I’ve come undone. For years I thought the world looked at my family and saw perfection. I was a busy surgeon and my wife was devoted to our two boys. But her devotion crumbled as her alcoholism took over. The outside world saw all too well what I wanted to deny.
Ten months ago she filed for divorce, packed up and moved away. To where – I don’t know. Nor do I care. But my boys do. And they’re left with me, a man who never learned how to be the dad they deserve.
Just when I’m starting to pick up the pieces, my world is rocked again by the last woman I’d expect. Given her past with my family, she’s a bad idea. But I’m drawn like a moth to a flame. I can’t stay away, even though I know this, too, will eventually crumble around me.
Gene’s Diner had a full lunchtime crowd. I waved at the co-owner Margie on my way to meet Mason at the booth he was sitting in.
“Hey,” I said as I slid in.
He shook his head. “Those scrubs could get you so much ass, man.”
I looked down at my green surgical scrubs and then back at him. “Women aren’t thinking about sex when they see me, dumbass. They’re either sick or worried about someone who is.”
“Right.” Mason’s eyes widened like the answer was obvious and I was still missing it. “Someone could turn to you for comfort after seeing their cousin in the hospital—”
I rolled my eyes with disgust.
“—hear me out, man,” he continued. “For something completely non-life threatening. Like maybe her cousin had an ingrown toenail removed.”
“Which would definitely not require hospitalization.”
He shrugged. “Maybe the whole toe, then. Anyway, her cousin’s gonna be fine. And she’s single and eager to sneak off to an empty room with the hot doctor who saved him.”
“There are so many things wrong with that scenario.”
“But one thing that’s very right.” He nodded knowingly.
“For a guy in a committed relationship, you’re still kind of a douchebag about women.”
That got a dramatic eye roll from him. “There’s nothing wrong with casual sex, Kyle. Nothing. As long as both people are single, legal, and they both know the deal.”
“A woman is the last thing I need. The last one gave me enough grief to last a lifetime.”
“Kim was a psycho bitch. Find someone normal.”
Margie cleared her throat next to us. “What can I get you boys?”
We ordered burgers and fries, and she rushed off to the next table.
“Let’s not talk about Kim,” I said to Mason.
“Okay, I’m almost done. You shouldn’t have married the first woman you slept with.”
I arched my brows. “You guys have mentioned that four or five hundred times already.”
“I’m not saying you should get married again. Not this soon. But you could use a friend with benefits, you know?”