- A Serialized Novel -

Sorting out Carson's legacy only leads to more questions.

Author’s Note: I didn’t want to go into detail about Carson’s doctor’s visit. This seemed to be the better way to handle that.

The Cure Might Just Be Ice Cream

“How’d it go?” Mackenna asked, rising from her chair. She’d forgotten how much she hated waiting rooms. Doctor’s offices and hospitals were the worst—whether she was waiting to hear if her aunt had some new disease or dealing with her grandmother’s quick decline after her stroke—and she never wanted to sit in another one of those chairs again, never wanted to see any of those magazines, and she could use a shower from all the unpleasant memories.


She frowned. “Bad? As in… you have a tumor bad or bad as in you fainted at the sight of blood or bad as in—”

“As in there’s no way to get in for a non-emergency scan for at least a week. They don’t do those for just any reason, and I’m not showing any symptoms of a possible tumor or any kind of neurological condition. I’d have to pay for it out of pocket because no one would recommend the procedure and get it past my medical insurance. Oh, and the other part… there’s apparently no way to be sure about that. Sometimes there’s scars, but if there isn’t, it’s not definitive proof that nothing happened. It’s just… closer to a no than a yes. Or I think that’s what it means.”

She stepped close to him, putting a hand on his arm. “I’m sorry. I know we were both hoping for a lot more here. Answers, solutions—at least one part of it could have been eliminated, right? That would have been… nice.”

He nodded, letting out a breath. “Um… I need another shower, so can you drive me back by my apartment before we head back to the farm? I just can’t… I’m not sure how I got those words out, but having that—she wants me to go back to my shrink.”

“That might not be such a bad idea.” Mackenna stopped. “Wait, your doctor is a woman?”

He shrugged. “It’s hard enough to talk myself into seeing a doctor on the best of days, and having some old guy doing the exam? No appeal there. Picked a lady that reminded me of my mom instead. Can almost fool myself into thinking it’s just her fussing, not something else.”

“It’s not, though.”

“Are you trying to read something in to the fact that my doctor’s a woman?”

“No. I’m—Honestly, I hope we find something that tells you that we were wrong about that part of the theory. Not that we won’t get you through it if we find that we’re right, it’s just…”

“I know.”

She nodded, not sure how else to help him, not at the moment. This was beyond her, and she didn’t know that she could do anything at this point. She let out a breath. “I want ice cream.”

“Trying to change the subject on me again?”

“Didn’t work this time, did it?”

“Not really. Except now I want ice cream, too, so… Why don’t you drop me off at my apartment, I’ll shower, and you can get us some from the store? The little shop on the other corner of the street should have plenty.”

“Only I have to go get it?”

“Well, I figured it would save a bit of time, unless you want to wait around for me to shower. Oh, no, you can’t do that. You might fall asleep again. Get another kink in your neck.”

She grimaced. “It’s not that bad. Your loveseat is surprisingly comfortable. Either that, or your sleeping bag is. I was out like a light, and that never happens.”

“You can have the sleeping bag if you want.”


“That was easy.”

Shrugging, she nudged him forward, trying to get them both out of the waiting room. She didn’t mind going to pick up the ice cream, not really, and she would rather not wait around while he was in the shower, either. “Did you get the doctor’s note you need for work?”

“Yeah. I’m going to call the office later and see if I can arrange leave or if I’m quitting so that I can take that trip you wanted to go on. That’s… Tuesday, right?”

“We drive down on Tuesday. The pre-tours start on Wednesday, and the full hundred twenty mile tour is on Saturday. We’ll need most of the week, but I don’t want you to have to quit because of me—”

“I hate my job. If they won’t give me time off, then I’ll find a new one when I get back. Even if the trip is a long shot, I’ve been… I don’t think I can do this any longer, can’t go on without answers. I don’t know how to get them, but I can’t keep doing this. I’m… I’m not okay, and that’s obvious to everyone who knows me.”

“We’ll do our best to get you your answers, Carson. I promise.”

He wrapped an arm around her, pulling her into a hug. She stared at him. Since when did they hug? Not that it was bad, but they didn’t do this. They barely touched. “Um…”

“Sorry. I just… I needed to thank you. For that promise. For everything.”

She smiled. “You’re welcome. Now let’s go get that ice cream.”

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