Disclaimer: I do not own Strong Medicine or the characters. They belong to Whoopi Goldberg, and Tammy Ader, and Lifetime TV
"Morning, Hawkins. Any messages for me?" Dr. Andy Campbell came breezing through the front doors of Rittenhouse Women's Health Center.
"Not yet, Dr. Campbell." Lana responded without looking up from the schedule book she was working on.
"Good, maybe today won't be as crazy as yesterday." Andy began walking away from the receptionist's desk.
"Don't count on it." Lana replied with a laugh.
Stopping at her office door, Andy noticed that Dr. Luisa Delgado's office was still dark. "Where's Delgado?" Andy turned back around toward the front of the clinic.
"Oh," Lana finally looked up from her work to face Dr. Campbell, "Lu called earlier, said something about having to take care of something important."
"Hawkins! I thought you said I didn't have any messages!" Andy exclaimed with a smile.
"Well, Lu didn't ask for you, she just told me that she will be here as soon as she can." Lana was quick to defend herself.
Andy shook her head and laughed as she entered her office and put her things on her desk. Returning to the receptionist's desk, she thought aloud "I wonder if Marc is sick."
Lana looked up again "I don't think so, Lu would have told me if something was wrong with him." she commented, referring to Dr. Delgado's teenage son.
Andy shrugged and walked back toward her office.
"Oh, Dr. Campbell, can you take Lu's first patient? Nora will be here any minute." Lana suddenly realized that someone would need to cover Lu's patients until she could come in.
"Well," Andy replied "I have an early patient myself. Page Nurse Riggs, if he can't see her, then I will as soon as I get done with Madison."
"Peter!" Lana yelled "Can you take care of Nora?"
A little over an hour later
"I am SO SO sorry!" Lu rushed in the RWHC. "It's ok," Lana jumped up and ran around the desk to meet her best friend, "Dr. Campbell and Peter covered for you. Lu, what's going…"
"Now not Lana… who's my next patient?" the young doctor cut her off.
"Natasha Blaine, but not for another forty minutes." Lana exchanged a curious look with Peter as he returned from being paged to the ER.
Lu dropped her purse on the front desk. She whirled around the corner, headed for the coffee maker, suddenly coming face to face with Andy as she came out of her office.
"Whoa! Delgado, what's the rush?" Andy put out a hand to avoid colliding with her almost frantic partner.
"Sorry Andy, lots to do and not enough time to get it all done." Lu picked up a mug and reached for the coffee pot.
"Well you can calm down a bit, all of your patients have been seen until Natasha comes in at ten o'clock." Andy replied as she put her papers down on the counter.
"Yeah, Lana told me. Thanks for covering me." Lu took her coffee and turned back the way she came.
"You're welcome." Andy watched her partner hurry away.
As she scurried back towards her office, Lu paused at Lana's desk to retrieve her purse. Someone caught her by the arm, stopping her in her tracks.
"Are you ok? What happened?" Lana's face was etched with concern.
Putting her coffee down, Lu took a deep breath trying to slow her racing mind. "I'm ok," she started to confide in her friend but was cut short by an insistent beeping. Glancing down at the number displayed on her pager, she sighed "Sorry Lana, we'll talk later."
Lana smiled as Lu ran down the hall toward the ER. "Ok kid," she said softly, almost to herself "I'll be waiting."
Several hours later
"Thought I might find you up here." Lana sat down across the table from her friend.
Lu looked up from her lunch tray "Yeah, it's quieter here." she gave a short laugh "Peter can grow an herbal garden anywhere, even up here on the roof of the hospital." Lu continued as she looked around at the herbs and flowers.
"That boy definitely has a green thumb." Lana smiled as she admired the plants as well, "But now, Lana wants to know what is going on with you." she leveled her gaze at Lu.
"Do you have room for one more?" a voice came from the rooftop door.
"Sure Andy, pull up a chair." Lu smiled as she welcomed her friend.
Lana scooted her lunch over to make room on the small round table. "Come on, Dr. Campbell. Lu is just about to tell me what happened this morning."
Andy put her lunch tray on the table and took a seat between Lu and Lana. "I'm just in time then. Ok, spill it, Delgado. I want to know why you went AWOL too." Andy trained her gaze on the other doctor.
Lu laughed at her partner's military background coming through in her speech. She slowly sank further down in her chair and propped her knees up against the table. "When my mom died, I was ten years old and my grandmother stepped in to raise me. Also around that time, I met a lady. Well, she was a lady to me, she was twenty one years old and newly married." Lu took a deep breath before continuing "Her name was Rita, and she was so good to me, took up a lot of time with me. My grandmother was wonderful, but I missed my mom. Rita never took my mom's place, but she was almost like another mother to me." Lu paused as Lana reached over to steal a fry from her plate.
"OUCH!" Lana yelped when Lu playfully swatted her hand.
Both doctors laughed and Lana pretended to be hurt. "I had a friend like that too." she said as she rubbed her hand.
"Well," Lu continued "I got a call from Social Services this morning. Rita was killed in a car wreck on her way home from work last night." Lu brushed away a tear that threatened to spill down her cheek.
"Oh Delgado, I'm sorry." Andy said reaching across the table to squeeze her hand.
"Me too, I'm so sorry baby." Lana got up to hug her. "Wait a minute," Andy looked questioningly at Lu, "What does Social Services have to do with it?"
Lu sighed and rubbed her eyes "According to her will, Rita named me as godmother for her five year old daughter, Marisa."
"But what about the father? You said she was married when you met her." Lana asked, still trying to understand the whole situation.
"She was," tears threatened to spill down Lu's cheeks again, "But Enrico had cancer, he died when Marisa was two years old. Neither Rita or Enrico had any other family left. So it looks like I have another kid."
Andy pushed her lunch tray over and sighed "You are strong Delgado, you can handle it. And if you need help, you know we are here."
Lana looked at her watch as she nodded in agreement, "It's almost one o'clock ladies, we need to get back to the clinic."
They gathered their trays and stood to leave.
"Thanks," Lu said "Marc is sixteen years old, he will be good help too."
Andy stopped with her hand on the door, "When do you get her?"
A small smile appeared on Lu's face, "I'll pick Marisa up after I finish with my last patient this afternoon."
Lana patted her on the back "Good, I want to meet this little lady."
"Soon," Lu promised, "But for now we have patients waiting."
The rooftop door closed behind them as the three friends headed downstairs to the clinic.