A young doctor with a tough past learns to love again
Here she was yet again, walking through a village in Afghanistan with the Marine unit that she was attached to. She was a navy corpsman and damn proud of it. She also filled the role of the unit’s FET member and also was sort of the unit’s good luck charm. On this morning, they were on a routine patrol when out of nowhere a single shot rang out. Just ahead of her the unit’s commander had just been hit through the neck and she was there in a second. For not only was this the very well-liked commander but he was also her fiancé and they were due to be married in six weeks when they both were rotated back to the states. When she got to his side, she grabbed his uniform and pulled him to cover which was quite an accomplishment being that he was six-two and two hundred twenty pounds plus his combat gear. She put a pressure dressing on his neck hoping, preying that it would save the man that she loved more then life itself, but knowing that he was as good as dead. He knew it too when he reached up and put his hand to her check, told her that he loved her, begged her to move on after him and to find someone else that could make her happy. She leaned over to kiss him one last time and as they shared that last kiss, he died and she just stood up because there were other calls that needed her attention.
This is where she woke up as she always did, in a cold sweat. It was three AM. She sat up in her bed and started cursing. She knew from previous experience that she wouldn’t be able to go back to bed. This memory was formed eight years ago and was still as sharp and painful as the day it was formed. During this time, she had graduated medical school and became a trauma surgeon. She was known to work impossibly long hours and even with her strawberry blond hair was known as an icy bitch because, she would never show emotion at all. Many of her actions came off as extremely cold and at first glance as uncaring even through, they would prove to be the right call. So just like every other time this happened she did what she did best, she got up, fixed a snack, put on comfortable underwear, everything sexy had been thrown away long ago, her scrubs and went to work at the local hospital.
This was the life of Dr. Emily O’Neal. Twenty-nine years old, reddish-blond hair and emerald green eyes. She stood at six foot even, one hundred forty pounds of muscle, but still had curves in all the right places with her perky breast between a C and D cup and the rest of her forming a perfectly symmetrical hourglass. She played volleyball all through high school, and had kept that figure through her time in the Navy and college. Recently she had been putting on a little extra weight, but she didn’t give a fuck because she was sick of the attention she got from almost every guy and a large number of women that seen her. The guys wanted to get into her pants and the women were either jealous of her, would lust after, or wish that they looked like her.
At work, it was more of the usual: couple of car crashes with minor injuries, an older lady with heart trouble, some teens that had been stupid. It was now almost two in the afternoon and Emily was getting ready to go home when there was an explosion and everything in the hospital shook. This had made her dive to the floor thinking that she was in combat again. It didn’t take long to figure out that she was safe. One of the nurses, Cindy, probably the closest thing the Emily had to a friend came over to make sure that Emily was OK.
“Ya, I’m good, the only thing hurt is my ego. For a second there, I thought I was back in Afghanistan, and that begs the question, What the bloody hell was that?” Replied Emily
This got a bit of a giggle from Cindy. Cindy was everything that Emily wasn’t. She was a very likable outgoing lady who had raven black hair, skin of charcoal, a loving husband, and two adorable kids.
“Hell, if I know what happened but we will probably find out in a bit.” Cindy told her.
Cindy then gave Emily a hand to get back up. As Emily got back up, she was able to look over Cindy, for she was only five three, and see the emergency entrance. There was somebody there and he was obviously excited by something. Emily watched the cop tell the receptionist something and run out. Now more curious then she had felt in years Emily told Cindy,
“Let’s go see the receptionist and find out what all that was about.”
As they walked up, they could see the receptionist was on the phone and they could hear it was the hospital administration. Whatever was going on was big. Looking at each other Emily and Cindy shrugged knowing that getting excited before getting news didn’t due anyone any good. After the receptionist hung up, Cindy asked,
The receptionist turned around in her chair and Emily and Cindy were taken aback. Looking at the receptionist, Sammy as she liked to be called, it looked like they were looking at a ghost. There was no color in her face and her eyes showed a look of absolute fear. Seeing this, both ladies grew very concerned very quick knowing that whatever was going on was going to be bad and when they heard the news, they were not disappointed.
“Sammy what’s wrong, what’s happening?!” said Emily in her cold tone
Cindy added “Ya Sammy what’s going on? I’ve known you for twenty years and never seen you like this.” Sammy just looked at the two ladies and appeared to get even whiter. In a hard, flat tone that nobody even knew Sammy possessed Sammy said,
“That explosion we heard was the oil refinery blowing up. That cop that ran in here told me to alert everyone to expect the causalities to start arriving shortly and don’t bother holding out hope for anyone we might know there. From the looks of things, the cop said that he wouldn’t be surprised if the refinery was sabotaged.”
At this Cindy just collapsed and started crying for her husband, Ben, worked there as a firefighter. Emily on the other hand almost instantly transformed back into a Navy corpsman and she knew what had to be done. First thing was to get Cindy out of shock and into action. After trying to calm her down Emily knew just how far out her friend was and what had to be done to bring her back. She brought her hand back and smacked her friend as hard as she could across the cheek.
“DAMN IT CINDY, PULL YOUR FUCKING HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS WILL YOU. YOU WON’T DO YOUR HUSBAND OR ANYONE ELSE ANY FUCKING GOOD SITTING HERE CRYING YOUR FUCKING EYES OUT OVER SOMETHING YOU DON’T KNOW!” screamed Emily.
Cindy just looked at Emily oblivious to the red mark forming on her cheek. She was dumbfounded. Nobody had ever heard Emily talk or act like this.
Emily just crouched so she was down at eyelevel with Cindy. Emily gave her a small, warm smile and said:
“Come on Cindy, we have work to do.”
At this Emily grabbed Cindy’s hand and stood up. This pulled Cindy to her feet again and the two of them rushed off to start getting things ready. What followed could only be described as a sneak peak of Armageddon. People coming in with limbs torn off, some had most of their skin melted, some didn’t even look like people, they were just odd shapes of charcoal that happened to move. All through this Emily cold temperament kept the trauma teams glued together and kept everyone’s minds on their work. After almost twelve hours of putting people back together, they were done and absolutely exhausted.
Emily was at the nurse’s station finishing paperwork, Cindy was with her husband, who although burned bad and missing both legs was alive barely. Emily was so involved with her paperwork that she didn’t see a young lady walk up.
“Excuse me ma’am. Can you help me find someone please?”
Looking up Emily was stunned by this young lady. Not only had she surprised Emily, but she looked like an angel with long golden hair, baby blue eyes, and standing about five foot seven.
“And just who are you looking for young lady?” asked Emily slightly cross.
“I’m looking for a man by the name of Mark Schneider.” answered the lady sweetly.
After checking Emily found the man in question and told the young lady, “I’m sorry only immediate family could see him, but that she was free to sit in one of the waiting room.”
“You know that he has many names he responses to?” asked the young lady “some call him boss, some Mark, some call him an Asshole, but I call him Dad. I’m his daughter, Katelynn Schneider”
This stunned Emily. She remembered the man in question and there was no way that this lady was his daughter. Seeing the look on Emily’s face Katelynn continued,
“I know I don’t look young enough or he doesn’t look old enough to be my Dad but he is. I was born when he was 16 and I’ve got the paperwork to prove it. And before you ask, I’m 14. So, what’s his room number please?”
Emily looked it up and turns out that he had been moved to ICU. After she gave the directions to Katelynn, Katelynn thanked her, gave her a warm smile and walked off to find her dad. Emily sat there still in a bit of shock. Here was a young teen that sounded and acted like someone who was four times her age. Shaking her head Emily finished up her paperwork, gathered her stuff, and got ready to leave. As she was leaving a thought stuck her like a freight train. This thought puzzled her but she went with it anyway and turned around and walked back into the hospital. She went up to the intensive care to check on Mark and his daughter. Getting off the elevator she went to the nurse’s station to ask about his condition. Walking up she almost burst into laughter. Sitting there was one of the new RN’s, Sean; he was constantly trying to pick her up, bragging about all the things he had done and how good he was. He had his nose taped and two black eyes.
“What the hell happened to you?” giggled Emily “One of your marks finally got tired of your bull and punch you?”
He didn’t answer so one of the other nurses did, she didn’t like him either.
“No one of your patients did that. Took everything we had to restrain him until his daughter came in and calmed him down in three words. Sean is still sulking because he tried to hit on the daughter and she called him out, in front of everyone, as a weakling and told him to move and let a lady show him how to handle this patient.”
After she was sure that she could stay on her feet because she was laughing so hard, Emily asked,
“How did his daughter calm him down with just words, we had to pump him full of drugs?”
“She just walked in and said in a calm but firm voice “Dad, calm down.””
‘Damn she’s a hardass.’ thought Emily
With this thought she walked down to Mark’s room and knocked.
“Come in.” said the sweet voice
Emily came in and got a nod hello from Katelynn, but her attention had already shifted to Mark. He was already awake and complaining that he had to get back to work, but this isn’t what made Emily stop in her tracks. It was Mark’s reaction to her when he seen her. He looked at her with the same kind eyes that his daughter had and with a confident smile that told Emily that he knew that he would be OK even though he had third degree burns over half of his body and was freshly missing a leg. The last time she seen a smile like that was on her fiancé, when they left her parent’s house, after announcing their engagement. To say her parents were pissed with her choice was an understatement. What also got Emily’s attention was that Mark’s eyes never once left hers. This she wasn’t use to, usually men’s eyes looked at every other part of her but her eyes. Through her thoughts she heard Katelynn
“Dad shut up. You’re not going anywhere for a while.”
“But” Mark said
“No, and stop arguing. I know that I’m only 14 but until you have recovered you WILL listen and obey me. Got it.”
“Yes” groaned Mark giving in to the inevitable. His daughter, he knew was just as stubborn and smarter than he was. He also knew that she had only his best interest in mind. Through this exchange Emily stood there with a stunned look on her face. If she had tried that with her parents, she wouldn’t be able to sit for a year and would have been grounded for another one. Mark then turned his attention to Emily.
“I’m in your debt, doctor. The nurses told me that if you hadn’t been here on what was supposed to be your day off that I most likely wouldn’t have made it. Thank you.”
Katelynn added, “Yes, thank you doctor.”
Emily could feel her cheeks blush in a way that they hadn’t done in years. All she could do was to way off their complements and say,
“I just did my part, but there was a lot of people that saved you.”
The identical looks that she got from Mark and Katelynn said everything, ‘Bullshit’ but neither said anything. Emily shook her head and started to ask the standard questions. The answers surprised her. Mark figured that he could get out in a couple of days. His daughter just laughed at him.
“With the amount of burns you have plus missing a leg you will be lucky to be out of here in a month.”
Mark just shrugged, “Had to try.”
Emily just giggled as she walked out. For some reason their exchange had put her in a good mood. As she came out of Mark’s room, she seen Cindy leaving down the hall.
“Wait up Cindy.”
Cindy stopped and looked at Emily as Emily hurried to catch up.
“They’re not sure that he’s going to make it. I’m on my way home to get the kids when they get off the bus, get some food, and bring them back so they can say bye to their father.”
This was like a bucket of ice water in the face to Emily. She knew exactly what Cindy was going through even through Emily had never spoke of it. Feeling like she had to do something Emily offered,
“I’ll go get the kids so you can be with Ben.” Cindy declined explaining
“I think that that I should pick them up mostly to have something to do instead of waiting.”
“OK but if you need anything all you have to do is ask. OK?”
Cindy just nodded.
As Emily drove home her mind was running at light speed. Her only friend becoming a widow with two kids to raise. Then there was the maturity and friskiness of Katelynn, and finally Mark. As soon as thoughts of him popped into her head all other thoughts stopped. He reminded her so much of the fiancé. Not physically, her fiancé had the same charcoal color skin as Cindy: but in manners, the looks he gave her, intelligence, and stubbornness. With these thoughts she drove on autopilot until she was back at her apartment. She was so exhausted that she didn’t even bother to eat. She just stripped down, showered, and collapsed into bed. She didn’t even bother to pick up her dirty clothes or put on her night clothes which was a T-shirt and a pair of shorts.
She woke to her phone ringing. Confused, she noticed that it was the next day. When she looked at the number calling her heart sank and her stomach went to her throat, it was Cindy. She had a feeling what it was about. She picked up.
“Ben died about fifteen minutes ago.” Cindy said with no emotion at all.
“I’m so sorry Cindy. Is there anything that I can do for you?”
“No, not right now. I think I’m still in shock. I’ll call you later when I will need help. OK?”
“Ok Cindy. Talk to you later.”
The rest of the day Emily just moped around her apartment. Not really feeling like doing anything, and reflecting on everything that had happened to her. Her parents were always disappointed in her no matter what she did. They were pissed about her engagement and take every effort to point out all his flaws: from being the wrong color, to the wrong religion, from being a soldier, to having no real family. They had even cut her off financially. After he was killed, they were more of good riddance and offered to help hook Emily up with a “proper man”. This was the last time Emily had talked to her parents. Now another man had entered her life that amazed her. While her fiancé had been dark and six-two, Mark was only six foot, one hundred and eighty pounds, light tan, and blond hair. As different as they were physically that was how close they were in most other ways. Both men carried a quiet confidence with them, and even though they both projected a nerdy appearance, there was also another look that said that they had been through a hard life and would beat anyone that threatened them or the people that they cared about. She suspected that in Mark’s case as well as her fiancé’s case that the nerdy appearance wasn’t just an appearance, but that he was very intelligent.
As the weeks past Cindy slowly came back to world of the living with help from Emily. Often Emily would help with Cindy’s household chores, or just be there to be a shoulder to cry on. As Emily was helping Cindy, she found that she was being drawn toward Mark even through she kept telling herself that it was a bad idea. Mark, she found out had continuously ran back into the burning buildings of the refinery to pull out trapped and injured workers. Even with his burns he kept at it until he collapsed and had been rushed to the hospital where he lost his leg. That explained why they had so many problems with him, he was stubborn as hell and had been running on pure adrenaline. She also found out: he was very witty, clever, intelligent, and as she expected he had had a hard life. She didn’t realize just how hard Mark’s life had been.
Three weeks after the explosion, Emily walked into Mark’s room to find him sleeping and his daughter sitting there working on school work.
“Good afternoon, Emily.”
Emily stopped, stunned. She never used her first name around patients so how did she know.
“Hello, how did you know my name?”
“Well while I’ve heard it whispered by the staff, you just confirmed it, plus trauma surgeons don’t usually keep checking up on patients continually for three weeks. So, what’s up Emily?”
Emily just stood there with her mouth open. How had this teen seen right through her? How much did this teen know about her? What has she been telling her dad? Emily blushed a bit at this last thought and hoped that Katelynn had missed it. She didn’t.
“Thinking about my Dad and I’m guessing not as a patient?”
Emily just continued to stand there.
“I take that as a yes.” Giggled Katelynn.
This snapped Emily out of her trance.
“I’m sorry Katelynn, but your dad reminds me of someone very special to me.”
“First off its Kat. Only if I get in trouble or if someone needs my attention bad do I get called Katelynn.”
“OK Kat. You said first off so that suggest more.”
“That’s right, please put up a seat, us girls need to have a chat while my Dad’s sleeping.”
Cautiously Emily sat down in the other chair, in the room. Kat got up quietly, closed the door and returned to her seat before resuming.
“I know that you’re attracted to my Dad; and just so you know as long as you don’t hurt him, I’m all for you two dating. I also know that you have had someone ripped out of your life and now you are worried that if you open yourself up again that it will happen again.”
Emily was stunned. She had never told anyone about the things that this teen was guessing about her. Her stunned feeling would continue when Kat continued.
“I’m guessing that growing up nothing you did could please your parents. It didn’t matter what you did, you were never good enough for them even through you really couldn’t get better. Let’s see here, after high school you went into the military as much to grow as it was to get away from your parents, right?”
Continuing when Emily nodded.
“You did very well in the military as a medic. Seeing the look on Emily’s face. “Sorry corpsman.” Seeing her surprised look Kat continued.
“During your time, as a corpsman, you seen a decent amount of combat and during one of those encounters you lost someone that you cared for deeply.”
At this Emily was starting to get pissed and growled,
“I lost a lot of men that I cared about.”
“Yes, you did, but one of those meant more to you than any other. Fiancé I’m guessing. Right?”
Emily stood up and went to leave.
“Please stop, Emily.” Kat asked in a tone that sent chills up and down Emily’s spine.
Emily slowly turned around and asked;
“How do you know all that about me?”
Kat just smiled,
“It’s easiest to think of me as a cross between a lie proof lie detector and Sherlock Homes. I knew you were in the military by the way you walk and talk. You’re a doctor, so that probably meant that you were a medic or something. You are always putting in long hours and are always making sure that you’re the best doctor in this place. That’s how I figured that you could never please your parents. I knew you lost someone very special to you because of the faint marks on your wrist where you struggled to kill yourself. I tell you all this not to embarrass you, as I swear that nothing we talk about will ever be repeated to anyone unless you want it to. No, I tell you all this about you so that you will believe me when I tell you something about my Dad.”
“I admit Kat that I have thought about your Dad. It seems like he has some skeletons in his closet.”
“He does and if you’re as interested in him as I think you are, then you should know about some of them. I say “some of them” because I don’t think that even I know about all of them.”
“Are you sure that your Dad would want you discussing his life with me?”
Kat just gave Emily a look and Emily gulped and nodded.
“My dad lost his parents when he was ten years old, in a car accident with a drunk driver, and he became a ward of the state. His foster parents were pure evil. They would beat him for no reason at all, and before he was burned you could still see the scars on his back. They would burn him with cigars, they would break his toes and fingers. For years they would beat him until one day when they brought home a slightly older girl. Then he would have to watch as the girl was beaten, just as he had been. If she did something wrong my Dad would take the blame so that she would be spared the beating. He would put medicine on her wounds, that he stole, to keep her from getting an infection for they lived in absolutely filthy conditions. One night when his foster parents were drunk and high, he was forced to rape her, unprotected, while being filmed. These forced rapes continued even after she got pregnant. My dad tried to hide this fact, knowing what would happen to her but after about five months their foster parents found out. She was beaten so brutally that she had a miscarriage and ended up in the hospital. One of them stayed with her at all times, to make sure that she couldn’t tell anyone what really happened to her. When they brought her home, my dad knew what was going to happen to her and what he had to do. It was going to be her or them. They brought her home, put her to bed and preceded to get drunk and high. Their usual before filming. This time instead of forcing my dad to rape her, they gave him a gun with one bullet and told him to kill her. When he refused, they told him that it was either going to be him or her. What they didn’t know was my dad had hidden a knife under the mattress they were using. He turned the gun on his foster dad and shot him. Before his foster mom could react, he had pulled out the knife and stabbed her.”
Hearing all this Emily thought she was going to faint; all the color was gone from her face. This was far worse than anything she had imagined but the look on Kat’s face told Emily that the story wasn’t over yet.
“I’m not done so don’t faint yet.”
Emily looked up and the look on Kat’s face was harder than anything Emily had ever seen before. Clearly the part coming up affected Kat as well.
“After the investigations, my dad was cleared but now he had another problem. Nobody wanted him in their home. The girl was given some help, but nowhere near enough and she ended up committing suicide. On the anniversary of her death, my dad still goes to where she is buried and spends the day with her, no matter the weather. It took two years of bouncing between homes for him to land in one where he could stay. It was an older couple who couldn’t have kids of their own so they always took on troubled foster kids. After he settled in, he met my mother in school. They got along very well but her parents hated him. Well, as you can guess she got pregnant with me. My dad picked up extra chores around his foster parents’ farm, as well as a part time job at a fast-food place, and he collected and sold scrape metal to earn the money he would need to take care of my mother and me. They hide the pregnancy from her parents for almost six months. Her parents found out when my grandmother seen my mother with her shirt off and shit hit the fan. Her Dad beat my Dad badly despite my Dad not fighting back and trying to resolve things peacefully. Her Dad got himself arrested for assault but because he had a shit load of dirty money, he was able to buy his way out. My Dad made sure that he was there, for my mother, when she gave birth because her mom couldn’t be bothered to take time out of her social schedule to be there. My grandparents then moved away once my grandfather got out of prison to keep my parents apart. Since my Dad’s name was already on my birth certificate, my grandparents couldn’t keep him from me permanently, but they tried like hell. For the next four years I would visit my dad a couple of times a year. As time went on, he noticed that I was becoming malnourished and when he looked into it, he found that my dumbass mother was away partying at college and my grandparents were watching me. However, they rarely fed me enough food, rarely kept me changed, and rarely bought me clothes that I needed. After my dad gathered these facts, he fought tooth and nail to get sole custody of me. At this time, he was working two full time jobs and he wouldn’t have gotten me if his last foster parents hadn’t left him their farm when they died, when he was nineteen. He was awarded full custody of me on his 21st birthday and from then on, we never looked back. No matter how busy he is he will always make time for me. He always goes to all my school functions, he makes sure I have my homework done, and he always takes time not only to teach me many life lessons but why I need to learn them. If there is anything I need he will make sure that I have it, and yes that includes tampons. I truly love him and I would love for him to have someone in his life to give him happiness in ways that I can’t.”
When she had finished Kat bowed her head and quietly started crying as if a massive weight had been taken off her shoulders. Emily just sat there dumbfounded and more than a bit embarrassed. Here she thought that she had a hard life and had even tried to kill herself but compared to this man her life had been rainbows and unicorns. A harder sob from Kat snapped Emily out of her trance. Without thinking about it she stood up walked over to into front of Kat, and held her hands down. When Kat took them, Emily picked her up and hugged her tightly. This caused both of them to cry. When they were bout cried out Emily put Kat down, turned and walked out of the room. Before she knew it, she was back home. She didn’t remember leaving the hospital, the drive, getting home, undressing, showering, or making dinner but the evidence was all there. Checking her phone, she seen that she had a voicemail from Cindy. Fortunately, it was just Cindy checking on her. Apparently, Emily caused a bit of a stir when she left work. After calling Cindy back to check in, Emily laid down to go to sleep. Laying there her mind drifted to Mark and without even thinking about it she started rubbing herself. This was something that she hadn’t done since her fiancé had been killed. The more she thought about Mark the faster she went until she exploded soaking herself and her bed, but she didn’t care. She cam so hard that she had stars in her eyes and couldn’t even move for almost half and hour. As she came back down to Earth she drifted off to sleep and she slept the best that she had since before her fiancé had been killed.
When she woke up the next day, she felt more clear headed then she had felt in years. As she went about her morning routine, she kept thinking of ways that she could tell Mark that she was interested in him, but nothing seems right. Either she had ethical concerns or she sounded desperate and she didn’t want that. Eventually she just decided to wing it. After she got done with her shift, she went up to see Mark and was surprised to see him dressed and bags packed.
“Hi doc, guess what? I’m being released today. Just waiting on Katelynn to get here.”
Even through she was going through a lot of confusing emotions she didn’t let on, instead she chose to keep things casual.
“Katelynn is your ride? I wouldn’t have thought that she would be old enough to drive.”
“She is just coming to help me. We’re taking an Uber.”
“I just got off and I could drive you two home.”
“I couldn’t impose that on you, doc.”
“You’re not imposing, I’m offering. It would be a lot cheaper then taking an Uber and with your condition a lot safer. “
“Well Ok doc but only because you’re so insistent.”
At this moment Kat walked in, hearing only the last sentence.
“What’s the doc so insistent on?”
“She volunteered to drive us home this evening, Kat.”
“But before we go, I need to take a leak. Excuse me ladies, I’ll only be a minute.”
As Mark limped to the bathroom Kat was giving Emily a calculating look.
“Kind of taking the hard way to find where we live, aren’t you?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Ya whatever. It’s your story.”
Mark came out of the bathroom and grabbed his bag and swung it onto his back.
“We ready ladies?”
“Just waiting on you, old man.”
“Kat, I’ll remember that when you want to borrow the car keys in a couple of years.”
Kat just rolled her eyes and Emily giggled as they both headed for the door after Mark. Just before leaving Kat stopped Emily and gave her a piece of paper.
“What’s this?” asked Emily
“Just take it. It’s my phone number. I figure that since the anniversary of your fiancé being killed is coming you might need someone to talk to. Also, if you ever went to go out for coffee sometime, just call.”
“Thank you, Kat. We better catch up with your Dad. He’s moving fast for someone who just lost a leg.”
“Yep, that’s my Dad. No matter what he won’t let himself be slowed down.”
The way to Mark and Kat’s place was quiet with just directions being spoken. Emily wasn’t surprised to find them pulling up in front of a farm house. No what surprised her was just how nice things were kept up around it.
“Nice place you have here Mark.”
“Thank you. Would you like to go on the tour?”
“You offer tours? I’d love to.”
In Emily’s rear view mirror, she could see Kat struggling to keep from falling over laughing. At this Emily just gave her the bird and Kat gave her a thumbs up.
During the entire tour Emily was in awe. Not only was the outside of the house beautiful with it’s many flowering plants, warm brick sides and metal roof that set off the bricks perfectly. But the inside was just stunning with its: wood floors, warm wood paneling, the fireplace in the living room, modern kitchen, large bedrooms each with an attached bathroom and walk-in closet. The living room had an actual stained-glass window, that when the sun shined in lit up a rock waterfall that was not only beautiful but also helped regulate the humidity, in the house, as well. The tour continued through the full basement with its open space for parties and a safe-room for bad weather or break-ins. After the basement Mark had to excuse himself because he was getting tired. Emily thanked him for the tour and left wondering if she had just made the biggest mistake of her life in not telling Mark how she felt about him.
As the months past her fantasies involving Mark evolved from a fairly plain sexual type to vivid romantic ones that even she knew were outlandish. As her fantasies grew, her work started to slip. Finally, on a Friday afternoon about six months after she had taken Mark home, she was called into her boss’s boss’s office. Emily knew that this wasn’t good. The woman she had been summoned to see was named Ethyl and she was a real old school hard ass.
Ethyl: “Dr. O’Neal do you know why you are here?”
Emily: “No ma’am”
“Your work is slipping and this hospital now has two lawsuits that name you in them. Are you aware of this?”
“I knew about the one but not the other. But if it’s the case that I’m thinking of there is no way that anyone in this hospital is at fault. The guy was almost dead when they brought him in and it’s actually a miracle that he lived as long as he did. But the wife was irate and claimed that I killed her husband. Furthermore, she claimed that I killed him because he was a black man. Anyone who actually knows me knows that’s a load of bullshit. My best friend is a black lady who is studying to become a nurse practitioner, in this hospital, and my fiancé was a black man but he was killed in Afghanistan almost nine years ago.”
“Emily, I know these lawsuits are bogus but hospital rules dictate that I put you on administrative leave until the cases are reviewed by the board. I really wish there was a way around this because you are one hell of a doctor, but with the political climate like it is right now, people hear race and they stop thinking and my first responsibility is to this hospital. I’m sorry but I’m going to need your ID badge please. I’m hoping to get this back to you as soon as possible.”
Emily left her badge on the desk and walked out, stopping to tell Cindy what was going on. Cindy just shook her head like it was only a matter of time before this would pop up.
Saturday morning, Emily is looking around her apartment wondering what on Earth she is going to do. She doesn’t even have a TV. She had a laptop but knew that watching movies that way was a pain in the neck. Looking around and thinking, she remembered that she had Kat’s number on her phone. Emily figures that a fifteen year old teen might have an idea on what Emily could do. So, Emily figures what the hell and calls Kat.
“Hello Kat, its Emily.”
“Oh hi. How you doing?”
“A bit bored to tell the truth. I got put on administrative leave yesterday.”
“Well listen, Dad and I are going fishing this evening. You want to come along?”
“I’ve never fished before.”
“Don’t worry about it and don’t worry about your license we’ll take care of that.”
“Ok, sounds good. When should I get there?”
“Anytime before three PM. You can come over now if you want. I’ve got just a couple of chores to finish then we could hang out for a few hours.”
“What should I wear?”
“Light clothes that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty. Might want to bring some swim stuff with you in case you get too hot and want to go for a dip in the lake.”
“Well I will have to stop to get a new bikini. I haven’t bought a new one since I was in the Navy.”
“Why don’t you come by and pick me up first then I can help you pick one out?”
“Ok. See you in about 30 minutes?”
“Sounds good, bye”
Emily stood in front of her closet and dresser and just looked at her clothes. What seemed good yesterday was now horrible. Most of them were scrubs or clothes that just hung off of her. She decided that she would have Kat help her with a new wardrobe since it always seemed that she was dressed well. With that thought she just threw on a shirt and shorts and left to go pick up Kat, then her new clothes.