“Alright, I know this seems strange, and I’m sorry my hands are cold.” I winked, cupping her left breast in my right hand before cupping the other with my left. “But I need to mark you up a bit.”
I loved my job. Loved my patients—for the most part.
But there were always those consults that you knew were going to go badly before you even stepped into the room.
This was one of them.
Or should I say she?
Most of the eighteen-year-olds I worked on were spoiled brats who either flirted way too much with the man who was about to touch their breasts, or argued with whatever professional opinion I might have about them.
It had already been a long day.
And judging by the bubble gum that had just popped in my face a few minutes before when I introduced myself—it was about to get a hell of a lot longer.
The teen jutted her chest out like she was God’s gift.
After all, wasn’t that why she came to me? She wanted more?
There were three types of patients when it came to breast augmentations. First, you had the ones who had always had flat chests and wanted to feel feminine—they were my favorite. I loved the confidence a simple alteration could give them. Oftentimes they cried at the first consultation, and I did my damnedest to make sure they were happy with their body when I was done—just like I did my damnedest to make sure they realized they were already perfect before I even started.
Second, there were the patients who sought out perfection, even though nothing on their body was ever good enough and nothing would ever be good enough. But those weren’t even as bad as the third category.
The ones who thought that a simple alteration would change their lives, the ones who thought beauty really was all about what was on the outside, not the inside.
Another pop of bubble gum in my face. Exhibit A.
These types always wanted their breasts bigger, bouncier, fluffier—yes, a girl had asked for “fluffy tits” once, and since I wanted to stay one of the best plastic surgeons in Seattle, I showed her the door.
The hell? Fluffy?
I was still groggy from all the Benadryl, but I needed to do this last consult before I met up with Lucas. Even I knew that drinking heavily with antihistamines was a bad call—but I hoped that if I ate enough food, the alcohol and the drugs would even out.
That was reason enough to risk it, right?
Shaking my head, I barked out measurements to my nurse and drew a line across the bottom of the breast. “Right is off by half a centimeter.”
The patient looked down. “I think it looks fine.”
“Do you now,” I said in a bored voice. God save me from eighteen-year-old girls who ask for breast augmentations instead of cars and the parents who are rich enough to gift the surgery. What the hell had society come to?
“Can you make them bounce more?”
If I had a penny . . .
“Sure,” I huffed out, irritated that I was irritated. Normally I loved my job, but normally I wasn’t nursing a Benadryl hangover, or the sad obsession with licking my lips in hopes her taste would still be there.
It was all her fault.
The late nights staring at the pillow she used to sleep on.
The drunken and then deleted texts I didn’t have the balls to send.
Technically, it wasn’t her fault; logic told me this, just like logic also pointed across the hall of my apartment building. Logic also said I got myself into this situation—even though it wasn’t a fault of my own making.
Hell, someone really needed to take away my phone or at least invent an app that kept drunk, stupid ex-boyfriends from making complete jackasses out of themselves every single time they drank whiskey.
“Almost done.” I cleared my throat and called out a few more measurements, then pulled the white paper garment back across the girl’s pert breasts. “You’re a perfect candidate for breast augmentation.” Hell, I could say it in my sleep. In fact, I’d been notorious for grabbing Austin’s breasts in my sleep and shouting out numbers like she was my nurse.
Yeah, I was screwed in the head.
It always came back to her.
Then again, that’s how life worked. Choices always came back to bite you in the ass. My first poor choice was taking her home that night.
Cheating on her.
“Doctor?” my nurse prompted.
“Sorry.” I forced a smile. “As I was saying, you’re a perfect candidate. Now, why don’t you change back into your clothes, and I’ll have Dawn talk to you about surgery and financing.”
I was bored.
I was angry.
I was hurt.
And I only had myself to blame.
Because it’s bullshit when people say they cheat by accident. You don’t accidently fall on someone else’s face. You don’t accidently drop your clothes to the floor.
I knew exactly what I was doing.
I could still taste the air of the bedroom.
Smell the girl’s shampoo before I touched her lips.
And I still felt the searing pain once the kiss finished—because I had totally ruined the best thing that ever happened to me.
Not all cheaters are created equal.
I did exactly what I swore I would never do—after seeing my parents suffer—but I did it for the right reasons.
So yeah, some cheaters suck.
But some . . . Sometimes, it’s okay to cheat.
I would do it again.
If it meant saving her.
I would do it every damn day.
“Dr. Holloway?” Mia knocked on the door.
I stood and excused myself.
Typically, the appointments lasted a lot longer, but whenever I had teen patients, they didn’t want to discuss sizes or use medical terminology.
They wanted bigger.
They always wanted a high-profile implant.
And they wanted to know if they would still feel sensations in their nipples. Beyond that, they didn’t ask questions, because most of them didn’t think of it as surgery.
So I walked out the door.
A headache blaring between my temples, I quickly grabbed my shit so I could meet Lucas.
“You’re late.” Lucas took a long sip of his beer and peered at me over the glass. “Thirty-one minutes and ten seconds late, but really, who’s counting? I thought I was going to get stood up.”
“Sorry,” I rasped, waving do
wn the waitress. “Traffic was hell and I was—” Embarrassment washed over me. What? Checking the backseat just in case someone was hiding in my car? Irrational fear number two. Or making sure that nothing fell from my visor? Irrational fear number three. Or—and this is the best part—double-checking because I still didn’t trust that I really didn’t see anything lingering on the leather of my backseat.
I was going to kill Austin.
The list Avery wrote was long.
I’d studied it for a good hour and come to the conclusion that I was doomed to live in a constant state of paranoia until she was satisfied.
So basically, I was just waiting for Jack to pop out of his box.
For the rest of my miserable life.
While having to perform surgery a few times a week.
“I was”—I cleared my throat—“just checking a few things out with the car.”
“Oh, is it having trouble again?” Lucas asked in a curious voice.
“You could say that,” I said quickly, then changed the subject. “So, how’s Avery?”
“She’s amazing!” a feminine voice said from behind me. “And she’s also bombing guys’ night. Sorry, Lucas thought you were going to be a no-show.”
“It’s fine,” I said with a tight smile because, lo and behold, who was with Avery but her other half?
Her best friend.
Her very sexy best friend.
In half a dress.
I quickly looked away. “Austin.”
“Hitler,” she said sweetly. “Tell me, how is the KKK these days?”
“Too far.” Avery coughed into her hand and made a “cut it out” motion. “So, what’s everyone drinking?”
I made a mental note to keep my hand over my drink just in case Austin had arsenic and decided to see how fast it could kill a man when mixed with rum and Coke.
“Beer.” Lucas lifted his glass.
Avery scrunched up her nose. “I hate beer. I think I’ll just order some wine.” She pressed her lips together and looked at the drink menu anyway while Austin glared at me from the corner of her eye and slowly reached for my drink.
I pretended not to notice, then jerked it away from her and downed the entire thing in one giant gulp. The minute I was done, she grinned like she’d just won.