Jesse all but collapsed onto the break room sofa. He wasn't sure who made the bigger sigh- himself or the leather cushions. His muscles thanked him and reveled in the temporary tension relief. This had to be one of the longest days he'd ever endured. Jesse looked up at the wall-mounted clock. Three more hours to go.
He was grateful for one thing despite his weariness, and it was the air conditioning. It was so cool in the break room that he felt his arms begin to erupt in goose bumps. In his apartment, the air had gone off line and it couldn't have picked a worse time to do it. It was the middle of July, the temperatures were becoming unbearable for any length of time, and Jesse had resorted to sleeping naked in front of a box fan set on high for the past two nights.
He draped an arm over his eyes and just rested for a moment, anticipating each call over the intercom as the one that would drag him from his sprawled position on the large couch. The door opened and a soft chuckle told him who it was without looking.
"You poor thing, you look wiped," Amanda said as Jesse listened to her move across the room.
"I am so far beyond wiped it's not funny."
"How much longer?"
"Till people stop getting hurt."
Amanda laughed again. Jesse heard her pull out a chair from the table to his left. "Hey, I know what that feels like. I wish people would stop dying."
Now Jesse chuckled and moved his arm. Man, those fluorescent lights were bright. He rubbed his eyes and turned his head on the couch's arm to look at Amanda. "We still on for dinner at Mark's?" He was always a sucker for free food, and a night with his friends was something he rarely missed out on. Plus, the less time he spent at his apartment, the better. At least until the air was fixed.
Amanda tossed a pen cap on his stomach. "Is that all guys think about, is food?"
Jesse grabbed the cap before it fell to the floor. "Hey, I'm a growing boy," he smiled.
"Yes we're still on, as far as I know," Amanda replied.
Jesse sighed and nestled further into the couch cushions. Maybe, the Gods would smile on him and leave him to rest here for the remainder of his shift. 'Yeah right,' he snorted. 'And maybe it'll be sixty five degrees outside when I leave here,' he thought sarcastically.
Jesse and Amanda sat in comfortable silence for a few minutes. Jesse counted the number of panels in the ceiling while Amanda flipped through an outdated magazine. As the intercom beeped to life, Jesse righted himself with a gut feeling. As the female voice filtered through the hospital, his pager went off. "Must be messy if they're double hittin' me," he mused, pushing his weary body to it's feet.
"Bye Jesse," Amanda called over her shoulder as he made his way to the break room door. "See you tonight."
Jesse struggled between replying to Amanda and fumbling with the vibrating pager in his hands. "Yeah, to-"
A loud thud reverberated through the room as Jesse's head connected with the wooden door, with enough force to cause him to stumble back.
That'll leave a mark.
"Oh, Jesse, I'm sorry, I didn't see you there-"
"'S okay Mark," Jesse said, straining his eyes to bring the double images of his mentor into one. "Gotta hard head."
"Come here, let me take a look-"
"Gotta go, you can look later," Jessed replied, unconsciously rubbing his head as he darted out of Mark Sloan's reach. Man that hurt. But it would have been funny if it happened to someone else. Jesse smiled at that thought, glad when his vision cleared. Now able to run, he fell in pace with the nurses that were also moving to greet the newest patient.
By the time he reached the emergency room doors, he felt normal again. That is, as normal as he's ever felt.