Dog Dirty Dare Denouement
It was a dark and stormy night.
Or if it wasn't, Lorilie was too distracted to notice. Strangers entering her inn drove all thought out of her head. A more mismatched trio had never set foot over the threshold of the Southern Hospitality.
A small redhead missy led the way to Lorilie's check-in. counter, followed by a bald gent who carried a lanky nude man in his arms. Lorilie craned her neck. She saw dark bruising along one thin arm and a stripe of blood blooming on the white sheet covering his torso. He was unconscious, head lolling against a broad shoulder.
Lorilie swallowed. "Can - can I help you?"
The redhead nodded. "We need a room with two beds. Just for tonight."
"Your friend. Do you want me to call a doctor? He looks like he's hurting."
The bald man rumbled, "Dana?"
Dana shot the man a severe look. Was it a warning look? "No thanks, we'll take care of him ourselves. In fact, if you can show us to our room and unlock the door, I'll come back to pay."
Lorilie put the kettle on when she returned. The exhausted pair had gratefully accepted an offer of hot tea and sandwiches. She took her time, hand wandering over her private pharmacopeia. Two parts chamomile to soothe weary nerves. One part rosehips to strengthen the blood. And - ah, there it was - a pinch of laudanum to ensure sleep. Lorilie was on a mission of mercy, and didn't want to be disturbed. She took her job as owner of the Southern Hospitality seriously.
An hour's wait later, Lorilie sat down to dial, phone book in hand. One after another, her friends rallied to the cause of helping an injured yankee man. Lorilie suspected curiosity aided and abetted their goodwill.
Sandy, a pharmacist, was bringing some bandages and pain medication. A nursing friend, Shelba, volunteered to prep the patient. Dr. Phil, fraternal twin of the famous one, agreed to rush over from her ER shift to see what she could do.
Lorilie scratched her chin thoughtfully as she stared at her phone book. The new gal in town was a bit eccentric. Her name was bc - an e.e. cummings wannabe who insisted on being addressed in lower case. She didn't have any skills, considered Lorilie - but she did give off good vibes.
Lorilie shrugged. Might as well invite her too.
As soon as the last of their little group arrived Lorilie led them, tiptoe, up the stairs. She used her master key to silently swing open the bedroom door. She needn't have worried. The man and and redheaded woman slept deeply - collapsed on top of one bed - and the injured man was still unconscious on the other.
The group stood, surrounding the lanky stranger.
Only Phil was absent - she seemed transfixed by the bald man, and could be heard to mutter, "He might be injured, too. I'd better examine him." Shelba smirked and bc tittered when Phil began disrobing her patient.
Sandy carefully pulled off the injured man's sheet. The onlookers gasped. Bruises old and new overlapped his entire torso, deep welts were oozing blood, angry red ligature marks circled his wrists and ankles - and even disguised it was evident that, top to bottom, he was the most beautiful male they had ever seen.
Lorilie's hand flew to her breast. "Oh my."
"He has the face of a fallen angel," murmured bc. "Look at those lips."
Shelba and Sandy nodded in agreement. They began to work in tandem, carefully cleaning and bandaging his injuries. They rolled the comatose stranger on his side, and Lorilie gasped. "Even his backside is - dare I say it gals - the epitome of shapeliness."
"Dr. Phil," Shelba inquired, "our patient is feverish. Should we administer a tylenol suppository?"
"Huh?" Phil looked up, distracted. She held the bald man's pants in one hand. "Oh sure, why not?" she agreed, then went back to her own private examination.
All good things must come to an end, Lorilie realized. Everything that needed to be done had been done, and yet the group was loathe to move away. "Thank you friends. We've washed and bandaged and medicated, I think that's all the southern hospitality we can offer this evening."
"There is one more thing-" bc spoke quietly but intensely. "If you believe in the power of positive thinking..."
As the others nodded, Sandy questioned, "What's that, bc?"
"We can kiss him to make him better. And I for one know just which spot to kiss."
Four kisses were reverently bestowed on each person's favourite part of the stranger's beautiful though tortured body. A smiling bc carefully drew a fresh sheet over him and they quietly withdrew, pulling Phil with them.
Smiles and laughter ran like champagne bubbles through the group's discussion later that evening. All agreed that the task of southern hospitality had never been more pleasant.