Arrive to work at 7:58 A.M. sharp. Check. Count forty-seven steps to cubicle. Check. Arrange pens in their red-blue-black-green-purple order of importance. Check. Apply hand sanitizer before opening email. Double check.
And thatâs just the first few minutes of her work day.
Thirty-one-year-old proofreader Bailey Mitchell is a slave to her tics. She inherited Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder from her father, and itâs done nothing but inhibit her love life. Sheâs run the gamut of boyfriendsânone of them willing or able to cope with her condition.
Enter 32-year-old Reece Powell, her new coworker at Beach Elite Marketing Firm. Heâs more than willing to cope. He finds her habits cute and quirky . . . for now. Reece wins her over, and life coasts along for them until Bailey experiences a devastating blow. Tragedy exacerbates her OCD, and Reece realizes her tics arenât so cute and quirky anymore. Just like all the others, he has the choice to leave.
But Reece isn't like all the others.
The Wilmington Saga
Follow the stories of Wilmington, NC residents as they fall in and out of love, mend and break hearts, grow, change, lose, win, and experience what it means to truly live in this small coastal community.
Graphic credit: Michelle @ Give Me Books
Reece paid attention. He watched her for an entire week, arriving to work at exactly 7:58 every morning. Eating lunch at noon on the dot. He found excuses to visit her cubicle just to see if her pens would be in the same order in which she lined them up the first time he met her. Without fail, they lay on her desk in their red-blue-black-green-purple order of importance.
Another week passed, and he thought they were actually becoming friends. He didnât need excuses to visit her anymore. It became habitual to stop by and ask about her weekend, see if she wanted a soda from the vending machine, find out where her favorite restaurants were. After all, he was still new to Wilmington, and there was a lot to discover. And he wanted to discover it with her.
âIâm in love with a coworker,â Reece confessed to his friend, Camden, on trivia night at a local bar.
âNot wise,â Camden replied, and chugged his beer.
âAnd Iâm pretty sure sheâs OCD,â Reece went on.
Camden stared at his friend. âDude. No.â
âI find it uncomfortably sexy,â Reece admitted.
âThat you like a coworker or that sheâs OCD?â
âThe second one. Thereâs something strangely erotic about it. What the hell is wrong with me?â Reece shoved a cheese fry in his mouth.</ o:p>
âLook Reece, Iâm your best friend. And as your best friend, itâs my job to give it to you straight. So hereâs the deal: Donât even think about going there. Do you have any idea what those people are like? I mean, what? Is she your age?â
âI donât know. Maybe.â
âOkay. So sheâs maybe thirty, thirty-one. And single.â He paused for effect. âFor a reason.â He shot Reece a âHello? Donât be a moronâ look.
âBut Iâm single, too.â
âBy choice, man.â
Reece grunted. âThatâs debatable.â
âPeople with OCD are not single by choice. Theyâre single because no one can deal with their bullshit.â
âBut I like her bullshit,â Reece argued, then shook his head. âI mean, the way she acts. Itâs not bullshit. Itâs cute.â
âYouâre seeing it from a distance. Imagine dating it. Living with it. Fucking it. Totally different ballgame.â
They listened for the answers to Round 3. Camden slammed his hand on the table.
âI knew it was iambic pentameter! Why do I listen to you?â he grumbled.
âHave you ever dated someone with OCD?â Reece asked, ignoring the question.
âNever. Because Iâm not crazy.â Camden grabbed the plate of cheese fries and pulled it across the table. âNo more cheese fries for you. If my calculations are correct, you just cost us the lead, you dumb fuck.â</ div>
Reece rolled his eyes. âThen how do you know if theyâre difficult or not?â
âGo read up on the disorder,â Camden said.
âDisorder,â Reece echoed with an eye roll.
âIt is a disorder. Itâs a mental disorder. And itâs fucking crazy. I knew a guy in high school with OCD. He had this weird ass compulsion or ritual or whatever you wanna call it where he had to tap all the desks three times before the start of each class. He told me once that he felt like heâd die if he couldnât do it. Literally die. Not like how we say, âOh God, Iâll die if I canât have sex tonight.â He meant for real. Thatâs how fucking crazy they are.â
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