Oldies- ;) -Finally this story is going to end up how I want it to. YAY!
"White Rabbits on the Run" (Vanessa Carlton song)
The first twentyfour hours had been the most confusing.
At first he thought he'd gotten the wrong house. Turned up the wrong walkway. Because what he heard didn't make sense when staring at Charlotte King's house.
He knew it was Charlotte's house. But it didn't sound like Charlotte's house. He knew this because he knew this house. It was a quiet house. Charlotte was reserved and didn't want anyone messing with her, or even having the chance of having to be nice to someone- so when she got home from work she stayed home. Wouldn't even go sit on the porch because as she'd put it, "Someone might see me there and think that me standing on my own damn porch is an invitation, saying hey, come talk to me! When really what I'm saying is, this is my damn house and my damn porch. I worked all day dealing with stupid people. I don't want to work anymore dealing with you. Leave me alone."
He'd gotten her a doormat for Christmas. On the top of the mat in dark bold print was printed simply, "Leave".
Charlotte loved it.
He was staring at it right now under his feet. That's how he knew he was at the right house. But from inside that house he heard shrill laughter. Working around children all day it was a sound he could identify. It was a young girl laughing. And definitely not Charlotte King. So, he was curious. He rang the doorbell.
That had proven to be a mistake.
"Hey," he smiled, but that was as far as he got.
Charlotte read him the riot act for showing up without calling. Then berated him for taking what precious little time she had to spend with her relatives- as seldom as it was that they chose to come out to LA.
So seldom it was almost never.
"Coop, this isn't a good time."
"Not a good time? For Charlotte King? The insatiable-"
"The movie's on!"
Cooper started. He was surprised again, to hear another voice inside Charlotte's house. Though he was happy to note that at least it wasn't a man's voice.
Charlotte seemed to jump out of her skin and immediately closed the door so that only her face was visible.
Charlotte glanced fertively back inside. "I have to go," she opened the door wide enough to begin pushing him away.
"I'll be sending a patient to you in the morning."
Then the door slammed in his face.
The next morning, he recognized the voice he heard last night. The voice was speaking to Dell. But he was bowled over when Dell hustled over and informed him that Charlotte King's niece, Luanne King was there to see him, more specifically to be seen by him.
He pinched himself.
Was that who was at Charlotte's last night? But why didn't she just say Landry and...he blanked on Landry's wife's name, was in town with the kids?
This makes no sense, was what he was thinking, but then he saw the girl make eye contact with him. Quickly he gave a wide grin, and fumbled for something to say. Something smart. Something that doesn't sound like, who the heck are you, or I had no idea you had an appointment with me.
"So, your aunt is Charlotte King." Is what his brain came up with.
"Doctor Charlotte King," she smiled proudly as she corrected him. "I'm Luanne King, sir. Um, Dr. Freedman, sir," she finished, clearly embarrassed and believing she'd forgotten her manners by forgetting to address him as such in the first place.
He nodded. "Yes, Dr. Charlotte King." He smiled at her embarrassment and southerism.
"You know her?"
Cooper smiled at the innocent sounding drawl the girl had. It was cute. Looking at her it was just uncanny. Cooper laughed in spite of himself.
"I can't believe your aunt is Charlotte King."
This girl looked like a disheveled Charlotte, though right away Cooper recognized Landry's eyes. But in action and manner? Nothing like her. Where Charlotte King was tightly wound, closed, and angry, her brother's progeny was innocent, quiet and open.
"So, you do know her?"
Cooper startled out of his thoughts.
"Yeah," he answered quickly, hoping he'd been listening, "yeah I do. We've worked together for some time."
Cooper made quick work of leading her back to an exam room, then slowed his pace when he realized she wasn't keeping up. She was lugging a large green tote bag. It looked like she was carrying cement and stumbling under the weight of it, her steps awkward, her gait uneven and sideways.
"Well, if your aunt sent you here," Cooper smiled and patted a hand to the exam table, "I guess I'm going to have to examine you."
"Oh." Luanne seemed taken aback. "I thought, well, I thought maybe she sent me here just to talk, or something."
He looked at her with open confusion.
"Well, I mean," she explained, "Aunt Charlotte's a doctor and all, if there was something wrong, wouldn't she just be able to take care of it? Is there something wrong with me?"
"I, I don't know, Luanne."
"And actually, doctors aren't really supposed to medically treat their own relatives. It's, it's like a law or something."
"Well that's stupid. It'd be cheaper if she'd just-"
Cooper had moved to the sink to wash his hands, then pulled out a tray of instruments.
"What are you going to do?"
"Just check a few things, your ears your eyes make sure everything works."
"When was the last time you went to see a doctor?"
"I dunno. Whenever the last time I was sick was."
"When were you last sick?"
"I dunno." She shrugged.
Cooper chuckled. He'd have given the same response at her age.
Luanne thought a moment then added, " I don't get sick. I had to get a check up for school this year, that was it."
Cooper was confused now. If she'd seen a doctor so recently as 6 months ago, why would Charlotte want him to see her niece now?
He decided to ask. It couldn't hurt.
"Why are you here? I mean, do you know why you're here?"
"Beats me," she answered. "My aunt Charlotte said to come. So, I did. Sir," she added belatedly.
Luanne looked at him. "Do you know why I'm here?" She was genuinely curious and obviously had no more idea why she was there than Cooper did. Which meant she couldn't be sick.
So why was she there? Cooper shook his head. It didn't make sense.
Dell ran to the kitchen the moment Cooper and his new patient were out of sight and earshot. It wasn't like he was being unprofessional, he told himself, after all, there weren't real patients around.
In the kitchen where Addison and Naomi were eating breakfast. He opened the door just wide enough to peek his head in.
"Sorry, maning the desk for the time being," he explained, "but- did you know Charlotte King has a niece?"
"I'm sure there's a lot we don't know about Charlotte King, Dell," Naomi answered.
Addison chuckled. "Let's keep it that way," she answered.
"No, she's here!"
"No, her niece. She's here to see Cooper."
"Cooper?" Addison's forehead lined in confusion, and she stood up.
"Thanks for telling us, Dell," Naomi smiled. She was now more excited of the idea of gossip than she was of food. "You go on back to the desk."
Dell nodded and walked back to the desk, knowing that the two women would soon find out all he wanted to know.
Seconds later Addison walked to the desk and grabbed a random file, she then walked back to Naomi, who had positioned herself on the adjacent hallway. Cooper was exiting his exam room with a little girl. Cooper, she noted, looked sick. However, the person who apparently was his patient did not.
She wondered what was wrong with Cooper.
Just then the elevator chimed, and Charlotte King stepped into the practice.
Addison stood with her back to the girl, so that Naomi could see her, while both giving the impression of being immersed in some relevant medical conversation.
"She's a skinny little thing!" Naomi gushed. "She's like a little bird, with bird bone arms, and tiny legs! Oh, she's cute!"
They changed places.
"That beach tote is bigger than she is." The girl had her green tote bag, which was indeed bigger than she was, at her side so that with the handle sticking up, the bag came nearly to her shoulder, and stuck out almost as far as her knee. "You could fit a whole person in there!"
"Move back," she ordered.
Addison changed places again and commented, "Boy for being related to Charlotte King, she certainly doesn't look much like her. Hopefully she doesn't act like her either."
"Definitely doesn't look much like her," she added, looking the girl up and down.
The watched lazily as Cooper and Charlotte exchanged words that were too quiet for them to hear. They kept talking as the girl turned and made her way with Charlotte back onto the elevator.
Addison was saying,
"I mean, look at her hair, it's all matted, it looks like she hasn't brushed it in days and-
"I'm surprised any relative of Charlotte's would go out looking like that. She looks like she crawled out of-"
"Oh, be nice, she's only a little girl!" Naomi admonished her quickly. Though, she had a point. The kid looked as if she hadn't showered in weeks. Still, it was impolite to speak so meanly to a child.
"Yeah," Addison objected, but stil..., " she let her voice trail off then saw something else relevant to add to the observation conversation. "And she's-"
"Pregnant!" Naomi gasped, her mouth dropped open in shock.
-Let me know what you guys think. Does it seem too choppy? I tried to cut it down, but in doing so I hope I didn't screw it up-