Chapter 9

Patience had its limits.

Days passed before Steven Lars truly accepted the fact. His time overseas changed him, made him stronger and more confident. Women found him attractive. A few nurses dogged his movements and Carly Benson couldn't seem to leave him alone. Ignoring their interest only intensified their efforts. At first, annoyance rippled through him. But then he compared their antics to his with Simone. The more she pretended his presence didn't affect her, the more persistent he became. But slowly. He wanted her to come him, to want him. Patience be damned! Yet, forcing her was not an option.

His thirty-six hour rotation brought traumas and a few triumphs. The constant battle to save lives made the end of the shift glow like a beacon in the night. Finally, the thirty-sixth hour arrived. His steps quickened as he headed to the staff lounge. A long hot shower promised to ease his aching muscles. After that, he'd stop by Pediatrics just for the chance of a spontaneous encounter with the beautiful physician in charge.

He found the lounge door cracked. A familiar voice drifted through the opening. His father's laughter sounded hearty and fuller than necessary. Then, Jeff's voice dropped to a low hum. Curiosity got the best of Steven Lars. He knew for a fact that Simone was still upstairs caring for a preemie. Obviously, his dad was in full on flirt mode. And since Simone was not on the receiving end of Jeff's attentions, who was?

Steven Lars moved casually to block the door from any passersby. The move afforded him with a perfect view of Jeff and the Chief of Staff. Gossips loved to whisper about his dad's former marriage to Monica Quartermaine. Some wondered if sparks would fly despite their present spouses. Steven Lars shrugged the rumor mill off. Sure, his dad didn't give Simone the attention she deserved, but to cheat on her with his ex-wife? Monica was a good doctor and a fair boss, but in all things that made a woman desirable she was nowhere in Simone's league! He watched as Jeff ran his hand along Monica's arm. Her responding sigh turned Steven Lars' stomach. He pushed from the door and headed home.

Outrage got him home faster than normal circumstances would have. Elizabeth's car in his driveway ticked him off even more. He blocked her in and stormed to his place over the garage. Thirty minutes later, his anger had cooled and he was fresh and shaven. He splashed new cologne on and donned his favorite pair of worn, faded jeans and offset it with a form fitting blue sweater. As he laced his boots, he heard footsteps on the porch.

A moment later, the doorknob turned and Lizzie entered. Her mouth was twisted in its usual curl of disdain. He resisted the urge to chuckle. Since birth, she expected the world to cater to her every whim. Crashing those expectations always brought a smile to his face.

"Hey, kiddo," he said. The temptation to tease proved irresistible.

Her eyes flashed fire, instantly reminding him of Simone. Elizabeth's pale complexion and nose were all Webber traits; however her full mouth and sparkling attitude were directly inherited from Simone.

"I hate that and you know it. I stopped being a kid a long time ago. If you were every around, you'd know it."

The dig hurt. His mother, Heather, kept him away from Jeff and Simone as much as possible. Maybe that's how his attraction to Simone grew. He never saw her as a mother figure. The limited time he lived under their roof only made his dad's wife appear magnetic, beautiful and unattainable. Until now.

"I'm here now," he said gently. He stood and grabbed his keys from the kitchenette counter. "What's the big idea of parking in my spot?"

She shrugged. "I didn't think you'd come home this early."

It was a plausible excuse, not that he believed her. "I'm out the door so if you need to leave, I won't be in the way."

"Where are you going?" She followed him onto the porch and waited as he locked the door.

To seduce your mother.

Hmm…somehow, it didn't seem right to tell her. So, he said, "Out."

"To get laid, right?"

He stopped short on the bottom step and she walked right into him.

"Excuse me?" He cocked an eyebrow, turning to face her.

"Gimme a break!" Her chin jutted out in a defensive gesture as she poked his chest. "You're a guy. Of course, you want to get some."

"So, that's all that guys want? To get laid?" He muttered an expletive. "What the hell has Tommy been up to?"

"Oh, please. He's a paragon of virtue. I swear he's still a virgin and won't lose it until Emily Quartermaine promises to marry him."

His stepbrother was a virgin? That was interesting news, but that didn't explain why his sister had such warped views about men.

"Sex isn't all that men want and if that's all a man wants from you, you're better off without him." He reached out to cup her cheek. "You're too good for that, Elizabeth Ravella Webber."

"Yeah, right," she mumbled. "What if I'm not good enough?"

"What does that mean? Don't throw yourself at a guy. Men prefer the chase and don't ever give it away. When you make love, it should be for love. Not because it feels good or it's expected."

"But I do love him," she said.

"Does he love you?"

She ducked her head and moved around him to her car. "Yeah, he's just not sure about it, yet."

"When he's sure, you can discuss it then." He patted her arm as he walked past her. "Don't do something you'll regret."

Later as he headed back to the hospital, his words replayed inside his head. Whatever happened between him and Simone, he wanted no regrets on either part. He was sure that he wanted her, always had. His feelings for her went beyond the need for physical gratification. One glance from her made him feel like a man. Casual touches left him burning for more. And conversations proved that she understood him better than any other woman ever had.

Every day, he was getting closer to making his wildest dream of possessing her into reality. Now, biding his time had reached its limits. Simone was due a heavy dose of male appreciation and he was just the man to give it to her.

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