She lifted the hem on her uniform, fastened her suspenders and straightened the lace at the top of her silk stockings. One last check of her tight bun and soft makeup and she was ready for the day. If only they knew what she had on under her dress.
“Notes on the calendar for today say we have a visit from a new resident this afternoon. Mr. Dunbar is an ex-serviceman in his late fifties, who recently had a stroke and now is in need of twenty-four-hour care. He will be moving in to the recently vacated single room in the Riverside Unit in two weeks’ time. Today he is coming for afternoon tea, a chance to look around again and meet his new key worker.” Jo spoke confidently and openly to the group of nurses gathered around the large oak dining table sipping at much needed steaming mugs of coffee.
“I know it won’t be the same as having Mrs. Jessop here. I know we all miss her dearly, it was a difficult passing, but we all have to realize that she is no longer suffering. In this profession we have to be able to remove ourselves from our feelings for the residents and move on.” The other nurses nodded in agreement.
“This morning’s main duties are the usual mixture of routine tasks. All beds are to be stripped and remade, residents washed and dressed and into the breakfast room for eight am please. Mrs. Mayfield in room nine is asking for another dressing for her pressure sore, so I shall be there should anyone need me. Please can we remember to turn her hourly, left to right to relieve the pressure, noting which side? Lastly, Abbie, please could you come to my office after the meeting? I would like to brief you on the new gentleman. You will be his key person.”
A few moans went around the group. Jo continued ignoring the noises.
“Is there anything to report this morning from the night staff?” The nurses shook their collective heads.
“Good, then that concludes our meeting. Off you go, ladies.” Jo stood from her seat and moved into her office whilst the other nurses proceeded to go about their duties. She heard the mumble of ill content, questions of favoritism and the usual moaning and groaning of a six a.m. breakfast shift as she filed away the meeting notes of the morning.
She was just closing the filing cabinet as there was a tap on the door.
“You wanted to see me, Matron?” A slender, pretty nurse stood meekly in the doorway, her soft auburn hair pulled tight into a French plait, her uniform starched to perfection.
“Come in, Abbie, and close the door behind you, please.” Jo moved from the filing cabinet to stand behind her desk and sat down heavily in her faux leather office chair.
Abbie’s regulation issue black, rubber-soled shoes squeaked as she shut the door and made her way towards one of the chairs on the nearside of the desk. Sitting demurely she crossed her legs and placed her hands in her lap, eager to listen and learn.
“I hate all this seriousness and pomposity,” Jo said as she removed her clip from her hair. Her bun fell loose, letting her hair cascade around her shoulders.
“Oh, I don’t know, I actually think it’s quite funny, and in a way, it turns me on! I love you being all domineering. I’ve been working here for three months now and it’s driving me insane seeing you be ’Matron’ every morning.” Jo pulled a smile as Abbie made a “tiger-pawing” motion and the growl to accompany it.
“So, what’s this new chap like?” Abbie asked. Jo was glad for the change of subject – anything that distracted her from the urge to climb over the desk and ravish Abbie was good. Jo pulled a file from her desk drawer and handed the care plan over to her. She sat in silence, for about ten minutes, as Abbie flipped through the file and gathered some of the necessary details.
“Feel free to take it away with you for a while and have a good read. Are you free for lunch today?”
Abbie smiled coyly.
“Of course I am. You never rotated me in for a lunch time shift.”
“I’d never get to see you if I did,” Jo interrupted.
“Melanie isn’t in today and we’ve got an agency staff in, so I’ll need to be floating about. What have you got in mind?” Abbie asked.
Jo stepped around the desk and leant in close to the nurse. Abbie could feel her warm, coffee-scented breath on her cheek.
“Just meet me in the treatment room at ten past one. I’ll see you there once I’ve done the medication rounds. I’ll let you in on a surprise.”
Abbie smiled and then stood to leave the room.
“Speaking of surprises, you should see what I have in my lunch box today,” she laughed. As her hand rested on the door handle Jo wrapped her arms around Abbie’s shoulders and laid soft kisses on the nape of her neck. She opened the door slightly and then stopped.
“Urn . . . Matron. Don’t forget your bun!” Abbie giggled as she left the office, leaving Jo looking in the mirror, tying her hair back into the tight bun that she had had at the morning meeting.
Both nurses continued about their daily routines, not meeting again until the medication round at breakfast. Despite the distance across the busy breakfast room the desire between Jo and Abbie was palpable. The two nurses were engrossed in their illicit affair, and were excited by the danger of being caught conducting it directly under the noses of their employers, colleagues and partners. Both women continued to attend to the needs of the residents of the Albright Nursing Home for the Elderly and Infirm. Despite their distraction, their mutual profession tightened the bond between them. They truly understood each other’s work-related stresses and didn’t need to go into lengthy discussions in order to explain the day’s events to each other, unlike when they went home to their partners.
Jo had been married for almost a year to Dave, who was a bricklayer. Jo had known about her bisexuality since she was about thirteen, when she had realized the feelings she had for a female friend were more physical than her feelings for her boyfriend of the time. Abbie had been in a relationship with Helena for six months, but they were still at the dating stage and neither was ready to commit any further. The nurses had embarked on their affair just a month after Abbie was employed at the home. After some serious drinking and flirting on a staff night out which resulted in them sneaking away early to Jo’s apartment they had become engaged in the affair. Jo had returned home in the early hours of the morning, sexually exhausted and smelling like a brothel. She had spent an hour in the shower, scrubbing away the guilt of her adultery, before climbing into bed with Dave. Over the next few weeks she had tried to deny her feelings for Abbie. In the end she had given in. Since then the women had been meeting in secret whenever they were able.
Once the after breakfast medications were administered, Jo returned to her office and despite her growing pile of paperwork and medication charts, she allowed herself ten minutes of quiet contemplation. Of course her mind was focused on one subject – Abbie. And the thought of her bending over beds, tucking in sheets was making her more excited as the minutes ticked on. That vision was enough to keep her imagination occupied whilst she worked tirelessly through her duties until lunch.