Relentlessly Reckless
Author:Lucy Covington

“I don’t know what happened,” I said. I still felt shaky and unstable, but I was also starting to feel embarrassed.

 

“I’ll tell you what happened,” Carter said, giving me a smile. “You almost fainted.”

 

“No, I know that,” I said. “It’s just that I don’t usually faint.” It was true. I had an iron stomach. I’d watched hours of surgery videos on the Internet, and I hadn’t even blinked when Adam cut his leg the other day. I never got freaked out by the sight of blood.

 

“Hey, it can happen to anybody at any time. Seriously, don’t be embarrassed about it.”

 

“Yeah.” I was trying to sound nonchalant, but I was actually really upset.

 

“Will you be okay here for a second?” he asked. “I’m going to go and finish up with Devorah, and then I’ll come right back.”

 

I nodded. Physically, I was starting to feel a lot better. It was emotionally that I was starting to panic a little bit. How could I be a doctor if I couldn’t even watch a simple blood draw?

 

I closed my eyes and took more deep breaths until Carter came back.

 

He was holding a sugar cookie and a Dixie cup full of orange juice. “Here,” he said, handing I them to me. “We keep these here for when people get woozy.”

 

“Thanks,” I said. I took a small sip of the juice.

 

Carter must have noticed I was upset, because he squeezed my shoulder. “Hey,”

 

he said. “Don’t get down about this.”

 

“I’m not.”

 

He looked at me skeptically.

 

“Okay, I am.” I managed a smile. “It’s just that I’ve never had that kind of reaction before. And I’m not… I mean, I don’t want it to end up being something that becomes a thing.”

 

“It won’t.”

 

“How do you know?”

 

“Because.” He shrugged. “A lot of people faint once or twice, it doesn’t mean it becomes an issue forever.”

 

“Are you sure?”

 

“Yeah. The first time I had to work on a cadaver, the smell made me so sick that I ran outside and vomited into a trash can.”

 

“You didn’t!”

 

“I did.”

 

“And then what happened?”

 

“I got some water, went back into the room, and it never happened again. And it won’t happen to you again, either.”

 

I shook my head. “But what if it does?”

 

He grinned and tilted his head. “But what if it doesn’t? Lindsay, you’re going to be fine, I promise.”

 

And something in the way he said it made me believe it. He was just so sure of himself, so constant. From the time I’d slipped that paper under Dr. Klaxton’s door, he’d made me feel like whatever I was going through was no big deal. It was nice.

 

“Thanks,” I said.

 

“You’re welcome.”

 

That’s when I realized he was holding my hand. He must have realized it too, but he waited an extra second before letting go. Was it on purpose? Like so many things that had happened lately, I couldn’t tell what it meant. Did he like me? Or was it totally innocent? And if Carter was interested in me, how did I feel about that?

 

Justin.

 

I hadn’t thought about him in probably half an hour, which must have been some kind of record. I hadn’t gone that long without at least having a passing thought about him since that night at the frat house. But there he was again, popping into my head at the exact moment I was thinking about the possibility of another guy.

 

“Can you stand up?” Carter asked.

 

I nodded.

 

He put his hand out, and I slipped mine back into his palm. His grip was strong and steady, and he held onto me as I took a few steps.

 

“See?” he said happily. “You’re going to be fine.”

 

I nodded.

 

“Now come on,” he said. “Let’s get back to work.”

 

He went to pick up the clipboard with Devorah’s name and information about her visit on it, and as he grabbed it, I happened to quickly glance at the page. I noticed that under Adverse Events, he hadn’t written anything.

 

“Hey,” I said. “You forgot to write down the side effect Devorah reported to you.”

 

He frowned. “She didn’t have any side effects.”

 

“Yeah, she did. The tightness in her chest, remember?”

 

“That’s not actually a side effect. We don’t know that it’s related to the medicine.

 

It could have been caused by any number of things.”

 

“But it would be an adverse event, wouldn’t it?” I continued, not wanting to anger him, but still fairly certain I was correct.

 

He grinned at me. “That’s true, and it slipped my mind, I was so distracted by your little…spell.” He scrawled on Devorah’s form. “Nice catch. Especially since you were so woozy.”

 

My heart swelled with pride. He was right. It was a good catch. Science, medicine, research – this was the stuff I was supposed to be doing.

 

But as Carter led me out the door and back to work, I couldn’t help but think about how much I missed Justin. And how if this was what I meant to be doing, why my heart still felt so broken.

 

 

 

 

 

JUSTIN

 

 

“Holy shit,” I said, as I made my way from the gym into the locker room after practice. I was pouring sweat, out of breath, and sore.

 

“You keep thinking you’re going to get used to it, right?” Jimbo said from slightly behind me.