Just as I picked up the clip board from the floor, there was a knock on the door and two men entered fully covered in scrubs. The shorter of the two removed his face mask. “Hey, we have the specimen.” Then he glanced around the room looking for Riya.
“Dr. Sohel is sick, so I’ll be covering for her. I’m Dr. Raaz.” The guy shrugged. He reached behind him and pulled another man into the room. A large bulky man filled the door frame. He was so tall that he almost touched the top. It was clear to me that he was letting the smaller man feel powerful by dragging him around. I had no doubt the specimen could easily over power both men at once if he wanted to. His patient gown looked like a shrunken t-shirt on him. His toned, muscular calves were so lean, I could see his tendons staining under his skin. One of his large arms was the size of both of my skinny legs. “I’ll take care of it from here, thank you.” They turned and left me alone with him. His shadow easily engulfed me. I was thrown off guard when his serious face broke into the warmest smile and two dimples deepened on his face. His sea eyes danced with laughter. His smile lines made him even more handsome. His relaxed demeanor was so contagious, that I broke into a grin. “You must be Marcus Vitali, I’m Doctor Myra Raaz.” I reached out to shake his hand. My palm was the size of a peanut compared to his meaty hands. His grip was gentle but firm. He could easily crush my hand with one misguided squeeze. His skin was so milky fair in contrast to my deep cinnamon color.
“It’s nice to meet you Doctor Myra Raaz.” His voice was rich like chocolate pudding. My name on his lips sounded like a symphony of violins. His face was sculpted from marble, from his razor-sharp jaw to his neatly trimmed beard. His defined dark eyebrows drew me into his crystal eyes. I blinked myself free from his enchanting features.
“If you’ll have a seat please Mister Vitali.” He nodded and sat down with much more grace than I expected of such a muscular man. His sky eyes were trained on my every movement. I was suddenly very aware of the beads of sweat forming on my upper lip and the manicure on my left index finger chipping away. “So, I’ll be with you most of today.”
“That’s perfect.” He said smoothly. My cheeks burned and I turned away from him to wash my hands.
“I’ll be conducting your physical exam, blood tests and genetics analysis.” I snapped my gloves on. Now that I was fully composed and, in my element, I turned to face him. “Are you ready Marcus?” Again, his smile almost caused me to melt like ice cream left in the sun.
“Please Doctor Raaz, call me Mark.” I felt like I could swim in those dimples. I silently reprimanded myself at the thought. The cold stethoscope drew me back to reality and then I blushed again at my next words.
“Okay Mark, could you please remove your dressing gown for me.” He raised his large eyebrows at me and a smirk danced on his thin lips. “I mean…um…just the upper half, I have to check your lungs.” He slowly removed his gown to reveal shoulders that were as big as my head. His back rippled with the strength of a wild horse. Every time he moved his body, his defined muscles pulsed with power. I steadied my hand as I placed the stethoscope on his burly chest. “Deep breath in for me please” His breath drew me in closer until I could smell his musky scent. I cleared my throat and tried to clear my mind. “Now exhale.” My heart started pumping again as I distanced myself from him.
“What’s your specialty Dr. Raaz?” Mark asked me as I proceeded to inspect his eyes. My skin felt like it was next to an inferno as I leaned into him.
“I do research in the field of genetics and how they correlate to diseases that might effect Pures.” Mark raised his eyebrows.
“So, you research families.” He summarized with a smug grin on his face. “Do you do research in the field of mental instability and how that has become such a stigma?” I froze. I didn’t think I could handle it if another stranger ridiculed the death of my grandmother.
“Are you serious?” Mark’s perfect face melted in confusion.
“I was just wondering, because yesterday was the anniversary of the Monarch coming into power and it made me think of her two opponents that lost.” The ball of fury that was burning in my chest a second ago died down. “I was particularly curious about the woman who lost.” He bites his lip trying to remember her name.
“Amanda Marcini.” I said without much enthusiasm. I didn’t want to be reminded of another death that everyone else thought was pathetic. I was already living that situation. “She didn’t lose. She committed suicide because she wanted to become Monarch, but she didn’t have the right.” Marks calm blue eyes became turbulent, I could almost see a mini hurricane forming in them. Mark seemed to notice that I caught on to the subtle change in his demeanor.
“That’s awful.” Mark said quickly. “Did you ever look into her family history or what might have caused her to do such a thing?”
I lowered my eyes. “No. I can’t imagine what her family must have gone through after her death. The man you’re replacing was terminated for being impure and because of his actions, his family was killed off as well. Based on that, I can’t assume anything good came of that woman’s death.” I snapped back to his eyes. “Why are you so curious about her anyway?”
Mark shifted in his seat, but his sapphire eyes never left my face. He gently took my hand in his and I tried not to flinch away in surprise. His warm touch gave me a sudden burst of amnesia. He slowly brought the instrument up to his left eye.
“You haven’t finished yet.” His melodious voice seeped deep in my bones and made me feel like a thousand caterpillars were crawling in my skin.
After an hour of more physical inspection and more awkward interaction on my part, I was done drawing his blood and taking saliva samples for his genetic testing. I loaded the samples in a plastic tube. “I’m going to send these vials to the lab, and they should get back to me within the hour with your results.” I explained to Mark. Over the hour spent together, I realized if I trained my eyes on his forehead, I would feel less like a giddy twelve-year-old girl. There was nothing attractive about a forehead. I jammed the canister in the shoot and watched the tube get vacuumed up to the lab. I made my way to the door, but his voice drew me back.
“Wait, you’re leaving?” He pouted his lips. I tossed my hair to the side to let the cool air lick my heated neck.
“I’ll be back once I get the results. How about I ask someone to send you food. I’m sure you’re hungry.” He beamed at me.
“Thank you doctor Roy.”
I could feel the blush creeping back in my cheeks. “Please Mark, call me Myra.”
“Thank you, Myra,” His blue eyes sparkled. I glanced at his warm smile one more time before leaving the room. I leaned against the cool metal door and composed myself. I heard the sound of scraping metal and for the first time noticed a metal chain swinging from the door.
I spotted the same short man dressed in scrubs. “Excuse me!” I called to get his attention. He nodded in recognition and trudged over in his oversize smurf outfit. “What is this metal chain for?” I asked him. He grunted and bolted the door shut with the metal chain.
“That is so the specimens can’t get out. Especially if they are defective, we can’t let them run.” He pointed to the slot at the bottom of the door. “That is for their food.” I sucked in my cheek and held my tongue. I wanted to grab this man by his scrubs and scream in his face that this was completely inhuman treatment, but instead I asked him to send for food for Mark. He grunted again and walked away. I wasn’t sure if he understood me or only spoke caveman.
I looked for Riya to update her, but when I found her office all that was there was a sticky note on the door.
I’m sorry Dr. Raaz, I am running a fever. If you don’t mind, please fill in the results of your patient findings in the computer. I will look over them tomorrow. We can discuss things over lunch. Does sushi sound good?
I felt a way of sympathy for Elizabeth. Protecting your offspring’s life while sacrificing someone else is an easy choice for most, but I could feel the guilt sloshing off her in deafening waves. The stress of the situation probably caused her to get sick.
I decided to run up to my floor to see Dr. Darling. I hadn’t spoken to him since my encounter with the Chancellor last night. I slowly made my way back to my floor, stopping only to peer into Mark’s room. He was hunched over the examination bed facing away from me. His broad shoulders tensed as if he sensed my presence. Before he could catch me spying, I scuttled away to the elevator.
Dr. Darling looked worse for wear. His grey eyes were no longer sharp like a hawk. He reminded me of a limp mouse that a hawk had clutched in its talons. His face drooped with exhaustion. There was a coffee stain on his right white coat sleeve. However, the second he saw me a surge of energy must have electrocuted him because he jolted right out the chair.
“Myra!” He pushed his chair aside ansd in two long strides he crushed me in hug. My face squished against his thin chest. I could feel the Thump-Thump -Thump of his jackrabbit heart. “I was so worried about you.” He released me quickly and looked out his window to make sure no one had seen our embrace. I got a glimpse of Reena looking our way, but before I could make sure that was her, Dr. Darling dragged me to a chair and pushed me down. He pushed a button on his desk and black blinds rolled down around office. “I am so sorry. I heard what happened, but I don’t understand.” His voice broke as he sat back down in his chair. “Your grandmother was a strong woman. I don’t for a second believe that she would have taken her own life.”
A ball of warmth formed in my chest for this man. I bite my lip and with a deep breath I told him about the events of last night. “So now I am waiting for the results of the new specimen. I’ve spent all morning trying to figure out what to do next, but I have no idea. I feel like I have let my grandmother down.” I leaned my head back to stare at the ceiling. I was amazed when no tears formed in my eyes. Maybe I finally dried out my tear ducts.
“Oh, my dear Myra, Sheila loved you with every ounce of her soul. You were more precious than air to her. Don’t you for one second believe the evil committed last night was your fault.” That fierceness returned to his grey eyes. They sharpened on me with eagle like vision. “Vile men commit vile acts with no remorse. The Chancellor is a repulsive rat who needs to skitter back into the dark hole he crawled out of.”
I smirked in agreement and then something clicked. “Wait, did you know my grandmother?” Dr. Darling froze. His mouth formed a thin hard line for a split second and then his muscles seemed to work again.
“No, I didn’t. Why would you think that?” He asked cautiously. I pursed my lips.
“Yes, you did, you’re not a very good liar. The way you talk about her, tell me, how did you know her?” I asked again. His trembling hand subconsciously touched his white coat pocket. The same pocket that I had last seen the tattered picture of the toddler in. He wouldn’t meet my eyes, he kept staring at the desk. I was about to pressure him again, but my unitary went off. I reached for my unitary. A message from the genetics lab flashed on my screen: “Results are ready and have been sent to the patient’s room”. “I have to go.” I stood up from my chair. Dr. Darling touched the blinds button again and the room flooded with light.
“Myra, I-I.” He sounded like a broken record repeating the same word over and over again. I tried not to roll my eyes in frustration.
“I would appreciate the truth from someone. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.” With that I marched out of his office and back to the genomics lab.