All He Wants

By: Anna Cruise


“Hold my hand.”

Sheridan, my sorority sister, shot me a disgusted look. “Are you serious?”

“Why wouldn't I be?” I asked her. “Have you seen where I'm sitting?”

We were in a small, sterile doctor's office in the middle of a single-story stucco office building just off Balboa Avenue. It was the last place in the world I wanted to be. I hated going to the doctor for anything but if I wanted to visit Stuart in Brazil—the hot man who had stormed into my life and turned it completely upside down in the span of a single week—well, it was a necessary evil. I hadn't wanted to spend time with him when he'd arrived in San Diego, had begged not to be saddled with him during his speaking engagement trip at my school, but now? I couldn't wait to see him again.

Sheridan sat primly in a vinyl burgundy chair and I was perched on an examination table. The white tissue paper that lined the table stuck to my ass and I wiggled, trying to dislodge it from the backs of my thighs.

“What are you doing?” she asked. “Using the table as a vibrator?”

I glared at her. “The paper from this goddamn table is going up my ass.”

Sheridan smiled. “Pretty sure that wouldn't be the first time something has found its way up there...”

I flipped her off. “Wrong,” I told her. “I may be a sexual deviant but I am not into that.”

“Yet,” Sheridan clarified, her smile widening.

“You're the one who deviates from the norm,” I reminded her.

“I'm a lesbian in a monogamous relationship,” she said. Her blond hair was twisted into a loose braid and she played with the tail. “You sleep with anything that has a penis. Pretty sure I'm actually the normal one.”

“Not anything.” I shifted again and the paper crackled loudly. “I do have some standards.”

The door to the exam room opened and a nurse marched in. She was tiny, barely five feet tall, her round body partially hidden by the loose-fitting pink scrubs she wore. Her dark hair was clipped back with a wide barrette and cat earrings dangled from her earlobes. I was pretty sure she was the nurse assigned to kids at the practice. And I didn't know if I should be offended by that or not.

She held a white plastic tray with two small vials of medicine. I stiffened and looked at Sheridan. She still wore a satisfied smile on her face.

I motioned to her.

“What?” she mouthed.

“Come. Here.”

The nurse set the tray on the counter and turned to look at me. She was older than me, probably in her thirties, and feathery wrinkles crinkled around her eyes when she smiled. She had lipstick on her front tooth, bright pink, and I wanted to tell her that her choice of color was all wrong for her complexion. But I didn't.

“All ready?” she asked.

I looked at Sheridan again. She let out an exaggerated sigh but set her purse on the floor and stood up. She positioned herself next to me and folded her arms across her chest.

“Are you two traveling together?” the nurse asked. She pulled a handful of sealed syringes from a drawer and began ripping off the plastic coverings.

“No,” I said.

She shoved a needle in one of the vials and tilted it upside down. “Just here for moral support, then?” she asked Sheridan.

I rolled my eyes. “Something like that.”

She tapped the first syringe, settling the liquid, then set it down on the tray and picked up the next one. “You're a good friend,” she told Sheridan.

“I know,” Sheridan said. She raised her eyebrows and waited for me to confirm this. Instead, I reached out and yanked her arm down, sliding my hand into hers.

“Oh, Annika,” she breathed, batting her lashes at me. “I've been waiting for this moment...”

I dug my nail into her palm and she squeaked. “Ouch!”

If the nurse heard any of our conversation, she didn't let on, just concentrated on filling the remaining syringe.

“Doctor Volk told you what immunizations you're receiving, correct?” she asked.

I nodded.

She picked up an electronic table and pen and tapped at the screen. “The typhoid immunization is given as either a pill or a shot. Because you're leaving later this week, we're recommending the oral vaccine.”