Doctor Trent's POV

I looked at the clock and sighed impatiently. Business at the clinic was unusually slow for the day. Not one person had come by. Not even Jeff who usually came twice a day regarding his stomach aches. I refrained myself from giving another sigh and forced myself to continue reading my periodical. I didn't even finish a page before the sound of a ceramic mug being placed on the table derailed my train of thought. I peered into the mug at the murky brown liquid curiously, and then wandered upwards. It was none other than my receptionist, Elli.

"Milk coffee," she smiled. "Two sugars."

I was about to open my mouth to begin lecturing the unhealthiness of too much sugar—something she had heard many occasions prior—but I chose to opt out of the usual routine. Instead, I took the mug in my hands. "Thank you."

"It's no problem," she replied. After an extended period of silence, she added, "The abandoned farm."

I lifted an eyebrow in confusion. "Excuse me?"

"Um, I mean...did you meet the new farmer yet? I heard she moved here back in spring to take over the abandoned farm."

"Not yet. She's rather rude, isn't she?" I murmured. I wasn't particularly fond of this so-called new farmer and I hadn't even met her yet. It was already two seasons since she moved to Mineral Town and she didn't even have the decency to introduce herself properly.

Elli saw the annoyance in my eyes and smiled. "Now, now...that's not a nice thing to say. She's very friendly. I'm sure she has a good reason why she hasn't come by. She seemed fairly busy when I ran into her at the supermarket a few days ago."

"Excuses," I muttered darkly before standing from the seat and walking to the front window of the clinic. Elli sighed. She knew I had strict mannerisms due to the way I was raised, but I suppose she still wasn't used to it. Maybe she never would be. "Unusually quiet today, isn't it?"

She nodded her head in agreement. "Yes, it is. I suppose it's a myth when they say colds are more common in fall and winter."

The tips of my fingers touched the cool glass. We stood in silence as I watched the raindrops race down the window. Judging by the sun's location I assumed there was at least an hour left before we could close up. "You can take the rest of the day off."

"No, it's okay. I want to stay here with you."

"I insist. You deserve it."

I caught her reflection in the window and noticed the fallen expression on her face. I knew she wanted to stay even before I suggested she leave, but there was no point. Her eyes wandered to the clock that hung on the wall. "I understand."

I heard her feet shuffle towards her desk and seconds later she passed me by bidding a see you tomorrow. Once she left, I finished the coffee and walked towards the desk; deciding to finish reading for the day. Now that I was alone, I was free to let my thoughts roam.

The lack of business for the clinic worried me. I wasn't worried about going bankrupt due to the fact that the town funded the clinic, but I disliked making Elli stay when there was nothing to do. I resisted the idea of a receptionist when I came from the city a few years ago to open the clinic. The town was tiny and I was confident I could handle anything on my own.

My first patient was her grandmother, Ellen. I visited her house quite frequently which is how I met Elli. She was a friendly girl, just shy of her seventeenth birthday. Overtime Ellen told me of Elli's feelings for me, but the age gap between us intimidated me. I was twenty-two and I had just finished a four-year intensive course for medicine—she was still a girl. She didn't know what she wanted and neither did I.

I jumped at a sudden banging on the door and I instantly knew it was an emergency. Rushing to the door, I flicked the doorknob open and saw the pink-haired chicken farmer along with the red-headed barmaid soaked from head to toe supporting an unconscious blonde.

Popuri seemed to be having difficulty supporting the weight, so I rushed to her side to take over. "What happened?"

"W-We found her...passed out in front of the mine." Popuri answered, having to stop to catch her breath several times.

We rushed inside the clinic and placed her on the patient bed. I checked her vital signs. She was still breathing, but color was drained from her face. I could tell it had been a few hours before Ann and Popuri stumbled across her.

A good hour elapsed and thanks to the two females, we put the blonde in clean, dry clothes and tucked her back into bed.

"Is she going to be alright?" Ann worried.

I closed the blue curtain to let the patient rest. They were good friends, sticking around until they heard the diagnosis. "She's going to be fine; she just needs some rest. It's a good thing you two found her when you did. Now you should head home and dry yourselves off. It would be a shame if you caught pneumonia due to this."

Popuri shook her head, but Ann nodded hers. "You're right...Call me if anything happens. Let's go Popuri."

Wordlessly, Popuri nodded her head and followed Ann out the door. Now alone, I entered the resting ward and studied the blonde whose name I still didn't know. She was attractive, delicate features like high-cheekbones and long-slender fingers. She was too fragile to be working on a farm. Women had no business being farmers, it was dangerous work.

I covered her more with the thick wool blanket and watched her sleep. She looked peaceful, now that more color was returning to her face. When I was sure she would be all right, I locked the clinic, headed upstairs and went to bed.

The next morning came around and after I got ready for another day of work, I walked down the stairs to check on her. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the bed was...empty. I quickly scanned the clinic. There were no signs of a break-in of any sort—I made sure to lock the front door before I went to bed. Where did she go? Did she simply get up and leave without telling me?

"What the hell."