I kept trying to tell myself that I didn’t see what I knew I saw. That it was some kind of mistake. That the girl Mason was fucking wasn’t my therapist, the one I’d fallen in love with.
But it just made too much sense. Mason had made several comments in the past about how he thought Jane was attractive. And then he didn’t want to tell me if he was seeing someone or not, which was really fucking weird. And then the kiss, of course, which I saw with my very own eyes. They weren’t sucking face or anything, but it was definitely a kiss between two people who were a couple. I could tell.
The next morning, I was really cranky because I hadn’t slept well, and I knew that Jane was going to be seeing me first thing in bed. Jane: that lying whore. I couldn’t believe she was fucking my best friend and had kept it from me. And it didn’t make things better when I saw that Jane had brought someone with her.
“Hi, Nick,” Jane said. “This is Greg. He’s going to be your primary care attendant when you go home.”
Have you ever met a person and just disliked them instantly? That was me and Greg. Granted, I was still really upset over the situation with Jane and Mason, but I’m pretty sure I would have hated this guy either way. He was in his late thirties, short and solidly built with a shaved head and a cleft in his chin (Mason and I always used to call those things “chin butts”). He looked like he could have been a boxer. He also looked like he didn’t take a lot of shit from people.
“Hi, Nick,” Greg said, raising his hand in greeting.
“Hi,” I mumbled.
“I’m going to spend the next week or so training Greg to do your care,” Jane said. “So we’re going to be seeing a lot of him.”
“Fantastic,” I said without enthusiasm.
Jane frowned at me, then continued, “I was thinking that since you’re in bed, I could teach Greg to do your bowel program, then how to do the Hoyer lift transfers.”
Because right after you meet someone, the first thing you want to do is show them your bare ass.
Jane gave Greg instructions for rolling me onto my side. Once I was on my side, I heard her say to me, “Okay, Nick, tell Greg what to do.”
What??? “I don’t fucking know,” I said.
Jane sighed loudly. “Nick, we talked about this. You’re supposed to know how to direct your care. What if Greg is out for a day and someone else is helping you?”
“Then my mother will show them what to do,” I said.
Jane snorted. “Is that honestly your answer? You’re going to drag your mother in to help with your bowel program for the rest of your life?”
When she put it that way, it didn’t sound so great. I really, really didn’t want to do this, but I felt stuck. “All right,” I said. “First, get a clean chuck and put it… under my butt.”
I heard rustling from behind me and my body shifted as Greg was presumably putting the chuck in place. “Okay, what now, Nick?” he asked.
I knew I had to explain to Greg about inserting the suppository and doing rectal stimulation, but I just couldn’t make myself do it. “I don’t know,” I said. “Have Jane show you.”
“Nick, come on,” Jane said. She didn’t sound pleased, but fuck her.
“I said I don’t fucking know!” I snapped.
Everyone was silent for about a minute. I thought there was a chance Jane might yell at me, but she didn’t. Instead, she started explaining to Greg how to do my bowel program in a clipped, efficient voice. Maybe she had a point that I should have been the one doing it, but I just couldn’t talk about inserting rectal suppositories in front of my best friend’s girlfriend.
Most of the morning was spent training Greg to take care of me. Cam came in to help as well, which made it all the more obvious that I wasn’t speaking to Jane. And I’m guessing she knew why.
I had intended to confront Jane in the afternoon, after Greg left, but she said she had an appointment and took off early. My guess was that she knew I was planning to confront her and wanted to avoid it. Although in general, that wasn’t Jane’s style.
There were no therapies in the late afternoon, so I was left to my own devices. I went around the rehab center, passing up an opportunity to watch Jeopardy in the patient’s lounge. I tried to remember what I used to do in the old days, before my injury. I usually hung out with Mason or whatever chick I was fucking, usually getting high. In retrospect, it seemed like kind of a waste.
I went down to the lobby and looked out the windows. I was free to leave, but where would I go? What would I do? I couldn’t even dress myself. Shit, I couldn’t even feed myself.
I looked up and saw Mason standing by the entrance to the hospital. He had a funny look on his face. Guilt, probably. He knew he wasn’t supposed to be dating my therapist.
“Hey, Mason,” I said.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Sure,” I said.
He shoved his paws deep into his jacket pockets. “I need to talk to you. You, uh, want to take a walk?”
We went outside and started going around the block. Mason kept his hands in his pockets and he didn’t look at me. It wasn’t like I’d never been pissed off at Mason before. There had been plenty of times in the past when we’d fought about stupid shit, but usually not for very long. Mason, for all his exploits, was a very ethical person. He sometimes flirted with a girl I was seeing, but he’d never done anything like make a play for one of them.
“I wasn’t totally honest with you yesterday,” Mason said, his eyes pinned on the sidewalk.
No fucking kidding. “Oh?”
“Yeah, the thing is…” Mason ran his hand through his sand-colored hair. “I am seeing a girl.”
“Yeah, I know.”
Surprise registered on Mason’s face. “You do? Did Jane tell you?”
I didn’t want to talk about the kiss I’d witnessed, so I said, “Yeah.”
“I’m sorry,” Mason said. “It just… happened. I meant to wait, but…”
“Is it serious?” I prayed he’d say no.
Mason nodded. “It is. I, uh…”
He looked down at his size 14 sneakers. I was trying to read the expression on his face but I couldn’t. “What is it?”
“Nick, I…” He heaved a great breath. “I asked her to marry me. She said yes.”
What the fuck?????????????
Jane and Mason were getting married? How could this be happening? I could deal with them dating maybe, but how could they do this to me? I knew Mason was trying to get his life on track, but this was insane.
“I know it’s sudden,” Mason said, his tone apologetic.
No shit. “I guess you’ve been dating her for a while then.” Behind my back.
“Yeah,” he said. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. I would have, but…”
It was pretty obvious why he didn’t tell me. First of all, we were barely speaking thanks to Savannah. Second of all, Jane probably knew what they were doing was unethical and asked him to keep it quiet.
“Do you love her?” I asked him. I was trying to keep my voice steady, but it was hard. I had a lump in my throat that made it difficult to speak.
“I really do,” he said. His blue eyes finally met mine. “I love her so much, Nick. I know you haven’t felt that way about a girl yet, but when you do, believe me, it’s amazing.”
What a slap in the face. I wanted to scream at him that I did feel that way about a girl. I loved her. And it was amazing. Until he fucking stole her from me.
Knowing Mason, he’d probably ask me to be his best man. I’d have to sit there in front of a whole room full of people, probably with the fucking ring in my lap because I sure as fuck couldn’t hold it, having to smile like a moron while my best friend married the woman I loved more than anything. The thought made me physically ill.
Mason had an anxious look on his face, waiting for my response. Much as I hated him right now, I couldn’t even entirely blame him. After all, he just wanted the same thing I wanted. Jane was wonderful. And you couldn’t really blame her for choosing him over me. I probably wasn’t even in the running. Mason couldn’t steal something that was never mine.
“Congratulations,” I croaked.
“Really?” Mason’s broad shoulders sagged in relief. “You’re not pissed?”
“Of course not,” I lied.
“Oh man.” Mason rubbed his face. “I really thought you were going to be upset with me. It means a lot that you’re on board with this.”
We’d gone full circle around the block and I saw the entrance of the hospital coming up. I could tell Mason wanted to talk more, but I didn’t have it in me to keep pretending to be happy for him and Jane. “Listen, I have to go now,” I said.
“Oh,” Mason said. He looked at the entrance to the hospital, then squinted at my face. “You sure you’re not pissed at me?”
“I told you I’m not,” I insisted, trying to keep the irritation out of my voice. I did my best to look him straight in the eyes. “I’m not. Really.”
Mason and I said our goodbyes. By the time I got back to the elevator, I had made up my mind. I had a plan forming in my head about how I was going to break up Mason and Jane’s relationship. I knew everything there was to know about Mason Lunt, both the bad and the really bad.
Mason wasn’t going to marry Jane if I had anything to do with it. No fucking way.