Family Bonds-Ava & Seth…Chapter One

If you haven’t read the Prologue yet, check it out here.

Chapter One

More To Offer

Three years later

“So, birth control options,” Emily Rauch said to Dr. Ava Mills. They were distant cousins, but that was the case with most of the Bonds on the island of this generation when they crossed family lines.

“I don’t see where you’ve been on anything other than birth control pills in your file. That was a few years ago?”

“Nothing in a few years. I’m not really keen on the pill again. I wasn’t a fan of the way it made me feel.”

“There are plenty you can try if you want,” Ava said.

“There are other options I think I’d rather explore.”

“So things are going well with the guy from the fundraiser? Enough that you are looking for birth control options?” Ava asked, wiggling her eyebrows. Lucky dog, her cousin was. It’d been way too long since Ava had any activity with the opposite sex. Heck, it might have been a year since she’d even been on a date!

“It’s been a few months now. You’ve seen us out to dinner and even came over to get the introduction. I want to know how you got out of that fundraiser.”

The fundraiser that island matriarchs Helena and Janet Bond oversaw to bring money to Amore Island to help fund the clinics and emergency services that taxpayer money didn’t cover. The island founded by their ancestors many, many years ago.

The island that she only worked at one day a week in the clinic. For now.

Ava grinned. “I was on call that week.”

“That’s your story and you are sticking to it?”

Maybe she should have offered to go on stage at the charity fundraiser and be one of the women men could bid on for a date if Emily was getting lucky with the guy who’d “won” her. No, no, it just wasn’t for Ava.

“Exactly. So tell me about your new beau.”

“Don’t you have other patients?” Emily asked.

“You’re my last of the day. I’ve got plenty of time to catch the ferry so don’t use that as an excuse either.”

“It’s only three,” she said. “How can I be your last patient of the day?”

“I didn’t know I had to report my schedule to you. But I had two cancellations and because I’m off the island, they called and rearranged it so that I could get out after you.”

Ava liked how accommodating everyone was at the facility where she worked. There were branches in Boston, Plymouth—where she was currently located—Amore Island, and other outlying areas. Her long-term dream had been Amore Island…at some point when there was an opening. It was coming true sooner than she expected though and since her father and brothers were now practicing on the island, she couldn’t wait to join them.

“It doesn’t bother you coming back and forth this way to work?”

“It’s only once a week.” Ava looked around as if she was afraid someone might walk in the closed door and hear them. “Until June that is.”

“What?” she asked. “What is going on?”

Her smile filled her face faster than when she was hired as an obstetrician less than two years ago. “I’m transferring here full time.”

“That’s great! I thought you didn’t want to be on the island.”

“It wasn’t that. I just went where the job was. I like it off the island and coming here once a week, but everyone is here. My brothers are at the hospital, my parents live here now with my father somewhat retired but the surgeon on call. I guess I’m finding the island is pulling me more than I thought. Or at least earlier than I thought it would. One of the doctors here full time wants to leave. She’s got kids starting middle and high school and they play sports and, well, you know how it goes.”

“I do. There is only so much you can do on the island. There are sports, but activities are limited and the traveling back and forth. It’s not a life for everyone.”

“You didn’t live here growing up,” Ava said. “Neither did we. But I find that things are different on the island now than they were when we were kids. There is more to do and more to offer.”

Life in the slow lane was calling her name after years of schooling. Now it was work, work, work and she was fine with that. But going home to her rented condo wasn’t as relaxing as it might be if she had a nice little cottage by the ocean. The next step of her journey would be to reach out to her cousin Drew and see if he knew of anything on the market that was in her range.

“Or maybe we are older,” Emily said.

“No clue. But I’m sure you know it’s hard to get medical professionals on the island to stay for long. Many come here young to get a job and experience, then leave when there is an opening at another satellite office in Boston or Plymouth. Or they come here when they are ready to retire.”

“Like your father,” Emily said. “Can we continue this while I’m dressed? I get the feeling you enjoy doing this to rattle me.”

Ava smiled. “Nothing really rattles you though.” She always did have a warped sense of humor, or so many told her.

“Talk to me through the door,” Emily said.

“Nope. I don’t want anyone to hear me as it’s not public knowledge. I just filled the paperwork out last week.”

Emily jumped down from the table, making sure the gown was covering her bare butt, and ran to the bathroom to change quickly so they could finish their conversation. When she came out, she said, “So why are you telling me? Or you needed to talk to someone other than your parents and brothers?”

“Right on the first try. I know you won’t say much, right?” Her parents and brothers were going to be thrilled, but they’d also start to jump in and give advice and suggestions on when or where she should move. She wanted to do this all on her own.

“My lips are sealed. When will it be public knowledge?” Emily asked.

“A few weeks or less. It gives me time to find a place of my own and start letting my patients know.”

“Those on the island will be thrilled,” Emily said.

“They will. Many still don’t like giving birth here, but I’m really pushing hard to get more advanced equipment. It’s better than it used to be, but we will never be equipped for any major emergency.”

“Which is no different than any other small town in the state. I look at it this way. There are plenty air lifted out of smaller rural locations in this state besides the island.”

“Exactly,” Ava said. “Anyway, so that is my news. Oh, I’m sure you heard another one bit the dust over Valentine’s Day.” That was two now in their family engaged of her generation. The green monster was starting to grow a little knowing Emily was getting some action too.

“Drew and Amanda?” Emily asked. “I did hear that. Helena has been burning up the hotlines. Amanda seems like a great person. Drew looks happy.”

“Drew is always happy,” she said. “So…will you be next?”

“Don’t even go there.”

“Ah, but you want birth control.”

“Which means I’m having sex.”

“Lots of sex?” Ava asked. “Come on. I’m in a dry spell and we are off the clock. You’re dressed again.”

Emily laughed. “More than I’ve had before, but it doesn’t seem to be enough either.”

“The best kind there is. So give me the scoop on him.” She needed something at this point to squash the urge to go home alone and watch another Hallmark movie with a tub of ice cream.

“Not much to say. You know how we met.”

“But you knew him before the fundraiser?” Ava asked.

“I did,” Emily said. “He delivers my mail. Everyone knows and I’m sure it’s the big talk of the family outside of Drew’s engagement and Hunter’s soon-to-be son arriving.”

“Don’t forget about Mac dating someone now too.” Just dating didn’t bother her as much as her cousins settling down and her wondering when she might have a shot at it. Being in Plymouth, she thought she’d have a better chance at meeting men and found that wasn’t the case.

“Is he really?” Emily asked. “Is it Kayla’s other roommate? Sidney?”

“That’s what I heard. That he’s been seen at the bar while she is working.”

“And he must hate it if people are talking about it,” Emily said.

“I’m sure, but Mac has no problem putting people in their place. Kind of like you.”

“Speaking of that. And me. What have you heard about me and Crew?” Emily asked.

“Not much. Just that you seem happy too. You know the family. That’s all anyone really cares about.” Many outside the Bond family thought they were all stuck-up, but the truth was, not many were. They were all caring and truly wanted each other happy.

“No one is making a comment about his career?”

Crew Ackley was a mailman. “I’m sure there are plenty that love to gossip that might. It’s no different than people commenting on Kayla and Amanda trying to land a wealthy man. Anyone that knows you knows you wouldn’t put up with it. You had no problem dropping Simon.”

Simon was Emily’s ex-fiancé that rumor had it only wanted the family name and money and part of the hotel Emily and her sister, Penelope, were building.

“No. No problem there, nor would I put up with it. So, back to my question. Birth control options.”

Ava rolled her chair over and pulled some brochures off the wall, knowing that their conversation was coming to an end, but it was fun while it lasted. She missed this with other women and found there wasn’t much of it in Plymouth.

The other doctors at the practice were older than her. The office staff and nurses didn’t really want to mingle with the doctors. Or maybe she didn’t want to mingle with them. She’d always had a hard rule about keeping friendships out of the office. It was just easier that way.

“The usual pill, a shot in the arm every three months, an IUD. Lots of information to read.”

“How soon could I get the shot in the arm?” Emily asked, looking at the brochure quickly. “I’ve read a bit on it already.”

“Today if you want?” Ava said, laughing.

“Give it to me.”

“Your wish, my command,” she said, standing up. “I’ll be back in a few.”

She’d given Emily her Depo shot, updated her notes in her computer, then went to the temporary office she used here. It was more like a coat closet and the next person that filled in once a week would get it once she moved over to the bigger office next door.

“Have a safe trip home,” Anne, her nurse for the day, said to her when she was walking out the door.

“Thanks,” she said, knowing it wouldn’t be much longer and she’d be home right here on the island.

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