By morning, Mark had finished capturing Jayme’s elusive face around the all too familiar eyes. He quietly put his artist tools back into the spare room of his attached residence. When Naomi arrived at 10:00am, Jayme was just starting to stir out of her deep sleep.
Jayme’s eyes fluttered open, not for the first time that morning, but the second. Earlier, the time on the wall clock eluded her, she had awakened to see Mark packing a small box, the smell of Linseed Oil in the air. Confused, her eyes had fluttered shut before Mark had noticed, and she drifted away again, only this time into a light, pleasant drowsy state. When she awoke for the second time, Jayme was fully alert.
“Well, good morning Sleeping Beauty”, Mark said cheerfully with a smile that reached all the way to his tired eyes. “How are you feeling?”
Fingering the white gauze bandage, she said, “Actually, other than an ache in my arem, which I believe to be expected considering the circumstances, I feel fine. You, on the other hand, look hell!” Not really, she thought, you look devastatingly handsome! “Didn’t you get any sleep at all? You couldn’t have been that worried about me.”
“Well, you really had me going for awhile when your blood pressure dropped to 85/60 and your pulse dipped to 50. But you had told Naomi your reading were normally on the low side, so I tried not to be too concerned. Although, you’re right, watching you breathe did not leave me much time to sleep.”
“Oh, what a guilt trip you’ve go me on now!” Jayme teased, the long deep sleep had done wonders for her spirit. “How can I ever make it up to you?” she smiled brightly at his feigned weariness.
Mark grinned broadly, “For starters, you can let me buy you dinner and then…” at that moment Naomi came rushing in.
“Dr. Steele! Jack just brought Lana in! She’s in labor, contractions are less than a minute apart!” Naomi didn’t wait for Mark to reply, for as she turned he was already on his feet on his way out the door.
By the sounds of the activity going on in the room next to the ward, Jayme could tell that the good doctor would be occupied for a while bringing a new life into the world. She slipped out of bed, clutching the flimsy gown around her. So much for high fashion – or modesty – she thought. Looking around, she discovered a large plastic box under her bed containing her bathing suit and dive skins. Jayme slid her long legs into the dive skins and pulled it up snugly around her waist. She pulled the gown off over her head careful not to bump her aching arm, and managed to get her right arm into the sleeve, then zipped up the front, tucking the tattered left sleeve down the front. Hmm, she thought, an off the shoulder dive suit.. Might become a new trend, she chuckled. She scooped up her bathing suit, and silently let herself out the open door.
Out in the reception area, Jayme looked for and found a writing pad. She picked up a bright orange pen from the desk, knowing it just had to be Naomi’s, and wrote Mark a quick note.
“Dr. Steele, Thank you for taking care of me. I went back to the resort by taxi. Please send me your bill there. Ms. Haller”. She read the over, then crossed out ‘Ms. Haller’ and wrote Jayme. Sipping back into the ward, she left the note on her crumpled bed and left.
The hot sun had made its way across the clue afternoon sky in lazy slowness, which was just fine with Jayme. She sipped on her iced tea in the shade of a palm tree outside her room. She had arranged two chairs facing each other so she could prop her feet up and had her wounded arm cradled on a pillow. In front of her on the wicker table, was her laptop, hooked up to her camcorder. She had just finished viewing the tape of the Thomas’ dive, adding comments via an attached microphone, when a now familiar voice encroached on her thoughts.
“Well, now, that’s an interesting set-up”, Dr. Mark Steele commented as he sat down in a third chair, angled across from her.
“Jeez! You scared me half to death!” Jayme was clearly startled by his approach, but not so shaken that she didn’t have enough presence of mind to switch off the camera and close the state of the art computer. Out of sight, out of Mind? .. She hoped!
Mark stared at her a long moment, then switched topics. “Why did you leave this morning? You gave me quite a panic when I saw you gone. I didn’t find your note until I looked under the bed to see if you’d found your clothes.” To her quizzical look, he added, “the note was on the floor.”
“I left it on the bed… in plain sight. The breeze must have blown it off. I didn’t mean to cause you concern, at least not any more, heaven knows, I’ve already done enough of that!” It was easy to pick up the banter they so readily shared that morning, and it felt good, maybe too good.
“I should hope not! You haven’t paid me back yet for keeping me awake all night. As I recall, I had mentioned dinner…”
“Ah, yes, that’s when the newest world citizen decided to make an appearance. Boy or girl?”
“Actually, one of each. We knew there would be twins, and Lana was two weeks over what I anticipated, but also two weeks early for a normal delivery. Both babies are fine, the extra time helped their birth weight a great deal. Mother and children went home,” he glanced at his watch, “a half hour ago.”
“So soon? Isn’t that unusually quick?”
“Not for island people. The only reason she came to me for the delivery was because the twins might need extra care that would be available only at the clinic. Otherwise, she would have delivered at home, with a local midwife.” Mark yawned, the lack of sleep catching up to him at last. “But you, I didn’t expect you to leave so soon.”
“I wasn’t ill, Dr. Steele, just a minor injury, and a major sleeping pill,” she triend to add ice to her voice, but found she just couldn’t. He was too damned handsome and his profound effect on her left her bewildered and defenseless.
“Ouch! Okay, I deserved that, and you’re right, you’re not ill, but as your current physician,” he smiled brightly, “I would like to examine my patient… your arm will do for now,” His voice had softened and his eyes seemed to want to say more, but waited.
Jayme felt a soft warm feeling overtake her lower body. Her heart quickened. Was he flirting with her? God, I hope so, her mind added, and then she quickly admonished herself, knowing she couldn’t involve herself with anyone. But it was still a nice feeling. She held out her arm for him, and when he laughed, she realized she had picked up the wrong arm. Quickly recovering, she stammered, “just checking to see if you’re alert enough to conduct this physical… I mean examination.” She felt herself blushing, actually blushing!
Mark opened a black bag Jayme hadn’t noticed he brought, and produced a pair of scissors. He quickly cut the gauze and tape from her arm, unwrapping it gently. As he exposed the pink stitches, he checked for swelling and redness, his fingers probing gently along her tender skin, lingering much, much longer than necessary.
Jayme couldn’t take her eyes off the head of dark silky hair bent so intently over her arm. As he traced his fingers up and down her skin, she began to feel lightheaded with a growing desire. She swallowed hard. “Am I going to live?” Her voice, deepened with the desire, startled her.
Mark looked up into pools of liquid green flames, and smiled. “Most definitely,” He did not want to let go of her. He sighed deeply, and set her arm down, reaching again for his black bag. He wrapped and taped her wound slowly, after applying an antibiotic salve, trying to keep his hands busy. His breathing was much too rapid.
Mark let his gaze come up to Jayme’s face slowly, taking in every detail he could. As he reached her mouth, he longed to claim it, to taste every lovely inch. Breathing hard, he continued up, their eyes locked. The desire revealed in gray eyes and green was deep and passionate. Jayme broke away first. Her breathing as erratic as his.
“Dinner, you said. Ah, yes, well, as a matter of fact I had a very late breakfast and I’ve been working all afternoon. I’m starved!”