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The Da Vinci Code (chapter 83)

2006-07-07 18:27

  Lucy agreed. She understood what was happening but had no objections to how she was being used. It seemed a reasonable favor. But when Hagen asked her to keep her eyes open around the hotel, keep an eye on Freddie and on Freddie's boss, the man who owned and operated the hotel, as a major stockholder, she said to him, “Oh, Tom, you don't want me to spy on Freddie?”

  Hagen smiled. “His father worries about Freddie. He's in fast company with Moe Greene and we just want to make sure he doesn't get into any trouble.” He didn't bother to explain to her that the Don had backed the building of this hotel in the desert of Las Vegas not only to supply a haven for his son, but to get a foot in the door for bigger operations.

  It was shortly after this interview that Dr. Jules Segal came to work as the hotel physician. He was very thin, very handsome and charming and seemed very young to be a doctor, at least to Lucy. She met him when a lump grew above her wrist on her forearm. She worried about it for a few days, then one morning went to the doctor's suite of offices in the hotel. Two of the show girls from the chorus line were in the waiting room, gossiping with each other. They had the blond peach-colored prettiness Lucy always envied. They looked angelic. But one of the girls was saying, “I swear if I have another dose I'm giving up dancing.”

  When Dr. Jules Segal opened his office door to motion one of the show giris inside, Lucy was tempted to leave, and if it had been something more personal and serious she would have. Dr. Segal was wearing slacks and an open shirt. The horn-rimmed glasses helped and his quiet reserved manner, but the impression he gave was an informal one, and like many basically old-fashioned people, Lucy didn't believe that medicine and informality mixed.

  When she finally got into his office there was something so reassuring in his manner that all her misgivings fled. He spoke hardly at all and yet he was not brusque, and he took his time. When she asked him what the lump was he patiently explained that it was a quite common fibrous growth that could in no way be malignant or a cause for serious concern. He picked up a heavy medical book and said, “Hold out your arm.”

  She held out her arm tentatively. He smiled at her for the first time. “I'm going to cheat myself out of a surgical fee,” he said. “I'll just smash it with this book and it will flatten out. It may pop up again but if I remove it surgically, you'll be out of money and have to wear bandages and all that. OK?”

  She smiled at him. For some reason she had an absolute trust in him. “OK,” she said. In the next instant she let out a yell as he brought down the heavy medical volume on her forearm. The lump had flattened out, almost.

  “Did it hurt that much?” he asked.

  “No,” she said. She watched him completing her case history card. “Is that all?”

  He nodded, not paying any more attention to her. She left.

  A week later he saw her in the coffee shop and sat next to her at the counter. “How's the arm?” he asked.

  She smiled at him. “Fine,” she said. “You're pretty unorthodox but you're pretty good.”

  He grinned at her. “You don't know how unorthodox I am. And I didn't know how rich you were. The Vegas Sun just published the list of point owners in the hotel and Lucy Mancini has a big ten points. I could have made a fortune on that little bump.”

  She didn't answer him, suddenly reminded of Hagen's warnings. He grinned again. “Don't worry, I know the score, you're just one of the dummies, Vegas is full of them. How about seeing one of the shows with me tonight and I'll buy you dinner. I'll even buy you some roulette chips.”

  She was a little doubtful. He urged her. Finally she said, “I'd like to come but I'm afraid you might be disappointed by how the night ends. I'm not really a swinger like most of the girls here in Vegas.”

  “That's why I asked you,” Jules said cheerfully. “I've prescribed a night's rest for myself.”

  Lucy smiled at him and said a little sadly, “Is it that obvious?” He shook his head and she said, “OK, supper then, but I'll buy my own roulette chips.”

  They went to the supper show and Jules kept her amused by describing different types of bare thighs and breasts in medical terms; but without sneering, all in good humor. Afterward they played roulette together at the same wheel and won over a hundred dollars. Still later they drove up to Boulder Dam in the moonlight and he tried to make love to her but when she resisted after a few kisses he knew that she really meant no and stopped. Again he took his defeat with great good humor. “I told you I wouldn't.” Lucy said with half-guilty reproach.

  “You would have been awfully insulted if I didn't even try,” Jules said. And she had to laugh because it was true.

  The next few months they became best friends. It wasn't love because they didn't make love, Lucy wouldn't let him. She could see he was puzzled by her refusal but not hurt the way most men would be and that made her trust him even more. She found out that beneath his professional doctor's exterior he was wildly fun-loving and reckless. On weekends he drove a souped-up MG in the California races. When he took a vacation he went down into the interior of Mexico, the real wild country, he told her, where strangers were murdered for their shoes and life was as primitive as a thousand years ago. Quite accidentally she learned that he was a surgeon and had been connected with a famous hospital in New York.

  All this made her more pooled than ever at his having taken the job at the hotel. When she asked him about it, Jules said, “You tell me your dark secret and I'll tell you mine.

  She blushed and let the matter drop. Jules didn't pursue it either and their relationship continued, a warm friendship that she counted on more than she realized.

  Now, sitting at the side of the pool with Jules' blond head in her lap, she felt an overwhelming tenderness for him. Her loins ached and without realizing it her fingers sensuously stroked the skin of his neck. He seemed to be sleeping, not noticing, and she became excited just by the feel of him against her. Suddenly he raised his head from her lap and stood up. He took her by the hand and led her over the grass on to the cement walk. She followed him dutifully even when he led her into one of the cottages that held his private apartment. When they were inside he fixed them both big drinks. After the blazing sun and her own sensuous thoughts the drink went to her head and made her dizzy. Then Jules had his arms around her and their bodies, naked except for scanty bathing suits, were pressed against each other. Lucy was murmuring. “Don't,” but there was no conviction in her voice and Jules paid no attention to her. He quickly stripped her bathing bra off so that he could fondle her heavy breasts, kissed them and then stripped off her bathing trunks and as he did so kept kissing her body, her rounded belly and the insides of her thighs. He stood up, struggling out of his own bathing shorts and embracing her, and then, naked in each other's arms, they were lying on his bed and she could feel him entering her and it was enough, just the slight touch, for her to reach her climax and then in the second afterward she could read in the motions of his body, his surprise. She felt the overwhelming shame she had felt before she knew Sonny, but Jules was twisting her body over the edge of the bed, positioning her legs a certain way and she let him control her limbs and her body, and then he was entering her again and kissing her and this time she could feel him but more important she could tell that he was feeling something too and coming to his climax.

  When he rolled off her body, Lucy huddled into one corner of the bed and began to cry. She felt so ashamed. And then she was shockingly surprised to hear Jules laugh softly and say, “You poor benighted Eye-talian girl, so that's why you kept refusing me all these months? You dope.” He said “you dope” with such friendly affection that she turned toward him and he took her naked body against his saying, “You are medieval, you are positively medieval.” But the voice was soothingly comforting as she continued to weep.

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