Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chapter Thirteen

I keep having to hold hospital charts in front of my face while I yawn in front of the patients.

Normally, I have no problem with the shift work of a doctor in a busy hospital – two days on, a couple of days off, long stretches of work and long stretches of time off, things like that. I’ve always had the ability to operate on very little sleep, and to sleep like a log even if I only have time for a ten minute nap in the on call room of the hospital.

But somehow, spending the night on the sofa at Emme’s flat has messed with my internal clock.

And, let’s face it, with everything else firing under my hood.

I can’t stop thinking about her. And when I think about her, I smile like an idiot. And then patients think I’m getting some sort of pleasure from their illnesses, so I really have to stop doing that before I truly offend someone with a life threatening illness.

I hide another yawn, and think of Emme again as I walk to the cafeteria to grab a cup of coffee to take on rounds with me. I made her promise to take time off work, so I imagine she’s at home, watching telly, taking a nap, or reading a book.

How I wish I was there with her.

“Hiya, Mrs. Allen, how’s the sciatica today?” I ask my favorite cafeteria worker as I add milk and sugar to my paper cup of coffee.

“Hello, ducky. The pain is less today, thank you,” she says, a smile lighting up her warm, wrinkled face. “How are you, poppet?”

I give her a wide smile. “I’m great, thank you.”

She looks at me critically for a moment. “You’re… something’s different today. What is it?”

I shrug, trying to hide a smile.

“New hair style or something?”

I shake my head, digging out a pound to pay, and then she waves my money away with a wink. I wink in return, and pocket my money again.

“Have you gotten taller?”

I laugh, and shake my head again.

“You’re… glowing, or something. Has something happened?” She looks at me critically, and then smiles in recognition. “You’ve met someone, haven’t you?”

I laugh at her uncanny ability to know what everyone is thinking and doing – a trait I’ve noticed in her for years.

“Maybe,” I say noncommittally, and she claps her hands together in glee.

“Is she a nice girl? Pretty?”

I laugh again. “She’s very nice, and yes, she’s very pretty. Though what she might see in me, I’ve no idea. I don’t know yet what’s…”

She interrupts me. “How could she not love ya, poppet? You’re lovely.”

“And so are you, Mrs. Allen,” I say, pressing a kiss to her warm cheek. “I’ll keep you posted.”

“Bring her in sometime so I can meet her, and see if I approve!” she says as I walk away, a smile still lighting up my face.

That I would love to see – Emme Sutton and Mrs. Allen going toe to toe – though, come to think of it, they’d probably get on like gangbusters, and I wouldn’t get a word in edgewise.

Maybe that’s for another time.

In the meantime, I have rounds to make, and another seventeen hours of my shift to go.

And when I get home, maybe, just maybe, I’ll give Emme Sutton a call and invite her to dinner.


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