Feisty Francesca

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#62 Things are looking up

The second a young woman in scrubs walks into the waiting room, Thomas jumps up, looking up at her expectantly. I scramble to get to my feet as well, wondering if she’s a new vet. I’m used to seeing Dr. Randalf, and this young blonde bombshell in blue scrubs is not him.

“How is he?” Thomas asks, his voice hoarse.

“He’s fine,” she says with a smile, pulling her long hair out of her headband and letting her luscious locks of golden hair fall around her face. “A broken paw, some internal bleeding… but nothing all that serious, given the circumstances. He needs to stay for a few more hours, but he’ll be ready to come home with you and your girlfriend before the day is over.”

“Thank fuck,” Thomas says, pulling the woman in for a hug. “Oh my God, I could kiss you right now!”

The look on her face tells me that she wouldn’t mind that, but her eyes shift to me and her brow furrows. “Hi, I’m Tracy,” she says, holding out her hand to me. “I’m Dr. Randalf’s veterinary technician.”

Ah. She’s a nurse for animals. She’s basically me, but to a vet instead of a doctor. She must be new, since I haven’t seen her before, and I come here quite often with the General to get his shots and check-ups. And that one time he drank my booze when I left the bottle out… Yeah, coming in with a drunk cat wasn’t fun at all. Thank God he made it through that horrible night, just like he’s going to survive this car crash.

“Thanks, Tracy,” Thomas says, squeezing her arm. “She’s been amazing,” he tells me, his hand still on her arm. “The vet was on his break, and she rushed the General into surgery, calling in Dr. Randalf, and keeping me relatively sane in the meantime. She’s an angel.”

Tracy looks like she might feint. “I was just doing my job.”

“Thanks for taking care of my cat,” I tell her earnestly. “And for putting up with his sorry ass.” I motion at Thomas.

She giggles, and I swear she’s batting her eyes at Thom. “Not a problem at all.”

“Can we see him?” Thomas asks, completely oblivious to Tracy flirting with him. “I believe you when you say he’s fine, but I still need to see it with my own two eyes.”

“Of course.” She motions for us to follow her into a room nearby. “He’s a little out of it, the anesthesia is only just starting to wear off.”

The moment Thomas and I see General Fluffington lying there all grouchy and sleepy, we both let out a sigh of relief. He’s got a splint on his left front paw and he’s looking at us with hazy eyes, but other than that he looks normal. Poor little thing.

“Hey you fat furball,” Thomas murmurs, letting him sniff his hand before petting him. “I’m sorry for putting you through this, Fluffy. I’ll never leave the door open ever again.”

I move in to pet him as well, but he hisses at me, so I step back, letting Thomas take the lead. It hurts that my own cat likes Thomas more than me and finds comfort in his touch while he doesn’t want me near him, but I get. I haven’t been around for three weeks straight, and even before that Thomas was spending more time with him that I was. I suck. I’m a horrible cat owner.

Tracy starts giving us instructions on how to care for the General when we take him back home, and I grab my phone to make some notes, texting them to Thomas when we’re done. I’ve got a bunch of texts from Joshua asking how the General is doing, and the last one says that he’s on his way over. I’ve only just read it when my phone buzzes again to tell me that Joshua is here.

I tell Thomas I will be right back and walk to the waiting room, throwing myself into my boyfriend’s arms the moment I see him, finally breaking into tears. I’ve been trying to keep it together, but something about Josh’s warm embrace undoes me.

“He’s fine,” I manage to croak out. “I suck.”

“You don’t suck.” Joshua strokes my hair and hold me close until I’m all cried out. “Can we go in to see him?”

I nod and pulls him with me to the room where Thomas is still petting the General, who is still drowsy, but purring nonetheless. Thomas looks at us and smiles wryly when he sees me holding Joshua’s hand.

“Hey, Josh.” He shakes up with him while I try to get the General to let me pet him. It takes a few tries, but then I’m scratching that place behind his ear he likes, and he purrs for me, making my heart melt. I love the little guy. I’m so happy he’s okay.

Tracy walks back in a few moments later, telling us to go home while she monitors the General. Thomas and I are both hesitant to leave, but Joshua and Tracy convince us it’s okay. We make plans to pick Fluffy up in three hours, and then we’re out the door, blinking into the bright sunlight.

“Pizza?” Joshua asks, gesturing to his car. “Let me take you guys out. You must be starving.”

“Yeah,” Thomas says, rubbing his stomach. “Pizza sounds good.”

Before I can even say anything, Thomas is already getting in the back of Joshua’s sleek back car, and I slide into the passenger’s seat, more than a little surprised to be in such a small space with these two guys. This can either end up great or horrible. I think there’s no in between today.

“So… you won the race, huh?” Thomas says while Joshua pulls up. “Guess you played the game better than I did with the whole let me be your friend act.”

Josh grunts and looks at me before turning his attention back on the road. “I never played a game,” he says after a moment of uncomfortable silence. “And none of it was an act.”

“Sure,” Thomas says, sounding unconvinced. “Serves me right for waiting three years to make my move, I guess. Congrats. I really hope you guys are happy.”

“Thanks,” Joshua and I say in unison, both unsure what more we can say. We drive in silence for a while, and it isn’t until we’re close to the Italian place Joshua is taking us to when Thomas speaks up again.

“Guess I should take this as a lesson learned, huh? Next time I meet a cute girl, I’m not even going to wait a single day, let alone three years.”

I laugh at that, not able to help myself. “Does that mean you’re asking Tracy out later today?”

“Who?” he asks incredulously.

“The vet tech,” I remind him. “The golden-haired angle who was batting her lashes at you the entire time.”

“She was?” He sounds like he genuinely didn’t notice. “Oh wow. She’s hot.”

“Yes,” I agree with a smile. “She is. Ask her out, will you?”

Thomas grunts. “You can’t just push me into some random girl’s arms to get rid of your nagging guilt, Franny. Doesn’t work like that. I didn’t suddenly fall out of love with you.”

I don’t say anything back, because there’s really nothing to say. I know better than anyone that even when you know you should stop trying, stop loving, stop throwing yourself at someone’s feet, you can’t just turn it off. Love isn’t a light switch. When it’s on, it’s on, and it takes a long time to extinguish that light. Look at how long I pined for Aston… I just hope Thomas doesn’t get as desperate as I did, because I don’t want him to show up at my place in the middle of the night, drunk and wearing a sexy white latex outfit.

That imagine has me giggling in spite of everything, earning me surprised looks from both Joshua and Thomas, but I’m not going to explain my weird musings to them, so I merely shrug.

We’re a that the Italian restaurant, and Joshua’s gets us seated right away. The owner fawns over him a little bit, and I realize that the last name Chambers really holds a certain weight. I never realized how wealthy and well-known Joshua’s parents are, but I guess that they’re impressive people. It makes me wonder how they’re going to feel about their precious only son having a pink-haired nurse with tattoos and piercings for a girlfriend. I can’t be who they thought he’d end up with, that’s for sure. It makes me nerves, but I know we’re still a long way’s off from me meeting his parents, so I brush my doubts under the rug and sit down on the chair Joshua pulls out for me.

“Ooh, they’ve got my favorite pasta!” Thomas says excitedly. “Wow, the prices are insane, though.”

“It’s on me,” Joshua says, holding up his wallet. “Or well, on my parents’ credit card. I’m a trust fund kid.”

“Ah, so that’s why you picked him,” Thomas teases, winking at me. “He’s rich. Maybe I should show you my bank account. I think you’d be surprised how much money I’ve saved up. The business me and Dylan started is doing quite well, thank you very much.”

“Good for you.” I know he’s just joking, but the mere idea of someone thinking that I’m just with Josh for his money hits a nerve. Is that what his parents will think as well?

Dinner is pleasant, and Thomas and I fall back into our old pattern of bickering and teasing each other. Joshua doesn’t seem to mind at all. In fact, he joins in and has us cracking up even more. It’s weird how well those two get along. This kind of dinner would have never happened if I had still been with James. He was trying for my sake, but he wasn’t okay with either of them being my friends. Not really. Joshua doesn’t just seem to be okay with it, he truly likes Thomas as a person, takes the time to get to know him, talk to him, joke with him, ask about his business. He’s such a genuinely nice person, and none of it is an act.

I’m in love with this curly-haired guy next to me, even though he’s only 22, still in college, we haven’t even been together for a months, and it’s far too soon to tell him.

I love him. There’s no denying it.

“What?” Joshua asks when he catches me staring at him. “Is there something on my face?”

I smile and kiss him softly, sighing against his warm, soft lips.

“Yeah, there’s a bit of Franny on your face,” Thomas comments dryly. “I can beat it off it you want me to.”

I roll my eyes at Thomas, but I can’t keep the huge grin off my face. Things seem to be working out for once in my life.

The General is going to be okay.

My friendship with Thomas might just survive.

And I’m in love with Joshua.

Yeah, things are looking up for sure.

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