Lucy has always been a good girl. The most hardcore thing she's done in her life was falling for a divorced man ten years her senior.
But he was the love of her life and she married him. When her Peter Pan of a husband decided to divorce her, she thought it was her chance to start anew. That was until she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Besides looking like Britney circa 2007, she is taking it well, real well. You might see her walk around the hospital during chemo sessions with bright colored wigs and outrageous t-shirts that seem to shock the most conservative employees. One of them reads F U CANCER.
I found him leaning against my car in the parking lot.
I got a Sixteen Candles flashback. He looked just as cool as Jake Ryan. The only difference was that he was leaning against my car, not his.
Oh, to be sixteen again. And make the same mistakes over and over. I wanted to get in the car with him and make out until I couldn't feel my lips anymore. I instinctively touched my lips and smiled to myself.
I met his eyes and smiled, but he gave me a serious, dark look.
Uh-oh. This wasn't going to be good. The butterflies in my stomach would be dead and gone pretty soon.
I let out a breath, mentally preparing to his apology.
It was a mistake, we shouldn't have…I shouldn't have started it. Ugh.
He looked nervous, and so was I. This was going to be a mess.
Then, suddenly, I knew how to break the tension.
“If you're hitting me up in this parking lot to score more crack, I'm sorry to say you're on the wrong track,” I told him, smiling, as I approached the car.
“What?” He looked confused as if the thought hadn’t even crossed his mind. Huh.
“Come on, you already went through your whole bag of candy or most of it, and you want to know if I can get you some more.”
“Yes, more. You want more Bonkers, right? I should have known better. I'm basically feeding an addict now. Shame on me,” I teased.
“I didn't want to ask for more candy,” he laughed.
“Is this about the other night?” I asked him, unable to hide the frown on my face.
“Yes,” he replied. He just stared at me but added nothing else.
“I know what you're going to say,” I told him.
“You do?” he asked and gave me a suspicious look.
“Yes. It's okay, really. You don’t have to say anything.”
“What do you think I'm going to say?”
“You’re going to say you think it was a mistake…we shouldn't have done it, yada yada yada,” I said gesturing. He cracked a smile. “You’re going to say it was just a spur of the moment, which it was. It was a great spur of the moment.”
He nodded in agreement.
“It was a great spur of the moment!” He flashed a charming smile.
“It was, wasn’t it?” I leaned against the car next to him, feeling a little more relaxed. He didn’t seem too upset about the kiss, after all. I felt suddenly lighter as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
“Yes, it was a spur of the moment. But it wasn't a mistake,” he said. He stuffed his hands in the pockets of his jeans and gave me a look that made my stomach flip, and my heart took off, happily drumming away.
Now I was just dying to hear the rest, but he just kept staring at me.
“It wasn't?” I asked and he just shook his head slightly, failing to contain a smug smile.
“The reason why I ran out the other night,” he started, “well part of it has to with the fact that I'm a doctor and you're a patient here. I go back and forth thinking is not very professional of me to engage with you–”
I started laughing. I couldn't help it.
“It sounds like you're the teacher and I'm the underage school girl,” I laughed.
He laughed with me, and I loved the way his eyes brightened when he did.
“I don't think we are breaking any rules. Technically. Well, I’m not completely sure, but it wouldn’t seem like it.” I gave him a flirty grin.
He placed an arm on top of the car and he turned around, leaning toward me. He was dangerously close, and I had to remind myself to keep my horny hormones in check.
“Well, when I got home I regretted leaving, but another reason why I did it is because I thought we were rushing it. Actually, let me rephrase that: I was the one rushing things–”
“You left because you thought we were going to fast?”
“Well…yes. I mean I might have gone a little too far that night. It doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy every second of it, but I felt like I was the one pouncing you.”
I burst out laughing because he sounded ridiculous. Did he think I regretted him coming after me in the pool? Quite the contrary. He stopped talking, and I saw his eyes fixated on my mouth. A devilish grin spread across his face. My laughter subsided, and my breath hitched. The way he was looking at me made me feel like I hadn’t felt in a while.
He looked at me as if I was desirable. I hadn’t been desired in a long time. I could have understood if he had been attracted to me under normal circumstances, but I was not the same Lucy anymore. Therefore, I had no idea how could he possibly be attracted to me.
“I like you, Lucy. I want to go out with you. We'd probably better keep it on the down low, but I want to see you. Away from here.” He looked around in the parking lot, but we were alone. He then looked at me as if waiting for an answer, but I was still processing his words.
“What? You’re crazy,” I told him. There was both shock and thrill in the tone of my voice. I was perplexed and flattered.
“Am I? Why? You’re still single, right?” It sounded like he was mocking me. Ha ha. I frowned and narrowed my eyes at him. I didn’t understand what game he was playing. Was he really asking me out?
This was crazy. Bananas. Completely idiotic.
“Why? For one, I’m sick.”
“I’m around sick people all the time,” he said, the corner of his lips twitching up.
“I’m toxic. Literally.”
“Nahhhh. You’re not that bad. I don’t think your toxicity levels can get in the way of dating.”
I couldn’t believe it. I thought he was just going to apologize for not calling me. I never thought he’d say he wants to see me. Me. Did he have any idea of what he was asking? He needed a good dose of reality.
Time to lay down the ugly truth.
“You want to date me, huh? Some days I can barely hold myself up together. I have no hair left save for my eyebrows and eyelashes and when I look at my reflection, I feel like I’m staring at an alien. I have an ugly looking breast that reminds me every second of my life what’s wrong with me. I’m at the lowest I’ve ever been. And you want to date me?”
My words left him completely unfazed. He still wore a silly smile on his face. I had just given him a half dozen reasons why he should leave me alone and he didn’t seem worried in the slightest.
“Don’t you realize I’m probably the most qualified person? I’m indirectly a pro at all the things you just listed. No one can understand it better than me because I deal with it every day.” The tone of his voice was cheerful, but then a thought clouded his eyes. “Well, I guess the only person who could be more qualified than me would be a cancer patient or a cancer survivor because they would really know what it means to have experienced what you’re going through. But I’m a close second.”
He sounded almost cocky. This was a side of him I had never seen before. I knew I should have been turned off by it, but I instead I was intrigued by this super confident version of Dr. F. I hated to admit it.
“I don’t think–”
“How about Friday?” he asked.
“You can’t or you’re making up some kind of excuse in that pretty alien head of yours?”
I broke into a smile. “No, I really have plans. Family dinner.”
Hilaria Alexander was born and raised in the south of Italy, where her family still lives. She attended college in Naples and spent one year in Tokyo, Japan, as part of a student exchange program because she was crazy enough to pick Japanese language as her major. She now lives in Oklahoma City with her husband and kids.
When she isn't at work, she is reading, catching up on her favorite TV shows and coming up with new stories she doesn't have time to write. She loves traveling and is a self-proclaimed concert addict. If you have questions about her, including how an Italian ends up moving to Oklahoma, ask her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She's the author of Prude and This Love. F U Cancer is her third novel.