Chapter ONE
(Please note that the first chapter isn’t edited by a professional editor yet.)

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The past five years were a mess. Usually, around this time of year, he always thinks back to five years ago. He was the happiest man then, and now, now he was someone completely different and felt at times that he was still pretending. Sure he was grateful for how his life turned out. Kate Niagelli was beautiful, smart, everything he looked for in a woman, she was even compatible with him, and a part of him did love her, but it wasn’t the love he had. It felt as if Holly had died. She just vanished. What if she did die?
He always thinks about that. If she had not done what his mother said, maybe changed her mind at the end, keeping the baby.
His father told him what could happen and death was at the top of the lists. Her death, the baby, both.
If she died, he would never forgive himself and might be dead too.
Not that his life was far from it.
He should be happy. He had everything. A loving family, a beautiful son, even if Michael wasn’t from his loin, he was still his.
Kate, who dealt with so much of his shit. He didn’t think that she would be hereafter he returned from Shanghai. And then there was that. He was one hell of a neurologist.
The year he spent with Sam Huyo was the best that ever happened to his career. He was climbing the ranks, fast. His name was getting out there. He was one of the few doctors that were taking risks with life-threatening tumors. His surgeries are so full that he hardly had time to eat.
He was engaged to Kate. Almost a year now and in eleven months he was going to say I do. But still whenever July starts, and Boston blossom, he always thinks of Holly, of his life and what it could’ve been if she stayed.
He wonders so much about that time still. He believed his mother, but there was that small part, very small that he would always wonder about.
Did she really do it?
His beeper went off.
The new intern was here.
He got a call from Frank Edwards, his godfather, and he told Jake about this boy. He was going to do his internship in Seattle, but when Frank’s hospital lost the teaching status a few months back, all their interns and residents had to find new placements. They got Rodney Bullucio. Jake saw his file, he worked a lot with Dr. Somers. Jake didn’t even know the old geezer was still at large. He was running a free clinic, but the letter Dr. Somers wrote on Rodney’s behalf, supported what his Godfather had told him. Frank said that if Rodney gets the right mentor he would become a second him. And begged Jake to look out for the boy.
He rushed to the reception and the intern, fairly good looking, mixed race with baby blue eyes, stood in front of the reception. Jake shook his head. This kid really has the blueprint of what it takes to become a second him.
Rodney smiled and make a few jokes at the ladies behind the reception as he filled in an information sheet. Jake stopped at Reception.
Rodney looked up as Jake speaks to Miranda. She reminds him so much of Aggy and he was still furious with Kate about getting her fired.
She was working now at Downsend.
He could feel this intern’s eyes on him as he finished with Miranda.
“Hi, sorry.” Rodney approaches him. “I know you are busy and probably don’t even care about an intern, but can I say, I really admire what it is you are trying to do.” He smiled with his hand stretch out in front of Jake to shake.
“Rodney Bullucio.” Jake smiled and shook his hand.
Rodney’s eyes raised in surprise. “You know my name?”
“Yes, I’ve heard some stories about how you are going to give me a run for my money.” Jake teased.
“Damn, now my master plan is ruined.” He joked.
Jake laughed. “Come, let me show you around.”
“You serious?”
“Yes, believe it or not, I’ve been waiting a long time for an intern like you.”
“Like me.” Rod sounded shocked.
“I’ve seen your file, that letter from Somers is a keeper and I got an interesting phone call from Frank Edwards.”
“You know Dr. Edwards.”
“Very well and he asked me to keep an eye on you.”
“Keep an eye on me.”
“This world needs more doctors who are willing to take chances and stop playing it safe. Don’t you agree?”
“I do.” He smiled and mumbled something about Frank underneath his breath. Probably that he would strangle him if he sees him again for not telling him that he personally knew Jake Peters.
“So, let’s see what you can do and we’ll take it from there.”
“You gotta be shitting me. I’m dreaming. This is one of those dreams and I’m going to wake up soon.”
Jake punched him against the arm and he retreated slightly as he rubbed it.
“You felt it.”
“You’re not dreaming.”
He laughed and Jake took him around P&E.
They talk about many of Sam Huyo’s surgeries and Frank was right, the boy was just like him. Eager, just like he was when he started out.
He dropped him off at the cafeteria and told him that he will see him first thing tomorrow morning to see what he has.
“The others are not going to like me a lot, are they?”
“I don’t care about others. We need to get you the best you can be. That is if you have what it takes. It’s not much of a life if you are the best.”
“I really do not care.”
“It’s what he says now,” Jake said with a tug around his lips, turned around, and walked away. He feels sorry for the poor kid. Derick and Francine, both in their third year at Downsend who was learning under Jake, was probably going to rip him apart.
Tomorrow he will see if there was something to the boy the way Frank and Somers were saying.

He went home around five, picked Michael up from Lilly, Kate’s mom, and took the drive with the quiet two-year-old at the back home.
Felix rushed up to the car.
“Hallo, boy.” Jake ruffled him up. He needs to take a walk with him, throw some ball and get some of his energy levels down.
The great Dane loved Michael.
He took Michael out of the car and went inside.
Kate was still busy with surgery and tonight was Chinese.
He cut some sweet and sour pork dumplings for Michael and ate his Black Oyster.
He loved Black Oyster Beef.
He got Kate the cashew nut and chicken dish and after they ate, he gave Michael a bath.
He looked at his two years old and hate that he was thinking now about a four-year-old that should’ve been.
He always dreamed about the baby being a boy.
He would’ve looked just like Holly, maybe had his eyes, her curls.
It still pains his heart. He couldn’t breathe at times.
Not to mention the Strawberry Blonde he saw in the supermarket.
He always sees Holly’s face and then it slowly changed into whoever that person was.
He never used to see so many Strawberry blondes, but now that he was done with his shit of screwing each one he came across, they were popping up like daisies, tempting him.
He wonders if he would ever go back to who he used to be.
He changed so much the past five years that it was impossible.
After the bath, he played for an hour with Mickey and then he put him to sleep.
Kate only came home around ten.
She looked tired but when she climbed on Jake’s lap he knew she wasn’t that tired.
They made love and then she passed out.
He tried it once with Kate, the way Holly used to sit on him but she cried out in pain and he never tried it again.
He always ended up in the bathroom and wanked off.
He wonders if he was ever going to get over Holly if there would be a year that he wouldn’t think about her. A July where he would stop imagining what his life could’ve been like if she didn’t leave, and April that he couldn’t imagine what his baby would’ve looked like. Christmases, Halloweens. He just wants one year where he would just not think about what if. Just one year.