Season One / Chapter 3 / Sex Worth $249,000

 

 

Page 1

 

==== Panya and Jenn, both dressed in comfort wear, embarked on their journey to Duke University Hospital under the clear Monday morning sky. It was just past 10 am, the sun casting a gentle warmth over the bustling city of Raleigh, NC. Jenn sat in the passenger seat of Panya’s electric Lucid Air Sapphire; Panya’s husband Chase had purchased it for her 30th birthday. It was more expensive than the Tesla Model S Plaid, although both sedans can reach 60 mph in under two seconds.

As they rode, the streets buzzed with the energy of a new day. Inside the car, Jenn’s head dressing rendered a vivid reminder of that atrocious Sunday church service. However, today, she was rocking a Dolce & Gabbana ribbed wool & cashmere beanie that hid her scars well.

They had been unable to visit Sid on Saturday, the day he woke from his coma. Dr. Bates has not granted full visitation rights to those other than the immediate family until today. Jenn, fidgeting with the strap of her handbag, broke the silence. “I can’t believe Sid’s finally awake. It feels surreal, doesn’t it?” Jenn’s voice trembled slightly, betraying her nervous excitement. Panya nodded, “I just hope he’s really okay,” her words heavy with a mix of hope and worry.

Their conversation weaved through memories of Sid, recounting moments of laughter and the shadow of the recent past. As the hospital came into view, a towering structure of glass and steel, their hearts quickened. Panya smoothly pulled her sleek, navy Lucid Air Sapphire into the hospital’s valet parking area, the car’s silent grace turning heads as it glided to a stop.

 

 Page 2

 

==== Stepping out of the car, the morning air embraces them. A beautiful, petite Hispanic girl with warm brown skin and an energetic smile approach. Her eyes widened, and a mischievous grin spread across her face. “OMG!” her voice tinged with both surprise and a hint of longing, “I want your life. What do you do to be able to drive a car like this?”

Her youthful face lit up with a mix of awe and curiosity as she took Panya’s key in exchange for a small, laminated ticket, her eyes glinting with a playful blend of envy and admiration.

Jenn, always quick with a quip, chimed in before Panya could respond. “She graduated from Howard University, and she has sex with her husband,” her voice laced with humor and a hint of pride.

“Good sex is worth $249,000,” Added Jenn as they walked away from the valet station. Jenn grabbed Panya’s hand, “Girl, you know you got that man pussy whipped.” “That’s a good thing,” Panya replied. Erupting into laughter.

 

As they moved through the sliding doors of the entrance, their steps were hesitant yet purposeful. Each stride took them closer to the reality of seeing Sid – a dear friend, a cherished soul – awake and alive after our harrowing church experience. The air was a blend of the sterile scent of antiseptic, so characteristic of hospitals, mingled with the faint, comforting aroma of coffee wafting from the nearby cafeteria.

 

 Page 3

 

==== The weight of the moment settled upon their shoulders, a heavy yet comforting cloak woven from their myriad emotions. Yet a soothing balm to the weeks of worry and sleepless nights, mingling with the undercurrent of anxiety that refused to be quelled until they saw Sid with their own eyes. It was a complex mix of feelings, each thread representing a different emotion, intertwined and inseparable.

But it was hope that shone the brightest – a deep-seated, fervent hope that radiated from their hearts. This hope was not just a mere wish for Sid’s physical recovery; it was much more profound. It was a hope for the rejuvenation of his spirit, for the rekindling of the laughter and joy that had always been so integral to his being.

Drawing closer with each step, the very air seemed charged with promise. Panya and Jenn found themselves not just walking through a hospital but stepping into a new chapter of their lives, one where adversity morphed into strength and uncertainty gave way to a renewed sense of purpose.

  

Page 4

 

==== The soothing artwork of motivational quotes seemingly offered a silent encouragement as they passed. The occasional bustle of nurses and doctors, moving with purposeful strides, served as a reminder of the tireless efforts that had brought them to this hopeful juncture.

As they walked, they couldn’t help but notice the diverse display of human life that unfolded in every corner of the hospital. Families huddled in quiet conversation, their expressions a mix of worry and hope; children, oblivious to the gravity of the setting, entertained themselves. Their laughter was a rare but welcome sound amidst the pervasive solemnity.

  

 Chapter 5

 

==== The closer they came to Sid’s room, the more intense their anticipation grew. Their conversation had dwindled to a nervous silence, each lost in her thoughts. They passed a small chapel, where a lone figure sat in silence, I’m sure in some way, petitioning a god for an intervention.

Finally, arriving for a brief moment, they hesitated at Sid’s door, gathering their emotions. Jenn’s hand found Panya’s, a silent expression of solidarity and mutual support. They exchanged a look, a mix of joy and disbelief, before Jenn gently pushed the door open. Stepping into the reality of the moment, the room was a quiet, private space, away from the hustle and bustle, only punctuated by the soft beeping of the monitors that tracked Sid’s vitals. These sounds, once a source of anxiety, now played a comforting background melody, a testament to his continued stability and improvement.

Flower arrangements adorned with an array of beautiful flowers adorned the room, adding ambiance. Bright blooms in every color of the rainbow filled the space with their fragrance and gifts from friends, family, and colleagues who had been rooting for Sid’s recovery. Each vase, with its vibrant colors and lush greenery, seemed to symbolize the collective hope and love directed toward Sid during his time of need. Transforming the clinical environment of the hospital room into a garden of joy and life.

 

Page 6

 

==== “Panya, Jenn,” Sid’s voice was hoarse but unmistakably tinged with happiness. His simple words were like music, a melody long missed and deeply cherished.

Panya gently took his hand, careful not to disturb the Intravenous lines. “We’ve been so worried,” her voice said in a soft whisper. Jenn, standing beside her, added, “It’s so good to see you awake; you’ve no idea how much we missed you.”

Sid’s eyes sparkled. “I missed you both, too.” His grip on Panya’s hand tightened slightly, a silent thank you for their presence and support.

 

 Page 7

 

==== In the midst of this emotionally charged atmosphere, Sid’s voice, still weak but unmistakably tinged with his characteristic humor, broke the solemnity. “I still want my b-day bitches,” he quipped with a mischievous glint in his eyes. It was quintessential, Sid, his humor intact even in the face of adversity. The remark brought an immediate, joyous laughter to the room, lightening the heavy vibe.

Panya and Jenn responded in unison, “Sid’s Back!” Their voices rang with a blend of relief and happiness. Sid’s statement was more than an acknowledgment of physical recovery; it was an affirmation of his return to the spirited, lively person they knew and loved. Panya and Jenn high-five each other; their unity and the strength of their friendship forged even more robustly.

 

Page 8

 

==== Sid’s hospital room, once a somber enclave of uncertainty, was now transformed into a haven of joy and laughter. There was a sense of triumph over adversity as Panya and Jenn stood at his bedside. Sid, with his wry smile and sparkling eyes, was not merely a patient recovering from a traumatic experience; he was a beacon of hope, a living testament to the unyielding strength of the human spirit.

In this moment of heartfelt reunion, Sid’s humor pierced through the emotional heaviness they bore. His words, though spoken lightly, were laden with profound meaning. They were not just a request for a celebration; they were a declaration of his intent to embrace life, to continue being the vibrant soul they knew. His essence remained untouched by his ordeal, shining through in his playful banter. 

 

Page 9

 

==== In the brightly lit room of the community church, a sense of anticipation hung in the air during the Monday noon prayer session. Pastor Jessie stood at the lectern, a gleam of joy evident in his eyes. The congregation, a diverse group of individuals united in faith, waited with bated breath.

“I have great news, or should I say I have God’s news?” Pastor Jessie shouted, his voice echoing with glee throughout the room. The congregation almost seemed to lean forward.

“God woke up Mrs. and Mr. Henry’s son, Sid, on Sunday!” The words resonated like a joyful melody, stirring a wave of murmurs among the attendees.

He continued, his voice growing more impassioned,

“Our prayers reached the heavens, and God spoke to him. That’s what He will do for you when you tithe and live right before Him!” His gaze swept across the faces before him. “He will move on your behalf. AMEN!” The response was immediate and electric.

“AMEN!” The congregation screamed back; a chorus of voices unified in fervent agreement.

 

Page 10

 

The message was clear: Sid’s awakening was a testament to the power of right living, tithing, and prayer. Well, probably Mr. and Mrs. Henry’s right living, tithes, and prayers. As for Sid, his community church considered him a sinner. The church’s atmosphere transformed into a tangible wave of spiritual energy.

Each chord struck on the piano, and every drum beat pushed the congregation into a different realm, with some expressing their joy through a fervent dance. The air was electric with faith, the walls reverberating with the sounds of worship and praise. It was as though the building itself was participating in the celebration, the very foundation echoing the jubilance of the moment.

 

 Page 11

 

==== Faces were awash with tears as the melody swirled through the church. It was as if the music was carrying them to a place of communal euphoria. The air buzzed with an almost tangible energy, a blend of gratitude, awe, and shared belief in the miraculous. Eyes closed, hands raised, the church members found themselves in a spontaneous, unified act of worship. It was a powerful testament to their collective faith, strengthened by the news of Sid’s awakening, a miracle they attributed to tithes, living right, steadfast prayer, and divine intervention.

In the midst of the crowd, individual stories began to shine through. Mrs. Henry, a long-time member of the church, wiped away her tears of joy, her heart full of renewed hope that God had spoken to her son. Nearby, young Marcus, who had recently joined the church, watched in awe, his skepticism gently eroded by the raw, genuine faith of witnesses. Each person in the room, from the elderly to the young, from the true believers to the newly converted, felt a personal connection to the moment. The news of Sid’s recovery was more than just a cause for celebration; it was a reaffirmation of their faith, a reason to hold on to God’s unchanging hand and take up a monetary offering for the Lord.

 

Chapter 12

 

==== As Panya and Jenn made their way back to the sleek, navy Lucid Air Sapphire, parked in the hospital’s valet area, the atmosphere was noticeably different from when they had arrived. The sun was now higher in the sky, casting a warm, golden hue over the hospital grounds. The cool morning air had given way to the mild warmth of the sun at noonday, encapsulating the day’s transition.

The same valet girl, her shift nearing its end, recognized them immediately as they approached. Her energetic smile returned, yet it now carried a hint of curiosity about their visit. As Panya handed her the valet ticket, their earlier conversation seemed to linger in the air between them.

“How was your visit?” the valet girl asked, her tone respectful yet underscored with genuine interest. It was a simple question, but it spoke volumes of her empathy and the brief yet meaningful connection they had shared earlier.

Panya exchanged a glance with Jenn before responding, “It was good, really good. Our friend... he’s doing much better than we hoped.” The relief and joy in her voice could be heard, a stark contrast to the apprehension that had clouded their arrival.

The valet girl’s smile widened, “I’m so glad to hear that,” she said, her voice warm with sincerity. “It’s nice to see good things happen to good people.” Her comment, though brief, was a comforting affirmation, a reminder of the kindness and solidarity that can be found in unexpected moments.

Panya and Jenn stood chatting as the valet brought the car around; she gave them a parting nod, a gesture of goodwill that transcended the usual formalities of her job. “Take care of yourselves,” she added.

Panya and Jenn thanked her, their hearts lighter than when they had arrived. Panya slipped the young valet girl’ a tip. She thanked Panya, but her gaze was fixed on the car. The luxurious interior embraced them once again. “Was that a hundred-dollar bill?” asked Jenn. “Did you see her nails? One was broken.” Panya responded as they drove off, the hospital fading into the rearview mirror. From anxiety and fear to relief and hope, underscored by the unexpected kindness of a stranger.

 

Chapter 13
 

==== Panya’s navy Lucid Air Sapphire hummed softly as it navigated through the city streets of Durham. The luxury electric car’s interior was a haven of tranquility, the outside noise barely penetrating its serene cabin. As they settled into the comfortable leather seats, the bright midday sun cast a warm glow through the panoramic glass roof, adding a sense of calm to their journey.

Jenn seamlessly paired her phone with the Lucid Air’s advanced infotainment system. The sleek, intuitive interface of the touchscreen responded to her touch with elegant efficiency, making the task seem almost second nature to her. “Let’s call Peter,” she suggested, her voice filled with excitement. With a few swift taps, the call was placed, and the car’s state-of-the-art speakers soon hummed to life, filling the cabin with the sound of Peter’s voice.

“Hey, how was the visit?” Peter’s voice, crackling slightly over the line, was laced with a mix of emotions—anticipation, worry, and a glimmer of hope that was hard to miss. Panya, her focus unwavering on the road ahead, drew in a deep breath before diving into the narrative of their visit. “Sid was awake; he looked so much better than we expected,” she began, her voice steady yet carrying an undercurrent of awe and relief. “He’s a little weak, but there’s such strength in his eyes.” Her words painted a picture of a Sid who, despite his physical frailty, was imbued with an indomitable spirit, that shone through his gaze.

 

 Chapter 14

 

==== Jenn, unable to contain her emotions, quickly added her perspective. “He was thrilled to see us. We talked about everything – his b-day re-do, wedding plans... He’s so determined, Peter.” Her voice, rich with feeling, underscored the depth of their visit, touching on the laughter they shared, the plans they made, and the unshakeable determination that Sid displayed.

The mention of wedding plans lightened the mood, a nod to the future celebrations that awaited. “It’s going to be a big wedding; you know he went to Wharton.” The joke, a playful jab at Sid’s prestigious alma mater, sparked a burst of laughter among them, a moment of levity that momentarily lifted the weight of the past weeks.

Their laughter echoed through the luxurious cabin of the car, a brief respite from the emotional rollercoaster of Sid’s illness and recovery. The conversation flowed seamlessly, thanks to the car’s impeccable sound system, making Peter feel as if he were there with them, sharing in the moment. The call, a simple check-in, transformed into a lifeline of support, connecting them through the miles and the shared experience of Sid’s journey back to health. As they continued to exchange stories and plans, the bond between them was evident, a testament to the strength of their friendship and the collective hope that sustained them.

 

Page 15

 

==== As their laughter subsided, the warmth of shared joy lingered in the air, a healing balm to the weeks of tension and worry. The conversation gradually shifted towards the end as the realities of the day beckoned each of them back from the brief escape of their camaraderie.

Sensing a pause, Peter interjected with a note of gratitude in his voice. “I can’t tell you how much this means to me, hearing all about Sid and knowing you two were there with him. Thanks for the update and the laughter. It’s been a minute since I’ve had a good laugh.”

Jenn, her hand hovering over the end call button, smiled softly. “Peter, we’re all in this together; keep us posted on any changes. Sid’s looking forward to seeing you this evening.”

“Yeah, I’m trying to wrap things up at the office,” his voice was a mix of longing and resolve.

“We’re gonna grab some lunch,” Panya spoke up.

 “You two, enjoy your lunch.”

 “Have you eaten?”  Panya probed in her nurturing voice.

“Haven’t had the time,” he replied busily.

 “Sending you something via Uber Eats,” said Jenn. Panya, catching Jenn’s eye, nodded in agreement.

 “It should arrive within the hour,” 

 “Thank you. You guys are the best.”

 Simultaneously, responding. “We know.”

 “Love you,” their voices overlapping in a chorus of affection and solidarity as the call ended. The interior of the Lucid Air was now filled with a newfound silence. Jenn pulled up the Uber Eats app on her phone, her thoughts already shifting towards their immediate task—lunch for Peter.

 

 Chapter 16

 

==== “So, where to?” Panya asked, her tone light, anxious to step away momentarily from the heaviness of events.

Jenn, her spirits lifted by the call and the plans they’d made, considered the question. “How about that new café downtown Durham? I’ve heard they have an amazing menu, and it will be nice to try something different.”

Okay, I guess that will be alright; since you are incognito, you know how easy it is for you to end up in a selfie shoot. Panya looked over at Jenn, with a slight smile playing on her lips as she steered the car smoothly towards their chosen destination. 

 

Chapter 17

 

==== Peter was engulfed in feelings of relief and thankfulness. He paused, contemplating his desire to have been there in person. From the early hours of 7 am, he had been confined to his office, and now, the clock had ticked well past noon. His executive desk, adorned with a leather top, was cluttered with documents, his gaze tired from poring over legal texts for hours. Just then, his cell phone began to ring.

“Hi, Mom,” he greeted her, his voice threading the fine line between weariness and a spark of exhilaration.

“How are you, son?” Her voice, ever a bastion of comfort, momentarily lifted the days’ turmoil from his shoulders.

“I’m good, gearing up for litigation tomorrow,” he replied, trying to keep his tone light.

“And what’s our mantra for moments like these?” she probed gently, her words a soft nudge towards the wisdom she had imparted over the years.

“One step at a time,” Peter responded, a smile creeping into his voice as he recalled how this simple, yet profound advice had guided him through the rigors of Harvard Law, thanks to her steadfast support.

“How’s Sid?”

Peter leaned back in his chair, observing Raliegh’s skyline from his penthouse office. “Panya and Jenn spent time with him this morning. I heard things went very well. Though his body is still weak, his spirit is undeniably strong; he’s resilient, you know that.”

“That’s why the two of you are great together; you are both resilient.” Peter’s mother responded with assurance.

We plan to Facetime later tonight. I won’t be able to make it up to Duke because of this case tomorrow, but his parents plan to visit this evening.

Suddenly, his office intercom buzzed, interrupting the conversation. “Peter,” you have a call on line 3.” The voice of his secretary was crisp and professional.

“Mom,” Peter’s tone shifted a hint of frustration laced with duty, “I have to go; I have a call I have to take. I will update you more tomorrow.”

“Okay, honey, love you, bye.” Her voice faded, filled with unspoken concern and love.

“Bye,” hurriedly hanging up. He took a deep breath, stilling himself as he switched gears. “Mr. Johnson, Attorney Arsenal.” His voice, now firmly back in the realm of law, echoed the shift from personal worry to professional resolve. The duality of his life, constantly balancing the personal and professional, was a tightrope walk he had become all too familiar with.

 

 Page 18

  

==== Panya lay awake in bed. It was 3 am, a time when the world seemed to quiet down, yet her thoughts grew louder. Resting on her back, she stared at the ceiling, lost in a sea of memories and longing. “I miss my husband,” she whispered to their empty room, her voice a soft echo in the stillness. Chase had been away on an excavation project for the last two months, his passion for archaeology taking him to distant lands, leaving a void in Panya’s world that she felt most acutely at night.

Suddenly, the silence was broken by a gentle notification from her phone, its light interrupting the darkness of their bedroom. Panya reached for her phone on the nightstand. “I love you, baby 🥰” read the message from Chase, a simple yet profound declaration that bridged the miles between them. A smile lifted her face, “I love you too, honey 🥰,” she texted back, her fingers dancing over the screen with a warmth only her husband could inspire.

No sooner than the message was the message sent, her phone rang, Chase’s name flashing on the screen. “Honey!” Her voice was a mixture of surprise and delight.

“How is my favorite girl?” Chase’s deep, sexy voice came through, warm and familiar, a balm to her longing heart.

“Honey, it’s 3 am!” Her words carried no real reprimand, only affection and a touch of amusement.

“I know, baby,” Chase chuckled, his tone teasing. “I wanted to catch you with your clothes off; want to have phone sex?”

 

 Chapter 19

 

==== Despite the physical distance, their emotional connection remained unbroken, strengthened by moments like these—shared whispers in the night, a lifeline across the miles. As the night deepened, he created an atmosphere of love and passion that encapsulated them both. Panya’s initial longing was replaced by a sense of closeness to her husband, a reminder that love could transcend distance, time zones, and the challenges of life apart.

Chase remained on the phone until Panya found herself drifting into a peaceful sleep. Comforted by the warmth of his strong masculine voice, the world around their sprawling, well-manicured property was silent. Chase’s voice was the last sound she heard before drifting away to sleep; a smile lingered on her lips. Chase, noticing that she was asleep, quietly disconnected the call.

 

Page 20

 

==== Just as Alexa sounded Panya’s 8 am wake-up call, her phone buzzed, slicing through the quiet of the early morning like a sharp knife. Frowning, Panya reached out, a sense of unease creeping into her heart. Her fingers trembled slightly as she unlocked her phone, the screen illuminating her face.

The message wasn’t from Chase. Instead, it was from her mother, Rebecca; the content read; I need to see you today! Confusion and fear tangled within her, a stark contrast to the warmth and love she had felt last night. Panya’s heart raced. What could be so urgent? What had happened that made her need to see me in the spare moment?

Panya stared at the message from her mother, Rebecca, and the words “I need to see you today” were processing in her mind. Her mother’s tone was uncharacteristically solemn, lacking the usual warmth and casualness that peppered their frequent exchanges. Panya’s pulse quickened, her mind racing through countless scenarios, none of which did anything to calm her rising panic.

With an effort to steady her nerves, she typed a response, her fingers hovering over the keyboard. “Is everything okay? Can you tell me what it’s about?” But the dots that signaled an incoming reply soon disappeared, leaving her message unanswered.

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