Dr. Grant by Catharina Maura

Chapter 1

Noah

“I’m sorry, Noah,” Dr. Johnson says, barely able to look me in the eye. “The money they offered me was far more than I was expecting to retire with.”

He looks out the window, his shoulders hunched in defeat, and I follow his gaze. I expected to be in his seat one day. I imagined myself looking out this very window the way he’s doing right now, watching patients drive in and out of the clinic’s parking lot.

My gaze roams over the doctor’s office that was supposed to become mine one day, my heart sinking. I spent months interviewing in search of the perfect practice to join. In the end, I decided to work for Mr. Johnson because he promised he’d let me take over the clinic within a few years. Had I known that he’d sell it just months after I started, I’d never have accepted his offer. 

“And you’re certain that they don’t need another general practitioner?”

Dr. Johnson shakes his head. “They want the clinic, but not the staff. I’ve tried to reason with them, but they won’t budge on it.” He inhales deeply, a hint of concern in his eyes. “I know this puts you in a bad position, Noah. I’m sorry to do this to you, and with such late notice too.”

I nod in understanding, even as worry gnaws at me. I can’t blame the old man. He’s only doing what’s best for him and his family. Had I been in his position, I probably would have done the same.

I rise from my seat and offer Dr. Johnson my hand. He shakes it, his grip tight and an apologetic look in his eyes. I was looking forward to learning from him for at least a few more years, but I should’ve known better. I never should’ve expected as much as I did. Life has a way of letting me down every time I get my hopes up. 

I’m overcome with worry as I make my way home. I’m drowning in student debt, and my career isn’t starting the way I planned. I thought med school would be my ticket to financial security, but so far all it has landed me with is crippling debt.

Dr. Johnson is letting me go with one month’s notice, but that might not be enough time to find something new. 

The house is quiet when I walk in, and today the silence feels suffocating. I pause in the hallway, my eyes drifting over the family photos my sister and I hung on the walls. I spent years studying in an attempt to follow in my father’s footsteps, and part of me feels like I’m not living up to the dreams he had for me.

My sister and I tried so hard to turn this into a home, to leave behind the memories of our parents’ blood staining the floor in our old house. Without a job, I’ll lose the home Aria and I built.

I stare at one of the photos that usually brings a smile to my face. It’s one of me with Aria and my best friend, Grayson. I’m standing in the middle, between them, but despite that, Grayson’s eyes are on Aria. They always have been — he just doesn’t quite realize it yet.

I wonder if today would be any easier if they were here and not a six-hour plane journey away. I’m not sure. Besides, I might very well be seeing them soon if I can’t find a job. I would hate to have to ask Grayson for help, but I might not have a choice. 

Gray has offered to pay off my student debt multiple times now, but I don’t ever want to take advantage of him that way. Not unless the situation is truly dire and I’m truly out of options. Which I soon might be.

Three full hours fly by as I call every single person I interviewed with in the last year, everyone that has even remotely indicated that they would be inclined to hire me, only to find that every single position has already been filled. At this rate, I won’t even be working as a doctor for the next couple of months. Finding a good job and getting through the required interviews will take time. Time that I don’t have.

I lean back on the sofa and look around the house, my heart aching. While this isn’t the house that we grew up in, it is the house we turned into a home. How would Aria feel if we lost it? If I’m unable to pay the mortgage, they’ll repossess the house. I’ve failed my sister in many ways, but this? This would break her heart. This home is her safe haven. Despite her moving away to work with Grayson, I want Aria to have a home of her own, even if it’s just to come visit every once in a while.

In the few years before I was old enough to gain custody over Aria, she and I were forced to live with aunt Dorothy, our mother’s cousin, a woman we barely knew. While Aria never complained, I knew she was uncomfortable. I don’t ever again want to be in a position where I’m unable to provide for my sister, no matter how old we get.

I stare at the phone in my hands, desperation drowning out my pride. I know Gray wouldn’t miss the money if I asked for help. If anything, he’d be happy I reached out. That doesn’t make it any easier to ask, though. Making this call feels like failure to me.

Just as I’ve convinced myself to push aside my pride and do what I must… my phone rings. I frown at the unfamiliar number and pick up hesitantly.

“Hi. Is this Dr. Grant?”

I clutch my phone and sit up. “Yes, that would be me.”

The woman on the phone sighs as though in relief. “I’m calling from the human resources department of Astor College.”

I frown, confused why a prestigious private college would call me. 

“We have a vacant position at our campus clinic, and Dr. Johnson highly recommended you.”

My mind is buzzing as she walks me through the role. It’s perfect for me. The pay is even better than what I make working with Dr. Johnson, and since the college is close by, I won’t even have to move.

“Would this be something you’re interested in?”

I smile to myself, only barely able to keep from laughing out loud. Would I be interested?

“Yes, that sounds great,” I say, forcing myself to stay calm.

“Perfect,” she says, going straight into scheduling an interview.

I sit back in disbelief as she ends the call and stare at my phone. I scroll through my contacts yet again, but this time I’m smiling as I pause on Grayson’s name.

Chapter 2

Amara

My heart is racing as I study my latest invention. It took me weeks to build this little device, and if it does what I’m hoping it will, I’ll be able to secure funding for my company.

All that’s left to do now is test it. If I fabricated it without any design flaws, then this little toy will make me orgasm harder than I ever have before — without making a sound.

I have sky-high expectations for a toy this small. To me, it’s far more than a sex toy. It’s a ticket to the fulfillment of my every hope and dream. It’s my road to independence. 

My hands are trembling as I put it down and reach for the stupidly big bottle of lube I bought. A nervous giggle escapes my lips, the sound breaking the silence in my bedroom. Thank God for online shopping. I’m able to design and create sex toys without an ounce of shame, but the idea of buying lube has my cheeks heating in embarrassment. 

I suppose that’s part of the reason I decided to create products like these, though. I wanted something obscure yet powerful, something you could use privately without worrying about the sound it might make.

My heart is pounding in my chest as I grab my little invention, totally unoriginally named Secret O. Yeah, I may need to rethink that.

I smile to myself as I carry the ridiculously large bottle of lube to my bed. I didn’t think the largest size they had would be this… huge. It looks like it’s a family-sized bottle of water. It’s weird, and it just increases my nerves.

Will I even be able to come when I’m this nervous? I’m not sure, but I’ll have to try. I’ve been putting the testing phase off, and the longer I wait, the longer I deny myself funding.

I inhale deeply as I open the bottle of lube. I can’t put too much on because my toy relies on suction to stay in. When I created it, I wanted to make something you can walk around with without worrying that it might slip out. Obscurity is what I’m going for with this one.

I’m trembling as I lie back and fiddle with the lube, taking my time and delaying the inevitable. I’m scared my toy won’t do what I expect it to do. I’m scared my hopes will all come crashing down on me.

I inhale shakily as I turn it on and push it in, taking note of the ease it slips in with. My eyes fall closed as my lips tip up into a smile. It feels good. Thank God. 

I can’t help but giggle, relief rushing through me. It feels really good. There’s a small part on the edges that stimulates my G-spot, and it feels better than the touch of most men I’ve been with. It’s working perfectly, and I can’t hear a thing. No sound, no hint of the electronic device inside me. 

I swallow hard as my thoughts fade away and desire overcomes me. This toy is good. The way it feels… there’s nothing like it. A soft moan escapes my lips, and I bite down on my lip. Yeah, I can’t resist that feeling for too long. I already want to come.

My muscles contract involuntarily, an orgasm catching me by surprise. I was not ready for that… and it didn’t feel as good as expected. 

Damn it. I should’ve timed it. It felt rushed, like I didn’t come as well as I wanted to. I’ll need to look into that. Maybe different settings? A buildup in speed? I’ll have to try a couple of options and see how they affect my experience before we move onto further testing.

I throw my arm over my face and sigh happily. This is good. I didn’t expect it to be perfect, but it’s already far better than I thought it’d be. 

Now for the real test, though… what will it feel like when I walk around with it? I’m nervous as I sit up in bed, moving carefully. This entire product’s appeal is in its obscurity and its staying power. If it slips out when I walk around, it’ll be a failure, no matter how good it feels. It won’t have a unique selling point other competitors haven’t already perfected.

My feet hit the floor, and I’m nervous all over again. Okay, so far, so good. I nod to myself as I walk over to my bedroom door, thanking my lucky stars I’m home alone.

Considering that I’m twenty-seven, it is perhaps a little strange that I still live at home, and right about now I’d much prefer not to. Testing my toy while walking around the house and worrying about someone coming home just makes my nerves skyrocket. 

I rest my hand against the wall in the hallway, my eyes falling closed as yet another orgasm threatens to overwhelm me. Oh shit. This invention of mine is brilliant. Even now that I’m worried and overthinking, it’s still keeping me turned on. It isn’t slipping out — it’s not moving at all. It’s still perfectly positioned against my G-spot, and I giggle to myself. Amazing.

I jump up and down in the hallway, my giddiness increasing by the second. This is perfect. I’m grinning as I skip through the long hallway in my grandfather’s mansion, noting every sensation, every feeling.

It’s not perfect yet, but the key elements are all there, and they’re all working perfectly. I walk back to my room in a daze, turned on, proud, and relieved all at the same time. It makes for some powerful emotions, and my relaxedness almost brings me close to another orgasm. This time I smile and let my eyes fall closed as it washes over me.

It’s stronger this time, and the way my muscles clench around the toy only increases my pleasure. It’s almost painful, in the very best way, but I’m not sure how much more of this I can take.

I walk over to my bed and lie back, reaching for my toy. I freeze when I realize I didn’t 3D print the small handle I had in mind for it.

Fuck.

I swallow down my panic as I try to get it out, hurting myself with my nails and only managing to push it in further. 

This is a prototype. I can’t be too rough with it, because if I break this, I’ll be back at zero — I won’t have enough time to build a new one in time for my investor meeting.

I tug at it, trying to grasp the edges and failing. It’s engineered to stay in using suction, and without something to pull it out with, it’s going to be almost impossible to remove.

What do I do?

My cheeks heat at the mere thought of having to ask for help. Who do I ask? My mom? She already isn’t happy with the way I’m choosing to put my engineering degree to use, and she keeps reminding me not to use the university’s facilities for my own research purposes. I’ve managed to get around that by explaining to her that it’s part of my PhD project, but asking her for help with this would lead to a breaking point for sure.

I hesitate before picking up my phone and calling my best friend, Leia. She picks up almost immediately, much to my relief.

“Hey babe,” she says, her voice as cheery as ever. The background noise tells me she’s outside, so with a bit of luck, she can come over. 

“Leia, I need help.” Leia and I met at the start of our PhD program four years ago, and in that time we’ve been through enough craziness together for her not to bat an eye at my current predicament.

“What happened?”

I groan and pull a hand through my hair. “I tested the toy. It got stuck in me. I was stupid enough not to 3D print the handle.” She bursts out laughing, and I shake my head. “It’s not funny!”

“It is. Girl, I have a class to teach in five minutes. The soonest I can get to you is in two hours.”

I sigh and shake my head. “I have dinner with my mother tonight. You know what she’s like. I need to be ready in time.”

Leia pauses, both of us trying to think of a solution. “You need a stranger,” she says. “Someone that’ll just forget about this. Better yet if they can’t speak at all. A lawyer?”

I think of the ancient Astor family lawyer and burst out laughing despite the fear that claws at me. I can just imagine the look on his wrinkly face, and I’m tempted to call him just to find out how scandalized he’d be.

My smile melts away when I realize exactly what I need. “I need a doctor. Doctor-patient confidentiality and all that shit. I can’t go to our family doctor, though. I don’t trust him.”

“The college clinic,” Leia says. “That’s your best bet, and it’s close by.”

I nod, gathering my courage. “Okay. Yes, okay.”

Leia giggles, and I roll my eyes. At least one of us thinks this is funny. “Good luck, babe. I can’t wait to hear how that goes.”

Luck. Yeah, I’ll be needing a ton of that if I’m going to see this through.

Read Dr. Grant