A/N: This is a work of fiction. The following chapter contains dramatized scenes for the sake of entertainment. This does not contain accurate medical content, does not provide medical advice, and is not a realistic example of medical practice.
"Do you have your lunch?" Aaron asks me. He's still buzzing around the kitchen getting us both ready for work. Other than sleeping in separate rooms, everything has started to return to normal. That comes with its own level of difficulty for me. Most days I don't know how I would maintain my sanity without him, but it isn't easy to navigate the vague place we're in.
"I'll have to eat at work today, I won't get a break."
"You have to take your pills on time."
"I will try. If I'm a couple hours late, it's not going to hurt anything."
"That's not what your doctor said."
"I'm a doctor now, too," I remind him. "And I say it's fine." I give him a mischievous grin that makes him drop his stern façade.
With a grin, he gives in to my will. "Fine."
He leans forward and presses a kiss to my lips. An excited warmth spreads through me the same way it used to do. I haven't felt that in a long time. Long before he decided we shouldn't do that anymore.
His lips leave mine as quick as they came. He looks at me with a guilty expression. "Sorry," he says. "Habits."
"Yeah," I agree. "Habits."
He walks out through the back door to the garage. I listen as the door lowers to signal that he's gone. Then, I start to cry.
I don't know what I was expecting. We haven't said much more than two words about the breakup over the past few weeks. Avoiding it seemed the best way to ease awkwardness for him and the unwanted emotions from me, but with just one kiss, my brain goes right back to the bullshit.
"Ugh!" I groan. I wipe my tears away with my palm then grab my bag to go catch the train.
. . .
The day flies by when your shift is only eight hours and you don't want to go home. The children and their snot noses haven't been enough to distract me from the conversation I've been having with Aaron in my head. This is crazy, babe. Let's go to counseling and figure this out. And, you fucking broke my heart and now you want to be friends? We can't be friends! Fuck my credit, I want you out! I haven't quite decided which one feels best since they both make me want to burst into tears.
Walking back from the lab, a bit of chaos up the hall catches my attention. A tall man stands with a crowd of kids and parents around him. Only after a second glance do I recognize him as Grace's dad. He stands out since he's approximately ten feet tall.
"What's up, grandma?"
I look over to find Grace. A smile pulls at my lips. "Not much, toddler."
"My dad's kind of busy, so I figured I'd hang out with you."
That's such an only child way of asking for company. "Thanks, I was feeling lonely."
"You look lonely. And tired."
I chuckle. "Thanks. That's the vibe I was going for." I plop into a chair at the nurse's station and pull another closer to me. "Sit."
She does so, leaning her elbows onto the desk. According to her chart, she's in week three of chemo. They gave her some time to let her arm heal, but Grace also didn't want to leave school or lose her hair. Since her counts were good, I guess they decided to try a cold cap and a slower pace for the first phase of treatment. Seems odd, but I'm no oncologist.
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