Nothing can compare to where
You send me, let's me know that it's ok
Yeah, it's ok
And the moments where my good times start to fade
You make me smile like the sun
Fall out of bed
Sing like a bird
Dizzy in my head
Spin like a record
Crazy on a Sunday night
- Uncle Kracker
"Thank you." I murmured as I pulled away from him to look him in the eyes. The spark that coursed through my veins was exhilarating. He made me feel so alive. I needed – and wanted – him to breathe more of that positive flow into me. So I leaned towards him to give him a soft kiss on the lips. He responded in kind. His hands cupped my neck, causing my chest to ripple with the warmth brought on by his touch. My fingers explored the slightly rough feel of his red locks of hair.
Everything was right with the world. It was all our own; our haven where all logical reasoning flew out the window. There was no pressure, no worries, only pleasure. Within ten seconds or so, we had to catch our breath. It was like we were relieved from time itself when he gazed at each other. I didn't want it to end. I knew he felt the same once he eagerly pressed his mouth back onto mine. It felt extraordinary – to say the least – to be wanted by Reid.
Our vehement exchange was cut short when his beeper went off. Reid groaned. I could tell that he was disappointed by the way he furiously sought in his pocket for his beeper. "Duty calls." He muttered at the screen and then put it back where he got it. "I have to get to the hospital for emergency surgery. Of course, only I can handle it. It'd be a glorious mistake to leave it in the hands of a half-wit, which most of them are."
"Not everyone can be as smart as you are, you know."
"It's a rare gift, indeed."
"Hopefully they have extra scrubs for you. You're soaking wet." I said as I handed him an umbrella that was lying in the back seat.
"I have as spare in my locker." I should've known. All he ever seems to do is work. I wondered if he ever had fun doing anything. I made a mental not to ask him about that later. "As for you…you better get home and change before you catch a cold."
"I will. Now go." I drew out the o and unlocked the door.
"Good night, Luke. I'll call you in the morning."
"And I'll be happy to pick up. Good night, Reid."
I watched him open the door – with a big smile on his face – and then open his umbrella before heading over to his car. I knew there was a problem when he froze by the rear of his vehicle. So I took a spare umbrella from the glove compartment and ran to his side. To see his tire slashed had my stomach knotting in worry.
"Who do you think could have done this?" I asked.
"I don't know. I can only assume that it was some headstrong punk with a chip on his shoulder." Reid huffed in irritation. "Let's see if those mindless cops can perform a miracle and think for once." In his state of mind, I knew that he'd only subvert the cops once he had them on the line. He had already gotten into trouble with the law by opening his mouth. So before he could dial the number, I snatched the phone from his hands.
"Let me take care of it. You have to get to work." I insisted, handing him my keys and his phone.
"Thanks." He took the items from my hand and left.
I got Margo on the phone to report the slashed tire. She questioned me on who I think might've done it or if I saw anyone suspicious lurking around. It infuriated me that I couldn't pin anybody. Whoever it was, though, my gut was telling me that they did this as a warning. But I reminded myself that a cop can't chalk it up based on gut feeling alone. They needed evidence.
I could only hope this was done by the hands of a rebellious teenager instead of someone more dangerous.
I had accompanied Reid's car to the repair shop to get the tire changed. It didn't take long to pop a new tire on. Technically, this wasn't his car; it was my Aunt Katie's but he sure treated it as if it were his. There were potato chip bags all over the passenger seat. Once I got home, I had gotten a trash bag to clean it up. Not even Ethan is this messy, and he's five years old.
Curiosity got the better of me as I stumbled upon the contents of his glove compartment. A book fell out and I opened it to see that it contained pictures of men, women, and children of all ages. Under most of them was a description of success. This must be all his patients, I figured.
For a doctor, his handwriting was pretty legible.
Eventually I came across a page with a picture of a little girl named Annie Judd. So this was the girl he had operated on. This was the girl of that father who beat up Reid out of grief. I couldn't stop myself from reading.
Annie Judd - Age 6
Died of a brain tumor. Her condition was irreparable due to how deep it took root in the recesses of her brain. I did manage to prolong her death by a year, though. It's unfortunate the world couldn't see how sweet her smile was and how mature she would've become if I hadn't failed her.
I knew he cared. He's too dedicated to his job to be so passive about a patient dying. That, to him, was like failing at what he did best: saving peoples' lives. Not like he'd admit that himself.
But I wanted him to. For one thing, admitting your feelings to paper could act as a form of healing, but I deem it better to talk to an actual human about it. Someone you could really trust and care about. I was pretty confident that I could be that for him and vice versa.
After a few pages, I saw a picture of me. I blinked. I wasn't one of his patients. Noah was, but I didn't see a photograph of him.
Luke Snyder - Age 24
Ex-Boyfriend of Blind Patient Noah Mayer
Suffering from heartbreak
Luke is persistent in getting Noah the help he needs, despite being dejected. I can't comprehend why Luke would still care after being mistreated by Noah. Nor why I abhor Noah for doing so. It's a mystery how I actually feel attracted to the very man that blackmailed me into coming here.
"Wow…" I breathed. He really was…enamored with me. I smiled. I was complacent with this finding and tucked it back into the glove compartment.
I was on cloud nine on the way home.
I woke up to the sound of my phone ringing. Startled, my leg twitched and I winded up falling out of bed. I groaned at the unpleasant contact I made with the floor.
What a nice way to start the day.
I got up and picked up my cell phone. "Hello, this is Luke." I answered. Weariness was evident in my voice. It was 6:30 in the morning and I had came back home sometime after twelve from the mechanic's shop.
"Good morning, Luke. It's Reid." It was weird how energized he sounded. Reid most likely arrived home later than I did.
I was wide awake in an instant. "Oh, good morning. What's up this early in the morning?"
"I have work at eight. I thought perhaps we should have breakfast before I start my rounds."
"Do you ever take a day off?"
"Do you want to have breakfast with me or not?" There he goes dodging the question again. That just goes to show that he was too assiduous for his own good.
"Yeah, I'll see you there." I hung up to get changed. To be honest, I was indecisive on what to wear. Dress to impress wasn't much of a motto for me until now. Eventually I went with a green top that had a darker hue of the color on the upper arm part along with a blue pair of jeans. I looked at my reflection in the full view mirror on the back of my door. Casual and relaxed. Perfect. Satisfied with the look, I slipped my shoes on and took off in Aunt Katie's car to Al's.
I laughed as soon as I walked in, immediately earning his attention. "Is this how you usually eat?" I asked, taking a seat across from him.
He nodded, gesturing to the plate in front of me. "I already ordered for you. Dig in."
"Don't mind if I do."
"You sounded tired on the phone. What time did you get home last night?"
"Sometime after midnight. I made sure the car tire was changed. It's in the parking lot right now as good as new."
"Thanks. That was real generous of you."
"Anytime." I smiled. Thinking back on it, I felt guilty for reading his journal. I twiddled my thumbs under the table. Was it private information, only meant for his eyes? Would he get angry with me if I told him that I scanned through it? There was only one way to find out. "Reid, I…saw the medical track record that you had in the car."
"So? What about it?" I was surprised at how nonchalant he sounded. He once told me that he wouldn't discuss any of his patients with me. Now that we were together, was he considering on changing his mind?
"You put a lot of pressure on yourself."
"It's not pressure. It's motivation."
"Pressure. Motivation. Same difference. Either way, that book seems to be your only emotional outlet."
"It drives me to do better."
"And alienate yourself."
He stopped eating to construe. "As you can already tell, I'm not the easiest person to get along with. That's because I've always worked. It was all I needed to get by. All wanting ever does is cloud your judgment…that's what I used to think. But now I know that I have been lacking. You have shown me what I've been lacking. Love." His hand went over mine and gave a gentle squeeze. I felt his thumb press to my vein and watched him smile. "That's some pulse you've got there."
"Yeah, well…" I grinned, mirroring his movements on his other hand. "I must say that your pulse is quite frenetic too."
"And you're responsible for it."
"I guess we're both guilty of that."
"Thus we've reached a verdict." Reid joked, lifting his spoon to clank it against the edge of his plate as if he were a judge.
I chuckled before I continued eating.
Doctor Bob Hughes had given Reid the rest of the day off sometime around three due to the small number appointments he had for the day. So I took full advantage of this opportunity to have him talk some sense into Faith. I called to locate her to find that she was at the farm.
"Is there anything on this Earth that your family doesn't own?" He asked on the way there.
"Java, the Cubs, Texas…"
"That was a rhetorical question."
"I can just tell my grandmother will adore you."
"So is this your mother's mom or your father's?"
"My father's. Don't worry. The worst that can happen is getting a stomachache from her cooking."
He perked up at the mention of food. I knew he would. It was one of the only things he had taken a liking to besides work and being the master of comebacks.
We walked in on Grandma Emma while she was making sandwiches. She turned around as soon as we walked in and welcomed us with a hug. What I love about her is that she gives everyone that walks through her door a warm welcome. And the puzzled look on Reid's face was priceless.
"So you're Doctor Reid Oliver." Grandma Emma smiled. "I heard a lot about you from Luke. He keeps saying how precocious you are. Come now, don't be shy. Sit down and have a bite to eat." She insisted, showing us to our seats. "Faith, Natalie, Ethan! It's lunch time!" Natalie and Ethan eagerly arrived at the table while Faith sauntered in behind them. She didn't look too thrilled.
"Faith, Natalie, Ethan. This is Doctor Reid Oliver." I introduced. Natalie shyly shook his hand while Ethan put a finger to his mouth in wonder.
"Are you Elmo?" He asked.
That had me hysterical laughing.
To my surprise, Reid wasn't downright mad at the inquiry. He just bent down to Ethan's level and beamed at him. "How quick you are to catch on, little guy. Just don't tell anyone about my secret identity, ok?"
Ethan nodded, happily as he took a seat at the table.
I had no idea he had such a soft spot for kids.
"Is he your new boyfriend now?" Faith asked, dryly.
I practically choked on my drink. Nothing can get past Faith.
I gazed back at Reid in question. Were we really boyfriends? We kiss, we have went on a date just that morning…that pretty much points to yes. I just wasn't sure whether or not Reid considered us to be in such a relationship.
"I sure am." He smiled at me, reassuring me.
"How nice. You're taking after mom." She snarled. The venom in her voice made me wince.
"Faith, please." Grandma Emma pleaded.
"What; you want me to lie? I'm sick of all you ganging up on me. And I'm especially sick of how you expect me to make peace with change. I won't pretend for anyone that everything is ok because you know what? Everything sucks." After her tirade, Faith roughly pushed in her chair in. This caused Ethan and Natalie to grow quiet and Natalie began to sob. Grandma Emma got out of her chair to console them. Reid and I got up to follow Faith to the barn.
"Faith." I said. I finally managed to twirl her around to find that she had a cigarette in her hand. "Where did you get that?"
"A store." She put it so simply that it almost made me lose my temper. Why can't she see how important she is to this family? Ever since she went to boarding school, her attitude altered dramatically. It made me wish that she didn't go.
"Don't you kids get those long-winded lectures about how nicotine could eventually kill you?" Reid asked.
"Who are you to talk? You're just a replacement."
"That's the tetrahydocannabinol talking."
"That's the chemical that triggers the effects of pot. Are you even aware of how much the alteration of chemical change in your brain has damaged your motor skills?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Let me give you the simple version. You will die a horrible death if you don't stop smoking anything in general."
That had Faith's jaw dropping to the floor. Way to lay it on thick. But I should've expected that. Reid was never one to beat around the bush. He was concise whenever trying to get a point across. As harsh as it was, I was actually grateful that he did instead of sugar-coating the truth.
"You don't know anything…" Faith retorted, weakly. Then he ran away.
I was going to chase after her, but Reid stopped me by putting a hand on my shoulder. "Give her a chance to let it sink in."
We found ourselves strolling by the stalls for a bit in silence until Reid broke it. "It's hard to believe you two are related. She's so…negative."
"Look whose talking, Elmo." I replied, giving a laugh.
"You're never going to let me forget that one, are you?"
"You bet, Mr. Negative."
"Hey, I can be positive."
"Oh, really? When?"
"When I do this." Reid hooked his arms around my waist and kissed me.
"Well, aren't you sweet?" I cooed, our foreheads leaning against each other. It felt so right to be with him. Words couldn't explain how well we fit together.
"Don't try to butter me up."
"I don't think I have to try."
I put my arms around his shoulders and proceeded to reunite our lips. I was smiling so much that my face hurt. It was the most wonderful kind of pain.
"Have you ever ridden a horse before?" I suddenly asked. We were right by the stalls and I figured I'd show Reid how to have some fun.
"No, but I don't plan on starting."
"Come on, Reid, a little fun won't kill you."
"No, but one fall on my head might just do it."
"I can assure you that all of these horses are perfectly tamed." I regarded Buttercup by petting her caramel nasal. "Isn't that right, Buttercup?"
Reid seemed intrigued by her like a kid at a petting zoo. "Go on, you can pet her. She doesn't bite." He slowly held out his hand and began stroking her neck. "See? Completely harmless."
"All right." He breathed a sigh. "You've managed to convince me. Now how do I got about getting onto her?"
I laughed, happy to oblige.