Creamed - Page 15

I fucking hope so.

“Foxx? Glad I caught you. ER said you’d probably be on the ward. Listen. I’ve just been looking at your holidays owed to you and the fact you seem to be branching out into the ER now as well,” he says, obviously sharing a private joke with himself.

“Yeah?” I rasp, trying to sound civil as I crane my neck trying to keep my eyes on Mandy from where I’m standing.

“Long story short, Foxx. I want you to take some time off. A couple of weeks at least. Your surgical roster’s already been passed over, so….”

I can hear him waiting for me to refuse him. Like I have every other time I’ve been ordered to take a break.

But today? Now that Mandy is in my life, it’s like the whole world is just doing what they need to – guaranteeing us time alone.

I just have to get her outta here and home. But one night in a hospital won’t hurt.

I’d insist on it if she were my patient.

And tonight, it’s gonna be me doing the observing. Watching her while she sleeps, while I plan just how much we can see and do together while she recovers at my place.

I’m nearly whistling again by the time I get back to her. Once she figures this is as close to a date as anything else, I feel like kissing her.

The food we’ve got could be anything, and I can hardly taste it. Because nothing’s as sweet and tasty as what I’ve got waiting for me in that hospital bed, but I make sure I match her. Mouthful for mouthful, vowing to eat more than just better food once I get her home.

And I know long before any of that happens, I’m gonna need more food than this tonight anyway.

I make a mental note to swing by the coffee shop to check on Rose Peters before she closes up.

Maybe sneak a few plates of actual food in here to tide us both over.

I wanna see her eating more than this tiny plate of mush.

I fight my protective urges once we’re done eating and the trays are cleared away. Her own doctor from the ward checks in and breezes out pretty quickly.

Nothing new there, but her case is pretty straightforward. “You should be good to go home in the morning, Mandy. All your tests are clear,” we’re told. And he shoots me a professional nod.

I concur with the same.

“You’ll just need to stay off that ankle for a few days, say a week. Keep it elevated and something solid supporting it,” he assures her.

Which suits me just fine. I’ve got nothing but firm and solid for her. And I’m her rock from now on, supporting her in everything.

Before long, we’re alone again. The sounds of the hospital seeming far away instead of just out the door.

It makes me realize how much I’ve given of myself to this place. It’s like I was hard-wired to it and the job. Before Mandy, that is.

I know visiting hours end at nine, and once it’s nearing nine, once I’ve watched Mandy nap, and we’re speaking at length and openly now about everything she’s still worried about.

Her job, which I assure her I can chat to Mrs. Peters about.

Meaning: Mandy quits. Sorry for your loss, any questions?

Her apartment and rent.

And finally, Mandy reveals that if she could’ve, she would have opted for a job that offered insurance, if she wasn’t so desperate for a job in the first place.

“I mean, a hospital of all places,” she reflects, rolling her eyes and trying to laugh about it, but I can see it hurts her.

“The coffee shop isn’t the hospital, it’s a private business,” she explains. And I nod my head quietly.

Not because I don’t already know that. But the thought of her not working at the hospital. The thought of me maybe not ever having met her…

The thought of her meeting someone else instead of me….

I shake my head to myself.

No. It’s all happened just like it should, and even better than I could’ve planned myself.

Bringing her closer to me. And me to her, of course.

Once she stifles a yawn, I jokingly remind her about the early eat, early sleep agenda on hospital wards before I tell her to get some sleep.

“Are you going?” she suddenly says, wide-eyed and alert, grabbing for me even though I’m almost out of reach.

I lean closer from my chair and put my hand over hers. I promise her I’m not going anywhere just yet.

“I might drop in on Mrs. Peters once you’re asleep, but I’ll be right back.”

“Promise?” she asks, looking vulnerable, even a little scared.

“Promise,” I tell her, deciding I can always just call the coffee shop and fill Rose in on what’s happened to her employee.

My cream and sugar.

C’mon, Foxx… She’s still a hospital patient. Save yourself until we’re home.

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