Desperately Devastated (Addicted To You, Book Nine)
Author:Covington, Lucy

My body broke out in what felt like a heat rash, and I was afraid Carter was going to be able to tell how worked up I was.

 

But it turned out I didn’t have to worry about Carter noticing anything was going on, because when I got back, he was standing where I’d left him, talking to Dr. Klaxton.

 

“There she is!” Carter said brightly.

 

“Great,” Dr. Klaxton said sarcastically. He shoved his briefcase at me and I reached out and grabbed it before it could fall. “Hold this,” he commanded. “At least you can do something useful, seeing as how Carter seems to think it was necessary for the science budget to spend almost a thousand dollars for you to come on this trip.”

 

He didn’t sound happy. I looked at Carter. On the way over here, he’d said it was fine, that Dr. Klaxton was cool with me coming. But from the way Dr. Klaxton was talking, it didn’t seem that way at all. Carter looked embarrassed and averted his eyes.

 

Great. Now I was going to be left wondering what the deal was. Did Carter really think that Dr. Klaxton would have been okay with it, or was Justin right when he said that Carter had bad intentions? Or was I just getting in my head?

 

“Now, I suppose you’ve run into some kind of trouble with the revisions to the powerpoint I’ve given you?” Dr. Klaxton asked. He was wearing an expensively cut black suit and a crisp white shirt, and he reached for his sleeve and redid his cufflink.

 

I suddenly felt extremely inadequate in the black t-shirt and yoga pants I’d decided to wear on the plane. Why hadn’t I thought about this when I was packing for college? I should have realized that these kinds of situations were going to come up, that if I wanted to get ahead and network with the people in the science department, I was going to need the proper attire.

 

“No, there isn’t any trouble,” Carter said. If he was nervous, he certainly wasn’t showing it. In fact, he sounded calm and in control. “I sent the newest version to you a few minutes ago. Maybe once we get on the plane we can go over it together.”

 

Dr. Klaxton sighed like he couldn’t believe the incompetence he was being forced to deal with. “That would be impossible,” he said. “Since I’ll be in business class and you’ll be in coach. It will also be unnecessary, since I’ve already looked at your revision.”

 

Then why did he ask if Carter had run into any problems? I wondered. Just to be a jerk?

 

“And?” Carter asked.

 

“And you did nothing I asked you to do, so I’ll be spending my plane ride giving you another round of revisions.”

 

“Great,” I said brightly. “We can work on them together, once we get to the hotel tonight.”

 

The only reason I said it was because I’d wanted to seem like I was there for more than just decoration. If Dr. Klaxton was already pissed that the budget had to allow for my ticket, I figured I should make it clear to him that I was going to be worth it.

 

But this didn’t seem to endear me to him at all. In fact, it just made him more cranky.

 

“Please,” he said. “If Carter can’t get things straight, I highly doubt you’re going to be of any help at all.” He sighed and then dropped his bag on the ground. “Please check this bag for me, Lilly.”

 

I opened my mouth to tell him my name was Lindsay, but he was already gone.

 

A weird feeling settled in my stomach, twisting and rolling itself into a huge knot of anxiety. Why had I pushed so hard to come here? It was obvious I was in completely over my head. I didn’t have the right clothes, or the knowledge, or anything. And if I was hoping to get in good with Dr. Klaxton, well obviously that wasn’t going to work.

 

The man had forgotten my name.

 

“Hey, you okay?” Carter asked.

 

“Yeah.” But I knew I didn’t sound convincing. I gave him a smile. “I’m fine.”

 

“Don’t take it personally,” Carter said. He gestured to the bag that Dr. Klaxton had dropped in front of us. “He’s like that with everyone.”

 

I nodded, but I could fill my eyes filling up with tears of disappointment.

 

“Come on,” Carter said. “You’ll feel better once we’re on the plane.”

 

He picked up Dr. Klaxton’s bag and slung it over his shoulder. Then Carter put his hand on my arm and started leading me toward the baggage check. His grip was strong and comforting.

 

I felt myself starting to calm down. I couldn’t be weak. If I was going to make it as a doctor, then I was going to be put through my paces. I needed to be able to roll with the punches, to show my superiors that I could be strong under pressure and that I could handle anything. If Carter could do it, I could, too.

 

But just as I was starting to feel the tension leave my body, I spotted Justin standing in front of us by the gate. He was looking at Carter and his face was set in anger.

 

He started heading toward us, and for a second, I was afraid he was going to punch Carter in the face. I tried to pull my arm out of Carter’s grip, but he was too strong. He just kept walking, oblivious to what was about to happen.

 

Justin was moving faster now, his long legs closing the distance between us quickly. His eyes met mine, and I gave him a pleading look.