Dr. Sarah Buckley is living her dream. After completing her OB/GYN residency, she is now an attending physician with Atlanta Women’s Health Center. Thanks to her bosses, Drs. Lincoln Montgomery and Cole Ryan, she has finally turned her life around. However, she still harbors a deep dark secret that only those closest to her know. Ten years ago, Sarah met the man of her dreams. He was her first everything, first date, first kiss, first lover. After running away from him, he has haunted her dreams as she has tried to avoid him and her secret.
Harrison Cooper has it all, or so he tells himself. All-star third baseman for his beloved hometown Atlanta Braves, multi-million-dollar contracts and women throwing themselves at his feet, but it was the angel who flew away so many years ago that he can’t let go of. He wears the ring that was to be hers as a reminder of the love he has held onto, but all of the searching in the world has not led him back to her.
The birth of his best friend Rhett’s first child finally leads him back to a chance encounter with the one person he can’t forget or stop loving. As her usual actions, she runs away leaving Harrison with a stinging jaw and at a loss for words. Committed to staying with his team until the end, he gambles his future with the new owners for a chance to talk to Dr. Sarah Buckley.
It’s the bottom of the ninth and the bases are loaded for love. Will they strike out or hit a grand slam, or will the secret Sarah’s been harboring tear them apart forever?
This is the third book in the Doctors of Atlanta Series. Come back to share the laughs, tears and love with the gang as Marcie and Cole tie the knot and maybe Harrison and the Braves will finally be winners again…
Sarah spent the next several weeks helping Marcie and Nicole get ready for Marcie’s wedding. Even though she was busy with work and wedding plans, the decisions she had to make were never far from her thoughts. She had taken the two weeks around Christmas and the New Year off so that she could spend the time with Harry and break the news to him, but the more she thought about it, the more she felt she should not tell Harry until Harrison knew. Even though she didn’t know how he would react, she didn’t want to get his hopes up to have Harrison dash them by not wanting to get to know his son. Sarah thought that he would have mixed emotions, because what kid wouldn’t be thrilled their father was a major league baseball player, but she was concerned that he would be angry with her for keeping the secret. Fortunately, she had Thanksgiving and Christmas with Harry and then the wedding before she had to tackle the big issues.
As Sarah sat at her desk, her assistant Jim knocked before entering with a beautiful arrangement of tiger lilies. She smiled because she knew they were from Harrison. He may have taken a break from sending gifts, but periodically he had sent her small gifts, mostly stuff for the staff to enjoy. This had been the first gift he had sent directed totally at her. He was slowly breaking through the walls she had so carefully erected. The scent of the lilies wafted through her office bringing her a sense of peace.
“So, doll, want to talk about it?”
“No. I know we are somewhat friends, but don’t call me doll when we’re at the office. I’m sorry. Just a lot of stress lately. Why don’t you take a long lunch and bring me back a sandwich from Jason’s Deli?”
“Sure. Anything in particular?”
“Nope. Just the usual.”
Sarah returned to staring out the window thinking about her life. She knew things had been too good for too long, but at this point, she wasn’t really concerned about herself. Sarah was most concerned about how to handle Harry. A knock at the door startled her back to reality. She smiled as she saw her mother standing there with Harry. “So, what brings you two by on a school day none the less?”
“We had a half day, mom, and thought we would see if we could steal you away for lunch.”
“Sure, just let me call Jim and tell him not to bring me anything back for lunch.”
As Sarah walked out of the building with her mom and son, she noticed how happy and carefree Harry seemed. She wondered whether or not he would remain that way once he knew the truth. She felt bad for what was about to happen to him. Unfortunately, she had no idea how he would react and what the future would hold. She was sure that he would be excited. After all, Harrison Cooper was his favorite player in the entire world. “So, what do you want? Cheesecake Factory? Jason’s Deli?”
“Definitely Cheesecake Factory. I could use a big slice of cheesecake for dessert.”
Sarah laughed at his enthusiasm. They got in the car and headed to the restaurant. As they ate, the conversation was light and easy. They talked about their day and especially about school and baseball. Harry reminded her that he had a game that afternoon and not to be late, like she would be late if she could help it.
After lunch and saying goodbye, Sarah went back to seeing her patients and tried to get all her work done in a timely manner so that she could enjoy the evening with her family. Unfortunately, her last patient of the day was supposed to be a simple in and out, but Murphy’s Law was in full effect today. The patient had high blood pressure, 3+ protein in her urine and 2+ edema in her lower extremities. She had no choice but to admit her, but that required a plethora of paperwork including admission orders, labs, and a discussion with the on-call physician about the patient’s condition and the possibility of needing to do an emergency C-section. To complicate matters, there was an accident on I-285 that made her usual forty-five-minute drive into an hour and a half. She barely made it to the ballfield before the first pitch.
Just as Sarah settled into her seat next to her mother, movement caught her eye across the field, and she nearly fainted as she lost all the blood in her head when she saw Harrison Cooper shaking hands with the opposing coach and players. Shit. Shit. Shit. Oh Fuck. I’ve got to get out of here before this whole thing goes to hell in a hand basket. Sarah picked up her phone before she leaned over to her mom and whispered that she had an emergency at the hospital and had to leave. “Please tell Harry I’m sorry and I’ll see him at home.”
Anne grasped her hand and held her in place. “Bullshit. I see that young man over there, and you don’t want to make a scene here. I get it. Just be quiet and careful backing out of here.”
“Thanks, mom. I owe you and Harry both. I love you.” Sarah kissed her mom on the cheek before she scooted out of the stands and headed to…well anywhere but here.
Sarah decided to drive around for a while before heading home. Making sure she had been gone for a sufficient length of time, she finally pulled into the driveway of her house. Before she could get out, Harry came bounding down the front steps and throwing his arms around her neck.
“Mom, Mom, guess what?”
“Yeah, but that’s not the best part. I got to meet Harrison Cooper today. He came to our game and did a little clinic before the game. It was AWESOME!”
Sarah could only smile as her heart was in her throat and she couldn’t form words. She ruffled his hair and kissed him on the forehead. “Well, I’m so happy for you, Harry. I know he’s your favorite player, and you want to be like him one day. I’m really glad you got to meet him. Want to know a secret?”
“Sure, but it’s not something lame like you love me is it. Because that is not really a secret.”
Sarah laughed. “No. That’s not it. My bosses, Drs. Montgomery and Ryan bought the Braves, and you’ll probably get to see him and maybe even have a private clinic with him.” Sarah watched as his eyes lit up.
“Yes. Really. I wouldn’t lie to you.” About something like this. Sarah was dying on the inside as she talked with Harry about his day and she wondered if he would ever forgive her for not telling him about his father before now. As they stood there and talked, she felt a migraine starting to come on from all the stress that she was experiencing. She wished she knew what the future held, but with everything in flux she could only hope that she hadn’t made a monumental mistake with Harrison and cost them ten years of being together.
Harry looked up at his mom with concern in his eyes and said, “Are you okay mom?”
“Yeah, just a little headache. Too much work and not enough fun these days. Why don’t we head in and get you cleaned up before we head out to eat?”
“Okay. Sorry you missed the game and my two homeruns.”
“Oh, baby” Sarah said as she pulled Harry into her arms, “I’m the one who’s sorry that I missed it, but unfortunately life as a doctor can be unpredictable.” I hope I’m not going to get struck by lightning or go straight to hell for all the lies I’m telling today.
“You’re forgiven. Especially if we can have pizza.”
Sarah smiled, “Sure, Harry. Pizza it is.”
Sarah watched her mom walk over to her as Harry scooted upstairs to clean up and change clothes. She didn’t know what to say to her Mom about today. Yes, she knew about Harrison, but she had no idea all the personal turmoil she was experiencing since she had seen him again.
“Wanna talk about it baby girl?”
“Mom, I’m not a baby anymore.”
“Sweetheart, you’ll always be my baby girl.”
Sarah walked into her mom’s embrace before she allowed the tears to fall. “I’m such an awful person, mom. Harry deserves a father, and I’ve deprived him of that. What if I made a colossal mistake with Harrison? I never gave him a chance to explain. I just shut him out and consequently shut him out of his son’s life. I know he’s going to be angry with me. I just don’t know how angry he’ll be, or how vindictive he’ll be. Honestly, I deserve whatever happens. The biggest problem is that I’m still in love with him, but I know he’ll never want me again after he finds out what I’ve done.”
“Oh, baby girl. I know it’ll be tough, and you’re right about many things. He’ll most likely be mad as hell. I mean put yourself in his shoes. How would you feel? However, I don’t think he’ll try to take Harry away from you, but you will have to share him. As far as how you still feel, maybe he still feels the same way, but is still confused about what happened. All I can tell you is that you have almost two months before you meet with him, so take that time and prepare yourself and Harry. Maybe you’ll get some of the answers you are seeking, and they will guide you on your journey.”
Wiping the tears away so Harry wouldn’t see them, Sarah simply nodded at her mom. Maybe her mother was right and she would know how to move forward when the time came. All she knew was that she had to get through the next few months, a bachelorette party, a wedding, and the holidays before she had to face the music. Crap, the wedding she thought All the guys on the team who were in town would be there. What if he brought a date? Could she handle that? What if he wanted to talk to her? Shaking her head to clear it, she found her center just before Harry walked back into the room. With a smile on her face, she took Harry’s hand and they walked outside to go to dinner.
Dinner was great. She loved the enthusiasm of her nine-year-old. His laughter was infectious. The only thing was everyday he grew to be more and more like his father. As Sarah laid in bed that night her mind wandered to all the mistakes she had made in her life. Harrison, almost getting kicked out of her residency program, and never letting Harry know about his father. The more time she spent thinking about Harry the more she found herself inexplicably drawn back to thinking of Harrison, or as she called him Coop. Unable to control her hands and mind, she reached for her phone and sent a text message that she probably shouldn’t have, but couldn’t have stopped if she had wanted to.
S: Do you ever think about me?
Harrison sat on his veranda sipping his Blantons and smoking a Davidoff Nicaraguan diadema when his cell phone chimed. He was confused as to who would be texting him at this hour unless it was one of his teammates trying to get him to join them at the Cheetah. When he looked at the message, he couldn’t control the smile that engulfed him. Harrison couldn’t imagine what had inspired Sarah to text him out of the blue, but he was happy that she was reaching out to him.
H: All the time. That’s why I have such a hard time understanding what happened between us. Do you ever think about me?
Sarah stared at the screen with tears threatening to fall. Oh, my God what have I done?
S: Every single day.
Harrison stared at the screen with his heart in his throat. He was more confused now than he had ever been. If she thought of him that often, then why had she cut him off?
H: I don’t understand Sarah. How could you think about me every day when you walked away from me? God knows, I tried to get to you.
Sarah couldn’t control the tears as they fell. She wiped away the tears to stare at the screen. What should she say? This was not a conversation that she wanted to have via text messaging.
S: I’m sorry, Coop.
The words tore at his heart. He had not allowed anyone to call him Coop since Sarah. It was a painful reminder of her. Cooper he could handle, but Coop was off limits.
H: Why Sarah?
S: Not tonight Coop. We can talk about a lot of things, but the why will have to wait. Sorry, but I need more time.
S: Do you hate me?
H: Hate you? No. I think my life would have been much easier if I hated you. I could’ve moved on, but I don’t hate you.
Harrison contemplated what she meant her question. He didn’t hate her. He was still in love with her. For God’s sake, he still wore the engagement ring he had bought her around his neck as a reminder of the love he had for her and how no other woman would ever compare to her.
S: Coop. You still there?
H: Yeah. Sorry. Why don’t you tell me about being a doctor? Is it everything you thought it would be?
S: Yes and no. I mean it is everything I thought it would be, and every time I deliver a baby my heart flutters for the new life. It is much better now that I’m staff and not a resident.
H: Are you happy?
S: Most of the time. What about you? Is baseball everything you thought it would be? You made it to the show and with your home town team.
H: Baseball is great. The rest, not so much. It gets lonely not having anyone to celebrate the good with or commiserate the bad. It’s great that Rhett and I are here together, but he has his family now, so I’m more on the outside looking in, and I don’t really enjoy going out to the clubs with the younger guys anymore.
S: I know what you mean. Most of my colleagues are engaged or married. So, I usually go to work and go home. As sad as it sounds, I still live with my mom.
H: Not sad at all. At least you have someone to go home to. How is your mom? Still keeping the nurses in line?
S: Yes. Very much. Thank you for talking to me.
H: Thank you for reaching out. One more thing. Do you hate me?
S: No. SMH. I don’t hate you. I hate to say this, but I need to get some sleep. Some of us have to work in the morning. Good night Coop.
H: Okay. I understand. Can I see you before January?
S: Sure. I believe I’ll see you at the wedding. However, no talk of the past.
H: You drive a hard bargain, but okay. I’ll see you there. Good night Sarah.
S: Good night Coop.
Harrison sat back in his chaise and stared at the night sky. What had just happened? Harrison’s heart was beating a mile a minute. If someone had asked him how his day would end this wouldn’t have even been in the top one hundred ways, it would’ve happened. He thought of her every day, and now, twice since he had demanded a meeting she had reached out to him. The big question is why would she think that he hated her. He didn’t understand what happened, and he would give anything to go back and fix it, but the reality is the past is exactly that, and he can’t change it. Over the years, he had wracked his brain to try and figure out what had happened. He knew she was fragile when they were dating. She didn’t have any experience with, well anything, and he tried to do everything in his power to make her believe in herself. Her innocence was one of the things that attracted him to her, and he could tell she still possessed it to an extent.
Sipping his Blantons, Harrison noted how much more flavorful the bourbon seemed tonight and his cigar was so much more pleasing to his palate. He found that he was more relaxed after a few minutes of texting with her than he had been in years. As the bourbon relaxed him a little bit his mind drifted back to ten years ago…
Ten Years Ago, Athens, GA
What the fuck just happened? Harrison stood there massaging the sting out of his cheek. He was absolutely dumbfounded that Sarah had just slapped him and run away. Looking around he saw Tricia standing over to the side with a smug smile on her face. Harrison stormed over there and shouted, “What the fuck did you say to her!”
“The truth. That she is so far out of your league that you would never stick around.”
Harrison ran his hand over his face trying to suppress the anger boiling over. “Listen you little sorority tramp. You don’t know shit. If you think getting her to run off is going to land you in my bed, you are sorely mistaken. I don’t go for bleach bottle blonde cleat chasers. You are nothing but a common whore. Now take your sorry ass away from this house and never let me see your face here again. GO! NOW!” Harrison turned away and stomped back inside to find his keys and chase after Sarah.
“Sarah! Sarah! Open the God damn door. I know you’re home.” Harrison continued to beat on the door thankful it was Saturday night and none of her neighbors seemed to be home. Finally, the door opened, but it was not Sarah, it was her roommate and if looks could kill he would be dead where he stood.
“What do you want asshole? Haven’t you done enough already? Now leave before I call the cops.”
Harrison stood there confused as hell. What had he done? “I don’t know what you are talking about, Bianca. One minute we were having a goodtime, the next minute she slaps me and runs away. I can’t fix what I don’t know I did wrong.”
Bianca seemed to soften a little bit as she listened to what Harrison said. “I don’t know what happened. I just know she ran in the door crying, said something about you being a mother fucker, which was kind of funny because I had never heard her say fuck before, then she went to her room and slammed the door, and has been crying ever since.”
“Fuck!!!” Harrison said as he slammed his hand into the wall beside the door.
“Just go for now. I will try to talk to her and get her settled down, but what she does is ultimately up to her.”
“Just tell her I’m sorry. I don’t know what I did, but I will move heaven and earth to make it right.” Harrison turned and walked away hoping that he would see her again. Not having anywhere else to be, Harrison found himself sitting on a barstool at The Globe drowning his sorrows in beer. He felt a hand on his shoulder and drunkenly turned around to find his best friend standing there looking sullen and a little pissed off.
“Let’s go asshole. I’ve wasted too much time looking for your sorry ass. Why can’t you go to a normal place to get trashed? Speaking of, what did you do this time?”
“I…uh…don’t know. What I do know is my damn glass is empty again. Barkeep!” He yelled out.
“Nope buddy you’re done for the night. Let’s pay the nice lady and get you home.” Rhett said as he tried to move Harrison off the barstool. “Jesus you’re one heavy son of a bitch. Just lean on me and let’s go.”
“You’re a good friend.”
“Thanks. A good friend who isn’t getting laid right now because I had to come find your drunk ass. Wanna tell me what happened?”
“Wanna tell me how you knew to come look for me?”
“Bianca called me and told me that I should find you because she had a feeling you were going to go get trashed, and looky here, you are trashed.”
“I think Sarah broke up with me, but I don’t know why.”
Harrison held onto Rhett as he helped him into his car. “I don’t know what I did man. One minute we were having fun the next minute she slapped me and ran away.” Finally giving into the heartache and tears he let them fall freely as they drove the darkened streets of Athens. “I love her so much, and yet she just ripped my heart out.”
“Hopefully, it will look better in the light of day, and we will also forget this little female bonding and crying episode by then. Jesus Harrison, I have never seen you like this. She is just a girl.”
“Pullover. Pullover now.” Harrison was out of the car and depositing his beer and whiskey all over the bushes on the side of the road. He looked up to see where they were and groaned again when he realized he had just thrown up all over the university president’s hedges. Can my day get any better? Harrison slowly sat back down and willed his stomach to settle enough to get home. Thankfully Rhett was taking pity on him and took him to his house instead of the fraternity house.
Once inside, Rhett handed him a bottle of water and some Advil. Take these and drink this so you won’t feel like total shit tomorrow. Remember we actually have an afternoon game.”
“Shit. Can I call in sick?”
“No asshole, and I’ll make sure you remember every fucking drop you drank tonight.”
Harrison went to the guest bedroom and passed out on top of the covers.
Harrison awoke feeling like shit. He couldn’t remember the last time he had gotten that rip-roaring drunk, and then the memories returned to him full force like a punch to the gut which sent him scrambling for the toilet to throw up what was left of his dignity. Harrison sat on the edge of the tub running a cold washcloth over his face trying to feel semi-human again. All he could think about was what he would do without Sarah and how he could get her back. Harrison walked back into his room to find more Advil and a couple of bottles of Gatorade. Silently thanking Rhett, he downed the pills and liquid.
As predicted, Harrison played like shit. Two errors and three strikeouts in a humiliating loss to Florida. As he stood in the shower letting the scalding hot water slush over his skin, Harrison was distraught that he had let his personal life interfere with his goals, but dammit Sarah was his life outside of baseball.
The next few weeks passed in a blur of activity and loneliness. Graduation came and went with the usual fanfare, but Harrison felt broken inside. Somehow, the team managed to keep on winning despite him. He even asked to be benched for a couple of games but that didn’t go over well with the coaches. The season finally ended with a disappointing trip to the College World Series. Even through all his struggles, Harrison still managed to be drafted third overall by the Atlanta Braves. He should have been ecstatic, but he was consumed with thoughts of Sarah. He had been unable to get her to talk to him and as their time apart increased he doubted he would ever get the chance again.
Harrison absentmindedly fingered the engagement ring through his shirt. Maybe, just maybe things were starting to turn around. He wanted to call Rhett, but given the baby’s sleep schedule and his being up at all hours of the night he didn’t want to disturb him. Instead he decided to call the one person he knew would at least listen and not pass judgement. Scrolling through his phone he finally found who he was looking for and dialed the number.
“Hey, mom. Hope I didn’t disturb you.”
“Harrison, you can call me anytime. So, what’s up? You don’t usually call this late just to chat.”
“I’m sorry, mom, but I needed to talk to someone, and you were the, well, second person I thought of. I wanted to call Rhett but with the baby and all…”
“Well, even if I’m your second choice. What can I do for you.”
“I’m really confused, mom. You know how long I was messed up about Sarah, and really never put her behind me. I finally saw her again the night Rhett and Alexis had their baby. To say that it wasn’t the reunion I would’ve imagined would be an understatement.” Harrison chuckled into the phone, “She slapped me again and ran away. Seems like that’s our MO.”
“Did you ever figure out what you did to that poor girl?”
“Mom, you’re supposed to be on my side here. No, I still haven’t, but I suspect on January 4th I’ll finally find out the truth about what happened all those years ago.”
“You seem certain of the date. Is there something I don’t know?”
“Yeah, I told you about the new contract, but I added a stipulation that she had to agree to meet with me so we could hash this out. Apparently, she works for my new bosses as an OB/GYN.”
“Interesting that you would put that type of stipulation on a contract that big. What if she had refused?”
“Then I would have signed the contract and tried to reach out to her another way. However, an interesting thing has happened recently. She has reached out to me via text message. She was concerned about whether I hated her or not. Even though I would have had every reason in the world to hate her, I don’t.”
“Do you think that she still has feelings for you?”
“Two weeks ago, I would have said no, but now I’m not too sure. I would think that her reaching out to me is a good sign. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. On the bright side, I’ll get to see her in a few weeks at my boss’s wedding. We agreed to be social and civil without talking about the past out of respect for the bride and groom.”
“Well, son. Take what you can get. I know you still have feelings for her, and I only want what’s best for you. I want you to find what your brother and sister have. Before you say anything, I’ve noticed the longing looks you throw their way when you think no one is looking.”
“Don’t Mom me, Harrison Austin Cooper.”
“Sorry, mom. Listen I’ll let you go. I love you. Thanks for lending me an ear.”
“Anytime, son. Don’t be a stranger, and if things work out, bring her around again. I always thought she was your penguin. Love you, son. Good night.”
“Good night, mom. Love you too.”
Harrison hung up the phone and smiled at his conversation with his mother. He’d fought these feelings for so long. His mom was right. He did want a family and children, but he only wanted that with Sarah. Perhaps it was stupid thinking, but he wasn’t going to settle for anything less.
Finished with his evening refreshment, Harrison turned in for the night. Sadly, as happy as he felt, his mind wouldn’t let him rest. He tossed and turned before finally drifting off and dreaming of Sarah and what they could have had. He pictured a little boy who looked like him and a little girl that looked like Sarah. The way that they looked so lovingly at their parents. Harrison awoke feeling more exhausted than he had the night before. Shaking his head, he dragged himself out of bed and into the shower hoping that it would wake him up enough to complete his run.
The cool air invigorated Harrison as he ran the hills around his home. Five miles a day until his ten miles in January. However, Harrison found himself struggling a little more this morning from the lack of sleep. He had been dreaming of Sarah more and more lately. Perhaps it was finally finding her, or it was the realization that his dreams maybe closer to a reality. He struggled back up the hill of his driveway and into the house. He looked around while drinking a bottle of water and for the first time wondered why he had purchased such a large house for only himself. What would Sarah think? Would she want to live here? Harrison shook his head. He couldn’t afford to let such thoughts enter his head. He had hope, but he also knew reality often trumped hope.
Harrison continued around the house taking it in through the eye of someone else. Was he ready for the changes that were coming? He thought he was, but he couldn’t tell the future. Finishing his perusal of the house he went to take a shower and then headed to the stadium for some batting practice and weight lifting.
Sarah awoke with a headache from her lack of sleep. This was going to be a long twenty-four hours. Why had she texted Coop last night? All it did was bring up a tidal wave of emotions that she wasn’t ready to deal with. Instead of a peaceful sleep, she dreamed of what their life would have been like if they had been together. The way that he would ruffle Harry’s hair and teach him how to play ball. What it could be like to watch him hold their daughter’s hand as she went to kindergarten for the first time. Dammit, she had to get out of her head. She went through her morning routine in a bit of a haze and finally started to feel human after her third cup of coffee.
Thankfully, the drive to the hospital was peaceful since she had to be there before the butt-ass crack of dawn for turnover. Luckily for Sarah, it had been a quiet night and there were no pending deliveries she would need to take over. As she finished her morning rounds with the residents, the first indication that her day was going to go straight to hell occurred when a thirty-two-week patient came in screaming in pain and bleeding. So much for an easy day.
Forty-five-minutes and a crash C-section later, Sarah had delivered a relatively healthy baby boy who went to the NICU for monitoring. The mother was in recovery and shouldn’t have any complications. Thankfully she didn’t put off calling an ambulance when she started cramping and bleeding.
“So, Jeremiah. Ready for a quiet day?” Sarah said as they walked out of the operating room.
Jeremiah just shook his head. “If this is quiet, then what’s busy like?”
Sarah laughed. “It should be a good day. Make sure all the discharges are ready to go, but before that, make sure you head down and get something to eat. The patients will be here when you get back and they can’t leave until the pediatrician gives the go ahead to discharge the infants.”
Sarah watched as Jeremiah walked away, thankful that she had such a wonderful resident to work with today. Her chief resident was finishing rounds and doling out assignments for the day. The residents and students were usually busy until lunch time, and then their workload tended to slow down depending on which women were ready to have babies. As she walked towards the doctor’s lounge, her phone pinged her with a message. Looking down she smiled when she saw the message.
H: Thanks for last night. I’m glad we got to talk. I hope you have a great day.
S: You’re welcome. I really enjoyed our chat. Hope you have a great day as well. I’m on call today and will be here until tomorrow morning.
H: Yikes. I thought my schedule was crazy at times with all the travel, but I give it to you for doing twenty-four hours in a row.
Sarah was enjoying her texting when her pager went off alerting her to a new patient.
S: Sorry, Coop. Duty calls. Gotta run. Maybe I’ll catch you later.
H: Have a great day and good luck with the patients.
Sarah ran to the labor and delivery suite where a mother-to-be had waited a little too long to come to the hospital and was already crowning when she stepped up to the foot of the bed. “Okay, Mrs. Martin. No time for an epidural. Time to push and get that baby out.”
Sarah looked down at her watch. She thought it would be nice if all deliveries could be twenty minutes or less. Sarah walked over to the nurses’ station to finish her paperwork and round up her residents and students. She hoped the first three hours of her day were not an indication of the next twenty-one. She made sure all the discharges were signed and the patients were ready to go before handing out assignments for the rest of the day. She was about to leave when her favorite OR nurse Elisha appeared at her side. “Hey, E. What’s up today? Thanks for all your help this morning during that crash C-section.”
“No problem. That’s what I’m here for. I was wondering if you had a few minutes so that I could pick your brain? I’m in the middle of my nurse midwife classes, and I could use some help.”
“Sure. Let’s go to the doctor’s lounge and grab some coffee while we talk.”
Sarah and Elisha walked into the doctor’s lounge to find a place to talk. After walking in, Elisha saw Jeremiah sitting off to the side and blushed at her memories of him.
Sarah noticed the blush creep up the cheeks of her favorite nurse and looked across the room to see Jeremiah sitting there with his head in a book. She wondered what the story was between them, and hoped that they would have time to discuss it before they left. Sitting down with her coffee, Sarah said, “So, what can I help you with?”
“It seems that no matter what I do, and how hard I study, I can’t seem to get the grasp of the management of late term vaginal bleeding. When do you decide to initiate an emergency C-section vs conservative management.”
“Wow. You don’t ease into anything do you. Okay, so here are the general guidelines that I use. The key to management is the use of ultrasound (US). The US will tell you if the bleeding is due to a placental abruption where the placenta has detached from the uterine wall or whether there is a placental cyst that has a blood collection. Also, history is a big indicator. If a patient had early bleeding and the diagnosis of the cyst is present then it helps to decide your course of action. Also, the degree of placental detachment can clue you into whether you need a crash C-section or not. Typically, I will do a C-section if there is a detachment, but strong active bleeding indicates the emergency. Otherwise we can do a more controlled C-section with fewer post-op complications. If you like, we can pull some old cases and look at the US and case history.”
“Oh my God. Thank you. When you explain it like that, it seems so simple. You’re already one of my favorite docs, so let me know if there is anything I can do for you.”
“Well, actually. What’s the deal with you and Jeremiah? I couldn’t help but notice the blush you developed when you saw him, and the glances he kept stealing over here when he thought I wasn’t looking.”
“God, this is kind of embarrassing,” Elisha whispered, I used to dance at the Cheetah to help pay for grad school. I disguised my look but couldn’t hide my eyes. Well, the guys were all there for Lincoln’s bachelor party and Jeremiah was reeling from a bad break-up. Cole recognized me and talked to me about my second career choice. He and Lincoln asked me to quit with the understanding that they would pay for my program, then I would work for them for a period-of-time. Anyway, they wanted to do something special for Jeremiah and well during that time we hit it off. I didn’t tell him who I was, but then the next Wednesday he was in my OR and he recognized me. Since then, he has flirted a little bit, but he seems too skittish to do anything about it. So, if you could give him a nudge my way, I would appreciate it.”
Sarah smiled. “I’ll see what I can do. What you just told me cemented all the reasons I respect and love Cole and Lincoln. So, since we’re having girl talk, wanna know my big secret. I don’t want to burden you, but I could use woman’s perspective.”
“Anything for you.”
“I have a son who’s nine almost ten. He doesn’t know who his father is and his father doesn’t know that he has a child. It’s a long, complicated story, but when we were dating everything was great, but he was my first everything including relationship. I didn’t trust in his love and I think I believed the words of a worthless tramp and ran away. I didn’t find out I was pregnant until later and never told him. Now, I’m confronted with seeing his father again and I don’t know what to do. I think I made a huge mistake, but I know that when he finds out about Harry he’s going to flip his shit and hate me.”
“Yikes. Do you mind if I ask who the father is?”
“You can’t say anything to anybody. I mean only a few people know who he is, and it would unfortunately create a media storm that I don’t want Harry dragged into the middle of. You swear you will take this to the grave or at least until it becomes public?”
“I swear. I would never break your trust.”
“His father is Harrison Cooper.”
“Oh my God. You mean the Braves all-star third baseman?”
“Yeah. Holy shit. So, you can see my dilemma. The worst part is that I’m still in love with him. I haven’t seen him in ten years - until his best friend’s baby was born - and since Nicole went into what she thought was labor, I ended up doing the delivery. After I delivered the baby, I was standing by the nurses’ station when he approached me. I did the only thing I could think of. I slapped him and ran away. Which is ironic, as that was what happened the last time I saw him.”
“Just out of curiosity, what did the tramp say to you?”
“She told me that she was Harrison’s baby momma which meant that he would have had to have been with her when he was with me.”
“Ouch. I can understand why you would’ve been upset. What did he say to you afterwards?”
“Nothing. I never gave him a chance.”
“Why do you think it’s coming to a head?”
“When he signed his new contract, he made a stipulation that we would have a sit-down meeting as part of the contract. I could’ve said no, but I feel like I owe Lincoln and Cole so much that I couldn’t say no. So, we have a meeting on January 4th and Lincoln and Cole have agreed to act as mediators should I want them there, but honestly, I just want to hear him out. Also, since seeing him, I’ve been drawn more and more back towards him that I can barely control myself. We’ve texted a few times at night. I get the feeling he still cares for me, but I know that will end when he finds out about Harry.”
“So, are you going to tell him at your meeting?”
“Maybe. I want to hear what he has to say then take some time to think about how to tell him. I need a good plan especially if I have made the biggest mistake of my life.”
“Well, good luck. If you need me for anything just let me know.”
“Thanks. I’ll do that.”
Just as Sarah finished, her pager went off alerting her to another patient’s arrival. She looked over at Jeremiah and said, “Come on Jeremiah. Enough studying for now. Let’s go do some practical application of that book knowledge you are gaining.” Sarah was happy to see Jeremiah smiling again. She remembered when he was going through his personal hell in the spring. So far, he seemed to be thriving in the program.
“So, are you going to ask her out?”
Jeremiah’s head shot up, momentarily confused by the question. “Pardon?”
“Elisha. Are you going to ask her out? She’s a great person and I think you two would have a lot of fun.”
“Oh. I hadn’t thought about it very much.”
“I’m going to call bullshit on that one. You couldn’t stop staring at her when you thought we weren’t paying attention.”
Jeremiah began to stammer and stutter as he looked for the right words.
“I’m going to stop you right there. There’s no reason to not ask her out. She won’t turn you down, and I don’t mean because she’s easy. I mean that she would be receptive to your asking.”
Thankfully, Jeremiah was saved as they walked into the exam room to find an expectant mother of twins deep into the labor process.
“Crap. What is it with people waiting so long to get to the hospital today?” Sarah looked over the chart quickly before stepping up to the bedside. “Well, Mrs. McAllen. Cutting it a little close, today aren’t we?”
“Well, at least I made it to the hospital this time.” she said with a grimacing laugh in between contractions.”
“So, you’re 36 weeks which is good for twins. Your contractions are five minutes apart, and…wait…what? This time?”
“Yeah, last time I made it as far as the front lawn of the hospital.”
Sarah laughed before quickly examining her, “Well, at least you made it all the way this time. You’re fully dilated. It shouldn’t be long now.”
Sarah brought Jeremiah over to the foot of the bed. She introduced him to the McAllen’s and then worked to help him deliver a set if healthy twins. After ensuring the twins were on their way to the NICU for monitoring, Sarah helped Jeremiah finish his paperwork, and signed off on the live births.
“Wow. That was just wow, Dr. Buckley. That was awesome. I can’t believe that I just delivered twins.”
“Good job Jeremiah. That was fun. Not as exciting as my first twins which were delivered to a twelve-year-old. That was a whole lot of screaming and drama. The mom stood over to the side and kept saying, ‘I don’t know how this could’ve happened.’ I mean, I nearly lost it laughing at the woman, because we all know how it happened, she just didn’t want to acknowledge her precious daughter was doing the nasty at twelve.”
Jeremiah laughed and thought about how lucky he was to be on Dr. Buckley’s service. She was helping him to learn and practice his craft in a manner that was not too judgmental. “Thank you for allowing me to perform the delivery.”
“You’ve earned it. You can’t spend all your time writing discharge orders and checking on floor patients. Unfortunately, we can’t spend too much time chatting away since we have an induction scheduled at one-thirty and a C-section scheduled at two. Hopefully the induction will progress normally, but only time will tell. I want you to scrub in with Dr. Jones for the C-section. I’ll be there to observe so don’t worry. Just head back to the doctor’s lounge and make sure you’re ready for the procedure. Also, make sure you check her pre-op labs, introduce yourself to the patient and get some lunch. Always remember to eat when you can. Meet me at the nurses’ station at one-fifteen and we will start the induction before the C-section.”
“That sounds great. Thank you for your teaching and understanding, and about the other, I’ll think about it. I’d like to ask her out, but honestly I’ve only ever been with one person and I was not the smoothest in asking her out to start with.”
Sarah walked down the hall taking her own advice as she headed to the doctor’s dining room for some lunch. As she dug into her lunch, her phone pinged with a text message. She was happy to see a message from Harrison, but was surprised to see an image pop-up which was a shirtless picture of him hitting baseballs. Wow that man had filled out nicely. He was always nice to look at and touch when they were dating but that extra time in the weight room has added some nice muscle.
S: Nice. Glad you have to wear a shirt when you play though otherwise it would be too distracting to the females in attendance.
H: Thought you might like to see me at work. I mean I wouldn’t complain about a topless picture of you working, but I’m sure they frown upon that in the hospital.
S: You have no idea. ;)
Sarah sat there for a second and decided what the hell. She grabbed her phone and took a selfie, before sending it to Harrison.
S: Like what you see Coop? The official doctor coat is sexy. Unfortunately, the scrubs aren’t as flattering as they are on TV.
H: I like. I think I’ll make this my new screen-saver.
Sarah chuckled. She had been a lot of things but outside of her mother, she didn’t think she had been anyone’s screen-saver before.
S: Desperate much?
H: It would seem only for you. How is your day going?
S: Busier than I hoped it would be, but it makes the time pass quicker. Do you do anything besides work-out all day long?”
H: I have a visit to Scottish Rite this afternoon to visit with the kids. Rhett and I go about once a week. We keep it low key because we don’t do it for the media attention.
Sarah felt her heart melt a little more thinking of Harrison giving his time so freely to the children. She was saddened to think how angry he would be knowing he had missed out on ten years of his child’s life. Ten years he could never get back. She fought back the tears forming in her eyes and decided she couldn’t keep talking anymore. This was starting to rip her apart even more.
S: Have fun. I’m sure they will enjoy your visit. I have a patient and a resident waiting for me. Talk to you soon.
H: Hope the rest of your day goes well. Bye
Sarah, sat there staring at her phone and didn’t hear Cole sit down beside her.
“So, this is going to be harder than you ever thought.”
Sarah jumped at his words startled back to reality. She wiped away the tears that had escaped. “How did you know I was talking to him?”
“You had this dreamy look on your face like a young woman in love. Then it changed to utter sadness and devastation. I don’t know what he said, but it sure seemed to kill the mood.”
“He said he was going to Scottish Rite to visit the kids today with his best friend, and they keep it low key so the media doesn’t know that they’re there. It made me think about how angry he was going to be about Harry and how much time he had lost.”
“Then maybe it’s time to rip the band-aid off so to speak and tell him.”
“I can’t yet. I still have so many questions that need to be answered, and I need time to prepare Harry. Hopefully, when we meet for our sit-down after the New Year I’ll have a better picture of what to do.”
“No matter what, just remember, we’re here for you.”
“Thanks. Gotta run though, I have an induction and a C-section waiting for me. By the way, I heard about what you did for Elisha and Jeremiah. I think you are a wonderful person. I encouraged him today to take the leap and ask her out. I don’t know what’ll happen, but hopefully he’ll take that next step.”
“They’re both good people, as are you Sarah. Don’t beat yourself up over what happened ten years ago. I know better than anyone you can’t change the past.”
“Thanks, Cole. See you later.” Sarah got up and left the dining room making a beeline for the restroom to try and wash away the evidence of her near breakdown from her face. Gathering her emotions, she left the restroom and headed back to the delivery suites. Sarah needed to get control of herself, not only because she needed to be on top of her game for the patients, but because she had to remain strong. She knew with each passing day that she had made a horrible mistake, and every conversation she had with Coop just reinforced those feelings. Surely in the years she had cyberstalked him she would have read about a wife or a child, because he wasn’t the type of guy that would abandon his family. Finally reaching the doors to the delivery suites, Sarah pasted a smile on her face so the rest of the world would not know her torment.
Sarah walked up to Jeremiah, who was studying his induction notes, and led him to the patient’s room. Thankfully, she was able to find her professional voice and discuss the procedure with him. Even though she had to do the procedure she wanted Jeremiah to walk the patient through it. After the introductions, she stood back and admired the way that Jeremiah interacted with the patient and her family. He was able to succinctly explain the procedure in a manner that the patient was able to understand. Sarah smiled a genuine smile as she watched her young resident excel.
“Great job, Jeremiah. Anybody have any question? No. Well then let’s get started.”
Sarah watched as the nurses started the IV and then she hung the induction meds. She hoped that this would not be a long labor for this thirty-year-old mother of two. Her exam showed she was already four centimeters dilated. After ensuring the monitors were in place and the nurses were briefed on the procedure she took Jeremiah to the OR to get ready for the C-section.
“Okay, Jeremiah, you will be on the left side of the table and assisting Dr. Jones. He’s very good at this, so just follow his lead. If there’s an emergency I’ll take your place. So, if I tell you to move, then move. No questions asked.”
Sarah laughed. “Please don’t call me ma’am. What is the correct incision for this procedure?”
“What is your main retractor and what is its purpose?”
“Bladder blade. To protect the bladder from an accidental incision when opening the uterus.”
“What closure will you use?”
“Subcuticular with a three-oh prolene.”
“Great. You are ready to go. Go scrub in and talk to Dr. Jones for a few minutes. I’ll be right behind you.” Sarah stood in the scrub room for a few minutes watching her team interact. Sarah watched as Elisha moved around the room making sure everything was ready, but still occasionally stealing glances at Jeremiah. She thought it was so cute how she flirted with her eyes when she thought no one was watching. It even seemed Jeremiah was playing along and she could tell he was smiling beneath his surgical mask. Sarah walked into the OR and reminded herself to have a talk with Dr. Jones about selection of music since the patients were awake during this procedure. Somehow, she wasn’t sure that Mrs. Adams was going to appreciate bringing her baby girl into the world while listening to Def Leppard. Everything went well and Sarah was impressed with the wound closure by Jeremiah. Sarah walked out of the OR pleased with the performance of her residents.
As Sarah, walked down the hall, she noted the smiles that Dr. Jones and Jeremiah sported. If nothing else, she wanted to make sure they had a good foundation in not only technical skills, but patient care skills as well. Sarah was pre-occupied with her thoughts and missed her phone pinging her. When she reached the nurses’ station she pulled it out and noticed a new text from Coop.
Sarah’s heartbeat kicked up a few notches. She just wasn’t ready to face him yet. Although dinner could be quick and she could arrange to have other people around, nope couldn’t do that. Maybe…there just didn’t seem to be a good way around this. Sarah knew she was going to be hungry later and the thought of more hospital food wasn’t exactly tickling her appetite. Then it hit her. She could have Coop bring dinner for her residents and students as well. They could meet him and they could have a little time to talk.
S: 7:30 but you have to bring Maggiano’s for everyone including the nurses and residents.
That she thought, should put an end to it.
H: How many.
Shit that didn’t work out as she thought it would.
S: 20 people.
There. That should do it.
H: Where should I meet you.
S: 2nd floor doctor’s lounge. Beware, you will definitely attract attention here. BTW, how was your visit with the kids?
H: Invigorating. That’s okay. I’ll sign a few autographs and take a few selfies, but I get to eat with you.
H: Fine. See you at 7:30.
Shaking her head, Sarah finally gave up. She was going to have dinner with Coop and the rest of the staff. At least there would be a buffer and no ability to have a quaint heart-to-heart discussion. Sarah told the nurses and residents about her surprise for them and they lit up like a Christmas tree.
Thankfully, the afternoon went more smoothly, and they didn’t have any more unexpected deliveries. The induction progressed nicely. It seemed the only thing she needed was a kick start into labor, and by six-fifteen she had delivered healthy baby number four. Much to the chagrin of the proud father, it was another little girl they named Emma Grace. Even though Sarah’s mind had been on observing the delivery, her heart continued beating out of her chest waiting for Coop to arrive.
Having finished her paperwork, Sarah made her evening rounds and was walking out of her last patient’s room when Elisha came running up to her.
“Oh my God, Sarah. He’s here.” Elisha said.
“I know. I couldn’t fight seeing him anymore, and he promised Italian for everyone.” Sarah said.
“I’m here all night if you need someone to talk to afterwards.”
“Thanks. Time to face the music.”
Sarah walked around the corner to find a very fine-looking Harrison Cooper standing there smiling and taking selfies with the nurses and residents. She smiled as she looked at him. He looked relaxed and comfortable interacting with everyone. That was the Coop she remembered. She continued to stand there and eye him from head to toe. So, lost in her thoughts, she failed to see Coop walk towards her with his hands raised.
As he got closer, he whispered, “Truce, Sarah. No slapping this time.”
Sarah smiled as she registered the words. Unable to control her response she said, “Not unless you ask me to.” Sarah slapped her hand over her mouth not knowing where that came from. She watched a huge smile blossom on Coop’s face. Crap, where did that come from. Sarah walked over and allowed Coop to hug her and at that moment everything in the world felt right. She remembered exactly how perfectly they fit together.
Harrison was surprised that Sarah came to him like she did, but when his arms went around her, he felt at peace. Like he had finally come home. He knew he couldn’t get too caught up in the moment because they still had a lot to work out. She still smelled of lavender and mint and the scent tickled his nose and started a flood of memories coming back. As not to get too attached, he stepped back and said, “Your dinner as ordered Madame. I hope everyone enjoys their food. They loved me when I called and ordered everything on the menu since I didn’t know what everyone wanted.” Harrison leaned in to Sarah and whispered, “But you sweet Sarah, I remembered to order the chicken parmesan.”
Sarah almost melted into a puddle at the thought of him remembering her favorite Italian dish after all these years. She smiled at Coop and wanted to reach out and touch him, but it was too soon for anything more than a light touch on the arm or shoulder, although as she stood their looking at him, she wanted to climb him like a tree. Sarah had tried to turn off those feelings since she got in trouble and hadn’t found anyone that even tickled her fancy. However, Coop tickled every single fancy, and made her girly parts want to wake from their long dormant state. Resisting as best she could, Sarah finally put her hand on Coop’s arm and led him to the doctor’s lounge so they could get a quiet table and eat.
Coop sat across from Sarah as they ate and decided that Sarah had gotten even more beautiful than she was when they dated. Her narrow hips had gently curved out and her breasts were fuller. He longed to touch her and find out if she was still sensitive in all the same spots. In order to stop himself from doing something stupidly inappropriate, Coop started shoveling food into his mouth savoring each bite. Unfortunately, Sarah was doing the same, but she was making the cutest little moaning noises as she relished each bite. This only served to make Coop harder than steel and definitely not able to get up and move. He continued to eat and think of everything and anything that would solves his problem, but the more she ate the worse it got for him.
“So, did you want to just eat or get to know each other again? I’m good either way.” Sarah said in between bites. “By the way, thanks this food is phenomenal.”
Coop peered into Sarah’s chocolate brown eyes and suddenly her words were lost on him. “Wha…what? I’m sorry. To be honest with you, I was lost in your beautiful eyes. Oh, yeah. Definitely get to know each other again. So how was medical school?”
“Toughest thing I ever did.” Except walking away from you. “It seemed like four years of no sleeping and constant studying. I think I lost twenty pounds in four years.”
“You must have been skin and bones. You never had any extra weight to lose. I have to say though you look quite fetching these days especially in those pink scrubs.”
Sarah blushed. “Well, they definitely look better on me than the guys. How about you, is baseball all it was cracked up to be?”
“Yes and no. I mean I still love playing the game, but the travel, the games every day, and even the offseason training have started to drag on. It is nice knowing now that I’ll finish my career here. I have to tell you though, in all honesty, I didn’t think I was going to make it that first year. You screwed with my head so bad that I couldn’t hit, couldn’t field and well I couldn’t do anything. Somewhere in the middle of the offseason, I was finally able to compartmentalize things and I was able to separate my personal and professional life. After that, it all fell into place and I guess the rest is history. I blew through double A and triple A in a year and finally made it to the majors. In the end, I guess…I guess I’m just tired of being lonely. I don’t go out like I used to with the guys. Hell, I’m almost the old man on the team now. It’s tough being surrounded by these young kids who think a strip club buffet meets all the daily requirements for nutrition.”
Sarah wanted to laugh, well did laugh, but was horrified that she was the cause of his troubles. If he only knew the troubles she went through that first year. They would pale in comparison to pregnancy, labor and delivery. Her post-partum depression was monumental. There were so many times she wanted to pick up the phone and call Coop and tell him, but the longer it went on the harder it became. This was going to be more difficult than she thought. “Well, you still made it pretty quickly. Even though I didn’t have much time, I still tried to watch you when I could. You deserved all the accolades you got. I mean Rookie of the Year and All-Star.”
It was Coop’s turn to blush listening to Sarah sing his virtues. “Wow, I don’t know what to say. You watched me and I wondered what you were doing every night. What a pair we made.”
“It’s the past and we need to leave it there for now. How is your family?”
“They’re good. Mom and dad are wonderful. My brother is married with two little girls and my sister is married with a little boy and she just found out she is pregnant with twins. Everyone is ecstatic with the news, and mom can’t wait for more grandchildren. She keeps pestering me about my turn and all, but that’s not happening anytime soon.”
“I bet you’re a great uncle though. You probably spoil them rotten and then leave your siblings to deal with the aftermath.”
Coop smiled, “Yeah, something like that. I remember the first time I got drafted to babysit. Jamie was eighteen months old and Julianna was just three-months-old. I was lost with the whole diaper changing thing. I think more baby powder ended up on the carpet than it did in the diaper. I mean, really what the hell do they feed them for that much poop to come out?”
Sarah snorted tea out of her nose and was bent over double laughing. “Oh my god. I would’ve given anything to have seen that. It would’ve been a live version of Three Men and a Baby.” She struggled to get herself back under control.
“I’m glad you find my troubles so amusing, and don’t even get me started on the spitting up thing. I learned very quickly to not wear nice clothes when I babysat. Okay, enough about my embarrassing situations. I want to ask you something, and I don’t know if I’m prepared for the answer, but here goes. Are you dating anybody? I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes when I’m talking to you and sending you batting cage pics.”
Sarah was a little surprised by the question. She could have lied, but she had done enough of that the last ten years so, in a whisper, she answered truthfully, “No. Honestly, it’s been the furthest thing from my mind - especially this last year. I’ve been so busy with work and then there was this…” Sarah couldn’t believe what she was about to say, but she was saved by her pager going off. “Hold on for a second.” Sarah went over and returned the page. She came back after her call. “Sorry, Coop. I have an emergency and I have to run. I don’t know how long I’ll be so you probably don’t want to wait around. I’ll call you later if you want me to.”
“I certainly understand that I can’t monopolize your time tonight. It’s been a long day so I think I’ll head on home. I would really like for you to call me later. Don’t worry about the time when you call.” Coop stood up and was happy that she accepted his hug and a quick peck on the cheek. If the warm feeling he got from that quick chaste kiss was any indication, his world was going to go into a freefall if he ever got to kiss her like he wanted to do. “Good luck with work, Sarah.”
“Thanks, Coop. Drive safely.”
Sarah walked out to meet her residents and then took them to the patient’s room. The patient was a thirty-two-week gestational age prima-gravida who had gone into labor three hours before. She thought the contractions were Braxton-Hicks and delayed coming in until she felt her water break. Sarah doled out assignments and watched as the team carried them out. She was impressed with their efficiency and professionalism. After the monitors were hooked up, she did a manual exam and felt the head of the baby ready to crown. Sarah called the NICU to get them on standby and to bring an incubator to the delivery room. Given the emergent nature of the delivery and the uncertainty of the condition of the infant, Sarah took charge and performed the delivery allowing Dr. Jones to assist. After thirty minutes of pushing and screaming, a very small baby boy was delivered. At seventeen inches and three pounds six ounces, she allowed the mother to briefly hold the baby before sending him to the NICU. Unfortunately, the drama didn’t end there as the placenta decided to partially remain in the uterus and cause hemorrhaging. They ended up having to rush the patient to the OR for an emergency dilation and curettage (D&C). Sarah had done a lot of things in her training but running down the hall to the OR with her hand and arm inside the patient applying pressure was something she would rather have not been doing.
An hour later, as Sarah finished scrubbing her hands, she smiled due to the fact they ended up having a good outcome without having to do an emergency hysterectomy. Sarah shook her head, suddenly realizing how tired she was. It had been a non-stop day since she arrived and she wanted nothing more than to lie down in the on-call room for a few minutes and wait for the next disaster that would follow her around today. However, as she laid down the only thoughts she was having was that she wanted to call Coop. Fishing her cellphone out of her jacket pocket, Sarah pulled up Coops number and hit dial.
“I was beginning to think you forgot about me.”
“I couldn’t forget about you if I tried. The patient ran into some complications and it took a lot longer than expected. It’s been one of those days, and I was going to lay down for a few minutes, but I’d rather talk to you than rest.”
“I’m honored that you’d rather talk to me. Everything go okay with the patient?”
“In the end, yes. Just not how she imagined her day would go. However, mom and baby are fine. He was premature and will be in the NICU for a little while, but otherwise healthy for his size. I seem to remember your mom telling me you couldn’t wait any longer, and came a few weeks early as well, and we all know how you turned out.”
Coop laughed. “Yeah, I was four weeks early but still almost seven pounds when I came out. I don’t think mom could have handled me at full term.”
“I’m sure she’d have been fine, but I always got the feeling that you were anxious to be places and get things done. Patience was never one of your strong suits. Hence your strikeout numbers a few years ago.”
“Well, what can I say. I finally found my center with yoga. That helped me learn to be more patient and that helped my game.”
“I agree, it seems to have really helped. What are you doing right now?”
“Just sitting out on the veranda drinking some bourbon, smoking a cigar, and thinking about you.”
“Wow, must be really strong bourbon to get you to think about me, or does thinking about me cause you to drink the bourbon.”
Coop laughed into the phone. “None of the above. This is usually how I finish my days off now. It’s peaceful to stare out at the golf course under the moonlight and pontificate about life. I gave up chasing women and hanging out in strip clubs a couple of years ago. It was unfulfilling and I was still lonely. So, I figured I could be lonely at home and not have a nasty hangover the next morning. So, you started to tell me something at dinner. You said you hadn’t been interested in dating or anything else in a year since…and then you got called away. So, what was it that changed your focus.”
Shit. Her and her big mouth. “Don’t judge or laugh at me, but here’s the tragic story of what happened a year ago. What I’m telling you is not meant to be painful so just listen. After you, I was a shell of myself for a long period of time. After medical school and during my residency, I kind of went over the ledge. I felt like I had missed out on so much that I went a little kray kray. So, our bosses are great. Let me start by saying that. They don’t care who you date or fall in love with, but they have one simple rule…no fucking in the hospital or clinic. So, one night I said screw it. I had been there for like thirty hours when I went at it with another resident. Frankly, we were really the only people we had time for. Anyway, I got a little loud and the story quickly made its way back to Lincoln. He had recently been dealing with a very stressful situation with his then girlfriend, now wife, and he was not in a good mood. He threatened us within an inch of our residency and then we both got night float for three months. After that, I was assigned to your other boss Cole for a few months, and he was going through a very difficult time, but he took me under his wing and taught me about loving myself first and foremost. So, no men, and before you ask smartass, or women in the last year. I’ve really focused on me and they offered me a job and paid off the student loans when I came to work here.”
Coop was ready to put his fist through a wall. Not at what Sarah had done, because hell he had had many of those nights trying to forget her, but at the thought of another man touching her. He worked hard to find his center and control his breathing. Gritting his teeth and finally finding his voice he said, “Well, I’m glad it all worked out for you. You seem to be doing well now.”
“I am. It’s been a long journey, but well worth it.”
Once Coop got himself back under control, he tried to suppress a laugh that was building. It reminded him of getting caught in the shower with a cleat chaser in Double-A. Eventually he lost the battle and laughed out loud.
“What the hell, Coop? I bare my soul to you and you laugh at me?”
“Sorry, Sarah. I’m not laughing at you. It just reminds me of a similar situation I found myself in, in Double-A. I kind of got caught with a girl in the showers after I got thrown out of a game. Not the same, but it forced me to re-evaluate things much like you. Unfortunately, even though I learned that lesson, I couldn’t stop my wild streak. Everyone wanted to call me Crazy Coop, but you are the only one allowed to call me Coop. So, I kept messing around, but the funny thing is brunettes were off-limits, because all they did was remind me of you.”
Sarah had been getting nauseous listening to Coop’s story. She knew she had no right to claim him, and that he would have been with other women, but it just struck her that he did these things because of her. It also dawned on her that she made a huge mistake by not giving him a chance to explain. She was fighting back tears as she thought about what she had done. Thankfully, before she had to speak again her pager went off. Relief rushed through her as she realized she could skip this part of the conversation. Gathering her voice she said, “Sorry, Coop. Duty calls again. Good night. Hope we can do this again soon.”
“Thanks for talking with me. Look, I know you have to run, but I have a quick question. I have this boss whose getting married in a few weeks and I need a date. I hate to go stag to weddings it makes me look pathetic.”
“I can’t really go as your date since I’m in the wedding, but you can be my seat mate at the reception. Does that work for you?”
“I’ll take what I can get. Hope all goes well and you get some rest. Good night.”
Coop sat on the veranda contemplating the phone call. He was sure there was something she wasn’t telling him. She seemed on the verge of tears when they finished the call. Did she have regrets about what happened? He sure as hell did. She had caused him the worst year plus of his life, and while he had regrets, they could all be erased if they ended up together. He knew he had been lying to himself and his mother. He wanted kids, but he only wanted kids with Sarah. Coop retired for the night, but he was more confused about the enigma that was Sarah Buckley than he had been in a long time.
Sarah had never been so thankful to see her relief walk into the labor and delivery area. She had done five more deliveries after her conversation with Coop. That didn’t take into account the number of patients they had seen yesterday morning and afternoon. Her eyes felt like she had the entire gulf shore behind her eyelids. After turnover, she had no idea how she was going to make it home. She thought about taking a nap in the on-call room, but decided the drive home would be worth sleeping in her own bed. She watched as her residents turned over the patients they still had and went through the complex cases from yesterday. She could tell they were exhausted, but they’d done a magnificent job and she couldn’t have been more proud. When she finally walked out of the hospital, she was greeted by the first cold day of fall which actually helped to revive her senses enough for her drive home.
Once Sarah was home, she couldn’t fall asleep. All she could think about was her conversation with Coop. His actions weren’t that of a man who had a child somewhere else. She didn’t think he’d be the type to cheat on his wife or girlfriend, but hadn’t that supposedly happened to her. Alone in the solitude of her bedroom, Sarah finally let the tears that had been threatening since last night to fall. She cried for herself, for Coop, and for her son who’d never known his father. Sarah finally cried herself to sleep.
Sarah was awoken by Harry jumping on her bed. She usually didn’t sleep that late but she was exhausted and didn’t have to work on Saturday. “Hey, Slugger. How was your day at school?”
“It was great, mom. I aced my science and math tests. Lunch was a little disappointing today, but Nana stopped at Smoothie King for a snack on the way home. Are you going to come to practice with me today?”
“Certainly. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Let me get ready and then we’ll go.”
Sarah dragged herself out of bed, still feeling the effects of working twenty-four hours. She wasn’t twenty anymore and even though these days were far and few in between, they still drained her. Sadly, it seemed to take her longer to recover with each passing year. The shower finally woke her up, and she was ready to go and watch Harry practice. It pained her to know that he was growing up so fast, and he was becoming more and more like his father. She knew he was going to be a heartbreaker when he got older. She just hoped at some point he had a male role model to help guide him.
Practice went well, and she didn’t have to fake an emergency to get away from Harrison. So, all in all, she considered it a win. After practice, they went to Marietta Pizza Co. for dinner and then she took him to the movie.
On the drive home from the movie, Harry looked at Sarah and said, “Will I ever get to meet my dad? Don’t get me wrong, mom. I love you and Nana, but I don’t know, everyone always talks about doing things with their dad and sometimes I feel left out.”
Sarah didn’t know how to respond and had a difficult time seeing through the tears that were forming. “Harry, do you…do you resent me for not telling you about your dad?”
“No, mom. I just wonder sometimes if I look like him or if he even likes baseball.”
“Harry, I don’t know how to answer that question. Here goes, you look a lot like your father and yes, he loves baseball. He wouldn’t do anything else but play baseball. I know he would love you very much, and be very excited to watch you play baseball.”
“Why hasn’t he ever come to see me?”
Shit shit shit shit. How do I answer that question? “Harry, there are somethings that happened a long time ago, and I don’t know how to tell you this, but your father doesn’t know about you. I’m sorry. It seemed like the right decision at the time, but lately…well, lately I’ve been questioning my decision a lot. However, I know that the time will come when I tell him about you, and he’ll probably be very angry at me, but he’ll love you unconditionally. He will spoil you rotten and make your dad dreams come true.”
“Probably after the new year. We have to talk about it, and that won’t happen until at least January. Please don’t hate me, Harry. I was young, confused, and hurt when everything happened, and then I found out about you, and it seemed like it was too late to hit the reset button.”
See glanced over at her son and saw him just staring out the window. “Harry. Harry. Did you hear anything I said?” Sarah got nothing in return. She knew she deserved the silent treatment from Harry. She deserved everything he gave her and more. She was a horrible excuse for a mother. When she parked the car after the silent last half of the ride, Harry shot out of the car like he was stealing a base and ran into the house. Sarah walked into the house to find her mother sitting in the living room with a questioning look on her face.
“What was that all about?”
“He asked about his dad on the way home, and I told him as much of the truth as I could right now. He’s pissed at me, but probably not as pissed as I am at myself. I swear, mom, if I could go back and make my decisions again I would’ve told him about being pregnant, but I can’t go back in time and change things. I did tell him that he’ll get to meet his father, but it wouldn’t be until after the new year.”
“That certainly explains why he looked so angry, and ran straight upstairs to his room. I know you’ve been having doubts lately, but you did what was right for you at the time. It’ll all work itself out in the end.”
“We’ve been communicating more and more lately. He even brought me dinner last night to the hospital and dinner for all the nurses and residents. We had a good talk about where we were at right now, and a little about the past, but nothing about us. We even talked on the phone after I got called away. That was probably the hardest, because everything he says to me screams that he didn’t cheat on me, and I over-reacted to the situation.”
“You were young and it was your first relationship. However, when I saw you two together, I got the sense that it would also be your last. I had never seen two people more perfect or in love than when I saw you two.”
Listening to her mother caused Sarah to breakdown in tears. Her mom came over to her and wrapped her arms around her to soothe the pain.
“I didn’t tell you that to upset you, but I thought you should know. I didn’t tell you ten years ago because I didn’t want my words to sway your decisions. You had to arrive at where you are today on your own. Has it been tough to stand by and watch you struggle? Hell yes, but only you can decide what’s right and when is the right time. I think you now know what’s right, but the when is what you’re still confused on. Take your time. That man isn’t going anywhere.”
Sarah sniffed away the tears. “Thanks, mom for always being there for me. For us. Funny thing is, Coop asked me to go to Cole and Marcie’s wedding with him. He was happy when I offered myself as a post-nuptials date because I was in the wedding. We agreed to not talking about the past until January, and we’ll stick to that. I just hope that by then, I know what I’m going to do, and I hope that Harry can find some forgiveness for me before then.”
“I’m sure you will. You’ve had a long two days. Why don’t you head to bed and sleep on it? Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. Remember, we have to leave by ten for Harry’s game.”
“Good night, mom, I love you.”
“Love you too sweet girl. Sleep tight.”
Sarah awoke Saturday morning feeling like she had been run over by a truck. She couldn’t remember sleeping that poorly in a long time. No matter what, she had to be ready for Harry’s game and try to be the best mother she could be. Thankfully, when she emerged from her room, she discovered that her mom had already made breakfast and brewed the coffee. Sarah was happy to see Harry sitting there talking to her mom smiling, but the good feelings didn’t last long. When he turned his head and saw her, the smile turned to a frown and he left the table.
“Don’t take it too hard, Sarah. He’ll come around.”
“What. When he’s twenty?”
“It’ll be okay. He was given a lot of information yesterday. He needs time to process it. How would you feel if the shoe was on the other foot?”
“I know, mom. I already feel like shit about this, but now I feel like the worst mother in the world. I don’t know what to do about it. No matter what I do, I can’t win. If I tell him now, it’ll be almost impossible for him to not let it slip and then if he does at school the other kids will make fun of him. Tell me, mom. What’s the right answer?”
“I don’t know honey. I think you need to take some time and figure it out. Also, just give Harry time. His dad will be there when it’s time. You’re right about telling him too soon, but it could be a late birthday present. I assume you’ll tell Harrison before the season starts. Give him some time to process everything before he starts back up full-time.”
“You’re right, mom. I’ll tell him before the season starts even if I have to fly down to Florida and tell him then. Which might actually be a little safer. I will tell Harry when the time is right. I don’t know how soon after the New Year it will happen, but it will happen. This is going to be a helluva new year.”
“Don’t worry about it now. You have Thanksgiving and a wedding to deal with before Christmas. Let’s just enjoy the time together, and deal with what comes up when it happens.”
Sarah thanked her mom, hugging her before trudging upstairs to her bedroom to finish getting ready for Harry’s game.
The game went as they usually did with Harry outshining his teammates and the competition, but still she found herself getting the silent treatment from her son. After a long tension filled day, Sarah found herself staring at the walls of her bedroom. As she started to peel her clothes off, a strange thought entered her head. She didn’t really want to be alone right now, and she needed someone other than her mom for company. Sadly, the only person she wanted to be with was Coop, but how long could she keep up this charade with him about Harry. Being around him with people in the room was hard enough, but she seemed to be inviting trouble if she was alone with him. Maybe they could meet for a drink and talk. That way she wouldn’t be alone with him, just surrounded by strangers. Picking up her phone she sent him a text.
S: You busy? Your GF over at your house? ;)
Coop was sitting on the veranda enjoying the first vestiges of fall when his phone rang. He had a great day visiting with Rhett, Alexa, and baby Emily. After looking at his phone he thought it might just be about to get a little better.
H: Nope. She just left. JK. Told you I wasn’t seeing anyone and haven’t in a while. What’s up?
S: Wanna get some coffee and dessert?
Coop’s heartrate jumped up and his hands started sweating. Sarah wanted to see him outside of work. Holy shit. Maybe things were changing for the better.
H: I could eat. What do you have in mind?
S: Café Intermezzo ten o’clock.
Coop looked at his watch and then replied.
H: I can do that. See you at ten. Thanks
S: Why are you thanking me?
H: Because you want to spend time with me.
S: You might not be thanking me in time. Can’t wait to see you.
Sarah had a little more time to get ready than Harrison, but she couldn’t wait too long or she was afraid that she’d lose her nerve. Sarah changed clothes to look a little more presentable, than her current baseball mom look. She chose a pair of black leggings and a red scoop neck sweater that she paired with a nice set of black wedge boots. The wedge would put her a little closer to Coop’s height. Wiping her sweating hands on her leggings she grabbed her purse and headed downstairs receiving a raised eyebrow from her mother.
“What the hell, mom. I don’t ever want to hear you say that again. You’re too old to be talking like that.”
“Well, you are leaving the house at nine-forty at night. You changed clothes and look really nice and added a nice perfume to match. So, it’s either a booty call or you want to see a certain young man and talk to him. I hope it’s the latter, because I’m pretty sure you still have that born again virgin thing going on since last year.”
“UGHHHHH!!!! Really, mom. Born again virgin. No, I’m not going out for a ‘booty call’, but I’m going to meet Harrison for some coffee and dessert. I love you, but I really need to see him right now.”
“Good for you. Just remember to double wrap that shit this time, because we all know he is one virile man.”
Sarah covered her ears and shouted “LALALALALALALALALA” before turning a scorching gaze to her mom. “Seriously, mom. Dessert with other people around. No need to ‘double wrap that shit’ because there won’t be anything to wrap.”
“Don’t know what you’re missing,” her mom said in a sing-song voice.
“I’m going to try and pretend you didn’t just say that, and try to bleach that thought from my brain.” Sarah walked out to her car still having full body shivers from the conversation with her mom. Ewwe. Just ewwe. She thought. Thankfully the traffic was calm for a Friday night and she didn’t have any trouble getting to the restaurant. Unfortunately, the closer she got the more the butterflies in her stomach started doing circus acts. Sarah gave herself a few minutes to sit in her car and try to get her nerves under control before facing Coop. What was I thinking, she thought as she made the walk from the parking lot? Sarah walked through the front door and saw Coop stand up from a table and wave her over. As she approached, she walked into Coop’s embrace and accepted a kiss on the cheek. She immediately felt the heat race from her cheek to her panties and an overwhelming desire pooled there, begging to be released.
Coop felt the desire from holding Sarah in his arms shoot straight to his groin. He quickly released her and pulled her chair out for her to sit. Even though he was excited to see Sarah, he had to tamper his feelings. He had no idea what she wanted, but the fact that she asked was enough to send him running right to her. God, she looked amazing in her outfit. She always did look stunning in red and black.
“Sarah, you look amazing tonight. Not…not that you don’t normally look amazing…I mean shit. I’m just so nervous.” He watched Sarah smile and it went straight to his heart. Her smile could still light up a room.
“You’re nervous. I’m feeling the women’s gymnastics team, practicing in my stomach. I honestly don’t know why I texted you other than I needed someone, and you were the only person that came to mind. Thanks, for meeting me.”
“Anytime. You call and I’ll be there. So, what had you so upset tonight that you needed someone to talk to?”
“Just family stuff. I don’t really want to talk about that, I just wanted a friendly person to talk to about anything but my family.”
The waitress came over and took their orders for coffee and crème brulee. She was still amazed that Harrison remembered the small details about her. She guessed she shouldn’t be surprised, since she remembered everything about him.
“Okay then. How was your day off? Did you get some rest?”
“More than I usually do. Since tomorrow isn’t a work day, I could sleep longer and spend the weekend recovering. How do you do it with work? I mean you mostly work at night, and I know you don’t finish a game and go straight home.”
Harrison laughed at her question. “No, sweet Sarah. I usually go out with a couple of teammates for a really late dinner. Then, I’ll usually finish off the night on my veranda with a bourbon or scotch and a cigar. I usually wake up early and workout then take a nap around lunch before heading down to the stadium for batting practice. I don’t have much of a life during baseball season. The truth is, it gets harder each year. It would be great to have someone to share it all with, but for the time being, it’s just me and my family.”
“Your schedule seems a lot like mine when I’m on call. You’re right about it getting harder. I love my mom, but she’s not who I envision going home to every night. I…I thought…never mind. Not important. Why haven’t you ever…you know married?”
Harrison was thankful that the waitress picked that time to deliver their order. He watched as Sarah cracked the crust of her dessert and her tongue teased the crème off the end of her spoon. Coop had never wanted to be a spoon more in his life than he did right now. Watching her eat, sent waves of pleasure down to his groin. The little moans that came from her with each passing bite seemed to intensify his erection.
“So, good. Not hungry?” Sarah asked pointing at his desert.
“Sorry. I was just enjoying watching you eat. You still savor your food like it is the best thing you have ever had.”
Sarah blushed. “Sorry. I just get so into the food and tastes exploding on my tongue.”
Coop sat there and stared straight ahead because at that moment he wanted nothing more than to explode on her tongue himself. Subtly shifting around in his chair, Coop tried to relieve the intense pain he was feeling in his groin. He really needed to change the conversation, or he was going to be in pain for a while.
“Wait. What were you going to say? You started something and said never mind, but it must have been important.”
“It’s really not, but you seem to be avoiding my question.”
“Just allowing you to finish your statement before I answer your question.”
“Fine.” Sarah lowered her head and, barely above a whisper, said, “I thought I’d be married to you.”
Coop was shocked to hear Sarah utter those words. How did he respond? Should he say well we would be if you hadn’t run? No. Tonight, wasn’t about the past. Tonight, was about the present, and he wanted her with a ferocity that he hadn’t known in years.
Coop simply nodded at her statement. He watched as she slowly raised her head and noticed the tears in her eyes. He absentmindedly reached across the table and used the pad of his thumb to wipe away the stray tears. “It’s okay, Sarah. It simply wasn’t our time. To answer your question though, I only wanted to marry you. You’re the one I have been waiting for to get married.”
Sarah was shocked into silence. She had just dropped a bombshell on Coop, but the one that he dropped back was even bigger. Sarah didn’t know what to say. She couldn’t speak so she just took his hand in hers and held it to her cheek. She was suffused with warmth at his tender touch. Sarah wanted to kiss him right now and the consequences be damned, but she didn’t want to make an ass out of herself in a public place.
“Can we get out of here?”
Coop raised his hand and yelled “Check please.”
Thankfully the waitress was nearby and dropped off their check. She nearly fainted when she saw the hundred-dollar tip that Coop left. He was in such a hurry to get Sarah out of there, he would have dropped a thousand if it meant getting her alone. Stepping outside, Coop looked at her and said, “Where do you want to go?”
“I’m going to sound like a tramp when I say this, but your place is too far and we can’t go to mine, so the Marriott is close.”
“One car or two?”
“Two. Definitely two.”
They drove to the hotel and after quickly securing a suite on the top floor, they took the elevator to their room.
Coop opened the door and pulled Sarah inside before slamming it closed. He pressed her up against the door and let out ten years of pent up frustration as his lips crushed hers. He felt her arms wrap around his neck and her legs wrapped around his waist. There was nothing gentle about their kiss. No hi, I’ve missed you, or let’s get to know each other again. There was aggression from both parties in that kiss. Teeth gnashed, tongues dueled, and lips bruised. Coop broke the kiss struggling for breath. He looked into Sarah’s dark chocolate eyes brimming with desire. Her lips were swollen from their kiss. He carried her over to the bed and laid her down.
“Are you sure you want to do this, because if we start, I don’t think I will be able to stop.”
“God help me, Coop. I want you.”
Coop reached for the hem of her shirt and pulled it over her head exposing the creamy expanse of skin hiding under there. Her black and pink lace bra set off her glowing skin. He could see her nipples puckered under the demi-cups of the lace. Coop pushed the cups down, exposing her hard nipples. He watched her skin pucker as the cool air blew through the room. Coop took the turgid nipple into his mouth and gently bit down eliciting a gasp from her. His hand massaged her left breast as he attended to the right breast. Releasing her nipple with a pop from his mouth, he turned his attention to the other one. His hand reached behind her and unclasped her bra, pulling it down her arms and tossing it to the ground. Coop started working his way down her abdomen leaving light kisses as he trailed down. He hooked his thumbs into the waistband of her leggings and pulled them down her legs forgetting, in his haste to taste heaven, the boots. He made quick work of her boots and then pulled off her leggings. He was riveted by the pink and black lace of her panties. God, did women know how sexy men thought a matching bra and panty set were. His mouth watered as her scent wafted through the air to his nostrils.
Coop continued his journey south kissing each hip bone, which he noted were fuller than before, and then over her panties as his tongue stroked the aroused skin between her folds. He kissed down her legs and back to the spot behind her knees that still made her squirm and moan at the same time. His patience worn thin, he ripped her panties off in one swift motion.
“Ummm…I was going to need those in a little while.”
“I’ll buy you a hundred pairs.” Coop spread her legs and kissed each inner thigh dragging his tongue to her center. His tongue swiped her bottom to top and then his lips latched onto her clit suckling the bundle of nerves. He placed his hand on her stomach to hold her still while he continued his slow tortuous journey. As his lips and tongue continued to taste her musky nectar, he inserted two fingers into her tight channel and curled them into her g-spot. He felt her tighten around his fingers before she finally exploded around them.
Sarah lay there panting, trying to catch her breath. Finally, with heavily lidded eyes, she looked at Coop and said, you’re still over-dressed.
Coop stripped faster than he ever had before. He plucked his wallet out of his pants and grabbed the condom that he thought he had stupidly stashed in there. Well, at least his planning paid off. He felt Sarah reach out and grasp his hard cock. Her slim fingers felt like velvet around his shaft, but he reached down and pulled her hand away. “Sweet Sarah, if you keep touching me like that, it’ll be over before it even starts.” Coop sheathed himself and pushed Sarah up the bed so her head was resting on the pillows. He rubbed the head of his erection over her wet opening before entering her. God, he had never felt anything so good. He slowly pushed forward allowing her time to adjust to his size. Once he was all the way in, he slowly withdrew and thrust back home.
“Dammit, Coop. I’m not some porcelain doll who’s going to break. Stop screwing around and fuck me.”
This was a different Sarah. She’d have never talked dirty during sex and if possible, it made him even harder. He slammed back home and set a blistering pace driving them to the edge. He felt her nails bite into his shoulders with each thrust, and her moans drowned out the sound of his breathing. He had never wanted anything more than he did right now. This is where he was supposed to be, with this woman. He couldn’t hold out anymore.
“Come now, Sarah.” With his words, he heard Sarah cry out his name and felt her fall over the edge. As she clenched around him and milked him he finally lost the battle and followed her over. Not wanting to crush her, Coop rolled off of her and quickly disposed of the condom before pulling Sarah to his chest. He allowed his fingertips to trail up and down Sarah’s back. He could feel warm tears coating his chest as he kept rubbing her back.
“What’s wrong, baby? Did I hurt you?”
“No, Coop. I’m just so happy right now. I’ve thought about this for so long.” Sarah had to fight herself from shouting out that she was still in love with him. Instead, she snuggled in closer trying to absorb all his body heat and warmth.
Coop pulled the covers back, and covered over them. He didn’t want to fall asleep because he was afraid he would wake up and this would’ve all been a dream.
Sarah looked up at Coop and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for this to turn into a booty call.”
Coop laughed at her. “Baby, that was the last thing on my mind when I ran out of the house tonight. I was so excited just to spend time with you. I’m not complaining, because that was incredible. I think it was more incredible than when we were together before. Don’t over think this. We’ll figure it out in time.”
Sarah laid in his arms and glanced over at the clock seeing that it was three in the morning. “Shit, Coop. I need go. I wish I could stay, but I should get home. Thanks for the evening. Would I sound too slutty if I said I wanted to do this again? Maybe next time you can show me your house.”
“I’d like that too. I’ll even cook dinner for you, but I won’t be around for a few weeks. I’m heading to Arizona to help evaluate and teach some of the prospects. However, I promise you we’ll try to talk every night. You can even sex skype with me.”
Sarah, laughed. “When do you leave?”
“Monday. Unfortunately, I have a family thing tomorrow and even though I’d love to take you with me, I fear that it would be too much too soon for you.”
“You’d be right about that. Anyway, I have a family thing on Sunday also. I’ll call you later tonight and we can talk. You still owe me panties, mister.”
“Anything you want. I’ll set you up an account at Victoria’s Secret. Just as long as I’m the only one who gets to see them.”
“That’s an easy promise to make.” Sarah pulled herself out of bed and collected her clothes. She couldn’t wait to have to explain this to her mother. With her luck, she would be sitting on the couch reading a book and drinking some tea when she walked in the door. When Sarah reached the door, she felt Coop come up behind her and turn her around. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him good bye, but this time it was more of a see you later.”
“Good night.” Sarah did the walk of shame out of the hotel, but she didn’t feel any shame in what had just happened. She couldn’t wipe the smile off her face as she drove home. When she pulled into the driveway, she noticed the living room light on, and hoped that her mother had just left it on for her safety. As she walked up to the front door, her hopes were dashed as she heard the low murmur of the TV. Opening the door and walking in she saw her mother sitting there sipping her tea, reading a listening to the TV.
Her mother’s eyes looked up and gave her a questioning look. “Not a booty call?”
Sarah couldn’t stop blushing at her mother’s statement. “Dammit, mom. I thought we talked about this.”
“You’re glowing, sweetheart. You’re smiling, you lips are swollen, and you’re sneaking in at three-thirty in the morning.”
“Fine, it turned into a booty call. We talked, he touched me, and we were both done.”
“Well, you had better get to bed. You look worn out and Harry has a game tomorrow afternoon. Get some rest, I’ll see you before lunch.”
No matter what, Sarah couldn’t erase the smile from her as she peeled off her clothes and took in her commando state. He was definitely going to owe her some new panties, especially if he kept that up.” Sleep came easily, and the dreams were more erotic than she had in a long time.
The next morning Sarah awoke rested and ready to face the day. She certainly had missed sex, but as hard and fast as it was last night, that wasn’t sex. It was about two people reconnecting and making love. She could feel it in his touch and in the way he held her during and afterwards. No matter what, Sarah couldn’t lose track of what she had to do. She couldn’t get too attached to his touch, because she knew she was going to lose it when he found out about Harry. Showered and dressed for the day, Sarah dreaded the attitude that awaited her downstairs with Harry. As she walked into the kitchen, she heard her mom and Harry laughing about something. She was surprised when Harry hopped off the barstool and wrapped his arms around her.
“I love you, mom. I’m sorry about the way I acted the last couple of days. Nana and I talked, and though I don’t understand why you did what you did, I respect your decisions, and will wait until you’re ready for me to meet him.”
Sarah kissed the top of his head, “Thank you, buddy. I love you, too and I promise that it will happen.”
Sarah sat down, and they ate breakfast together, enjoying their normal family conversation. As soon as they were finished, Harry ran back upstairs to get ready for his game, and Sarah braced herself for more of her mother’s inquisition.
“So, I take it you slept well.” Her mom said with a wink.
“Better than I have in a long time. I’m not sorry that I did it. I think it’s what we both needed. There was definitely not a lot of talking. I mean we talked while we ate, and we both said some things that really hit the other square in the heart. We didn’t resolve any long-standing issues, but it felt so good to be in his arms again.”
“Well, I have faith that you two will eventually find your way back to each other. The road may be rocky, but the end will be worth it.”
“I hope so, mom. I just think…” Sarah stopped talking when she heard Harry come down the stairs.
“Are y’all ready to go? The game’s not going to win itself.”
Sarah laughed and stood as she and her mother gathered their things. With everything that happened last night, she hoped that Coop didn’t make a surprise visit to the ballfield today. She couldn’t easily run away today and she would have a lot of explaining to do.
As the game ended, Sarah had just about lost her voice from yelling for Harry. He had hit three homeruns and made four excellent plays at third base. They won 20-2 and the game ended after the top of the fifth inning. Thankfully, there had been no Coop sightings at the field.
After a quick team meeting, they all headed to Dave and Busters for a celebratory lunch. No matter how old Harry got, Sarah always enjoyed watching the thrill in Harry’s eyes as he won tickets playing the various games. She had learned long ago not to accept his challenges, but she still played skeeball with him just for the fun of it. About halfway through their time in the Midway, Sarah felt her phone buzz. Looking at it she was not surprised to see a text from Coop.
H: Done with the family thing early. Can I fix you dinner tonight? I wanted to see you again before I left town.
Sarah, stopped walking as she read the text. She wanted to see him again before he left, but would this make her look too eager. To hell with it. Her mom was working tonight and Harry was going to his best friend’s house to spend the night since they were off from school for a teacher’ work day on Monday so she would just be at home alone. Sarah walked over to her mom and showed her the text. “What do you think? Will I look too needy?”
“I think you both need each other. What were you going to do otherwise, sit around in your yoga pants, eat ice cream, and binge watch Netflix? I think you should go and enjoy each other.”
S: What time? I can’t be there before seven and I need your address.
H: Seven is fine. I will plan to have dinner around seven-thirty.
S: See you then. Bye.
Sarah’s heartbeat increased as she thought about the night to come. The thought of Coop’s hands on her again dampened her panties and made her flush.
Her mom looked at her and said, “Honey, you’re too young for hot flashes.” She walked away laughing.
Shit. That went well. Sarah stood there and mentally calculated the amount of time she had between dropping off Harry and getting to Coop’s. Wanting to make sure she was prepared for the night with Cooper, and she knew there was going to be a long night to come, she quickly called her spa and was able to get a four-thirty appointment for a mani-pedi and a Brazilian. She was going to knock his socks off. The only thing left was to call Wes’s mom and see if Harry could get dropped off around three-forty-five so that she had enough time to get to her appointment. Thankfully, there were no issues with Harry going early, other than the fact that they needed to leave like ten minutes ago, so that he could get a shower and grab his stuff for the night.
Sarah walked over and found her mom losing at whack-a-mole and said, “Harry, I have something that has come up. I talked to Wes’s mom and she said you can come over whenever you get ready. So, if it is okay with you I thought we would go on and head home.”
“Sure Mom. Just let me go cash in these tickets.”
Sarah ruffled his shaggy blonde hair and watched him walk to the ticket redemption area. Before she could move, her mom grabbed her arm and turned her around.
“Honey, just make sure you wear sexy lingerie. You know everyman goes nuts for sexy lingerie.”
“Ughh, mom. I’m so not having this conversation with you, but if you must know I have a quick spa thing for a mani-pedi and a Brazilian.”
“That’s my girl. Smooth as a baby’s bottom is something else I hear that young men like.”
Sarah blushed, before turning to collect Harry. Somehow, she had to quickly pack a bag and get it in the car without Harry seeing it and asking a lot of questions. She didn’t know if she would spend the night, but she wanted to be prepared for anything.
After dropping off a clean Harry at Wes’s house, Sarah hurried to the spa for their last appointment of the day. Thankfully, they were ahead of schedule and were able to take her in as soon as she walked in the door. Sarah was happy that her normal spa tech, Kim, was able to fit her in. They chatted about life and what was going on. Sarah was able to get most of the butterflies to calm down by the time she left. Now she just had to make it Coop’s without chickening out.
Sarah used her GPS and easily found Coop’s house. However, as she walked up to the front door, the butterflies returned full force. Before she could reach the door, it swung open and she was lifted off her feet by Coop as he planted a searing kiss on her lips.
“I know you’re on time, but I thought you’d never get here. Come on in and make yourself comfortable. I was just getting ready to put the steaks on. I forgot to ask but you still eat meat, don’t you?”
“Yes, very much and still medium rare.”
With a peck on the lips, Coop said, “Is there any other way?”
Sarah followed Coop into the house and she was shocked to see a tastefully well-appointed house that didn’t look like a bachelor pad.
“My mom and my sister.”
“You were thinking that this doesn’t look like a bachelor pad. My mom and sister decorated it so that it wouldn’t look like one.”
“How did you…I mean. Never mind. You always could read my mind.”
Coop took Sarah’s hand and gave her the grand tour. “I know it seems like a lot of house, but I was planning for the future. This is the family room that leads out to the veranda and the fire pit and pool. The formal living room is over there, but hardly ever gets used. This is the dining room and the chef’s kitchen. This was the only place, other than the bedroom, that I got any say in. I wanted all stainless steel with an island and a sub-zero refrigerator.
As they continued the tour, Sarah wondered how many other women he had brought here. She shouldn’t be jealous, but that ugly shade of green just couldn’t be avoided.
“You’re the first woman, other than my family, that I’ve ever had here. I mean, well, the cleaning lady, but that doesn’t count.”
“How do you do that?”
“You had this little look of jealousy developing, so I wanted to put your mind at ease. This has always been my refuge, plus in the beginning I didn’t want any crazy ones to know where I lived. Now it’s just me and this big house. Would you like a glass of wine while we wait? I have a nice bottle of Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley Vineyards. I remembered you were always partial to pinots.”
Sarah accepted the wine as she followed Coop and the steaks outside to the outdoor kitchen. “The view is amazing. Do you play golf here?”
“I’m a member, but it is always so crowded that I usually stick to East Lake or Atlanta National. You still play?”
“Sparingly. I usually embarrass myself with Aubrey and Jennifer, Nicole and Marcie’s children and humiliate myself when I play with Nicole when she’s in town. They make me wish I had stuck with it when I was younger, but you know my focus was always medicine.”
“Well, if it makes you feel any better, I’m an all-star third baseman who’s lucky to break eighty-five. I’d really like to take you to play sometime.”
“I’d like that too.” Sarah watched as Coop expertly grilled the steaks and asparagus. The scent of the food was making her mouth water and her stomach gave an unceremonious growl causing Coop to chuckle.
“Good thing I’m feeding you. I wouldn’t want you to dry up and blow away.”
Sarah punched Coop in the arm and shook her hand, feeling like she had just hit a brick wall. “Dammit Coop. That hurt. Where did all of that muscle come from?”
“Babe, I work out three hours a day lifting weights and hitting balls. What were you expecting, a dough boy arm?”
“Nope. You have filled out nicely though.”
“So have you, Coop. So have you.”
Coop wanted to say to hell with dinner and drag Sarah upstairs, but he promised himself he was going to take it slow. “Dinner’s ready. I set the corn on low inside and already made the salad. I didn’t have time to make dessert, so I picked up your favorite cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory.”
“Wow, you think of everything.” Sarah helped Coop set the table and then poured them some wine before taking her seat. As she bit into the steak, she moaned in delight as the flavors hit her palate. “My God, Coop, this is amazing. You certainly know how to cook.” Sarah finished her dinner and patted her stomach. She hadn’t had a meal that good in a long time. Her mom was a good cook, but grilling was never her strong suit. Sarah had barely finished her meal when Coop arrived with a large slice of snickers cheesecake. Even though she was full, she wasn’t going to pass up cheesecake.
They finished eating, and Coop led her outside to the fire pit, turning it on to chase away the night chill. Setting down their wine glasses, Coop sat down in the chaise lounge and pulled Sarah down to sit beside him. He pulled her close and nuzzled her neck with his lips. She tasted like lavender and mint. He felt her shiver in his arms as he slowly kissed his way down the long column of her neck. He brushed her hair away to provide easier access. His lips moved down as he nipped little bites. Sarah moaned as he moved back up to her earlobe.
“Thank you for dinner.” Sarah said as she turned over to face him. She allowed her fingers to trace his scruffy jaw, before tracing his lips with her index finger. Sarah leaned in, gently placing her lips on his. She traced her tongue over his lips begging entrance which he granted. This kiss was sweet and tender, not like the bruising kiss they shared last night. As she swept the inside of his mouth, she could taste the tartness of the wine. As she continued her gentle exploration, Sarah felt Coop’s hands slide up her arms and cup her breasts. Even though she was kissing him, she moaned as his nimble fingers brushed across her erect nipples. This was the way it always was for them. Gentle and exploratory, a sweet kind of love that was meant to last.
Coop pulled back from Sarah and stared into the deep rich chocolate eyes that looked up at him through thick lashes. Coop stood up, picking up Sarah in his arms. He took her through the house and to his bedroom.
Sarah was amazed at his bedroom. The dark cherry wood with the ivory accents provided a contrast to the darkness that lightened the room. She saw the amazing California king-size bed, complete with a burgundy comforter. The comforter was cool to her skin as he laid her down and moved over on top of her. His weight pressed her down into the mattress. Sarah savored the feel of him over her.
Coop leaned down and kissed Sarah. He relished her taste as her fingers traced the corded muscles of his back. He didn’t want to rush this time with her. Coop leaned down and whispered in her ear, “Can you stay the night?”
Breathlessly Sarah answered, “Yes. I even brought a bag for work tomorrow.”
“Thank God, because this is going to take a while.” Coop reached his hands under the hem of her sweater and lifted it over her head. He admired the rose-colored bra she wore. It was set against her pale skin and shone like a beacon. He slowly reached down and unhooked the clasp allowing the cups to fall to the side exposing her breasts to the cool air in the room. If it was possible, her nipples puckered even more. Coop leaned his head down and took her nipple into his mouth and laved the areola while gently nipping at the distended bud. He felt Sarah’s hands grasp his head and pull him tighter to her breast. Coop released her breast and moved to the other one before kissing a trail down her abdomen to the waistband of her jeans. As he popped the button, he felt Sarah’s hand reach out to stop him.
“Tonight, is about us, but before you go any further I get my turn.” Sarah rolled over pinning Coop beneath her. She pulled his t-shirt free and brought it over his head exposing his muscular chest with a light dusting of blonde hair. Sarah kissed his chest and bit his nipples to return the favor before heading south. Her hands traced the definitions of his abdomen and finally rested on the button of his jeans. She popped the button and slowly lowered the zipper allowing his erection to spring free. Her slim fingers encircled the shaft as she slowly stroked him from root to tip. Her tongue traced the underside of his shaft and circled the velvety crown. Her tongue ran over his slit tasting the first drops of lubricant. He was salty and musky but tasted delicious. Sarah took the head between her lips and slowly slid down the shaft towards the back of her throat. As she swallowed, she massaged his erection and heard the loud moans coming from Coop. His hands found her head and guided her up and down as she continued to tend to his needs. Sarah’s hands moved up and cupped his balls eliciting an even louder moan.
“Sarah, you have to stop sweetheart. I don’t want to come like this.”
Unfortunately, Sarah had her own thoughts and doubled her efforts not releasing him. Finally, she felt his balls tighten and his shaft swell before he emptied himself into her mouth. Sarah swallowed every last drop before releasing his erection from her lips.
Coop looked down at Sarah’s swollen lips and kissed her deeply. He swallowed her moans as his fingers tweaked her nipples. Coop wanted it all. He wanted to taste her and be in her all at once, but right now he wanted to return the favor and get another taste of paradise like he had last night. He worked his way down leaving a trail of kisses between her breasts not stopping until he reached the top of her curve hugging jeans. Unsnapping her jeans, he quickly divested her of them and her rose-colored thong. His eyes nearly popped out of his head when he noticed the fresh Brazilian wax she was sporting. Smiling he said, “Did you do this for me?” He watched as Sarah could only nod her head. While, he would have loved to take in the mental image of her lying naked in his bed, he just couldn’t resist anymore. Coop deftly trailed his fingers down her inner thigh and spread her knees as his head settled into the space between her thighs. Her scent was overwhelmingly exotic and called to him in the most primal ways. Slowly his tongue reached out and lazily swiped her length before concentrating on her engorged bundle of nerves. He could tell from her swollen lips and dripping fluids that she was ready to go off like a firework display. As Coop focused his efforts on her nub, his fingers parted her fleshy folds and entered her hot, tight, wet channel. Coop stroked her in time with the movements of his tongue, curling his fingers to hit that rough spot, sending her hurdling towards oblivion. It didn’t take long before he felt her tighten around him and squeeze his fingers. Her voice was low and sultry as she called out his name with her release. Coop swore he’d never seen anything more beautiful in his life than watching Sarah come apart in his arms.
“I think it gets better each time. That was so hot and draining, but, Coop, I need you inside of me now.”
Not wanting to disappoint the lady, Coop reached over to the nightstand to pluck a condom out of the box, but before he could open it, Sarah took his hand and shook her head.
“I’m clean and I have an IUD. If you’re good, I want, you inside of me without any barriers. I’ve dreamed about that for so long.”
“I swear to you I’m clean. I just had my year-end physical, and I’ve never been with anyone and not used a condom.”
Sarah looked into the depths of his eyes, nodding her head silently, telling him that this was what she wanted.
Coop brought himself over Sarah, his manhood nudging at the opening to her body. He felt her legs wrap around him and her hips come up to bring him home. As he pushed in inch by excruciating inch, Coop swore he had never felt anything so raw, so connecting, than when he was fully seated inside her. He couldn’t tell where he ended and she began. Coop took a moment to savor the feel of her velvet walls surrounding him. He was close to losing it because of this sensory overload, but when Sarah used her heels to nudge him into action, he didn’t delay. Coop didn’t want a fast, hard pace tonight. Tonight, was all about savoring Sarah. He slowly withdrew before slowly sliding back home. He knew that his heart was done and that Sarah was his. He could see the love and emotions in her eyes as they never left his. Coop was concentrating so hard on not finishing too quickly that as they took their time, their bodies became covered in a fine sheen of perspiration. He felt everything with Sarah. Every emotion, every movement, and especially every finger nail as they bit into his broad shoulders. Finally, just as Coop thought he was going to lose the race, he felt Sarah tighten around him and milk his engorged member pulling him over into the most delicious orgasm he’d ever experienced. He was so thankful that Sarah was wrapped around him, or else he feared that he might have floated away.
Coop had never been unsure of what to do after sex, but this wasn’t just sex. This was a monumental transformation in their relationship. This was more than he’d ever experienced in his life, and the connection was beyond words. He decided the gentlemanly thing to do would be to retrieve a warm wash cloth and clean her up. After he was finished, he launched the wash cloth across the room not wanting to get out of bed. Coop wrapped his arms around Sarah and pulled her into his chest. “So beautiful Sarah. Thank you for giving me such a precious gift.”
Sarah was so worn out she could barely mumble a response and curled even deeper into Coop’s body.
Coop laid there holding Sarah in his arms as she slept. He didn’t want to fall asleep but she had worn him out. He didn’t know when they would see each other again and he feared that something would happen to keep them apart. This is how he wanted his nights to end and his days to begin. Holding the love of his life and waiting for the day her belly swelled with their child. Not that he would readily admit it, but he was ready to be a father. He saw his brother and sister with their children, and he wanted nothing more than the fulfilling joy that they had with a complete family. Coop kissed Sarah on the temple and whispered, “I still love you, Sarah Buckley. I always have.” Then he drifted off to sleep.
Buy on Amazon
About the Author
BK Harrell is former Navy physician who has had a long love of writing. He specializes in medical, military and sports romance writing. He began seriously writing while deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 and has never looked back. Whether he is teaching, serving his country, educating people about the fine art of cigars, practicing medicine or spending time with friends and family he uses his diverse background to shape the world around him through words. Currently he writes the Doctors of Atlanta Series, Sapphire Kindle World Novellas and launching in late 2018 Ashton’s Ferry a small-town romance series.
He uses his unique experiences and love of all things Atlanta, University of Georgia and sports to weave intricately detailed stories focused on Atlanta and the surrounding areas. His goal is to bring the same joy and excitement he sees in his own city to the readers and to allow them to experience the city through his eyes.
Dr. Harrell is married to his beautiful wife Erin, a proud graduate of Auburn University, which makes multiple appearances in his books, and their wonderful one son. Dr. Harrell is a native of Augusta, GA and a proud graduate of the University of Georgia, Emory University, and proud to have been a member of the first ever graduating class of Georgia Campus Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He currently resides in the Atlanta area where he practices medicine and raises his family.
Connect: Facebook | Twitter: Cigardoc | Goodreads