when we met. x/x-ray.
“Exam room four is next, Dr. Nichols.”
The day felt like it had gone on forever. I was exhausted. I was covering for another doctor, and I’d been in the ER for over twenty-four hours. I was grateful that this would be my last patient. I desperately needed sleep.
I pulled up the patient file and read the screen in front of me as I walked into the exam room. Without looking up, I began speaking. “Hello, Mr. Davies. I’m Dr. Nichols.”
“Ian.” He said. Only when I heard his voice did I make eye contact. I knew I was overtired, so it didn’t surprise me that my mind conjured up the sexiest man on earth. He looked like one of the cover models on the steamy books I enjoyed so much.
I blinked a few times in an attempt to break out of my exhaustion-induced hallucination. It didn’t work. He was real. And he was smiling at me. Fuck. Did he know I was momentarily speechless? I was probably blushing. Oh God. I took a deep breath and finally spoke.
“Ian.” I had to collect myself. “Your x-ray is clear. No broken ribs. But I should take a look. Could you remove your shirt?”
He reached behind his neck and grabbed his tee shirt, pulling it off in one quick motion. It was fucking hot. And so was he. Jesus. His arms, his chest, his abs. Oh crap. I’m staring. And this time, I’m certain I’m blushing. When my eyes returned to his, he was smiling again.
I was about to ask him to lie back when he spoke softly. “Your turn.”
It took me a second to realize what he meant. My turn. To take off my shirt. Oh damn. I was completely flustered and he knew it.
“I’m sorry, Dr. Nichols. That was inappropriate.” Still he smiled. And I couldn’t hide my own smile.
“It’s alright.” I took a moment to focus. “Could you lie back for me?” Oh god. That came out wrong, didn’t it? Maybe just in my head because the next words on the tip of my tongue were, “so I can climb on top of you.”
He lay down and lifted an arm up, resting his head on it. I really needed to stop gawking.
“Show me where the pain is.”
I watched his fingers as he ran them over a few of his ribs.
“How did you get hurt?” I could have read the details in his file, but I wanted to listen to him talk. So unprofessional. I reached over and touched him. His skin felt hot and I was sure I was trembling. Oh my god. Get a grip, Vanessa!
“I was in a fight.” My hands froze, and I looked back at his eyes with concern. But he was smiling. “My brothers and I… we mess around whenever we’re all together. Sometimes we… take it a little too far.”
I smiled, holding back a laugh, and continued using my fingers to put pressure along his ribs.
“My mom hates it,” he added.
“I’m sure she does.” I looked at him for a moment, still smiling, before turning back to watch my fingers on his ribs. “Did you get a knee in your ribs or something like that?”
“Yes, something exactly like that.” We were silent for a moment until I pushed the exact spot where his pain was. “Right there, Dr. Nichols.”
Oh. Why did he have to say my name like that? You’re a professional, Vanessa. Keep it together.
I finally took my hands from him. “You can sit up, Ian.” He did. “I want you to ice the area for fifteen to twenty minutes at a time. After a few days, you can alternate ice with heat. Advil for pain, if you need it. If you get worse, give your doctor a call.”
“Thank you, doctor.”
As Ian put his tee shirt back on, I tried not to look disappointed, but the devious smile on his face told me that he knew exactly what I was thinking. I turned away and pulled the curtain aside. When I did, Maria approached. “Mr. Davies is all set, Maria.”
“You must be so happy your extra shift is finally over,” Maria said.
“Very happy.” When Maria walked away, I turned back to Ian. “I hope you feel better.”
He smiled and took a few steps toward me. He was close. So close. “I couldn’t help overhearing. You’re finished here for the day?”
“Do you have plans?”
“Would you like to have a drink with me, Dr. Nichols?”
“Vanessa,” I said with a smile. “I am no longer your doctor.” I paused for a moment. “But I think you need to ice your ribs. You should go home.”
“Okay. But I think you’d better come along to make sure I ice my injury properly.”
“Oh, you think so?” I teased.
p.s. — The man in the photo—he *is* one of the cover models on the steamy books I enjoy. (My Favorite Souvenir and The Naked Truth) And I bet you can guess who he is. Yes, the most attractive man on earth.
p.p.s. — I know that picture is bordering on indecent. Sorry. Like, sorry if it’s too close to indecent, or sorry if it’s not more indecent. Take your pick.
Hot guy: Italian model Simone Bredariol (Seriously—I am madly in love with this man.)