When It Rains, It Pours
The phone rang and I nervously ignored it. I did not need her rushing me. I needed one more minute…or twelve to formulate an escape plan, but I'd settle for one.
I flipped the phone open the forth time she called. My hands shook as I shuffled through papers on my now disastrously messy desk.
"Heidi Shae, you get your ass out here this second."
I cringed. Of all people, why did my roommate take it upon herself to babysit me and pick me up from work?
"I'm really busy Megan, we need to reschedule."
"Lies. You're going now."
"I'm on my way," I sighed.
I threw my large purse over my shoulder and headed down the hallway, prancing like an ostrich in my too high heels. I had this brilliant discovery that by prancing around and picking my knees up in front of me, like an awkward sports warm up trot, I could move faster in my high heels than a more conventional strut.
"Later Richie, I'm on my way to an appointment!" I yelled back to the annoying intern.
He sighed and slunk back into his cubicle like a sad puppy. Wait a minute, who was I kidding? Work was much more important than my appointment.
"Richie, I'm sorry. I have a minute. What did you need?"
"Well, I was really just hoping I could interview you for a school project. We have to interview someone and write a paper about managing stress and depression. I've picked you since you just keep getting dumped and you're still doing okay, I think. I mean, that last boyfriend you had was—"
"—excuse me?" I questioned angrily. How rude. So rude it makes me channel Full House quotes.
So maybe I did struggle with relationships. Maybe my last boyfriend was perfect until I found a reason for him not to be. Maybe I did behave poorly in a subconscious attempt to test him. Maybe Richie was right. Maybe I would make a great paper topic. But there was no way in hell I would be sharing any of that information with the awkward intern.
I realized he was still talking, explaining something about his professor that I did not have the energy to listen to.
"What?" he asked, trying to figure out what I was denying.
"You may not interview me for your depressed essay."
"Why not?" he questioned, the devastation evident in his tone.
"Because I am not depressed! And my personal life is none of your business!"
"That's what my mom always says. I should have known you would say that too. Women." He sullenly shook his head and sat down, disappearing behind the cubicle wall.
What? Tell me this child did not just compare me to his mother. Who hired this idiot? I flared my nostrils and glared.
"Heidi Shae! You get over here this instant!"
I looked over at Megan, dripping with rainwater and standing with her hands on her hips, glaring at me. I froze. I couldn't do this. I needed to escape now. Looking around the office I saw heads popping up over cubicles, prime for someone to play office wack-a-mole. If only I owned a large enough mallet.
Megan was steadily approaching, closing the distance between us in what seemed like milliseconds. How did she think this was appropriate to do at my workplace? What part of this seemed acceptable? How did she get into the office anyway?
Before I could dart off into a cubicle and avoid the nasty mallet, she had her wet hand clamped around my elbow.
I did my best to transition to a dignified power walk to the door, ditching my effective prance, although being led by a sopping, angry, mock-mom did diminish the classy effect a bit.
I pouted as she buckled me into the backseat and activated the child locks, preventing me from opening the door. Sitting in the back of the grubby car I breathed deeply, trying to calm my racing heart. I despised the dentist. I was petrified. I had one of the worst cases of dental anxiety ever seen. I'd once made my dentist cry and consider a career change. I had to pay for his counseling and mine. That was the last time I'd seen a dentist, it ended up being too pricy. This was the last place I wanted to be and why I had made sure I would be late. Maybe I was so late I had missed my appointment and they would have to reschedule…for never.
"I made your appointment for two, not one, so we're actually right on time," Megan answered cheerfully, reading my mind. This was unacceptable. First she makes appointments for me, then she kidnaps me, then she lies! Unacceptable! Unacceptable! Unacceptable! I argued with Megan the entire rest of the ride but she managed to yank me from the car and drag me into the waiting room. I shouldn't have worn a skirt. I should have worn work out clothes so I could escape more easily. I should have been training for this. Maybe I should invest in a gym membership.
The waiting room was terrifying. Sitting in uncomfortably decorative chairs, anxiety building as drills and grinding can be heard from behind the wall was not my cup of tea. If anything is powerful enough to be heard demolishing from behind a wall, I don't want it in my mouth; just a personal rule of mine.
I stood up.
Megan stood up.
"Where do you think you're going?"
"I'll come with you."
"Nevermind," I muttered, knowing Megan would tackle me if I tried to run.
Maybe I should stay? It would be nice to eat without the pain shooting through my tooth but was that really worth having the pain shooting through my tooth now as it was drilled at? It would only last an hour or so instead of a lifetime. I could do this? Yeah. I could do this.
"Heidi Shae," the receptionist beckoned me closer. Nervously I approached, trying to keep my hands from trembling. "And how are we today, Heidi?"
'We?' Really? Why is it that all nurses do that? Do I look like a scitzophrenic?
"Fine, and how are you?"
"I'm great, thank you. Now have a seat and Bridget will be in momentarily."
I sat down, my right leg rapidly firing up and down on the squishy plastic as I picked at my fingernails, pressing the cuticles back further than recommended. Bridget? Bridget they say? That's a Swedish immigrant name. What can she possibly know about teeth? No way. I was not sitting here and taking this. I could walk right out if I wanted.
"Hi Heidi," Bridget started, arriving a moment too soon. "Let's see what we have for today. A filling on E3. All—"
What was she doing? Playing bingo in my mouth? This is serious business! I can't trust a gambling fiend to play around with these things!
"So how have you been, Heidi? Where are you working these days?" Bridget muttered through her mask as the chair reclined against my will and she held up her pointy weapon of choice to glimmer in the light.
"I'm an architect at Fleur's Design."
"That must be nice. Did you just graduate?"
"A couple years ago."
"Where did you go? Open," Bridget asked and instructed.
This is why the nation is ADD. Even dentists are expecting you to have two conversations at once: one with polite chit chat, the other with a bossy dental authority.
I didn't respond. Instead, I opened my mouth and closed my eyes, trying to stay calm as I wiped my sweaty palms on my charcoal gray, pencil skirt.
Bridget poked around, making horrid scraping noises and slipping to stab my gums once.
"Whoops a daisy!" she mumbled through her mask as I glared before closing my eyes again. I really wanted to watch her, make sure she wouldn't attack my mouth again but I couldn't, it made me too panicked.
"All righty, I finished cleaning it up back there. Now I'll go grab Dr. Nelson and we'll get started."
Started? What did she call the half hour of poking and prodding I had just endured? I'd just ruined a whole blouse with all the nervous sweating I'd been doing. We were well past started.
"Hi there, Miss Shea, how are we doing?" the plotting dentist asked faux cheerfully.
What's with the "we" again? And seriously, how does he expect I'm doing? I'm sitting in most vulnerable spot in the world, about to be assaulted by objects intended to destroy my tooth. And really, he was a baby. He couldn't have graduated school yet. How was I supposed to trust him to not kill my teeth and traumatize me? His little blonde hair was all tousled for Pete's sake! I held back and counted on my glare to transfer my emotions.
He chuckled, and took a seat in the stool next to me pulling a mask over his young face. "Well, let's see what we have here…"
"Cavity in E3. It's a back linear," noisy Bridget piped in. "I've got it all set up here."
I glared accusatorily towards Bridget. She had no business telling him. She was so old she was most likely senile and I'm sure technology had changed since she had gone to school. I mean, she probably didn't even go to college, she just popped up at the dentist and they threw her in the back because they needed extra help. I read an article once about how that's common in Sweden.
"Good, good. Open."
I glared but obeyed hesitantly as he held the swab of numbing gel.
His eyes lit up menacingly as he swabbed my mouth and swiped the swab along my lip in a way that couldn't have possibly been an accident.
"Whoops!" He chuckled.
He had managed to numb my entire lower lip. It was no whoops; it was a deliberate malicious act. One little dab is an accident; a whole lip is an attack. Now how was I supposed to keep my lip out of the line of fire? All those pointy objects aimed at my mouth and now my lumbering lip was just waiting to get in the way without me noticing.
"Bridget, how's your grandson doing?" The boy asked innocently. He probably was her grandson. How rude, asking about himself.
"Oh he's doing great. Having his fifteenth birthday next week."
"All right, Heidi, open up," he instructed, holding a needle as long as my leg…okay fine, maybe not as long as my leg, but too long for anyone to be stabbing in my mouth. I knew for a fact that needle would not fit in my mouth.
I reluctantly did and allowed him to puncture my gums. The needle seemed to melt into my mouth, continuously diving deeper, the burning not ceasing until he pulled it out an hour later. I really hated him, especially his wicked smirk. Well fine, I couldn't see it behind his mask but I knew it was there.
"Open wide, sweetie," Bridget demanded.
I opened and allowed Bridget to affix a large, blue layer of rubber and metal to my mouth, cranking it open and covering my face from filling splatter, something I wasn't exactly fond of. I'd really never seen this anywhere else, where they felt the need to fix a rubber tablecloth to your face to keep their mess contained. But oh no, here it was commonplace. No big deal, I love that they are so messy they can't keep track of the bits of teeth flying around and they need to line my face from it. They even cut gaping hole in the rubber where my mouth is. Why is that? Are they planning to look down and wonder where my mouth went? I'm sure the little baby needed it, 'Focus baby, focus, don't touch the blue. Just like that Operation board game with Mom and Dad this weekend.' Hopefully my nose wouldn't light up. Some kids thought that was exciting to stab outside the lines for fun. Please don't let this him be one of those vindictive brats.
"How are you doing?" he questioned and then laughed as I glared, my mouth propped open. Why did dentists always do that? Do you they really want you to try to talk while they stab things at you and try to keep your mouth still?
"Okay, we're going to get started now, Heidi."
Started? I've heard that one before. What did he call the last twenty minutes? I thought I started three times now! Just get it over with. I had work to get to. And more desperately, I needed to get out of this painful chair immediately.
I cringed and winced at the drills and prodding, praying time would speed up as I stared at my eyelids, refusing to look at the child working on my precious teeth. I never would have come if that stupid tooth hadn't been screaming every time I tried to eat. I had tried not eating too, it didn't last long before I passed out and Megan started monitoring my food intake and made the dentist appointment for me. I really hated Megan right now. Worst roommate ever. Hands down.
It was that pivotal moment, as I tried to tune out the drilling, the alarm blared.
"That's the third time this month," Bridget groaned.
"Let's go," the idiot stated as Bridget raised my chair.
I stared at her questioningly.
"I'm sorry darling, that's the fire alarm. We have to go outside for a moment. The darn bakery in this building is always setting it off."
I stared in disbelief, wondering if she was going to take the rubber sheet off my face so I could close my mouth or if she would just leave me inept with my teeth on display.
Yep, definitely the second one. Beautiful.
I followed Bridget out the door, receiving countless stares. It wasn't until we hit the door that I remembered again it was pouring outside. Of course Megan had sailed off to the mall the moment she was sure I was beyond being able to escape. What an asshole, leaving me alone.
There I was standing outside, mouth wide open, lips numb, drenched, when he had the audacity to approach—while wearing his raincoat.
"How are we doing?"
This was the last time I would be coming to this dentist. Or any dentist for that matter.
He laughed. "You are the funniest patient I've had."
Probably the first, too.
I looked up and found my mouth instantly filling with rainwater.
"Whoa!" He tipped my head down, "Don't get water in it."
I glared. Really, this was the greatest day ever. Couldn't get any worse. Not possible.
Of course, it's always when I think I've hit rock bottom that it inevitably gets worse. That's when the fire truck pulled up and Brad hopped off.
He glanced over and then turned back, doing a double take and hesitating in shock for a moment before rushing into the building to explore.
I groaned and put a hand on my forehead like a visor, hoping to clear my head. This was not the time to run into ex-boyfriends. Maybe if I cried now no one would notice since it was pouring anyway.
Tears began to slowly drip down my face as I hyperventilated, (which turned out to be more difficult that you think with your mouth propped open).
Now it couldn't get worse.
That was when the insolent child reached out and placed his hand on my back, rubbing lightly in attempt to calm me.
I quickly sidestepped out of that one and ignored him. The last thing I needed was to get cozy with the villain.
What a wonderful, wonderful friend Megan was, leaving me alone! I sank back from the dentist slowly, trying to play up the pity card as he gave me space. I ducked into the bushes—thankful I didn't wear nylons to snag. I hadn't planned on crawling through shrubs but I did end up dressed okay for the adventure. I slipped back behind the bushes, putting me on the corner of Irving and Monroe. As dignified as one could possibly be with a placemat attached to their face and their mouth propped open, I pranced across the street, trying to ignore the stares I was receiving from passing cars.
I stopped behind the gas station, struggling to unhook the ridiculous contraption from my face but failing, not understanding the complexities of the torture device. This was not going as well as I'd hoped. I sighed and stepped into the gas station, calmly walking up to the counter, the greasy teenager working staring at me, mouth agape. At least we matched in one aspect.
Turns out it's more difficult to convey that you need the bathroom key when you're soaking wet, your mouth is propped open, and the boy you're trying to communicate with is staring through your white shirt.
Eventually he closed his mouth and handed me the key and I stepped back outside, sliding around the building and slipping into the bathroom just as I heard someone call my name. Oh boy. I was being followed now and this couldn't get much worse. I locked the door and eyed myself in the mirror, realizing now what a sloppy mess I was. I jerked the face guard out of my mouth, thankful that my mouth was numb as I guessed it would have hurt otherwise. I heard the child banging on the door outside, encouraging me politely to open the door and come back to his office.
Yeah right. Was he serious? What had I done to convince him that I'd walk back into his office willingly and submit myself to that torture again?
I looked at my teeth in the mirror and noted the new hole in my tooth. I wonder how long it would be safe to stay like that. Perhaps I should just pull it out now while my mouth is already numb?
I panicked as I heard Megan's voice now coming from outside the bathroom door. Had they called her like my emergency contact? That was for second graders! Megan being outside was something I couldn't handle. No time for pulling teeth now. I needed to escape. I looked at the grimy window and sized it up. I looked down at my nice outfit. Well, it was already ruined, even if I had it dry cleaned the new pit stains were permanent. I might as well go for it. I took a deep breath and heaved myself onto the handicapped railing, hanging onto the window ledge and balancing as I tried to wedge the old window open. After several tries it wrenched open. I nodded proudly and poked my head out quickly, peering around and finding that the window opened into a stock room. The safest bet ever! I could shimmy into the stockroom unnoticed and then prance right out the front door while everyone waited out back for me to come out of the bathroom door. Amateurs.
I heaved myself up and wedged my right arm and torso through the window. I grinned proudly. Until I realized I wasn't going any further. Really? How predictable. That always happens in the movies but I didn't think it would actually happen in real life. My plan was too perfect. How could it not work? I had measured the window…well fine, I eyeballed it, but my eyeballs said it would work out.
I groaned as I heard the door behind me opening.
"Heidi!" Megan yelled angrily, her voice cutting through all the other clatter as whoever was behind me had a great view of my ass sticking through the window, my legs dangling helplessly.
"Well, that looks better than I remember," Brad's voice carried.
Seriously? They had called the fire department? Knowing Brad worked there Megan had still paraded the fire department over after the little bakery incident was done? How was this fair? This day could not get any worse.
"Where does that window let out?" Brad questioned.
I sighed, resting my right elbow on a box and leaning my chin on it.
"Hey sleezy, stop checking her out and help me out here; where does the window let out?"
I grunted as I realized the greasy cashier was checking out my ass and explaining to Brad how to get to me. As if Brad didn't already know how to get to me.
Brad entered the stockroom looking smugger than ever. "Well hello there. How've you been, Shae? It looks like you've been doing really well since I've last seen you."
"So great. The problem is you can't seem to get over me. You just follow me everywhere! Really Brad, showing up here?" The only thing I was grateful for was the fact that I had managed to unhook the dentist contraption from my face before Brad arrived again. Being stuck in a window was quite humiliating enough.
"Hey, you better watch it. I'm here to help you and if you are sassy, I might just leave you there."
"Then how would you earn a living? There isn't an endless supply of cats stuck in trees these days. The wood and paper industry solved that problem."
He had no idea how much I wished it were the case that he would leave. I would much prefer to be stuck in this window than to have to attend any of my other options like return to the dentist, face Megan, or stagger out in a brutal walk of shame. I was feeling pretty content in the window. And if Brad wasn't standing in front of me looking so hot and cocky I would be perfect. I might want to live here. I could even reach the Pringles on the stockroom shelf from here. I was set.
"Shae, what the hell is going on? I mean, clearly you need me back in your life. Look what's happened since I left. You're stuck in a window!"
I smirked, well maybe I didn't since my face was numb, but I would have smirked if I'd had control of my face. Brad wanted me back. That was at least some consolation. Rain soaked, stuck in a window, and numb in the lips, Brad still wanted me. I could definitely live in this window forever. I could still reel in men from here and avoid the real world that was waiting outside.
"You're stuck in a window." What? What? Are you kidding? Why did you say that? How did I think that would be a classy retort to Brad's comment? I was stuck in Miss Jensen's second grade.
Brad brought out the wrong words in me. More often than not I managed to say things I regretted to him when I was frustrated. I wasn't ready to face Brad yet. I would have preferred to ignore it a while longer too if it wasn't thrust upon me now. That's why I hadn't seen him since the breakup. Maybe I was too scared that I would want Brad back in my life. And I couldn't have that anymore.
Brad started to say something but I was too distracted to focus as someone grabbed my leg. I grunted and kicked back, using my heels to my advantage.
"They are getting handsy back there," I informed Brad.
For a second I thought I saw what was perhaps jealousy float through his eyes.
Brad pulled out his walkie-talkie and had a chat with the other side of the wall, instructing them to keep their hands to themselves. I tried to hide my grin. Brad was looking out for me.
"Are you ready to get down?" he asked me.
I shook my head casually, "I'd prefer to stay here a while."
I nodded, "I don't want to deal with anything that comes after I get out of this window."
Brad was astounded. "Shae, you have to come out."
I shook my head, "Not true."
"You're not willing to come out?"
He nodded, "Well, I was hoping we would get to cut the wall out anyway. So maybe we'll just sedate you and hash up the wall a bit and then pull you out unconscious."
I knew he was threatening me. "Isn't that illegal unless I'm a zoo animal?"
"Well, have you seen the crowd standing behind you? They're charging for people to see your ass hanging out of that window."
I rolled my eyes. "Fine, do it."
Brad smirked. Holy crap. He was serious. He was planning to sedate me and pull me out of a window. Not to mention (well to mention, since I'm mentioning it now), I was still missing half a tooth and half of the feeling in my face.
"I've always thought your attitude would be easier to deal with if you were unconscious."
"Right back at ya."
Brad strolled out of the storeroom casually and I turned off the light, leaving me in the dark. I turned my attention back to the other side of the window, straining to hear what was going on back there.
"She's panicking," I heard Brad assertively begin to tell his rescue team, "We're going to sedate her and then pull her out. Then we'll return her to the dentist. Might as well fix her up while she's out since you know you won't get her back otherwise."
Thoughtful, but what an asshole. It's how it always worked, Brad was in charge and got his way, but looked out for me in the process. I was not panicking. In fact, this was the most relaxed I'd been all day. I did not wish to be sedated. And I had no desire to return to the dentist. Although, I'd rather do it sedated. I think everyone would rather I was sedated.
"Are you sure that's the best course of action?"
"Positive," Brad said.
He reappeared in the stockroom a minute later with a needle as big as the Pringles container. I'd had quite enough needles for the day to be honest. Granted it was an improvement that this one wasn't going into my mouth but still, I had a one needle per month policy and I'd already reached that quota.
Brad evaluated my hand. His touch felt familiar, comfortable. He looked up as we grasped hands reflexively. His movements stuttered. I nodded in silent agreement and he injected the needle into my hand. It was worse than I was anticipating but better than the dentist needle. Or the dentist anything for that matter.
"Goodnight, Shae. I'll see you when you after your appointment."
Hmm, maybe I would see Brad later. Maybe that wouldn't be so bad. Maybe compared to the dentist any option looked good. I would need to hear the story about how he chopped up a wall and pulled me out anyway.
AN: Thanks for checking out my newest story! I would love to hear any feedback you have, good or bad. I would even love to hear thoughts, emotions you felt while reading, impressions you got of the characters. Anything!
Ya'll are little pumpkins for reading.
Colie Rae :)