Leo rolls over and kisses my cheek. “Come on love, we have to get moving.”
“Okay.” I grab a pink Henley and Yoga pants, and head to the shower.
“Did you write anything up?” Leo asks.
“Yeah.” I open my laptop, and send my excerpt to his printer. “Are you gonna be there?”
“Are you gonna read it, or chicken out?”
I hit him with the manilla envelope the speech is in. “Read it, fool.”
“Then I’ll be there.” Leo laughs.
“What else is gonna go on during the orientation?” I tie my hair into a ponytail.
“They’re just going to go over some of the diseases some of these patients have, and you’ll do a meet and greet, where you’re gonna go into all the rooms, and meet all the patients.”
I slide my patch over my eye, and slip my glasses on. “This sounds fun, I’m really excited.”
“Me too.” Leo hugs me, and kisses my forehead. “You’ll love it.”
I slip my sneakers on, and Leo and I head downstairs. “Should we get breakfast?”
My stomach sounds like a bear.
“They have it catered there, actually.”
“So how do I know that I got the job?”
“I took care of it for you. All you have to do is sign in at the check in desk.”
Five minutes later, Leo drops me off at the front, and goes to find a parking space. It’s pretty crowded today.
“Hi.” A lady in a purple blazer and black skirt greets me. “Are you the new OTA?”
“Yes.” I smile. “Hi, I’m Alex.”
“Nice to meet you, I’m Amanda.” She smiles and shakes my hand.
“I’ll lead you to your table, and then hand you a clipboard so you can fill out some information.”
I smile and follow her to the table, thankful I don’t have to look like a moron, wondering where to go. Yeah, that’s one of my main triggers for my anxiety.
“Hi.” A lady smiles at me. “I’m Kandace.”
“Alex.” I smile, and shake her hand.
“I like your patch, my daughter actually had one too.” She smiles.
I already feel so welcome here. “Really? That’s cool.”
“Yeah. She had Retinoblastoma so she had her eye removed when she was four. It’s one of the reasons why I started working here.”
Wow, Leo had that.
“My boyfriend actually had that too, he’s been in remission for about four years now.”
I feel like I can really open up to this lady, she’s really sweet.
“Calloway?” She asks.
“Yep.” I smile, as the presentation starts.
After breakfast, and an overview of the itinerary for the day, Leo sends me a text.
You’re up to bat.
Right as I’m looking for the stage, and getting anxious, I see Leo standing in front of me to take my hand, and discreetly lead me up there.
Or so I thought.
He leads me up to the stage, and helps me up the steep stairs, (because the auditorium is dark) , but he still stands next to me, putting his arm around me.
“Hi, I’m Leo, I’m a music therapist here, but more importantly, this is my beautiful girlfriend, Alexandria Aronson.”\
I feel myself blushing, and see people smiling.
“She’s a new OTA, and she just wanted to share her story with all of you.”
He rubs my back, and stands to the side, so I still see that he’s there, to help me off the stage.
“Hi, everyone.” I smile. “I’m Alex. I’m twenty four, and I guess I’m a new OTA here.”
“I thought this would be an amazing opportunity, because I know how some of these children feel.”
I pause and hesitate, choking back tears. “When I was sixteen, I was a cheerleader, I had a car, and I was a straight A student.”
I run my fingers through my hair. “So that summer, it seemed weird that I was going to a routine eye appointment, and I found out I needed surgery, because I had a Vitreous Hemorrhage, and a detached retina.”
I pause, trying not to cry as I finish the rest of the story.
Tears stream down my cheeks as I finish the story, and I don’t just get an applause, but a standing ovation.
“Thank you Alex, this was very enlightening.” Clara, the head of the Occupational Therapy department pats my back, before Leo leads me off the stage,
“Good job.” He whispers, kissing my cheek. “I’m proud of you.”
“Thank you.” I kiss him, stroking his cheek. “I love you.”
He smiles. “I love you too.”
“So, what did you think?” Leo asks after orientation.
“It was good, I can’t wait to start working.”
“When do you start?” Leo puts his arm around me.
“Next Monday from eight to five, and it looks like I’m working with the toddlers.”
“Oh, you’ll love them.” Leo runs his fingers through my hair.
“You’ve worked with them before, here?”
“Yeah.” Leo laughs. “How do you think you got this job?”
“Leo!” I elbow him. “You never told me that!”
“Really?” Leo asks, confused. “I thought I did.”
“No.” I roll my eyes, laughing.
Leo takes my hand, and kisses it. “I’m sorry love, I really thought I did.”
“It’s cool.” I laugh.
“Wanna go get dinner?” Leo asks.
“I wanna surprise you.”
“We’re going to the mall?”
“There’s a restaurant here with a huge aquarium.”
“But I’m not dressed nice!”
“Don’t worry, you’ll love it here.” Leo parks, and we walk over to the restaurant.
“This is so pretty!” I whisper yell.
Leo puts his arm around me, and we follow the host to the table.
“Hi guys, I’m Sara I’ll be your server today, can I start you off with something to drink?”
Leo and I order Mozzarella Sticks for an appetizer, he orders a Coke, and I order a Dr. Pepper.
“Do you know what you want to eat?” Leo asks, as soon as our waitress disappears after dropping our drinks off.
“Yeah, I’m gonna get the Fish and Chips.”
“Have you ever tried the Captain’s platter?”
“Yikes.” I look down at the menu. “It looks expensive.”
“It’s worth it.”
As soon as our food gets to the table, and Leo’s food looks amazing.
“I may have to steal some.”
“Have you ever tried Crab?” Leo puts some on my plate.
“No, but it looks weird.’
Leo laughs. “It’s out of its shell, just try it.”
“Okzy.” I uneasily dip the crab intp some butter.
“Well?”“Oh my god.”
I take a sip of Coke. “That’s so good.”
I look around at the huge aquarium, and feel bad for the fish in the fish tank.
“Why are we eating fish in front of a huge aquarium?” I laugh.
“Cause the aquarium is cool, and this food tastes amazing.”
I smile, taking Leo’s hand. “How’d you find this place?”
“My parents took me here to celebrate me going into remission.”
Yep, Leo’s a Cancer survivor.
I smile at him. “Are you trying to tell me that this is a new beginning for me?”
Leo takes my hand, and kisses it. “That’s exactly what I’m trying to say. I got you this job, so I can show you that no matter how crappy your situation is, there/s always room for a new beginning.”
Tears well up in my eyes. “I love you.”
Leo leans across the table, and kisses my forehead. “I love you too.”
“Do you work tomorrow morning?”
Leo smiles. “You don’t wanna go home, do you?”
“No.” I smile.
“I’ll bring you home, tomorrow my love.”
Good. I don’t want to go home yet.