A poet and a philosopher, Drew is truly a Renaissance man.
I open my mouth to tease him, but I snap it shut as a wave of nausea strikes like a lightning bolt. I clear my throat and bring the back of my hand to my lips.
“Kate? You okay?”
As I try to answer, my stomach does a somersault that would make Nadia Com?neci jealous.
I’m going to throw up.
I hate throwing up.
It makes me feel claustrophobic. Suffocated.
To this day, when I have a stomach virus, I sit on the phone with my mommy while she talks me through the heaves.
I’m not going to make it to the bathroom, so I lunge for the kitchen sink. As I splatter my breakfast into it, Drew holds back the strands of hair that have escaped my ponytail.
I want to tell him to go away, but another round of retching commences. Some women have no problem going to the bathroom, passing gas, or throwing up in front of their boyfriends.
I’m not one of them.
Maybe it’s stupid, but if I were to die suddenly, I don’t want the last image Drew has of me to be one where I’m sitting on the toilet.
Or in this case, barfing in the sink.
his voice is kind. Soothing. “Okay . . . easy. You’re okay.”
When it seems like the worst is over, Drew hands me a wet paper towel. Then he glances toward the drain. “Well, that’s colorful.”
I croak, “Ugh—I knew I was getting the flu.”
“Seems like it.”
I shake my head. “I don’t have time be sick. I have the Robinson meeting today.” Anne Robinson is a client I’ve been courting for months. Old money—and I stress the word old. She’s like, ninety-five. If I don’t sign her today, it might literally be too late to sign her at all.
“You’re sick, baby. And I don’t think Mrs. Robinson will be impressed if you yak all over her antique brooch. Lucky for you, you have a genius boyfriend who performs exceedingly well in clutch situations. Give me the folder—I’ll run the meeting. Annie’s as good as yours.”
he scoops me up in his arms.
he cuts me off. “Nope. No bitching. Don’t want to hear it. I’m putting you to bed.”
I smile weakly.
Drew tucks me in and leaves a glass of ginger ale on the nightstand.
I think he kisses my forehead, but I can’t be sure. Because I’m already drifting off to sleep.
Three hours later, I walk out of the elevator onto the 40th floor of our office building.
My stomach’s empty, but after a good nap, I woke up feeling better. Refreshed. Ready to take on the world and Anne Robinson.
I walk to the small conference room and peer in through the glass.
Can you see Drew? Sitting next to the little gray-haired lady in the wheelchair? While he’s speaking to the legal representation seated around the table, Mrs. Robinson’s hands disappear under it.
And a second later Drew flinches, like he’s been given an electric shock.
Old women have a thing for Drew.
It’s completely hilarious.
he gives Mrs. Robinson a harsh look. She just wiggles her eyebrows. Then he rolls his eyes before looking away, spotting me in the process.
Drew excuses himself and comes out into the hall, relief shining on his face like a beacon. “For the love of all that is holy—thank God you’re here.”
My lips slide into a smirk. “I don’t know; Mrs. Robinson seems to be enjoying your company.”
“Yeah—if she tries enjoying it any more, I’m going to staple her hands to the conference table.”
Then he looks me over, concerned. “Don’t think I’m not overfucking-joyed to see you, ’cause I am. But what are you doing here?
You’re supposed to be in bed.”
I shrug. “Must’ve been a three-hour bug. I feel fine now.”
Drew cups my cheek and palms my forehead, feeling for a fever. “You sure?”
“Yep. Right as rain.”
he nods, but his eyes are suspicious, not totally convinced. “All right. Oh—we’re supposed to have dinner at my parents’ tonight.
Think you’ll be up for it, or do you want me to cancel?”
Dinner at the Evans’ is always an interesting affair.
“I should be good to go.”
he hands me the Robinson folder. “Okay. Your investment strategies got them all quivery. They’re wet and spread-eagled, just waiting for you to nail them.”
his imagery is slightly disturbing.
“That’s gross, Drew.”
he’s unperturbed. “You say tomato, I say tomahto.” Then he kisses me quickly. “Go get ’em, killer.”
he walks away and I head into the conference room to seal the deal.
So you’re starting to get it now, aren’t you? The problem, the big picture? I know it’s taking a while, but we’re getting there.
Enjoy the good times while you can—they won’t be lasting much longer.
The reason I’m showing you all this, is so you’ll understand why I was so shocked. how accidental—unintended—it all really was.
I guess life is like that.
You think you have it all under control. Your path so perfectly mapped out. And then one day you’re driving along and Bam! You get rammed from behind on the freeway.
And you never saw it coming.
People are like that too. Unpredictable.
No matter how well you think you know somebody? how confident you are of their feelings, their reactions? They can still surprise you.