I went home with James. His apartment is right across the street from the restaurant so it’s convenient.

I got in the shower and washed all the blood away. Somehow it had gotten in my hair. I got out of the shower and James had given me a t-shirt to wear. Everything else was destroyed anyway. 

I came out of the bathroom and James had really stepped things up. He had cooked a meal and poured out a glass of wine. James is older than me, but sexy as hell and clearly knows his way around the kitchen. I cut into the chicken piccata he’d whipped up in the time I was in the shower. It was delicious.

“So that’s the guy you’ve been dating. The one who just stood around while you saved his ex’s life.”

“Yea, I didn’t see that coming. He always seems so sure of himself in the hospital. Like when I code is called, he shows up and takes over, acting like an air traffic controller. I never would have imagine he’d freeze like that”

“You know we will have to press charges against his ex. At minimum, property destruction. I hope it doesn’t cause you any problems.”

“Why should it? *I* didn’t destroy property. Thanks for dinner; it was amazing. I am exhausted”.

“Go sleep in my bed. I’m going to clean up and wind down”

****** *********** ************ *********** ************ **********

My dad is in the hospital. Again. Even more awkward it’s the hospital where Jeremy works and I do my clinicals. It’s awkward telling my instructors that under no circumstances do I want any of my classmates working with him.

It’s even more awkward seeing Jeremy. 

A relationship kinda dies when the police get involved. As in there was a restraining order. And a court case. And involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital. Not many romances can survive that.

Oh and the fact I saw him with someone else. When he cancelled a date with me.

***** ****** ******* ******** ********* ******** ************ 

“Are you OK?” Chris asks me.

“I am not even remotely OK. In span of a month, my now ex’s ex girlfriend tried to kill me, I broke up with the guy I’ve been dating for a year because he chose just go date someone else without telling me.. My dad is dying and I can’t do anything about it. I’m fucking my boss at the restaurant just to have someone to hold me when I fall apart. I can’t deal with everything alone, yet, I keep pushing people away.”

“I’m still here.”

“I mean not really. I see you two days every other week.. If that. I don’t have your number. You don’t have mine. If I didn’t show up, you’d never know what happened. Unless you listened to the rumor mill-which you say you don’t, but you still seemed to know an awful lot about Jeremy. And how that went up in flames.. You knew how my dad was doing before I even said anything. I literally had someone try to kill me and you never…”

“I know. And I’m sorry. I didn’t know how. Or what to say. I still don’t.”

“yea, well, no one else does either. My dad is dying. Slowly. School is dragging on. I spend every waking moment in a hospital either working in one, going to school in one, or visiting in one. I’m literally sleeping on the floor in waiting rooms. I’m exhausted all the time. I barely have time to eat. I hear people whispering about me here, Main, and the restaurant. People who don’t even know me are talking about me. IN FRONT OF ME. 

‘Even at the restaurant, I’ll have people say ‘Were you working here when that incident occurred?’ The incident! Someone who I didn’t even know existed literally tried to murder me, and it’s gossip. For the whole town. I even tried to save the one that tried to kill me. You can’t imagine what I’ve heard. What people have said when they didn’t know they were talking to me.

‘It’s literal hell on Earth, and every day I don’t know how I get through the day, and I do only to do it all again the next day. I’m up for ICU rounds at 6a, then I either go to class or change clothes and learn in the same ICU that my dad is a patient in. Then I study a little and go to work either here or at the restaurant. If I’m at the restaurant, then I sleep at James’s place. Only to get up and do it all over again. With the locations reversed. And no one asks how I am. Or offers to help. Or anything. But something is always wrong. And I don’t know how much more I can handle before I become the knife wielding protagonist in someone else’s story.”

And with that I walked away.

Chris had nothing to say anyway.

Toad the Wet Sprocket: Something’s Always Wrong

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