name.
“They won’t let me move.” I blinked away tears. Chris stepped into my vision.
He had a butterfly bandage across his eyebrow, A bruise had already started to develop around his eye, other than that he just looked tired. Or was that worry? He began stroking the side of my face.
“God, I’m so sorry. Does it hurt?”
I smiled weakly at him. “I’m on some good shit. I can’t feel anything. What happened?”
“Some asshole who doesn’t think the hands-free law apply to him t-boned us. He plowed right through a red light. Slammed into the back door, right behind you, as I pulled out.”
“Are you hurt?” I asked.
“Just a little banged up.” he touched the bandage above his eye.
“How bad am I hurt?” I was afraid to ask, but I needed answers. I started crying again.
“The EMTs said you looked ok, but because it’s your back they are being safe.” He brushed tears from my cheeks. The expression on his face was so gentle, so full of concern.
“I don’t like being on this board, it scares me,” I confessed.
“I know honey. You aren’t hurt bad, they are just being overly cautious. Once you get x-rays and they can tell what’s going on with you, they’ll let you off it.” His thumb stroked back and forth across my brow in a soothing motion.
“Knock, knock.” I heard a new voice and the sound of divider curtains swishing to the side. “Hi Natalie, I’m Diego. I’m here to wheel you off to get some scans done, then you can get off this board. Unless you’re really into this bondage deal.”
I heard Chris chuckle.
“I tried to use my safe-word with the nurse earlier. She did not go for it. I don’t think you guys understand how this bondage thing is supposed to work.”
Chris laughed, Diego laughed. That was good, I may be strapped to a board, but I at least had my sense of humor.
“Boyfriend you stay here, and I’ll bring her back as soon as we’re done. Natalie, I’m gonna need you to tell me more about this safe-word of yours.”
I got a great view of hallway ceilings and recessed lighting as Diego rolled me into x-ray.
They kept me strapped up for the x-rays, then Diego returned me to Chris.
“They asked me if we had a dog. Or if I knew why you kept asking for butterscotch?” Chris asked as soon as we were alone again.
I gave a small laugh. “Come here, I want to see you.” A second later, Chis stood over me. I wanted to reach up and thread my fingers through the thick hair on the top of his head. I couldn’t. I was still strapped down.“Your hair is butterscotch.”
“I’ve been trying to figure out a color to describe your hair for days. And I figured it out at your parent’s house. Butterscotch. I must not have been confused from the accident, and instead of asking for you, I got stuck on the color of your hair.” I explained.
“I like that Nat.” I felt his fingers lace into mine.
I heard the divider curtains swish aside again. Chris looked up, then disappeared from my view, taking his comforting hand away.
“Hi Natalie, I’m Doctor Stephens. I don’t know if you remember seeing me earlier. You were a bit dazed from the pain killers.”
I didn’t remember him.
“Let’s go ahead get her off the board, and get her a corset.” I heard him say to someone.
Dr. Stephens stepped into my vision. “You hit your head on the window, gave yourself a goose egg and a small concussion. Your hip has a sizable contusion, but you’re x-rays are clear. You complained of pain in your low back, so let’s watch that. I want you in a brace for a week or two. I suspect you’ve sprained your back.” As he spoke he removed the straps from my arms and forehead. He grabbed my hand and elbow and helped me into a sitting position.
“Rest. I don’t want you going back to work for the rest of the week. Listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right call my office. If its acute pain, come back into the ER.” He glanced at me, scanning me up and down. “No gym, no dancing, no physical activities other than gentle walking for at least two weeks.” He shifted his gaze to Chris, then back to me. “No physical activities that uses your lower back including intercourse, you do not want to cause further soft tissue injury.”
I was too doped up to blush. But I heard Chris clear his throat nervously.
“And don’t see a chiropractor for at least a month. Your bones look great. Heat then ice, then give it a break. No serious massages for a while either.”
He turned as the nurse came back in with a sizable package. He handed Chris a stack of papers. “Work excuse, and pain prescriptions.” Chris nodded.
“Follow up with my office in the morning, I’ll want to see you in two to three weeks.” He shook my hand, then shook Chris’s and left.
The nurse strapped me into the back brace and showed me how to get in and out of it. It was a corset. It sucked me in and forced good posture on me.
I was free to go.
Chris picked up all of my things. The EMTs had placed my purse at my feet when they wheeled me away from the accident. He walked with me slowly, as I made my way out of the room. I was stiff, and my head spun from the pain medication.
“Damn,” he whispered in my ear as we waited for our Uber ride. I turned to look at him. He had one eyebrow lifted as he smirked at me. Sigh. That expression was sexy as hell.
“I know it’s a back brace, but that is doing some amazing things to your figure.”
I glanced down. Yes, it was, extreme good posture, some waist cinching, and BAM! The boobs stood out even further.
Chris’s hand caressed my hip. “Looks like we have a dating schedule after all.” He chuckled.
“I guess so. I mean. Okay.” I turned to face him. “That was going to happen tonight, right? I’m not just imagining things. We weren’t just throwing innuendos around to flirt?”
Chris gently wrapped his arms around me. “I still have every intention of spending the night with you. Only now we will be actually sleeping.”
©2016 Lulu M Sylvian. The Twelve Dates of Christmas