DISCLAIMER: Maca, Esther and the rest of the Hospital Central characters are the property of Telecinco. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Season 9, up to ep 9.08.
Long Way Home
By Indigo Star
Esther arrived home, hoping that her mother would be out so that she didn't have to explain her early return. But the smell of baking fish from the kitchen told her she would not have the luxury of solitude. Her mother appeared as soon as she closed the front door.
"Esther, are you okay? Your friend at the hospital called to say you were sick. How are you feeling?"
There was no escape. Esther dropped her bag and burst into tears. Encarna rushed forward and enveloped her daughter in a hug.
"Esther, sweetheart, come and sit down, tell me what's wrong." She guided Esther to the kitchen and sat her down at the table before preparing some tea. Esther had calmed slightly but tears still ran down her cheeks. Encarna set a steaming cup of tea in front of her and waited expectantly.
Raising her eyes, Esther knew she had to tell her mother something, after all, she had taken Esther in without complaint and had cooked and cleaned for her without asking anything in return. She sighed and began telling her as much as she dared.
"Mum, the thing is, I got involved with someone at work, okay? Someone really special, you know? And I thought I thought " her throat closed up and she began sobbing again.
"You didn't tell me anything about this." Encarna was surprised that her daughter had kept something so important a secret from her, and wondered why exactly that was. "Were you seeing him for long?"
"A a while, I was seeing this person for a few months." A year and a half, to be exact, thought Esther, but didn't want to provoke more questions from her mother. "We were getting on so well but then something happened, at the hospital, and now now it's over Mum."
Encarna frowned. Esther had told her almost nothing that she couldn't have guessed at herself in terms of what had gone wrong, but she was puzzled as to why Esther would have kept a relationship secret from her.
"Is he is he married?"
"No, mum," Esther groaned and looked away. "This person I was seeing, well, it's complicated. It's not what you think."
"Esther, I don't know what to think. Is it one of your bosses? Is that why you won't tell me his name?"
"No. Look, mum, it doesn't matter who it was. They're with someone else now. I thought we had a chance we could I thought we could get back together but they're with someone else now, they're not interested in me any more." Esther dissolved into tears again.
Encarna shook her head. There was nothing she could say to ease her daughter's pain. This mysterious relationship had clearly been very important to Esther, but for some reason Esther was keeping the details from her. Encarna's eyes narrowed as she thought about where Maca fitted into the puzzle. It was obvious. Maca had stolen Esther's man. That was why Esther had moved out of the flat they shared. Encarna snorted. She had met the paediatrician several times, and she had always seemed to be a genuinely nice person. Appearances could be so deceptive.
"Why does this always happen to me, mum?" Esther asked in despair. "Every time I think I've found the right one at last, it all goes wrong "
Encarna stroked her daughter's hair. "Don't give up, sweetheart," she whispered. It was going to be a long night.
Maca stopped at the reception desk on her way out.
"Teresa. I need to ask you something."
The receptionist raised her eyebrows at Maca's blunt statement.
"Did did Esther say anything to you this afternoon? Before she went home, I mean."
"Well, no. She just said she was sick. And she looked pretty bad, you know."
"Yes, I saw her. But " Maca hesitated, unsure whether to share her thoughts with Esther's closest friend at work.
"Well, I don't think she looked sick, exactly, I think she looked more upset."
"Why would she be upset? She seemed in a really good mood at lunchtime " Teresa stopped herself just in time. She knew that Maca was liable to react badly to any comment she could make about whatever was going on between the paediatrician and the head nurse.
"Yeah," Maca agreed with a sad smile.
"Oh Maca," Teresa could no longer restrain herself. "You two have to sort things out, I've never seen two people more miserable without each other."
Before Maca could reply, Rusti appeared, muttering to himself. "Pair of silly tarts. Teresa, can you believe what those two idiots are up to now?" Seeing Maca, he stopped. "Ah, hello Maca "
"What? What idiots?" Teresa questioned him avidly.
"Erm, you know, the twins " he tailed off, looking at Maca in embarrassment.
"What twins?" Maca enquired, puzzled. She hadn't seen any twins admitted that day.
"Maca, don't you talk to anyone? The twins! Begoña and Inez." Teresa clearly expected Maca to be enlightened by her remark, but the doctor looked even more confused.
"Well, that's what Esther called them this morning, and it suits them so well anyway, what are they doing now?" She turned to Rusti for gossip, but he continued to glance uncomfortably at Maca.
"What? What is it?" Teresa persisted.
Rusti was spared from replying by the giggling appearance of Begoña and Inez as they came over to sign out.
"So Maca," Begoña smirked. "When are you gonna give Inez a ride home on your bike?"
Maca looked at the pair, her face blank. "Let's say, never."
Inez looked mortified and pulled Begoña away quickly, hissing something in her ear that only provoked a snigger from the blonde.
"I'm sorry, Maca. They've been going on like that all afternoon," Rusti began. "They've started this ridiculous story that you're going on a date with Inez " He looked anxiously at Maca. "It's not true, is it? I mean, you and her?"
"No, of course it's not true, Rusti, who would believe a crock like that " She looked at Teresa in sudden understanding and knew the receptionist was thinking the same thing.
"Shit. I have to speak to her." Maca ran to her bike.
Encarna had persuaded Esther to go and lie down for a while before dinner. As she put her daughter's bag in the cupboard, the cell phone rang. Encarna took it out with the intention of turning it off, but when she saw the caller's name displayed she decided to answer instead.
"Don't you think you've caused my daughter enough pain?" Encarna kept her voice low so as not to draw Esther's attention, but her anger was transmitted clearly. "Just leave her alone! She doesn't need you twisting the knife. Don't you dare try calling her again, understand?"
The line went dead before Maca could say anything.
The doorbell rang. Esther ignored it, as she had ignored the telephone earlier. She lay in bed, hidden under the duvet, and tried to keep her mind blank.
"Esther!" Her mother was knocking at the bedroom door. "Esther, come and have a look."
"Mum, I'm trying to sleep."
The door opened. Encarna bustled in and opened the curtains. "Look, it's a beautiful sunny day, time to get up and make the most of it." The duvet was suddenly pulled off the bed.
"Hey!" Esther was outraged.
"Come on, there's a hot cup of tea for you in the kitchen. Up! I need to make the bed." Esther looked at her mother wondering what demented spirit had taken control of her.
With a loud groan Esther got up and left the room, frowning as her mother started to hum a cheerful tune as she energetically made the bed.
As promised, there was indeed a cup of tea on the table. Right next to the biggest bouquet of red roses Esther had ever seen. Was her mother seeing someone? That would explain her bizarre mood. She looked at the card which was barely visible among the foliage: 'Esther Garcia'. She sniffed. The soft perfume of fresh roses filled the kitchen. Esther frowned again. Commercial roses usually had no odour; these had to be really expensive. And there was only one person she knew who would send her something like that. Her suspicions were confirmed when she opened the card. The message was simple: 'Call me', followed by Maca's cell phone number.
"Well?" asked Encarna, appearing behind her. "Somebody thinks a lot of you. And the smell! These must have cost a fortune! So, who are they from? What does the card say?"
"Well, come on child, red roses! It's so romantic!"
"Hmm, don't you think it's a bit of a cliché?"
"Oh, Esther, do you have to be difficult about everything? Someone is trying to tell you that they love you, and you're complaining that it's a cliché?"
"Mum!" Esther was exasperated.
"What does it say?"
"Hmm, well, you should probably make him wait for a bit, after everything he's put you through. It is your man from the hospital, isn't it? Have some breakfast first."
"I'm going to have a shower first." It was the only way Esther could get peace to think what to do next. However much she wanted to agree with her mother's opinion, she couldn't forget what she had seen and heard the previous day.
Maca paced through her apartment, unable to settle to anything. She had already called the florist to check that the flowers had been delivered. She looked at her cell phone again, in case it had somehow turned itself off in the two minutes since she last checked. Nothing.
Esther would call soon. She had to.
Esther sat in her room, cell phone in her hand. She had managed to make a shower and breakfast last for nearly two hours, but still didn't feel ready to speak to Maca. Opening the phone, she began texting instead.
"Nice flowers. Your new girlfriend's not the jealous type?" She hit send before she had time to reconsider.
Maca's phone beeped. Although it was what she had been waiting for, in the silence of her apartment, she was so on edge that the sound startled her. Impatiently she scanned the message.
"Huh!" At least Esther liked the flowers.
"Don't have a new girlfriend. Am still in love with the last one, even if she left me. Call me?"
Esther looked at the number on her phone, her finger poised over the call button. She wanted so much to believe Maca's words. And the only way to do that would be to go ahead and call her. Her finger moved of its own accord. Holding the phone to her ear, she tried to control her breathing so that she would actually be capable of speech. Her mouth was dry and her pulse raced.
There was a pause, neither woman knowing where to begin.
"So what are you doing?" Esther winced at her inane question. She could at least have thanked Maca for the flowers, but for some reason her brain was not supplying her mouth with anything sensible to say.
"Well," Maca's voice held a trace of amusement, "I'm sitting in my apartment, talking on the phone with a very beautiful girl, and I'm wondering if I should ask her out for a coffee. What do you think?"
"I think you should ask her. I think she'll say yes."
"Would you like to go for a coffee with me?"
"Yes, I'd love to."
"How about I pick you up in about an hour?"
"Sure. But Maca, do me a favour don't come to the door?"
"I'll park a block away, and call you, okay?"
"Okay. Maca "
"This girl, you think she's very beautiful?"
"Mm, irresistible. But a bit bad too, I think, no?"
"We'll have to see."
"Of course. I'll call you in an hour, okay?"
"Okay. See you soon."
"See you soon, gorgeous."
Two women, different apartments, same activity. Drawers and wardrobes ransacked to find the most figure-hugging jeans, the most flattering tops and the sexiest underwear. Makeup applied with shaking hands that threatened to sabotage the effort. Perfume sprayed liberally. One has to run, throwing rejected outfits back into the wardrobe and straightening sheets and pillows in a flash. The other can afford to take her time, straightening hair, ironing jeans, but must contend with the eager interest and advice of her mother. So quickly, so slowly, the hour is up.
Esther's phone rings.
"I'm round the corner on Martello."
"I'm on my way."
A front door slams. Heels click rapidly across concrete.
Esther turns the corner and sees Maca straddling her bike. It takes her breath away. She approaches more slowly.
"Coffee?" An ordinary word becomes erotically charged by the husky voice as Maca undresses Esther with her eyes. Esther feels naked under her gaze and mounts quickly behind Maca to squeeze that body against her own. Leaning forward, her voice is a low growl of desire as she speaks in Maca's ear.
"You've got coffee at your place, right?"
The engine roars in answer.
"Come on." Esther grabs Maca's hand and pulls her up the stairs to the apartment.
"Keys." They are halfway up the second flight. Esther will not waste any time. Hinges squeak as the door opens then slams shut.
Maca is pushed back against the wall as Esther kisses her. The younger woman's desire is intoxicating and Maca gives herself over to it. Impatient hands caress her body through the material of her blouse, lighting fires where they go. With a sudden movement the fabric is removed and Maca feels the heat of those hands on her bare skin. She moans in pleasure and sucks on Esther's tongue as it takes possession of her mouth. Her hands are tangled in Esther's hair, anchoring Esther's lips to her own. Esther's fingers move up to caress her face, then slowly trail down her body. A slight pressure then release at her waist tells her Esther has unfastened her jeans. Anticipation of what is to come makes her moan again. Esther's hand slides between her legs. She is so close already. She tries to push her hips forward to increase the contact but she is constricted by her jeans and Esther's body pressed up against her. Esther breaks off the kiss and shakes her head free of Maca's grip. With one hand she grabs both of Maca's wrists and pushes her arms up above her head. Esther's eyes are dark with desire as she gazes into Maca's and in response Maca thrusts her hips forward again. With a slow smile Esther relents this time and lets two fingers slide up into her lover. She can tell by Maca's unfocused eyes that she is about to come. Without slowing her pace, she whispers urgently in her ear.
Maca gasps then cries out Esther's name as an orgasm explodes like a supernova through her body.
For a minute she can barely stand but she is braced between the wall and Esther, who slowly withdraws her fingers and brings them to her mouth, relishing the taste of her lover. Maca feels desire tighten in her belly again. Esther is smiling, aware of the effect she is having on her lover.
"Come on." She pulls Maca towards the bedroom. "Look at the state of you." She points at the mirror. Maca's usually immaculate appearance is dishevelled. Still fully clothed, her blouse hangs open under her jacket, buttons torn away, and unfastened jeans hang on her hips.
"Well, it's because I have a very demanding and impatient lover," Maca smirks.
Esther grins and pulls off Maca's jacket and blouse in one movement, dropping them to the floor and pushing Maca onto the bed to finish undressing her. The sensation of Esther's denim and silk clad body against her naked skin is pleasurable but Maca wants to feel skin on skin. She reaches to remove her top but Esther brushes her hands away. Again Maca submits to her lover's desire for control, knowing Esther will continue to pleasure her until her own need for release becomes too great. She is rewarded by the sight of Esther sitting back and slowly removing her clothes, gradually revealing herself to Maca before leaning forwards again to press her hot body against her. She is more gentle this time, more deliberate as kisses her way down Maca's body, revelling in her lover's response as she nears her goal. The sound of Maca calling her name in desire and ecstasy as she works her tongue over swollen lips is pushing Esther close to the edge herself. She lays still for a moment after Maca's shuddering climax, then moves up to face her.
"Maca?" Her voice is soft, the tone between a request and an admission of need.
"Esther." Maca smiles in reply. She moves to cover Esther's body with her own, and soon it is Esther's turn to call her lover's name in passion and release.
Hours later, they lie in a loose embrace among tangled sheets.
"You're really not going out with Inez?"
"Silly. What a silly question."
"I'm serious, Maca."
"Well no. I'm not going out with Inez."
"Okay. Just checking."
A tired hand administers a half-hearted slap to Esther's butt.
"Go to sleep."
"I love you."
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