Home > Professor Feelgood (Masters of Love #2)(6)

Professor Feelgood (Masters of Love #2)(6)
Author: Leisa Rayven

The thought makes me smile.

Despite her youthful demeanor, I wouldn’t trade my Nan for anything. She’s unique, and one of the two people in this world I’d trust with my life.

I jab the answer button and put the phone on speaker. “Hey, Nan. What’s up?”

“Asha,” she says in a familiar panicked tone. “It’s Moby. I think he’s dying.”

“Again? That’s the third time this week.”

Nannabeth is completely devoted to her pet duck, Moby. (Yes, Moby Duck. An epic name for an epic bird.) Next to me and Eden, Moby’s the most important relationship in Nannabeth’s life, and let me tell you, there isn’t a more spoiled fowl on the planet. Nan always fusses over him like she’s a mother hen.

“Asha, I’m being serious here.”

“I know, Nan, but I doubt he’s dying. He’s probably just acting for attention.”

“He’s making a strange noise when he sleeps.”

“He snores. You know that.”

“Well, yes, but this sounds different. Usually, it’s like this.” She makes a sound like a gerbil with a head cold. “And today, he sounds like this.” She makes exactly the same noise.

I sigh. After our father walked out on us when I was a toddler, and Mom died while Eden and I were still in grade school, Nannabeth stepped up and became both Mom and Dad to us. She’s our everything, and I love her more than life itself, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t drive me crazy sometimes. In my experience, it’s the people we love the most who are the best at pushing our buttons.

“Nan, I have no doubt Moby’s fine, but if you’re concerned, then call Dr. Solley. He’d be only too happy to make a house call.” Dr. Solley has been Moby’s vet since Nan got him, and I’m certain he’s renovated his entire Park Avenue pad on Nannabeth’s vet fees alone.

“You’re probably right,” Nan says, sounding a little calmer. “I just hate thinking that something could happen to him.”

“I understand. But he’s a tough bird. He’d never go out to something as lame as sleep apnea.”

Nan may be neurotic about her beloved duck, but I get it. She’s lost a lot of people close to her, including her daughter, so her fear is a natural reaction. One I understand only too well.

I hear some rustling and can picture Nan snuggling up in her bed next to Moby, one arm draped protectively around him.

“So what are you up to tonight, sweetheart?” she asks, quietly. “You going to Facetime with your French man, perhaps? Or do some … what’s that word? Sexting?”

“Nan!”

“What? That’s what you kids do, isn’t it? There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Your grandad and I used to do our fair share of sexting when he was alive, but of course, back then it was called writing letters.”

I squeeze my eyes shut. “Nan, please. You know how uncomfortable I am when you talk about sex with grandad.”

“Oh, honey, don’t you think old folks deserve a decent orgasm every now and then, too? Even we oldies have needs.”

God, my brain. Send bleach. STAT.

“So, anyway, Nan, to answer your question about my plans tonight, I won’t be talking with my boyfriend. I’m working. And I have a major deadline on Monday, so I’ll have to keep this short.” I shove my phone into my cleavage, so I can keep typing as we talk. Eden always gives me crap when she sees me doing this, but that’s only because her boobs are too small to make it work. Her slim, straight body may look better in clothes than mine, but her boobtastic hands-free kit is pathetically lacking.

“Oh, darling,” Nan says. “Having to work on a Saturday night is tragic. Is this still for that promotion challenge?”

“Yep.”

“Ahh. So, how’s your search going for the next great American novel?”

“Not great.” I type the name of the manuscript I’m reading into the yellow column of my spreadsheet. “My pile of rejects just overtook the Freedom tower as the tallest structure in NYC.”

She laughs. “Well, I should let you get back to it, then.”

“Sadly, yes.” I pull the phone out of my boobs and hold it close to my mouth. “Give Moby a hug for me, okay? And I’ll see you next week for dinner.”

“Absolutely, honey. Talk soon.”

“Love you, Nannabeth.”

“Love you, too.”

I hang up and rub my eyes. I’ve been going for five hours without a break, and my eyeballs feel like they’re made of sandpaper. Without even thinking about it, I tap on my Instagram app and bring up the Professor’s page.

“Just a quick hit before I get back to work,” I say to myself. “No big deal. I can quit any time I like.”

While browsing his posts, I immediately feel more relaxed. And more than a little horny. “Come to momma, Professor Brawny Word Porn. Let me bask in your brilliance.”

I don’t have a huge presence on social media, and the accounts I do have are mostly for the purposes of lurking. But the platform where I’m most visible is Instagram, and I use it to highlight my favorite vintage designer fashion from flea markets and secondhand stores. No selfies, just shots of clothes, bags, and shoes, and even though I’m not great at posting regularly, VintageBrooklynGrl has nearly two-hundred followers. I guess there are some folks out there who dig my thrift shop finds as much as I do.

Something I never do on Instagram, however, is leave comments. Yes, I’ll drop likes all over the place, but I always feel awkward writing messages to my favorite posters. Like, why should they care what a nobody like me has to say? My opinion means nothing, and honestly, some of the other commentators are so rude, I’d rather not add to the noise.

But right now, I’m seriously contemplating leaving a note on one of the professor’s new posts. It’s a picture of him from the back, shirtless. His head is down, dark hair wet, and his hands are wrapped in boxing tape as he cradles his head. As usual, it’s impossible to see his face, but the picture has power. It speaks of someone tormented but trying not to be.

Underneath is the caption:

I tell myself to let go, to stop pinning my hopes on the impossible.

I try.

I meditate myself into a stupor and then finish the job with liquor.

I punish a punching bag until my knuckles bruise, then bleed words onto an empty page.

I rearrange my whole world, so I can barely see the places where you once were.

And yet, every time I turn around, there you are.

Haunting the corners of my memory.

I don’t know why I have an urge to say something to make him feel better, but I do.

I take in a breath and try to come up with the perfect comment, which is stupid considering I’m writing to someone who probably won’t read it.

“Amazing post. Thank you for sharing. You make me want to be brave.”

I quickly jab enter before I have the chance to chicken out, and then I screw up my face as my message appears at the bottom of the thousands of other comments.

Oh, only thirty-six thousand others posted before me? Good, then.

I blow out a breath and prepare to shut the app, when I get a notification.

No way.

Not only did the Professor like my comment, but he replied.

I stop breathing as I read his words.

“@VintageBrooklynGrl

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