Claire Redfield tucked her fiery red bangs behind her ears. Reaching in the pocket on her uniform, her tired eyes read that it was just after midnight.
One more filet and I'm out of here, she reminded herself as she rubbed her eyes to try and keep herself awake.
The hospital had been surprisingly quiet for a Friday night, though she wasn't complaining. It meant that, for the first time in a long time, she would actually get off work on time. It was strange how the number of drunken injuries were nearly nonexistent, but she shrugged it off and dove back into her papers.
Claire kept her head down and wrote on her last patient's file. The teenaged girl had recovered quite well, which was a relief. For a while, Claire was scared that she wasn't going to be able to push through her injuries.
Claire shuddered when she thought about the state the girl had entered her hospital in. Her body was torn, beaten and broken from her collision with the cement road. It was accidents like that that made Claire rethink her love for motorcycles.
"Hey sis. Working hard, or hardly working?"
Claire looked up into the face of her older brother and shot him a sarcastic smile. "Bite me, Chris." She turned back to her paper work, the tip of her pen running across the white paper rapidly. Almost done.
"Tsk, is that any way to talk to a potential patient? Where's your boss, I want to make a complaint." Chris said, scanning the room for a doctor or senior nurse. An older nurse across the room glanced over to him, a confused look on her face.
Claire stood up and slapped him on the arm. "Shut up, Chris. You're going to get me in trouble again." Claire turned to the other nurse and shot her a reassuring smile. "Don't worry; it's just my crazy brother again."
The older nurse nodded and laughed, shaking her head as she exited the room. Claire crossed her arms over her chest and stared at Chris, her smile quickly fading. Chris chuckled at the serious vibe that suddenly came over his little sister's face.
"Your crazy brother was wondering if you were finished work yet. I thought maybe I'd drive you home."
Claire closed the file she had been working on and set it on top of a pile of brown folders. She continued to clean up her desk, her deep blue eyes darting back and forth between her mess and her brother.
"I should have known you didn't just come to say hi." Claire shook her head. "Always with your ulterior motives."
"I don't think it's an ulterior motive to make sure my little sister gets home okay. You know I'm not a fan of you getting off work so late, let alone going home by yourself."
"And just how did you know what time I was getting off work?" Claire asked, raising an eyebrow.
"A little birdie named Jill Valentine told me."
"Of course she did." Claire smiled as she walked out from behind the desk. "Let me just go grab my things and I'll meet you out here, okay?"
Claire walked into the break room and reached for her lock. At least she wouldn't have to wait in the cold for the bus. She was grateful that Chris had a tendency to pick her up from work when she worked late, but she would never tell him that.
"I swear Claire; good looks seriously run in your family."
Claire glanced back as she pulled her jacket out of her locker. She smiled at the older woman who had been in the other room with her and Chris.
"Your brother is gorgeous."
"You should tell him that, Anne. Although I think you may hurt his poor manhood if he hears you call him gorgeous." Claire couldn't help but laugh as she closed her locker, turning her lock back to zero. Why did women always gawk at her brother?
Anne let out a loud laugh and waved at Claire as she headed out of the break room. "You have a good night, darling. Enjoy your weekend off."
That's right; she had totally forgotten that she had the weekend off. It was her first weekend off in months, and, of course, she had no plans. She let out a sigh as she walked back to Chris, her hands dug deep into her jacket pocket. He pushed himself off his chair and walked beside her as they headed to his car in the parking lot.
"Something wrong, kiddo?" Chris asked as he climbed into the driver's seat of his car. Claire shook her head but remained silent as she closed the passenger door, reaching back for the seatbelt.
"I'm just tired, that's all."
Chris turned the key in the ignition and took off down the deserted road. "I can tell. These twelve hour shifts are killing you. Maybe you should ask for some time off?"
"Chris, I can't ask for time off already. I just started this job a few months ago. And now with all this H1N1 panic…there's no way I could get time off."
"Lloyd doesn't mind you working so much? Your schedules are almost completely opposite. Do you even see him that much anymore?"
Lloyd. Her fiancé.
Of course she hardly saw him anymore. He got up for work at six o'clock in the morning, and most of Claire's shifts ran from twelve in the afternoon to midnight, or vice versa. When Claire got up for work, Lloyd was already gone to work. And when she got home from work, he was fast asleep in their bed. And if she was starting her shift in the night, it was just as bad.
It was putting a serious strain on her relationship, but she was doing something that she absolutely loved, and there was no two ways around it. Once she built seniority at work she could ask for better hours or maybe a day or two off here and there. But until then, she had to grit her teeth and go along with whatever hours they handed her. Which, with her luck, were the hours that no senior nurse wanted to volunteer for.
"He understands that it's not my choice. We make time for each other, there's no need to worry about it." She assured him. She kept her eyes straight and focused on the row of streetlights that stood so tall above their car.
When they passed a street sign, she suddenly jumped up in her seat and turned to Chris. "Hey, you're not taking me home; my home is the other way. Chris, where the hell are we going?"
Chris pulled to a slow stop when the lights in front of them turned red. A few drunken teenagers stumbled to make it to the other side of the street, their laughter ringing out into the darkness of the night.
"Oh, I didn't tell you? Someone's in town and wanted to meet with the old gang again."
A sudden wave of nausea came over Claire. The car became so silent that she was scared Chris could hear her heart beating at a thousand miles an hour.
She and Leon hadn't parted on the best terms. They remained in touch over the years, in fact, if it weren't for him, she probably would have died on Rockfort Island. But the bitterness of how she was so quick to leave in Raccoon City was something that never quite settled between them.
Leon held it against her for too long. He said it was incredibly selfish and irresponsible for her to leave Sherry behind like that. But she believed that what she did was right. Her brother, her only flesh and blood, was out there somewhere, in danger from Umbrella, and she was going to stop at nothing to find him and bring him back alive and unharmed.
That action left Leon alone with Sherry, and the terrified little girl crying out for the comfort Claire had brought to her life for those few short hours. And though they had moved on, he had never truly forgiven her.
"Well, thanks for the heads up before throwing me into the fiery pits of hell, big brother."