Please don't die. Please don't die. Please don't die. Not today. Please.
"Call it, Dr. Swan."
Apparently no amount of begging was going to work today. I just couldn't call time of death for a third time today. I couldn't. They couldn't call him if I kept working on him.
"That's enough Dr. Swan. Call it."
There was no mistaking the disappointment in his tone. I put the paddles down and with a heavy sigh, glanced at the clock.
"Time of death, 17:37." My voice, to my complete embarrassment, cracked. What was wrong with me today? God, I had to get out of here.
In my haste to get the hell out of that room, I nearly trampled two nurses and a fellow resident. Move people, can't you seem I'm about to have a panic attack? I didn't even make it outside before the tears started. I tried to brush them off my cheeks, but I couldn't keep up with the steady stream. Oh fuck it. They can all kiss my ass. I'm on the verge of a mental breakdown, what do I care if anyone sees me crying.
I reached the back to door the alley and threw it open. I launched myself into the alley and took a deep shuddering breath, and immediately coughed, then gagged. It smelled like cigarettes, piss and vomit. Nice. Well, it was sure clearing my head. Nothing puts your life into perspective like the stench of human excrement.
Right, pull your shit together, Bella, and walk back in there. You can do this. You will do this.
I pulled my scrubs over my face and took a few deep breaths. I pulled on the door handle. Locked. Of course it is. I'm living in my own personal nightmare, and it includes wading through the puddles in the alley. I was going to need to buy a big bottle of bleach for my shoes. As I walked, I tried to wipe the tear tracks off my face, and hoped that my eyes weren't completely bloodshot. The blast of cool air hit me and I held my head up high as I crossed the threshold, only to trip on the mat. My arms splayed out and I started into a sort of jog to keep myself from falling. God, only me.
I stopped completely when I was confident I wouldn't take a header to the floor, and raised my head to see the most delicious man in the world walk by, completely oblivious to me. Well, lucky me, he didn't see my graceful entrance. His head was down, his eyebrows were furrowed, and he looked both deep in thought and extremely troubled. His stride was powerful across the floor, his lean arms swung lightly at his sides and his long fingers were swinging a pen in-between them. Guh. The manual dexterity. I watched him cross the lobby and my mind wandered to a place I usually reserved for me time. What was I doing? Right, back to face Dr. Banner. Joy. Chin up, Bella.
Wow, he does not look happy at all. This was not going to be fun.
"Bella. We need to have a talk."
"Yes, Dr.Banner." My voice had lost all its volume.
I watched as he turned and stalked down the hallway. My sneakers squeaked against the linoleum as I tried to match his long strides.
"In here, Dr. Swan."
I brushed past him into the cramped office. The dark paneling and cracked leather chairs had seen better days. His desk was overflowing, and there was an oscillating metal fan pointed towards the stationary wingback chair behind the desk, blowing dustmotes into a sliver of light coming from the tiny window. The leather creaked as I sat down, and I shifted my weight uncomfortably. He sat down across from me and just stared at my face. The silence was oppressive. I could feel it pressing down on all sides of me. God, I was going to start having another panic attack.
"We all kill patients."
Well, that wasn't what I expected.
"None of those deaths were your fault today, Bella. I say today because ONE day it will be your fault. Ninety percent of the decisions we make here are in reference to life or death situations, and we aren't perfect. We are only human, but we can try our hardest and learn when to let go and when to keep fighting the good fight. " His voice was hard, but his eyes were softening.
"I'm trying sir, I just… I couldn't let another one die on me. It was just too much death for one day. I felt like I was failing him." The words fell out of me in a strangled sob.
"I want you to take a couple days off—"
"What? No. I'm totally fine. I just needed some air." Please.
"No, Dr. Swan, you are not fine. You need to take the next couple of days off and rethink what it is you're doing here. You need to regroup, and most of all, you need to prepare for the next time a patient dies on you and it IS your fault." His voice was all finality.
I wasn't going to get out of this.
"Yes sir." I got out of the creaky chair and headed for the locker room, grabbing my jacket and bolting for the doors before the tears leaked over again.
"Argh!!" My body hit something solid, and I looked up into eyes so green my soul felt pierced through. My breath left my lungs in a whoosh. Dr. Masen again. God, did he have impeccable timing or what? Humiliation in front of the hot doctor, take two.
"I'm so sorry, I really need to watch where I'm going," my voice was rising as I fought the tears, I started backing towards the doors, "I'm such a klutz. I promise it won't happen again! Sorry if I stepped on your feet!"
The doors opened behind me I went into a straight sprint towards my car. As I fumbled for my keys in my purse, I let the drizzle mix with my tears. Today couldn't have gone any worse. Maybe I wasn't cut out for this after all.