Not What I expected

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Chapter 3

It was 6:30 a.m. on Monday morning and Nicole had already showered and got ready for her day. She was sitting in the kitchen with a cup of coffee, staring out the window at the view of the ocean in front of her. She had decided that instead of wallowing and continuing her little pity party, she would get up and go to work.

Her cell phone rang and she quickly picked it up once she saw who it was on her call display.

“Good morning Dr. Richardson,” Nicole said with a small smile, “Is my boy driving you crazy yet?”

“Absolutely not Dr. Sanders,” Beth replied, “He is awake, he has eaten breakfast and he is now asking where his mommy is.”

Nicole smiled at this. She and Beth had this lifelong dream of becoming doctors and opening their own family practice together. Somehow, over the years, they had managed to make that dream a reality. Their practice had been open for five years and they had already had to add two other doctors to their practice. Needless to say, they were pretty successful in their endeavour.

“I’m on my way to pick him up,” Nicole stated as she walked to the sink and poured the remaining coffee, now cold, down the drain, “I going to take him to my parents’ and then I’m going to head into work. I’ll try and put in a few hours.”

“You’re going to work?” Beth questioned sounding surprised, “Nic, you know you can take some time for yourself right?”

“Beth, I want to work,” Nicole replied, “It will take my mind off things and the last thing I want is to be stuck in this house with Chad right now. I need to get out of here.”

There was a silence on the other end and Nicole had wondered if they had been disconnected. She stared out the window and watched the sun come over the mountain. It was stunning, beautiful and it brought a smile to her face.

“What did you decide last night?” Beth asked quietly, “Did you guys talk?”

Just then Chad walked into the kitchen in his boxers and a muscle shirt. For a moment she admired him and how incredibly sexy he looked when he first got out of bed. He looked at her and smiled at her slightly and then she was brought back to the reality of what they were dealing with. She turned her back on him and took a deep breath, her heart searing with pain.

“We’ll talk about this later,” Nicole replied quickly, “I’m on my way.”

Nicole hung up her phone and threw it in her purse before grabbing it off the counter and walking past him and down the hall. She grabbed her keys and opened the front door.

“I’m off to work,” Nicole called out, “We will talk tonight.”

Nicole looked back and saw him standing in the hallway looking back at her. She barely acknowledged him before she walked out the door and closed it behind her.

It was 12:30 and Nicole and had seen several patients already that day. She had picked a busy day to come back to work and she loved the fast paced environment. It took her mind off of her home life and she got to do what she loved, helping people. As she put the last patient’s chart on the counter her stomach gave a loud rumbled. She hadn’t eat yet and she was famished.

Beth walked out of the back office and gave her a smile. She put the chart on the counter and reached for another.

“I’m going to head out and grab a bite,” Nicole stated, “Did you want to join me after you’re done here?”

“I would love to, but I have three more patients I have to see before I’ll get to go eat,” Beth replied, “You go ahead though. Your next patient isn’t until 2:00. Did you want to go for a late dinner tonight?”

“Can’t...Chad and I are having the talk,” Nicole replied with an eye roll, “But let’s plan for tomorrow night.”

After a nod in response, Nicole grabbed her purse off the shelf and let herself out of the office. She walked out into the sun and headed towards the harbour where she usually walked during her break. It was a gorgeous day and she loved the feeling of the sun on her face. She felt empty and lost, but the sun managed to put a small smile on her face, even if that smile only lasted for a short time. She walked and she walked, passing by other business workers, lawyers, doctors, accountants and then there were the happy couples that walked past her, smiling at each other with fingers entwined together. Needless to say, Nicole was bitter and resentful of all those people who were happy in love.

About 30 minutes later she walked into her favorite café and ordered an iced coffee and her usual sandwich and then went back outside and sat on her favorite bench and stared out at the ocean. She ate and she thought about how her and Chad’s conversation was going to play out tonight when she got home. The way she was feeling in that moment, she really didn’t even want to bother trying to work things out. Chad had committed the biggest sin and she was wondering if he was even worth the fight, but she knew that she needed to at least try. She had a family and she had to try and save it.

“Nic...Is that you?” a familiar sounding voice said behind her.

Nicole turned her head to see who it was and her iced coffee slid from her hand and onto the ground.

Ryan had watched her walk out of the café to a bench across the way and he couldn’t believe his eyes. He couldn’t believe his eyes as he watched her sit down and stare out at the ocean. It had been 13 years since he had seen her and she was just as beautiful as he had remembered her being back then. He never thought he would see her again. He stood there for a couple more moments contemplating whether or not he should go and talk to her.

As he continued to watch her, he couldn’t help but notice that she looked troubled and sad. He realized as he watched her that he had made an incredible mistake 13 years ago. What the hell was he thinking back then when he thought she would be better off without him? He clearly wasn’t thinking, but that didn’t matter now, what’s done is done.

He put his coffee cup to his mouth and emptied it before he threw it in the garbage. He threw caution to the wind and slowly made his way over to her. Her dark brown hair hung in lose curls down her back and her ocean blue eyes were covered by her sunglasses. Her right leg was crossed over her left and she stared out towards the ocean as she took tiny bites of her sandwich.

As Ryan slowly approached her, his hands became clammy and he his heart began to beat faster and he grew nervous. Nicole was the only woman who had made him feel this way, not even his ex-wife had made him feel this intensely. Him and his ex-wife got divorced over five years ago and they had an eight year old daughter, whom he adored very much. But never had he ever felt the way Nicole had made him feel with anyone else. That woman was one of a kind.

“Nic...Is that you?” Ryan asked quietly as he approached the woman sitting on the bench in front of him.

She turned her head and looked up at him and the look of surprise on her face was priceless. It was almost as if things were moving in slow motion as the iced coffee slipped from her hand and splashed onto the ground. She quickly jumped up to try and avoid getting splashed with coffee, but it was unavoidable.

“Shit,” Nicole grumbled more to herself than to him.

She tried to clean her shoes and pants off with a napkin before she stood up straight and looked up at him again. As he was 6′2" and she was 5′5", the height difference between them was significant. The way she looked up at him now was almost like she didn’t believe he was standing in front of her. It was a look of surprise and he could have sworn that he saw a little gleam in her eye as she took her sunglasses off.

“Ryan, hi!” she exclaimed with a small smile, “It’s been years! It’s so good to see you!”

She moved around the bench and quickly wrapped her arms around him, hugging him tightly. He wanted to hold her longer, but didn’t want to come on too strong.

“Yeah, 13 years actually,” Ryan replied after she pulled away from him, “It’s been a long time. How have you been?”

“Actually, I haven’t been doing very well,” Nicole replied honestly as she looked down at her hands, “But I don’t want to bore you with that. I have a great job, I work with my best friend and I have a beautiful three year old son named Hudson.”

Ryan stared at her for a moment before reigning it back in. By the sounds of it, it sounded like she was doing very well, but he wasn’t going to push her into telling him what was going on that had her so down and sad.

“That’s so good to hear,” Ryan replied, unsure of what else to say to her.

“Thanks,” Nicole replied, “What’s going on with you? Are you still doing the lawyer thing? Are you married? Tell me.”

“I’m still a lawyer, I’m a partner now at a law firm here downtown,” Ryan replied, “I love my job, going on 16 years now. I was married, but got divorced five years ago and I have a beautiful eight year old daughter named Emily.”

“I’m sorry to hear about the divorce,” Nicole replied as she looked at him shyly, “How long were you married?”

“We were married for four years,” Ryan replied, “It was great for a while, but we were better off friends than we were as a couple. We are actually friends now, which is good because of Emily. Makes things a lot easier.”

She smiled up at him, and this time it was a smile that actually reached her eyes, but it only lasted a moment before she looked away. She looked down at her watch and then back up at him.

“Ryan, it was really nice to run into you,” she exclaimed, “But I have to get back to work. I have a patient to see in 15 minutes.”

“It was great to see you too Nic,” Ryan stated, feeling disappointed that he didn’t have longer to catch up with her, “Take care ok.”

She nodded as she reached for her purse on the bench and gave him a small smile. She put her purse over her shoulder and was getting ready to walk away when he quickly pulled out his wallet and fished out a business card.

“Hey, give me a call some time,” Ryan said boldly, “I mean, if you just want to talk or catch up.”

She took the card from him and slipped it into the front pocket of her purse.

“I might take you up on that,” Nicole replied sweetly, “Besides Beth, I don’t have many friends that I can talk to. But really, I have to get going.”

She hugged him again quickly before she was gone.

This was no good.

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