Infinite Dolls by Emalynne Wilder
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Genres: New Adult, Romance
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Born to be the best.
Head of his class.
No strings attached.
The third year of medical school is supposed to be the hardest, but Callum Trovatto has no idea what he’s about to face when Everly Anne Brighton stands between him and a passing grade, shaking up his world with her secrets, and digging into his dark past.
Trapped by her father’s rules.
Longing for freedom.
Expected to die before her twenty-first birthday at the hands of a rare medical condition, Everly Brighton begins to defy the carefully crafted routine her father enforces to keep her alive, despite the fact that it could kill her.
INFINITE DOLLS is an emotionally charged love story about finding faith, coping with loss and living in the preciousness of Now.
“Stay.” Her hand was on my arm for such a brief second, I couldn’t even reply. As she let go, I came back to the real world where the theater-café was filling with customers to watch the show Noelle hosted in honor of my mother. The show Everly wanted me to watch with her, though she was clueless of its purpose.
“I can’t.” I stepped away.
“Okay.” She glanced to the door then back to me. “Did you do that to Logan’s face?”
“Logan’s mouth did that to his face.”
“Stop hitting people because of me, Callum.”
“It wasn’t about you.” She seemed surprised by that, and I stepped closer. “Should it have been about you?”
“The only time you’d ever hang around Logan is if you were forced to—like in study group or class—so I’m not sure what you could be discussing that would get you angry enough to punch him in the face, unless it had to do with me...” She looked toward the window where my group still sat inside. “But maybe I’m being a little too hopeful.”
“Kind of the same thing.” She smiled shyly.
“I didn’t punch him because of Cecily, either.”
She nodded. “But you knew who I was wondering about.”
“I’m not dating Cecily. I’m not even interested in Cecily.”
Everly looked up at me. “You don’t owe me an explanation. I’m just the girl you’re studying.”
A dagger through my chest would have hurt less.
I held her gaze. “Clearly.”
“Don’t hit strangers for me. I can take care of myself.”
I leaned into her face. “Clearly.”
“Why are you being so rude to me tonight? Did the doctor gene finally kick in?”
“You know what, Everly Anne? Tell your friend, your boyfriend, whoever the fuck is having surgery, that sending you to watch some stupid show at night all alone isn’t the brightest idea in the world. If he had an ounce of feeling and respect for you, he wouldn’t ask you to do such stupid shit. P.S., the show sucks. Most people choke as soon as they step on stage. There was only one person who nailed it, and she’s been dead for ten years.” I shoved my bag higher on my shoulder and said, “Goodnight.”
I lost her in the crowd of people as I walked away, and when I turned back, she was gone.
The urge to rewind my footsteps had never been greater.
The café was packed with people as Noelle stepped on the small stage in the left side of her café. I could only watch from the door as she revealed that the act tonight was Saint Valentine.
And who was playing her? Everly Anne Brighton, of course.
She looked so much different on stage than she had in class as the main attraction. This Everly was an exclamation versus a question. But she was still her: the bright hair, the underlying shyness, the curious eyes. The way she moved as if she was following music no one else could hear, with measured steps and thoughtful rhythm.
“Fucking hot!” a person from the crowed cursed as they sipped their coffee too fast.
“Well, thank you,” Everly replied without missing a beat. They ate it up; clapping and laughter resounded.
“Are you in love?” someone called out.
“I am love, so I am always in it, because I am always myself.”
“Will I find my soul mate?”
“Find your own soul first, and then worry about its mate.”
“Why are men such shits?”
She found Logan, stared him in the face. “Some questions just answer themselves.” They loved it, offering her a round of applause.
“Have you ever fallen in love at first sight?” Noelle called out.
“Yes.” She sighed. Her eyes roamed the room until she reached me standing in the doorway. She paused as we searched each other again, for reason, for answers, then flicked her attention back to Noelle suddenly and said, “Snickerdoodles.”
Noelle stood and whooped up the crowd to applaud her efforts.
Everly stepped off stage, her bravado shrunken down to miniature size as someone else became the star in her place.
In the shadows, she wrapped herself in that same yellow sweater from class.
Our eyes met again, but she was different, displaying a wholly other concept of beauty as she shyly turned away to thank the girl behind the counter and graciously took a cup of coffee. I moved away from the door and back to where I had waited for her earlier, outside against the brick wall. But she didn’t search for me when she exited this time. She took her cup of coffee across the street and sat on a bench in front of a delicatessen. She was alone, with eyes that didn’t look up. There was no wondering or hopefulness. She traced her finger around the plastic rim of her cup and didn’t lift it to her mouth.
I felt like a traitor walking away, leaving her unprotected and doubtful; especially when I had the warmth of her hand still on my arm. But I did walk away only to have her ghost follow me home. Her warmth remained on my arm as I tried to study and ignore the emptiness in my gut. But I kept seeing that man’s hand reaching for her. His finger trailing up her leg. Her looking at me in the doorway with love on her lips. Her looking at me let down that I might have stood up for Cecily when Logan had harassed her in class every day. Walking away from her because I couldn’t deal with words like love on theater night.
But she remained beside me when I turned off the lights and closed my eyes.Her hand was right there on my arm, asking me to stay.
Emalynne Wilder is the voice of the Broken-Hearted. The Forgotten. The Unheard. Painfully shy in person. Unapologetic on paper. She’s the girl listening to your dirt from the corner of the room as she plots how to turn tragedy into triumph.