No Lies, Memory
It was a long night. A tiring night. I got up that morning, exhausted, my head buzzing with an incessant headache and the stress of having to go to work. I went to the bathroom and turned on the light. I looked in the mirror. I was a mess: my make-up smeared, my eye bruised, with dark rings encircling both from the night before.
What had happened last night? I had gone to the pub, had a few Gin and Tonics and the only thing I remembered was singing karaoke to the barkeeper…Then I had woken up here. Thank god I hadn't been reckless enough to wake up next to a stranger, let alone in a stranger's house. I picked up a towel and wet it under the tap to remove the excess make-up that had run down my cheeks. Had I…cried? To me it looked like it, but I didn't want to assume. After all I couldn't even remember half of last night. Stupid Gin Tonics…
I decided to give my abused skin a break and did not put on any make-up, hoping that people would take no notice and if they did, that they would keep their mouth shut. Maybe Zoe knew what had happened the night before. She had been there for a couple of hours and we had bought each other a few drinks, both of us insisting in turn, that the next round was "on me".
I put on a hoodie to hide my bruised complexion and some sweat pants so I would go unnoticed at least until I got into the staff room. I made myself some coffee and took two paracetamol to combat the drumming headache that was driving me mad. I took no breakfast, I was too tired to eat and I felt I was going to be sick if I did, so I packed a smoothie and walked to my car. When I got in I felt a little unsure. Could I drive in this condition? I didn't want to find out this way and got back out of the car. Instead I walked five minutes to the nearest bus stop.
I waited about 4 minutes, until the next bus came and scrambled on it, sitting somewhere in the back and waiting for it to leave the stop. Eventually it did and I got out a book to read. It took about 12 minutes for me to get to Holby City ED and when I finally got there, I sighed in relief. Zoe waited for me at the back entrance.
"Are you ok?" she asked as I walked past her. The cigarette in her hand was making me cough.
"Never been better…" I muttered and strode towards the staff room, my hoodie pulled up around my face.
I changed into my scrubs quickly and picked my ever so faithful yellow stethoscope from my locker and hung it ceremoniously around my neck. Dylan came in, halted and stared. He struggled to find words but eventually spoke:
"Err…Sam, are you alright?"
"I'm fine!" I snapped and he nodded mutely.
"So nothing has changed…" he muttred under his breath.
"What?" I demanded.
"Nothing." And with that he left.
I didn't know if he had said "Nothing" to emphasize his statement or to keep me from knowing it but I had to say I agreed with him: we were still that awkward couple that never knew what to say or do around each other. We were still Us.
I left the staff room to go to cubicles and found a young girl that said she had hurt her arm. I lifted the fabric of her t-shirt off her arm ever so slightly, trying not to hurt her, and found a deep gash wound, maybe a couple of days old with puss and dirt in it. I couldn't think clearly, so I asked the nurse what she would do and she looked around unsurely.
"I'd clean up the wound, put a bandage on it and then give her something against the infection…antibiotics?" she said and looked at me, searching my face for a clue if she had done good or bad.
"Yes, yes. Let's do that." I said absentmindedly.
"Should I get another doctor to consult?" she asked and I nodded clutching my head.
She left and I smiled encouragingly at the girl.
"So how did it happen?" I asked and she bit her lip.
"I fell off a tree…" she mumbled and I laughed.
"A little monkey, were you?" I chuckled and she smiled, not making eye contact.
"Ok, I'm going to be right back-"
"Right, what have we here?" Dr Tom Kent, pediatric emergency specialist swung the curtains aside and looked first at the girl, then at me. I was standing on the right, so he did not see my bruise but I feared he would, soon enough. I smiled at him fakely and he either didn't seem to notice, or he kept it for after the exam. He looked at her charts.
"What's your name?" Tom said as he looked at the gash more closely.
"Lily, a biblical name?" he smiled to himself.
"Yeah.", she smiled uneasily.
"Well, Lily, it looks like you cut yourself on a sharp object? Did you fall?"
"She fell from a tree…" I answered for her and he looked up to confirm.
Tom examined her arm and carefully cleaned up the dirt and the puss. He talked to the little girl and told her about his youth
"I used to be quite the climber. Always on the highest branch I could get to." He smiled at her and asked the nurse to dress the wound.
"Right, I'm going to be around here if you need me. If you need anything else, ask one of the nurses, yes?"
He smiled at her and then looked up at me. I smiled back, only to realize that my bruise was in full view and turned away from him. But I could see the concern in his eyes out of the corner of mine. He straightened himself and led me outside where he confronted me.
"Sam, you have a bruise. That's not nothing."
"I said it's nothing."
"Sam." His tone was warning. "Let me have a look."
"No, I'm fine." I attempted to walk away but he caught my arm.
"Sam." He waited for me to give in but when I didn't, he dragged me to a cubicle and drew the curtains for privacy.
"Tom, you really don't have to-", he put a finger to my lips and looked at my face, carefully putting pressure on my bruise. I winced and he stopped and looked into my eyes.
"Not nothing.", he said and I tried not to lose my temper. Why did he always have to be so overprotective?
He flashed a light across my pupils.
"Were you…drunk last night?" he asked unbelieving.
"Yes, anything wrong?" I snapped.
"No, I just didn't see you as that kind of person."
"What kind of person?"
"Your pupils are dilated."
"What kind of person?" I persisted.
"As a party person." He gave in.
" I had a good time!" I was severely hurt at his statement.
"And I'm not judging you."
"I hope for your sake that you're not…" I muttered and he crouched down so his eyes were on my level.
"Sam. I love you. But you can't just go around getting drunk and being reckless. See, it's not just the alcohol that is dangerous…" he touched my bruise and I pulled away from his touch.
"Sam." He said and I looked towards the ground.
"Look at me." And I looked into his deep green eyes.
"I'm sorry." I said and eventually he smiled.
"There's nothing to be sorry for." He kissed the top of my head and helped me up.
"Right, now I'm going to get back to work."
"No, go home. I'll take it up with Tess and I can take your shift."
"Honestly, Tom, I'm fine!"
"The nurse told me that she had to call in a consult because you were unsure…" he looked to the ground guiltily and then back at me.
"Take a break and get some rest, sleep off the hangover." He looked deep into my eyes.
"No, I really shouldn't-"
"Really Sam? You're worried about what you should do? You should go home." He persisted and I pondered his suggestion for a second.
"Go. I'll cover your shift." He said and opened the curtain to reveal the society of Holby City Hospital ED at work. He pushed me out of the cubicle, towards the staff room.
I walked in and got out my sweats and quickly changed into them. I sat down for a minute and got out some cereal, deciding I needed some food now. I got my smoothie and drank a sip at a time to prevent nausea. I then poured some milk over my cereal, and started eating, the taste of morning enfolding in my mouth, making me sigh.
"I've haven't seen anyone so happy about eating cereal for a long time." came a voice. It was Fletch, he stood in the doorway, smirking at me and I grinned.
"Are you ok? That bruise…well it's none of my business but-"
"I'm good." I smiled. "Better now that I can eat cereal without hurling."
"Yeah, not the best one I have had over the years."
"Hahaha yeah, been there." He smiled encouragingly. "Well good on ye that you're taking the day off. You look like you need it. I know I did when I had one of my worst hangovers."
"Hey! It isn't that bad! I'm really not that much of a drinker! And Tom offered to cover for me." I laughed and he nodded, smiling knowingly.
"Alright, I'm off. If you need anything, you have my number. Otherwise, be well." He grinned and left.
I sat for a moment, enjoying the quiet and then got up and zipped up my hoodie over my old t-shirt and exhaled a shaky breath. I wasn't sure if I should stay and work somewhere off Tom's grid or if I really should go home.