Nixon (Raleigh Raptors 1) - Page 40

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Dr. Bernard nodded, jotting a few things down inside a leather-bound notebook in front of her. “That’s truly wonderful,” she said. “And you're almost done with your doctorate?”

“I will by the end of the school year,” I said and smoothed a hand over my tummy.

A tiny bump was finally starting to show, and I couldn’t wait to start feeling kicks and flips.

“Brilliant,” she said, setting her pen down. “Would you be interested in interning for our sister company here in the city? I know it’s not abroad or fieldwork, but we are desperate for help. It would gain you some experience with clients, too. Supervised, of course.”

My spirits lifted at the prospect of gaining some experience and learning from the best resources around. “Absolutely,” I said, but still couldn’t hide the disappointment that I hadn’t been selected for the abroad internship. That would’ve helped me finish my dissertation.

No room, remember? Not because you aren’t qualified.

I repeated the words a few more times in my head.

“Perfect,” she said, standing to come around her desk. I stood as well, shaking her hand. “I’ll have my assistant send along all the information you need, and we’ll get a schedule set up.”

I nodded. “I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

“Would you like me to place you on the waitlist for the abroad internship?” Her eyes flashed to the bump my black T-shirt cinched over.

“Yes,” I answered without hesitation. “I want to go where I’m needed most.”

Dr. Bernard nodded, holding the door open for me. “Consider your name officially on the list, then,” she said. “With your recommendations, degrees, and goals, I can assure you you’re at the top of it.”

“I appreciate it,” I said, exiting her office. “And I look forward to working with you.”

“You, too,” she said, then returned to her desk.

I kept my chin held high the entire walk to the car I’d claimed as mine since moving in with Nixon. I knew it wasn’t really mine, but I was grateful he’d allowed me to borrow it. Especially now that I’d be adding another part-time position—in addition to teaching a few yoga classes a week—to my full-time class load. God, the mere idea made exhaustion settle over my body. Or that could be the baby was hungry. Or it could be my dreams of jetting off to Brazil to roll up my sleeves and do some real good were dashed in the blink of an eye.

“I knew I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up,” I said a few hours later when I still hadn’t shaken off the blue mood, even with Nixon’s adorable attempt to cheer me up by taking me to one of his favorite restaurants. “But when they called for an in-person meeting…” I shrugged.

Nixon reached across the table, moving my water glass out of his way to lay his hand over mine. That easily, my body whirred awake for him. “You’ll get there,” he said. “I have no doubts. And it sounds like this position in the city is a major step in advancing your career.”

“It is,” I said, hating that I sounded ungrateful. “And I’m excited about that for sure. The experience will definitely go a long way if I ever want to open up my own practice.”

“Do you want to do that?” he asked, finishing off his steak.

I pushed my cleaned plate to the side, contemplating. “Yes,” I finally said. “One day. I wouldn’t mind having my own office. My own client list.” A steady stream of individuals who I’d do everything to help. Now, exactly where I envisioned that practice someday? Not as easy to picture. I’d grown up on the road my entire life. I’d barely lived in the same city, let alone country, for more than six months at a time. Raleigh was the longest time I’d ever stayed anywhere, and that was because of school and the degrees I needed to achieve my goals.

“Have you ever considered sports psychology?” he asked, taking a sip of his water.

I smiled. “Yes, I have,” I said. “I actually have a minor in the subject.” His eyes flared wide, and I shrugged. “There is a tragic connection between head injuries and depression, anxiety…the list goes on and on.” I chewed on my lip, suddenly feeling pulled in so many different directions.

Because I could see a certain future—one with my own practice where I tended to athletes and came home to a baby and one athlete in particular. I swallowed hard, my chest tightening as that future battled the one I’d always had planned—going abroad to bring mental health awareness and help to those who didn’t have readily access to it. “It’s difficult,” I continued. “To decide which people to help first. Which area of focus to give my top priority.”

“You have time,” he said. “But I don’t envy the responsibility,” he continued. “I don’t know how you do it. You’ve got a gift for reading people, for being open-minded and accessible while also not pushing.”

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