Arrive to work at 7:58 A.M. sharp. Check. Count forty-seven steps to cubicle. Check. Arrange pens in their red-blue-black-green-purple order of importance. Check. Apply hand sanitizer before opening email. Double check.
And that’s just the first few minutes of her work day.
Thirty-one-year-old proofreader Bailey Mitchell is a slave to her tics. She inherited Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder from her father, and it’s done nothing but inhibit her love life. She’s run the gamut of boyfriends—none of them willing or able to cope with her condition.
Enter 32-year-old Reece Powell, her new coworker at Beach Elite Marketing Firm. He’s more than willing to cope. He finds her habits cute and quirky . . . for now. Reece wins her over, and life coasts along for them until Bailey experiences a devastating blow. Tragedy exacerbates her OCD, and Reece realizes her tics aren’t so cute and quirky anymore. Just like all the others, he has the choice to leave.
But Reece isn't like all the others.
The Wilmington Saga
Follow the stories of Wilmington, NC residents as they fall in and out of love, mend and break hearts, grow, change, lose, win, and experience what it means to truly live in this small coastal community.
Graphic credit: Michelle @ Give Me Books
Reece paid attention. He watched her for an entire week, arriving to work at exactly 7:58 every morning. Eating lunch at noon on the dot. He found excuses to visit her cubicle just to see if her pens would be in the same order in which she lined them up the first time he met her. Without fail, they lay on her desk in their red-blue-black-green-purple order of importance.
Another week passed, and he thought they were actually becoming friends. He didn’t need excuses to visit her anymore. It became habitual to stop by and ask about her weekend, see if she wanted a soda from the vending machine, find out where her favorite restaurants were. After all, he was still new to Wilmington, and there was a lot to discover. And he wanted to discover it with her.
“I’m in love with a coworker,” Reece confessed to his friend, Camden, on trivia night at a local bar.
“Not wise,” Camden replied, and chugged his beer.
“And I’m pretty sure she’s OCD,” Reece went on.
Camden stared at his friend. “Dude. No.”
“I find it uncomfortably sexy,” Reece admitted.
“That you like a coworker or that she’s OCD?”
“The second one. There’s something strangely erotic about it. What the hell is wrong with me?” Reece shoved a cheese fry in his mouth.
“Look Reece, I’m your best friend. And as your best friend, it’s my job to give it to you straight. So here’s the deal: Don’t even think about going there. Do you have any idea what those people are like? I mean, what? Is she your age?”
“I don’t know. Maybe.”
“Okay. So she’s maybe thirty, thirty-one. And single.” He paused for effect. “For a reason.” He shot Reece a “Hello? Don’t be a moron” look.
“But I’m single, too.”
“By choice, man.”
Reece grunted. “That’s debatable.”
“People with OCD are not single by choice. They’re single because no one can deal with their bullshit.”
“But I like her bullshit,” Reece argued, then shook his head. “I mean, the way she acts. It’s not bullshit. It’s cute.”
“You’re seeing it from a distance. Imagine dating it. Living with it. Fucking it. Totally different ballgame.”
They listened for the answers to Round 3. Camden slammed his hand on the table.
“I knew it was iambic pentameter! Why do I listen to you?” he grumbled.
“Have you ever dated someone with OCD?” Reece asked, ignoring the question.
“Never. Because I’m not crazy.” Camden grabbed the plate of cheese fries and pulled it across the table. “No more cheese fries for you. If my calculations are correct, you just cost us the lead, you dumb fuck.”
Reece rolled his eyes. “Then how do you know if they’re difficult or not?”
“Go read up on the disorder,” Camden said.
“Disorder,” Reece echoed with an eye roll.
“It is a disorder. It’s a mental disorder. And it’s fucking crazy. I knew a guy in high school with OCD. He had this weird ass compulsion or ritual or whatever you wanna call it where he had to tap all the desks three times before the start of each class. He told me once that he felt like he’d die if he couldn’t do it. Literally die. Not like how we say, ‘Oh God, I’ll die if I can’t have sex tonight.’ He meant for real. That’s how fucking crazy they are.”
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