by Emily Forbes

            Noah was waiting for a shower and it was her job to help him. That was what she was being paid for. She wasn’t being paid to fantasise about getting into bed with him but undressing him did nothing to deter her imagination.

            Ruby wheeled him into the main bathroom before carefully removing his shirt. It was the first time she’d seen him shirtless since the ICU and he looked every bit as good as she remembered. She tried not to stare but she did take her time pulling his t-shirt over his head which gave her a chance to check him out unobserved.

            He had no body fat and his torso was smooth and trim with well defined pectorals and abdominal muscles but his arms were to die for. She was desperate to run her hands from his shoulders down over his biceps and forearms all the way to his fingers.

            She chatted away as she removed his boxer shorts and helped him to transfer to the shower chair. She tried telling herself he was just like any other patient and to stop feasting her eyes on him but it was difficult to do. Every part of him was oversized and glorious. His skin was smooth and while his arms and legs were lightly covered with blonde hair his trunk was hair free except for a narrow trail of fair hair that ran south from his navel. Ruby averted her eyes, afraid she’d be caught out, as she settled him into the shower chair before removing his sling. He had no tattoos that she had seen and she could understand why. Why would he mess with perfection?

            She ran the shower and adjusted the temperature before pushing the shower chair under the flow of water. Noah was able to take care of most of his ablutions using his left hand but Ruby needed to help him with his left side and his hair. But as she stood behind him to wash his hair she realised that the maxi dress she’d thrown on that morning to combat the forecast heat of the day was not the most suitable attire. She hadn’t considered the logistics of the bathroom when she’d dressed. It was spacious with ultramodern fittings. This was good because the shower chair had rolled easily behind the floor to ceiling frameless glass shower screen but the shower head was enormous and the water poured from it like a waterfall. It was nothing like the hospital showers and there was no way she was going to be able to wash him and stay out of the spray.

            Noah’s hair was thick and long and it took ages just to get the water to penetrate the strands. She squeezed shampoo into the palm of her hand and worked it through his hair massaging it into his scalp. Noah closed his eyes and she felt him relax under her touch. Ruby took that as an invitation to feast her eyes on his perfect proportions as she washed his hair. She tipped his head backwards to rinse the shampoo out. His eyes remained closed and she was tempted to run her fingers over the planes of his face. His lips were slightly parted which made it look as if he was waiting to be kissed. She wondered what he’d taste like. Coffee, she suspected.

            Rivulets of water were running down his chest, coursing between his pectoral muscles and gathering along his sternum. Ruby watched transfixed as the water made its way towards his stomach. He had dropped the washcloth in his lap, protecting his modesty, but Ruby’s eyes didn’t need to travel any further, she didn’t need to see what lay beneath the cloth, she had the perfect image captured in her memory. By the time she had finished rinsing his hair she was soaking wet and more than slightly aroused.  She needed to gather herself together.

            ‘All done,’ she said as she flicked off the water and pushed him out of the shower. She exchanged the wet wash cloth in his lap for a towel and used a second towel to dry him off. She stood behind him to dry his hair, squeezing the water from it before moving around to stand in front of him to dry his arms and chest. Her wet dress clung to her breasts, stomach and thighs leaving little to the imagination and she could see him looking at her as she leant over him. Her temperature rose steadily as he devoured her with his eyes.

            She dropped her gaze and her hands. Her head dipped as she dried his stomach. Her head was aligned with his. He was close enough to kiss. All she needed to do was lean in a fraction more. She wanted him to close the gap. She wanted him to kiss her.

            He lifted his head. She met his eyes. They had darkened considerably as his pupils dilated. He put his hand over hers, stilling her movements.  She waited to feel his lips on hers but he moved no further.

            ‘I can manage this bit,’ he said. He took over, drying himself from the waist down.

            She waited for him to finish before helping him to put his arm back into the sling. She leant over him, fiddling with the straps. She could feel his breath on her cheek. She lifted her eyes. His lips were millimetres away, tempting and teasing her.

            She still wanted him to kiss her but instead she put her arms around him and helped him to stand.

            They stood, hip to hip, chest to chest. Noah was locked in her embrace. They were as close as lovers.

            Ruby’s nipples were erect, reacting to the dampness of her dress and to the sensation of Noah’s body pressed up against hers. She could feel her nipples brushing his chest. She was aroused but she could feel he was too.

            She looked up at him and met his blue-eyed gaze and this time when their eyes met he didn’t hesitate. He dipped his head and claimed her for himself.

            Ruby met him half way, opening her mouth under the pressure of his lips, giving into desire. She held onto him a little tighter, wrapping her arms a little more firmly around his back, her hands pressed into his shoulder blades as she fought to maintain their balance as their kiss deepened.

            He tasted just like she’d imagined. Soft, warm and sweet with faint traces of his morning coffee. She pressed her hands a little harder into his shoulder blades, trying to bring him closer as he cupped her bottom with his left hand and locked them together. Her knees felt like jelly and she wasn’t sure who was supporting who.

            Noah broke first.

            ‘I have to sit down.’

            Five simple words were enough to jolt her back to reality. And the reality was that he was badly injured and needed all his concentration to keep his balance while standing on one leg.

            While she knew the attraction was mutual the bottom line was that he wasn’t physically capable of taking this any further. Not yet.

            ‘Sorry.’

            ‘Don’t be sorry.’ He grinned as he lowered himself into the wheelchair. ‘You should be thankful. If I was fully fit you wouldn’t be able to keep up. If you start exercising now you might be able to handle me.’

            Ruby raised an eyebrow as she dropped a towel into his lap. The towel concealed his erection but Ruby was pleased to see from his reaction that she affected him as much as he did her. ‘Is that a challenge?’ she asked.

            ‘If you want it to be. But it’s only fair to warn you that I love a challenge.’

            ‘Is that right?’

            She was shivering now but she knew the goose bumps on her arms were more likely to be caused by the look in Noah’s eyes than by her wet dress. But that didn’t matter. If he wanted a challenge she’d give him one. She was eager to see how he coped with her next move.

            She grabbed the skirt of her maxi dress and turned her back to him as she pulled her dress over her head. She wasn’t wearing a bra, she rarely did, but she kept her back turned towards him giving him an eyeful of naked skin but with just a hint of the curve of her breast. She grabbed another towel from the rack and began to rub herself down, drying herself off. She held the towel across her chest as she dried one arm and then the other. She lifted one leg and propped her foot on the edge of the bath to rub that leg before swapping to the other.

            ‘God, Ruby, that’s not fair,’ Noah’s voice was a soft, deep groan. 

            ‘You’re not the only one who likes a challenge,’ she said as she straightened up and wrapped the towel around her chest, tucking one end inside the other to hold it in place. ‘We’ll soon see who can keep up with whom, won’t we?’