Harlow: A Military Bad Boy Romance: The Bradford Brothers, page 16
“I have subpoenaed the files of Dr. Davis’ patients,” she states.
Riley had also come up with this work- around, to get Lance off the hook for giving me access to any patient files.
“And here is a print- out of the results, which Ms. Reid has been nice enough to illustrate. If the Board cares to review the files of Dr. Davis itself, I have them all available. As you can see from this highlighted print- out, Dr. Davis quickly gave up on all but a few select patients, namely, Harlow and two others, who were also in various units of the Special Forces. Dr. Davis doctored videos to make it look like those three had started out far more disadvantaged than they actually had…”
Riley begins playing the video on the large projector screen. I assume that most of the Board members had seen the edited footage at Dr. Davis’ various presentations, and they sit with their mouths open as they watched the unedited version. After it finishes playing, Riley explains how Dr. Davis had taken credit for physical advances and mental prowess he had had nothing to do with, and how he had strung Harlow along for his own purposes until now.
When she was finished, silence filled the room. Not even Dr. Davis dared to speak.
Finally, the Board president cleared his throat.
“Dr. Davis, it’s your turn now, to address these allegations.”
Dr. Davis stood up and pounded his fist on the conference room table.
“I have already said that this intern is biased. Not only is she new and incompetent but I also have reason to believe that she is having an inappropriate, unethical relationship with the patient.”
I look over at Riley but her face has an icy cold expression on it. I had already told her my only fear was that Dr. Davis might bring up the relationship between Harlow and me, and that he might have even been spying on us and have evidence of his own.
Riley had assured me that it isn’t a problem, as I am no longer Harlow’s physical therapist. Luckily, things don’t even get that far, however, because the Board President glances sharply at Dr. Davis and clears his throat again.
“But what about these allegations that were just presented? On their face they look pretty damning, no matter what the relationship between Harlow and Ms. Reid. What do you have to counter the substance of them?”
“They’re completely fabricated,” Dr. Davis says. “Just an attempt at character assassination, from an ungrateful and jealous patient, who was expecting to hit it big when my company was sold, and didn’t.”
I have to try hard not to roll my eyes.
“And I want a lawyer before speaking further to this Board, to address these malicious and perhaps career- ending allegations,” Dr. Davis continues. “I would like to appeal the format of these proceedings and even the fact that they happened in the first place.”
“Very well,” says the Board President, not looking convinced. “We will issue an opinion on Harlow’s accusations, and our recommendations for his specific case as well as… other potential issues… within the next week. You are welcome to obtain counsel for whatever you see fit but please be reminded that this is a military decision and not open to outside influence or civil proceedings.”
So basically, go away because there’s nothing you can do, I translate to myself, wishing I could giggle out loud. Instead, I tap Harlow’s foot with my own, under the table, three times fast.
It can be interpreted one of two ways, but I mean it as both.
We did it.
I love you.
“That was amazing,” I shout, as soon as Whitney and I are alone in my car.
We’ve thanked Riley and are headed to meet up with her and Jensen for a celebratory dinner. But it feels good for it to be just the two of us, basking in our accomplishments. I can’t believe that a short time ago I thought we were over for good, and now we’re deep into something that feels so big and important.
“Thank you,” I say, holding her hand as I begin driving. “I never could have figured this out without you.”
“No, thank you,” she says, her hand moving suggestively to my thigh. “I never could have figured life out without you.”
“Is that so?” I ask, as she begins unbuttoning my button and then unzipping my fly. “How will you ever show me how grateful you are?”
She bends over and slowly licks the tip of my cock. Then she takes the entire thing in her mouth and sucks. I enjoy the sensation as I try to concentrate on the road. Luckily I’ve been driving since I was fifteen without any accidents and I’m good at multi- tasking.
She runs her hand up and down my shaft while sucking on the head of my penis.
“I’ve never done this before, like this,” she says, in a near- whisper. “But I figured I’d better start listening to you about taking risks once in a while.”
“You taking risks? I’m the one having to drive on I - 40 with your mouth making my cock feel so good.”
“Well, at least it feels good,” she says, running her tongue up and down my shaft. “If we crash and die, it’ll be worth it.”
“I don’t want to die,” I tell her. “Life is finally starting to get good.”
She deep throats me while I put one hand on her head and stroke her hair, gently and then increasing in urgency as I feel better and better.
“Oh my god,” I tell her, as my cock fills up her perfect mouth.
“I’m going to come.”
“Good,” she says, reaching a hand underneath me to play with my balls while she expertly sucks my cock from back to front.
I can’t take it any longer. I explode in her mouth and she laps it up. I sneak a quick glance to look down at her deep brown eyes, her willing gaze meeting mine.
“Whitney, you couldn’t be any more perfect if you tried.”
She tickles the edge of my penis with her tongue and says, “I know. I’m just glad you finally came to your senses and started listening to me.”
And so am I.
Three Months Later
Jensen looks as handsome as I’ve ever seen him— which is exactly how a man should look on his wedding day. I adjust his boutonniere as we wait for the signal from the wedding coordinator that it’s time to take our places at the altar— or rather, what would be an altar if this weren’t an outdoor wedding, featuring a homemade bridal arch instead of an altar.
“I’m proud of you for jumping right in,” I tell him, as he looks away bashfully. “And thank you for rushing your wedding date just for me.”
“Are you kidding?” says Jensen, with a genuine smile. “I couldn’t imagine getting married without both of my brothers at my side. And I’m so glad they cleared you for active duty in time for this upcoming deployment.”
I smile, although I have mixed feelings about that. I’m glad I get to go back, and that the Board decided to certify me— and to cut all ties with Dr. Davis.
The Board’s letter commended me— and Whitney— for bringing such important matters to their attention and for working to ensure that the unfortunate manner of the way that events with Dr. Davis unfolded with me did not continue to occur to other service members.
The letter stated that the Board regrets its past decision to collaborate with Dr. Davis and that now that it knows the full extent of Dr. Davis’ motives and actions, it would be severing such coloration, and apologized for not knowing about it sooner. News headlines said that Dr. Davis’ stock would no longer be going public because investors had reason to doubt his truthfulness and believed that the results of his technology were not as good as he had reported.
Dr. Davis appealed the decision but the Board of course upheld it. He’s now threatening suit in civil, Federal district court but Riley has assured us it will be tossed out on a motion to dismiss because there’s no merit to it.
She doesn’t even think Dr. Davis will bring the lawsuit because any attorney would advise him that it’s a losing battle that would only further embarrass him. I wouldn’t put it
But now that I’m back to active duty status, including deployment, it’s a situation where I almost want to go back in time and tell myself to be careful what I wish for. It’s going to be very hard to be away from Whitney. At least this deployment is only six months long.
I haven’t told Jensen, or anyone, yet, but I’ve been thinking about a proposal of my own. I don’t want Whitney getting swept away by anyone while I’m gone. And planning a wedding might give her something to look forward to in my absence.
It’s only been a short time since we’ve been together, so maybe I should wait. But I’ve always been someone who jumps right into things, so why should I stop now? My relationship with Whitney has been fast and intense so far, just like everything else in my life.
“I’m sorry I initially doubted you and Whitney,” Jensen says, as if reading my mind. “That’s before I knew what a great girl she is. And I guess, like I learned with Riley, sometimes when you know, you just know.”
“All right, gentlemen,” says the wedding coordinator, in that everything- is- urgent tone that everyone involved in any way with weddings all seem to have. “In just a couple minutes we’re going to need you to perform your ushering and musical duties and then take your places in front, with Jensen first of course and then everyone lined up after him in the order we had rehearsed. Does anyone have any questions?”
“Just one,” says Ramsey, emerging from behind the wedding planner with a fist- full of miniatures. “Who’s ready for a shot, to start this celebration off right?”
Everyone laughs and grabs a miniature. Ramsey obviously still knows how to get a party started.
“To Jensen’s future as a love- sick, captive husband,” Ramsey says, and we all clink our plastic tiny bottles and take the shot.
The liquid burns as it goes down my throat, and Jensen shakes his head back and forth as he forces it down, shouting, “To captivity indeed!”
I find Riley’s mother and escort her to the front row, and then I escort our own mother to a front row seat across the aisle. Mom squeezes my arm and says, “I’m so happy for Jensen.”
I squeeze hers back. “Me too, Mom.”
I’m happy for all of us. Mom has been doing better lately, and that’s about as best as we can hope for. She looks lovely in a light blue dress, with her hair and makeup done.
Mom looks over at Ramsey, who is playing his guitar under a tree, and whispers to me again under her breath.
“But I’m worried about Ramsey. Something has seemed… off… lately.”
“It’s okay, Mom.”
I pat her arm. But I’m worried about Ramsey too. He’s seemed even more irrational and angry since his subdued blow- up at Los Cuates. I don’t know what I’ll do if his strong shell cracks, since he’s the glue that holds our family together.
I kiss my mom’s cheek and then help her lower herself into her seat. Then I take my place next to Jensen and I catch Whitney’s eye after I find her seated in the audience. She smiles at me, her cheeks red with excitement and happiness for my brother and Riley.
As I stare at Whitney— thinking of how lucky I am to have found her— and time stands still before my brother ties the knot, I think about what he said, about how when you know, you just know. I definitely did know as soon as I met Whitney that she was the one for me. I just hadn’t wanted to trust myself, because it had been scary. But I still know, for sure this time: she’s the one for me.
I’m a sucker for weddings, but Jensen’s and Riley’s is even more beautiful than the average ceremony. It’s outdoors at a bed and breakfast in Old Town, and decorated with red roses, white calla lilies, black lace and a pop of turquoise ribbon to match the Southwestern décor.
Jensen and his brothers and some military buddies are dressed up in their formal military uniforms and look dashing. Harlow always looks good but today he is particularly stunning. And he even looks a bit nervous as he stands proudly next to his brother.
“Your man is looking good,” Lance whispers to me, while jostling my leg with his own.
I jostle his back.
Things are working out well for both of us. After everything that happened with Dr. Davis, and Piñon parted ways with him, it still wanted a program focused on helping service members who had suffered catastrophic injuries requiring reconstructive surgery. Piñon was so impressed with Lance’s work with Harlow and his dedication to honesty and service members that they put him in charge of the program.
So although Lance had originally feared he would be fired for his involvement in exposing Dr. Davis, he was in fact promoted. It’s a great outcome because an even greater number of service members will be receiving the follow- up treatment they deserve, and a trusted, internal physical therapist is running the program instead of a corrupt outside doctor with his own agenda.
I find Jesse Morrow in the audience and wave at him; he waves back, with a big smile on his face. Jesse is a patient at the clinic, and Lance himself has been working with him for further physical therapy treatment.
He’s progressed quite a bit physically. And he and Harlow have become good friends. They encourage and motivate each other, and sometimes we all hang out at Gecko’s, or at Louie’s when Jensen can manage to drag us there.
While Piñon was developing its new program, I graduated from college with a good GPA, good GMAT scores and high recommendations to medical school, not only from Lance but also from many others at Piñon. Piñon offered me a job as a full- time, full- fledged physical therapist, but I had to decline because in the fall I’m set to start medical school.
I’m looking forward to medical school as a welcome distraction and something I’ll be forced to focus on while Harlow is deployed. But I’m also proud of myself for finding the courage to apply. Perhaps I’ll be referring patients to Piñon one day, and working closely with Lance to oversee their treatment.
My parents were happy to hear of all my recent news— not only did I dump Tony and get with Harlow, but I also got back on the path to medical school.
“We’re so proud of you!” My mom beamed, when Harlow and I went to visit them last month. “We always knew you could do anything you set your mind to.”
And they were right. It doesn’t matter how confident they were for me in the past, because I myself didn’t share that same confidence in myself. Their words of encouragement felt like empty platitudes, but they are great parents.
When I see everything that Harlow has been through, with his deceased father and unstable mother, I’m even more grateful for the love and support my parents have always provided. Maybe one day they’ll be here for my own wedding, with Harlow…
Harlow smiles at me, jolting me back to the present, which I’m glad for because I don’t want to miss a moment of Jensen’s and Riley’s big day. As Jensen and the groomsmen took their places, Ramsey was singing and playing the guitar to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
I never expected Harlow’s brother to be such a good musician, but I’m pleasantly surprised. Now, as the bridesmaids begin walking down the aisle, he switches to a “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/ What a Beautiful World” mix.
The ambiance is casual yet elegant. The bridesmaids wear black and white dresses that Riley was clearly kind enough to let them choose on their own, which definitely fits her laid- back and thoughtful personality.
A cute little boy and girl pair toddle down the aisle as ring bearer and flower girl. And after Ramsey puts his guitar down and joins Jensen in front, Pachelbel’s Cannon in D starts playing over the speakers. We all know to stand up, because the bride is on her way.
Riley looks beautiful in a ruched white dress with lace and pearls woven throughout. I want to cry when I sneak a glance at Jensen’s face, because the look I see there is so
The wedding officiant begins a unique and personal ceremony, which she says that Jensen and Riley wrote together. She mentions how they met under tumultuous circumstances but began to rely on each other as both advocates and lovers.
The story sounds rather similar to that of Harlow’s and mine, and he winks at me, letting me know he thinks so too.
“Before today’s festivities, I met with the bride and groom and their families to go over the type of ceremony they wanted,” the officiant says next. “Both of the groom’s brothers were quick to let me know that they can’t believe he is getting married. But he told me privately that he knows he started a trend, and that they’ll both be next. I hear one of them is already in a committed relationship that Jensen himself at first couldn’t believe.”
Harlow winks at me, and I know our turn is coming soon. His deployment will be hard, but I know it’s for a good cause, and I know he’s worth the wait. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and he’s changed my life for the better in every possible way.
I know for sure that we’ll be together for the long haul. One of these days it will be him and me standing front and center as we exchange vows in front of our friends and family members.
I’m not sure exactly when we’ll get to that destination but I sure am enjoying the ride.
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