“He’s a world-class douchebag, Ronnie.”
She chuckles. “God. He really is. But Ethan isn’t. He’s the real deal, isn’t he?”
“I think so.” I grab my blanket and hold it to my chest, releasing a long breath. “I just wish I believed I was enough for him.”
“You are, you silly, silly girl. You’re more than enough. I’m sorry about what I said when I got here—about you pretending to be me because you were too afraid to be yourself.”
“Maybe it was true.”
“I doubt it. That was uncalled for. I know you, though, Nic, and when I saw that you’d thrown yourself into another relationship, I figured it was the same old thing. But I can see it’s different with him. He’s the one.”
“If that’s true, then why did I just send him away?”
She leans her head against my shoulder, and my heart swells at the simple contact. I missed my sister. “You sent him away because you don’t need him. You want him. The difference is how I know he’s the one.”
“I thought Veronica Maddox was your patient.” I glare at the chart in my hand as I hold the phone to my ear. Any day that requires me to call Kyrstie is not what I would consider a good day, but I’m at my office and was just handed a chart for Veronica Maddox and told she’s waiting in room two.
“She called and requested to be switched to you,” Kyrstie says with an irritated sigh. “Did you want my staff to argue with her?”
I set my jaw and take a deep breath. “Of course not. Never mind.”
“Ethan, wait,” she says when I’m about to hang up. “Hear me out for a minute?”
I lean back in my office chair and close my eyes. “Sure. Why not?”
“Veronica is the sister of your nanny, right? She’s the sister of the girl you’re in love with?”
I pinch the bridge of my nose. “Do I want to know how you know any of this?”
“You know how information spreads in this town.” I can hear her clicking her pen—a typical Kyrstie nervous habit. Click-click. Click. “If the sister wants you to be her doctor, see if she can help you. Maybe there’s still hope for you and Nic.”
“And now I’m supposed to believe you care about my happiness with another woman?”
Click-click. Click. “Well, it’s true whether you believe it or not. Just because I didn’t want to see you trapped by some girl looking for a meal ticket doesn’t mean I don’t want to see you happy. I always had your best intentions at heart, whether you believe that or not.”
I blink and straighten in my chair. There’s a good chance I underestimated Kyrstie. “I appreciate that, but listen, I have a patient waiting for me.”
“Go get her, Ethan.”
I hang up the phone, grab my chart, and go into exam room two.
“Good afternoon, Ms. Maddox. How are you today?” I look up from my clipboard and do a double take when I realize Veronica isn’t here alone and I recognize her companion. “What are you doing here, Teagan?”
“She needed a doctor’s opinion on something,” Veronica says.
I fold my arms. “What’s that?”
“You’re a fucking troll who needs to get over himself and go after the girl,” Teagan says.
“For which part of that did you need my opinion?”
“None of that. Those are the facts. The symptoms, if you will. The question is, should I sit here and try to talk some sense into you, or should I just kick you in the nuts?”
I lean back against the counter and study Nic’s friend.
“The latter probably wouldn’t change the facts at all,” Veronica chimes in, “but it would feel amazing.”
My gaze shifts between the two women, and I shrug. “I probably deserve the kick in the nuts, but you don’t need to talk sense into me. I already know I’m an idiot who threw away the best thing that ever happened to him.”
Veronica’s shoulders sag. “Does that mean I don’t get to give my big speech about how you will never—and I mean never—find another woman half as good as my sister?”
“I fucked up. She never wanted a relationship, and she really doesn’t want me. I’m trying to respect that.” Even if every second I don’t go after her hurts like hell.
“Respect . . . what?” Teagan sputters. “Oh my God, I thought you had some balls in those pants.”
I sigh. “Fine. You two want to help? I’m working on something and I could use some extra hands.”
Veronica smiles slowly. “That’s more like it. What do you have in mind?”
“I’m cleaning out some closets at home. You two up for it?”
“Did you know Marcus calls his penis Henry?” Veronica asks.
Teagan coughs on her wine, and I snort. “Don’t remind me.”
We’re all in Teagan’s living room. Teagan and I are drinking wine, and Veronica’s drinking sparkling apple juice. Honestly, Veronica’s lucky Teagan even let her in the door that first day, but she managed to plead her case, and the three of us having been living here together for the last week.