Things seem to be flowing a little better now, and I have one of them finished.
This is for ladyforash and I hope she enjoyes it.
Title: Strawberry Dreams
Rating: FRT - Harmless really
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to these characters and am making no profit from their use. This story is strictly for entertainment purposes.
This is for ladyforash who asked for Giles, chocolate covered strawberries and her. Sorry it took so long. I hope you enjoy.
When Carolee had awakened that morning the pain had been so intense she almost couldn’t get out of bed. Not that lying in bed had been any less painful. The muscles in her lower back and right hip were in constant spasm; alternating between a throbbing ache and a stabbing agony.
She had certainly overdone it at work last night. Her doctor and her massage therapist were going to go ballistic.
She drew in deep breaths, trying to center herself, but it didn’t work. Hobbling to the bathroom she started to take a pain pill, but hesitated. If she was going to go to the therapist she would need to drive and she wouldn’t be able to do that if she took a pill. Best to see if she could get an appointment.
Moving slowly, she returned to the living room and called the therapists office. Knowing that she wasn’t one to complain, they told her to come on in. After she reached the office the level of pain had increased to the point where she could no longer put off taking a pill. When Kimberly, the receptionist, saw her take the prescription bottle out of her purse she rushed into the back office.
Janice came out, moving quickly to her side. “Oh, my. I knew you had to be hurting to call us this morning, but it didn’t realize that it was this bad. Come with me.” Janice led her into the cool dimness of a therapy room. “Make yourself comfortable, I’ll be back in a little while.”
Several painful moments later she was lying on her stomach under the sheet, shivering slightly. Janice knocked softly, then entered. “All set? I'm sorry, but it will be some time before anyone can help you. Will you be alright here?"
Carolee sighed. "The pill should take effect soon. Thanks for agreeing to work me in; I know that it will take a while. Are you sure I'm not in the way?"
Janice flipped a switch on the end of the table and placed a blanket over Carolee. "Not a problem, you just relax. The heating element on the bed is set on low, so you shouldn't get too warm." She attached a cord to an outlet and handed the other end to Carolee. "Just push the button if you need any help. "
Janice moved to the door, but stopped before she opened it. "I know you prefer that Bobbi or I work on you, but would you object if some one else did? We have a new therapist on staff. "
"No, anyone is fine."
Janice nodded and left the room.
The dimness of the room, the soothing music, the heated bed, and the pain pill finally kicking in, had Carolee drifting in and out of sleep. When the door opened it took her a few minutes to register the fact that someone had entered the room. A large, warm, hand gently touched her shoulder as a soft, English accented voice asked, “Are you ready for me to begin?”
The voice sounded vaguely familiar, and Carolee started to twist around to look. The warm hand pressed slightly. “Now, now, none of that. We don’t want you putting any more strain on that back. My name is Bert. I know that I’m not your usual therapist, but will you allow me to help you today?”
“Go ahead. I trust Janice’s judgment. I know she wouldn’t hire anyone that wasn’t a licensed professional.”
“Very well. I’ll take a few minutes to go over your chart.” The warm hand left her shoulder and Carolee heard the man cross the room. She again started to turn, but stopped when he said, “Now, what did I say?” She settled back down and he gave a slight chuckle. “Very good.”
Maybe it was the meds, but that voice sounded so familiar. Somehow it made her feel safe and protected. Cherished. Carolee giggled. Yeah, it was the meds. Imagine, the voice of a total stranger making her feel protected and cherished. She heard the man chuckle again. "Ah, I see that you have the good pills."
Carolee giggled again, feeling embarrassed. "I don't understand, I've never had this reaction before."
"It's possible that it's a nervous response to the situation. I am a stranger and you are in a rather vulnerable position. I can leave if you would prefer to wait for one of the others."
"No, I'll be alright. As I said, I trust Janice's judgement. I'm an adult and you are a professional. I can handle this."
"As you wish." Carolee heard the rustle of papers. "I see that you had back surgery recently. Is that where the pain is today?"
"Yes, my lower back and my right hip. I manage a restaurant. I'm supposed to be on light duty; paperwork in the office, things like that, but two people called in sick last night so I was on my feet out at the hostess area all evening. I soaked in a hot bath as soon as I got home last night, but it didn't help."
"Did you take any medications last night?"
"No, I really don't like to unless I have no choice. I'm afraid if I use them too often they will lose their effectiveness." She heard Bert cross the room and could feel him standing next to the bed.
"That is a valid point, but at the same time, if you don't give your body the relief from pain that it needs, you can't relax properly and you muscles will continue to give you problems. However, I'm sure that your doctor has told you all of this already and I am here to help you, not lecture you."
He took a few steps to one side. "I find that it helps some people to relax if I use a scented massage oil. I have three scented oils and a non-scented one. Which would you prefer?"
"What are the scents?"
"Sandalwood, lavender, and strawberry."
Carolee sighed. "Strawberry, please."
Bert gave another little chuckle. "Somehow I knew that you would chose that one. Strawberry it is." There was small 'clink' of glass touching glass then the smell of strawberries drifted through the room. Bert pulled the sheet down to just above her surgery scar. His hands settled on her shoulder blades and he left them there for a few moments, allowing her to become accustomed to the touch.
"My word, no wonder you are having problems. Your shoulders feel like knotted ropes. You must have a great deal of stress in your life right now."
"Yes, quite a bit."
"Then it will be my pleasure to ease some of it for you today. I am going to use a deep massage. Let me know if I am causing you any discomfort."
His hands moved up to the top of her shoulders and swept down on either side of her spine. Pushing in slightly, he moved back up. The warmth of his hands, the scent of the oil and the rhythmic movements had Carolee drifting in a pleasurable haze.
Over the next hour Bert worked miracles on her aching back and kept up a soft, unobtrusive, conversation. Carolee found herself telling him about her job, her friends, and her love of strawberries, especially chocolate covered ones. She also found herself telling him about something that she had never expected to tell a stranger: her love of reading and writing fan fiction about the Buffyverse and in particular her love for the character of Rupert Giles.
Bert chuckled again, but Carolee didn't mind. Somehow she knew he wasn't making fun of her. Shortly after her confession Bert stopped speaking and she fell asleep.
"Carolee." A hand gently jiggled her shoulder. "Carolee, wake up."
She opened her eyes and saw Janice standing next to the bed. "Hi." She blinked and realized that she felt pain free and well rested. "What time is it?"
"It's 2:30. You've been asleep for five hours."
"2:30!" She sat up on the bed, pulling the sheet around herself. "I have to be at work at 5:00. I can't believe I've been asleep that long." She gave a little stretch. "And I feel great. Bert is a miracle worker."
Janice frowned slightly. "Who?"
"Bert, your new therapist, the one who came in and worked on me."
"Sweetie, our new therapist's name is Beth and she is the one who worked on you."
"No, it was a man named Bert." Carolee felt a small trace of alarm.
"Beth said that she spoke to you and you told her to go ahead. She said that you fell asleep right away and slept through the entire treatment. You must have had a dream."
"A dream? But it seemed so real."
"What did he look like?"
"I didn't see his face, he told me not to move around, that it would twist my back." Carolee sighed. "He had the most beautiful English accent." She frowned a little. "He sounded familiar, like I knew him from somewhere." She sighed again. "Of course, someone that nice would be a dream. Oh, well. I need to go, I have to get ready for work."
Janice nodded and left the room. Carolee dressed quickly and went out to the reception area. A pretty blonde girl stepped up. "Hi, I'm Beth. I hope I helped you today."
Carolee smiled. "Yes, I feel great. You are a very good massage therapist." The girl nodded and went back into the treatment area. Carolee paid for her treatment and again thanked Janice for letting her come in without an appointment.
On the drive home and all evening at work she kept thinking about 'Bert'. She had never had such a vivid and realistic dream. And that voice, there was just something about that voice. She wished she could remember where she had heard it before.
When she slept that night it her dreams were of strong, gentle hands and a beautiful English voice.
The next morning she had just finished breakfast when she heard a knock on her front door. Looking out the window she saw a UPS truck in her drive. What on earth? She hadn't ordered anything online lately. There was another knock, and shrugging she went to answer the door.
"Delivery, will you please sign here?" The man handed her an electronic device and a plastic stylus. Carolee wrote her name on the line and handed the device back. He handed her a box approximately 12 inches square and left. She closed the door, crossed over to her couch, and sat down.
Opening the box revealed a layer of packing peanuts. Digging deeper she felt the shape of another box. She scooped the styrofoam out and discovered an envelope on top of a red box with the logo 'Berry Gourmet' written on it. The envelope had her name on it and she picked it up, setting the box on the floor. She opened the flap and pulled out a card. The front of the card was a picture of a deep red strawberry. Her hand began to tremble as she opened the card.
Or perhaps I should say, My Dear ladyforash.
There are times, very brief and very infrequent times, when those of us who reside in what you call the 'fictional' world are permitted to cross over into your reality. Yesterday was one of those times.
Our experience together was real. I was allowed to place the memory in the mind of that young lady so that she believes that she was the one who gave you your treatment. This was necessary, so that the others would not be aware of my trespass.
My actions yesterday were little enough compensation for the love and respect you have always shown my character in your fiction. I hope that in some small measure I was able to ease your pain.
Enjoy my gift. I wish I could be there to share them with you.
Rupert (Bert) Giles.
Carolee stared at the card for a long time, reading it again and again. Finally she put it down and removed the smaller box. Opening it she discovered a dozen chocolate-covered strawberries.