By Martin Clement
Unless otherwise noted, this story is Copyright 2006 by Martin Clement for Clement & Boule Associates. All rights reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced, published, distributed, displayed, performed, copied or stored for public or private use in any information retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any mechanical, photographic or electronic process, including electronically or digitally on the Internet or World Wide Web, or over any network, or local area network, without written permission of the author. No part of this story may be modified or changed or exploited in any way used for derivative works, or offered for sale, or used to construct any kind of database or mirrored at any other location without the express written permission of the author. Thank you for respecting the intellectual property rights protected by the copyright laws of Canada, the United States and International Copyright Treaty.
This story is a work of fiction. All the events and characters depicted in this story are parts of the imagination of the author only. Any similarity to real people, living or dead, or any event that might have occurred in reality should be considered as purely coincidental.
Who The Heck Is Catherine Pittsfield?
The ride to St. Luc hospital through the streets of Montreal was a rough one for me since all the holes and the bumps sent me to experience pain in all its forms. At least, the paramedics had let Valerie sit beside my stretcher in the back of the ambulance since I had insisted on letting her ride with me. On the whole way to the hospital, she held my hand in hers, responding to every surge of pain I was experiencing by squeezing my hand. Although this trip was less than comfortable, there was nothing I could say against the paramedics' competences. I always felt vulnerable lying on a stretcher in an ambulance. There was nothing I could really complain about since they did their job and did it well, chatting with me and giving me reassuring glances all through the trip. Even though one of them was constantly beside me, I didn't feel as if my privacy was invaded as he remained very professional, letting me have a little space since my life was not threatened. I hated being treated as some child and that was not the case. We talked about the weather and the awful delay in cleaning up the streets and sidewalks due to the unexpected snow fall the previous week, and soon enough, we were parked in the reserved driveway to the emergency ward of the hospital. I was extracted from the ambulance and shipped through the doors so quickly I didn't have time to feel the cold outside.
The tension was so thick in the emergency ward as doctors and nurses seemed to run in every directions. My cardiac rhythm increased in that uncomfortable situation and I could feel my heart trying its way out of my ribcage. They had sent Valerie to the waiting area as soon as I was out of the ambulance and I felt as though I needed her to come back and hold my hand again. The transfer from the paramedic stretcher to the hospital one was not that painful as it was done very professionally. There were so many stretcher in the corridors I thought I would be forgotten there for weeks and then some but as soon as the paramedics found a spot out of the way, a woman with a stethoscope around her neck almost fled to retrieve information about my case from one of them. She then thanked the paramedics and dismissed them. When she looked my way, I could tell she was tired. She had dark circles around blue eyes that had lost their shine and the traits of her face were drawn. I was afraid she would fall to the ground any minute. She looked worse than I did.
"I'm Dr. Werner. How is it going here?" she asked in a perfect pronunciation of each word. "Does it hurt now?"
"By intermittences... It's not so bad now though since I'm not moving."
"Okay..." she sighed, putting round glasses to her nose. "We will need your medic card for registering you. Do you have it with you?"
"Yeah..." I answered, trying to shift so I could retrieve my wallet from the back pocket of my jeans. I winced as a shooting pain went through the base of my back as a long and sharpening knife.
"Do you need any help?" she asked, concern in her voice.
I felt embarrassed so I didn't answer and kept on trying, feeling the pain increase in my lower back and finally could grab a hold on the wallet and pull. Everything that was in that pocket came falling off of it, including the stack of money that went flying everywhere. Instinctively, I tried to reach for it by sitting down on the stretcher and felt a terrible pain and cold sweats going down my spine. I fell back on the stretcher, eyes shut tight, fists clenched and hissing cusses through short breaths. The doctor didn't seem bothered by my bad language. She must have heard worse before. She laid a hand on my chest to steady me before she proceeded to retrieve the wallet from my hand.
"Money..." I groaned through hissing sounds.
"I'll get it." I heard a masculine voice say.
"I'll do it!" the doctor hastily said. "Register him! I need to be in measure to give him pain killers now!" There were a couple of minutes of silence while I could sufficiently calm down and open my eyes, the rhythm of the shooting pains subsiding almost completely but still there, following the rhythm of my heart. "There," she said, handing me my wallet. "I've put your money inside."
"No need to," she told me, a little smile enlightening her eyes a brief instant.
A couple of minutes later, the nurse was back with forms he gave to the doctor who could finally give me pain killers and proceed to do an examination of my vitals.
I must have been really exhausted or the pills stronger than I thought because the first thing I remember was that I no longer laid in the emergency ward as no more noise came to my ears. I must have passed out while the doctor was practicing her routine on me. As I slowly opened my eyes, I could tell I had been shipped to a private room. Out the window, I could see it was night already.
"Hi..." I heard from my left side. I could recognize my friend's voice anywhere.
"Hi Valerie," I groggily answered, turning my head slightly and finding her sitting close to the bed. I was dizzy I could tell as I felt nauseous. "What am I doing here?"
"I don't know," she replied. "When I asked the standard if I could go and see you, they told me you had been sent here. I thought your parents..."
"Oh... Nobody told you when they sent you here?"
"I was unconscious. How did you get them to let you in? I thought that when a patient was passed out only family members were allowed... or people accompanying them, at the most."
She leaned into me on her chair.
"Darling," she said seductively, blinking repetitively, "nobody can keep a woman from being with her husband when he's hospitalized, you know, and certainly not one on her PMS!" As I felt my face flush, hers took a look of mock hurt. "Don't you remember our honeymoon, sweetie?" She paused a bit then looked at me seriously. "I think you have amnesia..." she stated, dramatically throwing her head back with the reverse of her hand plastered to her forehead. "Or worse, maybe you have been abducted by aliens that made you forget everything about me!" She made a face of horror and I couldn't help but crack a little at her lame joke, but when she looked all around the room as a spy about to reveal the secret of the Caramilk and said "I think they turned you into a... homosexual," pulling at her dreads, eyes wide opened and letting a hushed scream escape from her throat, that was it. I was laughing so hard I had cramps in my stomach. "That's not funny!" she sternly said, standing and putting her fists on her hips.
"At least I'm lucky they didn't turn me into a girl!" I managed to reply through laughs and teary eyes.
"What?" she hissed through mock anger. "Did I hear right? What do you have to say against girls?"
"Would be quite an interesting conversation if we both were on PMS!" I laughed harder.
"Stop laughing! You'll hurt yourself! Come on! Stop it now!" she said tapping her foot and looking at her watch. She really was a clown. Then my stomach growled. "Hum... Yannick," she said looking at me seriously, "there's an alien in there I think."
"Ouch! Stop! Stop it!" I laughed while feeling the pain in my back coming back to life. Valerie must have notice a change in my tone as she turned as white as a ghost, then plopped back on the chair and held my hand in hers, worry plastered on her face. Our laughing fit ended there.
"I'm sorry, Yannick! I'm sorry! Talk to me, please! Are you alright?"
"I'm okay, Valerie."
"Yeah... don't sweat it. I'm alright."
"Pfew! I thought I would have to rush a nurse in here."
"It won't be necessary."
"Well, I won't try to make you laugh anymore though."
"You know, it was actually the best thing to happen today."
"I'm not sure about that." Valerie mumbled.
"What?" I asked.
"Oh! nothing..." she dismissed, waving a hand in front of her face.
"No, tell me. What did you mean by that?"
"Well... you were quite in an eye lock with Jerome this afternoon..."
"Jerome?" Now she had lost me. "Who is Jerome?"
"Yeah right! Who's Jerome..."
"Golden skin... dreamy eyes... spiky hair... saved your life..."
Recognition came back to me.
"He didn't save my life, Valerie. Don't let the events carry you out of yourself and to a fairytale!"
"Well you surely were looking at him as if he were some kind of a knight! You were practically drooling right in front of him."
"I was not!"
"Oh yes you were."
"Whatever." I looked the other way, flushed with embarrassment. "How do you know his name?" I mumbled.
"Why should I tell you?" she teased me. "It seems as you don't have any interest in that guy. He didn't save your life after all..." I sighed and looked intensely into her eyes. "Your words!" she said in mock defense.
"Will you tell me already?" I could feel fire coming to my eyes.
Valerie held my stare a couple of seconds and I knew she was up to something when I saw glitters spark in her eyes.
"Oh my God! he's healed!"
"What are you talking about?"
"The aliens... the aliens didn't turn you into a homosexual!"
"Well if you're not interested in Jerome, then probably this fire in your eyes is for me! Oh my God! Now we can live happily ever after and make tons of little Valeryannick puppets that will run all around our house and swimming pool in the suburb! God! I think I'm already pregnant! My PMS is gone! gone! I'm free!"
"In your dreams, yeah! So... seriously... how comes you know his name?"
"So now you want to know?"
"Yes, I want to."
"Well... he seemed to be quite worried about you, so..." she trailed and showed me a card from the Governor's hotel.
"Wow!" I mocked exclaimed. "He gave you a business card! Now I know where I'll take a room if it happens that I need one."
"Not that, doofus." She turned the card.
On the other side of the card was written Jerome, room 1102, password: Santa Claus. I lifted one eyebrow.
"Password? What's that for?"
"Don't know. They probably don't want to be disturbed by unwanted people."
"Well... I won't disturb them either."
"Why should I call this Jerome guy for?"
"I don't know... maybe to reassure him on your state? He really seemed worry..."
"I was not about to die, Valerie. I didn't have a stroke or anything like that!"
"I know that but he stayed there with you the whole time waiting for the ambulance to arrive. He kept you warm that whole time. Do you think it would be too hard just to call and thank him?"
Now I felt like shit. That was true. The whole time I had laid on the icy sidewalk he had held my head and told me to focus on his eyes trying to get me not to focus on the terrible pain I was in.
"You're right, I should call him."
"There," she said, handing me the card.
"Thanks. I'll call him as soon as I can get a hold of a phone."
"Shouldn't be difficult. There's one right there on your night stand. Do you want to call him now?" I simply nodded, nervousness hitting me full force. "Okay." She handed me the phone. "I'll come back later."
Then she was gone in a flash.
"Reception of the Governor's Hotel, Colette speaking, how may I help you?" an elderly woman answered.
"Hello, may I be transferred to room 1102 please?"
"An instant, sir..." I could hear her tapping on a keyboard. "There is a restriction for this room under request of the occupants."
"I know about that, madam. They gave me a password."
"Could you please give me this password?"
"Thank you." I heard her type again. "Don't hang up, your call will be transferred to room 1102 in a couple of seconds. Thanks for calling the Governor's Hotel, sir. Have a nice day."
Waiting on the line for somebody to pick up the phone made me really nervous. I thought I would pass out. My hands were frozen and blue and I could tell my face was a sick white. The fact that the phone had already rung four times didn't help. I felt relieved when I decided after the fifth ring to hang up. But when I was about to do so, a feminine voice came through the phone.
"Hum..." How was I going to answer? Who was that woman? Had I been sent to the good room? "I... I'm sorry... I guess I have the wrong room..." I said, my voice shaking.
"Which room were you looking for?" she asked.
"Hum... I was looking for room number 1102. I guess..." I was interrupted.
"You are at room 1102. How may I help you?" I was even more nervous. With my luck, I had probably been lurking on her boyfriend that afternoon. "Hello?"
"Yeah well... I was wondering if it was possible... to speak to Jerome... please." My voice squeaked on the last word. So much for trying to sound casual.
"May I ask who's speaking?"
"Yes, it's... Yannick Durand..." I trailed. "He helped me this afternoon when I fell on the sidewalk and waited for..." She interrupted me again.
"Yes!" she exclaimed. I had to pull the phone from my ear not to suffer from a perforated eardrum. "Is everything alright now?" she asked, regaining a neutral but smiley tone.
"I guess so," I answered, a bit shaken by the fact she would know about the incident. But if she was Jerome's girlfriend, I guessed she would know how brave her boyfriend was by him telling her the whole awkward adventure.
"I'm happy to hear it," she said seriously. Of course, she was nice. How could a guy as wow as Jerome go out with a bitch? "Can you hold on a minute or two? I'll see if Jerome is available."
"Sure!" See if Jerome is available? I was tempted to say something stupid as "Hey girl! You don't even know if your boyfriend is available when you are in the same room?" Maybe she was more stupid than I thought. I heard a phone being picked up and another click telling me the first one had been put down.
"Hello?" the deep voice answered. I thought I would have fainted right then.
"Hello... It's Yannick Durand... the guy who fell on the sidewalk. I'm sorry to disturb you..." I was interrupted by that same voice that kept on telling me to focus.
"Hey..." he trailed and sighed. I heard shuffling as I was sure he was lying back on the bed rest, rubbing his socked feet together for more comfort. My heart skipped a beat. "How're you doing? I mean... how's your back?"
"It's not so bad. I haven't stood up yet though."
"What's the doctor said? Have you seen one yet?"
"Yes, a couple of hours ago. I haven't seen her after that though. I don't know exactly what I have. Probably a sprained back."
"Shit... So you're still at the hospital?"
"Yes. I think they want me to stay the night. They have sent me to a private room."
"That's too bad."
It was strange... Before that day, I had never met this guy. Hearing his voice was so comforting and charming that I couldn't just say my thanks and hang up. At one point, my nervousness was completely gone and I was eager to know more about my stranger. I learned that he was born in Boston but now lived in Clermont, Florida since the age of fourteen. He was nineteen years old going on twenty, two days before my birthday. Sometime over our discussion a nurse brought me some less than tasty food that I ate while I kept discussing with Jerome. He told me he was in Montreal for two weeks then would have to go back to work. I just couldn't hang up. I couldn't. I was suspended at his lips the same way I had been to his eyes and the hand that had soothed me on the sidewalk. But this conversation had to come to an end. We were, after all, two different people living in two completely different worlds. So after almost two hours of chatting about music and other noncommittal subjects, I told him I would better get some rest.
"Yeah..." he sighed. Maybe it was from relief from finally getting rid of me without being impolite. "You do that."
"Thank you for everything." I said.
"It's alright..." he trailed. It seemed as he wanted to say something more, but I dismissed this idea as being my foolish mind at work again.
I didn't wait for an answer and hung up.
As much as I had felt comfortable while talking to Jerome, now I was sad. I felt empty again. My bladder though was about to burst open.
There was a soft knock at the door and my eyes met Dr. Werner's, looking more tired than they seemed before. I thought that she really would better get some rest before she found herself in my position on a hospital bed. She smiled.
"I passed by earlier and you were on the phone, so I decided to come back later."
"Oh! You should have just cut me out of it! It was not that important..."
"I always take love affairs as serious, trust me!" she smiled. I found myself blushing furiously and decided to let her think whatever she wanted to. "So," she continued, "good news, there is nothing to be alerted with your back. When you fell, you twisted your spine so it is sprained. There is nothing I can do more than give you prescriptions for pain killers, a cane and a lot of rest. I have discussed with your wife earlier and she told me she could get a way of transportation to bring you back to your home tomorrow. I want you to stay here tonight so you get more rest and you don't aggravate the sprain."
"Actually, Valerie is not my wife."
"I would have guessed so." She winked. "Nobody these days is so crazy as to get married so early."
"I was wondering..."
"Do you know who asked for my transfer to this room?"
"I think her name was Pittsfield. Yes, Catherine Pittsfield. She also asked to be billed for the charges for the ambulance. Rings a bell?" she asked.
"Not at all! Is she still in the hospital?"
"No, I think she asked for the transfer by phone. You probably have some influence though."
"What do you mean?"
"She asked for the bills to be sent to her... in Orlando."
A nurse came by soon enough to help me walk to the bathroom. Valerie came back sometime before the visits ended and told me she'd be back with her mother's car in the morning. I stayed awake late after she left, wondering who the heck was that mysterious Catherine Pittsfield, how did she know me, how had she gotten to know I was in hospital... and why the hell she was paying for all that.
To be continued...
Note from the author
This story is treating about friendship, romance, betrayal, forgiveness, acceptance, pain and healing. There might be some intense scenes of passion but you won't find any explicit scene. I don't have anything against eroticism in itself as I have read a lot of very nice erotic stories on Nifty and elsewhere. As the main characters will try and survive their pain, trying to lead their lives into a world full of resentment, I rather give them the peace and privacy of a closed door than failing at the attempt at explaining a theory of their sexual intercourses. That way, as this story will be told at the first person, if you feel as immersing yourself inside the head of the characters, you'll be able to forge your own version and images of their sexuality without me interfering with my own generic ideas about eroticism.
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