Chapter Seven: Ruined


"Screw EmilyDarkInSin!" Rose declares, shoving her huge, round sunglasses over her angry eyes. "I hate her!"

Jesus. Not again.

"What's she done this time, Rose?" I ask, struggling to hold in a huff of annoyance.

"What's she done? What hasn't she done?!" Rose growls, gripping the gear shift on her little convertible with such strength I expect her to yank it from the car. "She's written another story that has ruined me for real men. Ruined me!"

"Rose, those guys in her stories don't exist," I explain patiently, grasping the leather seats between my fingers as she speeds down Main Street.

"What, the pretty guys with the huge cocks and brooding personalities that you just die for?" she spits, flying through the intersection and nearly plowing down an old woman standing near the curb.

The old woman has blue hair...and a walker, which she shakes in the air with zest like a bag of Shake-N-Bake chicken. Great. Now I'm terrified and hungry.

"You're freaking me out," I admit, my heart hammering in my chest."You're also making me very hungry, which doesn't go well with the nausea you're also causing by your maniacal driving."

"Just so you know, I sent her a nasty private message and told that hussy to stop writing such perfect men!" Rose continues, ignoring my freaking out/hunger/nausea confession as she whips into the parking lot in front of my workplace. "She makes me realize how pathetic my love life is! I actually broke down and agreed to go out on a date with James Stanley. I'm desperate, I tell ya!"

"Ew. James Stanley? Jessica's brother?" I ask, between deep, calming breaths. "My love life is non-existent too, so who am I to judge? Maybe I should go out with Jess...we could double date!"

I wonder what my father would think if I brought Jess over for supper one night. Our pseudo-love affair flashes through my mind: dinner and a movie, me gently caressing her muffin-top as we make out on the back row of the theater. What would our wedding photos look like? Would I wear the white dress or the black tux?

"You're twisted," she mutters.

I'm also thinking maybe I just voiced my inner monologue aloud.

"You did," Rose growls. "You still are."

"Yes. I know I'm twisted," I admit, clutching the door handle in my pale, shaking hand and practically falling from the car. "See you at lunch."

"Whatever," she grumbles as we part ways.

This isn't the first conversation the two of us have had involving Em. The last time Rose mentioned her, she swore up and down she was in love with her writing so much that she declared herself a lesbian. Now she claims she hates Em. If she only knew Em and I chat on a somewhat regular basis on Facebook.

While Rose is frustrated I am confused. It's been three days since I received the infamous 'beautiful' message from TonyMazen69. Out of morbid curiosity I began searching the forums, trying to figure out which one of his fics was pulled years ago and what name it was published under. It only took a few minutes to find what I was looking for. One of his fanfiction stories was pulled and published under the author name of one Edward Platt.

Through several more minutes on Google I also discover Edward Platt is a man of great mystery. He never attends book signings. There are no photographs of him online. In fact, it was almost as though he doesn't truly exist. I begin to wonder if 'Edward Platt' is actually a pseudonym.

I'm puzzled. Why the secrecy? Is he a toad? A troll? Is he the offspring of Quasimoto? An old man? The name 'Edward' alone leads me to believe he's vastly older than me...unless Edward is a family name. It's common, at least where I come from, to name your children after you or the elders in your family.

I pacify my newfound obsession over Edward Platt by convincing myself it is only because he's the first and only man to call me beautiful. Ever. It's normal to be a little curious about someone who says something like that...right?

My mind is a million miles away all day long. After lunch I realize I haven't checked my email for story updates or snuck off to the bathroom to read all day long. The only thing that grabs my attention away from my faceless man's compliments is James Stanley, Rose's newfound beau, who arrives at the clinic clutching his stomach and complaining of having a kidney infection.

"Your kidneys are here," I tell him, raising an eyebrow as I place my hands on my flanks.

"It burns when I piss," he moans, doubling over.

I scribble down a short list of symptoms, check his vital signs, and escort him into an examination room. Dr. Black pays him a visit and within moments he's coming at me with a wicked grin and a long, cotton-tip applicator.

"Ahh...the six inch Q-tip," I joke, taking it from his hands. "It makes the regular Q-tip pale in comparison."

"You know the drill," he smirks.

"Say it ain't so, Doc," I groan. "My roommate is going out with this guy tonight."

Doctor Black's face falls. He runs his hand through his silky dark hair, casting a look at the examining room door.

"Your friend should keep better company, I'm afraid," he sighs.

"In her defense," I begin. "she's desperate for male attention since she's begin to question her sexuality. It's fanfiction's fault, really. I've told her a million times to stop reading femme slash."

Doctor Black stares at me as though I've grown a third tit.

"Okay, I have no clue what 'fanfiction' or 'femme slash' is, although I do have an inkling of an idea. All I know is I need you to do the 'Q-tip dip' on our friend in there," he smiles, jerking a thumb towards the door.

I grumble below my breath as he flashes me a wolfish grin. The jackass swaggers away whistling. I curse all things nursing, wondering exactly whose idea it was to begin with for us to do the dirty work for the physicians.

I man up, channeling my inner Florence Nightingale, who I bet never cared for a patient with a severe case of 'the drip.' I walk into the examination room holding the cotton tip applicator like a searing-hot cattle prod.

"Drop your drawers, Sugar," I say, wagging my eyebrows evilly, remembering what a jackhole James was in high school. "Let the fun times begin!"

James is staring at me, wide-eyed and practically cowering in fear. I've went from Nightingale to Luke Skywalker in ten seconds flat, cutting through the air with the extra-long cotton swab like it's a glowing light saber.

"What...what do you think you're gonna do with that?" he manages to whimper.

"I'm gonna insert this long, hard, rigid swab into the teeny, tiny opening at the end of your penis," I tell him, in my most professional tone of voice of course, as I jab the swab in his general direction. "Just about three-fourths of an inch. We need to see what's causing that nasty little drip you've got going on."

"Oh, hell no you're not, Bella Swan!" he growls, standing and cringing in pain.

"It is my responsibility to inform you of the risks and complications of refusing said testing and possible medical treatment for your...probable condition," I advise him, stalking forward.

"I don't give a damn!" he hollers, face red as he realizes I know exactly what I'm collecting the specimen for. "You're not sticking that thing in my dick!"

"Maybe you shoulda watched where you were sticking your dick to begin with and I wouldn't have to do this!" I retort.

Hello, ladies and gentlemen. Florence Nightingale has left the building. She has been replaced by Nurse Ratched. Have I mentioned that I can sometimes be a bit of a...bitch?

Don't judge me. Spend your days shoving Q-tips up random leaky penises and see if you're Suzy Freaking Sunshine.

"I'm outta here!" he yelps, shuffling backwards to the door, knocking over a tall, metal light in the process.

"Remember the old saying!" I call to him as he trips from the room. "Don't be silly, next time cover one-eyed Willie!"

And that, my friends, was the highlight of my day.


"I sincerely hope you've decided to bail on James Stanley tonight," I tell Rose as soon as we're safely at home.

The idea of Rose donning trimming shears or sitting behind the wheel of her death-mobile when finding out about James is terrifying. I decide to drop hints when we are alone...with no sharp objects or electrical appliances within easy reach.

"No, I haven't," she sneers, clearly still upset with Em, the person who has 'ruined her' for all things male. "In fact, he just texted me to confirm our date."

"Is that so?" I muse. "Did he happen to mention bumping into me today?"

"He bumped into you today?" she questions, eyeing me suspiciously from where she stands, dousing herself with perfume. "At the clinic?"

"I cannot confirm, nor deny, his presence at said medical facility," I respond, aloof and indifferent as I examine my nails. "That would be a vilolation of patient rights and confidentiality...if he were a patient, that is."

"Ohhhh! You're gonna play that game again, huh?" she snickers. "Tell me about your day, Bella, but be sure not to mention anyone by name. I'd hate to know you violated someone's privacy."

"Well, I had a young man come in with a drip...and it wasn't a post-nasal one if you catch my drift," I hedge, carefully watching her reaction.

Rose...well, she turns the color of a rose: first pink, then red, and then a brilliant fushia. There's a scorching hot curling iron resting on the towel rack. I eye it warily, praying she doesn't take her aggression out on me.

"That summabitch!" she howls, yanking the curling iron from its place and thrusting it in the air. "As God as my witness, I will never date again!"

"Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!" I tell Scarlett, I mean, Rose.

Rose huffs, glaring at me as she furiously curls and her hair into a perfect Southern coif.

"I'm going out tonight. I'm gonna find some random guy to buy my drinks, flirt with me, and boost my wounded ego before I come home, leaving him high and dry. And you're coming with," she tells me, in a forceful, no-nonsense tone.

"Uh uh," I argue, wagging my finger. "I've had enough drama for one day. The last thing I need is some drunk loser drooling on me in a bar. My ass is taking a shower and hitting the sack, Jack."

"Fine!" she sniffs, grabbing her purse from where it hangs on the bathroom doorknob.

"Don't come crying to me again about how the only man you've talked to in a month is Doctor Dogood and his gay compadre."

"I have talked to another man," I grumble quietly, happy she's walking away and out of earshot. I eye my laptop as the front door slams behind my friend, my heart picking up speed.


I stare at the laptop screen for what feels like an eternity, arguing with myself over whether or not to contact Tony again. If I'm being honest with myself, I'm morbidly curious about this man. I've read everything he's ever written in the past two years since I discovered fanfiction, and he's nothing short of brilliant. Sure, he's a bit of an ass...but I'm a bit of a bitch. I can't find it within myself to hate this man for his verbal blunder he made about my mother. Plus, the fact that he finds me...beautiful is endearing. Before I can talk myself it of it, my fingers are bouncing along the keyboard.

You tell a girl she's beautiful then ignore her for three days? I knew you were an ass. - SwanLake

I squee, freaking squee like a prepubescent Bieber fan when he immediately responds.

I'm not ignoring you. I simply assumed you no longer desired talking to me, considering I'm a jerk and all. - TonyMazen69

I bite my lip and decide to be completely honest with him.

You are a jerk...but for some reason I miss hurling insults at you. It was fun while it lasted. - SwanLake

Would you like to continue degrading me? Maybe on a semi-routine basis? - TonyMazen69

I grin and laugh, the first real laugh that's escaped my lips all day long.

Are you a glutton for punishment? - SwanLake

If the punishment inflicted is coming from you...yes. I think I am. - TonyMazen69

"Is he...flirting with me?" I ask myself aloud, because yes, I'm weird like that.

Fine. Whatever. If you enjoy being beaten by my snide verbiage, who am I to judge? - SwanLake

Wonderful! I'll message you when I get home. I'm having supper with my parents and grandmother, but I should be home in an hour or so. - TonyMazen69

I try to imagine this man, this man who I only days ago was in the midst of a Facebook smack down with, having a pleasant meal with his family. Maybe he's not the arrogant ass I once assumed him to be.

Supper with your parents and grandmother? How shockingly human of you. I'll be sitting here...impatiently awaiting the chance to flail you with snark and cynicism. - SwanLake

Perfect. I'll message you soon. - TonyMazen69

Mmmkay. Later, Tony. - SwanLake

Hey, Swan? - TonyMazen69

What, loser? - SwanLake

The name's Edward. - TonyMazen69

I don't immediately respond. He's thrown me a bone, giving me his name.

There's a huge amount of trust involved when giving a virtual stranger your real name. It's like crossing an invisible line into the unknown, forging a relationship with someone you've never met, as I have Alice, my beta. You can be yourself with these people. There's no judgment, no shame in having to face them the day after you've said or done something horribly embarrassing. It's freeing, really. My fingers tremble a bit as I type once more.

Edward? Ugh. I knew it. A name like that only tells me that you're obviously an eighty year-old man. You should take your heart medication if you plan on keeping up my verbal onslaught...Bella - SwanLake

Oh, I can 'keep up.' Don't worry your pretty little head about that. - TonyMazen69

I can't extinguish the cheesy grin that pops onto my face as I read his comment. He's definitely flirting, and I find myself shocked as I realize I like it.

Ugh. You're a pig, making remarks like that with your folks sitting nearby. Message me when you get home. As for the 'keeping up' remark, I guess that's something you'll have to prove. - SwanLake

There's no harm in a little Facebook flirtation. It's not like anything will ever come out of it. Facebook Messenger states he's in Chicago...I'm all the way down in Podunk, Georgia. I might as well have a little fun between reading and writing...right?

I sit back in my rolling chair, hands behind my head, a silly grin on my face, and wait for the games to begin.

Shameful Hoodfabulous Fanfiction Confession: I live vicariously through the characters I read or write about. I'd never talk or act the way Bella does in front of a patient *innocent grin* Do you live vicariously through the characters you enjoy reading/writing?

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