Disclaimer: I do not own Strong Medicine or the characters. They belong to Whoopi Goldberg, and Tammy Ader, and Lifetime TV. Special thanks to proofreaders!
This is another odd couple... Dana fans, please don't shoot me.
Tracey slid off of the exam table and slipped her arms into her jacket. "Thanks Dr. Delgado." She shook her head and laughed, "Dr. Biancavilla, I mean. You'd think I could remember that after four years."
Dr. Luisa Biancavilla grinned, "And I'd think after nine years, you'd remember to call me Lu."
"I know, I know... I'm sorry Lu, old habits die hard." Tracey smiled, "I'll remember one day."
"I know you will Trace." Lu stood up from her rolling stool and walked out of her office with Tracey. She ruffled Tracey's hair, "See you later kiddo." She watched Tracey walk out then turned to the receptionist's desk, "Lana? Who's next?"
"Abigail." the mocha skinned receptionist looked up at Lu and frowned, "You feeling ok?"
"Yeah, why?" Lu picked up Abigail's chart and opened it.
"You don't look so good." Lana eyed her friend.
"Gee, thanks Lana!" Lu exclaimed with a laugh.
"I'm serious kid. You look like you feel bad." the receptionist insisted.
"Eh." Lu brushed the observation off with a dismissive wave of her hand.
"Luuuu..." Lana drug out her friend's name.
Lu looked down to hide a wince, "Whatttt?" she mimicked Lana's tone as she pretended to read Abigail's chart. Taking a moment to compose herself, Lu cleared her throat and looked up, "Ab? You ready?"
Abigail dropped the magazine she was reading into the chair next to her and stood up. "Ready." she replied with a smile as she walked over to meet the young doctor.
Lu started toward her office, "Let's go see wha..." Stopping mid-sentence, she suddenly doubled over and cried out in pain.
Startled, Abigail reached out and caught Lu just before she fell, "Lu?" the young brunette frowned in concern.
Lana dropped her pink feathered pen and jumped up from her desk. "I was afraid of this." she mumbled as she hurried over. "Dr. Campbell!" Lana called as she took Abigail's chart from Lu's hands and helped steady her.
"What is it?" Abigail's concern grew as Lu clutched her stomach and cried out in pain again.
"Dr. Campbell!" Lana yelled, more frantically this time.
"Lana! What's all the..." Dr. Andy Campbell stepped out of her office, her reprimand died in her throat when she saw her work partner doubled over, standing only because of Lana and Abigail's support. Andy rushed across the lobby and leaned over to look at Lu.
"Ow... Ands..." Lu gasped as a pain shot through her abdomen, taking her breath away.
Andy took Lu's face between her hands forcing her to look up, "Lu... Lu... it's ok, it's gonna be ok." Andy brushed Lu's long dark hair back with one hand as she wrapped her other arm around Lu's waist. "Come on, lean on me."
"This can't be happening again." Lu moaned as she leaned against her best friend.
"It's ok. I've got you. I'm gonna take care of you." Andy tried to soothe Lu's fears as she supported her and slowly walked away.
"I'll call the ER for Nick." Lana said as she reached for the phone on her desk.
"No. Not yet, let him work." Andy called over her shoulder. "Reroute all patients to Peter or the ER." she added as she disappeared into her office with Lu.
A Couple Of Hours Later
Andy stepped out of her office. She sighed and ran both hands through her hair in a gesture of mixed sadness and frustration.
Lana opened her mouth to ask about Lu, but seeing the expression on Andy's face, she closed her mouth and watched the doctor in silence.
Sighing again, Andy walked over to the receptionist's desk and spoke quietly, "Clear Lu's schedule for the rest of the week. Cancel, reschedule, shuffle her patients to me and Peter... whatever you have to do."
"Yes ma'am." Lana nodded as Andy turned and walked away. Unable to restrain herself, Lana rose to her feet and followed Andy to Lu's office. "Did she...?" Lana's voice trailed off, leaving her question hanging.
Andy picked up some papers and put them in Lu's bag. She nodded silently as she shoved the rest of the papers into a drawer, effectively clearing the top of Lu's desk. "Page Nick to my office." Andy picked up Lu's bag and purse. She walked over to the cabinet and pulled out a clean pair of scrubs.
"Is Lu...?" Lana once again let her unfinished question hang in the air.
"Devastated." Andy answered just before walking out of Lu's office and back into her own.
Lana sighed and returned to her desk. She paged Nick, then began working to clear Lu's schedule. "Hey Peter?" she called when she saw Nurse Peter Riggs round the corner on his way back from the ER.
"Hi Lana." Peter answered as he continued toward an exam room.
"Come here a minute." Lana quickly gathered a small pile of patient charts.
Peter walked over, "What's this?" he frowned in confusion when Lana handed him the pile.
"Part of Lu's patients for the rest of this week." she answered as she made a notation in the appointment book.
"What? Why?" Peter's confusion was written all over his face.
"Doing some shuffling." Lana responded without looking up at the blonde nurse.
Realization suddenly dawned on Peter and his confusion lifted, "I'll be in exam four." He slowly walked away as he remembered the last time that Lana shuffled Lu's patients.
Just as Lana finished the task twenty minutes later, Andy walked out of her office again. "Where's Nick?"
"I paged him four times, then finally called the ER." Lana explained. "They said he's tied up with a trauma victim who was just brought in a little while ago. I left him a message to come down here as soon as he can."
"Well I'm gonna go on and take Lu home then." Andy shrugged out of her white lab coat, "Tell Nick when he comes down."
Fifteen Minutes Later
Andy unlocked the front door of Nick and Lu's house.
"Thanks." Lu walked in and dropped her purse on the hall table. "You don't have to stay, I know you have a full schedule today." her sadness was evident in the flatness of her normally friendly voice.
"You're hurting and I'm not leaving you alone." Andy closed the door, "Why don't you go get changed into something more comfortable? I'll make you some hot chocolate."
Not having the strength to argue, Lu nodded and silently walked upstairs.
Andy watched as Lu disappeared around the upstairs corner. She sighed and walked to the kitchen. Leaning over, she pulled a saucepan out of the cabinet, then gathered the ingredients for homemade hot chocolate. She thought to herself as she mixed the ingredients, "Poor Lu... I'm not sure how much more of this she can take. She's strong, but still... what an awful burden to bear." She put the saucepan on the stove and turned the burner on. Andy stirred the chocolaty mixture as her mind wandered back over the past few years. Remembering her best friend's heartbreak, she quickly wiped away her tears and pulled two mugs out of the kitchen cabinet. She stirred the boiling liquid one last time before pouring it into the mugs. She added a few marshmallows, then carried the mugs upstairs. Entering the master bedroom, she found Lu laying on the bed, curled up in a ball with her face buried in the pillows. "Oh honey." Andy sighed softly as she set the steaming mugs on the nightstand.
Lu slowly sat up and smoothed out her gray sweats that had bunched up underneath her.
Andy sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed Lu's knee, "It's gonna be ok."
"I dunno about that." Lu mumbled, her face void of all emotion.
"Have I ever broken a promise?" Andy asked as she reached over and picked up one of the mugs.
Lu accepted the mug and answered quietly, "No."
Andy looked Lu straight in the eye, "Then I promise." she responded, "it's gonna be ok."
Lu nodded silently, then took a drink, letting the warm liquid slide down her throat.
The two friends sat, drinking their hot chocolate, in companionable silence for awhile before the front door slammed open.
"Lu? Lu!" Nick called almost frantically.
Andy sat her mug down and called back, "We're up here."
Nick's footsteps pounded hurriedly up the staircase.
Andy took Lu's mug and set it aside, then stood and walked out in the hall.
Nick reached the top of the stairs and rushed toward the bedroom, only to be stopped by Andy's restraining grip.
"Nick..." Andy spoke calmly. She put one hand on each of his shoulders as he tried to move around her. "Nicholas." Andy spoke more forcefully and held the young dark haired doctor motionless, "Look at me Nicholas."
Nick turned to face his colleague, concern for his wife flooded his eyes and spilled across his face.
"She's ok." Andy said quietly.
Nick nodded silently.
"The baby's gone," Andy continued, then quickly added, "But Lu's ok."
Nick nodded again and wiped away tears before they could fall.
Andy slowly released her grip on Nick, "Go take care of your wife."
Nick ran in the bedroom and practically fell onto the bed, he wrapped his arms around Lu and pulled her into a tight embrace.
"I'm sorry... I'm so sorry." Lu sobbed.
"Shhhh... It's ok." Nick pulled his heartbroken wife even closer, trying to soothe her sobs.
"No..." she cried, "It's not." Her words became muffled as she buried her head between her husband's shoulder and neck. "This is the fifth time in four years."
"Shhhh..." he soothed again, "It's ok. We're gonna figure something out, I promise."
Andy's heart broke for her best friend. She wiped her own tears away as she quietly slipped downstairs and out of the house.
A Few Minutes Later
Andy sighed as she slowly made her way back into the Rittenhouse Women's Health Center. "Lana... I'll be upstairs if a patient comes in or if you need me for anything."
Lana looked up from her desk and frowned in concern, "Are you ok?"
"Umm humm, " Andy replied tiredly, "I just need to talk to my husband."
"Alright baby girl." Lana's motherly tone took over. "I'll page you if anyone comes in," she said as Andy walked away.
"Thanks." Andy called over her shoulder just before stepping in the elevator and taking it up a couple of floors. She ran her fingers through her hair and walked down the hall. Running her hand over the nameplate, Dr. Milo Morton, she knocked lightly before opening the door.
Milo looked up and smiled, "Hi sweetheart." His smile faded when he saw the sadness in Andy's eyes, "What's wrong?"
Andy stepped in the office and closed the door, "Lu lost the baby."
"Oh no," Milo sighed and put his pen down. "Again?"
Andy nodded and sat down on Milo's office couch, "Honey," she said quietly. "We need to talk..."