by Katie Delahanty
The Brightside #3
Publication Date: October 24, 2016
Synopsis: My name is Amanda Conrad and I. Am. A doctor.When my cousin Liv whisked me away to South Africa to be maid of honor in her super-secret celebrity wedding, I was about to begin a five-year residency at NYU and was on my way to becoming a plastic surgeon. My plans definitely did not include a rock-star best man sweeping me off my feet.
But what happened in South Africa needed to stay there—he’d return to his touring and I’d start my residency, with our fond memories of a whirlwind, fairy-tale week. But now nothing feels right—I’m questioning my once solid plans, and I can’t stop thinking about him. Our lives are so different… Am I ready to risk everything I’ve worked for since I was thirteen—and put my heart on the line? To dream bigger than I ever thought possible? To believe I can have it all? That’s the thing about growing up…sometimes you have to be brave enough to redefine happily ever after.
Mark’s hand circles my waist, drawing me in close, and I awkwardly wrap an arm around his back. He takes my free hand in his, and I instinctively want to get closer, to nestle my face against his chest, breathing in his subtle scent—woodsy and clean—but I resist, letting the song sink into me, knowing his plans don’t include me, nor mine him. Ignoring the longing to feel his lips on my forehead, I concentrate on his chin, fearing I’ll get caught in his web if I look into his eyes.
“In your speech you said you wanted to find what was unattainable,” I say, wanting to prove to Parker (and myself) he wasn’t referencing me. “What do you want that you can’t have?”
“Lots of things.” We slowly turn in a circle. “But that’s part of the fun, isn’t it? The chase? Don’t stop until you make your dreams come true. And when you do, the next adventure begins.”
“I like your perspective, but that doesn’t tell me what you want.” I’m hyper-aware of how close our faces are, can feel his breath on my cheek. It would be so easy to lean in…
He stays frustratingly neutral and thinks for a minute. “I guess I want what everyone wants. Success. Love. Home… I meant that Berkeley has always been good at showing me what’s possible. He made me believe I could make it in music, and maybe he’s setting the bar for other parts of life, too.” Taking my hand, he twirls me in a slow spin before bringing me back to his chest. “And what do you want, Dr. Conrad?”
“That’s easy. I want to be a doctor, and not just any doctor—I want to be at the top of my class, an authority in my field.”
“You want prestige.”
“I don’t know if it’s prestige—more so validation—to feel like I’ve ‘made it’.”
“And what happens once you’ve ‘made it’? Then what?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t thought that far. It’s a long ways off.”
He nods. “I used to feel that way, too.”
“Then tell me what it’s like on the other side. What does it feel like to accomplish your goals?”
“I don’t know. The dreams keep changing.”
“But you have Grammys. That must mean something.”
Dipping me low, he takes his time answering. “The Grammys are nice, but at the end of the day they’re just a box I can check off my list. The more I accomplish, the more I realize life isn’t chunks of time meant to be suffered through to get to the end goal. There are thousands of shining moments to savor in between. The joy is in the process, the surprises that pop up along the way and throw you off course. At this point I’m more interested in following my heart and seeing what happens. I’ve given up trying to control the timeline. Opportunity finds you when it’s ready, not when you are.”
ABOUT KATIE DELAHANTY
Katie is a fashion designer turned novelist. She graduated with a BA in Communication Studies from UCLA and a Professional Designation in Fashion Design from FIDM. It never occurred to her that she was a writer until an economic crisis induced career shift from lingerie designer to ecommerce webmistress led her to start the company blog. Not being an expert in lingerie, she decided to write the blog as a fictional serial starring a girl named Olivia Bloom who worked for the lingerie line. And that’s when Katie fell in love with storytelling. She hasn’t looked back since. Katie lives in Los Angeles with her husband.