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New Friends and a New Beginning

By David J. Duncan All Rights Reserved ©

Romance

A Suggestion for Angie

(She Said...) [Columbia, SC]

Rowland Memorial Hospital hummed with activity. On this particular Friday, the doctors and nurses carried on with their rounds trying to get ready for the weekend.

Having completed her duties, Karen Montoya, the head RN, walked briskly to her car. The 5-3 brunette unlocked the door to her 1991 Dodge hatchback and slid in behind the wheel. Whew! Another week finished...finally. I wonder what Mike's got planned? Turning the key in the ignition, she let the car warm up for a minute.

Then, as if on cue, her cell phone went off.

Speak of the devil. She laughed and answered it. "Hello?"

"Hi, Honey. How did everything go on the floor today?" her husband, Mike, inquired.

"Hectic as always. Y'know, the usual cardiac attacks, nervous breakdowns, etc. At least, we get a break for the weekend. What's on tap for tonight?" she responded, trying to add a bit of humor to her weary tone.

He chuckled. She's ready for a break, I can tell. "Well, I have a quiet cabin for two reserved up in the mountains this weekend. I figured a few bottles of champagne and some rich food..."

"Sounds divine." She smiled, relieved to be getting away from the rat race for a few days. "When do we leave?"

"Not until tomorrow. I have dinner going here. Angie's joining us for dinner. I hope you don't mind," he noted.

"No. Why would I?" she replied. "What's cooking?"

"I have a meatloaf in the oven if that's okay. Can you pick up some iced-tea mix on the way home?" he requested.

"Sure. See you soon!" she concluded. She shook her head and sighed. Boy, he's so thoughtful. I wish that things could have worked out so neatly between Dave and me. Her mind flashed back to the arguments between her and her ex-boyfriend, Dave Dubois and between the latter and Mike. However, one thing kept things in perspective. At graduation, they all had patched things up between dinner, a long talk the night before, and with Dave's promise. He had said that if there was anything they needed, they should call immediately.

Then her mind flashed to Angie. Angela Blackwell, one of the new temporary residents at her hospital, was actually Mike's ex-girlfriend. In an almost spooky fashion, their relationship shared many of the same things and types of ups and downs as the one between Karen and Dave. After they had broken up in their sophomore year. Afterwards, Angie had transferred to Arizona State.

Isn't it funny how life works? She mused as she drove to the convenience store. After picking up the drink mix, she headed straight home. After pulling into her assigned spot, she grabbed the bag with the desired item in it and clomped up the stairs.

Her husband stood waiting for her in the doorway to their apartment-a warm smile spread across his face. Mike stood about 6-3 and had black hair, dark eyes in addition to a medium build. "Hey there!" he greeted, embracing her and kissing her on the cheek.

Following him into the apartment, she inhaled the baking smells and her smile grew even wider. "Mmm...smells good! Hopefully, you're cooking for me as well as for your ex," she teased, shooting him a playful look.

"What do you think?" he asked, shaking his head even though he knew she was kidding.

"I thought so!" she laughed, heading for the bathroom and a welcome shower to steam away the week's concerns.


About 7 PM, the bell rang at the door.

Karen got up from the chair where she had been sitting and watching the news. Looking through the peek hole, she saw Angie nervously smile and wave.

"Hi, Karen. Did I come at a bad time?" she asked shyly.

"No. Come right in! We're waiting for you. How did everything go today?" the hostess inquired courteously.

Angie smiled. "Okay, I guess. You know what it's like-the usual hectic pace."

Karen agreed, "Indeed, I do. Did you just get off?"

The guest nodded, looking at her scrubs and holding up a shopping bag. "Can I use the bathroom to freshen up and change...if that's okay that is?"

He looked up and indicated, "Sure. You know where it is."

"Thanks!" Angie called, the anxiousness still in her voice. While she needed to clean up, she really had wanted to go home first so that she wouldn't impose on her friends. Ah well. It'll only take a minute. Once inside the room, the pretty intern opened the bag and produced a burgundy blouse and a black pair of jeans. As she changed, she stared into the full-length mirror in front of her, taking in every part of her 5-5 body. Her big brown eyes stared at the reflection in front of her. Hair's out of place, she noted, brushing her chocolate brown locks. After washing her face, she felt almost human again.

A minute later, she rejoined her friends. "Sorry to keep dinner waiting," she apologized.

"No problem. Sit...be merry," Karen advised.

They all sat down at the oak table and dug into the meatloaf, mashed potatoes, salad and peas on it. The conversation floated around work topics, every day things and such matters.

Finally, Mike raised the question to Angie. I hope she doesn't take this the wrong way. "How's everything else going? You've been really quiet."

Angie winced and shrugged. "We-ell, other than work, everything's really slow."

"Why is that?" Karen inquired. "Granted, we've had it busier than usual, but have you been out lately? Sorry to pry, but..."

Angie waved her hand at them and shook her head. "It's okay." She sighed, "I have been going out and trying to meet people, but you know the bar scene and the clubs...it seems like every guy's a jerk. I wish I could meet someone nice and well...hold onto him this time. Sorry, Karen."

"That's all right. I know what you meant," Karen assured her, giving Mike's hand a squeeze even as she rubbed her guest's shoulder. "Aren't there any nice guys where you work?"

"Sure. But I don't want to get in trouble with his wife," she cracked, looking at her ex.

Karen rolled her eyes and giggled, "I meant other than Mike."

Angie shook her head.

Mike cleared his throat. The others on staff thought that Angie was a little too mousy for her own good and made a point to avoid her. Maybe if she had the right opportunity. "Did you see that sign for the residents' conference in San Antonio next month?"

She nodded glumly.

"So, why don't you go? Both Karen and I had to travel to run into each other," he continued, hugging his wife.

Karen grinned and added, "Yes. If nothing else, it'll be a nice change of scenery for you and I hear the Riverwalk is beautiful."

Angie considered this for a moment before nodding. "You could be right. Okay! I'll go...if it'll make you two happy."



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