Nine Months, One Week, Six Days and Roughly 18 Hours

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Nine Months, One Week, Six Days and Roughly 18 Hours

Chapter One:

A Strange Request:

“There’s my favourite secretary!” Comes the loud Canadian twang of my boss from the other side of the desk.

“You are aware I’m your only secretary?” I reply without looking up.

“I am yeah… but I know the other secretaries…and you are by far my favourite.” I can tell from her tone that she’s amused and sure enough when I look up there’s a toothy smile on her gorgeous face.

“What do you want?” I answer, trying desperately not to smile back at her as I recognise that look and realise I’m about to be buttered up for something.

“Am I not allowed to simply want to talk to you?”

“You are, but at…” I pause to check my watch “…nine thirty-three in the morning you wanting to talk to me usually means that you want something. So, what’s her name?”

“Actually, it’s not about a girl this time.”

I raise a skeptical eyebrow, I’d worked for Dr Shepard, or Kate as she insisted I call her, for almost eight months now after a previous consultant in the department had retired (I’d also been crazy about her for approximately seven months, three weeks, four days and roughly an hour…) and in that time she’d been on so many dates that I’d lost count.

It wasn’t hard to work out how she got so many offers, she was, at least in my eyes, absolute perfection.

She had shoulder length brown hair, dark brown eyes, a smile that made you putty in her hands and a body that curved in all the right places. Add to that a great personality and sense of humor…plus the whole exotic Canadian in England thing, and you’ve got a guaranteed recipe for success in the dating game. But somehow it didn’t seem to be enough and every few weeks or so we’d have the same conversation about how the woman in question was great…but there was just something missing.

“Don’t look at me like that Erin, I’m being serious…I haven’t been on a date with anyone for at least a month now.”

“That long? Seriously? Are you ill?” I ask in mock concern.

“Ha ha ha, very funny.” She smiles briefly as she flicks an elastic band at me.

“Ok, ok,” I raise my hands in surrender “what’s on your mind?”

“Well, you know how much my parents really love Rob?”

I inhale deeply under my breath, Rob was Kate’s long-term best friend from childhood, and practically family in the eyes of her parents. They were desperate to see the two of them get together…despite Kate’s lack of interest in the male form.

“Yeeeaaahhh, I do.” I reply slowly, wondering what the latest development with her parent’s favourite adopted son might be.

“Turns out his girlfriend just broke up with him and I’m the incredibly obvious choice for a replacement…you know…minus the slight issue of me being into women.”

“A small detail.” I grin over the desk at her.

“Oh yeah, just a tiny one.” She rolls her eyes “Anyway, I’d had a few beers last night when my mom called me to tell me the news; ‘he’s so sad and depressed, he needs a friend…and a new relationship…and we’ve known him for so long he’s already practically family’…blah blah blah. You know what parents are like.”

“I do.” I say again, pushing what feels like the hundredth letter of the morning into an envelope and sealing it. “But I still don’t understand why you’re so wired up about it, you have that same conversation every time you speak to your mum.”

“I know,” she sighs, “but this time I’d been drinking…and when my mom told me I was almost past the age where I was still wife and mother material I sort of went on a bit of a rant about this amazing woman I’m seeing…only, the problem is that no such woman exists. I just wanted her off my case ya know? And now she’s super excited to meet said woman when they come over next month.”

“Just tell her you were drunk and you wanted her off your back then. Problem solved.”

“Erin, honey, you and I both know that that will only pacify the situation for a few weeks. She’ll ask questions, want details, the whole nine yards…” She begins absent-mindedly making a paper clip chain out of my stationary.

“So, how do you plan on getting out of this one then?” I smirk.

“Well, I was thinking…if they met a girl while they were here then they’d have some solid evidence of another human and it’d sort of, tide them over, for a while, then I wait a couple of months, tell them we broke up and that I’m so traumatised I can’t possibly date ever again. All I need to do is find a woman to play the part of my loving girlfriend for the month that they’ll be here in the city, the last two weeks when we head down South should be ok…”

“Jesus Kate,” I sigh “you’re an incredible doctor, but sometimes you really are an idiot. This plan is absolute madness. I can’t see it helping you long term at all…and”

“And if it is doomed to failure it’ll be my fault.” She interrupts “It’s me that’ll have to deal with the consequences. But I need to try something Erin, it’s really starting bahis firmaları to get to me now.”

“Well, what’re you talking to me for then?” I sigh again before raising yet another questioning eyebrow at her and pulling the stationary back across my desk. “Shouldn’t you be out there finding a woman?”

She smiles sweetly at me.

“Oh no no no! No way! I am not getting wrapped up in this.” I reply leaving my desk and walking over to the internal post box to get rid of the pile of letters I’d spent most of yesterday afternoon and this morning writing.

“But I neeeeeed you.” Kate whines following me across the room.

“You’re a beautiful woman Kate and you go on plenty of dates, I’m sure if you just called one of them up and told them the plan they’d jump at the chance to play crazy games with you. You definitely don’t need me specifically for this.”

“I do though!” She whines again “I need you Erin, because this won’t work with just anyone,” She grabs my hand causing my stomach to do a backflip and puts on her best ‘pretty please’ look, “I need someone I can trust…and who I actually like…and who I know my parents will love…”

“First of all, don’t try and butter me up with compliments…and secondly, are you seriously telling me you haven’t managed to find even a semblance of that in any one of the women you’ve slept with since you moved here?” She shakes her head, her eyes becoming suddenly a lot bigger…and sadder.

“Please Erin, pretty, pretty please. It’ll be fun I promise…”

“Ok, ok, fine.” I sigh, my short-lived resolve crumbling instantly as I look up into her deep brown eyes while silently cursing her for knowing exactly how to play me. “But on your head be it if they don’t…”

“Ohhh, thank you, thank you!” She interrupts pulling me into a rib cracking hug. “You will not regret this!”

‘I already do’ I found myself thinking.

Ignoring my massive crush on her, my relationship with Kate was great as a friendship, we’d worked well together from day one and over time had developed a strong professional bond. I knew exactly how she liked to go about her work, while she knew I had a penchant for biscuits and kept me well stocked up. She was the best boss I’d ever had and I loved working with her, the last thing I wanted to do was mess that up…

Kate left not long after that to attend a meeting she was chairing before the start of clinics that afternoon, while I spent the next ten minutes tidying up my desk after her visit and wondering to myself how on earth we were going to pull this off now I’d agreed to it. I had no real issues with my personal appearance (5ft5in, dirty blonde hair, green eyes, no boobs, I had often been told I had a great bum though) but in comparison to some of the women she’d dated since starting work here I was definitely nothing special. Surely her parents would instantly see straight through it? Or think she’d gone mad and drag her back to Canada by any means possible…

I didn’t see her again until just as I was packing up for the day, when she casually walked by and dropped a piece of paper on my desk.

“What’s this?” I shout across to her as she walks away.

“An itinerary sweetheart, for my parents visit…make sure you’re free to join us on some of those dates…parents like girlfriends who’re interested in their partner’s family.” She winks theatrically at me.

“Jesus Kate,” I reply, unfolding the list and noting at least fifteen points, “are you sure they’re only here for one month and not six?”

“What can I say? They wanted to cram a lot in to their visit. Just think of all the extra time you’ll get to spend with me.” She smiles hugely and makes her way to see her next patient while I swing my bag over my shoulder and try not to stare too much at her perfect backside as she walks away. If she sends my heart into a frenzy just by smiling at me how the hell am I meant to keep calm being in even closer proximity to her?

I had a lot less time to worry about such trivial things over the next few weeks as my workload crept up; due to the upcoming visit of her family Kate was cramming in extra clinics to ensure her patients were seen before she took time off, I admired her dedication to her patients but was a lot less thrilled when it came to typing up so many extra dictations and letters.

Our lack of free time also meant we hadn’t had chance to go over what was, and wasn’t going to be acceptable in terms of affection in front of her parents. When I breached the subject with Kate her only advice was to ‘act as if she were actually my girlfriend’ which was all well and good but if I was being completely honest I needed there to be a line I couldn’t cross. There had to be something there to stop the relationship feeling real, to stop me from falling even more in love with her, and to stop the utter devastation I knew I’d go through when it was over and everything went back to normal…

Chapter Two

The Parents:

Two weeks later Kate’s parents arrived. As requested I arrived kaçak iddaa at Kate’s house just before seven on Friday night. I had tried to make myself look presentable, but it’s not really my greatest talent and in the end, I decided to just go for comfy and casual, it was going to be hard enough getting through the next month without adding unnecessary stress to the situation.

I take a deep breath, open the car door and as calmly as I can, walk up the door and knock

“Hey baby!” Kate’s face lights up as she opens the door. “You don’t have to knock you know,” she whispers, “just let yourself in…and give me a kiss.”

“What?” I whisper in return.

“Kiss me, we’re in love remember?” She leans in, raises an eyebrow at me and grins.

“Oh, right, yeah.” Blushing furiously, I lean in and softly brush her lips with mine.

She seems on the verge of making some sort of joke at my embarrassment but catches herself just in time. It’s my turn to grin now as I realise that Kate only stopped because she remembered she needs me and I could easily tell her parents the truth about us…

She leads me through into her kitchen where her parents are sitting around the table drinking coffee. There’s a brief moment of anxiety on my end but once the introductions are over I feel a lot more at ease. Kates parents, Ira and Elaine, are equally as relaxed as she is, it isn’t long before I feel like I’ve known them for years.

A couple of hours later, just as I’m about to leave, Elaine hands me a copy of her fully complete, well organised and structured itinerary for their visit. Informing me that I’m welcome to come to anything they have planned, as a dutiful girlfriend I of course say I’ll try to get to as much as I can and add that getting to know Kate’s family is something I’d love to do…all the things parents like to hear. Kate beams at me from behind her mum and gives me a thumbs up before pointedly wheeling her out of the hallway.

“Thanks Erin,” she whispers once Elaine has gone and we hug goodbye, “you were amazing there, they like you.”

“Well, I am very likeable.” I grin back.

“Oh yeah, you’re positively adorable,” she smiles, leans in and presses her lips to mine, pointedly harder than I did when I arrived, I can feel my cheeks start to colour as she pulls away, “especially when you blush.”

With that she turns me to the door and pushes me gently out of her house.

“Night sweetheart.”

“Night Kate.”

By the end of the first week I was beginning to seriously regret agreeing to be Kate’s ‘girlfriend’, it had been a long and torturous seven days. We saw each other on all but one day that week and Kate had used every possible opportunity to get my heart racing, I was beginning to think my cheeks would stay in a constant blush for the rest of my days. We met for lunch on a couple of occasions and it was all I could do not to just stare at Kate’s legs in the shorts she decided to wear, her legs went on forever and she worked hard to keep them in great shape. She took full advantage of our time together and used every chance she got to be physically closer to me. She kissed me, or wrapped her arms around me, or held my hand…or took my hand and laid it on her bare thigh! In the end I decided she must simply like seeing me blush.

One night, we went out for dinner with her parents, sat across from each other I had thought it would be a less arduous experience than I’d had so far…turns out I was wrong. I made a conscious effort to keep my arms and legs to myself, not because I didn’t want Kate to touch me, the problem was that I found myself starting to crave her touches, I was getting far too comfortable around her for my liking — exactly what I’d warned myself about before we’ve started this thing…anyway, about halfway through dinner I succumbed to stretching my legs and accidentally brushed my foot against Kate’s calf. Quick as a flash she lifted her foot up and trapped my leg against hers…the rest of the meal passed with Kate grinning at me across the table as her now bare foot rose higher and higher up my calf, past the back of my knee and halfway up the inside of my thigh until she was resting her foot on the edge of my chair between my thighs.

How I managed to keep calm for the rest of that evening I’ll never know.

We got back to Kate’s place a few hours later, I’d driven so both Kate and her parents were fairly tipsy, there’d been a fair amount of alcohol consumed. Ira and Elaine gave me a hug goodnight and went inside but Kate lingered in the doorway;

“You wanna come in gorgeous?” She asked in a slightly slurred voice.

“For ‘coffee’ yeah?” I joke.

“If you want baby,” she wraps her arms around my waist “but I was thinking of something that involves a lot less…” she pauses.

“A lot less coffee?” I ask confused.

“Noooo, a lot less clothes.” She laughs and rests her chin on my shoulder. She kisses my neck just below my ear and I quickly pull away.

“No, sweetheart,” I whisper, trying my best not to make this an embarrassing situation for kaçak bahis either of us, although in all honesty I’m not sure Kate will remember this conversation in the morning, “I can’t tonight. I’m out with my friend in the morning.”

“No,” she moans “don’t go with them, stay here and let me…”

“I can’t Kate, I promised her we were going out weeks ago.”

“Fine…” she sighs “…but just remember you’re mine now,” she kisses me full on the mouth “don’t even think about letting anyone else kiss these lips!”

With that she goes inside, shuts the door and leaves me standing alone and very confused on her front doorstep.

Eventually week two of my torture rolled around. As I predicted Kate either didn’t seem to remember our conversation or was too embarrassed to bring it up, I wasn’t complaining about this, although I’d put her actions down to alcohol I was still feeling dazed and confused about her behaviour.

We saw less of each other that week, I was working Monday – Friday and Kate was busy taking her parents on local trips in the area, she usually called at some point during the day but our conversations were kept brief and strictly work related. If I was being completely honest I missed her being around.

On the Thursday of that week we went to the cinema, Kate managed to last until roughly half way through the film before taking my hand. Tired from my busy day at work I reciprocated without giving it much thought and rested my head on her shoulder. I felt her smile as she kissed my forehead and rested her head against mine, her thumb brushed the skin on the back of my hand as she squeezed my fingers…

I couldn’t tell you what happened in the rest of that film, I was practically asleep on Kate’s shoulder, that one small gesture was enough to make me feel completely safe, relaxed and reassured…yet again I found my brain (even in my half-asleep state) reminding my heart that this wasn’t real. If it’s possible for a heart to crack under intense emotional strain I’m sure mine was doing at that moment in time.

Chapter Three

Kate’s Award Night:

Week three of this madness and it’s Kate’s Medical Award Night, she asked me to this event months ago because apparently the woman she was dating at the time was an unsuitable companion for such an event…although what exactly made me a suitable companion I never found out.

It took me ages to find a dress that was both comfortable and presentable enough to fit in with a bunch of high flying medical personnel for an evening. In the end I opted for a simple royal blue number that clung to my hips and made my legs look great.

I pulled up outside Kate’s house right on time, walked up the steps to the front door and let myself in.

“Erin, is that you?” Kate calls from upstairs.

“Yeah, it’s me, I’m ready whenever you are.” I shout back.

“Jesus,” I breathe as Kate appears at the top of the stairs not a minute later.

“Oh god what?” Kate asks as she sees me staring “Do I look a mess?”

“No!” I shout, startling her slightly. She raises her eyebrows questioningly at me.

She’s wearing a strapless deep emerald green dress that stops just below her knees, her hair is waved softly around her face, she’s also wearing make-up which surprises me, not that it doesn’t look good on her, I just don’t think in all the time I’ve known her she’s ever worn it.

“No,” I repeat more calmly realising I’ve not spoken for a few minutes, my voice softens and I smile hugely at her, “you look beautiful. If you don’t pull tonight there’s something seriously wrong with the doctors in this country.”

“I’m not aiming to pull a doctor tonight,” Kate laughs making her way down the stairs, she kisses my cheek when she reaches me and whispers in my ear, “I want someone else.”

Blushing furiously yet again, I turn and follow her out the door.

Four hours later the medical event draws to a close, Kate hasn’t left my side all night, her arm feels like it’s been super glued to my waist. She was easily the most beautiful woman in the room tonight, I found myself working hard not to just stare at her…and I wasn’t the only one…she drew glances and stares from both men and women. I almost felt a little guilty at one stage that I was there as her date, she could’ve had anyone she wanted, that is until I remembered that she asked me to this and I didn’t volunteer!

A free taxi pulls up outside the venue (luckily for us) just as it starts to rain. We climb inside, Kate gives the driver her address and then leans back in her seat shivering slightly.

“Cold?” I ask.

“A little,” she admits smiling at me “but we’ll be home soon, I’ll be fine.”

Not quite convinced, I slide across to her and lay my jacket over us both. Kate says nothing, instead she casually rests her hand on my thigh and leans in to my side. I wrap my arm around her waist, our positions reversed from the rest of the evening, and try my best to keep my heart beating at a normal rate. It feels so natural now for us to act like this that for a moment I forget this part of our relationship isn’t real…once the moment passes however and I snap back to reality, I’m certain I feel those cracks in my heart break a little more…

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