Wade kept watching the carriage house that night. Lavon could easily been lying. Why would Zoe Hart of all people just pack up and leave? No lights had been on. He wanted those lights to turn on, just for a second, to give him some form of hope. Hope that she was staying. He was smart enough to know that there was no form of hope for any chance of him and Zoe being together ever. It broke his heart, but he didn't care. He wasn't a complete idiot.
After several minutes, he gave up, grabbing his shoes and going across to the carriage house. He grabbed the door, but it was locked. He frowned. Zoe never locked her door. What if something was seriously wrong with her? After all, no one had seen her since the day before. Fortunately, he knew where the spare key was and opened the door.
"Doc? You here?" he called out to her, hoping she'd answer. The room was void of the personal touches it had from Zoe. Suitcase, shoes, makeup bag, clothes, all vanished. It was like a wizard had used some spell to make anything of Zoe's disappear.
Sitting down on the bed, Wade's head dropped into his hands as his heart dropped into his stomach. She was gone. She was really gone. No goodbyes, nothing. He'd thought that they were closer than that- no, he'd hurt her and she'd hurt him right back. Only difference was she ripped out his heart and stomped on it a few times.
He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to shut out the pain, moisture coming to the corners of his eyes, something that he could easily count the number of times it had happened before. When his mama had died, when he'd broken his ribs blocking that football player from injuring George, and only a number of other time. What was it about Zoe that made him so weak? Why did he like her so much? She was gone, he should be out there drinking and dancing, not in the Doctor's former bedroom crying. And she didn't even know. Maybe that's what hurt worse of all.
Zoe looked out at the view of the city. It was kind of nice to be back in a large city. She used to get up early, watch the sunrise from her apartment's view, watched as it shown down Manhattan's streets. Sometimes she'd go and stay with her mom in her penthouse. It was nice. Now, here in Boston, she was moving up in the world.
It felt so different, to be standing there in Boston. She was so incredibly lucky that her dad had gotten her this fellowship. Doctor Zoe Hart, cardio-thoracic surgeon. It was crazy. It was her dreams come true. It was everything she ever wanted.
So why did it feel like something was missing?
Bluebell was just screwing with your head, she thought to herself, it's a blessing to be out of there.
And it was, it really was. She had messed things up beyond repair there. She'd fallen for a guy who was getting married to a girl who had cheated on him, but he still loved her. She's hurt Wade without even knowing it. She'd nearly gotten Rose killed. Bluebell was better off without her. She was like Midas, only instead of turning things to gold, she just ruined it. But they could recover without her. She was doing the right thing by being gone.
Besides, the pay was phenomenal. This was her dream from when she was a little girl. She should be ecstatic, thrilled, jumping up and down with joy. However, the only thing she could do was stand and stare and wait.
Wade went to work the next morning, like he did every morning. He smiled at the customers, was friendly. He apologized to the loan lady. He didn't yell at Tom or make a sarcastic remark at Shelley. And when he caught his reflection, for a moment, he almost believed that he was okay, that he was happy, that he didn't need Zoe Hart.
Things settled into a form of normality again. The word had spread quickly around town. Zoe Hart was gone, left for a job out of state, her fancy surgeon position. Each time he heard it was like a knife wound to the heart, but he kept smiling. Every knock at Lavon's door would send his heart into a fury, hoping it was her again.
Days went by, days turned into a week, that week became a month. One whole month since she'd left, but it was too late. He loved her. Wade jolted up in his bed with the painful realization. How dare she? She was messin' with his head and heart long after she was gone. It just wasn't right.
He needed her. He needed her like a heartbeat. She didn't want him though, if how easily she was able to leave was any indication of anything. She couldn't be bother with saying goodbye. He needed to get over her. It would make him feel so much better. Wade swallowed hard. He needed her.
Here she was, in New York again. It was nice. She had coffee with Gigi and they had breakfast and shopping and did things she used to love. Zoe sat down on the park bench, staring at the trees. This was the closest to nature as she'd get in New York.
"Well, hello there stranger..." a voice still tinged in that Northwestern accent spoke from behind, joining the girl on the bench.
"Zach..." Zoe breathed, looking up at her ex. "How are you? How've you been?"
"Alright. I've been hearing some crazy things about you. First you're a general practitioner in some place no one's ever heard of, and then you're a cardio-thoracic surgeon in Boston. Ever going to settle down, Doctor Hart?" His eyes were teasing.
She tried to smile at him, but her ex saw the pain she was trying to hide with the smile. "I thought I had."
"You're not happy, are you?"
"Crazy thing is… I miss Bluebell. I miss actually knowing the people and seeing them outside the practice and talking with them."
Zach reached forward, brushing a strand of hair back from her face. "Do you want to go back?" She nodded and the guy she'd known for years, whom she had been so mad at when she went to Bluebell because it felt like his fault along with the Chief of Staff at the hospital, stood and pulled her to her feet. "Come with me, Zoe." And then they hailed a cab and were on their way.
It had be two weeks since the month anniversary of Zoe leaving. Wade was at the bar of the Rammer Jammer, still saving up money to buy his own bar. It was about an hour to closing when Brick, Lavon, and George all walked in. It was the closest he had seen Lavon and George since Lavon's affair with Lemon came out. They had still married in the town square, big ceremony and everything.
"Three beers, Wade. We're celebrating."
"What's the occasion?" the bartender asked them.
"They're opening up a hospital where that big business was going to be. A small hospital, but it's going to have some of the best doctors in the world working there. They offered me a partnership there," Brick told him.
"It almost means we're gonna not have to travel for the hospital and people are going to come here to get operations done by some of the surgeons we're gonna have," the lawyer added.
"And all the doctors are going to need places to live, which means were gonna have a boast in the house sales here," Lavon told them.
Oh great, Wade thought, a whole bunch of snooty new doctors and they knew they were good, which meant they'd probably treat everyone else like garbage. He served them all their beers, then called to Shelley he was taking off for the night. As he got to the back porch of the restaurant, he heard a voice. "Hey there, stranger."
He was imaging things. Zoe Hart hadn't been in Bluebell in well over a month. Why would she be here now? Still, he slowly pivoted to stare into her face. "Zoe…" he said in a soft voice, "What are you doing here? Thought you'd be up North with your fancy surgeon position." She gave him a small smile.
"Got a fancier title here. Head Cardiothoracic Surgeon sounds so much better." Wade swallowed hard.
"Well then why don't you run off to your special little doctor club? Can't ruin your rep talking to some Bluebell bartender." He turned, bitterly stalking to his car. She followed.
"Because I made a lot of really stupid mistakes the last time I was here. Saw someone when I was up in New York one weekend, he's never been afraid to say exactly what he means to my face. He helped me realize that I had messed up last time. Running off in the middle of the night like I had was pretty high on the stupid things list. And I wanted to apologize to you. I treated you badly, and you were right, I was acting like a snob, but you know, in my defense, you had kind of made it clear you didn't like me and then you suddenly come out of the woodworking with that and how was I supposed to know? I did like you and still do like you and wanted to give you and me a chance but you kept acting like a baby and so immature about it and I didn't just want to have a one-night stand and-"
Wade cut her off with his lips, much like he had that night with the parade when she had first arrived. "You were freaking out," he said cheekily when he said pulling back. "Can I give you a lift home? You staying at the carriage house again?" She nodded.
"That's be great."
Wade woke up in an unfamiliar bed alone, the smell of coffee flooding the house; only it was that flavored coffee that only one person he knew drank. He rolled over so he was facing up in the bed and sat up.
Standing before him in only a black silky robe, as far as he could see, was the tiny brunette doctor that had stolen his heart. She was facing the dresser where her coffee maker was, and the bartender sat up in bed quietly, smiling at the sight. She turned around, walking back over towards the bed with the two cups carefully balanced in her hands. Zoe handed him one of the cups, joining him back in the bed beneath the covers, her lips meeting his.
"Good morning, Doc," he muttered. Before, she hated him calling her 'Doc', the nickname used to antagonize her rather than being used as a pet name. Now, it was sweet, it made her smile. "You're not running after golden boy George or the vet or any other guy in this town, ya hear?"
She laughed loudly at his words, snuggling closer, and drank her coffee.
Bluebell Municipal Hospital-
"And here's where our GPs will be based out of," Zach, yes, Zoe's ex Zach, told George Tucker as he gave him a tour of the hospital. "Dr. Breeland's office, of course," he waved to the door with the frosted glass on the right, "And Dr. Hart's office."
George choked. "Dr. Hart? Dr. Zoe Hart? She left over a month ago." Zach chuckled, shaking his head.
"Nah, Zoe's come back to be a GP and the Head Cardiothoracic Surgeon. She has more practical experience than I do, so it makes sense. Wait until you see the operating room for the cardio section. To people like me and Zoe, it's like going to Disney World."
Zach didn't notice how pale George's face was at his words as they continued walking. George was having an inner turmoil battle. He hadn't told Lemon that his feelings for Zoe went a bit deeper than just friends or a temporary crush. He hadn't realized that she was one of the new doctors in town. Now that she was back, would he be able to hide those feelings?
The Mayor's Office-
Lavon looked up at the clock. It was already past eleven o'clock and neither Zoe, nor Wade had been up to the house to have breakfast. That meant one of two things. Either everything went really well and the two were catching up, or they were trying to avoid each other. He wondered which it was.
"Did you know Zoe's back in town?" Rose Hattenbarger asked him loudly, barging into the office. "She hadn't said goodbye to me last time. I don't know whether I'm angry at her or not. I don't know what to do. Should I barge in and yell at her or should I hug her and say 'I missed her' or should I go and make her feel really bad or what? I don't know what to do!"
Lavon looked up at her. "Rose, calm down, take a seat, and breathe." The brunette did, looking at him like he'd hold the answers to all her questions, but he just stared back.
"Help me?" she prompted.
"Well, she hasn't been up to the house yet today, so you can go check to see if she's home. I know she said she was supposed to head over to the hospital at some point." Rose nodded, just as George walked in. "Does no one knock anymore?" Lavon asked no one in particular.
"Sorry," the lawyer apologized, "Zoe's back in town? Why did no one tell me Zoe's back in town?"
"'Cause you're married and she don't need you to string her along again," the Mayor muttered under his breath.
"I'm gonna go check to see if Zoe's at home," Rose told him, "Do you want to come with?"
George nodded and the two drove out to the carriage house, some ways away. When they reached there, George knocked loudly, but no one answered the door. Listening, they heard Zoe's loud moan in the quiet.
"Maybe we shouldn't go in..." Rose suggested.
However, George opened the unlocked door, rushing in to see Zoe pressed against the wall, trapped by Wade, her long slender legs wrapped around George's friend. He watched in shocked revulsion as the two kissed each other, Zoe in only a black bathrobe, Wade in just his jeans.
"I told you we shouldn't go in," the brunette scolded the lawyer on the way back to the plantation's main house. He hung his head shamefully.
Bluebell Municipal Hospital-
From across the lobby from the main entrance doors, Zach, Brick, and a few other doctors stood around a clipboard, organizing on-call schedules and working out who worked went and so on. The hospital wasn't as big as some of its counterparts, but it was the quality that mattered there. Some of these doctors had worked around the world, building up ten and twenty and thirty years of experience. They had seen many things, lots of strange and crazy things.
Still, nothing was quite as strange or different or crazy as the sight before them. Zoe and Wade were hand in hand, the tiny New York doctor and the tall Alabama bartender, walking towards them. They were smiling and laughing and talking to each other. If any one of the doctors had to describe them in one word, they'd have used words like radiant, glowing, or happy.
"Well, I'll be damned," Brick said impressed, "That's who the boy was moping over."
The tall, brown haired New Yorker smiled, looking at his ex and her new boyfriend fondly. Zoe had finally found a guy who stole her heart. From what he had heard, from the Mayor, Dr. Breeland, and several others, Wade was a good guy whom, although had a disreputable reputation with relationships, would be willing to settle down with the right girl. From the looks of it, he'd found the right girl, and Zach couldn't be happier for Zoe. She obviously cared about Wade just as much as he cared about her.