Fourteen

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Dear Diary,

When Ryan is playing the role of serious doctor, I can’t lie; he’s ten times more beautiful than his already superior to Brad Pitt cuteness and although this isn’t exactly how a grown woman wants to play doctor, it’ll have to do… at least for now.

Signed,

Embarrassed Ashley

We’ve spent the last hour talking about everything I never wanted to speak of with Ryan. The only good part is he keeps touching me while we chat and embarrassed or not, his touch is like magic and makes me feel less sorry for myself.

“When you brush your teeth do your gums bleed?”

“Sometimes,” I say, “But the dentist told me that means I need to use Listerine more, which I do. Extra strength.”

“Has it helped?”

“Not really.”

“When I met you, you had a black eye,” he says. “What happened?”

I narrow my gaze at him. “I told you what happened. I ran into the corner of a moving box. With my eye.”

“Do you always bruise that easily?” The pad of his thumb traces around my eye where it was black and blue several weeks ago.

“It wasn’t easy. I ran into it hard but yeah, I guess I bruise more than some people. So what?”

“The nosebleeds you say you get. Anything in particular bring them on?”

“My family doctor blames the dry climate. He suggested nasal spray.”

He nods. “How long is your period?”

“Ryan!”

“Answer the question, Ashley. For a fraction of a second, pretend I’m your doctor, not your boyfriend, please. It’s important to me to try and help you. I can’t do that if you’re not honest.”

“I dunno. A week and a half. Give or take.”

“And you bleed quite heavily the whole time?”

“Yeah, I guess. Can we move on? This isn’t exactly pillow talk.”

“You drink an astonishing amount of coffee,” he says.

“Okay, that’s more of an observation, wouldn’t you say?”   

“Why?”

“Why, what?”

“Why do you drink that much coffee?”

“’Cause if I don’t, I’m tired.”

“How tired?”

“Pretty tired, I guess. Like I could definitely nap.”

“Have you ever been tested for anemia?”

“No. Why are you asking me this?”

He looks at me, sympathetically. “Ashley, sweetheart. I think you may have a bleeding disorder, but we can’t be sure until you have some testing done by a hematologist.”

Tears prickle my eyes. “What? Ryan, you’re scaring me.”

“You don’t need to be scared. If I’m right, I think your blood has trouble clotting. It might be why you bruise so easily and have such a bad time with your period.” He reaches over and places his hand on my arm. “It’s very manageable so long as you have the right information and support to deal with it. Lucky you have me, huh?”

“So what happens now?”

“You are going to rest up, get that back a little better and then you and I are going on a road trip.”

“To where?”

“To meet your hematologist, also my good friend, Dr. Lukas Cohen. He can run tests for von Willebrand disease that are far more conclusive than my resources or expertise can give you. And in the meantime, I can hover and be the overprotective boyfriend.” 

“What about the farm?”

“Don’t worry, I’ll be your overprotective boyfriend there, too.”

“Ryan. I’m serious.”

“So am I. The farm can wait. Your health cannot. Please, do this for me.”

Well, when he asks me like that, what choice do I have? 

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