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After the Rain: A Novel

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en Limba Engleză Carte Paperback – 20 Nov 2014
Under the bright arena lights of a rodeo show, young Avelina Belo falls for a handsome cowboy with a larger-than-life personality. After a whirlwind courtship, she happily moves away from her family in northern California and settles into married life with her cowboy on a seven-thousand-acre cattle ranch in Montana. One freak accident later, Avelina's hopes for the future come to an end.

Nate Myers graduated from UCLA medical school at the top of his class, ready to follow in the footsteps of his father, a superstar cardiothoracic surgeon. Six years later, Nate's career is being ruined by a malpractice suit. Questioning himself for the first time, he retreats to a Montana cattle ranch to visit his uncle and gain perspective. There, he meets a beautiful young woman named Avelina who teaches him more than he ever knew about matters of the heart.
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Specificații

ISBN-13: 9781476763996
ISBN-10: 1476763992
Pagini: 304
Dimensiuni: 135 x 210 x 18 mm
Greutate: 0.25 kg
Editura: Simon & Schuster
Colecția Atria Books

Extras

After the Rain

CHAPTER 2

Regimented Exercise

Nathanial

SPRING 2005

Flying up and down the rows of a crowded parking lot while my mother screamed in the backseat was not how I pictured the day I would officially become a doctor. My dad, in his token Hawaiian-print dress shirt, sat in the passenger seat, calm as ever, while I anxiously sped up and slowed down, periodically glancing at the clock on the dash. I had ten minutes to be in my seat before the ceremony started. There were no open parking spaces—the lot was littered with graduates hurrying along in their green and black gowns while my dad sat there humming “Yesterday” by the Beatles.

“I’m gonna be late. Shit! I’m gonna be late.”

“Christ, Nathanial, you’re going to kill somebody. Calm down!” my mother shouted.

“Mom, please, you’re not helping. And Dad, quit with the fucking humming.”

“Nathanial, are you really going to call yourself a doctor and use that kind of language?” I looked into the rearview mirror to see my peeved mother with her arms crossed, smirking at me.

“Oh that doesn’t matter, Elaine.” My dad finally awoke from his nostalgic daze. “Our boy here needs to choose his battles. First he needs to find a parking space in this godforsaken hellhole they call a university.”

I zipped through a group of pedestrians and spotted an open space on the other side. When I hit the gas, I could hear my mother whining under her breath.

“Dad, how can you say that about your alma mater and the very hospital you practice in?”

“Times have changed, Nate. That’s all I’m saying.” He stared out the window and went back to humming “Yesterday.”

Graduation day is a turning point for so many, but for me it was just the next box to check off as I followed obediently in my father’s footsteps. The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA is a challenge for most, even if your dad is the head of cardiothoracic surgery, but for me medical school was a breeze. It was a party. Half of my courses consisted of a professor spewing information that had been planted in me and nurtured from the time I was able to speak. Courses in anatomy were like reciting the alphabet. The brachiocephalic veins are connected to the superior vena cava. The superior vena cava is connected to the right atrium. The right atrium is separated from the left ventricle by the atrioventricular septum. I knew these things not because my dad was a doctor but because my dad was the most passionate and revered cardiothoracic surgeon in all of Los Angeles. Even with his offbeat and sometimes risky methods, my dad was considered, within the large community of surgeons throughout the country, as the very best in his field.

The three of us jumped out of my beat-up Nissan Altima and started booking it toward the sound of the MC already beginning his speech. I scurried along, carrying my cap in one hand and car keys and cell phone in the other.

“Wait!” my mother yelled. I turned to find her standing at the edge of the parking lot with her hand on the hip of her black pantsuit.

“What is it, Mom?”

“Come on, Elaine,” my father barked.

“Wait, just wait, goddammit!” My mother never cursed. “Come here, Nathanial.” She was a petite woman with childlike features, a black pixie hairdo, and the tiniest elfin nose. Most of the time her timorous posture and gentle smile made her seem soft. I had towered over her five-foot-three frame since I was twelve years old but all she had to do was jerk her head up at me and her glare alone was as powerful as any weapon. My mother was a fearless force to be reckoned with. You know how they say behind every great man there’s a great woman? My mother would say, No, the woman is three steps ahead.

Even though she stood behind my father and me that day, she was three steps ahead of us, and by all accounts, in charge of the situation. I looked down at my feet and back to her face and saw her expression change from anger to pride.

I walked toward her. She stood up on her tippy-toes and cupped my face.

“You’re my only child. This is the only time I will get to have this moment. Before you walk up on that stage and officially become an MD, I want you to know that I’m proud of you. Even if you take all of this away—the white coat, the degrees—even if you take it all away, that doesn’t matter because I’m proud of who you are in here.” She poked me solidly in the chest, over my heart, and then she grabbed my cell phone from my hand. “And no cell phones today. I’ve already confiscated your father’s.”

I grinned at her and she winked. “Thanks, Mom. I love you.” I leaned down and kissed her cheek.

“I love you, too, and you know if this doctor thing doesn’t pan out I still think you’d make a great model.”

“I think that ship has sailed, Elaine,” my father chimed in.

It wouldn’t be fair to say that my father had pushed me to become a doctor because he didn’t—at least not overtly. I had wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps from the very beginning. But ever since I was a child, he had very carefully nudged me in the specific direction of heart surgery by basically discounting every other profession in the world. He would say, “Son, what’s more important than keeping people’s hearts beating?”

I thought I was so clever that once I had said, “What good is a beating heart without a functioning brain?”

He had, of course, very quickly replied, “It’s as good as any beating heart. The important thing to note is that you can keep even a nonfunctioning brain alive as long as you have a beating heart. Doesn’t work the other way around, does it?”

There had been about five minutes in my junior year of undergrad, when I had come home after reading about the use of power tools in orthopedic surgery, during which I had said to my father, “I think orthopedics is going to be my thing, Dad.” The next day he had brought home a trunk full of items from Home Depot and one extra-large cow femur bone. He then ran the cow bone over with his car in the driveway until it splintered, cracked, and broke in several places, and then he gave me a bag of tiny screws and bolts and a cordless drill.

“Have at it, kid.”

I had spent sixteen hours straight in the garage without so much as a drink of water. By the time I had finished, I was exhausted and thoroughly spent but proud of the fully assembled cow bone, which I paraded through the house. My mother was mortified and told my father he had created a monster. He just laughed from the couch, hollering back to me, “Looks pretty, but will it support sixteen hundred pounds?”

As I studied the bone in my hands, I became frighteningly aware that I knew nothing about orthopedics. I had spent the better part of an entire day meticulously planning and assembling an insanely complicated puzzle only to learn that the purpose of the surgery had nothing to do with how the bone looked but how the bone would function. Moments after that realization, I had another one, almost instantaneously: I didn’t care at all about how bones worked. Orthopedics was not my passion. Sure, I understood the importance of learning the basics in biology, anatomy and physiology, and general medicine, but I had been dreaming about doing heart surgery. In my dreams I would travel inside the heart. I lived in it and inspected every detail in each chamber like the parts were individual rooms. I had become obsessed with the heart and its physical functions. Even now, the only broken hearts I was interested in were ones that required surgery.

Darting between aisles and chairs, I found my seat next to Olivia Green, my lab partner through most of medical school. She had a fiery personality to go with a shock of red hair she often wound into a thick braid over her shoulder. To many of our classmates, Olivia seemed socially awkward because of her literal interpretation of just about everything. She had a certain candor about her, which I liked because occasionally we used each other for other things and she never gave me any emotional bullshit.

“You’re late. You missed the walk up.”

“I noticed. I was trapped in the parking lot.”

“Trapped by who?” she whispered in a concerned voice.

My best friend, Frankie, was sitting on the other side of Olivia. He leaned in, shot me a look, and laughed. “Nate meant the parking lot was busy, Olivia.”

“Oh,” Olivia said. Frankie shook his head and then whispered across to me, “And she’s going to be performing heart surgery? That’s a scary thought.”

“Shut up, Frankie,” she said, elbowing him in the side. Frankie and Olivia just barely got along, and I think it was for my sake. Olivia was going to make a better doctor than both of us combined, and I think that got under Frankie’s skin.

The MC, Rod Lohan, who was also a friend and colleague of my father’s, began his speech. He announced the new physicians of the class of 2005, and before I knew it I was being called up to the stage.

“Nathanial Ethan Meyers.”

I thought that would be the last time I would hear my full name without the word “doctor” in front of it, like the rest of my life would be defined completely by my profession.

As I approached Dr. Lohan, whom I’d respected most of my life, I saw a glimmer in his eye. He was proud. I turned and searched for my mother and father in the crowd and found them looking up at me the same way. The long years of hard work paid off in that moment, but just as Dr. Lohan placed the graduation hood on my shoulders, I realized that my work had only just begun.



After the ceremony, I had dinner with my parents and then met Olivia, Frankie, and a few other rowdy med school grads for drinks. We went to McNally’s, a local Irish pub. A man played the guitar and sang traditional pub songs from a tiny stage in the back. Between verses he would shout, “Chug it back, lads!”

I shook my head and wondered how I had been talked into going to a place like this. Olivia sat there bored, nursing a tiny cocktail, while Frankie, the social butterfly, made his rounds through the crowd.

“I’ll just have a water,” I said to the bartender.

“What’s the matter with you, bro? You’re not gonna have a celebratory drink?” Frankie shouted from halfway down the bar.

Olivia looked up at me, shaking her head. “Doesn’t he know you don’t drink?”

I shrugged. “Whatever, he’s just having fun.”

“He’s an imbecile.” She had no expression on her face.

I tugged on her braid. “Now, now, doc. Don’t get all hot.”

By then Frankie had walked up. “Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Boring. Don’t you two have some medical journals to be studying?” Olivia rolled her eyes.

“Actually, I do need to split, Frankie.” I gave him an apologetic look.

“I’m outta here,” Olivia mumbled.

“How about lunch tomorrow?” he asked me as I helped Olivia down from the stool.

“You got it.” Frankie was a good and loyal friend but he could be obnoxious, so I understood Olivia’s lack of patience with him.

I held the door open as Olivia and I headed out onto the street.

“I’ll walk you home,” I said to her. Her apartment was about four blocks from where we were and mine was six blocks in the other direction, but I knew she’d invite me in.

“Why are you staying in L.A. for your residency? I don’t get it,” she said as we walked briskly, shoulder to shoulder, down the sidewalk.

“Not everyone gets the privilege of doing their residency at Stanford.” I bumped my shoulder against hers in a teasing gesture.

“You would have been accepted but you didn’t even try.”

“What’s your point, Olivia?”

“I don’t know. It seems like you’re sticking around here because of your father.”

I could feel the heat spreading across my face. I clenched my jaw, stopped in my tracks, grabbed her shoulders, and turned her so she was facing me. Her large, dark eyes and freckles made her look younger but her lips were always pursed in an act of scrutiny, which sometimes made her look older. “My father has nothing to do with it. And I haven’t been given special treatment, if that’s what you’re getting at.”

She shrugged and one skinny eyebrow darted up. “Okay, whatever you say.”

“You know how hard I’ve worked. It has nothing to do with him. I’m not going to live in his shadow. I can be a better surgeon. It’s what I was born to do and I want to do it here. I like L.A. I’ve been here my whole life. I don’t need to be distracted in a new place.”

She turned and walked away, calling back, “I get it, Nate. You don’t have to walk me the rest of the way. I’m fine. Good night.”

I watched her walk down the block to the front of her building before I started jogging toward her. “Wait up, ­Olivia.”

She held the door to the lobby open. “What’s up?”

I hesitated. “Can . . . can I come in?” I smiled just enough to let her know I wasn’t mad at her.

She laughed once and then motioned with her hand for me to walk through the door. Once we were alone inside the elevator, I pinned her against the wall and kissed her. Her hair always smelled like tea tree oil. It was kind of a turnoff and I think she knew that. Like me, she wasn’t looking for someone to distract her. I tried not to breathe through my nose. She kissed me back, hard and demanding, and then began tugging at my belt. There was nothing warm or romantic about her.

“Hold on,” I whispered. “Not in here.”

When the elevator doors opened she grabbed my hand and pulled me down the hallway. “Hurry,” she said. “I want to be in bed by nine.”

“I’m getting you into bed right now.”

Unlocking the door to her apartment, she turned and looked at me. Her nose was scrunched up in revulsion. “I don’t want to do it in my bed, Nate.”

We had never had sex lying down. I think, in Olivia’s mind, that was too intimate. It was a miracle I could even get excited enough to be with her. She was gorgeous, but sex with Olivia was like a regimented exercise that was exactly the same every time. She told me where to put my hands and how to move and I would basically follow her directions, close my eyes, and pretend for a few moments that we weren’t just using each other night after night. It wasn’t that I wanted to find love, though. I didn’t have time for a relationship, so my arrangement with Olivia was perfect. It was just hard to overlook her cold nature sometimes.

“Over here.” She moved toward the small dining table in her kitchen. With her back to me, she pulled her tights and panties down to her ankles, lifted her skirt, and looked over her shoulder. “Come on.” She smiled playfully.

I fucked Olivia like that all the time, against a table with most of my clothes on. When I bent her over farther, I ran my hand up her back, inside of her shirt, and moved my other hand to her front. We were about ten minutes in before she came loudly, screaming, “Oh fuck!”

I finished twelve seconds later and five minutes after that I was back in the elevator heading home.

Olivia was leaving the following week to go to Stanford. I didn’t know if I would ever see her again, but sadly the thought didn’t bother me. It truly felt like the beginning of my life, and all I could think about was becoming the best heart surgeon in the country.

Recenzii

“After the Rain tore me up in the best way possible. Sexy, sweet, and sad, all woven together with an overwhelming undercurrent of hope, Nate and Avelina’s story is one that goes straight to my list of all-time favorites.”
“Heartbreaking, hopeful, and so beautifully written. I read the last page of After the Rain and squeezed my Kindle to my chest. Books like this make my heart feel full.”
“Renée Carlino’s writing is deeply emotional and full of quiet power. You won’t be disappointed.”
“Simply beautiful and packed full of emotion.”
“After the Rain is a powerful journey of heartbreak, forgiveness, hope, and the relentless beauty of true love.”
“After the Rain is Renée Carlino’s most heart-wrenching and beautiful story to date…one of my favorite reads of all time!”
“I couldn't get enough of this compelling, heart-wrenching, sexy, and beautifully-written story of second chances and new beginnings. I finished with tears streaming down my cheeks and a smile plastered to my face, so grateful for the time spent with these captivating characters who now hold a very special place in my heart.”