“So you’re a good dancer, huh?” Simone smiled as she looked at her blushing son.
“Gina, I thought we had decided that we wouldn’t mention this,” Tommy said, embarrassed.
“I never said anything of the sort,” Gina laughed. She smiled at Tommy for a few moments more and then turned her attention to Simone. “I wish you could have seen him. He had moves that I never knew he was capable of.”
“Oh, really,” Simone laughed as she watched her son’s reaction. She never thought she would ever see him like this. Happy, laughing and relaxed. Amazing, she decided, as she watched his bright green eyes dance. For years, they had been dull and closed off. Now, they were open and shining bright. Her eyes brimmed with tears as the feelings of freedom for her and her son overwhelmed her.
Tommy frowned when he saw the tears creep into Simone’s eyes. His hand reached for hers and he gently held it. Softly, he whispered, “We’re gonna be okay, now, Mama. I promise.”
“I know, baby,” she said as she grasped his hand. With the other hand, she wiped at her tears until Gina handed her a Kleenex. She smiled at them. At Tommy and Gina. The two people who had been her source of strength and comfort during their captive days. She wondered if they realized how much she loved them.
Gina smiled at her best friend and felt the sting of tears burn the back of her eyes. She didn’t want to cry in front of them This should be a happy day for Simone, and not one clouded by Gina’s tears over the past. They were all alive now and safe and sound. That was all that mattered. Gina willed the tears to dry up and she decided to focus on the positive. “So, when will you be discharged?” she asked.
“I don’t know. They want me to gain some weight first, and then there’s the physical therapy to think about,” Simone said, as she reached for her glass of water.
“I’m sure it will be soon. Probably a week at the most,” Tommy said.
“I don’t think it will be that soon. I wish it would be, though. I have no idea how I’ll pay this hospital bill, and then, I’ll need to find a place for us to stay. Not to mention a job,” Simone said with a sigh.
“Don’t worry about a place to stay. We can stay with Grandmother. She already said it would be okay. I can sleep on the sofa and you can have the room I’m in. The hospital bill will be taken care of, too,” Tommy replied.
“I don’t want you to sleep on a sofa. It’s bad enough that you sleep on these hard guest chairs. We’re getting our very own place,” Simone said, patting his hand. “And…um…what do you mean the bill is taken care of? You didn’t ask Audrey to pay for it, did you?”
“Of course not!” Tommy said, indignantly. “I’m taking care of it.”
“How?” Simone asked with a slight frown.
“Mama, don’t worry about it,” Tommy said as he gently squeezed her hand. “Okay?”
“No, it’s not okay. I know you don’t have a job and even if you did… Tommy, what are you up to?” Simone asked.
“Nothing,” he said, averting his eyes from her questioning gaze. He abruptly stood and said, “I have to go for a little while, but I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
“I’ll be back really soon,” he said before he kissed the top of her forehead. He whispered, “I love you.” Then, he left.
“Okay, Gina, what gives?” Simone asked as the door closed behind him.
Gina shrugged. She was just as puzzled as Simone. She had no idea where he planned to get the thousands of dollars that were needed to cover Simone’s hospital expenses. She only hoped that he didn’t intend to do anything foolish.
Amy raised her eyes from the report she had to give to Dr. Wexler to look into the warmest and sexiest pair of brown eyes she had ever seen. Her eyes trailed him up and down and discovered that the rest of him wasn’t so bad either. She lowered her eyes in a flirtatious manner and asked, “How may I help you?”
“I wish to inquire upon the patient in room 805,” he said, the slight accent he had caused the words to roll off his tongue.
“Oh, you mean, Simone Hardy?” Amy asked, twirling a lock of strawberry blonde hair between her fingers.
“Si…um I mean, yes,” he said, hypnotizing her with his eyes.
“Well, I’m not really allowed to give out any information. Are you a friend of hers?”
He considered Amy’s question. Could the relationship he and Simone shared be defined as a friendship, he wondered. Of all the other women in his life…and there had been many…Simone had been the one who had set his soul on fire. True, she resisted him, but deep down he knew that she could no more deny the passion they shared than a moth could deny a flame. He smiled his most seductive smile at the clueless nurse and softly said, “Yes. Simone and I were friends long ago.”
“Oh, really,” Amy said. “How long ago?”
“A while back. We lost touch and when I learned of her ordeal, I could not do a thing until I knew of her condition,” he said, earnestly.
“Well, you’re in luck,” Amy smiled. “She is doing much better. In fact, she’s awake and I’m sure she would love to see you-”
The ringing of the telephone interrupted Amy and she paused mid-sentence to answer it. When she looked up to resume her conversation with the handsome and sexy man, she saw that he had left. Lucky Simone, she thought to herself, as she went back to her report.