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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Captive Hearts
By Aurora


Part 4

Maca entered the ER Doctor's change rooms and leant heavily on the door to close it behind her. She had Cruz's satchel still clutched to her chest as she leaned back, head coming to rest against the hard wooden panels. The darkness of the room was soothing and she remained standing motionless against the door for long minutes before turning the light on, relishing the undisturbed quiet.

Thankfully, the room was empty and would probably stay that way until the rest of staff turned up for their shifts. There was more than enough time to have a shower before people arrived and Maca would have to begin her own shift. And if there was any one thing that might make her feel a little better about herself, it was definitely a hot shower.

Maca lowered Cruz's bag to the bench and dropped her shoulders so her bike jacket slipped away from her body, joining the bag on the bench. The coolness of the room hit her immediately and a light shiver ran through her muscles as she peeled away her blouse, lifting it over head and folding it next to her jacket. There were bruises over her shoulders and torso; healed ones that were starting to go yellow and others that were still startlingly purple, patchy over her smooth skin. She kicked off her shoes with ease, shoving them under the bench while she undid the clasp on her jeans. The thick denim material resisted her efforts to push them down her legs but perseverance had the clothes soon folded on the bench with the others. And there too were bruises, even some cuts across her knees and hips. They were all the result of one fall or another since she'd started drinking.

Clad only in her underwear, lightly tanned skin exposed to the air conditioned room, Maca pulled a thick black towel from Cruz's bag and wrapped it about herself. It was only travel size and it did little to hide her body from anyone that might come into the room, but she doubted anyone would be interested in seeing her as exhausted as she felt right now and littered with bruises.

Maca guiltily thought it would be nice to be looked at again, which was perhaps why she'd subconsciously changed in full view of anyone that might walk in. She couldn't help but feel that one of the reasons Esther had betrayed her was because she just wasn't attractive anymore. She'd never felt that her love life with Esther lacked any of the spontaneity that had been present when they'd first fallen in love. But maybe she was wrong; maybe Esther was getting bored with her. Or maybe she was still attractive, just not to her wife.

Had she not loved her enough? Somewhere along the line, had she stopped telling her how much she was in love with Esther, had she stopped telling her how she drove her wild with just a smile? Had Maca stopped behaving like she was so in love with her wife that every time Esther left the room, all the air seemed to follow her, leaving Maca trapped within a vacuum of nothingness until she returned…?

These were questions Maca knew she would most likely never have answered, even if she had the courage to ask them. So she made her way toward the showers, trying not to pick herself to pieces over what she might have done to drive Esther into Raul's arms.

The shower stalls were located behind the main body of the change rooms. Maca hadn't used them very much, always waiting till she got home to shower, but there were a few occasions were she'd leant up against the blue tiles and let the hot water run over her, blissfully removing the grime that clung to her body after a long shift. She even remembered once when she had managed to sneak Esther into them, though she tried to push the thought away.

Maca walked through to the showers and dropped her towel. She stripped away her underwear outside the cubicle, grabbing soap and shampoo from Cruz's bag before stepping into the stall and trying not to think of Esther. She turned the nozzle on the pipes, gasping when the initial blast of cold water erupted from the shower head and sprayed all over her. The shock was a welcome deterrent against the images spinning through Maca's mind but the hot water that caressed her skin moments later seemed only to stoke her emotions. And completely powerless to stop it, the unbidden memories of Esther with her, here, pushed past Maca's control where she viewed them once more, feeling as though it had happened only moments ago.

"Someone will walk in, Maca!" Esther had pleaded, trying to think of the huge fallout that would come with being caught making love in the shower. It was one thing to be caught kissing, quite another to be caught naked, and in the doctor's showers no less. But Esther wasn't one to shy away from a risk and the temptation of Maca wet, hot and waiting for her was luring her closer and closer to the showers, apprehensions evaporating in the hot steam.

"It'll give them something to talk about for months." Maca whispered in a low voice, her lips dangerously close to Esther's ear as she walked backward to the shower room, drawing Esther with her.

Esther was quickly losing ground. "But-" She tried, only for her words to dissolve into a helpless moan as Maca closed her lips over the sensitive skin of her ear, sucking lightly and using her tongue to toy with an earring. And responding to that encouragement, Maca's hands were immediately on her upper arms, pushing her nurse's gown away from her shoulders, her will unstoppable.

There had been no protests after that, only quivering anticipation as Maca had undressed her slowly, teasingly, exploring every last inch of her. Maca's lips were everywhere, tender but ravenous, devouring everything in their path. And Esther had trembled the entire time from the intensity of it; the hot shower water on her skin, Maca's lithe naked body pressed against her own and the feel of Maca's hands against her, as if she were sculpting a masterpiece, changing Esther from the imperfect form she had been since birth and reshaping her in this love, making her and everything she felt for Maca simply perfect. She fell apart into Maca's knowing hands, held together by her only.

With her head still spinning in the waves of pleasure, breaths no more than shallow pants and eyes as black as night, Esther had reverently returned Maca's promises. She'd whispered kisses over her skin, Maca remembered, imprinting things on her body for all time. Those lips had made her come undone, body trembling with need and weak with love. Then Maca had heard those words next to her ear, just before she fell forward into Esther's waiting arms… "I love you…"

"I love you too." Maca whispered to herself, now standing motionless and alone under the spray of water as she remembered Esther. There was a warmness in her body that Maca hadn't felt in a long time, an ache she would always associate with Esther, and she closed her eyes, trying to recall that beautiful face, those eyes and those lips that always kissed like there was no tomorrow.

But instead of being met with these things that brought her comfort, made her feel safe and secure after so long alone, she felt bile rise in her throat as Raul suddenly pervaded a space which had always been hers; hers and Esther's. In her mind's eye she could see the two of them in the showers, wet and naked, Esther's arms wrapped around those broad shoulders, gasping nonsense into the crook of Raul's neck as he touched her.

Maca wanted to hit him but she was glued to the spot, unable to withstand the vision but equally unable to tear herself away from it. She struggled for her voice, wanting to call out but as she parted her lips, the daydream shifted, again and again, showing them on the couch, the bed, on the bike and every other safe haven that Maca took solace in. And with bitter hurt, Maca realised there was nothing she could do but watch, captive to her own broken jealousy.

Gasping as her eyes shot open, the walls of the shower stall taking up all her vision as she wobbled unsteadily, Maca began to slip to her knees. Something close to a groan of agony tore from her throat and she realised she was helpless, that she couldn't save herself from the hurt, not even by trying to remember the good times.

Now huddled in the pools of water at the bottom of the shower, trembling and crying inconsolably, Maca resigned herself to a broken heart. She couldn't will herself to move, not even after the hot water ran out and icy spray began pelting down through the shower head.

Part 5

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