A Short Story to tide you over...
Last week I went and did my CPR update and was chatting on twitter afterwards. I mentioned that if a gorgeous guy were to fall at my feet I was prepared. I was due to write a 1k short for the Harlequin boards so this is the result. It came second incidentally. Not enough romance. For those not in Australia, we dial 000 triple zero instead of 911.
Be Careful What You Wish For.
God, he was beautiful.
From the corner of her eye, Suvati scanned the stranger seated along from her in the waiting room. The white-blond hair over a golden, classically beautiful face, the broad shoulders, narrow hips and legs long enough to… Don’t even think about it.
She dropped her gaze back to the magazine, trying to focus on the latest gossip about some actress or other but her eyes were drawn to him again and again. He seemed indifferent, the vivid blue eyes staring straight ahead at the blank wall. Suvati couldn’t help wondering what brought the frown to his face? What brought him here today? He looked healthy enough, his body well developed and muscular, like an athlete.
What she wouldn’t do to have a man like that at her feet. What was a man like him doing in this small rural town? She’d have seen him before. Unless he was the new CEO of the Moncrieff Mining Consortium due to arrive this week?
His eyes shut briefly giving her the opportunity to take a really good look. Her first impression of his face hadn’t lied. He really was beautiful. The high cheekbones, the long straight nose between heavy lidded eyes, and his mouth. Full, well shaped lips with the tuck in the corners that suggested humour despite his frown. To have that mouth under hers...it would be worth dying to be kissed by him just once.
Fingering her grandmother’s jade pendant, Suvati smiled wryly at her thoughts. Wishing wouldn’t bring a gorgeous stranger to her feet, desperate for her kisses. But she wished anyway, comforted by the warmth of the stone under her fingers.
A murmur of sound brought her back from thoughts of Grandma Aditi. A choking gurgle came from the strangers throat. One hand pressed to his chest as the other flailed in the air, the long fingers splayed before they clenched tightly in a fist. As she watched, he slid to the ground in a heap, his face white as chalk.
Leaping to her feet, Suvati glanced over at the receptionist who sat gaping. ‘Call the ambulance. Dial Triple Zero.’
The dark head ducked down behind the counter, followed by the clatter of the phone as the girl fumbled with the receiver.
Looking down at the man at her feet, Suvati tried to remember what she’d learned at her First Aid classes only a few weeks ago.
Check for Danger. Okay.
Moving the chair away from his head, she knelt down. What came next? Check for Response. ‘Can you hear me? Open your eyes.’ Taking his limp hand, she leaned over, assessing his condition. ‘Can you hear me? Squeeze my hand if you can hear me.’ It lay flaccid in hers. Please don’t die.
‘Is the ambulance coming?’
The Receptionist nodded. ‘It’s on the way. They said to start CPR.’
‘Can you help?’
‘No…no way.’ The girl backed away. ‘I’ll wait at the door to show the paramedics in.’
Looking down at the stranger’s pale face Suvati knew she had no choice. He wasn’t breathing. Releasing his hand, she gripped his jaw and the back of his head, tilting it back. She couldn’t see any rise and fall of the chest and no whisper of air from mouth and nose. Open Airway. Done.
Resting the heel of her hand on his chest, trying not to notice how good the muscle felt under her touch, she found the right spot. Thirty Compressions ‘One and two and three and four…’ She counted carefully as she pushed down with both hands. Now two breaths. She sucked in a deep breath. This was not how she imagined kissing this man. It certainly wasn’t what she wished for…was it? An awful suspicion clouded her thoughts for a second. Stop it. He could die while you debate the question.
Gripping his nose and chin Suvati lowered her mouth over his, careful to form a seal as she breathed, turning her head to watch the chest rise. All good. A second breath and his body convulsed beneath her. Coughing and spluttering he pushed her away roughly, just as the paramedics burst into the room.
Sidelined, she watched as the two uniformed men dealt with the patient. They hardly seemed to notice her as they placed the blonde stranger onto a trolley to wheel him away. He may be conscious but they had no intention of letting him go under his own steam.
She didn’t even know his name.
The hospital corridors were busy at this time of day, visitors hurrying to greet loved ones burdened with flowers and mysterious packages. Probably food or clothing items. Nervously Suvati stopped at the door of the room the nurse had indicated. Would he resent her interest? She just wanted to see he was okay. A simple question and then she would leave
He lay in the bed with the sheet at his waist, a hospital gown covering that broad chest, staring out the window.
Those eyes were just as blue as she remembered. His sandy brows rose slightly, in a question.
‘I’m Suvati. I was in the waiting room at the Radiologists when you…’
‘Collapsed at your feet?’
His voice was luscious, deep and slow with a faint accent. ‘Yes.’ She thrust her parcel at him. ‘I brought you some fruit…grapes. They grow them here.’
His strong sinewy hand reached for the gift. ‘Thank you. That is most kind.’
Standing awkwardly, she wondered what to say. He didn’t seem inclined to talk, choosing a grape and popping it into his mouth. His mouth. Oh Gosh, she was staring.
Licking his fingers, he returned her look narrowly. ‘So I fell at your feet and you gave me the kiss of life. How was it for you?’
How was it? ‘Probably better for me than you?’
‘Perhaps we should try again some time. When I’m conscious.’
His warm gaze sent prickles of awareness all over.
‘Perhaps we should.’