The Billionaire Brothers

By: Victoria Villeneuve

Racing Heart


Through the bathroom door, and the noise of the shower, Megan’s housemate was somehow able to hear the plaintive yell. “They’re on the coffee table!” she called back.

It was a morning routine established almost as soon as the two twenty-something nurses had moved in together: Megan Peterson lost her keys, and Erica Newbold knew where they were. “Thanks! See you tonight!”

Running late, hair still damp, Megan stuffed textbooks into her bag and danced down the wooden stairs of the town house which she shared with Erica, and the two Croatian dentists on the first floor. The car started after its usual whining, and Megan got her day started with coffee which tasted of plastic, but was packed with enough caffeine to awaken even a sleep-deprived trainee nurse.

“Let’s go, Boston, I’m a little late here,” she said, urging the traffic forward. Megan had been developing a theory about Boston’s drivers, whose reputation for rudeness she had found very well deserved; the road layout, not to mention the haphazard, nonsensical traffic lights, generated an irritation which created torrents of abusive behavior. It wasn’t that Bostonians were assholes; their roads just sucked.

But growing up here had inoculated Megan against the Boston-accented tirades and ceaseless, impatient honking. She navigated through the busy morning traffic, passing through a couple of neighborhoods before grinding to a halt in a sequence of red lights seemingly designed to slow everyone’s morning commute. Like everyone around her, Megan checked her phone. A recent innovation was the daily list of ‘things to do’, now as indispensible to Megan as her morning coffee. It brought planning to a life so hectic she scarcely believed she was able to live it.

. Meet w/Prof. Hunter, 11.30. Piano, Andrea, 3.45. Call Mom. Groceries

Greg Hunter wouldn’t take more than twenty minutes, she thought. This afternoon’s lesson would mean picking up Andrea from her school; she could grab groceries on the way. Strategizing like this, Erica had taught her, gave the day structure and ensured against those embarrassing phone calls of the, ‘Hey, didn’t we say 11.30?’ variety.

Megan battled Boston’s traffic all the way to the University of Massachusetts and steered her cantankerous Fiesta into the lot. Finding a parking place was an art form long since perfected – Megan had completed her undergraduate nursing degree at U-Mass – and within moments she was dashing to the classroom, dregs of her coffee quickly drained and cellphone carefully silenced, lest she receive another lecture from Prof. Mills on the importance of ‘focus and maturity’.

Pharmacology was a mix of lecture time, group problem-solving and practical experience, and today’s class included a little of each. In the break after the first hour, with her classmates making a bee-line for the coffee machines, Megan filed out, rubbing tired eyes, and joined the line alongside her equally sleepy friend, Della.

“You remember that comic,” Della asked, tying back her long, black hair, “the one where the kid in the classroom raises his hand and says, ‘May I be excused please, sir? My brain is full’?” Megan nodded with an understanding smile. “That’s me, right now. I don’t think there’s a cubic millimeter of brain space left.”

Della had joined U-Mass as part of an exchange program to train Egyptian nurses, and was finding life in the States enjoyable, if occasionally very challenging. “Relax,” Megan advised her. “The more we use this stuff, the more we’ll get the hang of it.” She meant it, but felt the same grinding, constant overload as her classmates. There was never enough time to absorb the sheer quantity of information, and these important, background classes were only part of their training. As Master’s degree students, they spent hundreds of hours on the wards, dealing with anything and everything. No two shifts were alike, which suited Megan just fine, but the work was exhausting.

“Well, I can think of plenty of things I’d rather do tonight than bone up on anti-coagulants.”

Megan handed Della a cup of coffee from the machine; it was barely drinkable, but the caffeine infusion was priceless. “I hear you.”

Della grinned knowingly. “What about a date with that gorgeous friend of yours?”

Eyes rolling, Megan stood, hands on hips. “We’ve been friends for twenty years, Della. I’m friends with his daughter, too, for heaven’s sake. Do you really think I want to screw that up just for a...”

“Much-needed releasing of tensions?”

“Quick roll in the hay,” Megan corrected. She shook an admonishing finger at her Egyptian colleague. “You met him once, and you thought he was great. And you’re right.”

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