I feel my eyes growing wide and my neck tilting as far back as it can go without snapping off, all in an effort to keep up with the sheer size of the imposing figure standing before me.
“Dexter Frost?” I finally manage to ask, my voice incredibly hoarse. “The oncologist?”
“Yes,” he admits with a nod. “I’m temporarily standing in as the assistant chief surgeon here at Greenwood.”
“I see,” I say. I suppose he does look way too young to be a chief surgeon, anyway. Still, I can’t help but feel a bit apprehensive about meeting with him. I know he’s a general surgeon as well, but the fact that oncology is his specialty doesn’t really sit well with me.
“You can reschedule to meet with Doctor Templin next week if you’d prefer that,” he offers.
I shake my head a little too adamantly. There’s no way I’m putting myself through another panic attack session if I don’t have to. I didn’t just throw up for nothing.
“No, that’s okay,” I say with an overly-frantic wave of my hands. “I’m already here, anyway.”
He looks at me with a slightly confused expression, no doubt a bit surprised at my reaction, but nods anyway. “Alright, then.”
The kind receptionist from earlier hands him my file and gives me another smile before returning her attention to her work.
“This way, please,” he gestures with his hand, urging me to follow him.
We head into the elevator and go up two floors before it dings open and its steel doors let us out into another hallway. We keep walking down a corridor, lined extensively with thick, light brown carpeting.
I keep my eyes on the floor and on my feet as we walk side by side in silence. We pass a few closed doors before he turns the knob on the one with his name engraved in a mounted silver plaque adjacent to it.
“Come on in,” he says, standing in the open doorway, almost matching its height as he waits for me to go inside first.
I walk ahead of him, feeling incredibly timid as I squeeze past his large, imposing frame. I’m extra careful not to brush against him as I do.
Christ, what kind of doctor looks like he belongs in an MMA fighting cage?
A quick image of him standing in an enclosed fighting ring flashes in my head. He’s standing tall and proud with nothing but a pair of sparring pants and his lab coat on, surrounded by screaming, belligerent fans, and I can’t help but roll my eyes at how silly my imagination can get.
He shuts the door behind us and follows after me. He points over to a black leather chair at his desk and ushers me to take a seat.
I do a quick once-over of the office, taking in the spacious environment, the various splashes of color, and the mix of leather and mahogany furniture meticulously placed throughout the room.
A pair of very large, double-hung windows stare back at me, claiming a huge chunk of space in the wall opposite the door, with silky beige drapes hanging off either side of them from a long chrome rod. I sigh internally as I see more snow and barren trees through the clear glass.
The walls and ceiling are an immaculate white, much like the snow falling outdoors. The floor is covered with the same light brown carpeting from the corridor and hallway just outside.
A medium-sized aquarium is built into one of the walls, full of bright and colorful little fish, swimming around each other mundanely like most goldfish do.
Right next to it is an extensive book shelf, standing magnificently from floor to ceiling in a glorious brown mahogany and split into maybe a dozen compartments, each one filled with several medical books, journals, and dictionaries.
Fluorescent bulbs line the ceiling in an alternating pattern, shining brightly and illuminating the room perfectly.
A wide plasma TV mounts another wall, displaying nothing at the moment.
Everything is silent except for the bubbling sounds coming from the aquarium.
I’m really not sure what to make of the place. It seems a bit extravagant for a doctor’s office, but what do I know? It’s not like I go around surveying doctors’ offices.
As I take my seat, I notice a framed collage of pictures standing erect on his desk, next to an extravagant-looking penholder.
They’re pictures of him and a woman.
She’s pretty. Very pretty, actually, with wavy blonde hair, a slender frame, and light blue eyes that are about a shade or two darker than his. Classically model-esque.
If I’m being very honest, she’s absolutely gorgeous. It must be his girlfriend. Or wife.
In each picture, they’re side by side, smiling happily, being affectionate, and obviously very much in love with each other. They’re obviously a couple. A very attractive couple.
I feel like I should tell him that as a gesture of politeness, if only to break the ice, but I ultimately decide not to make any mention of it. I’ve never really been one for small talk, anyway, and I don’t feel like being very honest right now.
And for some ridiculous reason, I feel my heart sink at the sight. And then I feel like kicking myself for being bothered by it.
How absurd is it to feel heartbroken because a man I just met—a man that I otherwise would have never even come in contact with—is happily married to a beautiful woman? God, I must be insane.
He comes around and settles behind his desk, taking his seat opposite me and placing his intertwined fingers on the wooden slab. His big body fills the large swivel chair, and he slightly turns to the side and casually crosses his feet.
The gold band on his ring finger confirms my speculation.
That’s definitely his wife in the pictures.
I feel a surprising stab of disappointment run through me, but I quickly subdue it. It’s not like I didn’t expect it. A man as handsome and smart as he is doesn’t go around unattached.