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South Africa

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“Bloody hell!” Patrick falls against a wall behind the hospital, the light from the moon shining brightly as he flicks the dirt off of his jacket. He rewards himself with the glory of one cigarette after laboriously helping to push the truck back to the hospital.

He strikes the lighter, his entire attention mesmerized by the ember of burning tobacco beginning its slow trek down the white paper. He lazily blows out the smoke, the perfect way her sharp remark rolled off her tongue to that police officer replaying in his mind. It doesn’t take much after for him to focus more on her physical attributes; the slide of her glasses down her nose or the purse of her lips as they pushed the truck along the bumpy road. 

He shakes his head as he sighs, those gorgeous lips.

He pulls another deep drag, smoke instantly filling his lungs, hoping that the acidic taste will help erase the image of her from his mind before slowly blowing it out. Yet, when he closes his eyes, she is there again with her endless sea of blue sparkly eyes and her rose-colored lips.

All day, I have wanted nothing more than to taste those bloody lips.

Ever since her visit the previous night with her quiet words and shy eyes, he has thought of nothing else but her. And even though he knows that he should heed her words and to offer just his friendship, he finds himself wanting her even more.  

After hours of thinking about every little move they had made, he is unsure if she truly believes in the words she had said to him. There was a desire, a spark of fire, that had ignited in her sapphire eyes when he had reached out to her with just the tips of his fingers. When she had left, he could have sworn on a stack of Bibles that she also wanted something more than just friendship.

That small touch of doubt had filled him with such longing that it has been painful to keep his hands respectfully by his sides.

But I mustn’t think of these things! He pulls out another cigarette from his nearly empty pack and lights it with the flick of his lighter. You know that it’s wrong. She is married for goodness sakes! Keeping their relationship proper, the way Sister Julienne had reminded him a day earlier, is what he needs to strive for. To smear her good work, her reputation, could be detrimental once they return back to their community.

Yet, despite all the reasons to leave their relationship as it has been for the past thirteen years, he cannot for the life of him get the image of her lips out of his mind.

Wine-stained, perfectly sculpted, entirely too kissable lips.

They follow him wherever he goes, no matter if the bright sun shines in his eyes or if he closes them during rest. But it’s not just that…

The gentle sway of her hips as she walks from one patient to the next.

The dip of her brow as her mind actively works to figure out the next puzzle.

The way her eyes light to match the clear skies whenever she smiles.

But, most of all, he wants nothing more than to taste those beautiful lips of hers.

“Care to share one with me?” He looks up to find the same woman weighing heavily on his thoughts standing in front of him with her arms tightly crossed against her chest.

Oh, Lord, help me… Her pretty dress shows off her delightful curves as her lips purse in silent anger. Okay, he carefully thinks, don’t mention anything about the truck. “You have a bit of mud on your cheek.” By the way her lips disappear into a firm, thin line, he guesses that that was not the right thing to say. Not trusting his jumbled words, he pulls a new cigarette from his pack and gives it to her.

His libido springs into full attention when she places the slender fag between those lips he has been daydreaming about. Quickly pulling out his lighter, he clumsily lights the tip. Using her elegant fingers, she pulls the cigarette from those lips and expels the smoke with the graceful tilt of her chin.

Leaning back against the wall in a small shadow he had found behind the hospital on his way to his quarters, he allows himself to stare at her, memorizing any and all grooves and curves she shows to the world.

“We shouldn’t be doing this.”

Her sarcastic tone encourages him to quip back, “It’s not the first cigarette we have shared.”

Even in the pale moonlight, he can see her losing a bit of the rouge that had colored her cheeks from their exertions of pushing the truck up the road. “I’m not talking about the cigarette.”

“I know,” he sighs, “but I can’t stop thinking about you.” He takes a long drag, allowing the smoke to burn within his lungs, once again hoping the bitter taste will wash his defiant tongue.

“We are both married to different people.”

Those seven words, inconsequential when they are by themselves out of context, pierces the small balloon of hope slowly but surely building within his chest. Glancing up towards the inky black sky glittering with millions of stars, he figures that his words will no longer be able to hurt his already tarnished reputation. “The night before our flight, I signed the first set of paperwork to begin divorce proceedings.”

It’s her turn to take a long drag, the ember slowly burning down the cigarette until she lets go and blows out the smoke. “I’m sorry.”

“I’m not,” he blurts out. He takes one more drag before stubbing it out against the brick.

“I will be divorcing Jack as soon as we get back.”

That same balloon he thought had died out, fills at an exponential rate, over-inflating to the point of bursting. “I know it’s not right, but I want to kiss you, touch you until you are just as breathless as the way you make me feel.”  

“I never knew you to be a poet,” she smirks as she puts out her own cigarette.

He knows that she is trying to avoid the blunt truth; he had noticed it even when she was a nun, yet then, her quick remarks were always whispered under her breath. Marriage has made her bold. “You want the same.”

“To be a poet? Never, I don’t have neither the patience nor the iambic—”

His hand sweeps along the curve of her neck, his body pressing her into the safety of the shadow. “Tell me you don’t want this.” His thumb draws along her bottom lip, the air between them heavier than the dry South African air. “Tell me that you would rather remain friends and I will leave you and never bring this up for as long as we live.”

He can almost feel her eyelashes fluttering, “We shouldn’t do this.” Her words are breathless, but, alas, empty when she twists her fingers into the lapels of his dirty jacket, keeping him rooted with no chance to escape.

“We shouldn’t,” he whispers under his breath, “but I have lived most of my married life in a loveless marriage, choosing to think of other’s welfare instead of my own. Right now, I want you, unequivocally and desperately.”

She pulls him closer, his body now melding into her, the touch of her labored breath tickling his bottom lip. “Then kiss me.”

He crashes his lips onto hers, instantly reveling in the sweet taste of her mouth.

Yet, just as quickly as their lips touch, she pulls away, the back of her head hitting the brick, her eyes squeezed shut. “That was lovely,” she sighs.

He leans in and kisses the edge of her jaw, the taste of her skin now a craving that has yet to be thought of, let alone quenched.

“We shouldn’t be doing this,” her fingers run through the hair at the base of his neck, tilting her chin to the side to allow him better access.

“Then stop me,” he kisses the corner of her mouth, the softness of her body pressing into his.

“Because I don’t want you to stop.” She grabs his hair and pulls his head back before crashing her lips onto his. There is a desperation with this kiss; teeth clinking, tongues twisting, moans encouraging the other to give more and more until both are repleted.

Someone one coughing on the other side of the building drives them apart, both as breathless as he had wanted them to be. Twirling on his heels, his back settles against the wall next to her. Pulling out the last cigarette from his pack, he lights it and takes a ragged drag to help calm his desire to invite her to his bed for the evening.

He passes the cigarette to her, where she gladly accepts it with trembling fingers. He knows that she’s going to say that what they did was an accident, an indiscretion that should never happen again. “We can’t take it further than this.” The surprised hitch in his breathing causes her to glance at him, the slow blaze from the burning tip the only source of light for him to see her earnest eyes.

“Really?”

She nods as she gives him back the cigarette to finish, “This wall and it’s shadow will be the only witness to our indiscretion.”

“For now,” he smothers the cigarette against the wall, “yes.”

She stares at his lips, her body visibly teetering between keeping up with proprietary and wanting to taste sin one more time. This time, however, propriety wins. “Goodnight, Doctor Turner.”

He shoves his hands down deep inside his pockets to keep from reaching out to stop her. “Goodnight, Nurse Caplin.”