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Lindsey woke with a pain in the pit of her stomach.
What in the world had she eaten to make her feel this bad?
Fifteen minutes later and she was over the toilet bowl, puking her guts out.
An hour later, and a vicious fever had gripped her body. Sweat beads stood out on her skin, and she felt like she was baking in an oven.
By that point, she knew.
She had the virus.
She sent up a quick prayer that it wasn’t true. But the symptoms spoke for themselves.
She’d been careful. Wiped down packages, washed her hands, even worn a mask and gloves when she went to buy groceries.
But somehow, that awful virus had found a way through her defenses.
Vagid-22. Or, as almost everyone had taken to calling it, Vaginavirus.
Everyone except Lindsey. For her, the nickname was too crass. She preferred to call it by its technical name, if she mentioned it at all.
“So it only affects women?” She was in the exam room with a nurse practitioner, who, blessedly, was also a woman.
The NP wore a mask and a face shield, but her eyes were kind and sympathetic.
“I know. It fucking sucks,” the woman said.
Lindsey flinched at the profanity.
There was no cure yet for the viral disease, the woman said.
But then she added, “There is, however, a clinical trial for an experimental course of treatment.”
“Experimental?” Lindsey blinked. “How experimental?”
The NP seemed suddenly embarrassed.
“Well,” she said, and she stopped for several long seconds.
Lindsey’s curiosity was piqued. What could this novel treatment be, she wondered, that it would tie the tongue of even a trained medical professional?
The woman’s face blushed from behind the mask.
“It’s not a pill, or a vaccine, or anything.”
That wasn’t exactly an explanation. Lindsey waited.
“The FDA approved clinical trials this week,” the NP said, “on the effect of … sexual intercourse … on the virus.”
Lindsey almost fell off the exam table.
“The treatment is … to— … have sex?” She almost couldn’t say the words.
Her thumb rested self-consciously against the thin silver ring on her left hand, engraved with the image of a cross.
The nurse practitioner looked down at the floor. “I know, I was afraid that was the reaction I’d get. But, I should tell you—”
She looked up at Lindsey. “Even though it is still early, the trials are showing a lot of promise.
“There’s anecdotal evidence,” she said, “that couples who have sex more than six times in a 24-hour period are seeing an almost miraculous recovery in the woman’s body.”
“Six…” Lindsey trailed off. She was staring into space.
“Do you, by chance, have a boyfriend, or—…?”
Lindsey met the woman’s eye, then quickly glanced down at the floor.
“No, I—” She cleared her throat. “I’m single. And I’ve— … I’ve actually never had sex.”
“What do I do, God?”
Lindsey sat on the floor of her bedroom, her back against the four-poster bed that had once belonged to her grandparents.
She saw her reflection in the mirror across from her, lit by the yellow lamplight.
I look frail, she thought.
Pale legs pulled up to her chest, arms wrapped around her knees, bare feet digging into the rug as if she might just burrow into it and hide forever.
“God, am I going to die?” she whispered, her eyes searching the air above her for an answer.
She shivered, feeling a wave of nausea welling up in her empty stomach.
Without warning, she retched and vomited, barely projecting the bile into the bucket next to her.
Tears flowed down her cheeks.
“God, what do you want me to do?” She was practically screaming as she cried, rolling onto her side and curling up in the fetal position on the rug.
“What do you want me to do?”
By the next morning, it wasn’t just nausea.
Lindsey’s nether-regions were on fire. As if the fever had invited all its fever friends over, and ten more fevers had taken up residence inside the walls of her vagina.
She sat up in bed and reached for the phone, hesitating for a few seconds before she dialed her doctor’s office.
Years ago, when she had needed to switch primary care doctors, Lindsey had made the easy choice to enroll as a new patient with Dr. Pete Yarborough. Pete was brother to Lance, her church’s youth pastor, and the three of them had grown up together from a young age.
Even though Pete was two years older than Lindsey, he had always been kind to her, and they had shared a lot together over the years, from summer camp in New Mexico to singing in the church youth choir together.
Pete was cute, but to Lindsey, he was just Pete. Never mind that at 31, he now sported a barrel chest and the perpetual hint of stubble on his angular face. Never mind that his voice had somehow gotten smoother with age. These things might have made other girls weak-kneed over the handsome young doctor, but not Lindsey.
That is, not until the moment that she held the ringing phone to her ear, and realized antalya escort that she was about to have to talk to Pete Yarborough about her vagina.
“Hello, Dr. Yarborough’s office.”
“Um, yes, I’m Lindsey. Lindsey Porter. I’m a patient of Pete’s— I mean, Doctor Yarborough.”
She was already blushing.
“Yes Lindsey, how can we help you?”
“I came in for an appointment yesterday, I was the—”
“Ah yes, the Vagid-22 case.” The voice at the other end was all business. “Lindsey, I see you’re on Day 2 of symptoms, can you tell me on a scale of 1 to 10, how’s your pain?”
“It’s like a six or a seven,” Lindsey said, “and also… I feel really hot. Like, you know, down there.”
“Yes, we’re hearing reports of many women feeling heat in the vaginal canal,” the receptionist said. “Lindsey, did that just start today?”
“Yes, just this morning.”
“I see…” There was a long pause.
“Lindsey, let me transfer you over to Dr. Yarborough. Based on how your symptoms are progressing, he’d like to speak with you if that’s OK.”
Lindsey swallowed. “OK.”
There was a click, and a few moments later, Pete was on the line.
“Lindsay, hi.” His voice was businesslike, but warm.
“Hi, Dr. Yarborough.”
“Please, just ‘Pete’ is fine.” Lindsey heard the shuffle of papers. “I hear you’re feeling a little worse today, is that right?”
“Um, yeah. Worse and … different.”
“A feeling of heat in your vaginal walls?”
She knew it was the voice of a doctor coming over the phone, but she couldn’t help also hearing the voice of her lifelong male friend. It was so disorienting hearing Pete talk about her vagina. His voice in her ear was so calm and close, it was like he was lying next to her on the pillow.
She shook her head and blinked.
“Um. Yes. That’s right,” she squirmed under the sheets, parting her legs slightly from the sudden rush of blood to her groin.
“Tell me, have you gone to the bathroom? Any pain urinating?”
“Um, I have, yes. No, no pain.”
“OK.” The doctor paused, then asked delicately, “Have you, um… Have you masturbated at all in the past couple of days, Lindsey?”
She bit her lip.
Suddenly it was as if she could see him in her bed. In his underwear—Pete, her lover at last. Pete, her dear friend, asking if she had pleasured herself.
It was so naughty.
“Um.” She looked down. Her fingers were mashed against her panties, which had grown warm and damp.
“No, I haven’t.”
It was true, she thought.
But it wouldn’t be true for long.
“Good,” Pete said. “Lindsey, it’s very important that you avoid masturbation for the next few days.”
“I don’t…” she started, then she said, “I won’t.”
“Listen, I’m going to take a look at your lab work and get back to you tomorrow. In the meantime, stay home, and don’t leave the house for any reason.”
His voice sounded so, so good in her ear.
“Lindsey, do you have someone to bring you things if you need them?”
“Sure, I have people from church that can help.”
“Of course, yes. Good.”
He seemed to stumble over himself as he spoke. Was he flustered?
“Well, OK, Lindsey, we’ll talk tomorrow then.”
“Sounds good Pete,” she said. “Talk to you then.”
She hung up and sat in bed, staring at the phone.
“Talk to you then,” she said to herself. She closed her eyes and a smile tickled her face.
Then with a jolt her eyes shot back open, and she lurched for the bucket.
Her skin was soaked, and she was shivering.
She could hardly make it to the kitchen to microwave what little food she could stomach, bracing herself constantly against walls and furniture as she moved through her house.
A large black robe wrapped her, its thick fabric insulating her from what she imagined must be 60-degree air. She checked the thermostat. It was set to 75.
And her groin… The warmth she had felt the day before had mutated into something else. A new kind of fire she had never felt before.
Lindsey was horny.
Actually, horny didn’t even begin to describe it.
She was craving sex. Every ounce of her mental capacity was diverted to thoughts of sex, or diverted to trying to avoid thoughts of sex, which had the reliably opposite effect.
Halfway through the morning, she closed her eyes as she sat in bed, and she began to pray.
“God, I know you’re there, and I know you have a plan for me,” she said.
“But God, right now, I feel like I’m in the enemy’s grip.” Her brow furrowed and a tear formed at the corner of her eye.
She fingered the silver ring.
“I feel like all I want to do right now is break this sacred promise that I made to you.
“And I know you want the best for me, I know you do…”
She broke, falling sideways against the pillow and sobbing.
Her voice was thin and desperate as she drifted to sleep.
“Please make this stop, God. Please make this stop. Show me what you want, God. Show me how to fix this.”
Lindsey fethiye escort slept soundly, fingers drifting to rest between her legs, nestling against her inflamed labia.
In her dream, Pete stood beside her bed, looking down at her.
He was naked, his chest bare and chiseled, and his exposed penis was fully erect and pointing at her face like an Uncle Sam poster: I want you.
She gripped it lazily, wrapping her fingers around him and feeling his warmth.
“Yes, Lindsey,” he said. “Feel me. Take me. I’m yours.”
“Oh, Pete…” she said. “Pete, I want you so bad. Fuck me.”
Suddenly, it wasn’t Pete she was touching. It was Lance, his brother, dressed in his Sunday best—a three-piece navy suit with a golden tie. His wife Carrie stood next to him in a flowing floral dress.
Lindsey jerked her hand away as if she’d been stung.
“Lindsey, watch your language,” Lance said, his face stern. “You know Pete’s married. And you know you’re keeping yourself for your future husband.”
“I wasn’t—” she started.
Carrie interrupted. “You made a vow, Lindsey,” she said. “To God. To your church.”
Then in unison, they both said, “Don’t do this, Lindsey.”
She jerked awake and shot straight up in bed.
She groaned. What was happening to her?
The phone buzzed on the mattress next to her. She grabbed it.
It was him.
“Hi Lindsay, do you have a minute?”
She pulled her hand up from between her legs. It was sopping wet. She looked at it like it was radioactive.
“Yeah,” she said, wiping her hand on her robe. That would have to be washed now, she thought with mild disgust.
“I’m not— … busy,” she said.
“Lindsay,” Pete said, “I have to tell you, based on what I’m seeing from your labs, and based on the symptoms you described yesterday, I’m worried your case is progressing more quickly than I’d like.”
“Oh? What does that mean?”
“Listen, I’m telling you this as your doctor, but I’m also your friend.” His voice had shifted, and he spoke more solemnly now. “We need to get this thing under control, and we need to do it fast,” he said.
“Am I … Am I going to die?” Lindsey asked.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Pete said. “Right now, we’re going to do everything we can to help you.”
“The nurse—…” Lindsey started, then bit her lip. “She said the other day that there was a—”
“—A clinical trial, yes. That’s what I’m looking at getting you into,” Pete said.
“I—” Lindsey searched for the right words, but none came.
“I know you’ll have a lot of questions,” the doctor said. “Why don’t I see you in my office tomorrow, and we can talk further about it, OK?”
The vomiting had stopped, which was a huge relief. Lindsey could even stand without teetering, and she walked through the house in boxer shorts and a tank top, rather than the thick robe from the day before.
But the heat between her legs had still not abated. If anything, it seemed to get stronger by the hour.
Sex was all she thought about. By lunch time, she had spent three full hours in secret shame, watching pornographic videos online.
She had dutifully avoided touching herself. Instead, she was content just to watch the girls in the videos get ravaged by man after muscular man, each one with his strong hands gripping the woman’s body, guiding her expertly into place and, just as expertly, guiding his mass of firm, turgid flesh inside her.
Lindsey had never felt a penis enter her body. She imagined it must feel foreign and unsettling. But even so, as she watched the parade of nude lovers on her screen, it was the one thing in the entire world she ached to feel more than anything else.
In one video, a male doctor examined a pretty young blond in a white sundress. His gloved hand slid carefully up the inside of the girl’s thigh as she lay on the exam table, lifting the hem of the dress until her panties were visible. As Lindsey watched, the doctor slipped two fingers inside the girl’s underwear and began probing her, moving his digits in and out of her vagina.
Lindsey slid her own hand up the inside of her bare thigh, imagining it was Pete’s hand.
“Yes,” she said. “Right there, Dr. Yarborough.”
Her hand came to rest underneath the boxer shorts. “It hurts right there.”
In the parking lot of the clinic, she sat in her car and waited. Since Vagid-22 had been declared a pandemic, doctors’ offices had moved to an empty waiting room policy. Every patient waited for a text message to tell them when it was their turn to enter the building.
Finally, hers came. Lindsey applied hand sanitizer one last time, and then donned a blue surgical mask before exiting the car.
Inside, she was ushered directly into an exam room, and the door was shut behind her.
Pete was sitting on a cushioned stool, waiting for her. On his face he wore an N95 mask and a plexiglass face shield. On his hands were a pair of exam gloves. Lindsey’s mind flashed back to the video of the doctor and the blond.
“Thanks for wearing kaş escort a mask,” he said when he saw her.
“Oh. Yeah.” Lindsey took a seat in one of the patient chairs along the wall. “I know it can transmit through men, even though…”
“Yes, I’ve been trying to be careful, for Mona’s sake.”
Lindsey felt a twinge of jealousy at the mention of his wife’s name. Why had she felt that? These thoughts she was having the last few days were completely out of character for her.
It’s this damn virus, she thought.
She immediately chided herself for the profanity.
“Lindsey, I know this is all pretty scary stuff,” Pete said. “I just want you to know, you’re not alone.”
He took a beat, squaring himself on the stool before he spoke. She looked up and met his gaze.
“I got you into the trial,” he said finally.
Her breath caught, and her crotch burned white-hot instantly. She squeezed her thighs together.
“The … sex trial?” she asked, just to be sure.
He blushed. “Yes, um, the sex trial.”
“What—… What do I need to do?”
“For now, nothing. Go home, get some rest. I have a prescription for an antiviral I want to start you on, something that’s been improving outcomes for other patients with your level of illness.”
“On your way out today, Becca will administer a Vagid test so we can get a more accurate reading on your viral load. And then tomorrow, you’ll need to begin fasting at 6 p.m., make sure you don’t have anything to eat or drink except water.” He pulled a pamphlet from the pocket of his white coat. “Here’s the information about the trial, what to expect, where to go.”
“Where to go?”
He nodded. “Because this is a clinical study, you’ll participate within an approved facility, under close observation.”
“So I’ll … what? Be having sex in a doctor’s office?”
He cleared his throat. “In short, yes. But they’ll make sure you’re … comfortable.”
He said the words so clinically that his attempt at reassurance was anything but reassuring.
“Who am I supposed to have sex with?” Her face flushed a deep crimson.
“It depends,” he said.
“A stranger?” she asked, horrified. The prospect of the study was becoming almost worse than the illness itself.
“Well, no, they prefer it’s someone you know,” he said. “Couples are seeing better results when there’s a mutual trust between the woman and her partner.”
He interrupted. “Look, I know this is unprecedented. And I know you’ll have many more questions. And most of all, I want you to feel comfortable with whatever decision you make.” He gestured to the pamphlet in her hand. “There’s a full explanation of the process in the brochure. Look it over, and if you need to discuss it further, inside there’s a number for the group running the study.”
He paused and added, “Plus, you can always call me directly.”
He pulled out a business card and a pen, and scribbled on the back. “Here’s my cell.”
He looked at her, and his gaze was sincere, almost intimate. “Please, Lindsey, we’ve been friends a long time. You can always call me or text me any time you need to talk.”
She took the card and looked down at his handwriting. Her stomach fluttered.
“I feel better,” she said.
“That’s good,” Pete said through the phone. “That’s probably the medicine working.”
“So how do I know if I’m over it?”
“Based on your test results from yesterday, it doesn’t seem like that’s the case. But tomorrow, they’ll administer a second test before you participate in the study, just to confirm our results.”
Lindsey felt a wave of dread.
“Can I ask you about that?”
“I don’t have a partner for the study. I don’t even know who I would ask.” She sighed. “It would just put anyone I asked in such a strange position.”
She ran a hand through her hair and sank back against her pillow.
She continued, “I know in the brochure, they said they would match me with someone if I didn’t arrange anything beforehand, but that’s super weird. And anyway, it says the outcomes aren’t as good that way.”
There was a long pause at the other end.
“Lindsey, Mona and I have talked about that, too.”
She frowned. “You have? About me? About this?”
He paused. “Yes.”
There was a rustling on the other end of the line, as if Pete was shifting in his seat.
“Lindsey,” he said. “Regarding your test results, I have to confess that I wasn’t as direct with you as I probably should have been.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, the level of virus in your system is high. Really high. Patients with these levels typically don’t … make it for much longer.”
Lindsey felt dizzy. She struggled to a sitting position.
“I’m going to die.”
There was a long silence.
“I’m saying it’s a possibility we should acknowledge.”
“I’m going to die.”
Her body shook uncontrollably. Silent tears started to stream down her cheeks. Her eyes closed and her mouth contorted, but no sound came out.
“Lindsey, I want to tell you something.”
“I’m going to die—”
“—Lindsey, listen to me.”
She sniffed and fell silent.
“Mona suggested something. Something that I think the two of us should at least consider. Now, remember, this is all her idea.”
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