It was nearly noon when a familiar ringtone notified him that Cam was finally getting in touch. Kreg briefly debated whether or not to answer, until he admitted to himself he was only delaying the inevitable.
“Yeah?” he answered.
“Where the fuck did you go? Did you slither out on me again?”
“I met this girl.” It was the truth, and would remain that way. His brother didn’t need to know the exact details of how he and Ravannah had hooked up.
Cam’s excitement was instantaneous. “You did? Where’d you go?”
“I took her over to The Brasserie for coffee and scones. We spent over an hour there, discussing books and movies and stuff. Then I took her to my place.”
Kreg let out a huge sigh, which Cam immediately recognized.
“Struck out again?”
“Yeah.” He knew what the next question would be before his brother asked.
“Was she one of us?”
“No.” Next comes the tirade, he told himself.
“What the fuck! How many times have I said—”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” He cut Cam off before the man got wound up and this conversation dragged on for an hour. “I know what you and Dr. Elaphe said, but same species don’t do anything for me! I’ve explained that time and time again! But something about this girl… For a moment there, it looked like things would get hot and heavy. I mean, she instigated it. I tried to take it to the next level.”
“But you wilted?”
“No. She pulled away, gave me that funny look, and took off.”
“That’s pretty common when it comes to humans.”
“So what about you? How’d you make out last night?” Kreg tried to steer the topic back into safer waters.
“Oh, man. Kreg! The four of us were ballin’ all…night…long!”
Although he’d expected something like that had happened, to hear it still managed to get jealousy to rear her ugly green head. “I’m happy for you, bro. Listen, you caught me in the middle of cleaning. Can we talk later?”
“Yeah. Sure. Say, when the doctor say your tests results would come back?”
“Sometime next week. His office is supposed to give me a call after the doctor reads the results to tell me what I need to do next.”
“All right. Ring me when you find out something. Hang tight, Kreg. You’re gonna beat this thing. I just know you are,” Cam reassured him.
“I hope so.”
The call ended. As Kreg slid the phone into his rear pocket, his eyes landed on the unopened box of scones sitting on the bar. Walking over to it, he lifted the lid, took one out, and stuffed half of it into his mouth.
It proved to be a long, uneventful weekend.
* * *
Surprisingly, he got a phone call that next Tuesday. Even more surprising was the fact that it was Dr. Kuralt himself who notified him.
“Mr. Regius, I’ve been looking over your blood work and the results from the stress test you took last week. So far, things look fine. When we get through talking here, I’ll hand you over to my nurse so you can tell her where you’d like her to phone in your prescription.”
Kreg saw a “but” coming and knew why.
“However, there are a few discrepancies that confuse me that I’d like to ask you about,” Kuralt continued.
“Oh?” Kreg tried to keep his voice from giving away his rising trepidation. This could prove to be disastrous, as his people had been trying to keep under the radar for generations.
“Well, for starters, your blood type. The labs were unable to type it. And your hemoglobin, your red and white blood cell counts were off the charts.”
Kreg feigned ignorance. “Is that dangerous? Am I sick?”
“I can’t tell you right now,” the physician admitted. “When are you scheduled for your next test?”
“Two weeks from Thursday.”
“Good. I’ll instruct them to draw more blood and have it checked again. It could be this batch got contaminated somehow. Don’t worry about it, Mr. Regius. It happens. But I have another reason for calling you. Mr. Regius, have you considered, or would you consider talking to a clinical specialist?”
“What kind of specialist?”
“A psychotherapist. Specifically, a psychiatrist.”
Kreg paused. “Are you thinking my problem is all in my head?”
“We can’t rule out the possibility it could be psychosomatic,” Kuralt admitted. “I’d like to refer you to a doctor I know who’s helped others with similar problems.”
“A sex therapist?”
The physician chuckled. “Some do specialize in certain fields. I’ll contact Dr. Sosa’s office and send them your case study, with your permission.”
“Yes, you have it. Thanks, Dr. Kuralt.”
“They’ll call you to set up a date and time. Take care, Mr. Regius. We’ll get this figured out before you know it.”
“I hope so. Thanks again.”
After he got off the phone, Kreg stared at his desk and the pile of work he still needed to complete. Another doctor and another round of tests—where would it end?
Worse, if Kuralt didn’t find anything wrong with him, and this psychiatrist couldn’t put a finger on the cause of his erectile dysfunction, what was left? Was there anywhere left he could turn to for help?
Shutting down his computer, he got up from his desk and went to tell his boss he was done for the day. After that, he bought a fifth of Beam from the liquor store at the corner and went straight home to get stinking, flat-on-his-face drunk because it was the only way he could get any relief from the burgeoning throb in his groin.