Twelve

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Dear Diary,

Ryan is nothing if not tenacious. He is texting me again. Part of me is flattered but it’s quashed by the part of me that wants to crawl under a rock for the remainder of my miserable existence. Dramatic? Yes. But true. I wonder if there is a world record title for the most time spent feeling sorry for oneself. I’d hold the record. No doubt about it.

Signed,

Ashley

I’ve never had to deal with this in my prior relationships, and by prior relationships I mean the one date with Liam, the hot investment banker, and a short relationship with Seth Greenwood, my yoga instructor. Seth would run for the hills at the very mention of the ‘p’ word so I didn’t have to share this part of myself with either of them and yeah, alright, I know I’m being a bit theatrical, but it’s embarrassing.

I shove a square of dark chocolate into my mouth and look at the last text from Ryan—he sent it close to an hour ago.

              Sweetheart. Let’s talk about this.

Oh yes, please let’s! And while we’re at it, let’s throw in a chat about erectile dysfunction and prostate exams.

I’m still in the same ensemble I wore this morning plus a thick, warm blanket. I have taken necessary precautions, have my chocolate and my chips, and I’m watching some chick flick with a young Brad Pitt. This only reminds me that Ryan is hotter. Than Brad Pitt. Could my life be any worse right now?

Answer. It could. I could be dealing with Damon the demon, with a pitchfork in hand and muck stuck to the bottom of my once fashionable rubber boots. I’m grateful I made the decision to do most of today’s work before sitting down and now, my only decision is whether I want a glass of wine or a hot bath. I’m about to go for the wine when there is a knock on the door.

 “Mom,” I yell. She doesn’t answer. “Mom!” I try again, before remembering that she’s quilting with Edna.

I’m going to hold a grudge for whoever is behind that door simply for making me leave my cocoon on the couch. I swing open the door and let out a scream. Once again I’m face-to-face with Ryan. Who knew keeping a hot guy away was harder than catching one? “What are you doing?”

He holds up a Thermos. “I was bringing you soup,” he says, “but after that scream, I’m waiting for the cops to show up.” He gives his ear a rub.

“Sorry about that,” I say. “Thank you for the soup.”

He nods. “Can I come in?”

I want to tell him no but the air is crisp and cold so I step to the side to let him pass.

He enters the house, heading straight for the kitchen where he opens a few cupboard doors before retrieving a couple of bowls. He pours the soup into the bowls and sets them in the microwave. They heat for only a minute, before he takes them out and sets them on the kitchen table.

He pulls out a chair. “Come. Sit.”

I plant myself on the chair. He sits across from me.

“Go on,” he urges. “Try the soup.”

If I try the soup, perhaps he’ll leave so I can be alone. Not all misery loves company.

I put the spoon to my lips, making the most embarrassing slurping sounds as I taste it. Who am I kidding? Slurping sounds are the least of my worries. I take another spoonful, focusing (and failing) on being dainty and not slurping like some medieval peasant who hasn’t eaten for days.

“It always makes me feel better,” he says. “Look. Can we talk?”

“Why? It’s really not important. And I apologize for overreacting earlier. It’s just…” I pause, resting my spoon in the bowl, and sigh. “I really don’t want to talk about it.”

“I still think we should talk.”

Persistent much? “Yeah, well, I think I should weigh twenty pounds less and have superpowers. Doesn’t make it so.”

He looks down at his soup before swinging his gaze back up. “You’re the first girl to ever avoid me due to her period.”

“You’re the first boy that’s ever been around long enough to avoid,” I answer.

“Fair enough. Can I ask why you are avoiding me?”

“I suppose you could.”

“Rephrase,” he says. “Can I ask and have you answer?”

I shake my head after taking another spoonful of soup.

“Maybe I can help.”

I nearly spit out the soup I’ve just spooned into my mouth. “You’re the man I’m dating, not my doctor. Besides, there’s nothing wrong, it’s just terrible genes. I blame my mother.”

He makes a face. “Well technically since you have moved to Fairview and I’m the only doctor here…” he stops. “Have you been to a doctor? Have you had this checked out?”

I roll my eyes. “Yes, Ryan. I have and guess what they said? That it’s all in my head. That I’m dramatic. That I’m destined to be miserable because I am dramatic. Do we really have to talk about this? I know you mean well, and I’m grateful, really, I am, but…”

He fights a smile. “No doctor would actually say that to you.”

“I’m paraphrasing,” I tell him.

“So you bleed a lot?” he asks. “If you can just answer a couple of questions for me.”

“Nope.”

“No as in you don’t bleed a lot, or no as in you won’t answer my questions?”

“No, as in I will not answer your questions.”

“Why?”

“Because I refuse to answer period questions to my boyfriend.” Oh. My. God. I just called him my boyfriend. Backpedal, backpedal, backpedal. “I mean the man I’m dating.”

“You can call me your boyfriend,” he says. “I like it.”

Now it’s me biting back a smile. He knows. He knows and he didn’t run. That has to count for something, right?

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