The Good Luck Charm Page 43

“That’s great. I went there for my undergrad. It’s a good school. Where’s home?”

“I grew up in Texas.”

“Minnesota is a bit of a change, then, isn’t it?”

“Oh yeah! There’s so much snow in the winter. I’m used to playing outside all year, and here we’re stuck inside for half of it. And now that we’re getting close to the end of all the crappy weather, this happens.” She gestures to her casted leg. “I don’t even know if I’m going to be able to play again after this.”

“You’re young and Dr. Lovely is a fantastic surgeon. The best, really.”

“Oh my God! He’s gorgeous. I can’t even function around him. How do you deal?”

I chuckle. Dr. Lovely certainly isn’t difficult to look at, but he’s a drill sergeant in the operating room and highly professional. “Often he’s wearing a surgical mask when we’re around each other, so I don’t get the full force of those dimples.”

“I think my heart rate went through the roof when he was in here. It was so freaking embarrassing. How old is he?”

“Um, midthirties, I think?”

She gives me a saucy grin. “Hmm. I don’t suppose he’d be interested in a freshman college girl, huh?”

“I can always ask him for you.” I wink. I have no idea what kind of women Dr. Lovely is interested in, but I don’t think barely legal college students fit the bill. Regardless, I like this girl. She’s got sass, especially for someone who came out of surgery less than two hours ago.

She waves me off. “Nah, he’s too old for me. I think twenty-five should be my cap for now. But I’m definitely not into college boys. All they want to do is get drunk and hook up.”

“I’m sure they’re not all like that.”

She lifts one shoulder and lets it fall. “I had a boyfriend for, like, three years, but I got accepted to college out here and he got a scholarship in Texas. We thought we would try to make it work long distance, but my schedule is so busy and it was hard being so far away. So we broke up.”

“I’m sorry. That’s so tough.”

“Thanks, and yeah, it is. Or was. Maybe it still is. He said maybe we could try in the summer when we’re both back home. Like, this was just going to be a temporary break, but, like, less than a week later he started posting all these drunk party pictures where he’s hanging off other girls.”

I feel for her and how difficult that would be to see. “That must’ve hurt.”

She blinks a few times, eyes dropping. “My mom said it was for the best, but yeah, that really sucked, ya know? Like, we were together for all that time, and he couldn’t even wait a week before he was hooking up all over the place and posting it where he had to have known I’d see it.” She presses her fingertips together, studying them. “I wasn’t planning to move back home this summer. I had a lifeguard job lined up here, but now”—she motions to her leg—“I don’t even know how long this is going to be on and whether I’ll be able to keep that job or not.”

“It’s only the beginning of March, so pool weather is still a long ways off. You have lots of time, and there are lots of other jobs if that one doesn’t work out.”

“Yeah. I just don’t want to go home and see him and have to deal with all of it. Relationships suck. I spent this whole year focused on sports and keeping my grades up so I don’t lose my scholarship, and I’ve done well, but, like, sometimes it’d be nice to have, like, a person.” She looks up at me and cringes. “I don’t know why I’m telling you all of this. You don’t even know me and I’m, like, barfing out my life story on you.”

My smile is genuine. “I don’t mind.” We call it “morphine motor mouth,” and it can be quite entertaining, but I don’t tell her that.

“Do you have a boyfriend? Wait. Can I even ask you that? It’s kinda personal, isn’t it?”

“That’s okay. Yes, I have a boyfriend.”

“I figured. You’re too pretty not to have one.”

I laugh at that. “Thank you. And my current boyfriend was actually my high school boyfriend.”

“You’ve been with him since high school? That’s, like, forever!”

“We broke up when he got drafted.”

“To, like, the army?”

“No; the NHL.”

“Oh my God! No way! So wait—you broke up for, like, how long?”

“Eight years.”

“Holy shit. That’s a long time.”

I laugh again. “You’re right—it is. But last year he moved back to Minnesota, so … ”

“You got back together.” Her smile is wide, hopeful.

I keep the part to myself where I don’t know if he’s going to stay here with me this time, or whether he’ll have to take another contract somewhere else. She’s young; she has lots of time to learn about the highs and lows of relationships. “I’m going to test the sensation in your toes, okay?”


I check for discomfort, sensation, and mobility. I’m grateful all of her responses are in the normal range.

“Will I make the metal detectors go off in airports now that I’m bionic?” Emery asks.

“Everything is titanium, but there’s still a chance.”

“I was hoping for the extra-thorough search the next time I go home. When I flew back at Christmas, there was a super-cute TSA agent I wouldn’t have minded getting a pat down from.” She wags her eyebrows. “I think I have a thing for men in uniforms.”

“And scrubs count as a uniform?”

She grins. “Maybe not the hottest uniform, but still a uniform.”

When I finish reviewing Emery’s chart, I let her know the doctor will be back to check on her in a while and that there’s a good possibility they’ll keep her at least overnight. “Are your parents on their way here?”

“Uh, no. They’re in Europe on some big monthlong trip.”

“Do they know you’ve had surgery?”

“Oh yeah. I called them as soon as the accident happened so I could get the insurance information and stuff. I told them it wasn’t that big of a deal. This is, like, the first time they’ve ever gone on a vacation for this long. I don’t want them to fly back because I broke a few bones.”

That’s an unusually mature way to handle having a bunch of pins and metal rods put in your leg. “Do you need someone to arrange for a ride back to your dorm later?”

“I have a place off campus with a roommate, and I have a car. I guess I’m lucky it’s my left leg and not my right, otherwise I’d have to take public transit for the next couple of months.”

“You didn’t drive yourself here, did you?” I can’t imagine that would’ve been safe.

“Oh no. The ambulance brought me straight from the soccer game. Someone will pick me up.”

“Okay, that’s good. Well, I’ll be around in a couple of hours to check on you. You’ll receive a follow-up appointment for next week before you leave.”

“Will you be around the next time I’m here?”

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