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More Than Just A Kiss, part seven – Testing Mark

Minutes after her fiance’ stormed away, pouting over not getting his way during their time alone, she decided to test how a certain other man would act in a similar situation.

Gwen Kaplan stood in the doorway of the familiar hospital room, studying the man who had so disrupted her once well-ordered life. Mark Cahill lay stretched out in bed with his eyes closed, using earphones to listen to a recording of, “A Farewell to Arms.” The room’s only light came from the low-wattage bulb above the sink on the opposite wall.

He seemed so unlike anyone else she had ever known. His big frame, that powerful body which had brought her so much pleasure and passion, filled up most of the bed. But it wasn’t just size which made him different. His accent, his style, his outlook on life, and, of course, his being wounded in Viet Nam, all made him so incredibly unique.

Sometimes Gwen couldn’t believe she had actually gone to bed with this man. Just as amazing was her having done so several times since and yet feeling no regret. This lack of remorse had puzzled and worried her until she finally decided it was because she knew how much Mark needed the love and comfort she could give.

Rummaging through her purse, she pulled out a small bottle of Chantilly and applied an extra dab. It had been her favorite for years and Mark seemed to like it. With the bottle back in her purse, she moved around to the side of the bed and softly touched his bare foot and whispered, "Surprise!”

Instantly, Mark's body became tense and alert. In one swift motion, he jerked off the headphones, rolled over, and grabbed for his thick-lensed glasses. Once in place, he glanced warily around the room, then in her direction.
"Gwen?"

Although his body began to relax, there was a guarded, puzzled tone in his voice. "I didn't think you could come over tonight."

This was the first time she had seen him make this sort of startled reaction. The almost savage intensity surprised, and worried, her. She briefly considered trying to get him to talk about it, but rejected the idea. For the time being, she’d play Scarlett O’Hara and worry about doing that on another day.

"That's not a very nice welcome," she replied with a small, feigned pout.

Moving closer, she said, "As a matter of fact, my study session ended early. Aren't you glad to see me?"

"Damn straight," he said, putting the earphones on the nightstand and sitting up in bed. "Come on and pull up a chair. I've got a new roommate who goes by the name of Fred. He's down in the day room watching the ball game. So as we say down south, take off your shoes and sit a spell."

After giving him a big, sloppy kiss, she sat in the familiar institutional green armchair by the head of the bed and actually did take her boots off. They kissed again, then Mark warned it was about time for his medications.

Gwen nodded her understanding and they held hands and talked while waiting for the evening nurse to come and go.

The first person to come in, however, was Mark’s new roommate. He apologized for busting in, grabbed a fresh pack of cigarettes, and after hurried introductions, rushed back to his game.

He was quickly replaced by Mrs. Lopez with the evening medications. She turned on the overhead lights, gave Mark his pills and eye-drops, then stayed and chatted for a moment before turning off the lights on her way out.

"Believe it or not, I don't think we'll be bothered any more,” said Mark. “Fred's a pretty good guy and wants to be cool, so he'll let us alone. Beside, I think the Knicks are playing and he’s a sports nut."

"I think I remember once having a hard time convincing you to go to the park with me. You wanted to stay here and listen to some ball game."

"Guilty as charged. It’s just that at first I wasn't sure you were serious. I thought you might be asking just to be nice."

"Well, I was nice, wasn't I?" she replied, giving him a sexy, little, wink.

"Believe me, lady, you were nice with a capital N." With that, he leaned forward and gave her a long, tender kiss.

When their lips finally parted, she leaned back and stared at him. "Do you remember our first kiss?"

"Of course. Why do you ask?"

"I was just curious why you did it."

For just a minute, Mark was silent. "Well, let me tell you little lady, it’s like this. At the time it just seemed like the logical thing to do. You looked extra nice that day and you just kept staring at me with those big, brown, bedroom eyes of yours. So, I kind of figured that maybe you wanted me to."

"Are you saying I wanted you to kiss me?"

No one could have missed the startled note of disbelief and challenge in her voice.

"Well, I'll admit, I might have read your body language all wrong. After all, that's not so hard to do when you're legally blind. I mean, it wasn't like you were blatantly coming on to me or anything like that. Still, it did seem like you were sending out subtle signals. Like you were saying, I'm here if you've got the nerve to try.

“But I kept hesitating because they were so subtle I worried about how you'd react. I'm not the bravest of guys, you know,” said the man with a Purple Heart, and there was a good chance you might get mad and stop coming by to visit.

“Finally, I decided it was a risk worth taking. Besides, I knew you weren't going to slap an eye patient."

The idea that she might have been sending Mark some sort of signal to kiss her had never occurred to Gwen. She wasn't a flirt, not really, and she most definitely wasn't flirting with him that day. Yet, apparently that's what he thought.

And if he was right, if she had been unconsciously daring him to kiss her, well, what did that say about her feelings for Johnny?

It was obvious, even to Mark, that the current subject was upsetting Gwen. "At least a thousand and one apologies, oh lovely Bellevue maiden, if I kissed you that day under a wishful mispreception. Tell you what, let's try another one, just to see if we still like the fool things."

In response to this good-humored invitation, she smiled and leaned forward. They began some intense kissing which soon lead to his hands gently caressing the soft curves of her young body.

Never moving his lips away from hers, Mark reached down and undid the first two buttons of her white blouse. Slipping a hand inside, he began softly caressing one of her hard, erect nipples. Meanwhile, his other hand slipped under the hem of her short, denim, wraparound skirt and gently stroked her thighs.

All this activity was quickly turning her on. She considered trying to slow things down, only to feel Mark’s hands move to her back and lift her out of the chair. Once he had her in position between his legs, he encircled the twin globes of her bottom and pulled her even closer.

Though her body had begun to tremble with sexual energy, Gwen knew the time had come to put Mark to the test. She had never been a tease and didn't like playing the part of one now, but there didn't seem to be any other way of finding out if he'd react the same way Johnny had earlier.

In a triumph of will over want, she twisted away from their embrace. Glancing at her watch, she sat back down and gave him a worried, rueful look. "I'm sorry Mark, but nothing that heavy tonight. For some reason, I just can't shake the feeling that Fred or Mrs. Lopez might come back."

A puzzled expression flashed across his face. A smile quickly replaced it as he tried to assure her that neither individual would be returning.

"That's easy enough for you to say," she replied. "But I'd die of embarrassment if Fred walked in on us and Mrs. Lopez could always come back. Last summer she was super nice to me. Still, something tells me she's just the type who wouldn't hesitate to report me and that could get me into a lot of trouble at school.

“I know it may be a long shot, but I just don't feel comfortable taking the chance.

Gwen gave him an apologetic smile. "I'm really sorry about this. I hope you're not too disappointed or upset with me."

"Disappointed, yes," replied Mark, with a bemused grin. "But upset with you, never. However, I will admit to being a little surprised at this sudden case of cold feet. Still, I've got great respect for female intuition.

“Besides, I didn't expect you over tonight, so even a handshake is a bonus.” With that, he took her right hand and gave it an exaggerated shake.

"And it occurs to me that if you're all uptight, it would be tough to get into the mood for a hot and heavy make-out session, even with someone as fabulous, not to mention modest, as yours truly. But you better prepare yourself for a very serious goodnight kiss."

Gwen couldn’t help giggling at this response. At the same time she was gripped by a sense of both dismay and uncertainty. Damn it, she thought while gazing into Mark’s smiling face, why'd did he have to be so nice? Johnny had acted like a jerk while Mark was behaving like a prince. Of course, the situations weren't exactly the same, she told herself. So maybe I shouldn't be so hard on Johnny. Still Mark deserves something for being so damn nice.

"Maybe you're right," she agreed, getting up and walking over to the open door. After checking the hall, she turned around and headed back while pulling the bed curtain past the foot of the bed, creating a bit of privacy from anyone out in the hall.

"What I mean is, you're right about nobody coming. I don't know why I had that feeling. Maybe it was what I ate for supper. Still, for whatever reason, it's gone now.”

She reclaimed her chair and began unbuttoning the fly to his pajama bottoms. "Now there are just a few minutes left before I've got to go. Since nobody seems to be coming and you've been so very nice, I'd like to give you a little something which may help you relax and get to sleep tonight.“

“Well, go ahead on, lady. Something tells me I’m going to love this treatment of yours.” They both smiled, then after a last, quick kiss, she leaned down and began giving him his reward.

In the quiet, dim, hospital room, it seemed to Gwen that the two of them were gradually becoming as one. A wave of new and unexpected emotions became so intense she had to wrap her arms around Mark's big body for support.

In some mysterious way she couldn’t understand, the object connecting them had metamorphosed into an extension, not only of Mark's body, but of his entire being. More than just another item from the Kama Sutra, this act of love was establishing both a physical and psychic connection between her and this man.

Afterward, she looked up at his drooping head and closed eyes and smiled with satisfaction at the results of her labors. Then she straighten his pajamas, and stood to leave.

"I'm glad you liked your little thank you gift so much. Now I better get going. I've still got some studying to do."

"Wait a second," he said, struggling to his feet. "I'll walk you to the elevator."

Hand-in-hand, they wordlessly walked down the empty hall. At the nurse's station, they waved at Mrs. Lopez and then walked through the heavy double fire doors into the deserted lobby.

While waiting for the elevator, Mark took Gwen in his arms and kissed her deeply. As the elevator door open, their lips parted.

"I know I'm going to sleep like a baby tonight," he said with a contented grin. "But insomnia can be a real problem for me. Who knows, I may need repeated treatments."

"Just keep on being nice and future treatments could be a real possibility,” she said with a wink. Then giving him a last quick kiss she stepped inside the elevator and was gone.

On the short walk along busy 1st Avenue back to her dorm, Gwen sensed that during the past few hours there had been an important change in her feelings toward both Johnny and Mark. Of course, she loved Johnny and wanted to marry him. Still, she had freely given Mark what she had earlier denied Johnny. Though positive both men had gotten what they deserved, she couldn't help wondering if, after tonight, things between her and the two men would ever be the same.

Outside the front door to her dorm, she paused and stared unseeing across the driveway at the activity in the hospital's emergency entrance. Alone in the cool night air, she thought about Mark and about what she’d just done up in his room.

Her sensations were still filled with the sound of his voice, the feel of his body, his touch and even, she admitted with a rueful smile, his taste.

While she might still love Johnny, after tonight's events, she could no longer deny her growing affection for Mark Cahill.

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