|Excerpt from Unveil by Nadia Writer
Dr. Walsh’s office is located in Times-Square, on the eleventh floor of a tall glass building. She is my therapist and today is my last session. I should be home packing for a flight that I have to catch this afternoon. Instead, I am sitting on the guest chair waiting to receive her final evaluation. I glance down at my watch, I regretted my decision to come into the office even before leaving the house, but by then it was too late to cancel.
I brush a thick swatch of hair away from my face and she drills me with questions for about ten minutes. When she’s satisfied with my answers, she gives me a penetrating stare. I listen to her go on about depression. How it’s on the rise and I’ve fallen victim to it.
I should consider myself lucky. Dr. Walsh is an authority in her field of work and has written several books on human behavior. Overall, she’s passionate about her work, in a forceful sort of way. She does disclose a bit too much about her personal life which can make the time feel like it’s more about her. It’s not so bad. It’s just something I wish she didn’t do. So I allow her to continue with a sort of short, encapsulating overview of our time spent together. When she finishes she gives me a thoughtful look and scribbles something in her notes. She’s convinced I should continue my therapy and hands me a colleague’s business card.
“Consider giving him a call, Kristen.”
The room falls silent. I take the card and place it in my bag. Feeling anxious about how complicated things have become, I lean back in my chair and turn towards the window. It’s a hot June day and the sun is shining through a crack in the blinds. I should be on cloud nine but I feel wretchedly unhappy. Dr. Walsh became somewhat of a friend these past two months and I consider myself in her debt. She helped me through the toughest time in my life. After my car accident, she was the first person to diagnose me with depression. If it weren’t for her I’d be a complete mess. Therapy seemed like the obvious choice at that time, but now she is asking me to do something that I did not have the slightest desire to do. There is no reason to distrust her, but I don’t see myself doing more therapy, especially with the new life I’m beginning. Whatever this thing is that I’m going through, it’s manageable. I’ll find some way to cope with it.
When I step out of the office, I stand in the empty hall and stare blankly into space. I am mildly irritated by myself. For most of my stay in New York, my fiancé and I seemed to have drifted apart. We were pushed into somewhat of a long-distance relationship after the car accident and I wasn’t sure if he still wanted to get married. Normally two months apart with minimal contact would be enough to strain a relationship but Omar didn’t give me any indication that it was over between us. Unless it’s all a lie. He might be waiting to break it off in person. For a moment I think that’s a real possibility.
While I walk towards the elevator, I think about going down to the café for a sandwich and chia-latte, but I’m already anxious to leave. After some deliberation, I decided against it. That’s when I see Doctor Hunky moving in my direction. Dr. Hunky and I have never spoken but our paths have crossed a few times after my sessions. His office is on the same floor as Dr. Walsh.
I was in the lobby when we ran into each other two weeks ago and got on the same elevator. He didn’t say a word to me. He smiled politely as we rode up to the eleventh floor in silence. The entire time, I pretended to stare into space. After that initial run-in, I found myself keeping an eye out for him and even dressing up for my sessions. He made coming to therapy much more interesting.
Now our paths cross again. My chest tightens, and my heart is pounding as I watch him get closer. I’m so absorbed in my thoughts that I don’t realize that I’m staring. He stops in front of me and fixes me with a warm gaze and for one brief moment, our glances hold. Stunned and breathless, I look down at my feet but not before seeing him smile.
Hang on. Why am I acting like an adolescent? Dr. Hunky and I have never spoken. I don’t even know his name.
After a moment, I peep back up at him from under my lashes. He looks older this time, maybe in his late-thirties. He’s tall, obviously lean, with piercing green eyes and exuding confidence. It’s like he’s completely unbothered by my presence. I inhale sharply thinking he’s not going to speak when the unexpected happens—he says something.
“Hi. Can I help you with something?” he says with a warm look in his green eyes. He seems shy.
I bite down on my bottom lip and look down at his hands. He’s not wearing a wedding ring.
“I’m Kristen… a patient of Dr. Walsh. Today’s my last day, “ I say and for a moment I think this all feels a bit surreal. Hearing his husky voice makes me want to ask him out for a cup of coffee. It seems compulsive I admit, but lately I’ve been feeling lonely and in desperate need of some male companionship. This is not good. I don’t like where my subconscious is going with this. Then I remind myself that I’m engaged, even if I never wear my engagement ring to the office.
“Congratulations,” he says.
“Thanks. I’m heading back to Boston.”
Dr. Hunky stands there smiling down at me, his lean body much too close. He seems intrigued. I square my shoulders in an attempt to right my posture. I blink rapidly. Focus, Kristen.
“What a coincidence. I plan to open my practice in Boston. I should be out there in six months.”
Holy crap…what is going on here?
“That’s great,” I say and glance down at my hands. Having young and attractive Dr. Hunky in Boston would complicate things. I’m already way too into him, and this is just our first time talking.
Dr. Hunky gives me a warm look and I catch myself staring at his perfectly shaped lips. Has he taken notice? I clear my throat. “Drr—Walsh,” I stutter. “Referred me to a doctor out there. Maybe you know him?”
A smile crosses his lips and his eyes are bright with amusement as if he’s enjoying my awkwardness. “Do you have a name?”
I pull out the business card from my handbag and read the name out. “It says here, his name is Dr. Montgomery.”
He chuckles softly, and the sound is pleasant and warm. “He’s a colleague of mine. My office is in the same building. You’re going to like him. He’s down to earth.”
I smile then take a breath and say, “I’m planning on making an appointment. Maybe I’ll run into you.” It’s a lie but now that Dr. Hunky is in the picture, I’m tempted. He’s smiling again, revealing his pearly white teeth. No one should be this gorgeous.
His cell phone rings. He looks down at the call. “I have to take this. It was nice meeting you,” he says with those dreamy eyes and turns on his heel. I bite my lip as I watch him disappear. I tell myself that I shouldn’t flirt. Then I think why not? It’s harmless. Bad start to the day. Mental note—I will not flirt with unusually attractive doctors when engaged.