The Dumbing Down of Love

The Dumbing Down of Love: Day Twenty

The Dumbing Down of Love
(720 Hours in a Relationship)

     Staring at the sage green waiting room walls, Olivia felt butterflies in her stomach. She looked across the room and saw an elderly woman smile at her. She smiled in return and shifted in her seat.
     Leaning in towards her, Gray asked, “Are you okay?”
     Olivia nodded. “Yeah,” she answered. “Is it crazy I feel nervous?”
     Taking her hand into his, he gave it a slight squeeze. “Not at all,” he answered. “I am more nervous about this than I was on our first night of sex.”
     Smiling, she kissed him on the cheek. “You always know what to say to make me calm down.”
     Tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, Gray confessed, “I keep thinking of all the dreaded disease they could find and it doesn’t help me at all.”
     “What’s your biggest fear?”
     Olivia laughed out loud, breaking the odd quietness of the waiting room. She felt every pair of eyes in the waiting room fall on her and buried her face into Gray’s shoulder as she finished laughing. “Ebola? Really?” she asked as she kept her face buried into his shoulder.
     “Afraid so,” he said, putting his arm around her. “It’s not a funny disease. You bleed out and that’s not a way I would like to go.”
     Laughing harder, Olivia kept her face buried but it was now buried in the side of his chest. “Please stop,” she gasped. “Everyone here is going to think I’m insane.”
     “You are,” Gray whispered to her. “Just think about it. It can kill you within a matter of days and you wouldn’t even know it until it was too late.”
     Sitting up, Olivia stared at him. “Okay, in all seriousness, how do you know so much about Ebola?”
     Shrugging his shoulders, Gray just smiled at her. “Useless knowledge and a fear of hemorrhagic diseases.”
     “Olivia Madison,” a male nurse said from the door across the room.
     Feeling her nerves return, she looked at Gray. “May they find no hemorrhagic fevers in either of us,” she said with a smile and then stood.
     “I’ll be waiting for you out here,” he replied. He watched as she disappeared through the door with the male nurse and then sat back in his chair and tried to calm his own nerves.

# # #

     “Was that you laughing out there?” the nurse asked.
     Raising her purse to her face, Olivia felt herself redden. “You heard that?”
     “Don’t worry,” he answered. “It’s refreshing. Normally it’s so quiet out there you’d think it was a graveyard.”
     Olivia watched as he walked through an examine room and place the clipboard on the counter to the right of him. What she wouldn’t give to be sitting in the waiting room and laughing at Gray and his Ebola fear.
“I’m going to take your blood pressure and weigh you,” the nurse said. “I see that you’re in here for some blood work?”
     “Yes,” she answered. “For any sexual transmitted diseases and stuff.” She felt embarrassed but knew she shouldn’t be. “My boyfriend and I…god, he’s my boyfriend,” she said more for herself than for the nurse. “I can’t believe it.”
     The nurse smiled and pointed to the examination table. “So how long have you guys been seeing each other?”
     “Not long at all,” she answered as she sat down on the table. “I know it’s not where most people would be but somehow it works for us. I don’t want to date anyone else. I just want him.” Looking up at the nurse, she smiled a half smile. “I’m babbling. I’m sorry.”
     “Never be sorry for being in love,” he replied. “That is the greatest thing you could share.”
     “Thanks,” Olivia said as he put the blood pressure cuff on her arm. “He’s pretty special to me.”
     “Could he be the one?” the nurse asked with a spark in his brown eyes.
     Smiling, Olivia looked down at the cuff. “All I can say is that, when I met him, I knew he was the one I wanted to sit by at the bar for the rest of the night. I didn’t care what we talked about as long as he was smiling in my direction.”
     “And now?”
     “I want to sit beside of him and still have him smile in my direction.”
     “Then it sounds like he’s the one,” the nurse said as he pumped the blood pressure cuff full of air.
     “My friends would smack you right now. They think it’s too early. Too soon.”
     The nurse finished taking Olivia’s blood pressure before he continued. “I met my significant other at a bookstore. We had coffee after we made our purchases and have been together ever since.”
     “How long ago was that?”
     “Six years ago. He moved in with me two weeks after we met. We bought a house together six months after we met. Like you, he knew the moment he met me that I was the one he wanted smiling at him.”
     “And you?”
     “I knew the moment I saw him across the room that he was going to be the one that swept me off my feet. Again, don’t feel embarrassed by love and never apologize for it. Not everyone is open to finding the loves that make them a better person but when you do, it changes your life the moment you meet.”

# # #

     Gray sat on the edge of the examination table listening to the paper underneath him crumble as he swung his legs back and forth in front of him. It was a nervous habit he only had in doctor’s offices. Sighing, he listened as the paper mocked him with its own creasing sigh. The door swung open and his doctor’s assistant greeted him with a smile. When Olivia’s regular doctor couldn’t squeeze them in, he had called his and without hesitation had made room for them both.
     “So,” the assistant said as she sat down on the stool across from Gray. “Hunter says you’re in for some blood work and testing.”
     “Yes ma’am,” he answered. He had always loved that Elizabeth was not only his doctor’s assistant but also his wife. They made a dynamic duo and reminded him of his own parents. Taking a deep breath, he looked at Elizabeth. “I’m serious about this girl. I don’t want to put her in harms way.”
     Elizabeth nodded. “And her? Does she feel the same about you?”
     “She’s here with me. In another examine room.”
     “She must be the one in with Ted,” she replied. “She has him in stitches.”
     Smiling, Gray shrugged one shoulder. “Kind of sounds like her. She has the ability to make everyone smile.”
     “Does she melt your heart?” Elizabeth asked as she opened the cabinet near her for supplies.
     “She always has. Since the moment I saw her from across the room.”
     “You’ve never been in here for a woman before,” she said as she stood.
     Gray shook his head. “No, I haven’t, but she’s different Elizabeth. She makes me a better person. I find myself doing things that make me happy and that I know will make her happy.”
     “How long have you known her?”
     “Not even a full month.”
     Elizabeth raised an eyebrow at him as she wrapped the tourniquet around his arm.
     “Don’t judge. I know what I’m doing. I think.”
     “Knowing and thinking are two different things Gray.”
     Nodding, Gray watched as she swabbed his arm. “You sound like Chris, but I don’t doubt anything I’m doing right now. As long as she’s smiling and I’m the cause of that smile, that’s all that matters to me.”
     “But she’s got to make you smile too.”
     “Trust me, she does.” Closing his eyes as Elizabeth drove the syringe into his arm, Gray realized that not only did Olivia make him smile but also that she also calmed his nerves and made him feel at peace.

# # #

     Pushing the door to the doctor’s office open, Gray scanned the parking lot and found Olivia reclining on the hood of his car. Smiling, he let go of the door and started to walk towards her. Reaching into the pocket of his jeans, he took out his keys and hit the panic button. The alarm sent Olivia sliding off the hood of his car and to the pavement. “Shit,” he cursed at himself as he hurried to her. “I am so sorry,” he said, as she stood up. “I meant to startle you not break your neck. I thought it’d be funny.”
     “It’s okay,” she said, brushing herself off. “I know my heart works and that’s a good thing.”
     Pulling her into his arms, Gray kissed the top of her. “No more alarm tricks I promise.”
     “Seriously,” she said pushing him away from her. “I’m okay. It was funny or at least middle of the road funny.”
     “Let’s go with I should never be a comedian,” Gray sighed.
     “That’s crazy talk,” Olivia said looking up at him. “You had me laughing so hard at Ebola. That takes some mad skills.”
     Shaking his head with a smile, Gray pulled her back into his arms. “They said they put us at the top of the list. We’ll know all the results tomorrow afternoon.”
     “Did you pull strings to get that done?”
     “So, if we’re essentially background checking our blood, is there anything else about your past that I need to know?”
     “I’ve never received injections of human growth hormone for infertility,” Gray answered.
     Laughing, Olivia collapsed against his car. “Isn’t that on a blood donation questionnaire?” she asked once she gained her breath back.
     Gray nodded and took her hand. “I remember random things,” he answered, opening the car door for her. Once she was inside, he shut the door and walked to his side. “How about this?” he asked as he got in. “Since right now is not the perfect time to talk about our past, let’s do it tonight. Because if you tell me you kissed little Stevie Thomas in the tenth grade and he was the love of your life, I’ll spend my work day Googling all Steve Thomas’ of the world.”
     “Done,” Olivia replied as they pulled out of the parking lot. “And you should know little Stevie Thomas was big Stevie Thomas. He so rocked the kindergarten playground. He was Casanova of the jungle gym.”
     Gray threw a smile in her direction and knew for once that his past was his past and that she wouldn’t judge him for anything he had done or not done. “Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that big Stevie Thomas is going to be a pain in my ass later?”
     Olivia shrugged her shoulders. “He’s your fantasy playground bandit not mine. I better get a good explanation later or I will be very disappointed.”
     “Little Stevie Thomas was the super geek of the fourth grade,” Gray admitted, “but he had the coolest toys. He was my best friend until his parents moved to Japan. Now Stevie Thomas is Steve Thomas robotic engineer with even cooler toys than he had as a kid.”
     “And you’re envious?”
     “Damn skippy I am, and though he might have the cool toys, I have the best girlfriend on the planet.”
     Blushing, Olivia slid down in the car seat. “Okay, that might have been the best line ever.”
     “And the cheesiest line ever.”

This page copyright © 2009 Shelia Taylor
All rights reserved | This is a rough draft and not the final version