The sound of coughs and rustling magazine pages woke Terry up. He lifted his head, which was slanted on his palm and gathered himself up. He slouched over avoided conversation with her. He dared not utter a word towards her. They hadn’t spoken much. The sharp scent of pine sol and methanol pervaded the room as Terry rubbed his nose. The next patient was called, an old man in a tucked plaid shirt limping to the door. Terry rubbed his arms, moving his hands up and down over his skin. He barely knew her. If asked, he wouldn’t say she, Jackie, was a friend. She was an acquaintance, and yet now he found himself in the office with her.
“How do you feel?” Terry asked, trying to clear his throat.
He popped breath mints into his mouth.
“I would be fine if you would stop acting like a nervous wreck.” Jackie replied.
“I’m not nervous,” he replied.
His eyes jumped from side to side.
I just don’t know want to have any problems.” Terry said.
“Problems? You should have thought about that before you decided to come to Dan’s party.” Jackie said. “I didn’t do it by myself.”
Terry replayed the scene of two nights ago. It was silent. The bed stopped its chattering, and they were apart. There were no awkward barges by a third party to disturb their union. The music outside of the bedroom was loud, slightly audible over their combination of heavy breathing and creaking steal springs of the bed. And no one knew they were in there. “Dan always threw entertaining and fun college parties,” Terry thought. This wasn’t the first time. Terry had other similar mishaps. Jackie was lying there, on her back. Her eyes swung in Terry’s direction, awaiting his reply to the silent question of what happened. Terry still marveled at the light cocoa color of her skin. To speak would be a daunting task in this moment. He just looked at her, almost forgetting the current debacle he was now in. He looked down below his stomach. He saw nothing covering himself. A few beads of sweat began their lonely descent from his forehead as it appeared moist in the darkness. They were two still figures, silence existing between them. The light peeking under the door and background music were their only signals of their whereabouts.
“It came off,” Terry said.
Jackie leaned up. Her naked figure was more visible now in the barely lit room. Terry found her attractiveness to be a continual distraction.
“What, what do you mean it came off?” Jackie asked, baffled.
“The condom, it came off,” Terry responded.
“Where is it?” Jackie asked.
Terry didn’t respond. He angled his eyes downward. He focused his fearful dark and dilated pupils between the tenderness of Jackie’s inner thighs. She shrieked and grabbed the covers in anger. She gritted her teeth. She looked up at Terry and sighed in disappointment.
Terry coughed, restless in the chair. Jackie sat with her legs crossed and turned her attention back to filling out papers. She adjusted the clipboard.
“Look, I’m sorry about what happened. I just didn’t think we would end up in this office.” Terry whispered.
Jackie erupted, throwing her hands up in the air. Someone stared. She was everything but subtle.
“Who cares?” Jackie said. “We’re already here in this damn office, filling out these forms. This can’t get any worse. I just want to get out of here knowing everything is fine with my body.”
“I can make it better.” Terry said.
Terry’s heart raced. He was now still in his chair. The middle-aged man stared wide-eyed at Terry behind the guise of his magazine. Terry clenched the wood armrests of the chair and launched himself to the adjacent seat where Jackie sat, planting his lips on hers. The middle-aged observer could not believe the spectacle after hearing the two bicker. His jaw lay open as he dropped his magazine down to his lap.
Terry held Jackie by her arms with a gentle embrace. She received the intimate offering as she lost herself. Jackie’s hand found its way to Terry’s thigh and before she began to caress it, she drew back. The skin of their lips stood adhering as the two parted slowly from one another.
Jackie breathed deep and hard. She looked at Terry in disbelief.
“Where did that come from?” she asked. “What was it for?”
She exhaled with her fingers spread across her chest.
“I’ve been meaning to tell you some things but you’ve been so angry these past few days, I couldn’t,” Terry said.
Terry looked at the tile floor as he concluded his sentence. Jackie’s silence made Terry return his hands to his lap. He began twiddling his thumbs.
“This isn’t the best time to let me know how you feel,” Jackie complained.
She folded her arms while she stared through Terry’s glass demeanor. Terry’s head still sagged and his eyes didn’t move from the tile. He buried his face in his palms and sighed. Jackie smirked with arrogance. She mumbled.
Terry moved his hands and erected his posture in the chair. He looked at Jackie briefly and then faced forward, letting off an aura deeply-saturated with tension. He took a deep, silent breath. Their exchange of words ceased. Terry sat there, wondering what to think, and what Jackie was thinking. He felt heavy, and only words, the slightest of conversation, a deeper understanding, could ameliorate the added weight laden on his chest. He wasn’t a mind reader. The door opened and the nurse stepped out. She stood there leaning to one side, making herself audible with the chewing gum she tumbled between her molars.
“Jackie Crawford?” she asked.
“Yes, that’s me.” Jackie said, as she stood up.
The nurse smiled.
“The doctor will see you now.”