There was a beeping sound as I regained consciousness. Everything was a little hazy and my brain ached. God my head hurts!

“Good, you’re awake” came a rich baritone voice. A white coat fell into view. I tried to talk but had trouble.

“Don’t speak,” came the sound again. “Nurse!”

I closed my eyes again wishing that my vision would free up. A nurse, I assumed, appeared and started to pull out my feeding tube and other things.

“Miss Harris, I am overjoyed you’re aware. I am Doctor Tounsel. Are you having any trouble?”

“Water,” I replied. My throat felt raw and my voice sounded hoarse and pained. The nurse gave me water through a straw. I kept my eyes closed as a headache worse from the sudden onslaught of bright lights.

“Any pain?” prompted Dr Tounsel. My eyes fluttered and could soon open. Pain racked my body. I looked down and realized they were bandages around my abdomen. My sight fell on Dr Tounsel, he was the most beautiful man I have ever encountered in my life. If I could’ve, I would’ve fanned myself because he was fine as fuck!

“What happened?” I asked

“Someone shot you and then the crowd trampled on you, but you will be fine,” he said in a plain matter-of-fact voice.

“Where am I?”  I asked, “how long have I been here?”

“You’re at Mercy General. You’ve been here about a week. We called your sister Ariel. She’s been by,”

“My mom?” I inquired. Dr. Tounsel shrugged.

Miss petty boots at it again. The nurse showed up with medicine and I was out.

When I regained consciousness again Ariel was in the room

“Hey, little mermaid,” I greeted her.

“Hey princess, how’s Argubar?”

“Same ole same ole, what about Poseidon?”

We laughed so hard. Our mother loved Disney; she’s never been to Disney World, so she named her daughters after Disney princesses. The children in the neighbourhood picked on us mercilessly because of it. How could two black girls who have never left Garrow Isles be named after American princesses? We looked each looked a little like our Disney characters though. Ariel fair skin with reddish-brown curls and freckles to match while I was dark-skinned with long black hair. Though we both didn’t know our fathers we theorized that her father was white because of her colouring. Our mother was a drug fiend and never knew our fathers so we didn’t have much to go on. But thanks to genetic testing I found out that my father was an actual Indian as I had fifty percent DNA match the Middle East. Ariel had a good chunk of Irish. This revealed her reddish curls.

“How are you feeling?”

“I have been better.”

“I am overjoyed you made it cause no way in hell, you gonna leave me with Maleficent,” Ariel exclaimed.

We burst out shrieking. The laughter led to a silent moment when she took my hands in hers and squeezed them. It relived her that I was going to be ok.

I am the older sister. I protected Ariel from it all; the late-night beating from our mom and the men seeking to get into our room after Ms. Harris was too high to perform for them. When Ms. Harris forced me at seventeen to leave home, Ariel, twelve, tagged along refusing to go on living with her. That’s when my math teacher, Mrs. Laing, took us in. In this new environment, Ariel thrived. Whereas I made all A’s without thought she failed every subject in school. Teachers assumed she had some learning disabilities, but turns out; she just needed the support and love that Aunty Stacy provided. Stacey Laing and her husband couldn’t have kids so they adopted Ariel. They made sure she got into a great college and embraced her like their own. They did the same for me, but I had spent too many years with Ms. Harris to accept them with open arms. I always kept them at arm’s length.  Whereas Ariel called her mom, I called her Aunty Stacey. Aunty Stacey never held it against me though. She understood having to be strong for so long.

After I graduated from college, when she deemed me a woman, we chatted about why she took us in. She saw herself in us. She came from an identical position. Her mom immigrated to America when she was two months old and left her with her granny because Stacey’s dad was long gone. At eleven she also migrated. For a young poor girl from Jamaica, going to live in America was the dream. But they ushered her from one ghetto to the next. Big Mike, her mom’s husband and pimp, raped her until she was fifteen then sought to force her into prostitution. Her first night on the street, she ran away. Several years afterwards she met Thomas, and they moved to Garrow Isles,

Stacey and Thomas died in a car accident three years ago. At that point, Ms. Harris made her grand return, a whole bible-thumping zealot.

“Have you seen your doctor? He’s hot as fuck,” Ariel said as she broke my train of thought.

“Ariel! You’re engaged,” I protested only half serious.

“I am engaged not blind!” she blurted out.

She became silent, and I sensed something was amiss “about that, Malik and I will postpone the wedding until you’re all better,”

“You don’t have to do that. You’ve been planning this wedding for almost a year,”

“I can’t have my wedding without my maid of honour,” she replied

“Let Tammy do it. I am certain she had that in mind, anyhow.” I said.

Ariel rolled her eyes. Her BFF is a bitch on wheels but she looked at the best in her. Ariel’s too caring and short-sighted with her loved ones.

“You’re my maid of honour and whenever you’re better is when the wedding will happen,” she brushed her lips against my head as she got up. “I gotta run back to work ok. Please rest.”

She said nothing about my injuries but I suspected she already knew.  She never quite understood why I strip but she said nothing negative. Ariel’s loyal and supportive to a fault.

I was going through some pain. I called for the nurse. She came filled me with some pain meds. I went back to snooze Ville.

Over the next few days, the nurses came and adjusted my dressing. Ariel came around in the evening after work, along with her fiancé Malik. Some times when I slept I swore there was a dark force close to me but maybe I was just high on meds. I didn’t see much of Dr McSexy until he showed up to discharge me.

“How is my patient today?” he asked in his gruff sexy voice.

“rested and ready to return to work,” I replied

“Thatta girl. Well, you are free to go. Will anybody be picking you up?”

“Yea, my sister will be by soon,”

“So aahhhmmm” McSexy cleared his throat and scratched behind his ears “would you like to go get drinks sometime?”

“Yea sure we should do that,”

“Ok ok,” he gave a nervous grin. We exchanged numbers.

My recuperation was three weeks because the only seriousness was my coma, which doctors couldn’t explain. But, they expected me to make a full recovery as it didn’t leave any permanent damage, as the bullet went through torso not touching anything. The police came by feigning interest in solving my case. But I saw in their eyes, they thought I was just a dirty stripper who got what she deserved. They were little more than filthy animals.

Ariel visits every day.  We talk about her wedding plans and the difficulty of getting a nice place last minute since her current wedding venue is not taking any more bookings for months. My spirit sank. I hated to disappoint my little sister even though she reassured me, it wasn’t my fault. It sure felt like it. My compulsion to strip has never affected her or any other aspects of my life until now. Was the stripping worth all of this?

I was in the middle of a new animation when my iPhone chirped.

How is my sexiest patient doing?

I am not your case anymore but we can still play doctor and naughty nurse. I responded.

Tempting but I want to know how you’re doing. 

I felt the blow as if he delivered it himself.  I am doing better.

The phone buzzed and his number showed up. I considered not answering the phone. My curiosity got the best of me.

“Hello,” I answered.

“I needed to ask the old fashion way, so we misconstrue nothing. Can we meet for coffee in about an hour? My shift ends soon, and I wanted to meet up before I hibernate.”

I paused and yelled a silent yes.

“Are you there?” he asked with a concerned voice.

O shit, I thought, “Yes. Yes, I am here and yeah I wanna meet up. Can we make it an hour and a half?”

“Sure,” he replied.

As soon as I hung up I saved my work and jumped up. He was coming from work so I knew it wasn’t a dress-up date. It was possible he just wanted to see if I was fine. With that in mind, I chose a hot pink yoga tights and an oversize white racer back t-shirt. I showered and shaved just in case I got lucky. It has been a while. I put my hair in a big messy bun and head out to the address he sent earlier. It was twenty minutes from my apartment on foot.

He was early, like me. I liked that.  He looked up as if he sensed me. He got up to hug me and pull out a chair for me. That was strange to me. I wasn’t used to this.

“Hey, it’s great to see,” I said as I sat down.

“Likewise,” he said, “I must look like shit, and I just worked a twelve hour shift. I am beat.” He looked incredible. His chocolate brown skin and yellow undertones stood out like a flare to my eyes. I couldn’t stop staring at his perfectly chiseled jawline and a goatee that complimented his beautiful lips. I began picturing them on mine. Were they as soft as they looked?  His top lips were thin and dark but his bottom lips were thick and as pink as my freshly shaved vagina. Long generous lashes stressed his wide, full bushy brows that framed his brown-black smoky eyes. He was perfection, like a Hershey kiss.  I wanted to eat him up and suck on every inch of his delectable skin. I wanted to…

“Coffee?” he asked.

“Huh?” I was lost and confused at this point.

“Do you want coffee?” he said slowly “ I have been asking for a while,” he said with that damn sexy smirk

“I am so sorry. You lost me there.” I said in an earnest voice

He smiled a knowing smile and said fine. He signaled to the waitress and ordered a large coffee for us both. We chatted for a little. I told him about my job as an animator and about my sister. He told me about himself, his parents, where he was from and where he went to school. Our pasts were as different as night and day.

“So I asked you for coffee because I like you ma,” he said as he licked his perfect little lips. “Cuz amma fly dude you know ma.” He laughed so hard when my eyes grew as big as saucers.

I burst out laughing. Dr. Tounsel was silly.

“So you’re laughing at me, Ma,” he said

“Nah, I am laughing with ya blood,” I replied.

“Good, I was gonna come over there for that ass,” I died.  This man had me in stitches.

“But seriously Jasmine, I am a busy man and hate to waste time. I don’t do casual dating. I am looking for someone to be my wife. I ain’t proposing to you. I  just want to let you know what I am about.”

I lost myself in watching his lips move. If he asked me to move to mars in that moment I would have.

“Yes,”

He chuckled. It was a deep sound that vibrated in my pussy. I want this man more than I want my next breath. We finished our coffee and made plans to meet the next day for dinner. I almost skipped when he walked me home.

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