Read Winter Jacket: New Beginnings Online

Authors: Eliza Lentzski

Tags: #Gay & Lesbian, #Literature & Fiction, #Erotica, #Lesbian, #Romantic, #Lesbian Romance, #Genre Fiction, #Lgbt, #Gay Fiction, #Lesbian Fiction, #@lgbt, #Contemporary, #@unread, #Romance

Winter Jacket: New Beginnings (14 page)

BOOK: Winter Jacket: New Beginnings
3.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

I looked over at my girlfriend, blissfully asleep beside me. She’d come over after dinner with her parents. Her lips were slightly parted and she made a kind of wh
istling noise when she exhaled. Sometimes I hated sleeping; I could stay awake and watch her all night. She still reached out for me while she slept. It wasn’t uncommon for her hand to find my shoulder, my bicep, or the neckline of whatever top I was wearing to bed. Every few moments I would feel her fingers flex and tighten around my arm, but they were all involuntary movements. It should have felt smothering, but it didn’t; it comforted me. It tethered me like a stable anchor.

My brain refused to quiet itself for a long time that night. When it finally shut down so I could fall asleep, I still had no satisfactory answer


Chapter EIGHT

“Paging Hunter Dyson,” a woman spoke into the receiver of a black phone. “Hunter Dyson, come to the nurses’ station.”

I waited and tapped my fingers on the front counter to give me something to do. Being still for too long made me more anxious than usual. I gave the woman who sat at the nurses’ station a tight smile. She returned the receiver to its cradle and stared back at me without emotion.

Down the hallway a set of double doors pushed open, erratically swinging on their hinges. Hunter appeared, worry written on her delicate face. Her normally alabaster features looked flushed, red cheeked, and her pale blue eyes darted anxiously around the main lobby. Her hair was different than when she’d left this morning. Instead of being loose and touching the tops of her shoulders, it was now pulled back into a ponytail, meticulously parted on one side. Her salmon colored scrubs clung to her slight curves as she hustled out the double doors to reach the nurses’ station. How anyone could look so edible in that shapeless uniform was nothing short of a miracle.

I saw her in scrubs nearly everyday, but seeing her in that outfit in the context of this environment made my knees buckle. She looked so grown up, so…
in these surroundings. I lamented that this was the first time of me visiting her here. I had resisted until now because of my aversion to hospitals, although I didn’t think many people actually

This moment felt import
ant though; it felt like the rest of my life was playing out before my eyes – not of her visiting me at my campus office, but of me bringing her pre-packaged sandwiches at the hospital to share over the lunch hour.

When our eyes met, the worry erased from her face. “Hey you,” she greeted. She tugged a little at the v-neck of her top and flashed a quick smile in the direction of the woman behind the desk who observed our conversation. “Hi, Tonya.”

The woman grunted a non-verbal greeting and turned away from us to attend to some other task.

Hunter grabbed my hand. “What’s up?” I looked down at our enjoined hands. It still gave me heart palpitations to see and feel how well we fit together.

“Nothing, really,” I admitted. “I had some free time today – well, all this week actually because I’m on Spring Break – and I wanted to see you, maybe bring
lunch for once.” I lifted the wax-paper bag I’d been given at the local deli. Inside were two sandwiches and obscenely large Kosher pickles. “I probably should have talked to you about it before though because you might be totally busy today, or maybe it’s unprofessional
for an intern to have their girlfriend show up at their place of work, and now that I’m thinking about it, I should probably just go before I get you into trouble.”

I heard her laugh and then her mouth was stopping my unexpected ramble. I wanted to give in to the way her lips were moving against mine, but when I felt the tip of her tongue touch my bottom lip, seeking entrance, I pulled away instead of deepening the embrace.

I coughed and ran my hand roughly through my hair. I flicked my eyes around to see if anyone had seen our kiss. The area where we stood was relatively empty and everyone in our area appeared too distracted by reading charts and inspecting patients’ vitals that we went unobserved.

“Ellio, you don’t have to be nervous,” she insisted, expertly deciphering the reason for my modesty.
“Nobody cares.”

I didn’t think myself closeted, but maybe Dean Merlot was getting into my head. And when it came to Hunter, I got nervous; I didn’t want to make things harder for her where she worked if she didn’t want to be Out. But once again I was reminded of my girlfriend’s fearlessness.

“Wanna see something?” she asked. Not waiting for my answer, her hand tightened around mine and I found myself being tugged down the corridor.

“Is this allowed?” I asked, looking around as she pulled me through the set of double doors from which she’d originally appeared. The words “STAFF ONLY” were printed in vibrant red paint on the doors, and they yelled at me to stop and turn around.

“It’s fine,” she claimed. “Turn off your alarm system, Professor Graft.”

After traversing a series of hallways and taking so many right and left turns that I would never find my way back to the main lobby, we stopped in front of a large window. On the other side of the glass were a dozen or so newborns, tightly swaddled like tiny burritos in their little boxes. Cribs, I guess they’re called.

“Okay, now I’m
I’m not supposed to be in here,” I murmured, feeling myself sweating from anxiety.

Hunter waved at a woman who stood inside the nursery, checking on charts and other official-looking hospital things. She smiled pleasantly and waved back at us. Apparently this was okay.

Hunter leaned against the ledge above the window. “Do you like kids?”

Our surroundings made the context of the conversation obvious, but I still wasn’t prepared for that question from her. “I don’t know,” I answered. “I haven’t really been around kids, unless you count Troian.”

“I won’t tell her you said that,” Hunter smiled.

I allowed myself a laugh, even though I was still wary about being in this part of the hospital. “That’s probably for the best.”

It still made me a little melancholy to think about my best friend. I had to continually remind myself that she wasn’t dead; she just wasn’t available for coffee at Del Sol anymore. I had thought about visiting her during my Spring Break, but she was still finding her footing at work and in Los Angeles, so I didn’t want my visit to be one more complication to her acclimating.

I pressed my palms flat against the large window and peered through the glass. “I never really babysat for anyone growing up, and I made the conscious decision to teach college and not elementary school,” I remarked.

“So you don’t want kids someday?”

“I don’t
want kids,” I said, mindful of my words. They felt as unstable as an incendiary bomb. “I just haven’t been in a situation career-wise or relationship-wise where it’s ever been on my radar.”

“Just to be clear, I’m not pushing you one way or the other,” Hunter noted with a small smile. “Babies aren’t on my radar either. I’ve still got a lot of living to do before that time ever comes.”

“It’s funny,” I said, feeling wistful as I continued to lean against the glass partition. “My sister’s pregnant. It’s weird being at an age that when people get pregnant, it’s considered a

“You have a sister?” Hunter sounded surprised, and I couldn’t blame her. I supposed she’d been stunned to learn I had a mother and father as well for as little as I ever talked about them.

“She’s a few years younger than me. We’re not close – it’s not a feuding family thing,” I explained, “we just haven’t been very good at keeping in contact.”

“Where does she live? Is she married? What does she do?”

My eyebrows rose at the rapid fire questioning, and Hunter blushed prettily. “Sorry. I just want to know about my girlfriend’s life.”

“Hunter?” An unexpected male voice interrupted our conversation.

“Dr. Green!” Hunter practically yelped. She grabbed at the fabric of her top, just over her heart. “You startled me!”

I snapped my gaze away from the nursery. My heart throbbed in my chest, too, but more from the worry that we were breaking some kind of rule instead of being surprised as Hunter had been.

“Sorry.” The man who looked far too young to be a doctor lifted a shoed foot. “It’s hard not to sneak up on people in these shoes.” He seemed to notice my presence for the first time. “Good afternoon,” he greeted with a bob of his perfectly coifed head. His voice took on a more formal tone than the one he’d used to address Hunter. “Are one of those yours?” he asked, nodding toward the burrito babies.

“Oh God, no,” I blurted with probably a little too much eagerness.

Hunter’s hand rested on my forearm. “This is my girlfriend, Elle. I’m just showing her around.”

He didn’t miss a beat. “Don’t let Amanda see you back here. You know it’s not allowed.”

Hunter nodded. “I’ll be sure to hide Elle in a storage closet if she comes around on rounds.”

He grinned, broad and plastic. I decided I didn’t like him or his teeth. “Be good.” He waved at us both before turning and walking down the hallway.

“Who’s Amanda?” I asked when the doctor was out of earshot.

“Dr. Amanda Sharron,” she said. “She’s head of pediatrics. She’s also a stickler for the rules.” Hunter nudged me in the ribs and gave me a playful grin. “You two would get along famously.”

“And that guy?” I asked, nodding after the retreating doctor. “Dr. Green? What does he do?”

“He’s an ER doctor, I think.”

“What was he doing in the maternity ward?”

Hunter shrugged. “Looking at the babies like us?” she guessed. Her gaze went back to the nursery and the tidy rows
of tiny newborns. “It’s a popular place around here. If a doctor’s having a bad day, sometimes they’ll hang out in the pediatric wing to emotionally recharge.”

“He likes you.”

“He doesn’t have any reason
to like me,” Hunter noted with an arched brow. “My manners are impeccable, and I work hard.”

“No, I mean he
you, likes you,” I clarified.

Her nose wrinkled adorably and she shook her head.
“You’re imaging things.”

“I didn’t imagine him checking out your ass.”

“Whatever,” she dismissed. “I said you were my girlfriend.”

“He heard you call me ‘your girlfriend,’ but his Man Brain translated it as ‘friend who’s a girl.’”

A particularly pleased smile spread across her face. “Are you jealous, Ellio?”

I snorted.
“Hardly.” I knew I was transparent.

Don’t be jealous, baby. You know I’m into skirts.” She looped her arm through mine and rested her chin on my shoulder. “Besides, I don’t need him. I’ve already got a Doctor.”

“I’m not a
doctor though.” I sounded pouty, even to my own ears.

“Neither is he. He’s just a Resident.”

“Wanna play doctor when you get home?” I said, wiggling my eyebrows.

Hunter looked exasperated. “Why would you put those thoughts in my head?” she huffed. “You know I have four more hours of my shift today.”

Between a current student living with Hunter and my mom staying at my house, there hadn’t been much opportunity for us to be intimate without worrying that someone might overhear us. But Loryssa had gone to visit her parents in the Twin Cities for Spring Break, so we had the apartment to ourselves for the first time since she’d become Hunter’s roommate. It would be the first time we would have a space to ourselves, period, ever since my mom had shown up on my front porch.

hings had gotten much better between my mom and me since I’d found her a job at the university library. She continued to save money by eating my groceries and she’d sold her car and was now carpooling with me to campus or using my car on days when I didn’t have classes. She’d promised to look after Sylvia so I could spend all of Spring Break with Hunter at her apartment.

I smirked and leaned into her personal space. “I just want you mentally prepared for what I have planned tonight.” I heard her sharp intake of air and something stirred within me. I leaned in further so my lips brushed against her ear as I spoke. “And since we’ll finally be alone, don’t you dare hold back if you need to scream.”

I jerked away from my girlfriend when I heard someone tapping on the glass that separated us from the nursery. The woman from before smiled indulgently, but shook her finger at us. My face grew hot; I’d completely forgotten where we were.

Instead of being horrified like myself, Hunter giggled. “Let’s have lunch,” she said, grabbing onto my hand and tugging me away from the nursery. “And hopefully we’ll run into Dr. Sharron on the way to the cafeteria.”

“Why would you ever want that?” I implored, recalling the name.

“So I can have my way with you in a supply closet, obviously.”


I propped up the tablet to see Troian’s face better. It was a little strange talking to her disembodied head and carrying her around with me. I used to tease her about being a pocket-sized lesbian, but now she was truly portable.

I stood in Hunter’s kitchen with an alarming amount of groceries and cooking supplies covering the modest counter space. I didn’t often assemble an intricate meal, but when I did, I tended to create chaos around me. Dinner tonight consisted of homemade ravioli and steamed vegetables. I had never attempted to make pasta before, but this seemed the time to try. If it went badly, that’s what Chinese takeout was for.

“I ne
ver knew you were Betty Crocker,” Troian observed from her California location. “You were holding out on me.”

“I’m really not
,” I said, conferring with the recipe yet again. “This could be an epic failure.”

BOOK: Winter Jacket: New Beginnings
3.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Cruel Summer by Kylie Adams
Getting Lucky by Susan Andersen
A Book of Walks by Bruce Bochy
The Asutra by Jack Vance
Magic In The Storm by Meredith Bond
Find, Fix, Finish by Peritz, Aki, Rosenbach, Eric