Monday, June 7, 2010

EXCERPT-- Just Like That

For fun ...and for an upcoming contest (Author Island... here's an excerpt from Just Like That (leading up to "The Bathtub Scene" :))

“You’re crying.”


He sighed. He could be patient, but he wasn’t especially good at it. “Come on. What’s going on?”

“I hate this.”

He knew what she was talking about. She was used to being self-sufficient. She knew how to rewire a ceiling fan. She’d claimed that she made a point of always doing everything for herself.

This had to be hard for her.

But he was enjoying it. Not to the point of being truly happy in the face of her misery, but definitely not upset about the situation that made this sweet, funny, beautiful woman let him hang around for awhile.

“Why were you crying, Dani?”

She sniffed, but met his eyes. “I can’t wash my hair.”

He thought about that. Yep, that would be tough with one hand. Especially one hand that she could not get wet.

She just looked at him, her eyebrows slowly rising. “You’re going to make me say it, aren’t you?”
“Say what?”

“That I… need you.”

He probably moved a notch closer to “ass” on the jerk scale but he did like hearing those four words from her.

“You need me to wash your hair?”

She nodded, looking royally pissed about the whole thing.

“Um…” Sam blinked down at her.

Her hair.

It seemed like a simple request. But she was a girl. Which pretty much guaranteed that anything to do with her hair wouldn’t be simple.

“You realize that as far as I’m concerned, hair washing involves three steps. Get hair wet, rub shampoo in it, run more water on hair.”

She propped her left hand on her hip. “Why are you looking like I just asked you to perform open heart surgery on me?”

“Well, girl hair involves those twelve additional steps that I don’t even know about.”

“What twelve additional steps?”

“Whatever it is that ensures no woman can get out of the shower in less than twenty minutes.”

“Did it ever occur to you that they were doing more in there than fussing with their hair?”

“Okay, there’s soap and other body parts, but come on, twenty minutes?”

She laughed at that. “Sam, there aren’t any magic hair washing steps. There’s conditioner, but I know you can handle it.”

He watched her face, and felt humble. He sensed that this woman didn’t ask people for things often or easily. “You hate that you need help for this don’t you?”

She pressed her lips together and nodded.

“Get over it,” he said simply.

She slipped around him and was through her bedroom door before he realized she was moving.

“What are you doing?” he asked her back.

“Getting my swimming suit.”

“You don’t need…”

“Yes,” she interrupted. “I do.” The door shut in his face.

He grinned. “How are you going to get a swimming suit on by yourself?”

“I’ll manage,” she called.

He leaned back against the wall across from her bedroom to wait.

# # #

She was desperate. Plain and simple. She had to wash her hair or she was going to go crazy andthere was absolutely no way she could do it herself.

It was so frustrating! To not be able to do the simplest, most normal thing made her want to scream. She didn’t want to need Sam, not like this. She was kind-of okay with needing him physically, with feeling like she would die if he didn’t touch her. At least, she was getting used to it. She wasn’t as okay with needing him to make her a sandwich, unzip her dress and wash her hair.

Talk about pathetic.

This was exactly the kind of thing she avoided at all costs. She never let other people take care of her. She’d been sick with the flu for almost a week four years ago and it had taken her three days to call Carmen and even tell her and another two before she would let Carmen come over.

She hated the feeling of vulnerability, of weakness, of being a burden.

Sam thought this was fun now. He felt responsible now. He was even making it sexy.

How long would any of that last?

Not as long as she would remember being dependent on him for the smallest thing.

She was able to wiggle out of her panties and the nightgown was loose enough that she could pull it over her head one-handed. The swimming suit was more of a challenge. It was a one-piece and she was able to get the bottom of the suit up by pulling one side up, then the other until it was in place. She threaded her casted hand in through the strap and up onto her shoulder, then the other side.

“I’m going to need a plastic bag to put over the cast,” she said as she stepped back into the hallway, still pulling her right shoulder strap up.

Sam was standing across from her, leaning back against the wall, but he pushed away as she stepped through the door. His eyes were wide.


She stopped short at the look in his eyes. She might as well have been naked. He was looking at her as if memorizing every curve and prominence.

She tried to ignore the tingles that seemed to erupt everywhere as she realized that he was imagining peeling her swimming suit off of her. It was so clear, in fact, it was like reading his mind. “You going to be able to do this?” she asked.

“Definitely. I’m a little tight in my jeans, but I’m okay.”

Her eyes dropped to his fly in spite of her effort to avoid it. He was grinning when she looked back into his eyes.

“Let’s do this,” she muttered, stepping past him into the bathroom.

“Yes, ma’am.”

She looked over her shoulder. “Washing my hair,” she clarified.

“Of course.”

She narrowed her eyes suspiciously. “The garbage bags are under the sink.”

“I’m all over it.”

She wanted him all over her. “Garbage bags.” She wasn’t sure if she said it to try to distract her

own thoughts or to again clarify what he was all over.


She started the water running while Sam went to retrieve a plastic bag from the kitchen. She knew the moment he was back because the air temperature in the bathroom spiked and she could feel him behind her, checking out her butt.

“Isn’t that how we ended up in this mess?” she asked without looking at him.

“Yep,” he said unapologetically. “But it isn’t my fault. You can’t take someone to the edge of the

Grand Canyon and expect him not to look.”

With the water the right temperature, she turned to frown at him. “My butt reminds you of the Grand Canyon?”

He held up his hands in surrender. “Again, thinking too fast on my feet. How about you can’t take someone to see the Hope Diamond and expect him not to look.”

“Again, you’re comparing my butt to something that is extraordinarily big.”

He chuckled. “I can’t think of anything amazingly beautiful, but appropriately trim, firm and tiny.”

She tipped her head to one side, considering that. She, of course, didn’t think that he’d been insulting her and she couldn’t think of any other way to make him squirm so she shrugged. “Forgiven.”

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