(I own nothing!)
"You're pregnant." I motion to my tummy, making an arch to show a swollen stomach. She looks at me in confusion before nearly crying and what I think is cursing at me. I am trying to hand her a tissue when Charlie walks past the door.
"Charlie!" He stops and back peddles to the door. "I need your help. I just tried to tell this woman that she's pregnant and now she's crying, and I have no clue why." I throw my hands up in exasperation.
Charlie turns to her and says something in Spanish. The woman motions angrily at me before replying. Charlie says something motioning to me and the woman's face lights up and squeals something in Spanish. She takes my hand and shakes it vigorously, smiling, before leaving, in a whirl of bright colors.
"What?" I ask warily. "Why was she crying?"
"She thought you were calling her fat." I groan and lean against the examining table.
"Charlie, you are a lifesaver."
"I know." I wrap an arm around him and kiss his cheek. His face goes bright red and he runs off.
"You know you just made his year, right?" I roll my eyes and turn to face Mina.
"Very funny." I fill out the woman's file.
"Well, not only is he too young for me, but he is also not my type." I take a sip of black tar, better known as what passes for coffee here.
"Let me guess, your type is tall with an Australian accent and do-me hair?" I choke and glare at her.
"Not funny." I snap, still spluttering.
"I wasn't joking. So why haven't you and Dr. Hot gotten together yet?"
"Because it's not like that!" Plus I hadn't talked to Dr. Keeton since meeting his wife and that was well over a week ago. I had flipped through his wife's file. It wasn't good, she was pretty much brain dead, with only her lower brain functions still working. She was a living breathing husk of what was once his wife, her mind and everything that made her human long since lost.
I sigh and turn back to the task at hand. Dr. Keeton had taken Dr. Cole and Dr. Alvarez with him into the jungle to deal with an outbreak of the flu that had turned deadly fast. Dr. Clark had taken Tommy with her to the new village to build a latrine. So Mina and I were left to hold down the fort, the very-boring-nothing-interesting-happening fort.
I run out to the main waiting room, Mina hot on my heels. I skid into the room to see a male tourist screaming at a terrified nurse.
"WHERE IS SHE?" He yells at the poor woman, having long since brought her to tears.
"Hello, sir? My name is Lily Brenner; I'm a doctor here at the clinic. Is there something I can help you with?" I ask being as polite as I can. Something about this guy sets off my 'Uh Oh' meter.
"Yeah, you can tell me where that lying skank of a girlfriend of mine is!" I wince at his language.
"What's her name?" I walk over to the filing cabinet.
"Holly Mortar." Mina shoots me a look. I didn't need to look for her file, I couldn't forget her. She had come here three days ago with malaria. She told us that her ex-boyfriend would come looking for her and not to tell him anything, just that she left. I remember looking at the bruises on her arms, bruises that the man in front of me gave her.
"I'm sorry, but Ms. Mortar doesn't want to see you." That part was true. Her father owned a small airplane company and had sent one of his pilots to pick her up at exactly 4:00.
"Tell me where she is!" His spittle sprinkles in gobs onto my face. I wipe the spit off my face and glance at my watch. 4:35. She would be long gone by now.
"She isn't here and she didn't tell us where she was going." I say calmly. His face goes from red to an ugly shade of puce.
"Don't lie to me!"
"I'm not lying, sir. She isn't here." I hear Mina's horrified gasp and then a blinding pain shoots though my right cheek. I fall to the floor banging my head hard on the floor.
"Lily!" I can hear Mina shouting, but it's muffled through the pain in my head. Everything hurts or goes numb and I can't breathe. I struggle for oxygen and finally am rewarded with a lung full of air.
I feel the man's fist in my hair as he pulls me up to my knees.
"You have till tomorrow to find out where she is or I knock out all those pretty little teeth. You understand me, bitch?" He snarls in my face, his putrid breath making me want to puke.
"What the hell is going on here?" I force my eyes open to see Tommy and Ryan in my periphery, moving toward us. The man throws me back onto the floor before turning and storming off.
I slowly stand, stumbling slightly, my legs wobbling uncontrollably.
"Are you okay?" Mina grabs my arm helping me to stay standing. I feel her hand touch my cheek and I flinch away.
"What the hell was that?" Ryan snaps, storming up to us and dragging me over to a bed. She began checking me for head trauma.
"Remember Holly Mortar? That was her boyfriend. He wasn't too thrilled to find out she ran out on him." I wince as she moves on to assess the damage to my face.
"Mina, would you go get me an icepack?" I mutter softly trying not to move my jaw.
"Spell your name backwards." Ryan says flashing a penlight in my eye.
"YLIL RENNERB" I recite.
"Well you're fine except for that nasty bruise, no concussion. I don't think you have any brain damage either but we'll check again in the morning. I'll go get you some painkillers."
"I don't need them." I say taking the icepack from Mina; I move to place it on my cheek when Ryan pokes me on said bruised cheek. I curse a blue streak, clutching the side of my face. When the pain dies down I glare at Ryan and take the proffered ibuprofen.
The day moves on with my cheek feeling like it had a shotgun blast through it. Charlie cheers me up and, after staring horrified at my cheek, swears vengeance for me; I laugh and inform him that the man would have eaten him for a snack.
The bruise spreads to cover most of the right side of my face. The villagers ask about the bruise, but I leave the explanations to the other doctors. Fuller had been very angry that I am hurt, we had bonded over the months, and he is now like an older brother to me. Mina brings lunch and we all sit down and munch on fresh fruit and sandwiches, me taking small bites so as to not hurt my jaw any more than it already is. We might have enjoyed lunch a little better if someone hadn't come in in the middle of it with severe colon dysfunction.
Many hours, questions and diagnoses later, I relax on one of the benches out front of the clinic with the rest of the doctors, a new icepack resting on my bruise.
"We're back." I crack open an eye to see Keeton, Alvarez and Cole walking up the front steps toward us. I shift so that the right side of my face isn't visible.
"How was the trip?" Mina asks, not looking up from her case file.
"Exciting enough, you know, vomit on your shoes and people constantly whining. How tediously boring was it here?"
"Not at all, Holly Mortar's ex-boyfriend came in here and decided that hitting someone was the best way to figure out where she is." Ryan says picking at the paint on the bench.
"He hit a patient?"
"Not a patient." Ryan nods in my direction, well so much for discretion.
I lean my head to look at them, removing the icepack to give them the full affect.
Zee storms over to me and tilts my head to the side to get a better look. "Did you give her any pain medication?"
Ryan nods her head. "I gave her some about five hours ago." I wince as Zee prods the bruise.
"Well, I'll go get you some more." She says moving my head around for a better look.
"No, thank you, I don't much care for drugs." I say pulling my head away from her grasp.
"You sleep on your right side?" She asks staring into my eyes with the 'you will do as I say because I know better' look.
"Yeah." I shrug.
"Then you'll want the drugs." Zee turns and walks off to the medicine cabinet. Cole calls Ryan, Tommy and Mina over to discuss the drug regimen for the village so that he can send them tomorrow instead of going himself. I sigh. I had only been hit in the face, I mean sure it hurt like a bitch but that didn't mean that I couldn't help out.
I jump as a hand grabs my face, tilting it up. I see the deep blue eyes of Ben Keeton, and the look in them is calculating and concerned. But what is sitting behind the concern is a look that twists my insides with fear. Keeton is angry. He strokes my cheek, examining the damage for himself. I flinch at the contact and a shard of something frightening flashes in his eyes.
We sit there like that for what seem like millennia, just staring at each other paralyzed, one from anger and the other fear. I'm not scared of Keeton; I'm frightened of what Keeton might do. But what terrifies me is why that look might be on his face.
"You really should take the painkillers; they'll help the swelling go down." And with that he walks away. I place my hand on my cheek where he touched it.
I don't notice Dr. Cole in the doorway a look of worry on his face as he bites off a piece of candy.
I also don't sleep that night, both the man's threat and the look in Keeton's eyes haunting my every thought.
I walk into the clinic without my usual smile not because I'm not happy but because my face hurts too much to move. I'm presented with painkillers and a smile from Ryan before I'm even inside the front door. I give a small nod and down the pills. Then it's off to work as usual.
The day drags and I jump at every shadow and creak. I can still feel the man's breath on the back of my neck and his words ring in my ears. I shiver, practically feeling his eyes on me, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up because someone is watching me. I look around trying to see who, but no one in the waiting room is staring at me with the intensity of the eyes on me. I don't feel scared, I almost feel calm for the first time today. Huh.
Later I groan in pain as I stumble back out of surgery. We had gotten an emergency out in the jungle. A woman had been attacked by a puma on a trip through the mountains, and to say the trip had been to hell and back twice would have been an understatement. We had taken the bike as far as we could but the trail became treacherous fast and we were forced to walk, with a full medical bag and stretcher, for three miles up hill.
When we finally reached the woman she had lost a lot of blood and was going into shock, her stomach had been torn to shreds and she had internal bleeding. We used coconuts to replace the blood she lost and used up all the gauze and thread to stop as much bleeding as possible. Then Keeton and I carried her down the mountain to the truck on the stretcher with the six coconuts, only two of which were carried by her hiking companions. We had to leave the bike and walk two extra miles till we got to the truck. Then it was four hours in surgery to fix the damage.
I walk out onto the porch, enjoying the night air on my skin, cooling it from the hard day's work. The other doctors are on the front porch but I liked the view from the back better. It is of the jungle instead of the village. The stars wink down at me from between the trees, the moon sending splashes of light across the ground. I breathe in deep the smell of palm trees as the sound of birds and insects dance around my ears.
"Hello, Lily Brenner." I jerk around to see the man from yesterday standing not four feet from me. "You ready to tell me where that lying bitch is?" I step back trying to put as much room as possible between us.
"You come any closer and I'll scream." I warn him as he steps closer.
"They won't hear you, everyone already left. It's just you and me. So, why don't you be a good little bitch and tell me where she is?"
"I already told you I don't know." I can feel the fear creep up my neck as my chest tightens.
"Well, now, what are we going to do about this? I've been more than fair and you just keep lying to me."
"I'm not lying! I don't know where she is!" I try to back up more but my back hits a wall and I'm trapped.
"I guess I'll just have to beat it out of you then." He raises his hand and I squeeze my eyes shut.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you." My eyes snap open at the sound of Keeton's voice. The man is on his knees, Keeton twisting the man's arm painfully behind his back. Standing next to him are several not-so-happy-looking police officers. The police cuff the man and Keeton turns to me.
"You okay?" I nod, slumping against the wall, not trusting my voice or my legs as the moment. His hand comes to rest under my chin tilting my head up to look at him. I know that he can see the tear streaks on my face.
His arms come up around me pulling me to him. He's warm and strong and I melt and God do I sound like a trashy romance novel.
"You stupid bitch, I'll make sure you and this stupid clinic pay for this!" The man snarls at me. Keeton pulls away and turns to face the man.
"That reminds me." And he slugs the man straight across the jaw. "That is for hitting Lily, and if you ever lay a hand on her again I'll rip it off." His voice is low and dangerous, sending shivers down my spine.
The police drag the man off into the night. I stare at Keeton.
"What?" He asks, his blue eyes the color of midnight in the moon light.
"Nothing…It's just you've never called me by my name before." I'm drowning in his eyes, lost in a sea of blue. "And you do realize that hitting someone goes against your Hippocratic Oath?" He stares at me.
"You are the only person I know who can worry about something like that at a time like this. This is the jungle; we don't have Hippocratic Oaths here." And suddenly it's awkward. His face is close to mine and I really want to kiss him.
"Why did you hit him?" I ask, still looking into his eyes.
"He hit you, it was only fair." He shrugs.
"Is that the only reason?" He doesn't say anything. I lean in and kiss him gently on the cheek.
"That's all? I broke my Hippocratic Oath for you." He teases.
"I thought you said there wasn't one here?" He smiles and looks out at the jungle. "Goodnight, Dr. Keeton." I turn and leave him to the night. I make it only five steps when a hand grabs my arm.
"Wha-" I turn and a pair of warm lips close over mine. I wrap my arms around his neck and his hands grip my hips. His mouth is hot on mine, demanding all of me. His tongue caresses mine and the stubble on his cheeks scrap lightly against my face. Slowly he pulls away, looking down at me still wrapped in his arms.