A week passed with no communication happened between the two doctors. Josh had resigned himself to marrying Glenn, and he let the man set a date of October 29th, which set the wheels in motion on the planning.It was one of the worst things that he'd ever done.Glenn had been so excited this week, yammering on about wedding plans that his mother was working on.Josh found himself sinking deeper and deeper into the guilt of marrying a man he wasn't sure he was fully in love with, just like he'd done with his wife.He felt like he was about to repeat his mistakes.
Josh paced his apartment. It was a stormy early evening. He’d just gotten off the phone with Glenn, having invited him to come over. He rubbed his arms for warmth, despite the eighty-degree day.A few minutes later, Glenn unlocked the door and entered.
Josh put on his best mask. “Hi sweetie.”
Glenn beamed at him. “Hi!” They kissed. “How are you? I was missing you all day. I knew you had the kids today so I didn’t want to intrude.”
”You’ve never been an intrusion.” Josh kissed him gently.
“Something bothering you, hon?”
Josh nodded. “A little bit, I’ve got a lot on my mind.”
Glenn removed his biker’s jacket and hat. “I understand that. Wedding stuff? I never realized there was so much to do! If my mom wasn’t helping me out, this would drive me nuts.”
“Yeah, it has to do with the wedding.” Josh cupped his mouth and took a few quick breaths. He looked at his fiancé and crossed his arms tightly across his chest. “Glenn, I’m gonna come right to the point here.”
“Alright, but wait a sec first. Rest stop.”
Josh paced the floor again while he waited for Glenn to surface from the bathroom again. He leaned over the sofa and pinched his nose to stave off a headache. He glanced outside and saw the first storm clouds heading in. The room darkened, and he turned on a tall floor lamp and sat down in the big easy chair in the corner.
Glenn clomped back down the hallway and sat down in Josh’s lap. “Missed you”.
Josh backed away from the kiss that Glenn offered. “Baby…we’ve got to talk.”
Glenn hopped off his lap and clasped his hands together. “Why’d you back away from me just now? What’s up?”
The tall doctor held up his hand for a moment and finally spoke again. “First, lemme ask you a blunt question. You’re in love with me, right?”
Glenn looked at him from the side. “Uh, yes.With all my heart. I’ve had it bad for you since the beginning. I’d take a freakin' bullet for you, Joshua Adams. Why are you asking me this?” he asked slowly; his hands unclasped and he crossed them against his chest defensively.
Josh shut his eyes and shook his head. “Shit, that just makes this so much harder....”
The mustached man’s mouth gaped open as he braced himself for what must be the awful truth. “That makes what so much harder? Dammit, Josh! What the hell are you saying?” He inched closer to hear what he now figured he didn’t ever want to hear.
Josh brushed away tears. “Glenn, I-I don’t think I’m in love with you.”
Glenn gasped aloud. “You don’t love me? Are you freakin’ serious? This has got to be one of the worst jokes you’ve ever played on me! Come on, this is a joke, right? You’re not actually saying this to me!”
Josh tried to reach for his hand but was denied. “Glenn I love you to death, but I don’t think I’m in love with you….”
Glenn fought tears and let his anger take hold. “You don’t have to be in love with me, we can work it out, right? You can’t possibly be doing this to me now? A week after getting engaged? What the hell brought this on?”
Josh shook his head and covered his face. “I just don’t feel the way someone who’s about to get married should feel!You deserve someone who's heart skips a beat every time they see you, someone who gets--" he broke off."God, Glenn, I-I’m not all giddy and goofy around you anymore—baby, shhh…. “
“The goofiness wears off after a while! It’s called the honeymoon phase for a reason! I thought we were in way deeper than that now! If that’s all this is, hey, I’ll be goofy again; I’ll do anything you want me to do!” He fell to his knees, sobbing. “What’ve I done? Is there something that I can do again or undo or what? What the fuck have I done, Joshua?”
Josh attempted to help him up. “Hon—“
Glenn batted his hands back and stood up on his own, his indignation rising to the forefront. “Leave me alone! Fine! I see what you want now. I guess this is it, huh? You’re ending this?”
Josh nodded slowly. He removed the ring from his finger and tried to hand it to Glenn. “Please…take it.”
Glenn glared at the glittering bauble and shot Josh a cutting look. “You keep the damn ring. Maybe it’ll remind you of what you were supposed to be! My husband! Dammit! I can’t believe you’re doing this right after we set a date for the wedding? You couldn’t have told me sooner?”
“I didn’t know what I felt! I don’t know why this is happening, but it is! I’m sorry Glenn….”
Glenn dried his face and fell stoic. “I see. Well then. I’ll just get the hell out of your way, Dr. Adams. What I felt for you feels like an airplane that just burned up in a fiery inferno! Damn you!” He turned away quickly and put on his jacket and hat again.
“Glenn! I can try to explain—“
“Don’t even try! Spare me the details of whatever you and your buddy hatched. I don’t want to know about any of this! I’ll bet Greg knows all about it, doesn’t he? You could fall in love with him, but not with me? You know he doesn’t want you, but you still want him, isn’t that it? You can’t get over him?”
Josh rubbed his arms. “Glenn—“
With a final sneer, Glenn opened the door. “I’m outta here. See ya around the universe, Josh. I think I’ll be asking for a new doctor. Certainly couldn’t handle seeing you anymore.” With that, Glenn bolted out the door and ran to his bike.
Josh sat back on the sofa and sobbed into his hands. He looked deeply into the large, sparkling band of diamonds on the ring and it brought his mind back to when he and Glenn met. After a few minutes, he dried his face, removed the ring from his finger and put it in his pocket. He put on his lab coat and climbed into his car to report for his extra shift at the hospital.Even though he'd been working the extra shifts in the ER for a couple months now, tonight's shift felt like it was going to be the longest ever. The clouds had completely enshrouded the sun and grew darker by the moment.
Josh had been at working all of a half-hour when an ambulance arrived at the ER. There’d been a motorcycle accident. Josh was in shock when he saw noticed who the victim was--Glenn.
One of the nurses grabbed his arm. “Doc, come on! Get with it!”
Josh shook his head and jumped into action. “Right…okay, nurse, get him prepped for surgery, and I want an MRI, bloodwork, the works! Let’s get him into the OR stat!”
He spent the next few hours in doctor mode, trying not to think too much about the fact that he had been the one to cause this.His heart skipped as he began to realize just how much he really did love this man.Fuck, what had he done?Had his love for Greg blinded him so badly that he couldn't see that he could be in love with two men--and one of them actually loved him back?
After the mayhem calmed down a bit, Josh slipped the ring back on to kill any rumors of the breakup that no one knew about yet. His boss heard about the accident and had dismissed him for the rest of his shift. He sat vigil in Glenn’s room. His entire future was up in the air right now. Would Glenn even remember anything? Josh could barely think or move. Glenn was out cold.
Josh saw his daughter skip into the room.
He picked her up and hugged her for a long moment. “Nati! What….”
Kim walked in. “Hey, Josh.”
Josh had never been so happy to see her or his kids. He hugged her warmly. “Kim! What on earth are you doing here?”
“Well, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think of Glenn as a friend.I heard on the news about the accident.My friend Darrick saw the whole thing, and he recognized Glenn and called me. I figured you’d be a wreck.” She kissed his forehead.
“It’d have been worse if I hadn’t been here or the EMT’s wouldn’t have been so incredible.”
Kim smiled at him. “I’m sure you saved his life. He’s so lucky.”
Josh shook his head. “No he’s not…but thank you anyway. His life wasn’t really in danger. It was a low speed crash from what I heard.”
“What’s his condition?”
“Fair. He’s still out, but I’m hoping he’ll wake up soon. Hey, where’s Ben?”
The raven-haired teen walked in from around the corner. “Right here, Dad.”
Josh grinned and hugged his son. “How are you?”
“I’m good. Hey, what’s wrong with Glenn?”
“He was in an accident son, but luckily he was wearing his helmet.”
Ben scrutinized the patient. “But he’s still out.”
Kim ruffled his hair. “If he hadn’t been wearing that helmet, he’d be dead right now.”
Natalie walked over and poked Ben in the stomach. “Maybe you’ll wear your helmet more often, Ben!”
He shushed her and tried to tickle her, but she escaped. “Shhh, Nat!”
Josh glared at his son. “Wear your helmet, Mister. Please. For your old man. Look at what can happen!”
“Yeah, alright, alright.”Ben stuffed his hands in his pockets and looked down at his mother. “So, now what?”
Josh looked up at Kim, and she watched his lower lip quiver a little. He blinked back tears though he tried to camouflage it.
She reached into her purse and pulled out a $5 bill. “Kids, here’s some money. Go down to the gift shop and get a puzzle book or something, alright? I need to talk with your father.”
Ben snapped up the money and grabbed his sister’s arm. “Come on, little bratty girl.”
As soon as the kids exited, tears rolled down Josh’s face. He glanced at his engagement ring and back at the patient. “Gawd, Kim, what am I gonna do?”
She hugged him tight. “Shhh, let it out. I know this is a very hard time for you. Have you eaten at all?”
“No, I’m afraid he’ll wake up, and I’ll miss it.”
“Well, your shift has just been changed, it’s my watch now. You go on, get something to eat.”
Josh swiped at his face. “What about the kids?”
“Michelle’s picking them up in a few minutes. I knew you’d be like this. Part of the joy of being married to you for so long—I know you best.”
Josh kissed her and held her close. “I can’t tell you what this means to me…”
“Hey, I know what he means to you, when you’re in love with someone—“
"I told him I wasn't," Josh said quietly.
Kim shook her head, and her mouth dropped open. “No way, that can’t be. You gushed about this guy the moment you two met and haven’t stopped since. I think you just have cold feet. I know you were in love with Greg.”
Josh nodded. “I was, and what’s worse is I still am, and I told Glenn that. Kim…I did something really horrible.”
She shot him a sideways glance and put her hands on her hips. “Joshua Adams, what’ve you done?”
“I told him I wasn’t in love with him, and I broke off the engagement.” He fell into her arms and sobbed.
“I can’t believe you did that. Josh! Dammit, man! At least you get a second chance to right things with him.”
“Kim…I told him he deserved better, someone whose heart skips a beat when they get together. I just didn’t realize at the moment that mine does skip when I see him. Why did I do that?”
“Shhh.” She held him tight and smoothed his back as best she could with her tiny arms. “Why are you still wearing the ring, if you think it's over?”
Josh caught his breath. “His family doesn’t know yet, no one does except for you. I can’t face their questions right now.And I... I don't think I want it to be over.Shit, I'm so confused right now. I want us to be together again and engaged and happy.” He saw the look in her blue eyes. “I’m sorry; this must be tough to hear.”
She shook her head. “Not as hard as it was a while back. I know you love him, it’s all over your face.”
The kids ran back into the room and Josh wiped off his face quickly.
“Mom, Aunt Michelle’s here!” Ben announced.
Kim’s older sister Michelle walked into the room. She was a beauty like her sister, just taller and a few years older. Her mocha brown hair was shoulder-length with a few gray hairs. Her eyes were still the same ice blue that her sister had. She held Nati’s hand. “Hi Kim, Josh. How’s he doing?”
“No change,” Josh replied flatly.
“I’m sorry.” She hugged her ex brother-in-law quickly.
“He’ll be alright, I feel it.”
She smiled at him. “I know he will. Well, I’ve got to get those two darlings out of here. See you later. Kim, call me if you need anything.”
“’Night, Dad, Mom,” Ben said as he hugged them goodbye. “Oh, here’s the book we got. It’s one of those word search ones.”
“Thanks, sweetie. Good job.” Kim kissed them both.
“’Night, Daddy, love you. I hope Glenn’s okay,” Natalie said in her sweet voice.
Josh hoisted her up and kissed her. “So do I, pumpkin. So do I. I love you.”
She wrapped her arms around his neck. “Love you too, Daddy.” She kissed his cheek, and he set her down again. She hugged her mother quickly then took Ben’s hand and walked off with him.
Michelle hugged Kim quickly and left the room.
Kim let out a sigh. “Alright, kids are gone, Michelle’s gone. Time for you to go eat, mister.”
Josh dried his face. “I suppose so. It’s been a long while.”
“I’ll be right here and don’t worry; I’ll page you the second something happens. Alright?”
He smiled at her and smoothed her shoulder. “I’m so glad you don’t hate me. Most wives would.”
“I like him too. You and I made a great team, once upon a time, and we were friends before we got married. That’s why we can make this work. Now go on, eat! You’re too pale.”
“Yes, Nurse Kim. Be back soon.”
Josh went downstairs to the dining area, and came back up a half-hour later. Kim sat quietly doing word search puzzles.
Josh walked over and looked at the patient. He took in every inch and nuance that he could and locked them away in his memory, as if this was to be one of their final memories. He rubbed his eyes.
“I ordered a cot for you. Since this is a private room, I figured you’d want to stay here.”
“You’re right, I do. I need to change clothes. I about got sick when I saw him rolled into the ER. Um…his parents should be here before too long. I called them myself.”
Kim held up her hand. “Say no more. I’ll go to your place and get you some things.”
Josh reached for his keys but hesitated. “Are you sure?”
She smoothed his arm and fingered the ornate ring. “Things will work out, you’ll see."
“You don’t have to do this…”
Kim shook her head. “I want to. I feel kinda responsible. Besides, I never stopped loving you, Joshua Adams. You were my first love and a great guy. I know you just got cold feet with Glenn and that’s why you said what you said. I want things to go well for you two.”
He hugged her warmly. “I’ll always love you too, Kim. I pray you’re right about Glenn and me.”
Glenn’s parents were at his bedside, holding his hand and talking to him.
“My baby boy. Will he wake up?” Betty Parker, Glenn’s mom, asked, tears streaming down her face.
“I hope so. Very soon.”
“He’ll be alright. Remember that flu he had one time, Mother? Fever got to 103. Didn’t think he’d make it then, but he did. He’s a strong lad this one. He’s our boy.” Glenn's father looked over his shoulder at Josh. “You’re keeping a good lookout on our boy, Joshua. I sure appreciate that,” Vernon Parker added as he clapped the doctor on his shoulder.
“Thank you, sir. He’ll recover, he’s young and strong and determined.”
Betty patted his hand and kissed his cheek. “You look like a wreck, you’re worse than me! You need to get some sleep, young man.”
Kim cracked a smile as she quietly walked in and put down the large gym bag she was carrying. “I’ll make sure of it.”
Josh smiled at her and held out his hand. “Oh, Betty, Vernon, you’ve met my ex-wife, Kim? She and Glenn are pretty close too. She’s an extraordinary woman to take him on as a friend and not an enemy.”
“Pleased to meet you.” Vernon offered his hand, which Kim readily shook.
“Sir, ma’am.Wonderful to meet you. I wish it’d been at the wedding and not here.”
Josh bowed his head, and she saw him bite his lower lip to stave off tears. “We just have to get through this hard part.”
Betty looked over her shoulder and saw Josh crying. She held him close and patted his back. “He’ll be okay. I know my Glenny. He’ll be just fine. I know he heard me talking to him.”
“I know,” Josh whispered.
Vernon put his hand on his shoulder. “You get some rest, young man. You look awful! Listen to this wonderful lady over here.”
Josh controlled his tears. “I am, don’t worry. I just ate a little while ago.”
“Well, at least you ate. Usually first thing I’d forget to do,” Betty chimed in. “We’ll see you later. You sleep now, alright? Remember, we love you too, and we’re real glad you two worked it out. We’ll be out in the waiting room, alright?”
Josh kissed her cheek and shook his hand. “Thank you both.”
They left the room, and Kim handed him fresh tissues.
“Yeah…they remind me so much of my folks. I love them too. How can I tell them they won’t have a son-in-law now?” Fresh tears rolled down his cheeks.
Kim held him tight. “You don’t know that for certain. Come on, time to sleep. You look completely drained.”
Josh changed quickly and freshened up. He lay down and fell asleep not a minute later.