tagRomancePlaying Doctor Ch. 04

Playing Doctor Ch. 04


Chapter Four: Losing control

I woke up parched as the proverbial bone. Throwing the sheet back, I stumbled into the bathroom and used my hands to drink right from the tap until I'd slaked my thirst. Drinking causes dehydration - I should have remembered that last night.

Last night? "Ohmigod..." I said aloud. I did not throw myself at Keven. I did not take off all my clothes and beg him to have sex with me. He must think I'm the biggest slut ever and after that performance, I couldn't say he was wrong. I'd been like a minx in heat. What the hell was I thinking? Oh yeah, I wasn't.

I showered and dressed quickly, both eager and reticent about going downstairs. Jeans and a green blouse would work. I normally didn't wear shoes at home, so I wouldn't worry about them now. The clock told me it was after 9 AM. I should be at work and in surgery. A flashing vision of the carjacker's blood on my hands made me stop and take a deep breath. I didn't have time for this crap.

Keven was sitting in the living room with one of my notepads in his lap. He had a pencil flying over the paper, sketching something. As I entered the room, his dark eyes rose from the paper and he smiled. Closing the notepad and setting it aside, he rose to his feet and walked up to me, taking my hands in his. "How do you feel this morning?"

I looked down, noticing small scars on the back of his hands and I wondered what had caused them. "I feel like an idiot - like some bimbo." I looked back into his eyes. "I'm sorry."

Taking my chin in one hand, he shook his head. "Don't. You're neither an idiot nor a bimbo and you don't have anything to be sorry about. You had a terrible shock yesterday and human beings react to shock by being human."

I wiped a tear from my cheek and smiled a little. "So, it's normal to throw yourself at some guy that you barely know like some tart? I shouldn't have done that. I... I know you want me and there I was torturing you like that. You wouldn't have been out of line to take me, you know."

Cocking his head to the side, he let out that roguish grin. "Oh, being tortured like that has its benefits, too, but I would've been out of line to give in to temptation. Tell me, would you have regretted sleeping with me when you woke up? Honestly."

Taking a deep breath, I deflated. "Probably."

"Then I did the right thing. If we'd had sex last night, you wouldn't respect me this morning."

I barked a short laugh and slapped his shoulder. "I thought that went the other way! You're incorrigible!"

"Yes, I am," he agreed, "and hungry. Let me make some breakfast and then we can discuss paintings."

"I won't argue about food," I said, following him into the kitchen after he picked up the notepad, "but I'm surprised that you don't want another chance at me, now that I'm sober. I wouldn't say no."

Those dark eyes took a moment to devour me again, sending a shiver up my spine. "Oh, I haven't lost interest but this is too important to rush. I don't want to make love to you because you're afraid, drunk or feeling guilty. When the time and place are right, we will make love, Sandy. Count on it."

I cooled the simmering heat he roused in me and nodded. "Absolutely."

"Mutual respect is very important in a relationship," he said piously, making me roll my eyes.

He started making breakfast, so I let him concentrate and snagged the notebook. He quirked an eyebrow at me, but didn't object. Flipping open the cover, I stared at the first sketch. A woman, I assume me, was lying on a bed, her body half covered by a sheet. My arm was stretched out, beckoning someone to come to me. My body language screamed desire.

I looked back up at him in shock. "This is me?"

Keven nodded. "Fair warning, if you go any further, you'll see where my imagination took me last night and this morning."

My fingers itched to flip the sheet and look on. "You mean, like pornographic drawings?"

He nodded. "Well, more explicit." Then he and turned to the stove, cracked the eggs and starting them to cooking, leaving me in peace to decide whether to give in to my curiosity or not in privacy.

Swallowing hard, I closed the notepad and set it aside. I badly wanted to look but I didn't feel like I should. It felt like invading his thoughts and fantasies. I'd look once I felt more comfortable with him.

A few minutes later, he set an omelet in front of me and sat down, eyeing the notebook. "Well?"

I took a bite and found steaming ham and cheese. "Delicious." He mock-glared at me. "No, the drawings."

I met his look with one of innocence. "Was I supposed to have an opinion on them?"

"Don't make me take you over my knee and paddle you," he threatened with an upraised fork.

"Ooooo, now that sounds promising," I said with a throaty chuckle. "I've noticed you do like to have your hands on my ass."

He smiled and nodded. "And a very nice ass it is, too. Now, what did you think?"

"I only looked at the first one," I admitted. "I just didn't feel right about looking at the others just yet. I think we need to get to know each other first. The first one looked like me, only sexier. I liked it."

"Oh, you're that sexy and more. With paint, I'll be able to capture that a lot more closely than with just a pencil."

My fork slipped from my suddenly nerveless fingers and clattered on the plate. "You're going to paint me like that?" My heart thumped in my chest.

"Yes, but no one will ever see it unless you agree," he said calmly. "That would be a betrayal and I'd never do that. Nudity and the type of allure you exude would make an exquisite masterpiece."

I swallowed and picked up my fork, studiously eating while I thought about it. "Does that count as the first modeling?"

"Only if you decide you want it to be a painting I can display."

I thought about and shrugged. He was right. Art and nudity went hand-in-hand. "I can live with that, I suppose. You'll probably make me look better than I would have anyway. I suppose you can show those, though I doubt you'll be hanging any pornographic paintings, so that seems safe enough."

He nodded. "True enough. What would you like to do after we eat?" he asked, changing the subject.

"You don't have to hang around and pamper me," I said, finishing off the rest of my food. "I'll be okay."

His dark eyes flashed. "I promised Doctor H that I'd be right here for you and I'm not just going to skate off when you need me. You might as well accept that I'm going to be underfoot, at least for today."

Part of me thought that was sweet; the other part was pissed that he thought I needed to be coddled. His laughing at my mixed expression didn't help. "Do you need to get a change of clothes?" I asked, deciding to ignore the provocation. "We can go by your place and let you clean up first. Then I'd like to go to the clinic. I want to see my patients."

Keven nodded. "I think I do need to shower and change clothes. Let me get the dishes started and we'll go."

I was surprised he didn't argue with me. I'd expected to have to browbeat him into letting me out of the house, much less anywhere near work. My hand picked up the notebook while he was doing the dishes before I really realized what it was doing and I had to force myself to push it across the table. My mind's eye had all kinds of ideas of what it contained and I wanted to see it. I imagined our bodies tangled together in the sheets, his lips...

With a groan, I abruptly stood up. He looked back at me with a question in his eyes. "That notebook is a tool of the devil," I announced. "I keep picking it up and wanting look inside. Please take it with you when we leave."

His laughter followed me back up the stairs as I went to finish dressing. This was so embarrassing.


Keven shadowed me as we walked into the clinic lobby, holding onto the notepad and a pencil. I'd asked him to leave it at his place, but he said he might have some time to draw while I did my rounds. I decided it wasn't worth arguing about.

Trina jumped up and ran to me, hugging me tearfully. I just held her and shed some tears of my own.

"Ohmigod, Sandy! I was so worried about you! Steve should have walked you to your car!" she said.

"That's not fair, Trina. It was noon in a public lot. He had no idea some maniac was going to do that. I'm happy you're talking enough to know that," I said with a smile.

"We made up," she admitted happily. Then she frowned. "Danny said you were taking a few days off so you're not supposed to be here."

"I'm not supposed to do lots of things I do anyway," I said more cheerfully than I'd expected so soon. Trina was good for me. "I may not be operating for a few days, but that doesn't mean I won't be checking up on all you slackers."

She laughed and held out her hand to Keven. "Mr. Braddock, it's good to see you again. Are you here to see Danny?"

He shook his head. "No, I'm shadowing the good Doctor Craig. Someone has to keep her out of trouble."

I snorted at them as they laughed at my expense. "Very funny. He's my ride until Danny forks my car back over."

Trina looked surprised. "He still has your car? I thought he'd take it back when Holly went to stay with you last night."

I could see this one coming. Not that I could stop it, mind you, but I knew where this conversation was going to go. "Holly didn't spend the night with me."

Trina's brow creased in worry. "You shouldn't be alone! I can't believe she left you by yourself!"

Sighing, I gave in to the inevitable. "I wasn't alone."

Trina was confused for a moment and then her eyes widened and her gaze flicked to Keven, making the leap that I had seen coming. Then she blushed. "Oh. Well. I guess that's okay." She grinned.

It had to be said, not that she was going to believe me. "It wasn't like that. He was the perfect gentleman."

"I'll bet he was," she said slyly, slipping back behind her desk. "We'll talk about this... later." She wiggled her eyebrows at me.

Butter wouldn't have melted in Keven's mouth. Smug bastard. Did nothing set him off balance?

With a wicked smile, I leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially to Trina just loud enough so that he couldn't miss overhearing. "He's all that and a bag of chips. Hung like a Shetland pony and the stamina of an Olympic athlete."

Trina's eyes grew huge and she blushed even more deeply as I laughed and walked past the desk and into the offices. If the rumors were going to make the rounds anyway, why not at least put my spin on them?

When I spared a glance for Keven, he didn't look at all distressed. On the other hand, he didn't look smug either. He had to be the most composed person I'd ever met. I'd have to keep working on making him lose his cool.

A glance told me both Danny and Holly weren't in their offices. "I'm going back to the surgical area for a few minutes. It might be best if you wait here until I see if Danny or Holly can come out and talk."

He nodded and walked into my office. I frowned at his back for a second and then walked into the surgery area. Something about him looked wrong, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I shrugged and let it go. I'd figure it out sooner or later.

Stepping into the observation room, I saw that only one of the operating rooms was in use. Danny had his back to me and was working on one of his patients. He'd be busy for at least an hour, I decided. The blood on his gloves sent my stomach into a spin, but I forced the nausea down ruthlessly. Blood was part of the job and I couldn't let this thing get to me like that. Time to go look for Holly.

I spotted her as soon as I entered the recovery area. She was talking to the nurse while the patient I was supposed to have operated on slept nearby.

She pulled me into a hug when she saw me, simultaneously scolding me. "You're supposed to be resting at home, not up and at work."

"You know I can't just sit around," I whispered to her. "I needed to get out of the house."

"Did Keven just let you wander off? I'm going to have words with that young man."

I laughed and pulled her toward the door. "No, he hasn't left my side. He's waiting for me in my office." Then I scowled at her. "And was it your idea to set us up?"

"It wasn't a setup, dear," she said with a smile. "I just arranged for you two to meet. Danny tells me that it seems to have been a good thing."

"You two!" I said, rolling my eyes. "What can a girl do?"

Keven stood up from behind my desk as we came in, folding a piece of printer paper and slipping it into his pocket. "Holly, it's been too long." He walked forward and kissed her hand. "You're looking more beautiful every year."

"Flatterer," she said, though she had the grace to smile. "Thank you for looking after Sandy. She's like a daughter to me, you know."

His eyes crinkled in humor as he smiled at me. "It has been my pleasure. I'm sure you'll hear all about it."

It took me a moment to figure out what he meant and then I blushed. This impulsiveness was going to be the death of me. Everything I did seemed to come back at me in ways I hadn't considered. I coughed to cover my moment of embarrassment. "Let me pour us some coffee."

Holly nodded. "Coffee sounds wonderful. I need to go sign some papers for Trina. I'll be right back."

When she was gone, Keven sat down in one of the visitor's chairs. "Well, I think this post-sleepover visit is going smashingly."

"You!" I said, smacking his shoulder. "This is all your fault." I smiled as I sat on the edge of the desk to take any sting out of my words. "If you could find some way to make this more embarrassing, I think you would."

For a moment, just a flash of chagrin took over his features. Since he never seemed to look taken aback, that set off all kinds of alarms inside me.

"What did you do?" I asked, filled with dread. Suddenly it clicked for me. He'd walked into my office with two empty hands. "Where is the notebook," I asked looking around franticly.

"I, um... Well..."

The blood drained from my face. "No! You did not leave it at the front desk!"

"Well, you did tell Trina you'd give her all the little details, so I thought a picture is worth a thousand words," he said, regaining some of his normal unperturbed demeanor.

I considered screaming or smacking him, but he was right, I'd opened that door with my own innuendo. Instead, I sat bolt upright. Holly! I couldn't let her see those! I had to get that notebook back into my possession as soon as possible!

Without a backward glance, I rushed into the hall and ran for the front desk. My worst fears were realized when I got there and both of them were bent over the notebook whispering excitedly at each other. Ohmigod! They both thought I'd done - whatever he had drawn me doing. I flushed so red that I felt the heat rolling off my face.

They had a moment's warning just before I snatched the notebook up and slammed it closed. As innocent as two angels, they looked up at me. And then they grinned and started laughing together. That made me flush even more.

Trina cast a sidelong glance at the notebook. "Sandy, I had no idea you were so... athletic."

"I was lying," I blurted out desperately. "We didn't sleep together."

"Of course you didn't, Dear," Holly said, straightening up with a knowing smile. "I know a good girl like you would never sleep with a man she'd only known for a day. I'm sure that there are plenty of women he could have drawn that have a birthmark just like yours."

I stared at her, my mouth hanging open. I almost told her how he'd seen me naked and realized it was useless. It sounded so stupid in my head that it would sound ludicrous out loud.

"I'm going to kill him," I announced, stalking back toward my office, a sudden fire in my eye. "He's so dead."

Holly caught up to me just as I burst into my office. "Whoa! Hang on, Sandy!"

Keven's survival instincts must have kicked in, because he wasn't there. I stood just inside my office and started swearing while Holly tried not to smile. That didn't help my temper one bit.

"Sandy, calm down," she said reasonably. "If you say nothing happened, then nothing happened. I'm sure Trina won't talk about it with anyone."

I laughed. "Yeah, right!" My anger had morphed into humor. The situation was so out-of-control that is was growing to epic proportions. And, as much as it galled me, Keven was right. I'd opened the door for this.

On cue, Keven came in the door behind Holly with three mugs of coffee in his hands. "There you are," he said, once more in control of his composure.

Holly and I took our cups from him and I fixed him with "the look." "We're not done with this, troublemaker."

He bowed his head in apology and took a seat. "I went too far and I accept full responsibility. I'm sorry."

I tossed the notebook onto his lap. "I can't let you do that," I grumbled. "I started this so we're even."

Holly gestured for me to have a seat as she sat beside Keven. "So, I hear you two really hit it off." I rolled my eyes and Holly laughed. "No, not like that! I mean in general."

"Let me clear this up," I said. "We're not presently having sex. I got drunk and stupid and he was a total gentleman."

Keven smiled and nodded. "Presently."

Holly smiled at him knowingly. "I'm pleased to hear that."

"You two are making me crazy," I growled. "Does everything I say have to have some kind of double meaning?"

That brought laughter from them that was infectious enough that I finally joined in. Who could stay angry with them?

As the laughter was winding down, Keven's cell phone chirped and he answered it. His smile faded almost instantly to an expression of shock and then anger. "I'll be right there." He stood up and slipped the cell phone back into its belt clip.

"There's some kind of trouble at the gallery. Serious enough they won't tell me over the phone. Maybe you should stay with Holly for a while, Sandy."

I shook my head. "I'm with you today. Let's go take care of your trouble together."

He looked like he wanted to argue, but he didn't. "Fine. Let's go see what qualifies as a 'disaster.' With art types, you can never really tell when it's serious or not."

I gave Holly a hug and she whispered for me to be careful. I followed him out at a trot to keep up with him. "You're an art type."

The sardonic smile he threw over his shoulder told me I'd hit home. "Let's not confuse the issue with facts. It's serious enough to have a gay man in hysterics. Though, I'll admit my wardrobe has had a similar result with him before."

"Then let's go see what the trouble is and you can fix it."


The ride to the gallery was more tense than before. His body was a taut as a cable. Over his shoulder, I saw something that made my blood go cold.

Over the buildings ahead of us was a pall of smoke. From the way the bike sped up, Keven saw it to. Maybe it didn't have anything to do with the trouble at the gallery, but then again...

My hopes were dashed when we made the last turn and were stopped by a police barricade. Past all the scrambling emergency personnel and the fire trucks, I saw the gallery completely engulfed in flames.

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