No Rescue from a Tumor Ch. 01

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Athletic

I groaned and rolled over. I didn’t know what had woken me up, and I really didn’t care.

Still on the floor in the hall of my college apartment where I had plopped myself after my last bout in the bathroom after returning home from yet another round of chemotherapy, every part of me was worn out. I hadn’t even had the energy to change clothes or walk the additional 15 steps to my bed.

The doorbell chimed again, accompanied this time by knocking. The fog that was my mind reminded me now that it had been the doorbell that had awaken me.

I didn’t want company. Still, if it was my sister coming to check on me, she wouldn’t stop until I’d let her in to do her official nurses’ assistant checkup on me. . . . I pulled myself up, made sure I was dressed and that I didn’t have any puke on me anywhere, and opened the door.

It wasn’t my sister; I should have stayed on the floor where I was.

“Hi Joseph,” Kirsten didn’t wait for an invitation; she just walked in. One of the girls from church who regularly checked in on me, Kirsten lived in the next complex over. And it looked like she held another tuna fish sandwich in her hand. The last one had caused agony at both ends. I wanted to shove her back out, but I just didn’t have the energy. I wanted to throw the sandwich down the toilet, since I knew it would end up there anyway, but I knew in my heart that I was too much of a sucker. I’d have to try to eat. “Hopefully, I thought, “I won’t barf it up this time until after I can get rid of her.”

“How are you?” Standing squarely, with one her hands on her narrow hip, Kirsten looked at me expectantly, as if she wanted an actual answer. She’d come over in just a yellow happy face t-shirt and green and red spotted pajama bottoms, and no jacket, even though it had been snowing just yesterday. She was way too thin to have any residual warmth to help ward off the February chill, so she was probably cold. I looked at the closest arm, the one on her hip, and, sure enough, I saw goosebumps.

She saw me look dumbly at it, and she shook it, as if the goosebumps had fallen on her without her noticing.

“I’m fine,” she said, in her most authoritative voice, which I didn’t think could possibly ever become bossy enough to intimidate anybody. “It’s you that I’m concerned about.” Since she was not yet proffering the sandwich, I reluctantly invited her the rest of the way in with a sweeping gesture that turned out to be nothing more than a twitch. She moved a few steps further down the hallway. I didn’t try to hide the reluctance on my face, though. I wasn’t sure I’d have been able even if I’d wanted to, anyway.

I looked at the sandwich, and then at her, again. Most guys thought she was cute, and would have been happy with the attention; I was too sick, and too doped up on sperm-killing drugs to care. And she was still waiting for a response. I didn’t remember any question, though.

“Just trying to recover,” I muttered. “On top of the chemo, the new stuff they’ve been giving me is causing a major headache.” I looked at the sandwich. “I can’t concentrate on anything.”

There was real concern in her face. “I’m sorry.”

She finally offered the sandwich, which I took over to place on the counter of my sorry little excuse for a kitchen. I glanced around, noticing the grimy dishes in the sink and the overflowing trash can, finally aware of the smell that probably permeated the small room.

Then I remembered how much I had been puking lately, and I realized that the smell of the kitchen was the least of my worries. I turned back to Kirsten. She was planning to become a social worker, and had the casually invasive personality for it; she got all the information she wanted, but you felt like you could trust her with it. I looked at her now, standing squarely on both feet in front of me, her hands gripping the sides of her narrow waist, watching me with what looked like sincerity. She didn’t seem at all concerned with the awful smell in the place, or with the clutter on the floor around us.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not really much like the stereotypical beer guzzling, partying, skirt chasing college guy. I mean I have nothing against them; they seem to have a lot more fun than I do. It’s just that I’m different. I like to keep my place neat, and parties for me usually revolved around homework, trivia games, or mad libs. I didn’t exactly stir the imagination, if you get my drift. Kirsten, on the other hand, had a steady stream of guys asking her out, even though she’d had a boyfriend up until just a few weeks ago.

“Another rough round of chemo, huh?” Everything about her showed that she empathized. Her slightly downturned mouth, scrunched eyebrows, cocked head angle, even her voice; again, it made me feel good.

“They’re doing some sort of alternative approach with the one in my brain,” I explained. “Special drugs along with the chemo ones, but at least no radiation treatment for it, yet.” I cut myself off, hoping I’d said enough asyabahis yeni giriş to show that I really appreciated her concern, but not so much that I bored her or, worse, sounded like a sob.

“How are you, Kirsten?”

“Not that it means I understand what you’re going through,” she began, hesitantly. “But when I was making you – making some tomato soup, earlier, I spilled it and it burned me pretty good.” Kirsten grabbed the hem of her shirt and pulled it up to the base of her ribcage.

“See?”

I looked, and I saw. At the time, it didn’t even seem odd to me that she had told me about the burn, or that she had been so quick to show me.

Her skin had just enough natural pigment to it that it always looked tanned, even on her bare stomach, which I was pretty sure I now could see for the first time. I had always found olive skin like hers attractive, and if it hadn’t been for the chemo and that brain-pounding other drug they’d started given me, this sudden showing of toned teen flesh would probably have gotten me pretty worked up. As it was, I could barely force myself to acknowledge what she was saying enough to look at the angry red splotch that covered most of her stomach. It began just at her waistline and went up at least as high as she was holding her shirt.

“Sorry,” I said, and glanced up the six more inches to the two pronounced bulges she sported under that thin yellow t-shirt. Bulges that she wasn’t showing, and that I would likely never see. Still, after staring, I found myself wondering if she’d burned herself any higher up than she’d just exposed, and if she was just showing the amount of skin she was willing to let me see, or if that really had been the extent of what had been burned. It looked to me like the burn went higher, and I couldn’t stop imagining what she might look like a few more inches up.

She had been studying medicine, and she knew that the drugs had absolutely killed my libido. Plus, she knew me pretty well, and knew I had always been pretty tame compared to the typical guys who kept hitting on her. In fact, I was sure that she pretty much thought of me as sterile long before my chemotherapy started. She had told me once how lucky I was that I had no interest in romance. I think she may have even used the word ‘immune.’ Right now, though, I felt quite a bit different from immune now, and it surprised me a little bit.

I also knew Kirsten well; my roommate had tried to date her, and she and I had even gone on a few church group dates together. I knew she had high moral standards, but I also knew that she was unashamed, and I wondered . . . Then I realized that I was wondering, and I was surprised at the change in myself. Not that I was getting a bulge in my pants or anything, but just wondering was something special after all that chemo.

“That looks like it hurts,” I managed, and placed a hand carefully on her bare stomach next to the burn splotch. She flinched; ever so slightly, but she flinched, when I touched her. Pain, or nerves?

“You are lucky it wasn’t any worse.” I removed my hand, even though I really didn’t want to. I wanted to move it upward.

She shrugged and pulled her shirt back down. “Oh, it got me a little bit higher than that, but, well, it’s still not like what you are having to go through.”

I was definitely feeling a bulge now, and more confidence than I normally would have. No, not confidence, I decided, but . . . something. And I suddenly really wanted to find the line between her trust in me and her moral boundaries.

“How much higher?” I asked, trying to sound casual. My head was pounding, but my thoughts seemed to be clearing a little.

She pulled her shirt up again, this time all the way to the bottom of her bra. I couldn’t quite see the bra, of course. She was far too modest for that, but she did show me more than I’d ever thought I’d (or even wanted to) see. And the way she did it made it seem so clinical, so impersonal that I felt a touch of disappointment. Looking at what I could now see, though, the disappointment sure did not last very long. Her same tan went all the way up. Unfortunately, so did the angry red burn.

“Wow, I’m sorry,” I told her. And I was sorry; it looked like it hurt, and it had happened because she was trying to make soup for me. Soup that would have torn my stomach into shreds if she’d actually brought it, but still, an extremely thoughtful gesture.

“I have some aloe in my first aid kit, over in the closet” I ventured, when she again released her shirt him, letting it drop down and cover her beautiful torso. “Have you put anything on it?”

“No, I wanted to bring you your sandwich.” she answered, more embarrassed by the question than she had been by showing me her bare torso. “Your sister told me you were back and would be too tired to fix yourself anything.”

That was true. I looked at the floor where I’d just been laying, so that I wouldn’t have to look Kirsten in the eyes, and I raised a hand asyabahis güvenilirmi to smooth the hair that was probably still sticking up. Kirsten followed my gaze and then scowled at my hand movement. Then she scowled at my hair. I didn’t like the way her eyes lit up like a lightbulb just went off.

“Oh,” she breathed, deflated. I don’t know what expression I gave her next, but whatever it was, it apparently confirmed the suspicion she’d just had.

“I woke you up, didn’t I” she demanded. “I’m sorry.”

“That’s ok” I muttered. Then a guilty thought crept in and I brightened. “Now, I would feel a lot better if you would let me do something about that burn.” I walked over to the closet and grabbed the first aid kit.

“Ohhh,” She cooed, like a mother proud of her toddler son. “You don’t need to worry about me.” She sidled over to me, giving me a hug. “I’m here to help you, remember?” One of her breasts pressed against my elbow, since I hadn’t been smart enough to move my arm out of the way. It was a typical hug, but I didn’t remember ever feeling that way before about feeling her chest press against me like that.

“And it will help me if you get some of this aloe on your burn.” I knew I was pushing just a little bit too hard now. “You did it in trying to do something nice for me, after all.” I extracted the bottle of aloe from the first aid kit and held it up.

Kirsten was clearly uncomfortable, but I could see that I was winning her over. “I just feel so silly, letting you help me,” she explained, “I should never have even told you. I don’t know why I did.”

Neither did I, but I sure wasn’t going to complain.

“When you are the one who just got done with chemo,” she continued. “You don’t need to worry about me.”

“Yes, I do,” I answered. “Show me that burn and let me put this aloe on it.” Obligingly, she pulled her shirt up again, all the way to the bottom of her bra, and didn’t move while I applied lotion to her stomach and lower chest.

It felt really good rubbing the lotion on her bare stomach and lower chest. I tried to move as gently as possible, dealing with the burn, but all I could think about was the fact that my own hands were moving all over her front. Almost all over.

I enjoyed running my fingers over her abs, feeling the outline of each muscle, noticing the outline of her lower ribs, and then feeling her one little tremor of anticipation when I moved my hand up a little bit higher, nudging a finger under the fabric of her lifted shirt. Eventually, I tore my gaze up to her face, and I saw that she was looking at me with a sort of perturbed half-frown. Suddenly, I realized how ragged my breathing had become, and I took a few slow, deliberate breaths, and then I tried to speak normally.

“Is that everywhere you got burned?” I asked, deliberately not going as high as I felt she would probably let me go. I wanted to know what she’d say.

“I can get the rest” she answered. “If you are uncomfortable.” Of course, she knew that I had never had a girlfriend, wasn’t really social, and was not in the practice of applying lotion to good looking girls just below their breasts. However, she also didn’t know the type of thoughts I now entertained. But I did know. And I certainly did entertain them.

“I got it.” I thought I sounded almost casual when I said it, sweeping my hand upward on her torso, deliberately pushing under the fabric of her shirt to her bra. My middle finger brushed the stiff fabric, but I didn’t have the courage to do more than a quick nudge with the tip of that finger. She braced, but she had the good grace to let me repeat the sweep two more times, nudging her bra each time, before stepping back and thanking me.

Yes, she thanked me, after I so obviously acted like a teenage boy who wanted to ‘cop a feel’ but didn’t have the courage.

“It actually feels better, already,” she continued.

My three passes, however, had eradicated enough of my inhibitions – or perhaps it was the drugs that did it- that I desperately wanted to test her boundaries further. Well, I desperately wanted something else, but first, I had to test her boundaries. And my boundaries, for that matter.

“So, you didn’t burn your chest at all?” I thought that I sounded pretty casual when I asked, except for the three or four tremors in my voice.

“Well, yes, a little bit. You saw that already.” Her look told me my logic had fled.

“I mean higher up. Like . . .” I couldn’t get it out.

“My breasts you mean?” she finished. “No.” She shrugged. “Thankfully.” Apparently, the question made me more nervous than it made her.

“And how is your -,”

“Want me to check and make sure?” I almost couldn’t get it out, but she just looked at me as if I’d asked her to remind me of her middle name.

“You’d be more embarrassed about seeing me in my bra than I would.” She didn’t shrug, turn away, or even avoid eye contact. She just stood there, with her shirt all bunched asya bahis giriş up at the base of her bra, showing me all her stomach, waiting for me to answer.

And ordinarily, she would be 100% right. I would normally have run like crazy but at this moment, I was getting really, truly horny.

I cleared my throat, and I did my best to sound normal. “You know what the drugs did to my testosterone, Kirsten.” I said it as playfully as I could, although my voice and my stammer both made me wonder if she could possibly be any more convinced of it than I was. “Why don’t you prove I’d be the more embarrassed.”

I was in more earnest than I should have been, and she obviously recognized it. “I think I’d better get you a glass of cold water.”

“I wish,” was all I could think to say. Then I knew I had an out – I had already gone further than I would have without the drugs in my system and the sleep deprivation, and she was well aware of it. She wasn’t thinking of me, she was thinking of me, drugged. I could say whatever I wanted to, and she would attribute it all to the drugs in my system.

“You know you’re not shy about your body,” I said. My voice cracked twice, saying it. It cracked again when I added, “Take your shirt off and let me make sure I got you with the aloe.”

She shrugged and, wordlessly, pulled her shirt over her head.

The rest of what I had planned to say died on my lips. Not just because the words apparently weren’t necessary, but also because of the sight I now beheld. I had sisters, but I had never been the type to spy on them or their friends. I’d also never been the type to look up porn on the internet, since it was frowned upon both because of my religion and by society, but I’d had enough occasional glimpses of things to know what to expect.

Or so I’d thought.

Five minutes earlier, five seconds earlier, I’d never have thought I could manage to be in the same room as a girl in her underwear, yet now Kirsten stood there, in the same room as me, only a few inches away, wearing only a white bra and pajama pants, with her hands relaxed at her sides. Even her breathing seemed normal. Her chest rose and fell with each breath, and she looked at me expectantly. Her waist tapered only slightly in from her hips, but flared out again at chest level, not giving the traditional hourglass appearance, but giving one that I enjoyed seeing very much.

I went light-headed, and my vision clouded, but even though my gaze narrowed, I kept my eyes trained on her white bra. It was one of those that was solid over the most part of the breast, but then it was frilly at the edges so that it really made me feel like I could see more of it than I really could. I want to reach out and peel it down off of her. I didn’t, though. I didn’t even move.

She didn’t move, either. And I couldn’t think of what she was waiting for. I knew it was because of something I’d said, but my mind was blank. No, not blank. My mind was filled with the image of her breasts, swelling out of her bra.

“See, I told you,” she said, and all that I could think of to say was, “Yeah.” Then I finally remembered our conversation. I had told her that I wanted to inspect her for burns. I was too busy ogling her breasts to check anything else.

“No,” I croaked. Then I cleared my throat. “No, I was just checking, is all. You are right. But let me check you there just in case.”

“Okay,” she said, even though my answer hadn’t made sense. Then, after a pause, she added, “Pervert.” But then she smiled. And she was still standing in her bra, with her shirt held casually at her side. “Call me whatever you want as long as you are willing to stay like that!” I thought, but I didn’t say it out loud.

I made a point of inspecting her around her bra, which did, in fact, seem more embarrassing to me than it did to her. I tried to force myself to touch her bra, but I chickened out. I didn’t touch anything. I did, though, take a good, long look at each of her bra-covered breasts, examining the best I could through the frill, and taking note of the two smaller bulges that had to be her nipples, before straightening again.

“You’re fine.” The way I looked at her as I said it conveyed both meanings.

She smiled and started lifting up her tee shirt to put it back on. But I didn’t want that.

“Wait,” I said.

She froze, uncertain. Her shirt slipped out of her fingers and fell to the floor.

“What’s that mark on your shoulder?” There was no mark; I was just desperate to keep her shirt off.

“Where?”

I touched her, just off where her shoulder blade jutted out. Inches from her bra strap. It was warm and soft. It was all I could do to keep my finger from shaking.

“You don’t feel that?” I pulled my finger away, and her own fingers explored the area. I surreptitiously hooked her t-shirt with my toe, and I flipped it behind me, into my bedroom.

“I don’t feel anything,” she said. “What is it?”

“It looks like a scratch,” I lied. “Or maybe a pen mark. I can’t really tell in this light.”

Again, she explored the area, craning her neck to see. I didn’t look at the shoulder, although I did try to. I just couldn’t stop staring at her breasts swelling out of her bra as she twisted and turned.

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