Tomorrow Isn't Promised Ch. 03byvelvetpie©
"Try the flan."
She had been crying. Her red-rimmed eyes flicked up to see who she was, then quickly looked away. That was the moment that Alex knew she was in love. Love at first sight. Even in despair, she was breathtaking.
"I always eat the caramel pecan flan when I'm sad."
The tears still flowed from her unblinking eyes, striping her brown skin. Alex asked the waitress for an extra-large piece and sat down in the chair across from her, setting a spoon near her hand. She didn't move and the tears still flowed. Alex took the spoon and scooped up a quivering chunk of flan, complete with a candied pecan half.
"Open your mouth."
Her grief-stricken eyes raised, her chin trembling as she fought to quell her tears. "Why?"
"Trust me. Open your mouth."
Sticky lips parted and Alex slid the flan in, keeping eye contact as she chewed. The tears began to flow again and Alex reloaded the spoon, taking a bite, then offering another to the beautiful woman, overjoyed when she accepted it. In no time at all, the flan was gone and the tears had slowed to a trickle. Alex watched as she patted her cheeks dry, her eyes softening as she focused on her.
"Because I hate to see beautiful women cry."
"I'm not beautiful." Bitter pain laced her words. "If I was beautiful, he wouldn't be cheating on me."
Alex touched her hand. "Then he's an idiot. If you were mine, you'd know that you were beautiful, every minute of the day." She smiled, lifting her hand. "I'm Alex. Would you be interested in having dinner with me?"
"We just had dessert."
"That's okay." Alex lowered her voice. "We can have dessert as many times as you want."
Her eyes held Alex's and something intangible passed between them. The woman took the hand that Alex offered, accompanied with a shy, but knowing smile. "I'm Toni."
The hallway was quiet. The hums and beeps of machines filled the filtered air and the tinny speaker of a small television set kept the night duty nurse company as she divided her attention between a rerun of The Jeffersons and the bank of monitors. This was one of her favorite episodes, the one where Lionel and Jenny were getting engaged. She didn't much care for the new Lionel; the original one was much more handsome but the emotional content was satisfying.
When the monitor for bed twelve went off, she spilled her cinnamon latte on her lap but ignored the mess to dash down the hall to room 539. The woman was flat-lining and she hit the button, bringing the staff with a crash cart. It took well over twenty minutes to get the woman stabilized but it wouldn't be until many hours later when the discovery of succinylcholine in her blood was made. It was also discovered that the black amnesia patient, Jane Doe 549, was not in her assigned bed, bed twelve in room 539 and that she was no where to be found.
Alex was beside herself when she arrived at the hospital the next day. Her daily ritual had been to go directly to Toni's room for a brief visit before clocking in and beginning her duties. She was devastated to find that she was not in her room nor did anyone know where she was. Alex searched the entire hospital, with Dr. Washburn's blessing, and could not locate her. She returned to her job, collecting the laundry and taking it downstairs to be cleaned.
She could barely hold her tears back when she came for the fifth floor laundry bin, remembering the thin dressing gown she brought for Toni just days earlier. She pulled the cart away from the wall, grunting in exertion and wondering what the hell was in the cart. Goddamned nurses! She pushed the bin around the corner, called the service elevator and pushed it in as soon as the doors opened.
She looked around, her heart splitting her chest when she thought she heard Toni's voice. The sight of Toni arising from a pile of filthy bedding made her break into sobs. "What the fuck?"
"I'm sorry. I couldn't tell you what I was going to do."
"You stupid bitch!" Alex dragged her out of the bin, hugging her so tightly that Toni squeaked. "You scared the shit out of me!"
"Allie, someone tried to kill me last night."
"Get back in the bin and keep quiet until you hear me whistle."
"Okay." Toni slipped back into the bin, showing her scantily-clad body to Alex who growled in appreciation. "Sorry that I scared you."
Alex leaned in and gave Toni a soft kiss. "I'll punish you later."
Toni's arms wrapped around her neck. "Promise?"
The elevator's warning rang that the floor had been reached and Toni hid, waiting for Alex's signal. She expected it to come right away but unfortunately, she had to wait a long time and fell asleep. It was more than three hours later when Alex whistled, pulling the dirty sheets off of her and helping her to her feet.
"What the hell did you do?"
"What do you mean?"
"You can tell me later. Right now, you have to get out of here."
"I can't! Where am I going to go?"
"Where you belong. Home with me." Alex gave her the clothes that Dr. Washburn had given her previously and watched with a slight smile as Toni dropped the gown and put them on. "Here."
Toni took the manila envelope from Alex and stared at it in confusion. "What's this?"
"Your effects. The stuff you had on you when you were brought here. Now come on!"
Alex's car was in the parking garage and they held their breath as they passed the two security checkpoints, brazenly flirting with the guards. When they reached the car, Toni got in and cracked open the envelope, dumping the contents into her lap. There was a small wad of money, various coins and a five-pack of Juicy Fruit. Without thinking, she popped a stick into her mouth and tossed the wrapper into the trash.
Four other things were in the envelope: a Movado watch, a set of keys, a gold necklace and a ring. The necklace caught her attention. It was a strand of gold link with a hand-carved wood ornament attached. Toni rubbed the varnished item, her fingers tracing its intricate notches and diamonds.
"You gave this to me."
"I have a present for you."
Toni was lying on her stomach, slipping into sleepy happiness as her pussy still continued to clench around the dildo. Alex reached over to grab something on the nightstand, drawing a moan of discontentment from Toni as she arose from her place on Toni's back. "I don't want a present. I want you to stay there."
"I'm too heavy."
"No, you aren't. You feel wonderful."
Alex kissed her ear and placed the white linen bag near her hand, pulling Toni over onto her side. "Open it."
Toni lifted the handsewn bag and untied the cord. A shiny lump of wood slid out, fashioned into the shape of a sun with lighter rays wiggling out from the center. Bright diamonds were set into the dark wood and the item was hung on a gold chain.
"Oh, Allie! This is beautiful."
"I made it." Alex felt herself blush as she explained how she obtained the diamonds and the wood from artisan friends. "I hope you'll wear it."
"Of course I will!" Toni put the necklace on, rubbing her fingers against the wood. "Thank you."
"I want you to leave him." Alex whispered, moving her hips and driving the dildo into Toni's slippery pussy. "That's why I gave you a sun."
Toni bit her lip as Alex drove into her again. "Allie … "
"No. Tomorrow isn't promised to us, Toni. You're happy with me. You need to seize the day and you need to leave him."
"Tomorrow isn't promised to us." Toni glanced over at Alex, the words seeming to open memories. "You told me that. Tomorrow isn't promised to us."
"And these keys … my house. Two story ranch. I usually drive a … " Flashes and snippets of things sped by her vision. "I drive an Expedition. Blue with Yosemite Sam floor mats."
"What's your address?"
"Mango Lane." She rubbed her forehead. "26 Mango Lane." She paused again. "But I wasn't there when I was found." Toni stared at Alex, confusion in her eyes. "It was at your apartment and you were the one that found me."
Alex nodded in agreement. "Yes."
"Stop this fucking car and tell me what's going on!"
His hands didn't tremble any more. He hefted the heavy ring of keys and slipped the correct one into the slot. The door swung open soundlessly and he quickly moved through, heading for the rear entrance. The safe was on the left side, built into the wall and he knelt, thumbed the numbers on the dial and sighed in relief as the tumblers clicked into place.
The bottles were on the second shelf and in a matter of minutes, placeboes had been substituted for the OxyContin, Percocet, Tylox and Roxicet pills. It wouldn't be noticed for months and by then, he'd be long gone. This was the last time he would have to steal from the hospital's pharmacy and the last time he'd depend on anyone for money.
No one questioned Dr. Washburn as he departed from the hospital, heading for his car. After all, he was a doctor.
"I'm not who you think I am." Toni gave the woman a murderous look. "My name is Alex Pontorino but I don't really work for the hospital. I'm DEA."
"DEA? As in Drug Enforcement? You have to be fucking kidding me!"
"No, I'm not kidding."
"And us? That's a lie, too?"
"No." Alex pulled the Mustang onto the side of the road and cut the engine, turning toward Toni. "Not at all."
Tears boiled in Toni's eyes. "I don't believe you. All this time, you've been lying to me!"
"I lied to you to protect you. You're remembering a lot of stuff but we still don't know who beat the shit out of you."
"But you have an idea or you wouldn't have whisked me out of that place."
"Yes, we have an idea of who it was."
When Alex didn't continue, Toni spat, "And do you intend to tell me?"
Alex cleared her throat and took a deep breath. "We think it was your husband."
"My husband? I'm fucking married?" Alex nodded and Toni covered her face with her hands, fighting the urge to either strangle the woman or run screaming from the car. "I wasn't wearing a ring. If I was married, I would have had a wedding ring."
Alex reached inside her shirt and brought out a gorgeous gold ring, strung on a thick length of chain around her neck. The ring was studded with diamonds set in a thick gold band. "You gave this to me, as a promise of our future together."
"So who is he, my so-called husband?"
"Dr. Brett Washburn."
"My doctor?" Toni shook her head, rubbing her suddenly aching temples. "Let me get this straight. My husband, Dr. Washburn, beat the living shit out of me, then nursed me back to health?"
"Yes. He made sure that he was the attending physician on your case. He had to make sure that since you didn't die the first time, he could take care of you if you ever awoke."
"And then I did awake."
Alex nodded. "And I was there to keep an eye on you and to make sure that you were safe." She touched Toni's cheek, bringing her eyes back to hers. "I love you, Toni."
"What if I would never have come out of the coma? Or worse, what if I didn't remember you?"
Alex fingered the ring. "I would have been devastated."
Toni sighed and sat back in the seat. "There's one thing that doesn't make sense."
"How did you and I become involved?"
"I met you at the restaurant and fed you flan. Everything I've told you about us has been the truth."
"But why were you there? DEA doesn't just appear unless … "
Alex nodded. "Yes, I'm investigating someone."
"Someone at the hospital?"
"Let me guess. My husband?"
Again, Alex nodded. "Yes."
"Then how do I know that what we had was real? How do I know that you wanted me because you loved me? How do I know that you didn't just get into my pants to get close to him?"
"You know because I love you."
"Do you? Sure it's not just another lie?"
"I told you, everything about us has been the truth. Toni, I'm wearing your ring. Why would I wear your ring if it wasn't the truth?"
"To keep up appearances."
"Do you really think that? Do you think I could fake loving you?"
"I don't know, Alex. I really don't know you at all so … " Toni opened the door and got out. "I think that until I really know what's going on, I'd be better off on my own."
"No, Toni. That's not a good idea." Alex got out, coming around the back of the car. "You don't know … we don't know what's going on."
"No, I don't know. You seem to know a lot that you aren't willing to share with me, too busy protecting me to let me handle my own weight."
"Toni … "
"No. I'll take care of myself. Goodbye, Alex."
"Toni, I'm not going to let you go like this."
"What are you going to do, arrest me?"
"If I have to."
"On what charge?"
Alex crossed her fingers, hoping that this would work, that Toni would listen. "For breaking my heart." She stepped closer to Toni, searching her eyes. "For giving me hope." She saw the tremble in Toni's bottom lip and reached out to wipe the tears from her cheeks. "For making me believe in love."
Toni allowed herself to accept the comfort of Alex's arms, sobbing in the woman's sure embrace. "I don't know, Allie. How can I believe you?"
Alex pulled back, touching Toni's cheek. "Trust me. I'm asking you to please trust me." She leaned close and let her mouth touch Toni's, pressing lightly. "Please, baby. Please trust me."
Toni closed her eyes, shivering at the feel of Alex's lips gently kissing her wet cheeks and soft mouth. She was remembering more things. She just wished that she really remembered her feelings for Alex. The only thing she could do was to take a leap of faith. Tomorrow isn't promised to us. You're happy with me. You need to leave him.
"All right." She heard herself say and she sagged in Alex's arms, relieved with the decision she'd made. She felt Alex tighten her embrace, holding her closer and whispering soft words of endearment in her ear.
"It'll be all right." Alex murmured, opening the door and handing her into the car. "I would never hurt you, Toni." She rubbed the ring again. "You own my heart."
"Then tell me everything you know."
"Okay. Let's go home and I'll tell you."