Relapse (Doctor Dom Volume 4) (A BDSM & Medical Play Novella), страница 1
Relapse (Doctor Dom Volume 4) (A BDSM & Medical Play Novella)
By Tara Crescent
Text copyright © 2013-2014 Tara Crescent
All Rights Reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
My eternal gratitude to Jim and Kathryn for their editing, pre-reading and general hand-holding. I am a better writer because of their efforts.
Cover Design by James, GoOnWrite.com.
I’d just received word that my ex-wife had been badly beaten by her boyfriend. She showed signs of brain injury. I was the neurosurgeon on call.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
“I’ve got to go,” I said, looking at my girlfriend Lisa. It was three in the morning, and the timing could not possibly be worse. We’d uttered the magical I love you words just a few hours earlier.
“I’ll get up,” she said. We had both been asleep when the call had come in.
I shook my head. “No need,” I said. I handed her a house key. “Go back to bed. I’ll call you when I get out of surgery.”
It should have been a bigger thing – giving her a key to my place. Not a result of necessary logistics, but an act of deliberate intent. It didn’t matter. I would have given her a key soon enough anyway.
I could tell that her thinking was running along the same lines from the hesitant way she took the key. But my mind was in two places. The surgery looming ahead was in my thoughts, and everything was intensified by the fact that it was Andrea in the operating room. A woman who I had loved very much at one point in my life; a woman I had been married to for eight years.
“I’ve got to go.” My voice was distracted. She just nodded.
Things wouldn’t be free of complication. When I pulled up at the hospital, I was greeted by a woman in her mid-fifties.
“Dr. Anderson,” she greeted me. “I’m Kelly Waldie. I’m legal counsel here at Toronto General.”
I nodded. “Ms. Waldie,” I said. I’d been expecting to see the lawyers. Andrea was my ex-wife. The hospital would be worried about getting sued due to conflict of interest.
“We have a problem.”
I nodded again. “In that case, why was I called in?” I asked.
She shrugged; a helpless gesture. “You are the only neurosurgeon on call. Dr. Portman is on vacation. Dr. Janokovic lives in Newmarket; it will take her an hour to get here. Plus, she had a glass of wine earlier in the evening.”
Ex-husband. Or a neurosurgeon with alcohol in her bloodstream. No good choices here for the hospital. I didn’t blame Kelly Waldie for looking tired.
“Patrick,” a voice greeted me, and I turned to find John, Andrea’s father. He looked like hell, haggard and grey with worry. “What’s the delay? Why haven’t they pulled her into surgery?”
I wasn’t surprised that John knew Andrea’s status. The guy owned half of bloody Toronto. He knew how to get information.
“Ms. Waldie, this is John Matherson. Andrea’s father,” I said. “John, Ms. Waldie is the legal counsel for the hospital. As Andrea’s ex-husband, I can’t operate on her without putting the hospital at serious risk of being sued.”
To his credit, John didn’t lose his cool. I had no idea how; I would have gone ballistic by now. “Ms. Waldie,” he said. His voice was tight. “That’s my only daughter fighting for her life. Are you seriously telling me that she can’t be operated on because you are afraid you’ll be sued?”
“Mr. Matherson,” Kelly said evenly. I had to admire her calm; she was doing the best possible job in an impossible situation. “We understand this is difficult, so I’ll cut to the chase. As Dr. Andrea Matherson’s substitute decision maker, you need to sign a release form authorizing surgery.”
She held out a release form, and I was even more impressed. It was three-thirty in the morning. She’d received the same middle-of-night phone call as I had, except she was a lawyer and not used to getting calls in the dead of night. But she’d printed out a release form, filled it out, and had it ready for John so there’d be minimal delay with administrative bullshit.
John signed the document without reading it, which had to be a first for him. I nodded to both of them. “I’ll go scrub up,” I said.
Eight hours later, I emerged from surgery into the waiting room, blinking a little as my eyes adjusted to the bright daylight. John was on his feet instantly.
“Is she okay?”
“I don’t know,” I replied. I tried to keep my reply as non-medical as possible. Sometimes, we took refuge in the jargon as a way to try and stay detached from the pain emanating from the families, but it was pointless in this case. “There’s a fair amount of brain swelling. We operated to ease the pressure, and we’ve put her in a coma so she can heal. We’ll monitor the swelling, and as it reduces, we’ll try to pull her out of it.” I paused. “John, there’s a very real possibility that she’ll never come out of the coma.”
He nodded. I could see him try to form words, but nothing came out. Andrea had a difficult relationship with her father. There were faults on both sides. They drove each other crazy. But never once in eight years of marriage did I doubt the very real love they had for each other.
“Do you know what happened?” I asked him.
“It was my fault, Patrick,” he replied tonelessly. “I had lunch with her yesterday. This guy, Liam Henderson, he had trouble written all over him. Ex-cop. A couple of arrests for domestic assault of his ex-wife. Charges mysteriously dropped when she wouldn’t testify. Restraining order. You name it, this guy had it. Every troubling sign in the book.”
“You told her?” I guessed. Andrea craved some sick version of submission, but she wasn’t an idiot. She would have been preparing to cut Liam loose.
John nodded. “She promised she wouldn’t do anything hasty,” he said. His voice was bleak.
I could guess what had happened. Andrea had thought she could get rid of Liam by herself. She always had a chip on her shoulder about letting her father help her. And Liam had beaten her so badly she was hooked up to a respirator, in a forced coma, fighting for her life.
“There’s more,” John added, looking grave. “I told her you’d called me. I can’t be sure she didn’t mention this to Liam. Now the guy is on the run. You need to keep your eyes open.”
“Fuck.” I wasn’t particularly worried about myself. Well, I was, but right now, any instinct for self-preservation was dwarfed by my fear for Lisa, and my sudden, possessive need to keep her safe.
Against all odds, I’d fallen in love with Patrick. He loved me as well. I should have been ecstatic. Or serene. Or content.
I shouldn’t have been fighting a sick sense of dread. But it was there. A deep sense of unease in the pit of my stomach.
When Patrick left, I lay in bed, unable to fall asleep. At some point, I noticed I was hugging his pillow, breathing in the smell of him, and I grimaced. When and how had he become so important? Was it his constant unstinting support? Was it his willingness to make my fantasies come to life? Was it the contrast between his domina
I drifted in and out of sleep. My dreams were filled with unease, and when I woke, the sense of dread returned.
It felt deeply weird to wake up in Patrick’s bed by myself, with no sounds of him in the house. I felt like an interloper, which was utterly ridiculous. In a few weeks, I’d be his designer as well as his girlfriend. I’d be letting myself in and out of his house as if I owned it, and I’d be supervising the tearing down of his kitchen as part of the remodel.
I wandered into the bathroom and brushed my teeth. As I brushed, I tried to isolate the reasons behind the persistent feeling of unease. Finally, I had it narrowed down to two things.
Andrea. I’d run into her when my mother was in hospital, and she had had a bruise on her cheek. I’d forgotten all about it, but now the memory came back, and with it, a surge of self-reproach. Should I have mentioned it to Patrick? Had I been too caught up in my jealousy of Andrea to purposely ignore that she might have been in trouble? If I had said something, would this accident still have happened?
Guilt sloshed around my insides. Don’t be ridiculous Lisa, I tried to tell myself. My mother had been recovering from brain surgery. I’d barely been aware of anything else. I hadn’t deliberately not told Patrick. It had just slipped my mind. But then I remembered my feeling of dread when the hospital had called him. Andrea had always made me feel insecure. But the fact that I let her get to me? I didn’t like that about myself. Patrick had never given me any reason to feel anything other than loved and cherished.
It was time to let the teenage bullshit go. It was time to trust Patrick. To truly move past Nick. Once and for all. I was an adult. I needed to start acting like one.
Adults don’t pout when their boyfriends hand them a key to their house without ceremony, Lisa. That was my conscience, and she sounded snide.
Sigh. Yes. If I were being perfectly honest, I was hoping for more of a romantic moment when we exchanged keys. In fact, I wasn’t even certain if he’d given me a key, or if I was supposed to return it when I saw him next. Also, if I were facing all my anxieties head-on, I wasn’t certain what being in a relationship meant to Patrick. Did it eventually extend to moving in together, or getting married? Did he want children? I was thirty-five. If that was what we wanted for our future, neither of us had a lot of time to dick around. There was a clock, and it was ticking. I’d never felt the need for kids, but suddenly, in a relationship, I didn’t know how much weight I was supposed to give to Patrick’s opinion about this.
I could feel the panic rise in me, as I stared into a vast and unknown future. Calm down. One step at a time, I told myself. Stop getting ahead of yourself.
It was nine-thirty. I found my phone. Ten percent battery remaining, and warning squeaks beeped from it. I debated wandering around Patrick’s office till I found his charger, but I didn’t know if he’d be comfortable with me doing that. I dialed his phone number, but it went straight to voicemail. Still in surgery, probably. I crossed my fingers and hoped everything was okay with Andrea.
Back in my apartment, I took a long shower, and felt much better after that. It was Saturday. I could go into the office, but it was a sunny day, and late-October in Toronto, there weren’t too many of those. I went for a long run instead. After my run, I showered again, enjoying the indulgence, and then cleaned my condo. When my mom had been in the hospital, I’d been too distracted to clean, and it showed. I vacuumed, emptied the trash and did my dirty dishes. I ran to the grocery store and got a salad for lunch. I checked in on my mom. I distracted myself as best I could.
Patrick hadn’t called. That thought kept prickling at the back of my mind.
Before Patrick, my typical Saturday evenings would be spent at a pub. Mandy and Monica would be there, as would their spouses Jason and Ethan. Natalie would join sometimes, if her daughter was at a friend’s place, or if she had a sitter. It was just a cheerful group of people relaxing at the end of a week with a couple of drinks. Since I’d started seeing Patrick, I hadn’t made it to a single one of these gatherings. At the start, Patrick had been a pretty good distraction. Then, I’d hurt my wrist and right after that, my mom had fallen ill. It had just been one thing after another.
I texted Monica and Mandy. “Tonight? Drinks?”
Monica replied right away. “Rose and Crown. 6.30pm.”
“See you there,” I typed. But as I finished responding, I glanced down at the phone, unable to help myself, searching for a missed call from Patrick. Nothing.
At six, my phone rang. Patrick. Finally.
“Hey, how was it?” I asked into the phone. Then, I felt a little awkward, as if I was pumping him for information.
He sounded tired. “She’s alive for the moment,” he said wearily. “Where are you?”
“Home,” I replied. “Getting ready to go out, actually.”
“Oh.” His voice was even. A little trickle of trepidation crept down my spine. Were we going to have a problem about me going out on a Saturday night?
“I’m sorry,” he replied. “I shouldn’t have assumed you’d be around. I’d have loved to see you. Can we have brunch tomorrow?”
“My mother invited you to lunch, remember?” I asked him. “That’s tomorrow.”
“Ah. Sorry, I’d forgotten,” he said. He sounded bone-weary.
“Would you like to join us now? The gang’s having drinks at the Crown and Rose,” I asked. He was my boyfriend, this was ridiculous. It was a new relationship, but there was still no reason for either of us to walk around on eggshells with each other. After all, I trusted this guy enough to let him tie me up and do all kinds of nasty, wonderful things to my body. I could ask him to join my friends and me for a drink.
“I wouldn’t be intruding?” His voice sounded… hopeful, and suddenly, I felt like a shitty girlfriend. His ex-wife had been beaten; he’d been in surgery all day, and I was fretting over the fact that he hadn’t called me.
“Please join us, Patrick,” I replied sincerely. “I’d love to see you there.”
“How are you going to get there?” he asked me.
“Subway, and I need to leave now,” I answered, looking at the clock on the wall.
“Okay,” he said. There was a thread of something in his voice. Disquiet. I put it down to the kind of day he probably had had. “I’ll see you there.”
I hung up the phone and just stood there for a few seconds. At some point, I was going to have to tell Lisa what I’d done, and I hoped she would take my interference the right way. Because I wasn’t trying to be her ex-Dom. I wasn’t trying to control her life. But I had to do what I could to protect her. Just in case.
The image of Andrea in the operating room flashed before my eyes, and my stomach churned. He’d done a number on her, this Liam guy. She’d been beaten bloody, and she’d hit her head against a counter. Thankfully, she’d been able to reach for her phone and call 911 at that point. When she’d dialled the number, the asshole had come to his senses for a second, and had made a run for it.
Andrea was in a coma. We had no idea how dangerous Liam was. John had suggested round-the-clock security. The detective in charge of the case had agreed. Toronto PD wouldn’t give us 24/7 protection, obviously. The chance of anything happening to us was slight at best. But John had a guy.
I had nodded, and just like that, there was a private security company watching my house, Lisa’s office and Lisa’s condo. Someone was following her to the pub right now. Someone would be keeping a watch on us until Liam was safely in jail.
I didn’t want to scare Lisa. I didn’t want her to scoff at the danger either. As it was, I wasn’t going to be able to sleep peacefully until the cops had Liam in custody. Possibly longer. Because when I closed my eyes, all I saw was Andrea’s battered face. And I was desperately afraid it could happen to Lisa.
When I saw Patrick walk into the bar, I had to work to hold back the tears. All of a sudden, I was seriously, profoundly glad to see him. “Hey,” I greeted him as he joined our table, reaching up to do an awkward one-handed hug. He smiled and kissed my cheek, returning my hug for a second before sitting down at the spare chair at my side.
“Someone sitting here?” he asked, realizing a little belatedly that the spot might not have been free.
I smiled at him. “You are. Here, meet everyone. You already know Monica and Mandy. This is Mandy’s husband Jason, and Monica’s husband Ethan.”
The guys shook hands, and Ethan pushed a pitcher of beer over towards Patrick, finding him an empty glass. “Thanks,” Patrick said, pouring himself some, and taking a long sip. “God, I needed that.”
I’d already filled the crew in on the situation; the call we’d received in the middle of the night. Andrea being beaten up. They had been appropriately horrified and troubled, but thankfully, they didn’t ask Patrick about her, letting him drink his beer in peace. I raised an eyebrow at him. “You are drinking tonight?” I asked softly, leaning towards him so no one else at the table could overhear. “Not on call?”
He shook his head. “I’m in no condition to operate,” he replied. “Petra’s on call for the next couple of days.”
“Andrea?” I asked.
Patrick grimaced. “I’m not ready to talk about it right now, baby,” he said. His hand rested on my thigh. “Later?”
I nodded. “I’m glad you are here,” I said instead.
He smiled at me, and reached out to tuck a strand of hair behind my ear. “Me too.”
We ended up having a blast, just hanging out, eating dinner and drinking pitchers of beer. Finally, at ten, Patrick turned towards me. “Lisa, I’m totally wiped out. I’m functioning on just a couple of hours of sleep.” I nodded, and got ready to gulp down my beer. He looked at me, slightly puzzled. “No, no, stay with your friends, I wasn’t suggesting you leave,” he said.