Chapter 8 – Triggers
Tom sat there, defiantly. He didn’t know why she was so angry. but he found it incredibly sexy. She was breathing heavily as she glared at him, she looked like an angry kitten. She hissed and swiped him with her tiny claws but was still a just a ball of soft fluffiness. It was adorable, but he couldn’t really tell her that. Instead he was going to play this game.
“What’s going on?” Doctor Peters appeared in the doorway and shot a look at Tom.
Tom had finished his shift straight after doing the patient handover with Howard and hadn’t wasted time. He’d thrown his stuff in his locker, changed, pushed up the sleeves on the shirt he’d worn underneath, and headed straight here. He was planning on explaining to her the reason for transfer in private, but she hadn’t given him much of an opportunity.
“Doctor Peters,” Jill smiled warmly at the old man, “Can you please inform Doctor Layton that I no long require his services. You are my doctor and he can flit off and take his expertise someplace other than here.”
“Tom,” Doctor Peters raised his eyebrows, “Please explain.”
“There is nothing to explain,” Tom shrugged, “I’m just a visitor.”
“An unwanted visitor,” she narrowed her eyes at him, “Can I ban him from visiting?”
“For what reason?” Doctor Peters took a deep breath, “Has he acted inappropriately?”
“According to what I hear, it’s not inappropriate for him to be a jerk,” she muttered.
“Do you wish to make a formal complaint?” Doctor Peters continued without acknowledging Jill’s comment.
“There’s no need for that,” Tom looked away, “I’m not breaking any rules.”
“Yeah, because being polite and respecting my privacy isn’t a rule,” she glared at him, “It’s common decency.”
Doctor Peters ignored them both and took a deep breath before he said, “If you wish to make a formal complaint against Doctor Layton I can ask Human Resources down. Or I can bring in the police and you can apply for a restraining order.”
“Talk about putting a nail in the coffin of my career,” Tom laughed coldly, “You could do that, but you’d be destroying my future just because you’re pissy with me.”
“Pissy with you?” she lifted both eyebrows, “Isn’t that a little childish, even for you?”
“That’s enough,” Doctor Peters raised his voice. “I’m not here for crowd control. I’m a doctor not an early-childhood-teacher.”
He glared at them both as they looked away from each other and from him.
“That’s better,” he turned his attention to Jill, “Do you have a valid complaint you wish to lodge against Doctor Layton? Keeping in mind that Doctor Layton is correct, such a complaint will have a negative effect on his career.”
“That’s not necessary,” Jill frowned, “I just don’t want him annoying me.”
“If your recovery is being negatively impacted then I can restrict your visitors to family only,” Doctor Peters frowned, “But remember that the nursing staff aren’t bouncers, they are busy enough without vetting your visitors.”
“I’m betting that they wouldn’t mind vetting this one,” Jill laughed softly, “With a baseball bat.”
“I don’t know what the problem is, I’m being nice,” Tom scoffed a cold laugh as he rolled his eyes and looked away.
“Well you can take your ‘nice’ somewhere else.”
“I’ve had enough,” Howard signed and rubbed the bridge of his nose, “Doctor Layton please avoid harassing this patient. It’s clear she doesn’t wish for you to be here. If you don’t leave then I’ll have to evict you from the premises.”
“What a kafuffle,” the voice was from the other bed in the room, “Doctor Hickie you can visit me instead. Come on lover-boy, bring the flowers, and hop over to my bed.”
“Mrs Grant,” Doctor Peters sounded exhausted, “Please don’t get involved.”
“Mrs Grant,” Jill spoke at the same time, “Why would you say that?”
“If he’s visiting me then there is no problem and you can’t kick him out,” Mrs Grant sounded smug and quite happy with herself.
“Traitor,” Jill huffed.
“Let me remind you,” Doctor Peters sounded exasperated, “We are a hospital not a day-care-centre. If Doctor Layton is upsetting a patient, this will not help with her recovery. I think it would be best if Doctor Layton leaves now and waits for an invitation to return.”
“Yeah,” Jill whispered, “He’ll be waiting a long time.”
“Doctor Peters?” Mrs Grant said in a slow and careful manner, “What if Doctor Layton’s visit was having the opposite effect on Jill’s recovery?”
“I’m sorry?” Doctor Peters turned to Mrs Grant.
“I believe that Doctor Layton presence is, in fact, beneficial to Jill’s recovery,” Mrs Grant picked up her knitting needles.
“I’m starting to like you, Mrs G.,” Tom smirked.
“What?” Jill shook her head, “Don’t listen to her it’s the tumour speaking.”
“Please explain, Mrs Grant?” Docter Peters signed.
“She remembered something, while yelling at him, her memory returned,” Mrs Grant didn’t look up from her knitting, “About her father. The last time she remembered something, he was in the room, I believe? It can’t be a coincidence.”
“Is this true?” Doctor Peters looked at Jill.
“Yes, but that doesn’t mean anything,” Jill shot back, “I remembered that my Father had died in a car accident but that was only because he was being so infuriating.”
“And,” Mrs Grant continued without looking up, “Don’t you think she’s more animated than she’s been in days? When she came in here she was like a like a lost puppy, but now she seems so much more confident and assertive. I think it’s not unhealthy for him to be here.”
“No, she’s delusional,” Jill grit her teeth.
“I’m liking you more and more,” Tom pushed himself up out of the chair and picked up the red roses. He strolled over to Mrs Grant and slid the roses into the empty vase beside her bed, “Mrs G., you deserve these.”
“You’ve got to be joking,” Jill huffed.
“Yes, well,” Doctor Peters closed his eyes and shook his head before he spoke in a soft voice to Jill, “I can bar Doctor Layton from visiting you, but I think Mrs Grant has a good point. It does seem to be helping to have him here. I think you should give him a second chance.”
“But,” Jill started to argue.
“Jill,” Doctor Peters interrupted as he looked over to where Tom stood chatting to Mrs Grant, “I know he can be annoying but if he’s helping you recover your memory, then that’s a good thing. Each patient has a different trigger for amnesia recovery, he might be yours.”
“But what if he is?” Howard shrugged, “Give it a week, see how it goes. I will restrict him to visitor hours and not while he’s working, if you agree? And, if there are no further improvements, then we can talk about restrictions. But to be honest, if he has an ally in Mrs Grant, then that’s going to be tough.”
“But, but,” she tried again but knew that she was losing the fight.
“Consider it treatment,” Doctor Peters offered.
“It doesn’t sound like I have a choice,” she huffed.
“You can give me a Hickie, if you’d like,” Mrs Grant flirted with Tom.
“I could do that,” Tom winked, “But let’s not make Doctor Peters jealous. I don’t want to have to fight him over you, I have surgeon’s hands and they can’t be risked by fist fighting your suitors.”
“Oh, Doctor Layton,” Mrs Grant giggled.
“Oh, please,” Jill rolled her eyes.
“I have my rounds to finish,” Doctor Peters edged to the door, “Tom, I think it’s time you left too. We don’t want to overwhelm the ladies, do we?”
“Underwhelm, more like it,” Jill scoffed, “Don’t bother, I’ve got my physio appointment anyway.”
Jill swung herself out of the bed and lowered herself into the waiting wheelchair. Once she had herself positioned correctly she gripped the wheels and maneuverer it towards the exit.
“I can push you,” Tom started to say.
“You already have,” Jill didn’t wait, “You’ve pushed me too far. Now you can leave me alone.”
She spun out of the door before he could stop her. She needed to be alone. Chuck followed but he stayed a short distance from her, didn’t help her and didn’t annoy her. He was more like a shadow than a companion.
She felt her eyes watering. She couldn’t hold this in any longer and the last thing she wanted was for Tom Layton to see her crying. She wheeled the chair as fast as she dared to the lift and punched the button closing the door before he appeared in the hall. Only once the doors closed did she relax.
He was gone. She should have been rejoicing but somewhere in her head she knew that if he was going to follow her he could have easily have caught her before the doors closed. But he didn’t. She was free of him because he didn’t follow her.
The man finally did what she’d asked. So why did this make her feel so miserable?