Disclaimer: I do not own the characters from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. The rights to those characters and to the show belong to the creators of the show, to CBS, and to A&E.
A Boston Affair
Chapter One: Fantasy vs. Reality
Embroidering, cooking, and childcare. Those were the studies Michaela Quinn was expected to learn in her mother's eyes. She had never been a normal child. She had always been her father's daughter. Her mother felt left out when Michaela would assist her father at the hospital, but Josef would tell Elizabeth that he had never been the best father to their other daughters, but with Michaela, he felt he had succeeded.
When she was eighteen, Michaela went to college and graduated at the top of her class. She went on to a women's medical school, and now that she was twenty-five, she was helping her father at the hospital nearly every day. She was a doctor in every sense of the word, but she wasn't accepted as one. However, her father had convinced his colleagues to treat his daughter with respect, and they had grown to rely on Michaela to assist in medical procedures.
The only thing Michaela was missing was someone to share her life with. Her mother had tried and failed miserably at trying to find a suitor for her daughter. Michael never had time for courting or dances. She was always busy at the hospital or with her nose in a book.
"Michaela, why must you continue to play out this fantasy? That's all it will ever be! You will never be accepted as a doctor. Not really," Elizabeth Quinn stressed with frustration. Michaela closed her book and turned at her desk. She always became irritated with her mother when she would call her career a fantasy.
"A fantasy?" she asked angrily. "Mother, my being a doctor is most certainly not a fantasy. I have a medical degree. I am a doctor. I have my name on a shingle at father's office. I have assisted in several surgeries. I have delivered babies and sutured wounds. If this is what you call a fantasy, mother, I believe you need to learn the difference between reality and fantasy." Michaela turned and walked out of her room, grabbing her medical bag and a shawl. Elizabeth rushed after her daughter, picking up the skirt of her dress so she wouldn't fall.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm going to the hospital. Father left me in charge of his practice and my own while he's in Washington." Elizabeth watched her daughter storm out. She sat down on Michaela's bed, feeling angry and regretful at the same time. She had always given her daughter a hard time, probably because she had been the youngest. The rest of her daughters had already married and started families of their own by the time they were twenty years old. Michael was still living at home, being urged on by her father to pursue a life of doctoring. It wasn't normal for a woman to want to be a doctor, and Elizabeth knew she could never fully accept her daughter's choice.
On her way out, she ran into two of her older sisters, Rebecca and Marjorie. They were most likely coming for a visit with their mother.
"Hello Michaela," Rebecca said, hugging her sister warmly.
"Rebecca," Michael replied with a smile.
"Going off to the hospital?" Marjorie asked, tilting her head up so her noise pointed upward a bit.
"As a matter of fact, I am."
"Honestly, Michaela, when are you going to learn that you can't work in a man's world?"
"It's only a man's world because women like you let it be!" Michaela left the house and Marjorie looked at Rebecca. Rebecca shrugged and Marjorie stormed off in the other direction.
Michaela's heels clicked down the quiet hall of the dimly lit hospital. Her medical bag rested comfortably in her hand as a rolling pin and set of knitting needles would to a housewife. She was in her father's wing of the hospital; in his office. It was her office too, and she knew that one day, he would leave his wing to her.
There was a cot in the back of Josef's office, and when Michaela was little, she'd ask him who it was for. He would always tell her that it was for anyone who might come along that other doctors in the hospital might not treat. Michaela never understood that until about ten years ago when a young Negro man came to the hospital in need of medical help. The other doctors turned their back to him, but Josef took him in and nursed him back to help.
Michaela put her medical bag down on Josef's desk. She smiled as she ran her gloved hand over the smooth oak surface. She remembered sitting on that desk as a young girl, watching her father study his medical books. She knew that ever since she was born, she and her father had been best friends.
The clock struck eleven, and Michaela wondered if she should go home considering no patients were coming to her. She could hear the nurses wheeling patients down the long corridors. She heard thunder off in the distance. Michaela sighed and walked over to the window to look out over her beautiful hometown. She looked up at the dark sky that briefly lit up with the flash of a lightening bolt. She wondered what it would be like to live somewhere besides Boston. She had always dreamed of being swept off to a far away place by a handsome stranger. Ever since she was thirteen, she would dream of being swept off into the mountains. She never told her father of her dreams. She didn't want him to think she was behaving like a foolish girl, but she also knew he wouldn't judge her. Josef Quinn never judged people if he could help it. He was the kindest man Michaela had ever known, and perhaps that was part of the reasons Michaela could never find a beau. Of course she didn't have time for those type of things, but any man who would try to court her could not live up to her father's morals and spirit. She knew it wasn't healthy to look for the qualities her father had in other men, but he was the rock in her life; the one person she could trust completely.
Michaela was startled out of her thoughts by the shouts of a doctor in the hallway.
"Get that Indian out of my sight! I will not treat him!" Michaela quickly opened the door and looked out into the hallway. A rugged-looking man was carrying a bleeding Indian in his arms.
"What's going on here?" Michaela asked.
"This man brought and Indian into the hospital. No one will treat him!" Michaela looked at the man and she motioned for him to come in.
"Bring him in. I'll see what I can do." The other doctor scoffed and the man walked passed Michaela. He nodded his appreciation to her and she followed him in, closing the door behind her. She turned on a few oil lamps as the stranger put the injured Indian down on the cot. Michaela pulled out her stethoscope and checked his heart rate.
"You're really a doctor?"
"Yes, I am," Michaela replied. "What happened?"
"I came to Boston to speak on behalf of the Cheyenne. Cloud Dancin' here came with me and after I spoke, some angry rebels shot him." Michaela looked at the wound in Cloud Dancing's chest. She seemed a bit apprehensive. "Don't worry. He ain't gonna hurt ya."
"I know that," Michaela replied. "Besides, even if he were to try, he wouldn't succeed. He's obviously in a lot of pain, but he's lucky. The bullet went right through."
"So he's gonna be alright?"
"I believe so, but the next twelve hours could be critical. Would you wait outside while I suture him up?"
"I'm stayin'." Michaela looked at him for a moment and decided he wouldn't leave this man's side.
"Very well. At least let me give him something for the pain."
"No," Cloud Dancing said, breathing heavily.
"He ain't afraid of pain." Michaela took a deep breath and to sew up Cloud Dancing's wounds.
"Name's Sully," the man said as she worked.
"I saw it on the shingle outside your door. Michaela Quinn, M.D. It's pretty." Michaela looked at Sully and blushed a little.
"Thank you. Sully, that's not an Indian name, is it?"
"I ain't an Indian. But they've been my family for years. They saved my life many times." Dr. Mike finished suturing Cloud Dancing's wounds after a few more minutes.
"Thank you," Cloud Dancing said when she put bandages on him. "You are a medicine woman. The first I have met."
"Rest now," Michaela soothed. "You need your strength." Michaela cleaned her hands off and left her patient. Sully stayed at his side for a few minutes. Michaela sat down at her desk, trying to concentrate on research, but she couldn't stop thinking about the man who had dragged the Indian all the way to the hospital for treatment. His name was Sully and he obviously cared a lot about this Cloud Dancing person. He had loyalty to friends, and he was a friend to those who saved his life. She knew this much about the man she just met after only a few minutes of knowing him. He intrigued her immensely.
Awhile later, Sully appeared from the back room and shut the door to give Cloud Dancing a bit of quiet. Michaela looked at him. He was wearing brown buckskin pants with matching moccasins. His shirt was white but needed washing. His hair was past his shoulders but very clean. He wore a beaded necklace, probably a gift from the Indians.
While Michaela took in Sully's appearance, he did the same with her. She had gorgeous light brown hair that was pulled up in a fancy up-do. She had taken her lacy white gloves off in order to held Cloud Dancing, and he could see that her hands were as fair and perfect as her face. He imagined that the rest of her body was perfect, milky, and beautiful as well. Her clothes were that of a woman from an upper class, and he saw from the shingle outside the door that she worked with Josef Quinn, probably her father.
"Thank you for savin' my friend."
"I was just doing my job."
"He's like a brother to me."
"I believe that what happened to your friend was unfair. It was very brave of you to come all the way to Boston to speak on his tribe's behalf."
"It was even braver of him to come with me. Not many folks like Indians."
"I'm not like many people."
"That's pretty clear. You were the only one who took my friend in without a second thought. Thank you." Michaela nodded. "Is it alright if I stay with my friend tonight?"
"I don't see why not. I'm going to be here all night anyway. I have a lot of work to catch up on."
"You work with your father?"
"How'd you know?"
"I saw it on your shingle."
"Ah," Michaela replied with a smile. "Yes, my father encouraged me to pursue my dreams of becoming a doctor. My mother didn't quite approve of the idea. I don't think she ever will. Mr. Sully . . ."
"It's just Sully."
"Sully. Alright, Sully, where did you say you came from?"
"I didn't, but I can tell ya now. Me and Cloud Dancin' traveled all the way from Colorado Springs."
"That's quite a long journey." Sully nodded. "You must be hungry. I would invite you to my home for dinner, but everyone has probably gone to bed."
"That's alright. I ain't hungry."
"Mhm," he mumbled.
"I can make up a cot for you if you'd like."
"That's alright. Don't go troublin' yourself."
"It's really no trouble."
"You look like you've got work to do. I'll let you get to it."
"Really . . ."
"You know, I've never met a lady doctor. The closest thing Colorado Springs has got is Widow Cooper. She's a midwife. The barber Jake thinks he's a doctor. He does a lot more harm than he does good though."
"You don't have a real doctor where you come from?"
"Nope, but I wouldn't go to the town's doctor even if I had to. They wouldn't treat Indians, so I wouldn't want them to treat me. I go to the Cheyenne for most of my healin'. Cloud Dancin' is their medicine man."
"Oh?" Michaela glanced toward the closed door.
"Yep." Michaela saw the way Sully looked at her, and she felt her face growing hot. She took a deep breath and felt the urge to fan herself off. "You feelin' alright, Dr. Quinn?"
"Yes. I'm alright. Maybe I should get back to my research."
"Alright. I'm going to go get some sleep. G'night."
"Good night, Mr. Sully. I mean . . .Sully." Sully left the room, closing the door behind himself. Michaela stared after him, even after he shut the door, feeling even more intrigued by him than she had in the first place. He was from halfway across the country. His skin was tanned by the sun, his clothes tattered by the weather. He was obviously not used to the kind of life lived in Boston. He was the kind of man Michaela figured her mother had warned her about. However, Michaela couldn't recall any warnings her mother ever gave her concerning men, because she was too focused on her medical degree and her patients. She wondered if she would ever find the time to court, marry, and have a family of her own, something she wanted very much, while pursuing her career as a doctor. She began to wonder if she could have her career and a family of her own at the same time. She knew several doctors that had families falling apart due to their lack of presence in the home. What if she did get married and her family fell apart because of her? With those fears now in the back of her mind, she decided to get some rest and not think about it for the rest of the night. She blew out the candles and the oil lamps and fell asleep sitting in her desk chair as she had done on several occasions in the past.
In the morning, Michaela woke to the sound of footsteps near her desk. Her eyes flew open and she saw Sully trying to creep towards the door without waking her. Obviously he had failed.
"Sorry. I didn't mean to wake ya."
"That's alright. What time is it?"
"I think it's about nine in the mornin'."
"Oh my," Michaela whispered. She figured that her mother was worried sick, but she also knew her mother was aware of her busy schedule and late nights at the hospital.
"I was just goin' out to get somethin' for breakfast. Do you want anything?"
"No. I'm alright. I do need to check on my patient." Michaela stood and walked back to find Cloud Dancing sitting up in his cot. "Oh you should be resting."
"I feel better. The spirits say I am well."
"The Cheyenne spirits speak to Cloud Dancin'. They guide him and give him wisdom," Sully pointed out. The doctor checked her patient and smiled a bit.
"Your spirits seem to be correct. You're healing remarkably. You should be well enough to travel after another day and night of rest."
"Good," Cloud Dancing said with a grateful smile. "I appreciate your dedication to your medicine."
"Just rest now. I'll bring you some soup this afternoon."
"Thank you." Michaela and Sully left the patient to rest again.
"You must be hungry, Dr. Quinn."
"Please, call me Michaela."
"How about Dr. Mike?"
"I've never heard that one before," Michaela said with a laugh. "Although my father used to call me Mike as a child. He expected me to be a boy. He always tells me that my being a girl was the only thing that ever disappointed him about me. He also tells me that he got over it and is glad he never had boys, because he knows that boys are more of a handful than I could ever be."
"Is that saying you're a handful?"
"Oh if you only knew me," Michaela replied with a chuckle.
"Well, Dr. Mike, how about we go get somethin' for breakfast. A lady needs to keep up her strength. Especially a lady doctor."
"Well, alright," Michaela replied with a smile. "I suppose it won't hurt to leave for awhile. We must bring some soup back for your friend when we return." Sully nodded. Michaela grabbed her medical bag and left the hospital with Sully.
As soon as they arrived outside of the hospital, Michaela noticed people staring at Sully. It was obvious by his attire that he wasn't "Boston material." Sully noticed Michaela tense up and he cleared his throat.
"If my bein' around you in public bothers you . . ."
"Don't be absurd!" Michaela scolded. "People in Boston just aren't used to seeing your attire."
"Well, I ain't plannin' on stayin' long anyway. As soon as Cloud Dancin' can leave, I'm leavin' too."
"He should be well enough to leave tomorrow, but if I'm not happy with his progress tonight, I'll have him stay one more day."
"That's fine. Cloud Dancin' promised his wife he'd be home safe. I'm sure she won't appreciate him comin' home when he ain't feelin' up to travelin'." Michaela smiled. As they walked, she found her fascination with this man growing by the second. She found herself asking many questions in her head, but not speaking them aloud. After several minutes of silence, Sully spoke up.
"Is there somethin' on your mind, Dr. Mike?"
"Hmm? Oh, no. Nothing important."
"I know we just met, but you can ask me. If it ain't nothin' too personal, I'd be happy to tell ya."
"Well, could you tell me about the Cheyenne medicine?"
"You really wanna know? I thought fancy doctors didn't like to use savage medicines." From hearing this, Michaela realized that Sully had probably tried to teach Cheyenne medicine and failed miserably in the past.
"Fancy? I'm not fancy by any means."
"You're fancier than any lady I ever seen." Michaela blushed when Sully smiled at her.
"Well, like I said before, I'm not like most people. I don't share a lot of the same opinions of other people. I'm open minded and willing to learn."
"If ya really want to know, I'll tell ya. But I think your best teacher'd be Cloud Dancin'." Michaela nodded and listened carefully as Sully began to tell her about the Cheyenne medicine as they strolled down the sidewalk looking for a place to have breakfast.