Seven

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Dear Diary,

Operation Dazzle Doctor Dreamy is in full gear right after I ditch the wooly socks for my black peep toe pumps. Do people in Fairview wear black peep toe pumps? I guess I’ll find out.

Signed,

Ashley            

           

Answer to my question. People in Fairview do not wear black peep toe pumps because they have cankles. Even the very best pair of black peep toe pumps cannot fix cankles.

Dr. Ryan Maxwell pulls up to my mother’s house at precisely six p.m. proving he is not only intelligent, but punctual. He let me leave the clinic by noon, so I’ve had six hours to obsess about my choice of attire and, despite my fading black eye and the bandage that hides my head wound, I feel amazing.

Who knew that squat challenge I did online would pay off this much? My dress fits like a glove and the shoes are stunning, especially in my newly defined calves. No cankles for me. I’ve managed to style my hair so the damage around my eye is hardly noticeable.

I open the door for Dr. Maxwell who blinks. “Wow,” he says. “You sure look different when you’re not bleeding out from a head wound.”

“Thanks,” I say, “I get that a lot.”

He grins revealing the dimple that I’ve spent so much time thinking about this afternoon. He’s wearing black pinstripe suit pants and a black button up shirt, the sleeves rolled so I can still see his forearms. Forearms shouldn’t be attractive but for some reason, perhaps because they’re attached to a pair of skilled hands, his are. If he was hot at the clinic this afternoon, he is positively scorching now.

“Hi, Dr. Maxwell.”

He laughs. “Outside of the clinic, it’s just Ryan.”

I want to giggle like a schoolgirl. “Ryan.” I like the way it sounds, rolling off of my tongue. Ryan. Ryan. Ryan. The dazzling, dreamy Dr. Ryan who also happens to be my date. I take this opportunity to remind myself that Becky is probably sitting at home eating bonbons, unable to see her calves. There are some perks to being the single one.

Ryan Senior drives a beat up silver pick-up truck; young Ryan has opted for a Mercedes instead. I should have known he’d drive something more sophisticated because he oozes a certain kind of refined charm.

Lorenzo’s is a house turned small Italian restaurant located on the outskirts of Fairview, lakeside. The existence of a quaint gem such as a food establishment like this shocks me as much as the squat challenge results currently showcased by my butt and calves.

We park and he cuts the engine, rounding the front of the car to open the door and offers me the crook of his arm. I don’t hesitate in slipping my arm through his because I love his arms. They are, after all the first part of him I laid eyes on. Ryan and his arms make me giddy.

Before he leads us to the door, he stops rather abruptly and turns, sandwiching my body between the car and himself. He brings his hand up and brushes away the hair I have placed to hide the bandage.

“Looks pretty good,” he says softly. “But I’ve never really seen anyone lose that much blood from something so minor.”

“I’m used to it,” I tell him. “When I was a kid, I would get these horrible, random nosebleeds at the worst times.”

The pad of his thumb moves to trace underneath my eye and I silently curse the peep toe pumps I’d treasured moments ago because my legs turn to jelly. “What about these? Do you get a lot of bruises?”

I nod. “It’s not really a big deal. I can be a little clumsy sometimes.”

He takes a step back. “Well, Ashley, I may have to keep a very close eye on you.”

A smile crosses my face and I can’t help but hope that he keeps that promise.

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