Crossroads

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Chapter 18

Lincoln

“I think you’re overstepping your boundaries here, George...”

“And I think you’re overstepping yours, Dr. Grey.”

PAST

I could tell Mia didn’t want to leave me. I could literally feel the anxiety seeping off of her the second she opened her eyes this morning, the sole display of fear in them even made me feel afraid for myself.

And I guess I realized something then. I can’t have her be afraid every single time she leaves the house, and I can’t have her worry about me constantly. I barely slept last night because I thought so much about us, about how this can work. Because the only thing that I am absolutely sure of is that I simply cannot lose her.

I might have issues reading my emotions, controlling them. But I know one thing, one thing that resonates in my brain loud and clear: I’ve fallen in love with this woman. Hard and fast. I mean, how could I not? She’s smart, kind, passionate, and so breathtakingly beautiful... I really don’t have any other choice.

But I feel like something needs to change. I feel like I’m only a burden, and I can’t deny that this sliver of doubt keeps creeping into my brain. The voice inside my head that tells me that she’s just with me because she’s afraid that I’d hurt myself, or because she feels like this way I stay here and she knows that I actually go to therapy...

Speaking of, I can’t talk to Dr. James about this, either. Because he’s already against this relationship, and I don’t want to give him any more ammunition. In our last session, he once again suggested that I move out of the apartment. I almost exploded again at the sole thought of leaving Mia here, but he did have a point when he said that it might not only help me, but Mia as well. She’d be able to live life the way she did before she met me.

I’d have to get a job in order to afford the apartment, and he proposed that I start there. Look for a job. The thought had me panicking at first, but now it feels like this might be one step in the right direction. Maybe I need to get my life back in order if all of this is supposed to work.

And so it happened that I left the house that day, on my own for the very first time. I looked up some open positions, and one of them was at a hospital not too far from here, so I decided to walk the twenty minutes instead of taking Mia’s car, which she offered in case I needed anything.

It’s surprisingly refreshing to be outside, and even though I do feel clammy and anxious the whole time, I try using Dr. James’ breathing methods to keep me calm. They help enough to get me to the hospital without suffering from a complete panic attack, and I guess that’s progress.

The hospital looks pretty nice, and the head of pediatric surgery seems to be a very kind woman as well. We talk a bit, and she asks about my former job, which almost gives me another panic attack, but I manage to give her a brief explanation without fainting. I kind of feel like she has an idea of what happened because she gives me this empathetic look, the one like she knows how I feel. It’s not a look of pity, but of understanding.

She says she’ll get back to me next week about more details, apparently they still have to work out some structural changes they’re working on right now. Their program sounds amazing though, and even though I’m anxious as hell about the prospect of practicing again, I can’t deny that I miss medicine. I miss talking to my patients, seeing them laugh and stay so, so strong during all the shit they have to go through at times, at such a young age.

This might really be the step that changes everything. I just hope I can actually go through with it...

The apartment building is pretty deserted by the time I get back, and I can’t help but feel nervous when George suddenly stands up from his seat behind the porter counter. “Dr. Grey.”

My eyes widen at his mention of my name. I know Mia tries to avoid George whenever we leave the apartment together, though he obviously saw us together more than once. She never mentioned my name though, and I can’t deny that I find it extremely disturbing that he addresses me now.

“Hello, George...”

He must notice my irritation because he immediately shoots me a kind smile while he walks around the counter, his elbow leaning on the marble top when he speaks again, “How are we today?”

I regard him for a second. I always thought of him as a good man, Mia only speaks highly of him and he seems to be a little protective of her as well. Mia once said something about him having some sort of connection to her dad, though I don’t know what exactly that means. I generally don’t know much about her father’s side of the family, now that I think about it.

“I didn’t realize I introduced myself to you.” I finally speak up.

“You haven’t,” he replies, his voice unwavering and that kind smile still as honest as before. “That doesn’t mean I don’t know it though.”

I honestly don’t really know what to say to that, but apparently I don’t need to, anyway, since George already speaks up again, “I take it you are waiting for Mia to get back?”

“Uhm... Yes.”

“Good,” he says as he takes a step towards me, his kind eyes now changing into something more threatening, somehow, “I think it is time you give up residence here, Dr. Grey.”

“I’m sorry?”

What the hell is he talking about?

“You heard me right. You’ve overstayed your welcome already. I’ve been patient, for Mia’s sake. But don’t believe I won’t turn to her brother or father if you do not listen to me. You’re holding her back, and I think you know that, doctor.”

I have to swallow from his words. Because honestly? Of course I know it. But it’s her decision to make, not mine, and I can’t help but hope that she won’t decide against me.

“I think you’re overstepping your boundaries here, George...”

“And I think you’re overstepping yours, Dr. Grey.” He gives me a curt nod before he walks back around the counter, his eyes always trained on me. “If you love her, which I know you do, you should think about what I said. Just because she’s good for you, doesn’t mean it’s the other way around, as well.”

The way he looks at me is unsettling, and I have to swallow from the weight of his words before I nod my head at him, honestly not knowing what more to say.

“Have a nice evening, Dr. Grey.”

George just smiles like he didn’t basically threaten me with the wrath of Mia’s father and brother if I don’t leave her alone. I ignore him though, and quickly turn around to walk up the stairs.

And I don’t know why, but after I open the apartment door with the spare key Mia gave me, something happens to me. As soon as I close the door behind me I’m hit with Mia’s scent, the dangerous mix vanilla and cherry fills the whole space, always has. But as I take a deep breath, closing my eyes while leaning my back against the door, this sense of gratitude invades my brain.

Because with how George was talking to me, I’m sure Mia knows about the risks she takes by taking me in and being with me. I have no idea what exactly Mia’s father does that makes him so feared by everyone, but I can feel that he has an influence I will never understand. And the fact that Mia decided to stick with me, even with the possibility of her family finding out, considering George does see us often enough to know what’s going on, just has me in awe of her.

And I decide that it’s time to give back. I’ve taken so much from her over the past months, that I know I want to do something for her, for a change. There’s not much I can do, admittedly, given I’m broke and can’t really afford anything too fancy. But I have a feeling that Mia is not the kind of girl that wants materialistic gifts, and so I start to come up with a plan. A plan that might not work and she might find it stupid and too much, but I’ll pull through with it.

Because she deserves it.

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