"Good morning, Greendale! Don't forget to stop by the blood-typing clinic today to find out your blood type. You never know, you might find it's...A positive...experience! ...Get it? A positive? ...No?"
"Am I the only one who finds the dean's jokes to be getting progressively worse as the year goes by?" Jeff said, not looking up from his phone even as he spoke.
"More importantly, who all doesn't know their blood type?" Annie asked, leaning forward with an excited grin. "I think we should all meet up at the clinic after our women's study class, and then when they come back for the blood donation clinic in two weeks we can all go and give blood! After all, it's for a good cause. Did you know that a single donation can be used for a number of different patients?"
"Whoa there, cowgirl. I think you're letting the horse get away from you, if you know what I mean," Pierce said. The group simultaneously fixed him with a blank stare. "...What?"
Troy shook his head. "Pierce, no one knows what you mean." He shrugged. "I can come with you guys to the blood-typing clinic, but I won't be able to donate blood...Jehovah's Witness and all. We don't believe in blood transfusions, just like we don't believe in birthdays."
"Oh, I think that's a great idea, Annie. So? Are we all going?" Shirley said, looking around at everyone as they mumbled their consent.
"Great! See you all there!" Annie said with a grin, and everyone started packing up their things for their first class.
Troy and Abed walked side-by-side towards class, Troy with a thoughtful expression on his face.
"I wonder if there'll be any hot nurses at the clinic..." he said.
"Statistics say probably not," Abed stated, noting Troy's somewhat deflated look, "...but one can hope."
"Sophie, why don't you take a break for a bit and stretch your legs?" April said with a kindly smile. "The next break between classes won't be a few minutes yet, so I can hold down the fort until then."
I grinned at the older woman. "Thanks, April. I'll be back in a bit, then. Want me to grab you some coffee while I'm up?"
"Ooh, hot chocolate actually, if you can find any."
I laughed. "Challenge accepted! Be right back."
It didn't take long for me to find a coffee vending machine, which also had hot chocolate. I bought one for April and got a mocha for myself before heading back to the table we had been at in the college's gymnasium, noticing that students were starting to roam the halls now. Shaking my head, I picked up the pace a bit, careful not to spill either drink.
When I got back to the gym, there were some people already there, and a few more entering the gym from the other entrance on the opposite side.
"Perfect timing, Sophie," April said with a wink.
I chuckled. "Come on, April, have I ever given you reason to doubt me?"
"Not yet...and hopefully you'll keep it that way, right?" April joked.
"Oh ye of little faith," I gave a fake disappointed sigh. "Nevertheless. I can help someone over here," I said, taking my seat next to April after having placed their drinks where we wouldn't knock them over.
"Come on, Britta. Shirley and I already know our blood types because we're blood donors," a sweet-faced brunette girl said, shoving a girl with slightly curled blond hair forward.
"Hi there," I said with a friendly smile. "Thanks for coming. Could you give me one of your hands, please?"
"Um...does it matter which one?" the girl said, looking sort of awkward.
"Not at all. If you'd rather I use your non-dominant hand, I can do that, for sure."
"That'd be good," the blond replied, placing her left hand on the table.
"Alright, I just have to disinfect the spot I'm going to use and let the disinfectant dry completely," I said as I rubbed an alcohol swab all over the end of the girl's middle finger. "My name's Sophie, by the way. What's yours?"
"Oh...Britta. And this is Annie and Shirley," she said, motioning to the two women behind her with her free hand.
"Nice to meet you all," I said. "I would shake all your hands, but..." I gave a pointed look at where I was holding Britta's finger still while waiting for the alcohol to dry.
"Nice to meet you," Shirley said. She seemed friendly; I took an immediate liking to her. "How long have you been a nurse?"
"A year now, not counting my time as a student nurse," I replied as I got out the needle to prick Britta's finger. "You're going to feel a bit of a pinch," I warned before clicking the needle down and tossing it in the sharps container, squeezing the finger around the pricked area to draw up enough blood to take a sample. Slipping the sample into the machine, I sat back as it analyzed it.
"Oh, that's nice," Shirley said. "I didn't think you looked past your mid-twenties, but you never know with some people."
"True enough," I said, noticing more people coming to join the group of friends, this time a group of men. "I know my sister is turning thirty next year, and she doesn't look a day over twenty-one, so I'm only hoping I got those genes, too." I flashed the girls a cheeky grin. "And you, miss Britta, are the proud owner of type B positive blood. Congratulations," I said with a wink.
"Oh. Is that...rare?" she said.
"Mmm...about nine percent of people are B positive, so relatively, yes. The most common blood types are A and O positive. It's more common to have a positive Rh factor than it is to have a negative one."
"O...kay," she said.
I grinned sheepishly. "Sorry. I tend to overdo it when it comes to divulging information. I figure it's always better to tell people more about their health status and whatnot than they ask rather than not enough and have a potential lawsuit on your hands. Health care can be a rather touchy subject to deal with."
"Oh, no problem. I just doubt I'll be able to remember ninety percent of what you just told me five minutes from now," she said with a shrug.
"I don't expect you to. But hey, it's college, you have more important things to cram in your brain instead, right?"
"Yeah, I guess," she said, grabbing her messenger bag off the floor next to her chair and moving to let the next person sit down. "Thanks," she smiled.
"No problem. Hope to see you at the donation clinic next week!" I waved at her, receiving a wave in response from all three women as they left. I focused on the chair in front of me as the next person sat down and smiled.
"Hi, I'm Sophie. What's your name?"
The guy sitting across from me didn't smile in return, but he didn't seem unfriendly as he said, "Abed. Nice to meet you. My friend and I didn't expect there to be any attractive young nurses here today. I'm glad we were wrong."
I laughed, flattered. Guys weren't usually that straight-forward, and when they were, they often tended to be a little creepy, or were kind of gross. Thankfully, this guy didn't seem to be either of those things. "Well, thank you, Abed. You must be quite the lady-killer. In the figurative sense, of course," I said with a wink before requesting his hand for the testing.
"Thanks. Out of curiosity, which of the six Star Wars movies is your favorite?"
"Well, I don't particularly like spreading the success of the original three over the later prequel films. Mostly I find they're just fun to make fun of, sort of like the Twilight saga. And I would say, as is almost always the case, I prefer the first film the best being where it all started, so A New Hope."
"Cool. Coolcoolcool. Favorite film?"
I sucked air in through my teeth. "Ouch. Hard question-this might pinch a bit," I said as I brought the needle out. "I have a lot, but if I had to pick one, I would probably say Tron-the original, that is-for its creative universe and being the first film to combine live-action with computer graphics. It's a good film in its own right, but those things just make it epic."
"Awesome. What are your thoughts on Batman?"
"It's the only universe I collect comics from. Batman, Batgirl, Batwoman, Batman and Robin. And The Dark Knight is amazing. I'm excited for The Dark Knight Rises, but at the same time I'm really hesitant, because I'm just not sure how they could possibly top Heath Ledger as The Joker," I sighed, taking the sample and bandaging his finger, inserting the sample in the machine and feeling a twinge of self-consciousness as I realized I was talking about myself a lot without keeping the conversation going both ways. However, Abed was asking questions in such a rapid succession that it felt impossible to ask any questions about him without cutting him off, and I didn't want to be rude. (Also, it felt kind of nice that he seemed so interested in what I was interested in. So sue me, it puffed up my ego a bit. Besides, it's hard to make friends when you're working in health care, what with seeing people when they're at their worst and all.)
"You have a point there." He inclined his head in my direction. "On a scale of one to ten, how nerdy would you say you and/or your hobbies are?"
"Hmm...about an eight," I admitted. "I'm sure there are people nerdier than I am, but I do have a lot of closet-nerd hobbies."
Wouldn't you like to know, I thought, but answered before I could convince myself to dodge the question, "Cosplay. LARPing. Magic: The Gathering."
I could feel that my face was a little warm and I hoped I wasn't blushing (probably pointlessly). "Well, sir Abed, your blood type is officially type AB positive, which makes you a universal recipient."
"Oh, I already knew that. I just wanted an excuse to talk to you."
If I wasn't blushing before, I was definitely blushing then. I laughed. "Well, then. Mission accomplished."
"Not quite. My friend Troy and I are pretty nerdy, and seeing as you are too, I think the three of us should hang out sometime, so I'm going to give you my number. I only have a limited number of minutes per month, though, so I prefer texting," he said as he drew a piece of paper out of his sleeve (which I will admit I thought was a bit of an odd place to put it) and took a pen from the breast pocket on his flannel overshirt to jot down his number with.
"No problem. I have a pay-as-you-go plan, so I usually just buy a bundle of texts rather than calling anyways."
"Perfect. See ya," he said with a little salute before walking off.
I waved after him, sort of disappointed he couldn't stay longer, but mentally reprimanded myself, noting the fact that I was still at work. Just because I was working with the blood donation clinic that day didn't mean I could slack off. Just because it was a more welcoming setting didn't mean I could just chat with certain people while ignoring my duties. I took being a nurse quite seriously. I was proud of my job, and I did not want anyone to think I wasn't.
"I can help whoever's next," I said, continuing on with my duties as I pointedly ignored the scrap of paper now stuffed in the pocket of my white lab coat.
"Hi, I'm Jeff," a guy who looked to be in his early-to-mid thirties plopped down in the seat before me, and I motioned for his hand. He complied, flashing a mildly smug-looking grin. "I hope my friend there didn't creep you out much. He can be a bit awkward when it comes to meeting new people."
The fact that he was mildly insulting one of his so-called friends immediately set me on guard, what with my being a very loyal person. I didn't have many good friends, but the ones that I did have I would never insult, even as mildly as that, unless it was to their face and they knew I was joking.
"Hmm, well, I think you're actually making me feel more awkward than he did. After all, he didn't insult anyone within the first thirty seconds of introducing himself." I shook my head. "From what I've seen of you so far, I think you and my sister would be perfect for each other."
He seemed to study my face for a minute before he finally said, "Wait...that's why I thought your face looked familiar. Are you by any chance related to Amber Lynn Tanners?"
"Yup. That would be my sister," I replied straight-faced. Usually when people found out that my older sister was a model, they went crazy trying to get me to get her autograph or phone number or even a lock of her hair (some people were just plain creepy about it) for them. I never lied to them about being her sister, though, because if they knew my full name then they could just read pretty much any of the tabloid interviews with her and find out I was the sister she often spoke of, anyways. No point lying about it when they'd just find out the truth later, I figured.
"Whoa. Why are you a nurse when you could probably use her connections to get into modeling? You could literally get paid to look good."
Hm. Certainly not the reaction to my being related to a 'celebrity' that I usually got and/or expected. I raised an eyebrow at him as I drew the necessary blood for sampling and bandaged Jeff's finger, inserting the sample into the machine. "I would think that it's pretty obvious. Despite that modeling can pay pretty well if you get enough gigs, nursing still pays the bills, the work is a lot steadier, and personally, I find it a lot more rewarding because despite the terrible hours you usually end up working, you're actually helping people who really need it, unlike with modeling, where the only way to help people is by using your paycheck."
Jeff sighed. "Point taken. But personally, I would never want to do what you do, because nurses have to deal with people's shit, both figuratively and literally."
I laughed. "True enough. But once you get past that, it's really rewarding work. Stressful, but rewarding. I find working part-time with the blood donation clinic can be a nice change of pace from the hospital, though."
"Oh? Do you work at Riverside General?"
He snapped his fingers. "Aha! So your relation to Amber Lynn Tanners wasn't the only reason you looked familiar. You must've been at the hospital when my friend Pierce was fake-dying."
"Oh, Pierce Hawthorne?" I grinned. I remembered that guy, for sure. He had hit on every nurse (or made gay insinuations, in the case of the male nurses) to the point where everyone had pretty much refused to go into his room, with the exception of myself and a couple of other nurses that were assertive enough to tell Pierce that we did not appreciate his affections and asked him to please keep his comments to himself while we were around so that we could deliver care in a professional manner. He was actually quite civil after that, and seemed to grow fond of those of us that thought to go that route with him. After he stopped trying to hit on me, I actually thought him an amusing older man, when he wasn't making racist jokes. I had met his father when he had stopped in the one time, though, and that quickly made me appreciate how mild Pierce's racism was in comparison. "Oh! That must've been Abed that was making that documentary then."
"Yeah, that would've been him. How did you even deal with him? I'm his friend, and even I don't like him half the time." He smirked. "Well, maybe more than half the time."
I snorted. "Oh believe me, compared to some of the patients I've had to deal with, Pierce is just a great big, if not slightly racist, teddy bear."
"Slightly?" He gave me a weird look.
"Have you met the guy's father?" I asked, eyebrows raised.
"Um...no. Should I have?"
"Oh God no. Pray you never do, either." I looked over at the machine. "Oh, congratulations! You're type O negative, the universal donor." I grinned. "So hopefully you'll come to the blood donation clinic next week. We can always use O negative, after all."
"Well, I'll probably be there whether I like it or not, since my study group will drag me there like they did today."
I smirked. "Funny, I don't see a collar and leash around your neck."
"Oh, ha ha," he said, standing up and grabbing his bag. "I was speaking figuratively, smartass."
"That's miss smartass to you. See you next week!" I said, shooing him off as he waved and walked off.
I grinned to myself. Well, at least I was meeting new people around my age today, if nothing else. I looked to the small line-up on the other side of the table.
"I can help the next person here."
A/N: This story is my project for NaNoWriMo, so you can bet there will be updates every week for a while yet. Feedback would be much appreciated; seeing as I didn't start this project until a couple days ago (it wouldn't leave me alone; I hadn't been planning on doing NaNoWriMo before this) none of this is really edited, so if you see a mistake, let me know.