The room was empty except for another doctor dressed in surgical scrubs. He looked absorbed in the science-fiction book he was reading, so Tanya leaned back and closed her eyes. Before she knew it, she'd fallen asleep. A sound startled her and she jerked awake. She blushed as she realized the sound that had woken her was her own snoring. Mortified, she glanced at the doctor, but he hadn't raised his head from his book. She shifted in her chair, straightened her shirt and closed her eyes again.
"You should head home if you're that tired," the man said without looking up from his book.
"I know," she sighed. "I'm just too exhausted to drive. I'm afraid I'd have an accident and end up back here taking up bed space."
He chuckled, setting his book aside. "You'd get some rest anyway."
"No, I wouldn't, I'd have all you bloody doctors poking me to see what made me tick," she managed a soft chuckle and nestled further into her chair.
"We'd save special tests just for you. The most intrusive possible, with blood drawn every hour. I'm sure we could find ways to occupy your time."
"No doubt," she said, starting to get annoyed now by the conversation. She wanted to rest and she wanted to be left alone, neither of which was happening. "Look," she said, sitting up in her chair. "I don't really mean to be rude...."
"Sure you do," he smiled, looking up from his book for the first time. He was quite attractive, but had a smug expression on his face as he clasped his hands together between his knees. "You say that so I won't think that you think I'm being intrusive. But whenever someone starts a sentence with things like, I don't mean to be rude, or with all due respect, they mean just the opposite."
Tanya pressed her lips in a tight line. She glared at him for no reason other than he happened to be in the line of her stare. He smiled at her, his teeth flashing white in his well tanned face. When did he have time to get a tan? Tanya was pale from all the extra hours she spent indoors in dimly lit rooms. It was bad enough he was gorgeous and tall with dark hair and dancing blue eyes, but he was tanned, muscular and had on a cologne that made her dizzy.
She stood, intending to leave the room in a huff, but the walls spun as the floor and ceiling suddenly switched places. Disoriented, she fell like a load of wet sand. Strong arms caught her before her head hit the coffee table, easing her back into the chair she'd risen from. She felt fingers on her pulse and the cold of a stethoscope on her chest. He checked her pupils next, flashing his light in her eyes. The bright beam made her eyes water.
Voices echoed down the hall, congregating outside the lounge. The chatter faded as three other doctors crowded into the room and gathered around Tanya and her tormentor. Two of them she recognized, the third was slightly familiar. All three started talking at once, asking the man what had happened, completely ignoring Tanya.
"She fell, I think she may have fainted. She didn't hit her head, I caught her before she collided with the table." He was making her sound like a fading flower or something, it was patently ridiculous.
"If it's all right with the rest of you," she said in her haughtiest tone. "I do think I'll go home now!" The haughtiness diminished somewhat by the fact she was whispering.
"I'll drive you," her friend Davida said. "I'm off shift now and I'll take you home."
"I need my car for the morning, D. I can't just leave it here."
"I'll drive her," the new doctor said. "You bring her car." He and Davida had the situation in hand.
"Does anyone want my opinion?" Tanya sounded childish and huffy even to herself, but wouldn't have admitted it for anything.
"No," Davida told her with a smile. "I'll grab my purse. Where's yours, in your locker?"
Tanya nodded slowly, but that brought on another wave of dizziness, so she stopped. Davida shoved Tanya's purse into her hands. A ten minute debate followed whether Tanya needed to be taken to the parking lot in a wheelchair.
"No! I refuse to be treated like an invalid. I can walk. Just—don't touch me," she slapped away several pairs of well-intentioned hands. "I'm not sick, I'm just tired."
Entourage in tow, she walked slowly, with as much dignity as she could muster, to the elevator. It felt like it would never reach the bottom.
© 2016 Dellani Oakes