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My Sweet Lisa – Chapter Eleven

My Sweet Lisa is Book Seven in the Operation Quickline fiction series – Lisa’s kidnapping spurs a host of changes in both hers and Sid’s lives. Yep, it’s finally Real Love. Now what? You can read Chapter One here, or check out all the episodes so far here.

Sid had an odd grin on his face when I came to breakfast that morning.

“How close are we to not being behind?” he asked me as I yawned and piled fruit salad on my plate.

I blinked and thought. “I think we’re mostly caught up, or at least, on track. Why?”

“Nothing.” He buried his face into the morning newspaper. He flipped a corner down. “Yet.”

I was too tired to wonder at it. He finished before I did, and I offered to bring the dishes back into the kitchen. When I got to my office, he was there waiting.

“Alright,” I said. “I’m more awake. What’s up?”

“I know we talked after your nightmare last night,” he said leaning his backside on the front of my desk. “But I had an odd little revelation in the shower this morning.”

I folded my arms in front of myself. “Okay.”

“Yesterday, I was pretty horny, and I was pretty P.O.’d at you. Now, not too long ago, the first thing I would do was go out to a bar, whatever, and get myself laid.”

“I’m assuming you didn’t last night.”

“The thought never occurred to me.” He put his hand on my forearm. “Lisa, that’s what I’ve been waiting for. The signal that I really am done with sleeping around. Believe me, that combination of being hot for your bod and totally annoyed with you used to send me running for tail faster than just about anything else, especially these past few months, when I was really trying not to. Last night, I was wonderfully stirred up and really angry that you weren’t there. And I never even thought about going and getting laid. All I wanted was you.”

“I’m glad,” I said, not quite getting what he was saying.

He laughed softly. “Lisa, I’m ready. I am ready to promise a lifetime commitment to you and my fidelity. And I am not going to wait to do it. We can’t afford to take that chance. Right here, right now, I promise to be with you for the rest of our lives and to stay faithful to you and you only.”

The bottom dropped out. “Oh. Sid.”

I flew into his arms and we kissed.

“Sid,” I gasped when I could. “I promise, too. I will be with you for the rest of our lives, and I will be faithful.”

He pulled away for a moment. “I have something for you. Um. When I had that diamond reset last summer into your necklace, I bought the earrings I gave you last Christmas, and something else, too.”

He handed me a ring box. I almost choked. Sid had given me a beautiful necklace of diamonds and aquamarines, my birthstone, then the earrings. I didn’t wear bracelets, so I’d figured that wasn’t coming.

“It is technically a dinner ring,” he said. “To go with the other pieces. You don’t have to wear it on your left hand. But I can’t think of a better time to give it to you.”

The ring followed the same motif of a round-cut gem surrounded by smaller ones of the other color. My necklace had two such circles suspended from the s-chain. The top circle was an aquamarine, surrounded by tiny diamonds. The bottom had a diamond surrounded by aquamarines. My earrings were the same. The ring had an aquamarine at its center, surrounded by tiny diamonds.

“It’s beautiful, Sid.” I couldn’t believe what I was doing, but I pulled the ring from the box and slid it onto my right ring finger. Or tried to.

Sid frowned. “I had that sized to that wedding set we use.”

Sid and I have wedding rings that we wear when we’re posing as a married couple. I put the ring on my left ring finger. It fit perfectly.

“My right hand is slightly larger than my left,” I told him.

He put his hand over mine. “You don’t have to wear it full-time if you don’t want to.”

I pulled my hand away and admired the sparkling gems. “I won’t, but… I kind of like this.”

“Let’s call it a promise ring, then.”

I giggled. “Like we’re in high school.”

“Oh, I hope we’re past that.” Sid’s gorgeous blue eyes danced like the sparkles in my ring.

I kissed him again. He put his hand on my cheek, then pulled away.

“You know what else this means?” he asked me, his voice taking on a rich, earthy tone. “With your permission, of course, then tonight is going to be our night.”

“Can we afford to wait?”

He shifted with a slightly uncomfortable hiss. “Let’s give you some time to get used to the idea. Besides, I want this to be extra special. Let me romance you. Dinner, maybe dancing, and then you and me.”

“Oh, Sid.” Blushing, I kissed him, then just looked into his so very sweet eyes. “You think we could eventually get married, too? It would make things easier at church.”

“Sure. Why not?”

I had a bad feeling we were going to be behind again, but I didn’t care. He held me and we kissed deeply and richly. I knew Sid had a point about letting me get used to the idea that we were really going to be having sex for the first time. My first time. I trusted him to take good care of me, and I couldn’t help but be delighted that he found such joy in it.

It had been Sid’s promise, also, that when we came together, it would be in joy, or it would not happen. I was definitely feeling the joy, and a lot of other wonderful, delicious feelings.

So was he. We held each other, kissing and kissing, our tongues intertwining. His hands wandered delightfully, and I couldn’t help but gasp with how good it felt.

Then the phone rang.

I have no idea how Sid managed it. He would answer the phone no matter what state his was in or with whom. He still had that skill. Somehow, without his lips leaving mine, he got the phone off the hook and the speakerphone on, then moved away and said, “Hello?”

“Sid, it’s Beth Carpatti.”

Sid kissed my forehead. “Good to hear from you, Beth. How’s it going?”

He began kissing my mouth again.

“Pretty awful. I have AIDS.”

Sid stopped cold.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, melting away from me.

“I’m pretty sure it was that loser drug addict that I connected with after our fling last summer. But the doctor said I should contact all my partners.”

“Of course,” Sid gasped, but then did something that made me love him all the more. “How are you doing?”

“It’s awful.” Beth sounded like she was crying. “I just want to be alone right now.”

“Sure. I’ll check in later.”

The phone buzzed with the dial tone. Sid did manage to switch off the speakerphone. He also got up and went to the other side of the room from me.

“Sid,” I whispered.

“Do you have any idea how close we just came?” he said, his face ashen.

“Sid, she’s not sure it was you.”

“I have come this close to infecting you.”

“You haven’t done a damned thing!” I glared at him. “Why don’t you check in with the doctor?”

Sid nodded. He went into his office, where his phone book was, flipped to a specific page and dialed.

“Is Dr. Kline available?” he told the person on the other end. “I have a bit of an emergency.”

Dr. Kline agreed to see Sid that day if he could get there in forty minutes or so. Sid agreed, and I did not want to think what it would take to get from the house in Beverly Hills to the office near Cedars Sinai Medical Center, at the western end of the really trendy part of Melrose Avenue. I insisted on driving because he was in no shape to, and we managed to get there in twenty-five minutes. We still had to wait another hour or so before the nurse called Sid back to the exam room.

Sadly, I could not go in with Sid. I sat in the waiting room, reading old People magazines and a few pamphlets on various health care issues. One pamphlet I made a point of putting in my purse. When Sid finally emerged, carrying his suit jacket, but otherwise perfect, I went up to him.

“I have to get some blood drawn,” he said. “We can talk about the rest when we’re done.”

He did seem a lot more relaxed than he had when he’d gone into Dr. Kline’s exam room. He was still shook, of course, but no longer panicking.

The sweet young thing that drew Sid’s blood was exactly the kind of cutie that Sid had loved to mess with.

“Are you going to be okay?” Sid asked her as he rolled up the sleeve to his shirt.

“I have stuck so many of you boys this past month and have been fine. I’m not worried.” she replied, never mind that she put on an extra pair of rubber gloves.

As she pulled together paperwork and vials, she gave me a look.

“So, is this your sister?” she asked Sid.

“Uh, no,” Sid said, then looked at me. He put his hand out and I grasped it. “This is my… Girlfriend.”

It was the first time either of us had acknowledged it.

The lab tech’s eyebrows rose.

“It’s something new,” Sid said, even though she was obviously wondering how straight Sid was.

The lab tech shrugged. Okay, she also looked at Sid with unguarded lust, too, but that neither surprised me nor bothered me. Sid’s eyes drifted toward me. I squeezed his hand.

We were done in a few minutes, and the lab tech placed a ball of cotton over the small prick and taped it down. Sid kept his hand on it for the full five minutes as we walked back to my truck. While I unlocked the passenger door, Sid put his jacket back on.

“You seem calmer,” I said as I started the engine.

“Well, there’s good news, bad news.” Sid took a deep breath. “Dr. Kline said she likes my odds. Apparently, only one percent of cases are from heterosexual contact, and since Beth does have a probable source of infection which occurred after her contact with me, if I have it, I probably did not get it from her. But I did get the lecture on my sex habits.” He glanced at me. “Former sex habits. Also, I don’t have any symptoms, which is a good sign, but hardly conclusive.”

“I’ve heard it can take years for symptoms to show.”

“Exactly. That’s why we had to get the blood drawn. There’s a new test for the virus that causes AIDS.” He sighed. “We should know in a few days.”

“Good. Why don’t we go to lunch and try to relax, and then we can talk things through some more when we get home.”

“Yeah. That sounds good.” Sid took a deep breath and let it out.

I braked for a red light, then looked over at him. “Sid, I want you to know this does not affect the promise I made to you this morning.”

“I’m glad.” He reached over and put his hand over mine where it rested on the gear shift. “It doesn’t affect mine, either. Not in the least.”

I called Conchetta from the restaurant to let her know we were eating lunch out and asked her to save what she’d made, and we’d eat it for dinner that night.

When we got home, I got Sid settled on the living room couch and just held him for several minutes.

“You know,” I said finally. “I did find a pamphlet on AIDS and how to deal with it. It was clearly directed at gay men, but guys doing the penetrating are not at as high a risk.”

“Which reminds me. I didn’t get to tell you the bad news,” he said, gazing unseeing at the floor. “No sex for us until I’m clear.”

“That’s only for a few days. I can wait.”

“And if I have it, I may have already infected you.”

That took my breath away for a moment.

“It’s body fluids, Lisa. Saliva.”

“We don’t know that you have it, Sid.”

“Yeah, but the way we’ve been kissing lately, there’s been a lot of fluid exchanging. Dr. Kline said that it’s only possible that saliva can cause infection. They don’t know one way or another yet. But she said she hasn’t seen any real evidence that it does. That’s the worst of it.” Sid seemed to cave into himself. “It’s bad enough thinking I might have a fatal disease. It’s worse thinking that I gave it to you. That’s the part that kills me. That I hurt you.”

“You didn’t know. Nobody did.” I sighed. “It’s not like you did it intentionally. And again, we don’t know that you are even infected yet. If you find out you are, I’ll get tested, and if I’ve got it, too, then we’ll deal with it then. And like you said, the odds are overwhelmingly in our favor.”

He looked at me. “You’re not mad at me? As much as you hated me fooling around, I would think you’d be furious about this.”

“Maybe it hasn’t hit me yet.” I touched his face. “I don’t know. All that just doesn’t seem important right now. It’s in the past. Right?”

“Yeah.”

I reached over to kiss his mouth, and he pulled back.

“Sid, if you have the virus, and if it can be transmitted through saliva, it’s already too late.”

I reached again. He hesitated, then kissed me with his lips closed, but slowly they opened, and he kissed me again.

Then we just held each other until it grew dark outside. Dinner was subdued and Sid picked at his chicken salad. We sat in the library together and held each other again. I went first to get dressed for bed and as I left my bathroom, I made another decision. I went through the house to Sid’s bedroom and knocked on his door.

“Come on in,” he said with a sigh. “I’m covered.”

He was wearing his pajama bottoms and sitting on the edge of his bed.

“If you don’t mind,” I said softly. “I’d like to spend the night in here.”

“Why?” he asked.

I shrugged. “It just seems like the thing to do.”

He nodded and got in bed. I slid under the covers next to him and kissed him good night.

Some hours later, I woke up. Sid’s sleepy chatter grew more and more anxious.

“Robinson,” he called, as he lay on his side facing away from me. “Robinson, no!”

His eyes opened as he gasped for air. I rubbed his back.

“I’m here, Sid. It was just a dream.”

His breathing slowed and he rolled onto his back. I reached for him, and he pulled away.

“It’s okay,” I told him.

“No, it’s not okay. I feel so contaminated.” He looked at me. “That’s why you’re here right now, isn’t it?”

“It is.” I smiled at him. “You told me last fall I’m not the only one who has nightmares. I’m happy to return the favor.”

He sighed and looked up at the ceiling. “I dream about my first kill, too.”

He meant the first time he’d killed someone. Sid having fought in Vietnam and given the way people were prone to shooting at us, it was inevitable that we’d both killed people. I’d killed my first the previous summer, which was when my nightmares started. He seldom talked about his experiences in Vietnam but had told me bits and pieces here and there.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“Actually, I already have.” He took a deep breath and let it out. “Now, that I think about it, a couple of times. Well, hinted at it, anyway.”

“How do you mean?”

He shook his head. “It’s not important now.” He took another deep breath. “It was near the start of my tour, and I was in a pretty bad way. We’d go out on patrol for three weeks at a time, and I kept getting so horny. Three weeks without sex and obviously the stress of not knowing when we’d come under fire. Nothing helped. Near the end of the third patrol, I was really a mess. I snuck out of camp that evening to get myself off, not that it was going to do any good, mind you. But I was desperate, and stupidly, I left my gun in the camp. I figured I’d be back in no time. I was just getting started when I heard the gunfire. A VC sniper took out Robinson and a couple others. The weird thing was, I was almost on top of the sniper, but hadn’t seen him because I was too anxious to get my rocks off. And I didn’t have my gun. I did have my knife and charged the sniper, knocked his rifle out of the way. He came back at me, and I stuck the knife in his belly and then watched as he bled.” Sid swallowed. “When I got back to camp, all I wanted to do was wash the blood off my hands. Robinson was dead and I could have saved him if I’d just been paying attention.”

“And now you’ve got blood on your hands again.”

He nodded.

“I don’t know if I would have understood that before last summer, but I do now.” I wanted so badly to touch him, to gather him into my arms and hold him. “We both know intellectually that if you have AIDS, you did not do it to me or to yourself. It just happened. And we both know it’s really hard to look at these things intellectually when we’re worried, hurt, and scared. But as you’ve told me, sometimes that’s what we must hold onto. In the meantime, I’m here for life, Sid.”

“I just hope we have more time.”

“We run that risk every day. They were shooting at us last Monday.”

“Too true.” Sid slowly rolled onto his side and faced me. “I guess we’ll deal with it, then.” He sighed. “I hope you don’t mind waiting to make love.”

“I’ve been waiting all my life. What’s a few extra days?” I thought of something else. “You know that pamphlet said we could use a condom.”

Sid snorted. “No way. I conceived Nick wearing a condom. Trust me, they are not foolproof by any means. I know of at least one abortion that I caused with a leaky one, and it’s always possible that Nick has an older sibling out there that we don’t know about yet.” He shuddered. “That’s why the first thing I did when I got my money was get my surgery.”

I smiled. “We could look at this as if we’re waiting for the biopsy results on a lump.”

“There’s one major distinction, though. I can’t give you cancer. Sleeping with me will not give you cancer.”

“I’m not likely to get AIDS, either. The odds are in our favor.”

Sid smiled and reached his hand to touch my face. “And you don’t mind kissing me?”

I went ahead and showed him that I didn’t.

Please talk to me. I'd love to hear from you.

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