Chapter 4

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You know what was a really bad, moronic idea? Standing on two wooden, clearly unstable crates and attempting to refill the empty row of cashew products at the local hospital’s gift shop. This might not have been such a terrible idea if I were tall. Or at least somewhat gifted in the height area.

Unfortunately…well, let’s just say that outgrowing clothes had never been much of a problem for me.

“Nancy, get down from there,” came an angry shout from somewhere below. “The objective is to refill the nuts—not to refill the hospital beds, you hear? I’m not responsible if you break a limb!”

That lovely yelling lady would be Teresa Lawrence, the sixty-something year old woman who worked with me at the gift shop every other week when I volunteered. Well, ‘worked’ in the loosest sense of the word. ‘Bossed me around’ would have been a more accurate description.

“Sorry,” I sighed. I climbed down the boxes as quickly as I could without giving myself a severe injury.

“Good grief,” Teresa sniffed, clutching dramatically at her chest. “You teenagers are always acting so rashly.”

Yes, ‘acting rashly’ for Teresa was climbing two measly boxes. The woman wouldn’t even leave her house without stationing at least two guard dogs outside, probably.

Anyway, the Hopkins’ Hospital Center gift shop was not exactly doing booming business today. Not that it ever was. On most of the Saturday shifts I worked, we rarely saw more than two, three customers per hour.

This was not exactly what I would have called a dream volunteer position.

At least I didn't have to do much, though.

Also, because I was just a high school volunteer, Teresa would often throw her weight around and order me around to do a lot of dusting and cleaning.

I didn’t even dust at home.

The things I would do to get into college, honestly.

“By the way, we’ve got a new high school volunteer starting with us today,” Teresa announced after another while of inactivity had passed. “He’s a senior, just like you. And he’s pretty tall, so we’ll finally have someone to reach all the high boxes and storage places around here.”

“Oh,” I said, catching myself just before I added ‘poor kid’. “What’s his name?”

Teresa paused her inspection of her nails to swivel her eyes up toward the ceiling. Her brows furrowed in intense concentration. “Something…something Flynn?”

“Flynn?”

“Maybe Blin?”

Blin?”

Teresa frowned, and then grinned again while she snapped her fingers. “I’ve got it! It’s Rin!” she shouted. “I’m positive his name is Felix Zander Rin.”

“Did someone just say my name?”

My blood ran cold when I heard a familiar voice from behind me. And no, trust me, it was not the voice of ‘Felix Zander Rin’.

Alexander Lin stood in the doorway, wearing—for the first and, hopefully, last time—the same exact outfit as me: a light blue hospital uniform. His eyebrows flew up in surprise when he saw me standing next to Teresa.

There was a short, awkward silence while we stared at each other, both of us still remembering the shirt-vomiting incident, and Teresa looked between the two of us curiously.

“That’s not Felix Zander Rin,” I said at last.

Teresa just looked confused now. “What? It’s not?”

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