An excerpt from
Love and Braces
A Dr. Samantha Wrighting novel
That still left Kevin for me to be nervous about. He called to confirm what time was alright, and he warned me that he had made dinner plans. "Since you can't go, I accepted another invitation. Business obligation. Good to get out of the way. I hope you don't mind."
So he had planned his escape. No need to spend the evening with the braced woman, in case they've turned her truly hideous. But at least he had the guts to come and see for himself.
How awkward was it ? Hopelessly.
I realized there wasn't much I could do to make it any less of a shock. And at least he knew what to expect. He was nice about it too. He brought me flowers, and he kept asking how I felt and whether it hurt. Like seventeen variations on the same question. Did it hurt getting them ? Did they hurt now ? How long did I think they'd hurt ? Anything to avoid the real issue, which was how I looked.
He tried so hard not to stare at my mouth each time I opened it, too, and when he did glimpse the metal he tried not to grimace. He really did try hard.
He stayed for like half an hour. Long enough to have a beer, though he looked like he could have used a couple of belts of something stronger.
"So what do you think ?" I finally had to ask, baring my teeth so he was confronted with my full grillwork. "Do you think you can handle this ?"
He smiled weakly. "They're just braces," he said lamely, as if either of us believed that. "They're not that bad."
"Maybe. But can you handle them ? Can you handle me like this ?"
Men never want to commit, right ? And maybe it was unfair of me to be so pushy, but I guess I thought it was better if he told me straight off and to my face that he couldn't handle the new, braced me, instead of leading me on a while longer and then dumping me over the telephone.
But he wouldn't say yes or no. "Don't you need time to get used to them too ?" he threw back at me.
I didn't tell him the truth — that I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to — and shrugged instead. I felt kind of bad about putting him on the spot, because he was right. If I hadn't even come to terms with them, how could I expect him to ? So I didn't push the question any further.
When he left he kissed me on the cheek. "They probably still hurt," he said by way of explanation for avoiding my puckered lips. "The braces. Right ?"
I wanted to say that a kiss was worth a little pain. A soft kiss on the lips . . . . I longed for a kiss — and I was curious how it would feel. But I didn't dare ask him or insist.
I don't know what I expected. I guess I hoped he would sweep me off my feet and just be blind to them and that I wouldn't even notice I had them while he was there. But the reality of the braces was that the metal rubbing against the inside of my cheeks and the pain across both rows of teeth and into my jaw made them completely unforgettable. And the look in his eyes, and my own reluctance to bare my newly braced teeth were like a big, flashing neon warning sign. BRACES ! BRACES ! BRACES !
This was my reality now. No escape. No getting around them. The braces were part of the package now.
I guess it could have gone worse. He could have just taken one look and turned around and left. If that's how he really felt then that wouldn't have even been that bad. I mean, it would have been devastating, and I would have spent the weekend sobbing in bed, but at least I would know how he felt and that there was no future for us.
For now, I could still hope. That we'd get used to them. That we'd work around them. That we could still be in . . . love.
As if love weren't scary and complicated enough without braces.
(from pages 82-84)
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Dr. Samantha Wrighting is a fictional character, not a real orthodontist.
Love and Braces is a work of fiction, and for entertainment purposes some of the procedures, devices, experiences, methods and duration of treatment described in this book do not represent what patients are likely to encounter in actually undergoing orthodontic treatment
Readers should not rely on any information or descriptions in this novel. For accurate information about orthodontic treatment readers are encouraged to consult a dentist or orthodontist, or to contact a professional organization such as the American Association of Orthodontists (www.braces.org).
All rights reserved — Copyright © Catherine Aimes 2007, 2011