Nancy took slow, cautious steps down the hall, trying to hurry as fast as she could but also careful to avoid any "wardrobe malfunctions", with her right hand carrying the clipboard and her left holding the gown closed behind her back. Her bare feet padded softly on the cold tile floor.
She hoped to meet as few people as possible. She passed a couple of doctors and nurses, and looked at the floor instead of meeting their eyes. At least there don't seem to be any other patients around, she thought. That would be even worse.
She reached a door that said, "Caution: X-Ray in Use". This must be the place. Awkwardly, she turned the door handle using the same hand that held the clipboard.
Behind the door she was met with a horrifying sight: the x-ray area had its own waiting room, and it was far form empty! People of both sexes and a variety of ages, all fully clothed, sat reading magazines. All of them ignored Nancy's presence.
She approached the desk, where a bored looking middle aged woman took the clipboard and told her to wait until her name was called.
She sat in a corner as far from any other the other patients as possible.
After about ten minutes someone sat down right beside her, even though there were plenty of empty seats further away. Nancy's space was being invaded. She looked up to see that it was a guy she knew.. from work! He was tallish, with sandy blonde hair and a mischievous look about him. He was about her age or just a few years older, and they knew each other just enough to be on a first name basis. They had probably spoken a few works at the coffee machine. Nancy may have smiled and flirted a bit at him. Maybe. But this was not the place or the time for that! She just wished he weren't here at all, that he didn't see her.. like this!
"Oh, hi, Kyle", her voice was almost a whisper. She stared straight ahead, not looking at him at all. Through a large glass window she could see what looked like r-ray equipment in another room.
"What are you doing here?"
"I, uh, I'm here about those headaches I've been having at work..".
A brief and awkward conversion followed that Nancy was barely able to pay attention to. She stared down at her feet, her ankles crossed, her knees locked tightly together. Her red painted toes dug into the carpet of the waiting room as if she were trying to tunnel through the floor.
Mercifully, someone called her name.
"Ok, that's me, got to go"
"Hope you get better soon", Kyle said.
A male x-ray technician - a young dark-skinned man with a shaved bald head and - led Nancy into the room adjacent to the waiting room. She was very displeased to see that it was, in fact, the same room she'd seen before - separated from the waiting room by a wall that had a very large glass window. People in that waiting room would still be able to see her in here, she thought. Kyle... yeah, him too.
The technician pointed at a large panel on the wall, and directed Nancy to stand perpendicular to it. She was facing the technician, with the panel on her left side, and the window to her right. Behind her, fortunately, was only a blank wall and some equipment, including a wheeled hospital stretcher.
"Stand as straight as possible, hands by your side"
Nancy was not excited to let go of her gown, but at least there wasn't anyone back there to see.
She stood frozen for a few seconds while he snapped some x-ray pictures.
"Now, turn to your right". Nancy reflexively grabbed the gown again, and shifted so that her back was now to the panel, and she was facing the window. She scanned for Kyle, half suspecting he's be watching her, but he was reading a magazine. No one in the waiting room seemed to be looking this way.
"Stand straight again, hands by your side"
More pictures, more waiting.
"Now turn again.."
Nancy again instinctively clasped the gown closed, and turned another 90 degrees. Now she had her back to the technician.
"Again, hands by your side!'
Nancy took a deep breath and let go of the gown, exposing her bare bottom to the x-ray technician. At least she didn't have to look him in the fact at the same time, she thought.
"Last one! Turn again!"
Nancy gulped. Now she was standing with her back towards the window, and the waiting area, with nothing to conceal herself from view.
"You know the drill! Stand up straight, hands by your side.."
Nancy sighed audibly and let go of the gown. For an interminable moment, she stood with her backside open to the window.
"Ok, we done with this", said the tech.
Nancy shot both hands behind her back, clasped the gown together, and started to leave.
"Wait", said the tech, "according to your chart, the doc also also wants us to scan your head.."
He pulled the stretcher towards Nancy and said, "climb up on here"
Nancy reluctantly did so, being overly careful not to spread her legs while climbing up.
"Lay down and remain as still as possible"
The tech then proceeded to strap Nancy's arms and legs down to the cart, and another strap around her head, to hold her motionless.
'Wh.. wh.. what are you doing?!", she protested.
"We need to hold you perfectly motionless during the scan", said the man.
Nancy stared at the ceiling, hoping this would be over soon. All she saw up there were flourescent lights, no device capable of "scanning" anything.
The lights started to move. The technician was pushing the stretcher out of the room.
"Where are you taking me?!"
"The scanner isn't in here, it's down the hall"
Oh god, Nancy thought, I'm going to be wheeled around the whole place in this predicament!
As she passed through the waiting room, she rolled her eyes to look for Kyle - turning her head was not possible - but didn't see him. He must have gone, thank goodness.
The tech pushed out through the room into the hall, and wheeled her in silence for some distance. Finally they stopped.
"Ok, the scanner is in use, you'll have to wait here a few minutes. I'll be right back"
Wait, what? She thought. He's leaving me alone? Like this?
The technician disappeared around a corner, as Nancy lay alone and helpless on the stretcher, her bare legs quivering and cold. She lay there staring at the ceiling for what seemed like a very long time. Then a voice made her jump in her restraints.
"Fancy meeting you again!", said Kyle
"Ugh, I don't fancy it at all!", said Nancy, "I'm going to be late for work, and I'm cold! My feet are just freezing"
"Hmm...", said Kyle, with that mischievous light brightening in his eyes, "maybe I can help with that"
Without asking Nancy's permission, he started rubbing her left foot with both of his hands. It was definitely an uninvited invasion, but his hands were so.. warm! For a few seconds Nancy said nothing.
Kyle broke the silence, "I just figured I'd toast your tootsies a little while"
"Ummm.. mm.. that feels nice!", Nancy finally responded.
Kyles finger slightly stroked Nancy's instep in a way that really tickled.
"Woo! Ah!", she jerked against the straps.
"Oh, just be careful, my feet are really, really, ticklish"
Kyle grinned, "oh really? ticklish where? here?"
"NOOO!", Nancy laughed involuntarily as Kyle stopped massaging and deliberately stroked the pink flesh of her sole. "It's not fair! I can't get away I can't get away..", Nancy wiggled her feet in the straps to no avail.
"How about here..", he poked at the flesh between her toes.
"WOOOO! No no no", Nancy begged, "I can't take much of that!"
"How about these little piggies", said Kyle, pinching her big toe.
"Please... not my toes! Not my t-t-toes.."
Kyle worked his way down the toes of her foot, pinching and stroking each one.
"Ooh! Ahh! No! Ah! Eeeeee!"
Nancy's trailed off into incoherent babbling.
"Excuse me", said a voice. It was the technician again! "It's time for your scan now"
"I will see you around", said Kyle, and walked off, smiling.
... to be continued ..