Isla had always been a small-town girl at heart. She'd grown up in a suburban neighborhood in Colorado and had accepted a residency job in Wyoming strictly because it was close enough for a weekend trip to her parents, but far enough that it would require planning before anyone just popped in.

She'd wanted independence. However, she hadn't counted on how difficult it would be to date while working the hours that she did and living in a place with a relatively small population.

"Did you get the twins down?" Zay questioned, when she'd made it to the bottom of the stairs.

Zay had outdone himself with their Thanksgiving dinner for three and was currently in the process of trying to find containers to fit all of the leftovers. Hailey had helped with the dishes before deciding that she needed to get back to her house before the storm that had been threatening all afternoon made the roads treacherous.

"For now," Isla sat in a barstool and rested her head on the hand of her uninjured arm. The sling had gotten tedious pretty quickly, especially while helping to care for two small children, "Do you ever feel like you're limiting yourself at a frozen yogurt shop? You're obviously pretty versatile in your cooking."

"I've spent my entire career trying to climb the ladder. I started in this dive that served hamburgers and fries. The work was monotonous, and I kept thinking that I would be happy if only I could work at a real restaurant with critical acclaim and Michelin stars. I ended up at a brand-new restaurant that went under before it even made it to two years and then, finally got that dream job at a four-star restaurant and I hated it. The pressure and the expectation of perfection started to bleed all the joy out of it. I would get home from work to a little one-bedroom walkup and eat cereal out of the box. This business is the opportunity to be creative and work for myself and I couldn't turn that down."

"So, no regrets then?" Isla asked and he paused in his actions to look at her with dark eyes.

"No, no regrets," he let the implications drip from his words and she could feel the blush slowly spreading up her neck and across her face.

"I need you to tell me exactly what happened," Missy slid into a seat at the empty hospital cafeteria table and crossed her legs at the ankle.

Riley could see the heat coming off of the paper cup in front of her, but it didn't stop Missy from taking a sip without even a wince.

"I came to the hospital to have Doctor Rector consult on one of my patients. She's pregnant and the baby has a medical condition that I wanted him to correct," Riley started, warming her hands on her own cup, but unable to bring herself to drink it.

The cafeteria was at the time of morning when the breakfast rush had finished, but it was still too early for lunch. The tables were mostly empty, except for an older man in street clothes that was seated near the window picking at a muffin and the cafeteria staff. Riley, still, deliberately tried to keep her voice quiet, hoping that she could contain what she was saying to herself and Missy.

She knew that Thor was waiting impatiently upstairs and had only managed to buy herself a half-hour before she was expected to meet with the Chief of Surgery in his office.

"Christopher Rector, the Parinatologist?" Missy clarified, scrawling something on one of the napkins she had retrieved from the dispenser. Riley had gotten a peak inside of her purse when she was digging out her pen and she wasn't surprised that Missy hadn't been able to find any loose paper amongst the tubes of lipstick, gum, and half full bottles of nail polish.

"Yes," Riley agreed, "He's very well respected in his field. He asked me to consult on a patient with what I believed was Ballantyne Syndrome or Mirror syndrome, when the mother develops heavy fluid retention because the fetus is retaining fluid. He wanted me to deliver the baby prematurely and then, he would stabilize the baby."

"And the initial surgery went well?"

"As far as I know, the baby is still stable. The problem came in with the mother. She was stable post-op, and we were waiting on labs to come back, but I believed that she would go back to normal health. If she had truly had Ballantyne Syndrome, her body would have regulated the fluid overload and all her signs and symptoms of preeclampsia should have resolved."

"But they didn't?" Missy stuck the cap of the pen in her mouth and Riley found herself remembering all of the history classes she had spent watching Missy chew pencils and wondering what the boys saw in someone with such a gross habit, besides the glossy hair and long legs.

"I received a call from a nurse at the hospital that she wasn't doing well and that they couldn't get ahold of Doctor Rector. My name was on her medical chart, so they called me. I immediately came and found her in the late stages of heart failure. She was the recipient of a heart transplant and the pregnancy, along with her decision to stop taking her anti-rejection drugs had made the situation worse. She crashed and I had one of the nurse's page someone from Cardiology to come down and consult. When we couldn't get her back using traditional medicine and the Cardiologist still hadn't arrived, I chose to open her chest and perform an open cardiac massage, which initially worked. She was transferred to the cardiology unit for further observation, where she died."

"It sounds like you did everything that you could," Missy leaned forward, and Riley thought back to the feeling of holding a beating heart inside of her hand.

That phrase was one that got thrown around a lot in medicine. Did you do everything humanly possible to try and save the patient? She'd had a professor that argued about the ethics of what you could do verses what you should do and how often the lines tended to bleed.

"A Cardiologist should have consulted on her case from the beginning. We didn't catch the heart failure because I believed that I was dealing with preeclampsia, which can both lead to swelling of the extremities and a high blood pressure. I didn't look at her chart as closely as I should have. I trusted that Doctor Rector had told me everything that I needed to know."

"That's definitely not what you're going to say upstairs. The first rule of law is that you never admit guilt. This is an inquisition; it isn't a legal suit. They should not be recording a single word that you say and nothing that happens in that meeting should be admissible to court," Missy removed the pen from her mouth as she spoke and Riley tried to focus on anything other than the thin coating of saliva that her mouth had left behind.

"My mentor was the fertility specialist that helped Kelly Smith get pregnant. Doctor Rector was trying to protect her by keeping the number of physicians who knew about her involvement small," Riley continued as though Missy hadn't spoken.

"Look, Riley, the best-case scenario right now is that you go upstairs and tell the medical facts of what happened. You don't tell them what you think you did wrong and you definitely don't add any personal thoughts or feelings. I've spent my entire career helping people take doctors for incredible amounts of money and, if there's one thing I've learned, it's that medical professionals turn on each other as a last resort. The hospital wants this to go away and so do you. Don't give them a lawsuit, give them a story they can use."

"And if the family decides to sue?" Riley tried to ignore the guilt that was churning inside of her stomach.

"Doctor Rector is worth a lot of money, so is this hospital. You throw enough money at a problem like this and it will disappear without a black mark on your record," Missy took another sip of her drink and tossed her pen back in her bag along with her napkin.

"I don't have money to make this problem go away," Riley countered.

"I ran into Farkle a couple of years back at a charity benefit. You can imagine my disappointment to discover just what I turned down all those years ago. I asked around, wanted to see if I had any kind of a chance with him after all this time and the general consensus was that he was still hung up on you," Missy stood up from the table smoothing out her skirt and grabbing a business card from her purse, "If this goes anywhere, I'll help you out. If I go upstairs with you, now, then they'll just get defensive and that isn't what you want. Don't give them a reason to worry and don't offer anything extra."

Riley easily read between Missy's words and felt shocked at the audacity she had to suggest that Riley ask Farkle to throw money at a problem of her own making. What made it worse was just how many times Farkle had stepped up to help her patch up the problems in her life. The idea that Riley used people in the same way that Missy seemed to have no problem with made her sick.

"You know, they call lawyers like you ambulance chasers," Riley was unable to keep some of the malice from leaking into her voice.

"They can call me whatever they like, while I'm getting billed sixty-four-dollars an hour," Missy returned flippantly, "I notice that you're not wearing a ring. Whatever happened to our Lucas?"

"I don't wear jewelry to the hospital, but Lucas and I have two children together," Riley pieced together a series of half-truths and omissions, unable to get passed the way Missy dug straight under her skin like a splinter.

How many times had Missy made her feel helpless? How many times had Missy used her words to tear Riley down with full knowledge of exactly what she was doing? Missy was a predator and it appeared that nothing had tempered that ambition, even after all of these years.

"Maybe we could all go to dinner together, while you're in the city. I'd love to catch up under better circumstances," Missy's voice held a note of challenge and just enough disbelief to raise Riley's blood pressure.

"This is supposed to be a quick trip," Riley trailed off with the last of her patience. Her jaw hurt from clenching it and Riley wished she could find the right words to put Missy into her place. She wished she didn't need Missy's help to fix this particular problem.

"Of course, but surely Lucas and you could find some time for an old friend. After all, we go so far back."

"Alright," Riley agreed, and Missy's eyes flashed with her victory.

"Tonight?" Missy suggested, "I could get us a reservation."

"It would be great if Smackle could join us to," Riley lifted her head as the idea came to her.

"I'll ask," Missy's voice deflated.

"You're already in charge of the reservation. Why don't I ask?" Riley pressed her advantage and watched as Missy's lips pursed and she conceded.

"Why don't you text me with the numbers after you get all of this worked out?" Missy gestured around the cafeteria, before turning away from Riley and taking her leave. Her heels clicked against the tile floor and Riley picked out the dark red in the soles of her shoes.

Riley had once owned name brand clothes. Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Saint Laurent, and plenty of the other great houses of fashion. She'd been a young, single doctor and moving to Wyoming had certainly cut down on her living expenses. However, she'd thrown out her wardrobe in frustration over how long it was taking to lose weight post-partum and she'd hardly packed with any plans to impress anyone. She found herself looking down at the dress pants that she had purchased at the local mall in Wyoming and the ruffled shirt that was mostly polyester in a shade somewhere between tan and light pink.

She couldn't help thinking that she can't measure up to the glamorous and bold Missy Bradford, even over a decade later.

Then, she thought of the conversation that she had with Lucas earlier that morning. He didn't find her beautiful because of the clothes she wore, or the names stitched into them and she had hardly cared when she was picking her new wardrobe out. She'd wanted clothes that fit and made her feel like herself.

Riley rose from her seat, straitened her shoulders and headed for the elevator.

They were silent on the cab ride home and Maya couldn't help thinking that the silence wasn't comfortable, in fact, it was almost painful. They sat with an entire seat between the two of them and Maya wished that she could come up with the magic words to break the silence without upsetting Josh further.

After she had told Josh that she deserved what was happening to her, he had gone quiet and she'd watched him draw into himself in a way that he hadn't since they had gotten back together. She had seen the way he could shut down and close off, the way all the light could leave his eyes and all of the emotion drain away, before. She knew that Bethany had described him as being impossible to reach, but it had never occurred to her that he could be that cold with her.

Their relationship was supposed to be different.

Maya had always burned bright and hot. Her emotions left her mouth almost as soon as she had them. There was never any guessing when she loved someone, or hated them, or was having an off day.

She'd always known that Josh was more tempered. His emotions would come out in writing, but sometimes it would surprise her at the depths he felt without physically showing anything. He was always the first person to walk away from an argument and, often, the first to give in and admit she was right.

"I'll pick up Noah later today. Your mother wanted to give you a chance to rest," Josh broke the silence and Maya turned to face him with hope that his words were a sign that the cold front had broken.

"That was nice of her," Maya offered, and he nodded, his shoulders still tense, "I guess everyone knows now."

"I couldn't lie, anymore," Josh explained, and Maya felt the words like a rebuke.

"I didn't want people to treat me differently. I didn't want Mom to worry."

"Well, it's out, now," Josh's voice was dull, and Maya turned back to the window, knowing that anything else she said would be in an effort to get him to react. She'd always been good at pushing until he gave in.

They pulled up to the apartment building and Josh settled the bill, while Maya waited on the sidewalk.

"You could have just gone in," Josh informed her, when he finally caught up with her.

"I love you," she said the words forcefully, her eyes searching his face like a sailor in a storm looking for land, "You know how much I love you?"

"You think I don't feel guilty for the things I've done? I said horrible thing to you because I wanted you to have better than me; because I wanted to please my family and, sometimes, because I thought it might be easier to stop loving you if I was sure that you hated me. I can't make you want to live, Maya. I can't make you forgive yourself. You're the only one that can do that. And, if you can't find a way to love yourself, to want to fight, then I don't know that it matters how much you love me," his eyes blazed brightly for a moment and then she watched the emotion drain straight out of his face, "I'm going for a walk."

She watched his back as he left and reached up to wipe the tears she hadn't noticed streaming down her face.

Riley had met Kevin Creswell, the Chief of Surgery after she'd gotten hired at the hospital. She'd officially reported to the head of the OB department, but there had been a new hire breakfast for surgeons that had been picked up after residency and he had been the main speaker.

She remembered thinking that he looked less surgeon and more administrator in his Armani suit and that there was something impersonal about him, like he cared more about how they reflected on him, then getting to know them as individuals.

"I need to know what you're going to say," Thor was waiting for her as soon as she stepped off the elevator.

"The truth," Riley's heart felt like it was going to beat straight out of her chest.

"What truth?"

The door to his office opened and he stepped out into the hallway. His receptionists' desk was empty, and Riley assumed that the receptionist was taking an early lunch.

"Let's get this over with," Chief Creswell stepped aside and gestured into the room.

The floors were hardwood, and a leather couch was pushed into the corner next to a bookshelf that was filled with textbooks. His desk was made out of a dark wood and a picture of a blonde woman and two smiling children was positioned directly behind it, where visitors had to look at it, but he would have to turn to see it. Several diplomas were framed and hung on the wall to the side of the desk and a window took up an entire wall to the side of them with a view of the ER bay down below.

"Sir," Thor started, but Chief Creswell raised an arm to silence him as he sat himself down in a high-backed chair and gestured for them to sit in the chairs on the opposite side of the desk.

Riley obeyed without comment, crossing her legs in a gesture similar to what Missy's had been and hoping that it would convey the same unrufflable elegance. Thor sat at the edge of the chair, as though he might rise from it and bolt at any moment.

"It's my understanding that we employed you up until sometime last year. Is that correct, Doctor Mathews?" Creswell typed a password into his computer and pulled something up that they couldn't see.

"Yes," Riley wondered if they could sense the fear in her voice.

"It appears that you billed quite well, had a steady client stream, and were well liked by your colleagues. You have a clean record from your time with us."

"I enjoyed working here," Riley agreed, daring to lean back half an inch.

"I read through Ms. Smith's chart and it appears to be a clear case of a patient withholding important information from her care providers. A nurse never brought her surgical scar to either of your attentions at any point, did they?"

"No, Sir," Thor agreed quickly.

"Unfortunately, the nurses that cared for Ms. Smith never charted a sternal incision scar on any of their assessments. That leads me to believe that Ms. Smith must have been hiding her health history deliberately and that any fault in this matter is from her end. Are any of you going to contradict that statement if asked?"

"No, Sir."

Riley wondered how many times before Thor had sat in this office telling Chief Creswell whatever he wanted to hear.

"And you, Doctor Mathews?" Creswell turned to her.

"I didn't see the scar until she was in cardiac arrest," Riley explained, struggling to maintain eye contact, when all she wanted to do was drop her gaze to the floor.

"She never mentioned her heart history to you?" his eyes narrowed.

"No," Riley denied.

"And you didn't see anything about it in her medical chart?"

Riley could feel the sweat beading on the back of her neck. He was throwing her every possible excuse and any smart person would take the out.

"Chief?" all three of them turn towards the door and Riley saw a man in his early twenties with dark hair and an easy smile, "I'm sorry to interrupt, but there's something urgent that I need to tell you out here, right now."

"I'll be back in a moment," Creswell rose from his chair and Riley let out an exhale as soon as the door closed.

"I glanced at her chart," Riley turned to Thor, feeling all of her insecurities and inadequacies coming straight up her throat, "Right before I went in to cut her open. I should have sat down and read it."

"That right there, is exactly what the Chief is looking for. He wants to know that you're going to back the hospital in a court room. That's the entire reason why we're here, Riley. You prove that you're a loose cannon and you lose all the protection that the hospital is offering you right now."

"You knew about her heart history," Riley let the accusation sit between them.

"All of that is in a hard copy fax that was sent over from a hospital in California. It hadn't been scanned into medical records, yet, and it existed only in her physical chart. The nurses really did miss the scar and I would have, too. When we examined her, she had her gown on and I don't usually ask women to remove it when it doesn't have anything to do with the procedure that I'm going to perform. I got the record because I saw that she had listed Doctor Breeland as her primary care physician on her intake form. It was a guess and she never gave me permission to pull that file. She was trying to hide it from us. I didn't lie about that."

"I don't know how I'm supposed to trust a word coming out of your mouth," Riley admitted, an inappropriate laugh coming out as a cough as she tried to suppress it.

"You don't have to trust me. Yes, I knew that she had a heart history, and I knew that Doctor Breeland performed a procedure that, at the very least, was unethical. We would have done everything exactly the same and I reviewed the charting from her Code Blue with the Cardiologist that took over her care when she was transferred. He said he would have called the entire thing earlier. She was going to die. She gambled and she lost. At this point, the only

way they get anything from us is if they can prove that Lydia Breeland didn't fully educate Kelly on the risks of getting pregnant or if you let guilt and self-flagellation take the both of us down."

"What if they argue that we should have delivered the baby sooner?" Riley countered.

"It would have resulted in long-term consequences for the baby and I don't believe that Kelly would have wanted that, do you? A woman who tried for five years to get pregnant doesn't take risks with a viable pregnancy. Sometimes people die and it's awful and we run through all of the things that we could have done differently a million times in our head at night. We hate ourselves for falling short, but even though we carry all of that with us, it doesn't make it our fault."

Riley closed her eyes, trying to push away the pressure that still buzzed under her skin. She could see Kelly's face in her head, and she could see the woman who had bled to death in that car wreck back in Wyoming. She thought back to the first time she'd seen a baby die and that feeling of wondering why she'd killed herself for her education when it all felt so incredibly out of her control, anyway.

"You know, there are people who have a bad day because their coffee was cold, or they forgot their lunch, or they got a papercut filing something," Riley looked up at him.

"You would be bored out of your mind," Thor offered knowingly.

"I'm sorry for the interruption," Creswell returned to the room and Riley straightened in her chair. He sat back down, and Riley noticed the way he had strategically combed his hair to hide a receding hairline, "I believe we were talking about what you had seen in Ms. Smith's chart."

"I didn't see any previous heart history in her chart," Riley kept her words firm and her gaze fixed on him.

"Excellent. Well, I appreciate both of you taking time out of your schedules in order to meet with me. I believe that we'll be able to resolve this unfortunate situation quickly. I have a meeting that I need to get to, but I hope that you'll feel comfortable coming to me in the future with any concerns," he spoke the words like they were well-rehearsed, and Riley wondered if he'd forgotten altogether that she no longer worked for the hospital.

"Thank you, Sir," Thor reached across the desk to shake his hand, but Riley was already halfway out the door.

The apartment that Maya shared with Josh was still a mismatch of furniture and belongings as they struggled to find a balance between his, hers, and theirs. Riley had left Maya the apartment they shared when Riley moved to Wyoming and most of the furniture with it. Riley hadn't wanted to be weighed down by the past when she'd made a clean break.

Maya had stayed in the apartment for a while, helped by Lucas's contributions to the rent. It had felt right to leave that apartment behind when Josh and Maya had decided to merge their households. However, she hadn't known what to do with all of the furniture. So, now their apartment was bursting at the seams; still lost in what identity it was supposed to hold.

Maya's favorite chair was by the window in the living room. An additional improvised seating area that was never used by anyone other then Maya. They preferred to entertain on the couch, which was just worn enough to be comfortable and the oversized chair that matched.

Maya's tea had gone cold, but she continued to hold it, anyway, as she waited for Josh's familiar figure to appear along the street.

He had to come back.

A knock at the door startled her out of her vigil and for one second she wondered if he was back, before it occurred to her that he had taken his keys with him and would have just let himself in. She wrapped her oversized sweater more tightly around her and set her tea down before going to answer it.

"Hi," Olivia spoke quietly, as Maya stood with the door half open between them. How easy would it be to close it and ignore the problem just like she'd done with so many others?

"What are you doing here?" Maya questioned, rotating through the feelings that seeing Olivia brought directly to the surface.

There was jealousy for Olivia being the daughter that Kermit chose to stay for. She'd never been able to quite let go of the resentment that had always outlined the relationship between them. There was betrayal over what had happened with Rebecca, anger because it was the emotion that Maya was most comfortable with, but there was, also, a nostalgia for a time when they had almost been friends.

"I wondered what it would be like to see you after all this time," Olivia admitted.

Her hair was damp and pulled back from her face, which highlighted the lack of makeup and left her looking incredibly young. She'd probably come directly from the hotel that they were staying at.

"Yeah, me too," Maya let the door swing all the way open and stepped aside to let her in.

"Just a second," Thor stopped Riley as she was about to get onto the elevator.

"I said what you wanted me to say, now I'm going home," Riley announced, stepping over the threshold and hitting the number for the lobby.

She was hit with the exhaustion that was always left behind after a burst of adrenalin and all she really wanted was to lie down.

"I'm going to take Jennifer into surgery right now," he informed her, dangling the information like a carrot he might be able to use to reel her in.

"Good luck," she offered, irritated when he stepped through the closing doors to join her, "I hope it goes well."

"You wanted to be included," Thor reminded her.

"Before I was fired from her care. I'm pretty sure we've reached our quota of broken rules for a while," Riley shook her head, keeping the length of the elevator between them.

"No one said you can't watch. After all, this is a teaching hospital and you, once, wanted to be my student."

Liam had been a bad idea from the beginning. They'd met at an art gallery in LA. Liam was an art dealer and Jen was interested in anything that bored her older sister. It had been her way of exerting her independence; her own individuality from everything that Olivia was.

She'd grown up with her father all over the spectrum of sobriety and her mother's love for him had never seemed to waver. There had been a part of her that had found their relationship romantic; the ultimate model of what true, unconditional love should look like.

So, she'd seen Liam and thought maybe he was just waiting for the right person to save him and, for a while, she'd believed that maybe he was exactly what she was looking for. Until, he had left town without so much as a goodbye.

She'd spent months tracking him down and discovered that he was living in a little town in Wyoming. She hadn't expected to get there and decide she never wanted to leave.

"You're sure the baby is mine?" Liam's voice was rough, and Jen's outreached hand immediately fell defeated back to the sheets beside her.

"I'm sure," she felt all illusions of a joyful reunion melt away, "I tried to find you, but you didn't make it easy."

"I didn't want you getting caught up in anything," he took a step forward and she watched as his gaze automatically moved to her stomach, looking for physical evidence that what she was saying was true. As if the hospital might all just be some elaborate setup designed to ensnare him.

"I don't want anything from you," she assured him, "I just thought you should know."

"I don't know what to say," he admitted, and Jen saw the first crack in the mask that he was wearing. The first sign that maybe there was a beating heart inside of his chest, instead of just an endless void.

"You don't have to say anything."

"I had to see if it was real," he continued.

"It didn't feel real for me, either, at first. But now it does. Now it feels real," Jen pressed a hand to the curve of her stomach and Liam took another step forward like a wild cat that was unsure whether they trusted the bowl of food that had been left out on the back porch.

Riley kicked off her shoes the minute that she made it through the door, not completely surprised to see the living room and kitchen deserted for the afternoon. Topanga liked to attend the Black Friday sales and Cory tended to head over to hang out with Shawn whenever he had a day off.

It took all of a few seconds for Lucas to appear still wearing his pajamas from that morning, with sleep tousled hair.

"Hi," she smiled, unable to control the way it pulled at her entire face.

"Hi," his eyes lit up and she felt his gaze all the way down to the tips of her toes.

"Hey," she took a step towards him and he mirrored the movement.

"How did it go?" he asked, and Riley let out a sigh as she draped her jacket over the couch.

"I think it's over," Riley sunk down into the cushions and Lucas joined her, his arm automatically settling over her shoulders.

"Good," Lucas's thumb brushed along the skin at the end of her sleeve and Riley let her head fall onto his shoulder.

"I'm glad you came," she tried to fill each word with the depths of sincerity that she felt, "I'm glad that I don't have to face any of this without you."

"Are you okay?"

"I will be," Riley decided, "Thor is taking Jennifer into surgery, probably right now."

"And you're here," Lucas kept his voice light, but Riley could pick out the question that he was debating asking.

"I knew this was where I needed to be. Let's go home."

"Right now?" Lucas let out a laugh, as the idea took root inside of Riley's head. She wanted to be with their children' she wanted to leave the city behind.

"There's nothing keeping us here, anymore," Riley pointed out, grabbing his hand and tugging him towards her childhood bedroom.

Her phone buzzed in her pocket and she pulled it out without thinking, pausing as she realized exactly what she had forgotten, "Well, maybe one thing."

"And what is that?" Lucas's voice was filled with amusement.

"Do you remember Missy Bradford?"

"Riley says that she thinks they'll start heading back tomorrow morning," Zay informed Isla, pausing to watch as she cooed over Summer on the floor of the living room. She was rolling her tongue as Summer giggled and Zay couldn't suppress the way watching her tugged at something near his heart.

"Did she say how things went with her patient?" Isla looked up, unembarrassed to be caught making a fool of herself to get a smile from a baby.

"No, she didn't mention it."

"I think it's weird. I understand being dedicated to your job, but there's no way I'd fly across the country on a holiday for a patient. You have to have boundaries or else this job will completely consume you and destroy any chance you have of a personal life," Isla explained.

"You sound like you know from experience," Zay commented, sinking down on the couch.

"I've had my fair share of exes who didn't understand what it meant to be in a relationship with a doctor," Isla admitted, scooting up onto the couch beside him, "It takes a special person to understand the commitment that it requires, but I could have done better, too."

"Boundaries," Zay repeated her earlier word and she nodded turning her head to look up at him.

"Boundaries," she echoed, as his head leaned in towards hers.

"I heard there were still leftovers here," a loud voice announced, as Hailey entered the house from the garage. She was already halfway out of her coat, when she stopped to look at the two of them, "I'm not interrupting anything, am I?"

I apologize for how long it has taken me to finish this chapter. For the past year and a half, I was trying to balance working full time night shifts and going to school full time and it didn't leave a lot of free time for writing. I finally cut down on my hours at work, just in time for my hospital to be hit by the pandemic. We've gone from a unit of thirty beds to a unit of fifty beds and I've watched a lot of my coworkers quit and leave the healthcare profession altogether. This means that the rest of us are constantly trying to help pick up the slack and a lot of time spent at work.

I appreciate everyone that has encouraged me to update and continued to express interest in these stories. It's hard to believe that I started writing Laws of Motion almost five years ago and that there are still people who have stuck with me for all of this time. I'm grateful for the support and continued encouragement. I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe during these difficult times and I hope that everyone had a good holiday season.

If you have a minute, I would love to hear from you.

Thanks Again,