I spot my clothes sprawled out on the floor of an unfamiliar apartment. Removing the manicured claw from my chest I slide out of the bed.
I slip on last nights boxers, jeans and collared shirt before reaching for my leather jacket which contains my phone, wallet and keys.
Without looking back at my latest conquest I move towards the bedroom door.
“Baby?” A feminine voice calls from the direction of the bed. “Come back to bed.” The girl whose name I can’t remember says provocatively.
“I don’t have your number.”
“I don’t fuck a second time. One Night Only.”
“But-” I cut her off slamming her bedroom door behind me. I pass through the lounge room of her apartment and out into the hallway.
Getting in the lift I hear my phone ping.
BJ: We still on for dinner tonight? 8pm at Dolce.
Seconds later it pings again.
BJ: Don’t even think of cancelling. We are only in New York one night. You don’t want to disappoint my pregnant wife or I’ll rearrange your face.
I sigh knowing I could always use the excuse that I was called in to work.
Me: I’ll be there.
It is not that I don’t like hanging out with my cousin and his gorgeous wife because I do. I love BJ and Harper but...around them I feel like a failure. I love my life. I love the freedom, never being tied down to one person but part of me wants that person. Part of me wants to be tied down. I know if I met the right person I’d settle down in a heartbeat, white picketed fence and all.
With one phone call as I walk through the lobby my driver is waiting for me when I reach the curb.
“Where to sir?”
“Home for now Rod.” I instruct and Rod nods.
“Right away Dr. Valentino.”
“You’re late.” Is the first thing my best friend and cousin says to me as I reach the table.
“Hey, I came didn’t I?” I press a kiss to Harper’s cheek before sitting down next to her. “Hey Harp. How long til I get to deliver your little one?” I point to ever obvious pregnant stomach.
“Cal I have already said no.” Harp says sternly.
“And I still don’t understand why.”
“You are a heart surgeon not a gynaecologist.”
“Potato, potarto. I’m a doctor Harper and I want to be there.”
“No.” BJ says ending all discussion.
A waitress approaches the table and she has a cute blonde pixie cut and emerald green eyes. Not bad.
“Good evening Mr Jacobs.” The waitress politely greets her boss’ son. My uncle Mark would have to one of the best chefs in the world. His restaurant Dolce was his first baby. “Are you ready to order?”
“Hi...” My eyes run over her name tag. “Sarah.” I offer her a wink. “I’m not sure about my friends here but I’ll take you to go.”
Sarah blushes tomato red and Harper lands a swift kick to my shin.
“Harper will have the risotto and we...” BJ points between the two of us. “Will have the rib eye. I apologise for my friend’s behaviour.”
Sarah nods quickly and I swear I hear her giggle as she runs to the kitchen.
“That was inappropriate Callum.” Harper scolds me.
“She is hot.” I say with a shrug. The bartender brings us over our drinks and I skull the scotch BJ had ordered for me.
“Can’t you find one girl?” Harper asks.
“Why would I do that?”
“Cal, you have a good job and you are nice guy. You could get any girl you want.”
“And if that doesn’t work you have a billion dollar trust fund.”
“So I can only get a girl because I’m rich?”
“You know I didn’t mean that. I have some friends from Harvard-”
“Harp, if they went to Harvard chances are I already met them.”
“Forget it Lady he is clearly not listening to you.” I watch BJ place a hand in his wife’s lap.
Harper moves on to tell me all about how KickIt is going. Harper started KickIt in her second year at Harvard. The girl is a business genius. Between her and her business partner Roman the two are unstoppable. There are now six KickIt kick boxing gyms on the east coast with plans to move west. Harper loves it. I know she will slow down a little once the baby arrives but she is such an amazing business woman I’m sure she has already planned exactly when she will start working again.
BJ and I listen to Harper talk and I can’t help but smile at the look of pride in BJ’s face. He is immensely proud of his wife and her achievements, not that he is without his own. My cousin Brennan James ‘BJ’ Jacobs is easily the best journalist in the country. His only competition is Dylan Washington, his father-in-law.
Sarah comes and goes with our meals not so subtly dropping a napkin with her number on it in my lap. I send her another wink and a smirk as I pocket the napkin.
“She gave you her number didn’t she?” Harper asks with an eye roll.
“Jealous?” I raise my eyebrows and BJ emits a growl.
“Oh shut up.” Harper says with another kick to my shin. “It is exactly my point you could have any girl fall head over heels in love with you. You could marry, have kids-”
“Harper I don’t want any of that. Not now anyway...”
“You are kind Callum and good looking.”
“Should I leave you to alone?” BJ jokes with his eyebrows raised.
BJ is a cousin on my mum’s side and he looks very much like a typical Jacobs. I look a lot like my dad I definitely got that Italian blood. Back in college I had a man bun, now my hair isn’t so long but still has that shaggy look. Along with the dark hair, olive skin and other Italian features I inherited from my dad I was lucky to inherit my mum’s blue eyes.
My pager beeps as though the hospital realised I was actually having a nice time.
“You have to go?” Harp asks and she actually looks sad, I’m sure it is just the pregnancy hormones.
“I’m sorry guys but yeah. I’m on call for the ER tonight. See, I can do more than just heart surgery.” I give Harper a sly smile and she laughs.
“Will you come visit us?” Harper asks.
“There is always a room for you.” BJ adds.
“Of course I’ll visit. I’ll even come to stay when the baby is born, I’ll help you guys out around the house, be your slave for a few weeks.”
“Thank you Callum.” Harper pulls me into a hug, her pregnant belly intruding.
“We love you man.” BJ pats my back.
“I love you guys too. Travel safe yeah?”
As I leave my uncle’s gourmet New York restaurant I scan my card at the bar making sure Harper and BJ’s meal is on me. BJ will hate it but it is the least I can do for them looking out for me.
Rod is waiting for me and he gets me to he hospital quickly. I hold my hospital I.D in my hand as I through reception.
“Good evening Dr Valentino. Thank you so much for coming in.” Margie one of the night nurses says with a smile.
“Margie, how many times have I asked you to call me Callum?”
“Roughly four hundred.” The fifty year-old nurse says with a grin. Margie trades my leather jacket for my white doctors coat.
“Are you ever going to listen to me?”
“So, where am I tonight?”
“Danielle is off because of her sick daughter so you will be running the ER until Dr Prescott arrives for his shift.”
I run my hand through my hair wishing I slept more between my last shift and dinner. My body was good at handling the lack of sleep that came with this job but I hoped by some miracle that Dr. Eddie Prescott arrives early for his shift.
“Ok lead the way.” Margie hands me a clipboard and tells me about the current patients we have in emergency. She explains that some of the nurses are in triage and leaves me to my work taking her place back at reception.
“Doctor?” A nurse whose name I’m not sure of calls to me from of the triage rooms. “I have a thirty year old female, unresponsive with contusions over her body.”
“Who bought her in?”
“She did herself, collapsed in reception.”
“Ok have her moved to her own bed. Keep an eye on her oxygen levels and treat the contusions. I’ll stop in on my rounds.”
“Yes doctor.” The nurse calls over one of the male nurses and the two wheel the girl passed me, following my orders.
It is then I see her. I’d recognise that face anywhere. I’m sure half of the world would. Cassidy Elliot, InStyle, Vogue and Cosmopolitan Model and she just so happens to be Harper Washington’s best friend.
“Cass?” I’m immediately at her side without thinking.
“You know her doctor?”
“Make the rounds, I’ll treat her myself.” I say ignoring the nurse’s question.
I take over wheeling Cassidy into her own private curtained space. The nurse has already dressed her in a hospital gown giving me easy access to the bumps, bruises and cuts all over her abdomen and legs. There is a bruise forming on her jaw and I can’t help but run the back of hand over her cheek.
“Oh Cass, who the hell did this to you?”
Cassidy startles awake and despite the pain she is in she springs away from my hand.
“No!” Her eyes are wide as she takes in her surroundings. “Cal?” When she spots me the tears start. Without saying a word I wrap my arms around her. Incredibly inappropriate since I’m her doctor but considering she is a girl I have known almost all my life I’ll make an exception.
“What happened Cassidy?”
“Nothing.” She answers quickly.
“Nothing? This is nothing?” I lift up the hospital gown revealing the bruises.
“Just a misunderstanding. I’m fine.”
“Do you have a new boyfriend?” I ask and Cassidy laughs.
“You know me Callum I don’t do boyfriends.”
“You also don’t do single.”
“It is always just sex Callum, just like you.”
“Then what happened this time? This isn’t just sex.”
“A run in with a guy who was a little too kinky for my tastes.”
“I’m fine Cal...really. When can I get out of here?”
“Callum Valentino don’t make me call your mother!” Cassidy says sternly.
“Someone needs to treat the cuts. I’m not letting you go home until you are cleaned up. I’ll send the nurse in to look after you.”
“I’m fine!” Cassidy says again but I ignore her.
“Then when I discharge you I’ll have Rod drive you home.”
“Hell no. I will catch a cab.”
“Cassidy it is-”
“If you are about to say dangerous you are clearly forgetting that I am born and raised New York.”
“Harper and BJ are in town. If you don’t let Rod take you home I’ll call them.” I threaten and she rolls her eyes.
“Fine you win.” Cassidy says poking out her tongue.
“Are you sure you are ok?” I question again for my own piece of mind.
“Yes Callum.” She rolls her eyes yet again.
I move towards the curtain but her voice stops me.
“Thank you...for you know...” Cass looks down obviously embarrassed and I wrap her in another hug.
“Don’t mention it.”
Walking back to the curtain this time I get it open before she stops me.
“Don’t tell Harp ok?”