Examination of Jan Hooks continued

"You are NOT going to die." he said, "Do you hear me?" She looked into his face, wanting so much to believe he could work his magic on her this time. Make her calm down. Bring her to her senses like he used to. She surrendered to his eyes and to his will.

"I feel that old familiar letting go and giving in. His hand is against my face and it feels wet. I take it and stare at his palm. It is bleeding. 'How did you do this?' I ask, but he doesn't answer. I feel the warmth of his blood against my cheek and I feel marked. Christened. Like I was being blessed in some holy ceremony." She felt blasphemous.

It is all right, whatever you feel or say is not being judged. Your feelings and thoughts are your own and you cannot be condemned for them.

She sighed in relief. She did not want to offend anyone.

Would it surprise you to know that what you are perceiving is entirely correct?

"In what way?" she said, "I don't understand what you mean."

You understand more than you are willing to admit to yourself, dear one. You know what he means to you. You are very intuitive. Perceptive. The blood was indeed more than just blood. Does the term 'stigmata' mean anything to you?

"Yes, of course I know the term. But what could that possibly have to do with us? With him?" she said, "How could his blood be more than blood?"

(They contemplated for a moment and decided to break the rules a bit and enlighten her.)

(They sent her an image. An old story from a very old book. A story about blood being shed for the people. Willingly and with love. And the people were healed)

She reached up and touched her face once again. Stared at the blood on her fingers. Looked again into the depth of his soul through the gateway of his green eyes. Rested there. With his touch she felt cleansed. She wasn't afraid anymore. For this moment in time she was at peace. And she understood. She took his blood stained hand and grasped it with her own. Felt its warmth soak into every pore, saw the red come out between her fingers. He was bleeding pretty badly. She pressed her own palm tighter against his wounded one, trying to stop the flow. Slowly it began to taper off. She released it to check, and gasped when she saw that the wound was gone, as was the blood on both their hands and her face. All that was left was the slight indentation where his nails had dug in. He never stopped looking at her, not for a moment. 'Nice touch, guys' he thought to himself. But his words were hollow compared to the feelings churning inside his beating heart. He would not let her die. He would devote the rest of his life to keeping her well. To keeping her by his side. He sealed this promise with a tender kiss on her cheek. The cheek where his blood had burned his mark into her soul. He never intended anything more than this simple gesture. But she caught him off guard when she turned her head towards his, her lips grazing ever so gently over his mouth. Her body trembled against his, he could feel it. His lightening quick mind, which never failed him in the past, suddenly shut down. Her lips and warm breath that caressed his face had flipped some sort of switch in his brain. He struggled to retain some semblance of composure. But her mouth was warm and inviting, her heart pounding out its own needs against him. He gave in. He had waited a lifetime for this moment. He let her lead him, her supple lips playing over his, tasting him. Gently nibbling on his mouth, she had no idea what kind of a storm she was brewing inside of him. How all-consuming it could be. She was risking both their hearts in this kiss, and she knew it. He reached up with both hands and held her by the back of her head, his long fingers entangled in her wet hair. He pulled back from her, leaving her hanging in the grip of passion, frustrating her.

"Don't, Phil, please don't reject me. I need this so badly. Need you so badly."

(They were fascinated by the pictures on the screen. They had witnessed millions of exchanges such as this, but nothing in their extensive memory compared to these two.)

"Dear God, Phil, please I…" He smothered her words with the demanding mastery of his mouth. Blood pounded in her brain, leapt from her heart, and made her knees tremble. He pierced and parted her lips like the petals of a flower with his tongue, tasting… searching… learning. She couldn't breathe, she didn't care. She could feel the five o'clock shadow of his face against her soft cheek, scratching her tender skin. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her so tightly against him that she didn't know where she began and he ended. His kiss was crushing, forceful. His tongue hard and soft at the same time. She tempted fate and let her hands wander over his body. She traced the muscles in his chest and arms, let her hands slide down his strong back. Her hand, with a life of its own reached between them and began to slide its way down.

"No." he told them. "No, no, no this is the wrong time."

He grabbed her wrist and held it so she couldn't go any further. "No," he murmured against her mouth, "this is the wrong time." She begged with her mouth and pleaded with her body for more of him. She never felt a need as strong as this. He pulled away from her and merely shook his head. For a moment they both stood there catching their breath, looking at each other.

Examination of Jan Hooks continued

"Doesn't he know how much I want him? What more do I have to do? It is my breast, isn't it? He doesn't want to get that close now because of this stupid lump."

"You don't have to touch this breast, Phil, if that is what is wrong." she said through her tears, "I know I must seem a bit… defective to you."

"Ohhhh…" she sobs, her hands flying to her mouth.

What is it? What is wrong?

"He is angry, very very angry. I have never seen him so mad. He is telling me to never, ever say anything like that to him again. He is asking me if I think he is that petty or that stupid. I say I am sorry. I ask if he will hold me again and he does. I want to know if he will stay the night with me, no strings, nothing more than keeping me company. I am afraid to be alone with my thoughts. He agrees."

Part 5