Flame Turns Blue
Emily sighed as she exited the doctor's office. She hated being here. Hated the reminder that she was sick. The image of Zander danced in her head and Emily smiled. With Zander she could forget about being sick. With him everything was perfect. Their love was perfect. He was perfect. A smile curved Emily's lips as she headed for the elevator, but then she stopped as she recognized two figures near the front desk. "Zander?" Emily called out as she ran over. She nodded at Ned." What are you doing here?"
Zander winced. "Nothing."
"He burned his hand with coffee," Ned interjected.
"Oh my god!" Emily saw that Zander's left hand was wrapped in a towel. "What happened?"
Zander shrugged. "It's no big deal. What are you doing here?"
Emily was caught off guard by the turn around. "Um…" She couldn't, wouldn't, tell him about the doctor's appointment. It would ruin everything. "I popped in to visit my parents. I was bored."
"How are they?"
"They're good." Monica piped up from behind Zander.
He turned to smile at her. "Hi, Dr. Quartermaine."
She nodded. "Zander. What happened to your hand?"
"He burned it," Ned answered.
"I'll take a look at it," Monica replied. "I think exam one is empty." She took Zander by the arm to lead him off.
Zander dug in his heels. "It's fine. Really. It's nothing."
Ned glared at him. "No…it's not fine."
"Zander...please let my mom look at your hand," Emily begged. She was worried because she could see he was pale and that pain glittered in his eyes. "It won't take long."
"Em..." Zander broke off shaking his head, then sighed. "Fine." He turned to Monica. "Look away."
Monica led Zander into the exam room. She gestured for him to get up on the table. "Let's see what we have."
Emily came with them and she hovered on Zander's other side as her mother unwrapped the towel. When the angry red patch was revealed, she winced. "That looks painful."
"Ouch!" Zander hissed as Monica probed the tender flesh. "It hurts a bit," he allowed.
"Bordering on a second degree burn," Monica stated. "I'm going to clean it and put some ointment on it then wrap it. And you're going to have to be careful not to get it wet."
Zander nodded. "I can do that."
Emily watched her mother work on Zander's hand in silence. When it was done her mother left them to get some ointment and bandages for Zander to take home with him. Emily smiled at Zander and reached out to smooth a hand through his hair. "Feel better?"
"I feel stupid." Zander fingered the bandages.
"How did you burn yourself?"
Zander sighed. "It was really stupid. I was kind of…daydreaming…while pouring coffee and it sloshed over onto my hand."
Emily frowned. "What were you daydreaming about?"
"I don't know. The day was just dragging...you know?"
"Yeah…I know." Emily leaned in to brush a kiss to Zander's lips. "Does it hurt alot?"
Zander frowned. "What? Kissing you? Doesn't hurt at all."
Emily laughed and mock punched him in the shoulder. "Your hand...does it hurt?"
"Stings a little."
"I have some pain pills for you to take," Monica announced as she reentered the room. "Along with a prescription for an antibiotic which I want you to take. And another prescription for a bottle of pain pills."
Zander made a face. "I have enough leftover pills in my medicine cabinet from my other injuries."
Monica shook her head. "I'm sure you do." She handed the prescriptions to Emily. "Make sure he takes them."
"I will." Emily stepped back so Zander could slide off the table. She steadied him when he swayed on his feet. "You okay?"
"Fine." Zander smiled and nodded.
Ned was waiting for them outside the room. "Take the rest of the day off," he told Zander.
Zander shook his head. "I don't need to. I'm fine. And I have that report to finish."
"The report can wait," Ned stated. "Don't argue with the boss."
"Just give in gracefully, Zander," Emily advised him with a smile. Then she turned the smile on Ned to thank him. She wanted to spend time with Zander, to make sure he was all right.
Zander winced. "Guess I'm outnumbered. Thanks, Ned. But I'll be in tomorrow, early, to finish that report."
Ned nodded. "That's fine. I'm gonna head back to the office." He waved and was gone.
"Damn!" Zander cursed then made a face and turned to Monica. "Sorry."
"That's okay." She patted his shoulder. "Take care of the burn, change the dressing often, use the ointment and take your pills. Got it?"
Zander nodded. "Got it. Thank you."
Monica smiled. "You're welcome." She hugged Emily. "I'll see you later."
"Bye mom." Emily watched her mother walk away then turned to Zander. "Damn…what?"
"Ned drove me here so my car is at work."
Emily was relieved. "No problem. I'll drive you to ELQ to pick up your car then we can drop it off at Jake's and go from there. But lets get your prescriptions filled first." Emily took Zander by the hand and led him to the elevator.
* * * * *
Zander looked up to see Emily holding out a glass of water. "Uh…thanks." He took it and set it down on the table. After retrieving his car from ELQ and dropping it off at Jake’s, they had ended up at Kelly's for an early supper.
Emily sat down and mock glared at Zander. "I got the water so you could take your pills." She dumped them out of the paper bag and opened the containers.
"I'll take them later, okay?" Zander tried to put them back in their respective bottles but Emily glared at him for real. Zander relented. "Fine...taking pills." Dutifully he swallowed them. "Happy now?"
"Ecstatic." Emily smiled then leaned in for a kiss. "You feel okay?"
Zander sighed. He knew Emily was worried about him and he didn't want her to be. "I'm fine. Really. Take my word for it. Okay?"
Emily nodded, reaching out for Zander's hand. "So...what do you feel like eating? I think I'm going to go all out and get a cheeseburger, fries and a shake."
"You want onion rings or fries?"
Zander squeezed Emily's hand. "It doesn't matter." All that did matter was being with her. And Zander said as much.
Emily pulled his hand to her lips and kissed his knuckles. "I feel the same way."
"Am I interrupting?"
"Hey, Elizabeth," Zander said in greeting. He tugged his hand from Emily's grip so he could stand up. "Good to see you."
Liz patted Zander's shoulder then noticed his hand. "What happened?"
Zander winced. "Long dumb story. What's up?"
"Um…can I borrow Emily for a few minutes? I need to talk to you about...girl stuff." Liz looked to Emily for understanding.
"Sure...no problem," Emily replied.
Zander got the hint. "Why don't you order for us, Emily. I'm gonna go take a walk on the docks, so you guys can chat. I'll be back in a bit." He turned to Elizabeth. "Work for you?"
She nodded. "Thanks, Zander."
"No problem." He turned to Emily. "See you in a few." Zander leaned down for a kiss and lingered a moment, feeling her fingers curl in his hair. Kissing Emily was addictive. Zander finally pulled back, waved to Elizabeth, and was off.
* * * * *
Zander walked slowly to the docks, lost in thought. He felt jittery, like he had an itch he couldn't scratch, and tried to tell himself it was from the medication on an empty stomach. He was so wrapped up in his thoughts that he almost crashed into another body. Nikolas. "Sorry...wasn't looking where I was going."
"That's a good way to walk off the end of the pier, Zander." Nikolas smiled curtly. "Where's Emily?"
"At Kelly's with Liz. Girl talk."
Nikolas nodded. "I remember those days. What happened to your hand?"
Zander ran his good hand through his hair. "Burned it at work. Don't ask."
"So..." Zander searched for something to say. "How's...things?" He almost groaned at how lame that sounded, but he and Nikolas weren't exactly friends and they had little in common to chat about. Other than Emily.
Nikolas shrugged. "Things are good. How is Emily feeling?"
Zander frowned. "She's good. Why do you ask?"
"Just wondering." Nikolas sighed. "Look...Zander. You know I'm not a fan of yours, but you make Emily happy and I'm all for that. Just...be careful and pay attention to Emily's needs. Can you do that?"
"Emily is everything to me, Nikolas. She's the only thing that matters in my life. I would die for her. Of course I'll be careful. I never want to hurt her."
Nikolas nodded. "Yeah...I believe that. I'm just saying. Pay attention."
Zander felt suspicion stirring in his gut. "Is there something you're not telling me?"
"No. I just want Emily to be happy. That's all."
"Okay." Zander turned away. His stomach was twisting into knots and he could feel the tightening in his chest which denoted another attack. He cursed under his breath. He didn't want to do this now, not in front of Nikolas. Zander tried to focus on his breathing. Slow breath in, slow breath out. It wasn't working.
Nikolas dropped a hand on Zander's shoulder. "You okay, man?"
Zander shrugged off the hand, turned around and plastered on a smile. He tried to keep his voice steady, and to ignore the dizziness that made him reach out and grab on to the railing in front of him. "Yeah...fine."
"You don't look so good."
"Hand hurts a little."
Footsteps approached. "Zander?"
He turned and smiled at Emily. She moved towards him and Zander took the three steps to meet her. Once she was in his arms he could feeling himself calming down. But he was still shaking and he knew she could feel it. So Zander hoped to distract her. "I thought I was supposed to meet you back at Kelly’s?"
"You were, but I decided to get the food to go. It's been a long day for both of us and I want to get you home." Emily pulled back from the hug.
"Sounds good." Zander was grateful that she didn't ask him if he was okay. He knew the question was on the tip of her tongue. "Nice talking with you, Nikolas," he said to the other man.
Nikolas nodded. "Yeah…same here."
Emily smiled at Nikolas. "Bye." She wrapped an arm around Zander's waist as they climbed the stairs.
"I love you," Zander whispered as they made their way to the car.
"Right back at you," Emily replied.
Zander felt the tightness in his chest finally ease.
* * * * *
Emily stared at Zander. He was asleep, sprawled out on his back, one arm flung over his head, the other resting at his side. Emily had driven them back to Jake’s and they ate their supper before making their way into the bathroom to shower. Together. Joking about the need to save water and to wash each other's backs. Then they had made their way to the bed, making love until Emily wept because it was so perfect. Like Zander was perfect. She smiled as she eased the sheet from his still form. Even with the scars, every inch of him was perfect. His skin was like satin over steel. Each muscle was perfectly defined and Emily let her fingertips dance over his flat stomach, feeling the ridges of his abdominal muscles. She then kissed her way down the same path, nuzzling at the happy trail leading down to his manhood. Gently she curled her fingers around him, feeling all powerful as he stirred in her hand.
She felt him shift position as her lips closed around his tip. Emily knew Zander was awake now. She felt his fingers curl in her hair, tugging gently. But Emily wanted to do this. She wanted to give him this pleasure. So she shifted as well, moving between his strong legs, her tongue lapping at the tiny slit until Zander moaned her name. Then Emily took him completely in her mouth, her fingers squeezing the base of his cock as she suckled him. She loved feeling him twitch, loved how deep his voice sounded as he whispered her name. Then she tasted him, just a few drops at first, and then Zander's fingers were in her hair again as he came hard and long and Emily didn't pull back. She wanted to share this with him, to taste him the way he loved to taste her. When he softened in her mouth she released him, moving to climb up his chest and smirked while she whispered, "Was it good for you?"
"Where...where did you learn to do that?" Zander asked, then held up one hand. "Never mind. Don't answer that...I don't want to know." He kissed the tip of her nose. "You're incredible, Emily. Thank you."
"You're welcome. It was my pleasure."
Zander shifted her so that she was tucked against his side. "It's too early to be up. You should sleep."
Emily nodded and closed her eyes. "You too." She felt him kiss the top of her head and heard him stifle a yawn. It didn't take long before his breathing shifted and Emily smiled as she closed her own eyes, drifting happily into dark oblivion.
But slumber was fleeting. Emily came awake in a rush as nausea twisted in her gut. She staggered out of bed and into the bathroom, dropping to her knees beside the toilet. Amazingly she didn't puke, but she almost wished she would. The pain and nausea rolled over her in waves and Emily bit her lip to silence any outcry. She didn't want to wake up Zander. She didn't want him to see her like this. If he did he might guess the truth.
* * * * *
Zander woke with a start, one hand reaching out for Emily, only to realize she wasn't there. He sat up, combing the fingers of his good hand through his hair then gazed about the room. It was light enough that he could see clearly and Zander saw that her clothes were still lying on the chair. She hadn't left. "Em?" He rose from the bed, scooping his boxers off the floor and slipping them on. Only place she could be was the bathroom so Zander walked over then froze. Emily was lying on the floor. He fell to his knees beside her. "Emily? Em?" When she didn't respond, Zander felt fear ripple through him. He jumped up and ran for the phone. His hand was shaking as he dialed 911. The moment someone answered, Zander blurted out, "I need an ambulance. Now!” He gave his address as he ran back to Emily's side, then Zander made himself focus and listen to the dispatcher. He answered her questions as best as he could, checking for Emily's pulse and feeling relief that it was strong and steady. But she still wasn't waking up. When the dispatcher disconnected, Zander tossed the phone aside and gathered Emily up in his arms, taking note of the fact that she was wearing his shirt. Stupid thing to notice. "Hang on, baby," Zander whispered as he rocked her. "You're gonna be okay. You're gonna be okay." And as he spoke, Zander silently prayed with all his might for it to be true.