I taunt myself by going back and looking at the picture of him and the woman and then scrolling to find more pictures of them together. She is almost as tall as he is, and she is perfectly dressed every single time. Her hair and makeup done perfectly, she looks like she has a glam squad following her. On each picture, my eyes focus on Gabe’s eyes; I can’t point out anything, but he looks different. His eyes don’t crinkle when he laughs. His smile is almost like it’s for show. I go on Instagram and search to see if he has an account, and I can’t find one, but I do find Bethany’s and it’s set to private.
I turn off my phone and shut down the lights, curling up in a ball to look at the blinking stars outside. I don’t know how long I watch them before my eyes become heavy, and I fall asleep. I dream of Gabe and that little girl again, her eyes turning to look at me, but this time, my eyes are looking back at me as she smiles at me and waves.
My eyes flip open, the tears pouring out on the sides. I see it’s light outside, the tears nonstop as I curl into a ball gazing outside. The sob comes out, my hand going to my mouth to muffle any noise. I’ve made my peace with never having a child, or at least I thought I did. My chest hurts, my heart aches. It’s a physical pain I can’t explain. A burning sensation, traveling from my chest to my stomach. When my alarm rings, my hand shoots out to shut it off. I slowly get out of bed, then wash my face with cold water, my eyes still a little puffy.
I go downstairs, doing my own routine, and leave without talking to Hailey. I walk in, keeping my head down, hoping like fuck my eyes look normal. “Morning,” I tell Emma when I see her in the room, and she looks up at me and smiles.
“How excited were you to sleep in your own bed last night?” she asks, and I laugh.
“I about fucked my bed like a starfish.” I wink at her while she laughs out loud. “Do you think I could start working with Dr. Walker Sr.?” I ask her, slipping on my Crocs. “Just so I know how he works.”
“That sounds like a great idea,” she says while we both walk to the nurses’ station where everyone is standing around. “Crystal will be working with Dr. Walker Sr. today so she can get a feel for how he works.”
“That’s a negative.” I hear from behind me. Turning, I see Gabe. “He’s away till Wednesday, so I need to cover both patients for the day. It’s going to be a busy day, ladies.”
We all look up at the board to see that patients are scheduled every fifteen minutes for both doctors. “We are going to be here all night,” Ava says.
“What can make it go faster,” I start saying, “is for the nurses to go in first and assess the cases, so when Dr. Walker comes in, the nurses can give him the gist, more or less.”
“That sounds like a good idea,” Mia says. “We can maybe knock out the patient in five minutes instead of seven.”
Everyone agrees on the plan. “See? Team building.” I turn to smile at Gabe who glares at me. The buzzing tells us that a patient is in. “I’ll take the first one.”
And one by one, we roll for the day, and by the time five o’clock rolls around, my feet ache from practically running all day. I’m thankful for the two days of rushing around to keep my mind off my dream and prevent me from actually sitting down and talking to Gabe.
By the second day, I walk in, grabbing a piece of pie and going upstairs to collapse on my bed. I get up after a while and look outside to see Hailey sitting on the beach, but she isn’t alone. No, this time Walker is there with her. I turn to take a shower, and when I get out, they are still together.
My stomach grumbles, so I go down to make something to eat. I listen to the back door open, going toward it.
“Late night visitor?” I say from the doorway. Hailey’s back is to me, and she yelps.
“You scared the shit out of me,” she tells me as I smirk at her.
“So … your visitor?” I ask her.
“You want to do this? What about the hickey on your left boob?” She points at me as my eyes go to slits.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I roll my eyes.
“Really? So who is the guy?” she asks me, and I just shrug my shoulders.