Chapter 30: Lincoln
“My rage is forged into a flaming hot arrow, aimed straight at the very man who now looks right at me, too.”
All I saw was red when Mia told me about her grandfather yesterday.
Because I couldn’t believe the audacity of this sorry excuse for a big brother. Painting him as the samaritan back then while he knew that Mia needed someone, that for once she was the one who needed to help. God, how blindsided she must have been, coming home that evening to seek comfort and all I did was shatter her heart in such an excruciating manner.
If only I had known…
But I didn’t. Her brother had the chance to tell me, but he didn’t. Once again Mia’s needs were put aside, and that’s what made me even angrier. That she was the one suffering again when all she ever did was help the people she loved.
For once fate was not on our side, though. I forgot that I was on call that night. And as I was about to approach Max’s twin brother, who was probably the only person who could have helped me right that moment, my damn beeper went off. The message implied they needed a pediatric surgeon in OR 2.
I had to make a choice, a choice that really wasn’t one. Because I already learned the hard way what happened when you let your emotions get in the way of your job. And so I instantly turned around before I grabbed a tablet to get updated on the case as I rushed to the OR. I used the five minutes I had to scrub up to do my breathing exercises, to shut out that raging storm inside of me.
And it worked. I wouldn’t have operated if it hadn’t. But I ended up spending my entire night running from patient A to patient B to patient C and then right back. It was just one of those nights. One of those nights where nothing goes right and absolutely every single fucking thing went wrong.
It’s eleven A.M. by the time I’m back in my usual clothes, and even though I am absolutely exhausted from the few hours of sleep I got in between calls tonight, I immediately head to the break room, hoping to hell Finn is still, or again, here. I haven’t spoken to him much since he started his intern year, but he was always kind. I don’t know why, but I feel like he’d be willing to help me.
The second I see him sleeping on the couch I feel that raging fire again, his resemblance to his brother really doesn’t do him any favors right now. “Esperanza!” I shake his shoulder, and unsurprisingly he wakes up in an instant. It just shows he’s already fallen into doctor’s habits.
“Dr. G?” he asks, rubbing his eyes for just a second before sitting up straight.
“First: It’s Dr. Grey,” I feel the need to correct him, “Second: I need your help.”
He jumps up, straightening out his scrubs before nodding his head, “Of course, Dr. Grey, whatever you need,” his eyes are wide when he rambles the words. Interns really are a species for themselves.
“Good. I need to know where I can find your brother.”
I’m not surprised when he blinks a few times before he answers, “Uh… I’m sorry?”
“Your brother. Where is he?” I ask again, growing impatient as hell suddenly.
“Why? How do you know him? And which one do you even mean? I got four of them.”
“I mean the one that looks just like you,” I give him the only answer I deem necessary, but he still looks unconvinced and that annoys the hell out of me.
“What do you want with him?”
I can’t help but sigh, running a hand through my hair as I mutter under my breath, “God, why are all of you Esperanzas so goddamn stubborn…”
“What?” he instantly asks again, but I just shake my head. “Nothing...” I say, but he instantly interrupts me again, “Wait… Is this about Mia?”
My frozen reaction to her name must give me away because he suddenly leans back, pressing his fist on his lips before he speaks, “Dude! She is into older guys! Fucking hell, lil sis, I really underestimated you…”
“Oh, shit, yeah.” He probably realizes who he’s talking to again before he continues, “Fuck, I don’t know, I think he wanted to go to the zoo today, there’s this penguin show at noon he wants to see with...”
“That’s enough. Thank you.” I don’t even listen to him anymore before I rush out of there, ignoring every word he throws my way when I sprint to my car.
Adrenaline is rushing through my veins at the sole thought of seeing that goddamn asshole again. I am so ready to just find the guy and give him a piece of my mind. Because I have changed. I’m not the man I was two years ago, and I will make damn sure Max Esperanza comes to realize that, too.
I’m in complete tunnel vision when I finally reach the zoo. It’s still about ten minutes until noon, which means I should be just in time to find him at the penguin’s enclosure. My eyes scan the area for nothing but him when I quickly buy a ticket and get the directions to the enclosure, my feet somehow carrying me to the right place within minutes.
At first, I’m overwhelmed by the number of people standing in line to go to this damn show, and every second guy looks like him, of course. But then I see him. He stands between in a group of at least six other people, none of which I can identify, and I honestly don’t want to, either. My rage is forged into a flaming hot arrow, aimed straight at the very man who now looks right at me, too.
The surprise is visible in his eyes when he moves out of the group and toward me, squaring up to full height as if that would somehow intimidate me after the shit he pulled.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” he hisses as he stops right in front of me. His frame might intimidate anyone else, but I’ve gone past intimidation tactics by now. I have a mission. And I will sure as hell accomplish it.
“I thought you knew everything about everyone, so why don’t you tell me?” I’m already sick of his attitude, and he’s obviously less than impressed by my words, his hands balled into fists by his side when he glares at me.
“You better watch your fucking mouth. Remember who you’re talking to,” he says as if I had any fucking idea who really he is. I realize that he never was a threat to me, despite everything he said. Because as much as he seems dangerous and powerful, I don’t care about anything he could do to me. The only thing I care about right now is Mia.
“I do remember who I’m talking to. I also remember your words back then. Why the fuck would you do that right after your grandfather died?! What the actual fuck is wrong with you?!”
He takes another threatening step toward me, exerting his testosterone by towering over me. “You don’t get to talk about him.”
“And you don’t get to tell me what the fuck to do after the stunt you pulled.” I’m opening and closing my fists, the itch to make him pay for it all coursing through my veins.
“You have no fucking idea what you’re talking about! You don’t know my family, you don’t know how we deal with shit. I’d recommend you walk away now, Grey. You’ll regret it otherwise. We have connections that can destroy you and your career.”
His threat takes me aback for a second, but I quickly shake it off, rage clouding my mind when I answer, “I don’t give a shit about what you can or can’t do. You know, I thought there was a reason you did that, you made me leave her back then. I thought you had her best interest at heart, but it’s obvious you don’t give a shit about her. You…” But I don’t get to finish my sentence, his fist connects with my jaw in the blink of an eye.
I’m not surprised by the action. I know I provoked him. But my words were true, and that’s why he acted on them, too.
“What the fuck did you just say?!” he seethes as I stagger back, cupping my jaw, trying not to lose control of myself.
“You heard me right,” I spit out a bit of blood that pooled beneath my tongue before looking straight back at him again, “How the fuck could you do that to her?! I thought I was doing the right thing, I was protecting her, but I just hit her while she was on the ground!”
To my surprise, he doesn’t say much more, he just looks at me, chest heaving and hands balled into fists. And I see it in his eyes right then. He regrets it. He feels guilty.
“You can’t tell her,” he says, and I can’t help but widen my eyes at his words.
“Are you serious right now?! What the fuck is up with you, you can’t lie to her all the time!”
I know about the times her brothers, but especially Max, hid things from her for whatever goddamn reason. I know how much that bothered her, and this is not something I will let him get away with.
“I swear to god, you tell my sister about this and I will…”
“You will what?!” her voice makes me look around, and then I see her standing a few feet away, in front of three other people. I only recognize her parents, I’m guessing the older woman next to them is her grandmother.
Max suddenly looks like he’s seen a ghost, pale skin as his eyes flick from me to Mia and back. “You won’t say a…”
“I will say more than just a thing if you don’t,” I interrupt him. I’m done with this. “Your choice. Do you tell her, or should I?”