Home > Maybe Now (Maybe #2)

Maybe Now (Maybe #2)
Author: Colleen Hoover

I set the pen down on the paper. My hand is shaking too much to finish filling it out, so I inhale a few quick breaths in an attempt to calm my nerves.

You can do this, Maggie.

I pick up the pen again, but I think my hand is shaking worse than before I put it down.

“Let me help you with that.”

I look up to see the tandem instructor smiling at me. He grabs the pen and picks up the clipboard, then takes a seat in the chair to my right. “We get a lot of nervous first-timers. It’s easier if you just let me fill out the paperwork because your handwriting probably won’t be legible,” he says. “You act like you’re about to jump out of an airplane or something.”

I’m immediately put at ease by his lazy smile, but become nervous all over again when I realize I’m a horrible liar. Lying on the medical section would have been a lot easier if I were filling it out myself. I’m not sure I can lie out loud to this guy.

“Thanks, but I can do it.” I try to take back the clipboard, but he pulls it out of my reach.

“Not so fast”—he quickly glances down at my form—“Maggie Carson.” He holds out his hand, still holding the clipboard out of my reach with his other hand. “I’m Jake, and if you’re planning on jumping out of a plane at ten thousand feet while at my mercy, the least I can do is finish your paperwork.”

I shake his hand, impressed with the strength behind his grip. Knowing these are the hands I’m about to entrust my life to eases my mind a tiny fraction.

“How many tandem jumps have you completed?” I ask him.

He grins, then returns his attention to my paperwork. He begins flipping through the pages. “You’ll be my five hundredth.”

“Really? Five hundred sounds like a big deal. Shouldn’t you be celebrating?”

He brings his eyes back to mine and loses his smile. “You asked how many tandem jumps I’ve completed. I don’t want to celebrate prematurely.”

I gulp.

He laughs and nudges my shoulder. “I’m kidding, Maggie. Relax. You’re in good hands.”

I smile at the same time I inhale another deep breath. He begins to scroll through the form.

“Any medical conditions?” he asks, already pressing his pen to the box marked “no.” I don’t answer him. My silence prompts him to look up at me and repeat his question. “Medical conditions? Recent illnesses? Any crazy ex-boyfriends I should be aware of?”

I smile at his last comment and shake my head. “No crazy exes. Just one really great one.”

He nods slowly. “What about the other part of the question? Medical conditions?” He waits for my answer, but I fail to give him anything other than a nervous pause. His eyes narrow and he leans forward a little bit more, eyeing me carefully. He’s looking at me like he’s trying to figure out answers to more than just what’s on the questionnaire he’s holding. “Is it terminal?”

I try to hold my resolve. “Not really. Not yet.”

He leans in even closer, looking at me with an expression full of sincerity. “What is it, then, Maggie Carson?”

I don’t even know him, but there’s something calming about him that makes me want to tell him. But I don’t. I look at my hands, folded together in my lap. “You might not let me jump if I tell you.”

He leans into me until his ear is close to my mouth. “If you say it quietly enough, there’s a good chance I might not even hear it,” he says in a hushed voice. A wave of his breath caresses my collarbone and I’m immediately covered in chills. He pulls back slightly and eyes me as he waits for my response.

“CF,” I say. I’m not sure he’ll even know what CF means, but if I keep it simple he might not ask me to elaborate.

“How are your O2 levels?”

Maybe he does know what it means. “So far so good.”

“Do you have a doctor’s release?”

I shake my head. “Last-minute decision. I tend to be a little impulsive at times.”

He grins, then looks back to the form and checks “no” on medical conditions. He glances at me. “Well, you’re lucky because I happen to be a doctor. But if you die today, I’m telling everyone you lied on this questionnaire.”

I laugh and nod in agreement, appreciative he’s willing to shrug it off. I know what a big deal that is. “Thank you.”

He looks at the questionnaire and says, “Why are you thanking me? I didn’t do anything.” His denial makes me smile. He continues to scroll down the list of questions and I answer them honestly until we finally make it to the last page. “Okay, last question,” he says. “Why do you want to skydive?”

I lean over him to glance at the form. “Is that really a question?”

He points to the question. “Yep. Right here.”

I read the question, then give him a blunt answer. “I guess because I’m dying. I have a long bucket list of things I’ve always wanted to do.”

His eyes harden a little, almost as if my answer upset him. He returns his attention to the forms, so I tilt my head and lean over his shoulder again and watch as he writes down an answer that isn’t at all the one I gave him.

“I want to skydive because I want to experience life to the fullest.”

He hands me the form and the pen. “Sign here,” he says, pointing to the bottom of the page. After I sign the form and give it back to him, he stands up and reaches out for my hand. “Let’s go pack our chutes, Five Hundred.”

•••

“Are you really a doctor?” I yell over the roar of the engines. We’re seated directly across from one another in the small airplane. His smile is huge and full of teeth so straight and white, I would bet money he’s actually a dentist.

“Cardiologist!” he yells. He waves a hand around the interior of the airplane. “I do this for fun!”

A cardiologist who skydives in his spare time? Impressive.

“Your wife doesn’t get upset that you’re so busy all the time?” I yell. Oh, God. That was such an obvious, cheesy question. I cringe that I even asked that out loud. I’ve never been good at flirting.

He leans forward and yells, “What?”

He’s really going to make me repeat myself? “I asked if your wife gets upset that you’re so busy all the time!”

He shakes his head and unbuckles his safety harness, then moves to the seat next to me. “It’s too loud in here!” he yells, waving his hand around the interior of the airplane. “Say it one more time!”

I roll my eyes and begin to ask him again. “Does…your…wife…”

He laughs and presses a finger to my lips, but only briefly. He pulls his hand away and leans toward me. My heart reacts more to this quick movement of his than it does from the fact that I’m about to jump out of this airplane.

“I’m kidding,” he says. “You looked so embarrassed after the first time you said it, I wanted to make you say it again.”

I slap him on the arm. “Asshole!”

He laughs and stands up, then reaches for my safety harness and presses the release latch. He pulls me up. “You ready for this?”

I nod, but it’s a lie. I am absolutely terrified, and if it weren’t for the fact that this guy is a doctor and he does things like this for fun—and he’s really hot—I’d probably be backing out right about now.

He turns me until my back is to his chest and connects our safety harnesses together until I’m securely fastened to him. My eyes are closed when I feel him pull my goggles on. After several minutes of waiting for him to finish prepping us, he walks me forward toward the opening of the airplane and presses his hands against either side of the opening. I am literally staring down at clouds.

I squeeze my eyes shut again, just as he brings his mouth close to my ear. “I don’t have a wife, Maggie. The only thing I’m in love with is my life.”

I’m somehow smiling during one of the scariest moments of my life. His comment makes the question worth the three times he had me repeat it. I tighten my grip around my safety harness. He reaches around me and takes both of my hands, then lowers them to my side. “Sixty more seconds,” he says. “Can you do me a favor?”

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