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My Date With April Kepner

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So, ever since I relocated to Seattle the first of the year, I've been using Tinder to find 'company', if you know what I mean. And I know you do because everyone knows Tinder is for hooking up. Well, I suppose there are some people who don't know that but I had never met one until last night.

When I saw this chick's picture I was like, SCORE. For one thing, she's a redhead and I love redheads. The old thing about redheads being hot in the sack is true. I have never met a redhead who wasn't a spitfire and hot to trot. Again, until last night. Oh, make no mistake, she was a spitfire, but she was anything but willing to do the horizontal mambo.

But I think it would have been fun if she had been. She's actually kind of a babe, in a wholesome, girl-next-door sort of way that adds that dirty element of defilement to the attraction. No guy can resist that shit. No straight guy anyway.

She's also a doctor, if you can believe that. I figured a doctor would be especially happy to practice a little biology, right? Wrong! But, Spoiler Alert, I'm giving away the ending before I even begin to tell the story.

It actually started out pretty damn promising. I had just ordered my second drink as I waited for her in the bar. Women are always late so I figured I could get a few under my belt before she showed up. Alcohol relaxes me and smooths out my game, if you know what I mean. But then she walked in, just a minute or two late, and she looked really good. She was all made up and dressed to kill and I could tell she had a smoking body because of the way the dress was hugging her curves.

I really like a petite chick with the nice rack and great ass and even though her boobs aren't as big as I prefer, they looked more than adequate. I figured they must be all natural too though I don't much care about that. I'm not prejudiced that way like some guys are. And her ass looked fine! We're talking primo grade A.

She looked around the room, her eyes adjusting to the dim light after the bright late afternoon sun outside. I stood and held the rose in my hand so she would be sure to see it. The rose was our signal. I saw it in a movie, or maybe on that Bachelorette show, I don't remember. All I know is that chicks eat up that romantic shit. Yeah, I got game.

Anyway, she sees the rose and smiles, and starts making her way toward me. Her smile is nice but it looks a little nervous or forced and I guess this Tinder hookup stuff is new to her. I'm also thinking about what other expressions I can put on that pretty face of hers before our night is over.

So she gets to the table and I lean over to give her a little peck on the cheek and you would have thought I was going for her jugular. She yanks herself out of range and looks at me like I just tried to rip off her clothes or something. This is my first hint that this might not go quite like I planned it to.

Instead she sticks out her hand and says something like “I'm Doctor April Kepner”. Now I'm looking at her hand and wondering if she's here for a hookup or to tell me I've got a tumor or something.

After an awkward moment or ten, I reach out to take her hand and bring it to my lips, like I've seen them do in the movies, but she just gives it a quick wiggle and yanks it away before I can quite get my mouth to it. I'm impressed at the strength in her hands and then I remember she's a surgeon so I guess it makes sense.

“Gary Johnson, Attorney at Law” I introduced myself.

She's looking at me doubtfully by now and I'm a little freaked out myself by how poorly this is starting. Little did I know it would only get worse.

“So,” I say suavely, “can I get you a drink?”

“A glass of Chardonnay would be nice.” she answers, apparently willing to make an effort at salvaging this too.

“A glass?” I say magnanimously. “I'll get you a whole bottle.”

OK, I'm not really sure why I said that. All I can say is the shaky start was really messing with my head. And I was anxious to get as much alcohol as possible into this chick, as quickly as possible.

“Uh, a glass will be fine.” she answered. Now she was looking at me the same way I think she must look at sick people to figure out what's wrong with them.

So I got her a glass of wine and we're back sitting at the table and I think I catch her sneaking a look at her watch. She's here five minutes and already plotting an escape! I'm starting to get a little panicky myself as this has never happened to me before.

Women will usually put up with all kinds of nonsense from me, mainly because I'm actually pretty damn good looking. Women tell me my blue eyes are the most beautiful they've ever seen. Red here doesn't seem to give a shit about my blue eyes even though I'm giving her such an intense stare into her soul look that I think I feel a headache coming on. You'd think she was around hypnotic eyes every damn day.

If the eyes aren't working and I have to fall back on my personality, things are pretty desperate.

But, she's hot and I'm horny so personality it is.

“So, a doctor, huh?” I say. Most people, women in particular, love to talk about themselves. So I figure I'll get her to talk about herself. That will get her to relax and open up. And that, plus a few drinks, will get me into her panties.

“Yep, a doctor. That's me, a doctor. That's why I'm Doctor Kepner.”

I couldn't tell if she was being a smart ass or just back to being on unfamiliar ground.

“Well, I guess that means we're pretty much in the same business.” I reply, forgetting to keep the focus on her.

She raises an eyebrow at that.

“Oh? I thought you said you were an attorney?”

“I am. But I specialize in the health care field so I work with a lot of doctors.” I answer.

Now I have her attention.

“Really? What sort of attorney specializes in health care?”

“I specialize in medical malpractice.” I say it before it occurs to me that I really don't want to have her attention on what I do.

“So you defend doctors against malpractice suits?”

“Uh... well, something like that.” I mumble, hoping it sounds to her like an affirmative.

“I'm sorry,” she says, pronouncing every word as though it were its own sentence, “what was that?”

I'm so off my game now that I can't even come up with a plausible lie. So I do the absolute worst thing I could do and tell the truth.

“I represent patients in malpractice litigation, mostly, so that we, us, we can keep the checks and balances and make health care great for everyone.”

I didn't do a great job of selling her on that one.

“So what you are saying is,” her voice drips with contempt, “you're the reason I have to pay through the nose for malpractice insurance.”

“Now wait a minute,” I protest, “Doctors make mistakes. And those mistakes cause a lot of pain and anguish for the innocent people who have put their faith and trust in those doctors to take care of them.” This was word for word from our firm's tri-fold brochure.

“We attorneys just make sure these poor patients can find justice and redress when these mistakes happen. No mistakes, no malpractice, no malpractice insurance.”

I conclude my argument quite successfully, I think. Dr Kepner seems unconvinced. I can tell by the way she is shaking her head like that kid in the Exorcist and sputtering words like ..

“That's, Stupidest, Idiotic, Arrgghh!”

If I ever got her in a courtroom I would mop the floor with her. I decide to change the subject.

“Enough shop talk. Tell me about yourself. Give me the Twitter version of your life story.”

Referring to pop culture phenomenums.. phenumerunums.. stuff like Twitter shows your companion that you are young and hip and know your way around social mediums.

Apparently April Kepner, MD, isn't so hip herself though because she had no idea what I 'm talking about.

“Twitter version of my life story? What in God's name is that?”

The poor thing. Out of the kindness of my heart I decided to educate her.

“Twitter is a social medium people use to share their innermost thoughts with their followers. I hate to brag but I have 13, well 12 now, followers who eagerly await my every toot, uh, tweet.”

“I know what Twitter is, you twit.” she answered angrily. “What do you mean by 'Twitter version'?”

I was sorta stung at her calling me a twit but I was still hoping to get in her pants so I let it pass.

“By Twitter version I was referring to the limit of 200 characters or less, not including spaces. The short version in other words.”

Her face was kind of contorting again, but nothing like I had envisioned for it in my planning. Finally the spasm or seizure or whatever it was passed and she took a deep breath and looked at the ceiling, probably working out how to tell her life story in 200 characters. I heard her mutter something about “admit”, “Jackson”, “early” and “epic failure” and began to worry her life story was going to bum me out.

Gallantly, I decided to buy her some time by telling her my story first.

“I'll tell you my story first.” I offered.

Her gratitude seemed oddly restrained.

“I was born and raised in Toledo. That's in Ohio, in case you didn't know.”

She rolled her eyes for some reason but at least I could see she was listening.

“I went to college and law school there too. That's where I met my wife, well, now my ex-wife. We were married for 5 years. No kids, but that's a whole thing. My parents were divorced and my sister and I got shuttled back and forth so much we couldn't keep our address straight.”

I had been staring at my half empty glass during this part but now I looked up and April's expression had really changed. For the first time since she arrived at the table, her eyes weren't throwing shade my way. It let me notice that her eyes are really pretty. And kind.

I had lost count of my characters so I just decided to continue.

“So after the divorce, I couldn't really stand to be in Toledo any more. Its not as big a city as you might think and my wife, I mean my ex, found another guy pretty quick. No surprise there. She's really a looker and smart and popular and everything so I knew she wouldn't be on the market long.”

Now I don't know why the hell I was telling her all this stuff. I sure never planned on it. Maybe I had some idea it might get me some pity sex, but I think I already knew that this woman was way out of my league and not going to have sex with me under any circumstances. Thinking about it now I guess that maybe I saw what a good listener she was. And as horny as I was, I was that much more lonely. And I think I needed a good listener even more than I needed a good lay. Jesus! I sound like I should be on Oprah.

“So I came to Seattle. My firm has an office here so at least I didn't have to get a new job. But Seattle isn't Toledo. I haven't really made any friends here yet. That kinda sucks.”

I figured I was over my character limit by then for sure so I ended my story there.

April didn't say anything for a moment or two. I think she wanted to give me the chance to catch my breath. Finally she spoke and now her voice was soft and gentle, a really nice feminine voice.

“I'm from Ohio too so I know where Toledo is. I grew up on a pig farm in Moline, just about 20 miles south of Toledo. So if you think Toledo is small, consider that for us, it's always been 'the city'.”

I can't help but interrupt her.

“Shit, I know Moline. Its a blink and you'll miss her right on E Broadway heading south toward the Fremont Pike.”

“That's the one.” she agreed with a smile. She really has a nice smile.

“So for as long as I can remember I've wanted to be a doctor. And even though we didn't have a lot, my parents supported me and with lots of hard work my dream came true. I ended up here in Seattle at a hospital that got bought out and merged with the one I work at now. It's one of the top hospitals in the country and I've become a kickass trauma surgeon, if I do say so myself.”

Somebody else saying those words might have sounded like they were bragging but it didn't sound that way coming from her.

Now it was her turn to stare at her drink and she apparently felt her story was complete. I wasn't ready for this to end yet though so I decided to take a shot.

“Well, that covers your professional life pretty well but not so much of your personal life. Did you quit having one after you left Moline?”

“Pretty much.” she laughed. “That's the way it works for us Health Care professionals, as you well know.”

I knew I deserved that little jab. But I wasn't quite ready to give up yet.

“And?”

“Aarrghh!” she exclaimed. “You are persistent, I'll give you that. OK, I too have had some drama in my personal life. I left one man at the alter to run off with and marry my best friend. And we were happy until our first child was born with a terrible condition and only lived for minutes. That whole thing tore us apart and eventually we divorced, but not before I became pregnant again.”

April saw my expression of alarm and quickly reassured me.

“This baby is perfectly healthy and is home right now with her daddy.”

“With her daddy? So, are you back together?”

“I wouldn't be on Tinder if we were, right?”

“Well, I don't know. You 'left coast' people are into some strange stuff.”

“Do I know you well enough to let you tease me?” she asked me. “Besides, I'm still more E Broadway to Fremont Pike than I am Space Needle.”

“Amen to that.” I said, and meant it.

“Why did you divorce?” she asked, suddenly serious.

“Wow!” I answered.

“Too much?” she inquired.

“From a girl I don't know well enough to tease?”

“Your point. I guess permission is granted to tease.”

“OK, then. Now we're getting somewhere.”

I took a deep breath and thought about what I wanted to tell her and not tell her but I don't know why I bothered because I ended up telling her everything. Like every excruciating detail. I swear, she should be interrogating terrorists. They'd never get the jump on us again.

“Beth was my college sweetheart and like your marriage, we started off good. She was the only one who thought I could get through law school and become an attorney. I would have quit a dozen times if it wasn't for her. And she supported us the whole time.”

I get kind of choked up when I think back on this stuff and I was worried April would think I was a sissy or something but when I checked her expression was still kind and that encouraged me to continue.

“And after graduation I landed a decent job with the firm and we got to move out of the dump we'd been living in and things were pretty good. So we decided to get started on a family. Beth came from a big family so it was really important to her to have kids so they could grow up with the dozens of cousins around Toledo.”

“But, no matter how hard we tried we just couldn't get pregnant, not that it wasn't fun trying. But then it started to be not so much fun and we finally decided to see a specialist. Turns out my swimmers are more like dog paddlers and what they lack in numbers they make up for with a complete lack of enthusiasm for the job, which was a relief to Beth but not so much to me.”

“Beth wanted to do the artificial insemination thing but that shit is expensive and our insurance didn't cover it and its actually more hit or miss than they want you to believe so that was a dead end. So we ended up giving up and before long we were fighting about stupid stuff and I was taking cases in Akron and Cleveland to get away from it all.”

“And that's really it. I got back to Toledo after a two week stint in Akron and Beth told me we had to talk. She sat me down at the kitchen table and told me we might as well call it a day. She said she could have lived with the kids thing. She would have been fine with adopting. But she couldn't live with a marriage to a guy who checked out at the first bump in the road. She needed someone she could count on to be there for her, no matter what life threw at them.”

“I told her I was sorry I had let her down. I was sorry I didn't have what she needed. Then I walked away. I moved out and we got our divorce and I disappeared back into my job. And that would be the end of it except frickin Toledo is so small that I kept running into her. I'd see her at the market, at the carwash, at the bowling alley. And it would keep reminding me of what a failure I am. And she wasn't there to tell me different. So I ran again. And here we are.”

I looked across the table at April and couldn't quite figure out her expression. It was sort of a combination of sadness, horror, and constipation discomfort. Her eyes were really wide open and kind of glassy. And her face was really pale, which for her, is saying something. I hoped she hadn't had a stroke or something. Or maybe I had bored her into a coma. Whatever it was, any hope for pity sex was definitely out the window.

I snapped my fingers in front of her face.

“Earth to April.” I said. “Are you OK?”

“What? I'm fine.” she sputtered.

“You don't look so great.” I answered. “Well, you still look great, don't get me wrong. But for as great as you look, you don't look so hot. I mean I'd still tap that and everything, but..”

Thank God she cut me off or I might still be babbling.

“Do you ever wish you had stayed. Stayed and fought for your marriage?”

I looked at her. “Only every day. But mostly I felt like I had failed her by not sticking by her.”

She was quiet then. I think she was digesting my answer. I had one of those rare moments of insight. Or maybe deja vu, I can never get that stuff straight.

“Do you? Wish you had stayed and fought?” I turn it right back around on her.

That got her attention. She looked at me kinda sadly.

“I did. I did fight. But it was too late and I lost.”

“But you still care for him?”

“Yes.”

“You still love him maybe?”

I don't think she's ready to admit that out loud even to herself. She starts to gather her sweater and purse.

I so don't want this to end but I see its going to whether I want it or not.

“You know Tinder is a hookup app, right?” I say. “I think you might want check out Christian Mingle or something like that. You'd probably find a better class of guys there.”

She looks at me thoughtfully.

“Maybe. But I kinda feel like Tinder is working out so far.”

I catch her drift and smile. “Yeah, me too.”

She pulls a pen out of her purse and starts writing on a bar napkin.

“This is my cell. Call me if you ever want to grab a coffee and talk.”

“Is that a euphemism for having sex?” I ask. I do have permission to tease her now.

“No, it is an invitation to sit down with a friend for coffee and conversation.” she answers with what I now recognize is her don't mess with me face.

“Friend? I'll be damned. I just made a friend on Tinder.”

She rolls her eyes and picks her purse up off the table and pulls the strap over her shoulder.

“He regrets it.” I say.

“What? Who?”

“Your ex. He regrets it.”

She shakes her head sadly.

“I don't know about that.”

“I do.” I answer. And I know that I've finally said the right thing.

She smiles at me gratefully and turns to leave. I can't resist one last parting shot.

“Ooh baby,” I call to her retreating form, “can I get fries with that shake?”

Her response is a shake of her red hair and a middle finger salute thrown over her shoulder.

“Yeah he does.” I say to myself.