"Hold the elevator!" she called, rushing down the wide hospital corridor, struggling to pull on her lab coat while trying to balance her scalding takeaway coffee. The doors shut just before she reached them and she cursed loudly before pressing the call button. She was late for rounds again. It was so unlike her to be late for anything. She just couldn't understand why. Grace was an early riser, in all of her twenty four years she had never been late for anything important. The intern-ship was incredibly important to her. it was always her dream to be a doctor ever since she was a small child, all she ever wanted to do, but for some reason she simply could not get to sleep the last few nights, and when she finally did nod off, it was to fall into disturbing and terrifying nightmares and no alarm in the world was loud enough to wake her. She was dead on her feet and was about to get into a lot of trouble for being late for the second day in a row.
She waited impatiently, eyes glued to the elevator doors and foot tapping loudly on the floor as the numbers above the lift counted down to zero and the doors opened with a ping. She jumped back in shock and avoided being knocked over by the agitated looking man that barrelled out of the lift and down the hall, Grace glimpsed dark hair and a scowling face before he disappeared. Stepping into the elevator she stood next to the only other occupant while waiting for her heart to stop trying to escape out of her chest. To calm, she rubbed the crescent shaped birthmark on her wrist as she always did when nervous. Only then did she chance a glance at the man beside her. "Hi Kain, thank god I'm not the only late one today" she greeted her fellow intern. The extremely handsome, sandy haired, tall, tan, flirty, insanely hot and usually chatty man who stood beside her merely grunted in response. He straightened his shirt and jacket, glaring ahead before turning his attentions to his hair which was in disarray.
Grace wondered why the man who had left the elevator in such a rush had been so agitated, had they fought. It certainly looked like it. Well whatever it was had put the Adonis who stood beside her into a very bad mood. She used the awkward silence as an excuse to try to fix her own hair in the mirrored doors. She looked like someone who wasn't sleeping, her skin looked awful, and her dark brown hair a mess and she could have carried her shopping in the bags under her normally bright blue eyes the attempt had to be abandoned as the doors opened with another ping on their intended floor. Grace sighed and went to meet her fate.
They quickly found their fellow interns in a group being questioned by their resident, Dr Kaplan; a short, balding man in his fifties with more knuckle and ear hair than seemed right for any man to possess. "Ah here come the stragglers, I can't say I'm surprised at you Evans but Mr. Anthrope I am disappointed. The look on his face was not one of disappointment but rather that of satisfaction, he loved to shout at them, particularly at her of late, it was his favourite hobby after firing questions at them and belittling them in front of the rest if they got theirs wrong. "I'm so sorry Dr Kaplan I-" she began before being cut off by Kain "a patient was seizing at the nurses' station, we got held up there." Dr Kaplan narrowed his eyes in disappointment, looking from one of them to the other before shrugging and returning to his favourite hobby. "Dr. Evans, a patient presents with eye pain and blurred vision. Protocol?" Of course, she should have known he would pick on her. With her tired appearance and recent streak of tardiness she may as well have held up a sign which read easy target in big red letters. Luckily for her she had a flatmate who was obsessed with neurology and made her ask him questions on flash cards whenever she had a spare moment. "Check the patient's vision and ability to perceive colours along with a pupillary light reaction test and an opthalmoscapy" she answered, spotting her flatmate in the crowd and trying not to smile as he threw her a wink and a thumbs up. Dr Kaplan grunted in acknowledgement of her answer and moved on to his next victim.
twelve hours, twenty patient history reports, endless chart filling hours shadowing Dr Kaplan around the hospital and way too much coffee later grace stood by her locker swapping her lab coat for her jacket and scarf she sat down on the bench that stretched out across one wall and closed her eyes. Just for a minute. She told herself. The next thing she knew she was shook awake by gentle hands. "Grace. Your shift ended hours ago come on" she opened her eyes to see Kain standing above her looking worried. "Are you ok?" he asked. She felt her cheeks turn bright red when she discovered that she had been drooling in her sleep. Quickly wiping away the dried saliva and rubbing the sleep from her eyes she nodded, yeah I'm just tired thanks for waking me."
He smiled as he sat beside her. "I've been pretty wrecked this week too. If I didn't know any better id say it had something to do with the moon." grace had been wondering about that herself. every month when the moon was full she had always suffered from headaches and the kind of ringing in her ear one gets after coming out of a nightclub or concert, of course this sudden bout of exhaustion was different but something told her she was on the right track with the theory. "Anyway" he continued, breaking her reverie. "Come on I'll give you a lift home" he then cut off her attempts to protest; "it's on my way and what kind of friend would I be if I let you drive in this condition? Especially seeing as I was such an ass in the elevator this morning" she then blurted out without thinking "that guy in the elevator seemed to be in a big rush what was that about?" Kain looked a little uncomfortable for a second but then his friendly smile returned. She instantly regretted asking "I'm sorry it's absolutely none of my business" he shook his head "No I'm sorry, I should have been friendlier, especially to you grace."
She looked up into his near perfect face; every feature symmetrical apart from a silvery scar that ran about two inches across his forehead. His eyes were dark brown pools and now that she got a close look at them she saw the tiniest flecks of red around the irises, it was mesmerising and she found herself following him out to his car. She couldn't help but take a sneaky peak as he walked in front of her and she most definitely liked what she saw.
Kain's car was not one that could be paid for out of their pay check. It was magnificent. Sleek and red, it seemed a waste to drive such a wonderful piece of machinery through the city; it belonged on roads where it could stretch its legs so to speak. She relaxed in the passenger seat and nearly fell asleep again once or twice during the short journey but the thought of drooling in his car helped keep her alert.
When they pulled up outside the house he got out and opened her door. Grace could only try not to embarrass herself as she fumbled her way out of the low vehicle and thanked him for a lift. "I'll pick you up on my way tomorrow so you can get your car" he offered. "I can just get a lift in with matt it's no bother" she replied awkwardly "nonsense, see you round seven" then he did something she did not expect and could not believe. The vision of perfection before her in tight fitting suit pants and a fashionable, expensive pink shirt with his wonderful brown eyes and out of this world car reached down and kissed her, the banger driving, short, brown haired girl with a crow's nest on her head and dried saliva on her face. he kissed her right on the cheek before smiling at her as though there was no drool or messy hair, as though she looked the opposite of her short, pale, banger driving self, before he got back into his car and drove off.
Dazed, grace walked through the gate and down the footpath to the house she shared with her two best friends. Matt was already gone to bed but Sofia was up. Sofia was a vet nurse and Matts childhood friend. grace had moved in with them before beginning her internship at the regional after responding to their advertisement online. the bacame quick friends. grace sat next to her on the couch where she was perched typing away on her laptop and watching a movie. "Kain brought me home" grace said in greeting and a complete disection of the whole encounter ensued. by the time grace got up to her bed she no longer felt tired. it was happening again, the same as the night before and the one before that ; she would go to bed completely exhausted and then all of a sudden be wide awake.
after a few hours of tossing and turning, then reading, she gave up the attempt and decided to go down to the kitchen. as she took her dressing gown from the wardrobe she spotted the glare of the moon through a crack in the curtains. grace pulled back the plain cream material that matched her bed clothes and stared out at the cloudless night sky. the moon shone into the room, round and it seemed to her, mocking. was it true what Kain had said? she shook her head, dispelling the thought, a few headaches around the same time as the moon was full didnt explain her lack of sleep, most likely it was stress and the long hours she was working. another reason popped into her thoughts and she turned to glare at the calender hanging above her desk in the corner by the door to her en suite, the squares marking the days filled with appointments and reminders, the days she was scheduled to work and the hours marked in with different colour pens. she stormed past it out the door and into the dark hall. grace refused point blank to let those kind of thoughts intrude upon her. she pushed back memories that threatened to overwhelm her and descended the stairs to the kitchen as quietly as possible.
just as she reached for the light switch graces eyes flicked over to the window. the blinds were left up and she could see out into the moonlit garden. for a fraction of a second she was sure she caught a glimpse of movement outside by the bushes that lined the wall separating their garden from the one next door. she blinked and it was gone. her heart beat faster in her chest as she crossed the room and peered out. it was nothing, she determined after a moments searching, a trick of her tired mind. she still felt uneasy though as she poured water into the electric kettle and boiled it for her coffee. once it was made she hurried back upstairs without ever turning on the light, sure that if there had been someone out there it would have been near impossible for them to see her within the darkened room.
grace sipped her hot drink slowly while finishing some reports due for work. she looked around her tidy room wondering how she was going to pass the time till morning. outside the moon was all but gone from site and the sky was slowly becoming brighter. she felt tired again all of a sudden but knew that if she slept she would be late again. remembering that Kain was picking her up in a few hours filled her with excitement and she forgot all about her scare in the kitchen. grace grabbed some towels and entered the ensuite. a shower was just the thing to wake her up. afterwards she carefully applied makeup before thinking better of it and wiping it off. she rarely wore much makeup to work and kain might think she was trying too hard (which she had been) or trying to make up for the drooling (which she was. instead she applied a little mascara and some tinted moisturiser before drying and brushing her hair til it was tangle free. it ran down to her shoulder blades in soft waves.
grace went back down to the kitchen once the sun was fully up and refilled her coffee mug. after a few hours of morning television matt entered the room. "your up early" he said as a greeting. she nodded in reply. he looked out before turning to her "whered you park?" she allowed herself a smile. matt did not like kain and took every opportunity to badmouth him. " kain gave me a lift, i was too tired to drive." her smile became wider when his eyebrows shot right up into his hair. "why do you hate him so much anyway?" she asked. matt made himsef a cup of coffee before answering. "hes just so...i dunno i just have this image of him frenching his own reflection at every opportunity. hes so full of himself it sickens me." grace thought it might be envy that sickened her friend more so than anything else but kept it to herself. "do you need a lift?" he asked as she rinsed out her mug and left it on the draining board. just then a car honked outside. "no thanks" she replied, grabbing her things from the table "thatll be kain" she ran out calling a quick goodbye over her shoulder before closing the front door behind her.
kain was waiting by the passenger door of his stunning car. he held it open for her, closing it after she got in. graces stomach was full of butterflies. he got in and drove off in the direction of the hospital. "did you sleep well?" he asked. she shook her head "but at least im not late today." he smiled. "was a late one for me too." Grace watched the buildings nfly by wondering at the fact that kain never seemed to run into much traffic. She always managed to get stuck in the morning rush for work. Was he perfect in every respect? She took a crafty look at him out of the corner of her eye and decided that yes it was probably true. They reached the hospital in what must have been record time and he parked beside her beat up old banger which, beside his car looked even worse than usual.
Dr Kaplan raised an eyebrow when he discovered that she had arrived before him when he came skulking up to them a few minutes later. She wished she could think of some wonderful conversation starters as they waited for the rest of the interns but she was just so tired. the day dragged on after that even though she was kept busy long into the evening. She was stationed in a and e for most of the day along with the rest of her group. She didn't get another chance to talk to kain but she noticed every time he walked past with a patient. It was matt she ran into in the changing room before she left. " still not sleeping?" he asked. She shook her head in reply, conserving her energy for the drive home. "do you want me to go with you tomorrow? Sofias in too, if you want the company." Grace turned back to her locker and had to resist the urge to slam the door. she rued the day she had told them. "no Im fine to go on my own." He sighed. "grace, do you think that it might be the reason your not able to sleep? Maybe it would be good for you to talk about it." she turned back to face him. "no matt, thanks for the concern, but no." various concerned friends and family members had tried and failed to get her to "talk to someone" over the years and it just wasn't going to happen. some things, she thought, were better left unsaid. She wished she could take back ever letting it slip to her housemates after a few too many a couple of months before. "ill see you at home" with that she left him standing there looking worried.
The carpark was almost empty by then and she was glad of it. she got into her car and slammed the door shut, cursing herself, matt and everything else in her life. just as her eyes began to blur with tears she came to her senses. "no" she whispered almost silently. She was not about to feel sorry for herself. the past was the past and no amount of moping was going to change anything. She started the car and as the lights came on she thought she saw someone standing infront of her. grace was instantly reminded of the night before when she thought she had spotted someone in the garden and goosepimples instantly erupted all over her skin. once she had quickly blinked away her unshed tears she saw that there was no one there. the hairs on the back of her neck were still standing by the time she had driven out into the haze of traffic lights whose red lights plagued her the whole way home.
The next morning, after another night of sleep deprivation, Grace stood in the cemetery near her old home. the drive had seemed to be endless and no amount of early morning radio made the journey any faster. She didn't have to pay attention to where she was going as she made her way to her destination over neatly cut grass, grey, black and white tombstones on every side. She could have found it blindfolded at this stage.
She replaced the dying bouquets of flowers placed reverently before the shiny black marble stone with the ones she had brought and kneeled before them, staring at the names; Siobhann brady, born _ died_, taken too soon and below her sisters name was her parents sarah and Gerry brady.
she could feel the memories trying to invade her thoughts along with an overwhelming sadness. Oscar wilde wrote that to lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness. What did that say about her? she wondered.
After what seemed like no time at all she looked at her watch and was shocked to discover that several hours had passed. A funeral procession was entering the cemetery gates. Irt could have been someone she had known. She didn't stop to find out but rose and said her silent goodbyes to her adoptive parents and whispered a "happy birthday" to their daughter, her sister, who would have turned fifteen that day, she placed her hand atop the headstone for a moment before leaving. she didn't cry. She very rarely allowed herself to anymore; she feared if she did she might never stop.
An hour later, lost in memories she had promised herself she wouldn't get caught up in, grace didn't see the man walking across the road until it was too late. She braked, panic stricken, but knew it was a hopeless endevor. The car skidded to a halt and it took a moment for her to realise that there had been no crash. Her bonnet showed no signs of impact, her windshield was intact. Dazed she looked out the back window, her neck stiff from the sudden halt only to find no sign of a mangled body lying prone and twisted upon the ground.
She got out of the car on shaky legs and looked up and down the empty road, nothing. She even checked the ditches at each side but to no avail. She hoped she wasn't losing her mind as she got back into the car and drove back to the house in limerick where, thankfully, no one was home. she spent the rest of her day off sitting infront of the television after a long shower. She couldn't get the incident on the road out of her mind though, and found that after watching the tv for the evening she couldn't remember anything she had seen on it. the more she thought about it the surer she was that the man on the road had looked exactly like the man from the elevator the other day.