As it turned out, all that hope wasn’t worth much. My body might have wanted sleep, and the whimsical part of my brain might have wanted to go along with it, but the part that had been hardwired by shrieking alarm clocks and follow-up phone alarms was not having any of it. My eyes still popped open before sunrise, and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t make myself go back to sleep.
I dozed on and off for a while, but eventually there was no more denying the inevitable. I had to get out of bed. Ian was already up when I walked into the living room area of the suite. He was in the kitchen, staring into the refrigerator. He looked over at me when he noticed me coming into the room.
“Looks like you were just as successful at sleeping in as I was,” I said.
“Hard to break the habit,” he said, coming out of the refrigerator with a small container of milk. “Construction is a lot easier in the sunlight.”
“I can imagine,” I said.
“Coffee?” he asked, holding up a French press.
My eyebrows raised. “A French press? You knew how to use one?”
Ian gave me a slightly bitter, incredulous glare.
“Imagine that, the dumb construction worker knew how to make a pot of coffee,” he said. “Boiling the water really did push me right to the edge of my intellectual capabilities.”
“I didn’t mean…” I started but didn’t know where to go with it. I probably meant exactly what he said I did; I just didn’t expect to be called out for it. “Sorry. I just don’t know a lot of people who use them.”
He tipped some of the coffee into a mug. “I admit, I don’t use them all the time. They take forever, and I usually don’t have the time to worry about making a good cup of coffee. I just need the infusion of caffeine. But somebody taught me to appreciate the French press a while ago, and now I indulge a bit when I get the chance.”
It seemed we were both trying to reframe this little life detour as a back-door indulgence, though his was turning out to be more realistic and attainable than mine. He held the mug out to me, and I accepted it.
“Thank you,” I said, breathing in the wonderful smell of the fresh coffee. “It smells great.”
Ian smiled and let out a short chuckle. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you look so happy.”
“I love coffee,” I told him. I held up a finger against my lips like I was shushing him. “But you can’t tell anybody that. It’s a secret. Medical professionals aren’t supposed to have vices like excessive caffeine.”
He laughed. “Alright. Well, I’ll make sure to mention that to the gaggle of nurses and doctors I see crowded behind the hospital smoking, or the ones I saw out at the bar drinking a couple of weeks back.”
“They might not have gotten the memo.” I sat down in the living room and looked around. “No TV.”
Ian glanced around like he needed to confirm what I was seeing. “Nope. But I guess that’s probably a good thing, right? Wouldn’t want the head doctor to get wrapped up in some daytime drama talk show and forget about the patient waiting for treatment downstairs.”
I took a sip of the glorious coffee and shook my head. “I don’t think Dr. Sutton is the daytime talk show kind of guy.”
“You’re right,” Ian said, grabbing a box of frozen waffles we’d gotten from downstairs so he could place several on a pan under the broiler. “He’s all soap operas, all the time.”
This made me laugh. The conversation stopped while the waffles cooked, and when he brought plates into the living room for us, we sat in awkward silence to eat.
“So, what are we supposed to do now?” I asked when we’d finished eating.
The whole day was looming ahead of us, and boredom was already setting in.
“There’s a deck of cards,” Ian said. “We could play.”
An hour later, I set my hand down and laughed when Ian rolled his eyes.
“What is that?” I asked with a smug smile. “Six hands to one?”
“You’re loving this, aren’t you?” he asked.
I giggled and gathered the cards up again. “Maybe a little. I might have a touch of a competitive streak.”
“Oh, just a touch. You’ve won almost every round of every game we’ve played, and the rare times I did actually win, you tried to find loopholes.”
“Healthy competition,” I said.
Ian scoffed. “Try sore loser.” I laughed as I dealt the cards. “I bet your boyfriend has a great time mini golfing with you.”
I looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “Mini golfing?” I went back to dealing. “I don’t have a boyfriend, but if I did, I assure you he would not have brought me mini golfing.”