To the creators of Netflix, I blame you for my unproductive days when I’m on deadline. We should break up, but I can’t seem to do it. You’re welcome.
“Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.”—Ray Bradbury
“HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN feeling like this, Angie?”
Long enough for me to finally get my butt here.
I hate doctors. Motivating me to finally go to see someone is like getting a bill through Congress. I’m stubborn, but more than that . . . I’m scared. My two cousins battled cancer in their early thirties, and my mom is an ovarian cancer survivor. Each time I have to go for a checkup, I end up convincing myself I’ll be next.
It’s crazy and irrational, but it’s a genuine fear of mine. I remember the hell they all went through.
“I don’t know. A few months . . .” I got a crazy cold when I got back from visiting my sister-in-law, Presley, two months ago. Her now fiancé asked me to come when he knew he was going to propose. Even with my deep hatred of flying, I went. I knew it meant a lot to her and my insanely amazing nephews. Although, I never need an excuse to go see them. Cayden and Logan are the closest things I’ll ever have to kids. I spoil the crap out of them, and hate that I barely see them now.
But my brother made that my reality when he chose to leave this world two years ago.
“What other symptoms do you have?” the older doctor asks me.
I pull my long blonde ponytail to the side and start to play with it as I run through the laundry list of ailments. He doesn’t need to hear about how Presley threatened to kill me herself if I didn’t get checked, so I leave it out. It’s all minor stuff, but it’s affecting the way I live. This week was the worst. I went from vomiting to feeling like I was going to die. I’d had enough.
“Let’s do some blood work, get a urine sample, and see what the results bring. In the meantime, I’m going to look you over.”
The exam doesn’t last long, but since I’m very tender, I spend the few minutes debating whether to kick him as he hems and haws. I hate when doctors do that. Either clue me in or shut up. It’s annoying. He finishes looking at everything, and the nurse enters with the vials to collect blood.
The second most dreaded thing.
“Hi, Angie.” The nurse smiles. “I’m Nicole, and I’ll be drawing some blood.”
I return her smile and nod.
“If I remember correctly, you own For Cup’s Cake?” she asks.
“I do.” I can’t help but grin. I love my cupcake store, which is thriving like crazy lately. One of the local news channels stopped in about six months ago, ran a big story on it, and it changed my world. I’ve brought in a new partner to help with all the adjustments, and we’re talking about opening a second location. Never in a million years did I think that it would be like this.
Presley and I had an idea that we should open the store, thinking that maybe it would give her something to do while Todd worked insane hours as a finance guru. It seemed like fun. And it was. Until Todd’s suicide wrecked everything we had built. The store was barely four months old, the company had no money, and Presley lost everything.
I bought her out, even though the business was worth next to nothing, and she left for Tennessee.
“I love it there,” Nicole admits. “My dress size doesn’t, but everything is so good. And different. How do you stay so thin?”
I snort. “I wish you could see how much I weighed before the store. I’ve put on a good amount. I can’t seem to help myself with the tasting.”
“Well, I can’t blame you.” She focuses on filling the vials.
Huh. I didn’t even realize she pricked me.
“Our head baker is amazing. And she doesn’t tell me or my partner, Erin, what the next day’s flavors will be. It used to drive me insane. Now it’s kind of fun. We go into work and she’s already redecorated the menu with the flavors of the day.”
We chat a little more before Nicole puts the bandage around my arm and leaves.
I grab my phone and text Presley.
Me: I hate the damn doctor.
Presley: Stop being a baby. You probably just need an antibiotic because you refused to go a month ago. Not everything is fixable with Motrin.
Me: Whatever. I just remember this is how Mom started. One minute, she was run down, and the next, it was cancer.
I sigh and fight back the tears. I was fifteen and remember each time she came back from chemotherapy. She was sick, tired, and literally pumped with poison. She had that look in her eyes when she’d glance at me or my brothers. It was a single moment, but it said so much about the reason she kept fighting. Until her fight was over. Then she no longer held the affection I once saw.
I don’t want to ever be like her. I don’t have anything to fight for.
Presley: No matter what the doctor says, you have me.
Me: In freaking Tennessee!
Presley: I have a spare bedroom.
Me: Over my dead body!
No freaking way am I going to Tennessee. She’d have to drug me to get me to live there. I love Presley, but it’s not for me. It’s gorgeous and has picturesque landscapes and beautiful homes. But the main reason I won’t move there is because there are no Starbucks. The second, which is an equally compelling reason, is named Wyatt Hennington. His Southern drawl, insanely tight ass, and honey colored eyes turn me into a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl. I clearly have no self-control when it comes to him. What my best friend doesn’t know is that it wasn’t just the one time that I found myself in his bed. No, I’m the idiot who went back for round two, only to have it end awkwardly.
Presley: Bet Wyatt would let you use his bedroom.
I roll my eyes. She’s like a damn Yenta trying to marry me off.
Me: No. I’m back with Nate.
Presley: Since when?
Ohh, like this morning when he called and asked me to dinner. Maybe this will get her to stop pushing Wyatt.
Me: It’s very recent. You never know, we could hit it off this time.
Presley: Right. The last time worked out sooo well. He’s not your type.
Me: He’s a good guy. We go out to the same places, and neither of us like eating alone.
Presley: Oh, please. You don’t even like him!
It’s true. I don’t like him enough to ever marry him, and he’s god awful in bed, which is why we’re not ever going there again. But he’s sweet, likes the same restaurants as I do, and we get along. He’s a cardiologist at the Children’s Hospital and works insane hours. So, we only see each other sporadically.
It works for us.
Presley: And they say romance is dead. Are you sleeping with him?
Me: Nope. I’m trying out this whole celibacy thing.
Presley: That’s comical. Looks like Wyatt ruined you, huh?
Me: He wishes! It was good but not great.
I’m so full of shit. It wasn’t just good. No, it was the absolute, hands down, most un-freaking-believable sex I’d ever had. The kind that ruined me for all eternity. Where any man who even comes near me won’t hold a candle to the things that man did to my body. He played me as if I were his personal instrument. Every touch, every kiss, every swipe of his glorious tongue was done just to please me. I don’t know how I managed to walk out of there. He rocked my world and then was gone before I woke.