Fated Hearts

Fated Hearts by Becky Flade

Book: Fated Hearts by Becky Flade Read Free Book Online
Authors: Becky Flade
I got lost. Tala found me, led me home. By the time we got to the cabin, I was okay. I baked cookies.”
    “All your training tells you that you should be emotionally crippled by their attitude, so you’re thinking … what? That you’re dysfunctional because you’re not?” She didn’t answer, but Carter thought that was it. “Sorry, but that’s crap. Your family has something wrong with them, if you ask me.”
    “I ruin everything.” Her quiet declaration didn’t make sense. And his heart broke for her. But he said nothing. “I had a good childhood. Sure, we weren’t as demonstratively affectionate as other families, but we were happy. I was loved, and I knew it. The four of us were close. When I came out of the coma, I … ” She struggled with her next words. “I had a hard time. Emotionally. And a new ability that made it more difficult for me to handle my feelings because they weren’t all mine, not that I understood that. My parents didn’t understand, at all. They had me committed. The doctors gave me a lot of drugs. And that dulled the ‘touch thing,’ as you called it. But I didn’t want to be a zombie. I checked myself out. With therapy I learned important coping techniques. But how do you not touch your mother? Hug your father?
    “I felt my sister’s anger and her envy. I was forced to share my father’s disgust and my mother’s sorrow. They didn’t believe me when I tried to explain. They still don’t. I get the sense from all three of them that they blame me and are embarrassed by me. My loving family isn’t  loving anymore. And I worry that they never were.”
    “You distanced yourself from them to protect your own heart.”
    “And my sanity, yes.” She sat. “For years, I was separate. I went back to school to finish my undergrad degree, switched my major to premed. I went on to medical school, specializing in psychiatry. Later, I kept busy. I built my practice, donated my free time.”
    “You tried to make them proud of you again.”
    “I … yes. Yes, I guess I did. I hadn’t thought of it that way before. But you don’t understand where I’m going with any of this.”
    “Yes, I do. You think you’re providing evidence as to why I shouldn’t pursue a relationship with you. What I don’t understand is why you think you’re at fault. You’re not responsible for the actions, decisions, and emotions of other people. And you learned how to heal yourself not once, but twice. I admire you. You underestimate your own strength.”
    He reached in for another cookie. The silence was contemplative and comfortable. She inclined her head. “I didn’t notice you had music playing. Who is this?”
    “You’re pulling my leg, right?”
    She shook her head and grabbed a cookie.
    “This is Patsy Cline.”
    “Her voice is beautiful. She manages to sound both melancholy and hopeful.”
    “I have eclectic taste in music. If you looked at my CD collection or my iTunes library, you’d find a range of artists from every genre of music. How about you?”
    “I don’t listen to music often. My parents provided me with an appreciation for classical composers when I was young. Studies support the use of chamber music for therapeutic measures. I kept it on, in the background, in my office every day for myself as well as my patients. But I don’t have any strong attachment to it. Books are my passion.”
    “I like to read Maggie’s stuff.” He ignored his twinge of embarrassment.
    “I’m a big fan.”
    “Dr. Elliott reads romance novels. Interesting.”
    “I told you about my ability. You didn’t blink. You haven’t mentioned it to me or anyone else that I can tell. Why?” The abrupt question suggested she’d been mulling it over. The good doctor had a lot on her mind these days.
    “Not in the habit of spreading people’s personal business.”
    “That’s not what I mean. Do you believe me?”
    “I’m good at spotting a lie. Professional byproduct. You weren’t lying when

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