Can I just say: wow. Fifty. I can't believe it that I've hit this number already. Also, it's been too long since I've thanked you all, my wonderfully devoted readers, for your day-brightening comments and overwhelming support. You mean more than the world to me. You are the Max to my Charlotte. :)
The morning skate is optional, and he insists that he didn't need to go. He said he needed the morning to rest when there are back-to-back games, especially when there's travel involved between the games. I knew it was a crock of shit, because there wouldn't be any resting going on once I got to his house, but I didn't exactly have plans to rest either.
When I finally make it there and walk up to his door, I poise my hand to knock. Instead of my closed fist meeting the wooden door, though, it flies open and his hand wraps around my raised wrist, dragging me in from the cold.
"Mon Dieu, I missed you," he says, slamming the door shut and pinning me against the wall.
"I missed you, too, Maxime," I barely eke out before his lips crash down on mine. I'm overwhelmed by all the sudden sensations. Our tongues playing a game of tug of war as each fights for dominance. His thigh pressing against the vee between my legs, likewise pressing his hard-on against my hip. His hands furiously trying to unzip my jacket and disrobe me.
"I don't think you understand. You've turned me into some lovesick sap," he clarifies, whispering his words as he kisses across my cheek to my ear.
I arch my back and grind against his leg. My head is hazy and fuzzy. "Make me understand," I half-tease, half-beg.
His fingers tangle themselves in my hair, and he grabs and pulls gently but firmly so I'm forced to lean my head back and expose my neck to him. "Gladly," he quips, and he attacks my neck like a vampire hungry for its next feeding. His face is just the right amount of scruffy, and every time he moves his mouth, my nerve endings ignite.
Two days ago. The last time we had sex was merely two days ago, but right now it feels like two months or two decades.
I want to rip off every stitch of his clothing, push him down to the floor, and jump on top of him, but all I can do is stand still and focus on remembering how to breathe while he nips and sucks on the thin flesh of my neck. I reach out and realize he's not wearing a shirt. That makes me smile, because he's saving me the work of pulling it over his head.
My nails dig into his shoulders and scratch downward. Max hisses as I palm his nipples. When he speaks, his breath hits the wet spot he left on my neck, sending shivers down my spine to that spot between my legs. "I can't wait. Please tell me you're ready."
"Yes. Ready," I answer breathlessly.
Max roughly unbuttons my jeans and shoves a hand into my panties. "Charlotte. You're so fucking wet. Do you walk around like this? Damn."
"I told you," I gasp, wishing I didn't have to speak. I want to concentrate on other things. More important things. None of which require talking. "Always ready for you."
He slides his fingers around, never staying in the same place long enough for me to find any satisfaction. I'm torn between needing him inside of me and just needing to get off, and in the end my desperation wins out. I place my hand both over my jeans and over his hand, trying to put his fingers where I want them. Trying to add pressure and consistency to his movements. Trying to get what I want.
"Don't I do it for you anymore?" he asks, resisting my attempts at giving him physical directions. His hand slows down until it isn't moving at all. "Don't I know how to please you anymore?"
I whimper with total frustration. I just moan and wiggle, unable to form words. Instead, I try to move my body against his hand, since the alternative isn't working.
"Charlotte," he grunts.
"Ugh," I groan. "Just. Please. Max."
"Look at me," he says.
I realize that my eyes are pinched shut. It's like the sensation of touch was so overwhelming, every other sense needed to turn off. No tasting, no smelling, and no seeing. Slowly, I pry them open and do as he commands. Max is peering back at me, with more than lust in those deep blue eyes and something other than love. It gives me chills for another reason.
Wordlessly, Max conveys that he needs me. Not just physically, although that's also true. No, I feel like he's telling me that he needs me emotionally. He's giving me a piece of his heart for safe-keeping, and I'll gladly hold onto it and protect it always. I like knowing that he's in this like I am: over our heads, out to sea, completely and totally hopeless. I've made the leap, and he has, too. Knowing that just rekindles the flames, burning like a wild fire.
I can't wait anymore. I grab at his cotton knit pants and yank them downward until gravity takes over. Max is pushing my jeans over my hips with his free hand when my pocket begins to ring. I fully intend to ignore it, but he suggests I at least check the caller I.D. "It could be important. You don't have to answer, just look."
"Whoever it is calling me right now had better have a damn good reason. Someone better be dead. Or dying. Or just won the lottery," I mutter, reaching into the depths of my pocket. "It's Gina," I tell him. I left her half an hour ago.
He raises his eyebrows. "She knew you were coming here, right?"
"Yeah." I'm worried. Gina wouldn't be calling right now if something wasn't seriously wrong. I know that for sure, and Max knows that, too, but neither of us are happy about the interruption. "Hold that thought," I tell him, as he pulls his hand out of my panties and then sticks his fingers in his mouth. I feel like I could orgasm from that visual alone, and now I'm beyond agitated at the disruption. I press the accept call button and answer. "G—"
"I know. I'm sorry. But, Char," she whispers, "the cops are here looking for you."
That causes me to hesitate. "Say what?"
"There's a uniformed police officer in our living room, sitting on our couch. He won't tell me anything, just that he needs to speak with Charlotte Bickley in apartment number thirty-one, building—"
I cut her off as she rattles off our address. "Okay, I get it. Am I in trouble? Am I going to be arrested?" I rack my brain for memories of anything illegal I may have done. Nothing comes to mind, but maybe I'm caught on camera jay-walking? Or haven't paid the fines for overdue library books?
Max scrunches his eyebrows together inquisitively. I shake my head at him, not knowing what's going on yet. "I don't know, Char. He won't tell me anything." I hear as she holds the mouthpiece away from her. "Do you have an arrest warrant?"
"Ma'am, I'm afraid I can't tell you that. I just need to speak with Ms. Bickley."
"Can he talk to me over the phone?" I ask Gina, my heart pounding in my chest. I'm stricken with worry.
Gina doesn't acknowledge that she heard me, but she repeats my question to him. I don't hear a response until a male's voice comes through the ear piece. "I'm not supposed to do this. I should be speaking to you in person, but I'm worried there's not enough time. There's been an accident."
"An accident?" I repeat, giving Max more cause to worry. "What kind of accident?"
"A car accident. A Mr. Johnathan Witters. Unfortunately, we can't find any immediate next of kin, but we found a piece of paper on his person with your name and address. Any information you could provide us with would be helpful and appreciated. His condition is pretty dire."
John. Was in an accident. It sounds bad. "What do you need to know?"
"It would be best if you could go to the hospital and talk to the doctors, ma'am. He's been taken to UPMC Mercy. They need to know any medical information you may know, and also any contact information for his family. Ms. Bickley, I have to tell you that this is urgent. It doesn't look good for him."
"I'll get there as soon as possible," I tell him.
"Ma'am," he interrupts before I can hang up. "Can you tell me his blood type? He needs a transfusion."
"He's type A positive," I say, slightly amazed that I still know that. I hang up the phone and immediately pull my pants back up.
"Baby, what is it?" Max asks. I had almost forgotten all about him, because he had stayed silent. As soon as I heard the news, I got tunnel-vision and blocked out everything else. "Is it bad? Is it serious?"
I clear my throat. I'm not overly upset, but I feel like I'm in shock. I don't know how to react, but I do know that I need to help. "John's been in an accident. A car accident. It's bad, apparently, and they need me to go to the hospital now."
"Why?" he asks, but he pulls his pants up and looks in his living room for a shirt. If I had been thinking clearly, I would have swooned at how he unquestioningly followed my lead. "Why do they need you? Why do you need to go?"
"There's no one else," I told him, closing my jacket around myself in preparation to bear the cold again, and Max pulled a hoodie over his head and grabbed his car keys. His erection is still visible, but it doesn't register in my mind as he pulls the sweatshirt down to hide it. "No next of kin. His sister lives up in Toronto. They found my name and address. Max, he said it's urgent. That it doesn't look good."
We walk briskly to the car, and I tell him the hospital. He knows where it is, and we drive in silence until he meekly asks, "You said a car accident? Was it... a bus?"
I recall what Max said just a few days ago. I said that I hoped John would disappear, and he said he wished he would get hit by a bus. Could it be? Could he have gotten what he asked for? "Uh, he didn't say," I reply, looking out the window as we pull up to the hospital.
"I'm just going to drop you off, find a parking spot, and meet you somewhere inside, okay?"
"Okay," I say, throwing open the door and stepping out. I feel the need to hurry, because I don't know what's going on and I need to get answers. Before I close the door behind me, I turn around and duck my head down. "I love you, Maxime," I say, trying to be reassuring. I may not know what's going on, what all the circumstances are of this situation, but I am well aware that my new boyfriend just drove me to the hospital so I can take care of my ex. I can't believe this is happening.
"I love you, baby. Go."
I close the door and jog into the lobby of the emergency room. Looking around, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do. I approach the front desk and drum my fingers against the ledge as I wait for the nurse or receptionist or whoever to notice me. She looks at me with caution, and I know I must look wild. "Can I help you?" she finally asks.
"Um, I was told that Johnathan Witters was brought here, and you guys need some information? I'm afraid I don't know much else other than that," I spew.
She nods and grabs a file. "Are you related to him?"
"No, but his only family is a sister up in Canada."
"So, you're a friend?"
She hands me a few forms. "We're in the process of trying to get his medical records, but unfortunately we're having some problems with getting a hold of his general practitioner back in Chicago. We were alerted with his blood type, but we especially need to know if he has an allergies so we can begin treatment—"
"Cipro," I say.
She nods. "And any other recent surgeries or procedures?"
I close my eyes and probe my brain. "Um, appendectomy around Christmas of... 2007. He broke his ankle in July of 2008. Can you tell me what happened? I know car accident, but was he in a car, too?"
"According to eye witness accounts, he twisted his ankle and fell in a cross walk, and a car was turning and didn't see him. We can take you to see him, as soon as you fill out as much of those forms as you can."
Taking an empty seat in the noisy lounge, I write with a shaking hand. Name, address, preexisting conditions, current medications, medical history, his doctor back home.... I fill out what I know, but leave most of it blank.
At some point, I realize Max had walked in and found me. He's sitting beside me quietly. When I finish the paperwork, I grab his hand and bring him to the counter with me. The nurse accepts the clipboard and has someone escort us back. "It wasn't a bus," I tell Max as we are lead toward the ICU. He nods, but it doesn't seem to ease his mood.
After taking the elevator and heading through another lounge, I can hear the cacophony of machines beeping, doctors speaking in hushed tones, and families crying. Before we reach John's room, someone behind us calls, "Talbo!"
The voice sounds familiar, but I can't immediately place it due to my current mental state. But I do know that not just anybody calls him that. "Staalsy?" Max asks, turning around.
"What are you doing here?" he asks. "It's nice that you care, but no one else showed up."
"What are you talking about?" Max questions.
I notice Jordan has stitches across his forehead as he explains. "Car accident."