A/N This is a contiuation of my story 'The Legacy'. It takes place about 5 months after the previous story ended. I enjoyed the first season of 'Early Edition' mainly because I was fascinated by the idea of trying to live your life when you knew what would happen the next day. How do you maintain your sanity under those kind of conditions? I thought it would be an interesting area to explore once again. Anything you recognize is either from Early Edition or 7th Heaven or Doogie Howser. I don't own the rights to any of the shows, I'm just borrowing them for a bit. (If I did own EE, you can darn well be sure it would be out on DVD by now). All of the rights belong to a horde of corporate suits and lawyers and other evil types. I'm not making any money off of this, just having a bit of fun. I hope you enjoy my little tale.
ARE YOU READY FOR THE RIDE OF YOUR LIFE?
THE DENVER EDITION – PROLOGUE
Jaded, that's what people called him. World weary, emotionally wrung out, tired; maybe that was the best word, he was tired. Not physically, he hadn't had to pull ungodly hours for quite some time, no it was spiritual exhaustion. In the depths of his soul he was just so tired. He was twenty six years old, but he felt like he had seen it all, and most of what he had seen from the human race wasn't encouraging. He had gotten into this line of work because he thought it would be a challenge, something to push him to make him exceed his limits. Now all it did was push his tolerance of bureaucratic nonsense. He spent more time now shuffling paperwork than he did actually helping people. Sure, some of that comes with seniority, but dammit, he was supposed to be here to make people well, not be sure that every insurance claim was filled out in triplicate and filed with every bean counter this side of the Mississippi River. He missed the simplicity of when he first started out; everything was black and white then, the shades of grey were few and far between. He was fourteen and a child prodigy, being a doctor was all he had wanted to do with his life, they had saved him when he was a child, now it was up to him to save others. He had started out just learning what it meant to be a doctor, and he learned quickly. He tore through his residency and moved on, writing articles and winning awards. Then one day, he just wasn't sure when, it had stopped being important. Suddenly, he needed more, but the problem was he wasn't sure exactly what it was he needed. Unfortunately being a doctor was all he knew, it was what he was, and now it wasn't enough. He had been wallowing in depression for months now. He really didn't have any friends he could tell, and his parents (especially his dad) would go ballistic if he even started talking about what was going on between his ears; so he just wrestled with it, night after night he wrestled with his demon. 'What now', that's a heck of a name for a demon, but it was what was torturing his mind. He felt like there was something else he should be doing, but being a doctor was all he had ever wanted to be, being something else was uncharted territory, and he didn't know how to explore it. He was saved from his current melancholy spiral by the duty nurse.
"Doctor, there's a patient in treatment room four, she's starting to get a bit impatient; I thought if you had a few moments free you could see her and get her moving."
"Thanks Gracie" the not quite young man said to the nurse. He headed for treatment room four, glancing at the chart in his hands on the way. He eased into the room, trying to be quiet, and was floored by what he saw. A young woman, very attractive and clad in a sports bra and some skin tight pants, with laughing eyes and a mop of brown curls; she was currently stretching, like you would before exercise, he didn't know if it was yoga or some sort of isometrics, but it looked very nice. Shaking his head to clear it, his professional manner dropped over him like a shroud "let me see your ankle" he said, before she even knew he was there.
"Now is that a romantic come on or what" the girl muttered; then looking at the doctor with a smile "shouldn't you at least offer to buy me a drink first there Skippy."
The doctor just froze for a second, and the girl giggled at his discomfort. Clearing his throat and looking only at the chart he said "how did you hurt your ankle Miss Camden"?
"Please don't call me that" the girl said, a smile still lighting her face "Miss Camden sounds like a name for some spinster school marm, Ruth or Ruthie will do just fine Skippy. And to answer your question, I tripped over a train track."
"What were you doing around train tracks Ruthie?"
'What kind of parent lets their kids play in a train yard, especially one that's still in use'. She glanced down at the paper in her hand "two children killed in train yard" was still there. Now all she had to do was find the little yard apes. She stopped and listened, nothing dang it, where were they? The paper said they were gonna get hit, but where she was was a storage area, not an active section of the yard, she needed to be where things were moving. Over there, a switch engine was putting a freight load together. Ruthie hurried in the direction of the moving stock when when saw the two kids. This was gonna be tight. She sprinted towards the two boys, they were laying pennies on the tracks, oblivious to all else. She saw the switch near them shift, and she knew a train was being aimed right at where they were. She tried yelling, but between their total concentration and the sound of the trains, there was no way that they would hear her. She was nearly there when she felt a flair of agony in her ankle. She ignored it for now, intent on getting to the kids in time. She flung herself at the two, knocking them to the ground and out of the way of the train that was being formed. One got up and ran off without a backwards glance; the other took a second to say "thanks lady" and then followed his friend. Ruthie barely noticed that her two saves had run off because her ankle was really starting to throb. She was pretty sure it wasn't broken, but she figured that getting it checked out was a good idea. Anyway, she was done with the paper for the day.
So she had ended up at Denver Memorial, and waited for two hours before anyone bothered to look at her. This didn't improve her mood at all. But now she was face to face with a cute doctor. He looked sour, like a cat that had just eaten a sour mouse. Ruthie decided the guy needed to loosen up a bit, so she figured she would take his brain out for a bit of a spin.
"I like to run at the train yards, unfortunately so do dogs on occasion. I guess they decided I looked pretty tasty so they chased me. So what do you think doc, do I look tasty to you?" She asked this as she settled onto the exam table, putting a bit more wriggle into it than it deserved.
For his part the doctor turned 8 shades of red and stammered pretty badly when he finally tried to talk. "Uhhmmm lets just look at your ankle, OK?"
"Sure, you're the doc Doc" Ruthie replied while ruffling her eyelashes at him. She could not believe how outrageously she was flirting, but she was determined to hoist this guy out of the rut he was in, so she figured that a bit of outrageousness was called for. She stretched out her left leg and put it in his hands. Ruthie didn't think the guy could get any more red, yet somehow he did.
After a bit of stammering and a couple of false starts, his professionalism kicked in and he started probing her ankle and asking her to flex it one way, then another.
"How bad is it" she asked when he was done.
"Nice ankle, bad sprain" he replied. You'll be a hundred percent in a week just wrap it well and put some ice on it if it gets too bad." He was breathing easier and his face was almost back to its normal color.
"Will you make a house call if it's not all better" she asked in a kind of breathy-bimbo voice.
His color immediately came back up and he tried to stammer through an explanation of hospital policy when her laughter cut him off.
"Lighten up Doc; you're making this too easy. You really should get out more. Seriously, when's the last time you had fun just for the sake of having fun?"
The question hung in the air, and with each passing second the doctor became more and more embarrassed because the simple fact was that he couldn't remember the last time he had just said 'the heck with it' and went out just to have fun. He ducked his head, unable to even look at the girl now.
"Tell ya what Skippy, whenever you decide to get that king sized stick out of your caboose, give me a call" she handed him her business card. "Thanks for taking care of my ankle" she said as she hobbled towards the door.
"Why" he asked as she eased past him.
She knew what he was asking; she didn't need him to clarify the question "because you are the tiredest man I've ever seen. You remind me of my grandfather when he recalls his time in combat. I just can't stand around and see a soul in that much pain and not do anything about it if I can. So I did what I could to lift you up out of whatever has you down, even if it is only for a little while." She turned to look at him, and he was surprised at the look of sorrow on her face. "Seriously, if you want to call that would be great, but if you just chuck that card, I understand. It's not easy having some stranger jump into the middle of your life, so no hard feelings if I never hear from you again." She looked down at her leg "thanks again doctor. . . . ."
"Howser" he answered "Doug Howser."
"Thanks for the assist Doug, have a better day" and with that, she left.
He just sat there by the exam table when she left, he felt as though he had been dealing with a force of nature, and not a human being. The card in his hand was the only thing that convinced him that he hadn't hallucinated the entire incident; 'Camden Gallery' it said, and there was a phone number as well as an address. Maybe he would give her a call at that, she certainly wouldn't expect it. He came close to laughing at the absurdity of the situation; arguing with himself about calling an attractive girl that had asked him to do so. He shook his head, he couldn't quite manage it, 'at least not yet' he added to the thought. He put the card in his pocket and picked up her chart and went back to work. For some reason he felt better than he had in weeks.