Domino Effect

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Chapter Seven

Sunday came and went in about the same manner as Saturday had. Except without the workout. Or the chores. Bailey had sat on her couch in front of her television, glad for once that there weren’t any pressing matters to attend to. There weren’t any phone calls to expect. There weren’t any lunch dates to show up for, or any type of shopping she had to do. She could finally relax.

And, for the first time in a long time, Bailey was glad to be bored. It actually kept her mind off of unpleasant subjects. Like the one that seemed to consume the entire day on Saturday.

Now it was Monday. Bailey leaned on the counter of the front desk, switching her weight to her other foot. She had already flown through her first set of rounds; the first workday of the week usually bogged her down. It was nice to get a little breathing room. She was tapping her fingers dreamily against the marble top when Doctor Mathews walked up beside her.

“Did you have a good weekend, Bailey?” he asked, flashing her a grin.

He was definitely good looking, Bailey thought. He had high cheekbones and a strong jaw. His hair was styled to look messy but perfectly so. His eyes were that green that captivated anyone who stared into them long enough… But he was an attending, and relationships with coworkers were frowned upon, even sources of talk amongst the other employees. Bailey nodded to him. “It was well enough,” she replied.

“Sam told me you two were supposed to meet up. How’d that go?” he asked.

Bailey couldn’t tell if he was prying or just curious. She was really hoping he wasn’t going to bring up her father’s anniversary, so she kept the conversation light. “We did. We met at a diner and had lunch. You Americans have good burgers,” she said, smiling back at him.

He laughed at her declaration. “I don’t cook them,” he said. He turned to a nurse that appeared on his left as she handed him a folder. Mathews knew full well that Bailey had lived in the United States since she was a kid, but he never pressed the issue that she still acted as though she lived in England. “Thank you, Marie. Well, Bailey,” he turned back to her as he tucked the folder underneath his arm, “I should get going. Lots to do.”

He winked at her before disappearing around the corner.

Bailey leaned over the counter again, muttering to herself, just in time to see the receptionist giving her the side-eye. “What?” Bailey asked her.

The woman grinned playfully. “If Mathews looked at me like that,” she told her, “I would have jumped on him the moment we were in the supply closet together.”

Well, we haven’t been in a supply closet together, Bailey thought, but she nodded and grunted, “Mhm.”

“Mhm,” the woman agreed, smirking coyly as she ducked her head and bent over her computer again.

Sighing, Bailey slid the folder she’d been looking for out of the stand on the counter and opened it. She began walking with purpose to room A13. Glancing down at the file, she weaved expertly in and out of the nurses, attendings, and patients milling about or heading to surgery in the corridor. Her file said that A13 was the room with the burn victim from Friday morning. He’d sustained first and second degree burns to his hands and arms, but mostly third degree burns to his chest.

Those burns were in a strange pattern. They weren’t the usual blanket of bubbled and peeling skin. His burns were shaped as though a wire had curled and twisted around his chest and seared him where it’d touched him. The pictures were gruesome, to say the least, but they were also sort of beautiful. It was almost like his skin was a painting, raised as though for the touch of a blind person.

Bailey shook her head to clear the unnatural thought. Why would she think a man with injuries as deforming as this was beautiful? To give him credit, he was much more pleasing to the eye than Mathews was. His dark hair was just mussed up enough to look as though he’d just artfully run in the wind. Bailey stopped in front of A13’s closed door and thought for a moment. The patient was beautiful; she hadn’t meant he wasn’t. What she meant was that now that he had been disfigured, this poor man would need all the encouragement and kindness he could get.

Unless he wasn’t that kind of person. The file also said that he had had surgery to repair most of the damage done to his hands and arms on the weekend. He’d have to have more grafts, especially for the burns on his chest. Maybe he would think they were like a work of art. Maybe he would think that because he lived through his accident, whatever that had been, he felt that he was lucky just to be alive. Those scars would be a constant reminder and he’d be stronger because of it.

Again, Bailey shook her head to clear it. She opened the door and stepped inside the room. The man was asleep, or otherwise so knocked out on painkillers that he was in a coma. Bailey remembered, as she adjusted his tubes and read his EKG, that Mathews had indeed put him into a medically-induced coma as soon as he’d gone in for surgery three days ago. She’d been so distracted over the weekend that she hadn’t stopped to think about how his surgeries would go. She wasn’t surprised that she’d all but blocked him out of her thoughts.

Satisfied that he was all set for now, Bailey tweaked his morphine down a notch, which was indicated on his chart. She grabbed his chart and walked into the hall. Through the crack the door made just before it closed, Bailey noted just how adorably messy the patient’s hair was. Then she closed the door.

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