Authors: A. C. Marchman
Book one of the
Copyright 2012 A.C. Marchman
This is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, or events used in this book are the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people, alive or deceased, events or locales is completely coincidental.
All rights reserved. Self published by author. Any use of the book without the author’s consent is strictly prohibited.
Cover design and ebook formatting by JB McGee
Cover photo provided by Shutterstock.com
Editing by author and Kristen Said, MD
To my husband Dan. You are MY DC. I love you!
To the SBWM and PTC, you girls rock!
“Oh, crap! I’m late!” I jump out of my incredibly comfortable bed. “I have to be there in twenty minutes!” I yell, not speaking to anyone but myself. I had stayed up all night studying for my final in Ethics of Public Health, but having only gotten four hours of sleep, I am really regretting that decision right now. I am thankful that I was OCD enough to set out what I was going to wear today; I grab my outfit and throw off my pajamas as I race to the bathroom. I take one look in the mirror and groan. I look like absolute hell! My green eyes are swollen and puffy from lack of sleep, my chestnut brown hair looked like I stuck my finger in a light socket, and I really need to get out in the sun more often. I start putting on my favorite purple V-neck t-shirt and jean capris like my life depended on it. I wash my face and brush my teeth. No time for make up. I throw my untamed hair into a ponytail. “There,” I think to myself, "That will have to do.”
My roommate, Livey, is already in the kitchen when I come tumbling down the hall. She is my best friend on this planet, and she knows me better than anyone. She has my coffee the way I like it, three sugars and French vanilla creamer, ready in my Emory University to go cup. “I knew you were going to be late this morning, so I got it ready for you,” Livey says with a smirk on her lips. Her face is round, like a cherub, and her nose is speckled with freckles. Her strawberry blonde hair always looks perfect, not a hair out of place even with this Georgia humidity. She is adorably short and slim. Her sweet Georgian accent is present in every word. I try my best to look offended, but her belly laugh tells me she knows better. I giggle every time she laughs, it’s just so infectious.
“Livey, what would I do without you?” I ask her as I grab my book bag and coffee.
“You would be late with no coffee,” she says, laughing. “Now, go ace that final!” I grin at her as I run out the front door. Thank goodness we live on the first floor of our apartment building in Atlanta. I wouldn’t have the time to run down three flights of stairs. I unlock my cherry red mustang and roar the engine to life. God, I love this car. I have had it since my junior year of high school, and being that my brother Jon is a mechanic, I never had to put it in the shop. He owns his own business back in Lynchburg, the town in Virginia where we grew up. I suddenly miss him and make a mental note to call him once my exam is over.
I am so thankful that I live only a couple streets over from school. As I zoom down Peachtree Road, I realize I need to be in my class in ten minutes! I down the rest of my coffee, whip my car into the closest parking space I can find, and take off toward the building. The building is so stately and large. I start taking stairs two at a time, trying to get in the room before the final begins. I look down at my watch; three minutes to go! As I look up, I run smack into a guy, and we both fall back. Dazed and embarrassed, I pick up my book bag and mutter an apology to the poor guy. He stands, brushes off his navy pin-striped suit, and offers me his hand. My face turns scarlet as I look at the guy I knocked down. He is stunning, to say the least. His eyes are baby blue, the kind that can see right through to your soul. His chocolate colored brown hair flops on his forehead. How I want to run my fingers through it. He is at least 6 feet tall, and it is obvious through his suit that he is in great shape.
“Are you okay?” this Adonis asks me. My heart rate shoots up, and I‘m sure he can feel my quickened pulse. God, I hope he doesn‘t know that I’m wondering what‘s under that pin-striped suit.
“I’m so sorry about that, but I have to get to class fast. I have a final to get to,” I explain as I stand.
“Of course, do you need me to walk you there?” the handsome stranger asks me with a half smile. Holy shit, he’s hot.
“Oh, no thanks. I appreciate it, though,” I mumble.
“Well, good luck on your test,” he says as I rush towards my classroom. “Oh.My.God,” I think out loud. I can’t believe I just ran into that beautiful man and fell on my ass in front of him! I can’t help but look over my shoulder for one last glimpse at him. He’s staring at me, his blue eyes hooded. I feel my face turn a crimson red. Oh, great! He thinks I am a total klutz, which actually, I am. I was too embarrassed to let him walk me to class, though I’m already regretting it. No time to think about him right now; I have to get through this exam.
I walk into class, finally, without a minute to spare. “Ah, Miss Marshall. You decided to show up for your final,” Dr. Wiseman snorts as I take my seat. The class stifles their laughter. “Sorry about that,” I mutter as I sit down. “Traffic was awful.”
“Well, I do hope you are ready for this, Miss Marshall. This class is not a joke, and if you want to get into the Physician Assistant Program, then I suggest you concentrate,” she snaps.
Ouch, that hurt. I have a 4.0, and I know there is nothing to really worry about, but why did she have to call me out like that? I smolder as she passes out our exams. “There are one hundred questions. The exam will cover everything you have learned in your Ethics of Public Health class this semester. Good luck, class, and remember, no talking!” Geez, are we in kindergarten here? I roll my eyes as we begin this final, my mind still wondering back to that beautiful stranger. I flush at the thought. “Okay, back to reality, Marshall!’ I think to myself. I soon focus on the task at hand and feverishly start my final. And to my surprise, the answers come easily, given the events that happened this morning with the Greek god and my annoying clumsiness.
After an hour and a half of the mind numbing exam, I turn my test in to Dr. Wiseman. She looks up from her laptop and grins at me. “All done, Miss Marshall?” she says.
“Yes, ma’am,” I mutter as I lay my paper down.
“You know, Miss Marshall, I should tell you that I’m sorry about my outburst this morning when you were almost late. I do not like tardiness.” I cast my eyes downwards. “However, your grades are outstanding. I also spoke to the director of the P.A. program and gave him a recommendation for you.”
My green eyes widen in surprise. “Wow, Dr. Wiseman, thank you. I don’t know what to say.”
My professor smiles at me and says, “The only thing I want in return is for you to get into that school and be the best Physician Assistant you can be.”
I flush slightly and grin at her like a stupid moron. “I promise, Miss Wiseman.”
“Good, Allison. I hope your family is coming to see you graduate.” I frown, remembering my father and how much he wanted to see me walk in my cap and gown. God, how I miss that man. Tears start to pool in my eyes, so I excuse myself.
“Good day, Allison, and good luck,” Dr. Wiseman says, obviously not understanding why she is the reason for my tears. I dart out of the classroom before I start blubbering like an idiot. I run to the closest restroom and let the tears fall freely. My dad was diagnosed with heart disease at age forty, and I saw him struggle with it every day. One of the last things he told me before I left for Georgia was to live my dreams and not give up, to do my best and forgive myself if I fail. His blue eyes bore into my soul, and I promised him I would not give up. I gave him my word, and Allison Marshall does not go back on her word. I wipe my tears and find my resolve. “I will do it, daddy, I promise you,” I think as I step out of the bathroom.
As I step outside, I look around the school. The grand campus is alive with the signs of summer approaching. Lush green lawns with students scattered everywhere, cramming for their finals.
It’s a bittersweet moment. I will graduate this weekend with my Bachelors of Science. I grin to myself. Emory should hopefully be sending either my acceptance or rejection letter in the mail soon. My interview with the dean in January went great, and it made me hopeful. My heart leaps at the thought. I will be the first one in my family to graduate from college. I know my family is proud of me. My pride swells, and I walk to my car with my head held high. As I reach the steps to the parking lot, I see him again. He is getting into a silver BMW. His eyes turn to meet mine, soul burning blue to wide-eyed green. He slips off his blazer and already has his tie off with the first two buttons undone. He shuts his door and smirks at me. How the hell does my pulse quicken so fast around him? I don’t even know his name! “It’s because he’s gorgeous and out of your league,” the unwelcome thought comes to my brain. I frown, knowing my mind is right, but hey, he is pretty good eye candy.
I watch him pull out of the parking lot. He has my favorite song playing, Jack Johnson singing “Better Together.” I sigh as I throw my book bag in the backseat and get in the driver’s seat. “Oh well,” I think, at least I got to see him again when I was not flat on my butt. I chuckle at myself as I turn the engine on and head for my apartment. I blare the radio, trying to clear my mind. I miss my daddy so much it hurts, and I embarrassed the hell out of myself in front of the most beautiful man I have ever seen. “Man, what a day this is turning out to be!” I speak outloud. “Daddy, tell God I need a good day soon, please.” I smile, because if I don’t, I will cry. I hold back as I pull into my apartment.
I walk in as Livey is getting ready to head for work. “How did you do?” she questions, her big hazel eyes expressing their concern. I give her a shy smile and wait just a few seconds for suspense. “Nailed it, baby!” I scream, dancing in place.
Livey copies my actions, both of us dancing to no music. “Oh girl, I’m so happy for you! I know you studied so hard all year long, we are celebrating tonight! My treat, you pick the place.”
“I’ll get back to you on that one,” I say, as I slip my flip-flops off and sit my book bag down. Right now, I need to call my big brother Jon. We are so close, and I wish he was here with me to celebrate.
Livey yells out, “I get off at seven, so text me and let me know what you wanna do!”
“Will do, now get to work before you’re late!” I holler back to her. Livey works at the Sheffield Medical Center as an x-ray tech. She bounds out of the door and heads to her Explorer. She has on her bright pink scrub pants with a top that has tiny hearts on it. I swear that girl can wear anything and look breathtaking. Her stick straight hair is in a high ponytail. I have no idea how she does, but she can make a potato sack look like the latest fashion trend. As she pulls out of the lot, I think about when we first met and smile at the memory.
I had just moved to Atlanta four years ago. I had just moved in the dorms at Emory. My roommate, Karen, was from Mississippi. She was nice at first, but as the days turned to weeks, she became seriously obnoxious! She was always leaving her dirty clothes all over the room then stealing my clothes when she ran out of her clean ones. I am pretty obsessive compulsive when it comes to my living space. I like to have my clothes neatly folded or hung in my closet. I wouldn’t have minded if she had the decency to ask me first to borrow something, but the fact that she would go into my drawers and pull out whatever she wanted was overly annoying. In order to save my sanity, I had to get a part time job. I was thankful when the Bayside Golf Club offered me a job in the club rentals. It got me out of my dorm room and away from Karen.