"I've got a walk in up front." Liz said over the loudspeaker. She paused with a snap of her cherry flavored bubble gum. She ran her eyes up and down the new client while he sat on the bench adjacent the reception area, waiting for a technician to greet him. He looked like the typical biker with a leather jacket, black bandana and boots. He also sported tinted glasses she had to admit looked better when they weren't covering those piercing cardinal eyes.
The new client had made quite the entrance, she had to admit, much more entertaining than some of the ones who would come in screaming or crying, or with children who were screaming and crying. He however did none of these and his initial entrance was quite normal, but his greeting was one she wouldn't soon forget.
Now usually when new clients come in, they're usually holding something in a little basket, or in their arms. Sometimes they're nice enough to bring their critter on by with a leash. But this guy brought first impressions to a level of it's own. In his defense, "it was raining", so when Liz and her younger sister Patti couldn't find an animal anywhere on his person they were confused as to whether this Mr. Eater was in the right building.
Low and behold, Liz had to keep it professional when she opposed to him unzipping his jacket. She couldn't help where her mind immediately turned to - after all, some clients have been crazy enough.
It was only when she saw a little kitten poke its nose out from inside his jacket was she able to catch her breath. The sisters shared a laugh before he closed his jacket in an attempt to keep her warm.
Liz handed him the necessary paperwork for a new client and gestured for him to take a seat while he filled it out.
"When you've finished with everything you can bring it back up here and I'll call someone up to help you out, alright?" She explained, he silently nodded and started filling out his papers, adjusting the contents of his jackets every thirty seconds. Liz felt like she was obliged to give whomever was going to help this guy out a fair warning about the cat, but her little sister reminded her of how funny it would be when he greeted them in the same manner.
Mr. Eater took his time in making sure he covered all his bases in the paper work. He left a few lines empty. She assumed he didn't know whether the cat was a girl or boy, nor how old it was. But if she had to guess it couldn't have been more than ten weeks. He also left its name blank - either he just bought it or just picked it up off the street. She assumed the latter.
"Thank you very much, now if you'll just take a seat, a technician will be right up to help you as soon as possible, alright?" Liz took his information and started transferring it over into a manilla folder. Once she was sure she had everything written down she picked up the phone and hit the intercom.
"I've got a walk in up front."
"Hey Maka, can you get that one? I'm busy with this room and Jackie's walking right now," asked Kim as she hugged a three pound yorkie to her chest. Kim was usually scheduled to work with Doctor M., but as it was her surgery day, she was instead scheduled with Doctor Azusa.
Maka had only been working at the clinic for a little less than a year so she was a bit nervous when Kim asked her to take the room, but she was also excited. For the most part she'd been a helping hand; restraining and reading fecals and ear cytologies. For a few months now, she had been wanting to start going into rooms by herself, but she never had the courage to ask her manager for the opportunity. So when Kim asked her, she figured that his was the perfect push she needed to start moving forward.
"Hmm? Yeah I can get it, no problem." She replied giddily.
Maka weaved through the treatment area and into the hallway where the client folders hung when an appointment arrived. She picked the fresh file out and opened it up expecting something easy, like a dog that was limping or coughing. She felt a lump in her throat when she saw it was a new pet exam.
She had shadowed Kim and Tsubaki in rooms before, when clients were updating their pets on their vaccines, but that task was simple in her mind. She had never given a client the "new pet talk. Those took more knowledge than she had to explain everything a person needed to know on how to properly take care of their new pet.
She walked the folder back into the treatment area and looked around for someone who could take the appointment in her stead. She just wasn't comfortable. But it seemed like everyone else was busy with their own thing. Ox was helping Kim out with her appointment and Tsubaki was in surgery; Jackie wasn't even in the building.
Maka had to suck it up and do her best. She took a breath and walked through the door separating the treatment area from the waiting room.
"Eater?" The only person in the waiting room was a man who she was a bit curious about. To her he looked like a typical biker dude, minus the helmet.
As he walked towards her, she looked for his pet but couldn't find one. He wasn't holding a leash, there was no box with a cat in it, nor was there a puppy running around the hospital. So where the hell was his animal?
She took a quick glance back at the chart to double check she had the right person. Though she had no way of really confirming seeing as there was no animal in sight!
"Uh, hi. It's nice to meet you, my name is Maka.," she greeted as she led him towards a room. He sat down on the bench attached to the wall while she took a seat on the comfortable rolling chair. She placed the folder on the desk in between them and opened it up.
"Alright Mr. Eater, I see it's your first time here, so first off, welcome. Secondly, what brings you here? Puppy? Kitten?" Maka reached for the pen in her shirt pocket and waited on him.
"Well ya see. I sort of…" He began to unzip his jacket down the middle which completely threw Maka off her game.
"Whoa whoa, what are you doing?" She couldn't help but to blurt, throwing her hands out. He continued to strip himself of his studded black, leather jacket until he was free from it's wet stitchings.
"What? You asked about the animal right? I'm getting...her...out. I think her." He looked confused as he answered. "She was cold and wet when I picked her up so I kept her inside to keep her warm. It's not like I had anything else to keep her in." Mr. Eater explained.
As he talked, he pulled out the damp and obviously cold kitten.. She was a black, short haired domesticated cat. Maka couldn't wait to take her and hug her and play with her. She was one of the cutest things she'd seen come through the hospital up this point. Though none were ever going to be cuter than that one King Charles puppy that came in no less than a month previous. That thing took 1st prize in her mind for being the cutest dog in the world.
It took everything she had to grab the little thing and start cuddling with it. She knew she had a job and this was a great chance to prove herself to her seniors.
"I guess we have a cat then. Great! So have you got a name for her yet?" Maka asked while watching the kitten try and curl back up into it's foster parent's jacket.
He unravelled his jacket so the kitten could comfortably curl itself up and looked back towards Maka and nodded.
"Nope. Sorry. The nameless kitten wasn't exactly penciled into my plans for today, ya know." He wiped his forehead where his bandanna ended and then decided it wasn't drying quick enough and pulled it from his head.
Maka's eyes opened up when it was revealed that under that bad ass biker facade was someone she knew from school.
"Hey! I...I know you! You're that one kid who's always hangin' out with my brother in the gym after school, aren't you?" Maka exclaimed. She couldn't believe she didn't notice it earlier. No one else she knew had red eyes.
"Huh?" Mr. Eater shot her a perplexed look. He wasn't going to believe for a second that the maniac he sometimes played basketball with was related to this obviously very nervous girl with the ponytail.
"There's no way in hell you're related to Star. But that's not important. She seems cold. Is there something you guys can do about that?" The white haired man reached for the kitten and coddled her in his arms, keeping her close to his chest. She tried to scramble away but he wasn't letting her fall to the floor.
"Ah, oh yeah, no problem. Here, give her to me and I'll take her back there and we'll see how she's doing and we'll move forward from there, alright…" Maka took a peek inside the client folder and looked for his name. She hoped that if the conversation became more casual, then maybe the jitters might go away.
"It's Soul, right?"
"Ok then, Soul. If you don't mind I'll be taking her back there and I'll be back with you in a few minutes." Maka reached for the cat which almost immediately tried to jump away.
"Whoa there baby girl, it's ok, I gotchu. Be back in a few." She proceeded to walk out the door behind her which led directly into the treatment area which she hoped wasn't still a mess.
She made a left out the door to where a small weighing scale made it's home. She placed the lanky kitten on the scale and placed her hands over her to make sure she couldn't jump away.
"1.2 pounds." Maka whispered to herself. She walked around to the back where everyone else was and looked for an open table to put the little kitten down on.
"Hey, is anyone free at the moment?" She asked. Kim was no where to be seen. She was probably in a room with Doctor Azusa. Ox was cleaning up the area they were occupying and looked too busy to bother.
"What do you need?" Jackie asked while throwing a leash into it's drawer. She turned her head and saw the kitten and squealed.
"Oh my God it's adorable! How old is it?" She reached out for the kitten and picked it up from it's arm. The black haired girl nuzzled it up against her cheek and kissed the top of it's head.
"It's so cute, Maka!" exclaimed the black haired girl whose light blue scrubs were already covered in hair.
"Uh, I dunno. The client literally just picked it up. Couldn't be more than a couple months though. Just hold it for a minute. I just need to get a temp for now." Maka grabbed one of the few thermometers and lubed it up and lifted the cats tail up.
"98.9. Hmm. It's a little cold. Is Dr. M. still in surgery?" She asked out loud while looking for the blond doctor.
"Ugh, guess not. Azusa's busy, is Dr. Stein here today?" Jackie shrugged her shoulders.
"Here, hold onto her for a second." Maka walked over to the corded phone and called for the elusive third doctor.
Dr. Stein wasn't the most popular DVM in the building but he was the no doubt one of the best surgical doctors in the country. He'd had clients come from other states just for him to repair their pets.
"Dr. Stein? I have a walk-in here if you don't mind taking it." There was no response from the other side of the phone.
"Dammit. Is he not working today?" Maka was beginning to get frustrated. This was supposed to be where she impressed everyone, but no one wanted to help.
"Is who not working today?"
"Dr Stei…" Maka turned around and shook her head. "I was looking all over for you. I have your next appointment. New client, new pet. He rescued this cat literally just now and came here. Her temp was 98.9 and she's still a little damp." Maka quickly reviewed with the gray haired man.
"I was out back smoking. Am I not allowed to do that anymore? And have you got a fecal yet? How're its ears?" questioned the doctor as he walked towards the computer. He knew he didn't have any appointments scheduled for another hour.
"Ah, right. Let me get those real quick." Maka picked out the smallest fecal loop they had and covered it in lube and grabbed the ear cleaning tray while she was able to grab it.
"I'm sorry miss kitty, I just have to violate you one more time, ok." Maka grabbed her sample and with Jackie's help was able to clean her ears.
"Left ear wasn't so bad, the right smelled a bit yeasty though. And she's got fleas." Maka combed through her fur looking for anything else out of place.
"Alright give her a capstar and throw her in the incubator. Oh, what room am I in?"
"Umm uhh three. Do you need any help?" Maka asked before completing her tasks.
"Nope. Just grab me a drop off form." Dr. Stein ordered.
Maka scrambled around looking for clean towels to place in the incubator with the kitten while also rummaging through a folder with four different types of forms until she was able to find a white drop off form that was stuck somewhere in the middle of the boarding and surgery sheets.
"Maka you need any help over there?"
"Huh? Oh, if you can just give this to Stein in room three. Thanks Jackie." Maka made a nice and comfortable bed for the rescue and turned the heat up to 3 so it wouldn't get overheated but gradually warm up. She then grabbed a new can of critical care wet food, took a nice spoonful and placed it in inside for the kitten with a small bowl of water.
"Alright, food, water, towels...anything else?" Maka thought out loud, she didn't want to miss anything on her first case.
She then grabbed a blue expo marker from the tray because it was being hospitalized. She wrote the patient's last name and the reason it was staying on the board in between surgery and radiology.
Maka then turned to Kim to ask if she was missing anything.
"Everything looks fine, good job Maka," assured the pink haired tech.
Maka smiled over her small accomplishment. She always put effort into her work and did her job well, but it was nice to hear it confirmed from someone else every once in a while.
Stein soon emerged from the room with the signed paper already attached to the folder. His notes written in what Maka would have to assume was his own form of script, because it looked like he just scribbled on the page and signed his initials.
"He's coming to pick the cat up around seven. He's unsure if he's going to keep it. I told him to pick up the essentials just in case. Anything on the fecal?"
"Just hooks," Maka answered. She already had half a milliliter of strongid pulled into a syringe ready to administer. He noticed and gave her a nod to go ahead and give it to the stray.
"I want a re-temp every half hour until it's up to 100. And in an hour give it 50 LRS and another fifty and hour later," Dr. Stein ordered while he continued to write in the folder. He then drew up a couple of antibiotics for Maka to give.
"Anything else?" She knew she shouldn't have, knowing Dr. Stein that was a bad question. He cocked his head to the left and scratched his right side.
"You can put this in my box." She caught a break on that one. From then on she went back to her normal duties as an assistant and the day passed by without any complications. Until it came time to discharge the stray.
"Hey Maka, you gonna get that one? You brought it in," Ox suggested while he flipped through one of the border's med sheets.
"Huh? Uh y-yeah. I can do it." She was admittedly a bit nervous about the whole ordeal. Maka was just an assistant for the time being, but for some reason they were leaving her with more responsibility than usual. She was grateful for the opportunity. Maka grabbed the chart from the Go Home box and took a deep breath
"Alright that seems to be everything. Any questions?" Soul shook his head.
"Well, I guess that's it. Liz will help you out with the rest and I'll bring Blair out when you're ready." Soul had decided to keep the cat. He had a collar and a name tag already prepared before he walked in.
"Congratulations on the cat," Liz voiced while taking the chart." So, is there anything else hiding behind your clothes you wanna pull out while you're here?" She waited for him to get flustered and embarrassed but was disappointed when he kept his calm demeanor.
"Nah, not right now. Maybe another time." They shared a laugh, neither taking the flirting seriously. He paid with a credit card which had his name as Soul Evans, not Eater. She found it odd but paid it no mind. It had to be him, she'd never known anyone else with the first name Soul.
"Can I have Blair to go home?" Liz called for over the intercom.
Maka appeared moments later with little Blair curled up in a blanket and cradled in her arms like a baby.
"So do you have a carrier for her or are you just gonna hide her inside your shirt again?" She mocked while handing Blair over.
"Uhh...It's going to be a fun ride home." He knew he had forgotten something! He smacked his forehead and groaned in disgust.
"Haha. Well I'm sorry about that. I guess you better keep her wrapped up in that towel then. Wait a second! Do you drive a motorcycle or a car?" She assumed the former but had to make sure.
"S-so, how are you gonna drive home with her? You can't do that! That's crazy and dangerous! Do you at least have one of those sidecars that she should ride in? Not that I suggest that without a carrier, but for the future!" Maka was ready to burst. Was he really about to ride his motorcycle with a cat stuffed in his shirt for the second time!? She could understand the first time he had no other options, but this time around he could have prepared.
Liz and Patti were astonished that Maka had it in her to get loud like that. Up until just then for the eight months she'd been working at the hospital she was a quiet, innocent, little girl.
"Well if you're so against it, what do you suggest I do then?" asked the white haired man. His eyes said he could give a damn less what she was saying. He was going to ride his bike home whether she liked it or not, with or without Blair.
"I'll take her home for you." Maka announced. Liz and Patti seemed more and more interested in the situation as it played out. Soul just shook his head.
"Whatever. If you're so against me taking her home then by all means." Soul already had a long day, he didn't need the extra headache that would come from arguing with this girl.
"Ok then. The address in your folder is your living address, right? It's not just a mailbox?"
"That's where I live."
"Then I guess I'll meet you there."
"I guess you will."
"I get off at 7:30 and I'll be walking. So don't expect me to be there right away." Maka explained. He was a bit worried about that last detail.
"You're going to walk across town at this hour? I could understand if you were walking with like a pit bull or a german shepherd or something, but you'll be carrying a cat. Not exactly scary," Soul argued. He may not have known the girl, but he wasn't going to let her put herself in danger for his sake.
"I do it all the time. You don't have to worry about me. I grew up in a house with a kid who was literally bouncing off the walls. I'll be ok walking."
"And if anything does come up, Patti here will be happy to lend a helping hand. She may not look it but she's a damn good fighter. Her black belt doesn't speak enough for how strong she is. My sis could kick an ass or two if she needed to," Liz pointed out. She wasn't worried for Maka, but if it would stop Soul from nagging, she didn't mind bragging about her little sister.
"Ya know what, forget I said anything. I'll see you later Maka. I'm hungry, so I'm going home." Soul turned and walked out the door. Moments later the engine to his bright orange Harley Davidson roared to life.
"Was he seriously going to drive home on that thing with her? Is he out of his mind? He would scared the life of out her!" Maka thought out loud as she stood in the waiting room holding Blair.
"Hey, he brought her in here like that. I don't see the problem in him taking her home like so. We get a lot of crazier clients coming in that try to pull stupider shit. What he tried to do was like a 5 out of 10 on the crazy scale. He's only halfway to insanity, it's not that bad." Maka couldn't believe that Liz was trying to defend him. In her mind what he was trying to do was endanger the poor cat's life.
"Hey, I'm just saying. You can explain yourself to him on your date later."
"D-da-date? It's not a date Liz! I'm just dropping the cat off and going home!"
"Sure it's not Maka. You're only going to his house to drop off a little pussy. It's definitely not a date. No worries."