The Proposal (Forever Bound Book 2)

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The Proposal

 

BY Bree Callahan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Proposal

This book is a work of fiction.  Any person, place, or situation in the story is of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to a person, place, or situation is completely coincidental.

This book may not be reproduced in any way and if you wish to use it for any means other than your personal enjoyment, then express by written consent to the author. Any communication can come to the author by clicking
here
.  Thank you for your understanding.

 

Copyright © 2016 Bree Callahan

All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 1

 

“Parker?”  She looked up when her last name was called.  She got up from her chair and followed the woman back to an exam room.  “My name’s Jackie, and I’ll be your nurse for today.  How are you doing today?” Jackie asked.

“I’m doing well…you?” Charity replied back in response.

“Doing great, thank you!  You may have a seat on the table while I go over your registration forms.”  Jackie turned her back to Charity and started typing away at the computer, while Charity nervously looked around at the flyers and posters on the walls of the exam room. 

She made a decision to go to a doctor’s office fifty miles away from Buxton so no one would know she was seeking out birth control pills, and she was grateful she’d made that decision because the last thing she needed was someone snooping around her affairs.  The nurse asked her some questions, such as allergies, past surgeries, and if she was on any medication, then checked her temperature, blood pressure, and pulse and told her to get naked and put a gown on.  The doctor would be in in a moment.

As she undressed and put on her paper gown, she questioned whether it was the right decision, but it didn’t take her any time to come to the conclusion.  She considered the possibility for the past forty-eight hours, and she always came back to the same realization.  She wanted to do this for Damian.

The doctor came into the room and greeted her with a smile.  His nurse followed behind him.  “Hello, Ms. Parker.”  He shook her hand.  “My name is Dr. Stone, and I’ll be doing your exam today.  Have you ever had a pap and pelvic?” he asked.  Honestly, the thought scared her.  She was twenty-five and never found a reason for the exam.  She heard horror stories, and that was reason enough for her to not go through the pain and hassle.  She just shook her head.  He smiled a genuine smile.  “I’m going to have you lay back and put your feet in the stirrups.  Jamie will you help her.”

The nurse headed to the table and helped Charity to lay back, then asked her to scoot closer to the stirrups, then Charity placed her heels in the two silver contraptions.  It was awkward.  Dr. Stone continued to talk, but she blocked the words out.  She closed her eyes and braced herself and then she felt an instrument spreading her open. She clenched up, and he told her to try to relax.  It was easy for him to say, but she couldn’t get herself to do that.  Pressure continued to build up inside her, and then he slowly pulled out.  She sighed with relief as the instrument left her body.

“Alright.  I’m going to give you a breast exam.”  He slipped his hands under her gown, and it fell open a bit, revealing her breasts.  She again closed her eyes.  She felt embarrassed, even though this was all part of the normal routine.  He felt around one breast, tweaking her nipple, then put his hand to her other breast and he did the same.  Once he was done with that, he told her, she could sit up, and he checked her heart.  Her heart was sure to be beating faster now.  He asked her to breathe in and out and then removed the stethoscope.  He sat down on the stool and documented some things, while the nurse busied herself with some tubes of bodily fluids.  He cleared his throat, bringing her mind back to what he was doing.  He looked up and smiled. 

“You want a birth control prescription, is that correct?”

“Um…” she coughed.  “Correct.”  At first, she thought he would awkwardly ask her why, but then it hit her…he probably knew the answer to that. 

“When was your last menstrual period?” he asked.

She froze.  She hadn’t expected that question.  “I’m due to start in a week,” she quietly stated.

“Okay.”  He wrote out a prescription.  “You should start this sometime after you first start your monthly.  Take them for at least a week, before you assume they’ll be fully effective.”  He handed her the prescription.  “Do you have any questions?”

She shook her head.  “I think I’m good, but thank you.”

He nodded.  “You can check out at the desk, and we’ll see you next time.”  He shook her hand, and both the nurse and doctor left the room.

She looked down at the prescription and took a deep breath.  It felt strange, but she didn’t even know if she was going to tell Damian she started the pill.  She first had to get it filled and then she would make that decision.  She got dressed and left the room.  When she got to the desk to checkout, she didn’t know what to expect.  She still didn’t have health insurance, but she had decided that this was important enough not to wait. 

“Alright, Ms. Parker…for the office visit and Pap, you are looking at $225.  We did give you a discount for being self-pay.  How will you pay for this today?”  She looked up, and Charity’s mouth opened.  She didn’t expect that.

“Well, I was hoping I could set it up on some type of payment plan.”  She nervously wrung her hands together, while the receptionist looked down at her screen.

“We don’t usually do payment plans for new patients, but I can check with the doctor to see if I could make an exception.”

“Please, do.”  Her words were barely above a whisper, as the receptionist got up and went into a back room.  She didn’t take long to come back before she took a seat and looked up at Charity.

“I just talked to Dr. Stone, and he said that he will make an exception.  Can you pay $40 today?” she asked.

Charity fished in her purse for her debit card.  “Yes.”  She handed it to the receptionist, grateful that she found a considerate doctor.  The woman ran her card and handed it back to Charity.  Charity signed the receipt, then got her copy.  “Thank you so much,” Charity replied with the grateful initiative.

“You’re welcome.  Thank you!” 

Charity left the doctor’s office and headed back to her car.  Once inside, she collapsed against her
car
seat.  This was a draining past two days, and she would be glad when the week was over.  She started her car and pulled out of the parking lot.  About halfway to her destination, she got an eerie feeling she was being followed.  She looked in her rearview mirror and saw a black van.  She would speed up, and it sped up.  She quickly took corners and so did the vehicle.  It could be paranoia, but she was certain someone was following her.

 

***

 

One week earlier

 

Charity thanked the driver and got out of the cab.  She could still feel the tears threatening the back of her eyes.  “Don’t cry!” she ordered herself.  She pushed her way into the airport and went to check in.  She was glad she had reserved the ticket to the earlier flight.  It made things easier that way, but it didn’t mean she didn’t drag her feet to the desk.

The woman welcomed her with a kind greeting.  “How may I help you today?”

“I changed my flight to the earlier one, and I should have a boarding pass waiting for me here.”  Charity gave her information and the woman did her job, then handed her the pass. 

“They will be boarding in just five minutes.  You can check in your suitcase over there.”  The woman pointed her toward the luggage check-in.  She thanked the employee and headed off to get her luggage taken care of.  At the second desk, though, she hesitated. 
Am I doing the right thing?  Maybe I should listen to him.  It could be a huge misunderstanding. 
All the doubt settled in, but the more and more she wanted to believe Derek, the more she found herself regretting the moment she let him in.  She checked in her luggage and didn’t look back. 

She didn’t have time to sit down, as she heard them make the announcement that boarding was available for gate 14B almost immediately after dropping off her suitcase.  She couldn’t have gotten there any quicker.  She worried that Derek would make it to the airport and attempt to stop her, but when she walked down the hallway towards the plane, it was clear this wasn’t some Hallmark Movie, where the woman gets stopped right before she gets on the plane.

She boarded the plane and glanced at her ticket.  She walked down the row of Economy seats until she found the window seat, where she was supposed to sit down.  She took her seat and stared out the window.  Many people continued to board the plane until she heard the door close and the stewardess made the announcement to put on their seatbelts and enjoy the flight.

She thought maybe she would luck out and not have anyone seated next to her, but then an elderly woman took the place beside her.  She smiled at her and then Charity glanced back out the window.  The woman didn’t allow the silence to go on for too long as she started up the conversation.  “Going home, or vacation?” she asked.

Charity slowly glanced to the woman beside her.  “Going home.”  She hesitated, before realizing she had to respond with something else.  “How about you?”

“Visiting my grandchildren…all ten of them.” 

Charity raised an eyebrow.  “Ten?” she asked.

The woman smiled.  “Yep.  You want to see pictures?”

Again Charity felt almost stuck and couldn’t say no, so she nodded, and the woman whipped out a wallet with picture after picture of bright-eyed girls and boys.  As Charity was saying how cute they were, she heard her phone signal a text message.  Forgetting to turn it off, she reached into her pocket and saw a message from Derek.  She turned it off, before reading it.  She then went back to looking through the pictures.  She was glad for the distraction, as she didn’t want to think about him.

 

***

 

Derek looked down at his phone, to see that Charity didn’t answer his text.  He slid his phone back into his pocket and stared out the window.  The plane was gone out of view now, and he was left to wonder if she really got on the plane.  He turned away from the window and took a seat in one of the benches.  He wasn’t sure how long he stayed there and waited, but after watching several people passing him and hearing several calls stating that flights were boarding, he decided she was already gone. 

He got up from his seat and went over to where the ticket counter was dead and approached a woman.  “Hello,” he started.  “When is your next flight to Portland, Maine?”

She looked over her computer and then looked back up at him.  “We have a flight in fifteen minutes.  It has one layover in Detroit.”

“Fine…I’ll take that.  I have a flight scheduled for tomorrow and would like to change it to that one.”  He gave his information and the woman diligently fixed it so he could get on the next flight.  He got his suitcase turned into the luggage claim and then waited for them to announce his boarding.  He dug his phone back out of his pocket and called her number.  It went straight to voicemail, and he left her a message.  “I know you’re angry right now, but please…you have to talk to me.  I don’t care about the money.  I care about you.  I’m getting on the next flight, and I want to see you.  Please call me.”  He hung up his phone and stared ahead.  It was up to her to make the next move, and he wasn’t patient enough for all the waiting.

 

***

 

Charity got off the plane and made her way to the luggage retrieval.  The luggage hadn’t started to filter through yet, so she turned her phone on and waited for it to power up.  Once it did, she was once again greeted with his text.  This time, she read it.

 

Derek:  If you’re still here…please don’t leave.  I need to see you.  It’s all a misunderstanding.  Call me.

 

She shook her head.  She couldn’t believe anything Derek said.  Then her phone dinged and showed that she now had a voicemail to listen to.  She considered deleting it, without listening to it, but then she put her phone to her ear to see what he had to lie about this time.

His words seemed frantic as he left his message.  Charity listened intently, then deleted the message and shoved her phone into her purse.  “I don’t care what he has to say…I’m not buying it,” she mumbled.  She saw a woman staring at her, as she talked to herself.  She smiled awkwardly, then breathed a sigh of relief as the luggage started to come out of the tunnel.  Her suitcase was one of the last ones to exit the hole, but she finally picked it up and left the airport.  She waved down a cab and gave the address.  He put her suitcase in the back of his taxi and she settled into a long and boring ride.

It took about thirty minutes to pull down the street.  She looked up at all the houses passing them, and when the cab driver pulled to the side of the road and got out to retrieve her luggage, she questioned if she was doing the right thing.  She took a deep breath and got out of the car.  He gave her the total, and she dug in her purse until she found enough money to cover the fare and his tip.

“Thank you!”  She grabbed her suitcase from him and headed to his door.  His car was in the driveway, so it was clear he was home.  AS she knocked, she rehearsed the words she could say to him, but when he opened the door, none of the words seemed fitting.

“Charity…what are you doing here?  You didn’t return any of my calls, and I thought…” his words trailed off as she dropped her suitcase at his front door and threw her arms around him.  Her lips went to his, and she frantically kissed him, holding onto him like she was clinging to his life to save hers.

He didn’t question anything else.  He lifted Charity into his arms and continued the kiss as he slammed the door shut.  He carried her into the living room, because of her shaky request.  He lowered her to the floor, and they started working at removing one another’s clothing.  As she dropped another piece of his clothing to the floor, she trailed her lips to a part of his body that was once hidden.  When her bra was removed, his lips dipped down to her breasts, teasing each peak in his mouth.  She sighed, slipping her fingers to his boxers and yanking them from his body.