Tuesday, Simtember 6 , 2416 | Bay City General Hospital | Bay City, Califorsimia
Not my daughter!
Jocasta Bachelor’s words rang in my ears as if I’d been hit on the side of my head with a frying pan. Stunned, the soap slipped from my fingers into the sink and I nearly lost my balance again.
“Uh… wha…wha…whaddaya mean?” I stammered.
Maybe she’s in denial.
When she didn’t say anything, I cleared my throat nervously. “Bella is dead, isn’t she? That’s what the news has been saying all day. She was… killed… last night… or this morning… I think… I don’t know…”
Oh llamas! Am I making it worse?
“She’s uh…” I puckered my lips unable to say the terrible words. She’s dead. I can’t… um… she can’t just be… “Do you think they made a mistake?”
“Oh,” Jocasta said as if she snapped out of a daze. She gave a stilted laugh. “I don’t know what I’m saying. I’ve been working eighteen hours. Maybe the denial…” she paused and looked off in the distance again, staring at the walls.
“Are you okay, Dr. B… I mean, Jocasta?”
“…is setting in… or the grief… I don’t know… okay, Kass…” she stood up. “I’m going to go.”
“Are you sure?”
She looked at me, an unspeakable sadness scrolling across her face co-mingling with a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. I had known Jocasta Bachelor my whole life without really knowing her. I knew she was a mother of four and a happy wife.
“I should get home and shower and talk with my husband about plans…” she suddenly seemed sad. “…about plans…” she repeated.
“Okay,” was all I could think to say.
“If you need anything, Nurse Mackenzie is here overnight with you. If you’re really careful, I think you can walk down to the cafeteria tonight for dinner instead of staying in your room. I’ll have the nurse check you out in the morning and if you have any questions, she knows how to reach me,” Jocasta explained, sounding almost like herself again.
“Thank you,” I nodded.
“Just get some rest and I think you’ll be okay to leave in the morning as long as you don’t push yourself. And don’t drive. If you have to, take a taxi. Oh and your boss… what’s his name? Brendon? He brought you some clothes. They’re in the top drawer.”
“Oh,” I replied, startled. Brendon brought me clothes? “Thank you.”
“Have a good evening, Kass,” Jocasta stepped out of the room.
I turned away from the door. Real clothing sounded heavenly. I didn’t want to spend another night in this hospital gown. It seemed very strange to me that Brendon brought me a change of clothes but he had been with me when the accident occurred. Maybe he got them out of my suitcase. I did have a suitcase with me at the time, right? Then where was it?
I flushed as I opened the drawer to see a black bra with purple lace and similarly trimmed underwear. I wrinkled my nose. My boss had seen my underwear? I guess it could’ve been worse. He’s not seeing me in my underwear. Still it felt slightly uncomfortable putting on lingerie that my boss had touched.
I wondered why he picked this particular pair. I fingered the lace delicately. The pieces were pretty. The bra and panties contrasted sharply with my ugly scars, scratches, and bruises. I slipped into them, grateful to feel feminine again. I tried not to look at the ugly bruise forming on the right side of my abdomen or the stitches in my left side. I quickly pulled the comfy navy tee over my head and slipped into the warm black sweat pants. Brendon had remembered my toiletries and even put my black wool-lined slippers in the drawer along with a fresh pair of socks. I was surprised by his thoughtfulness. This was the guy that constantly teased and harassed me, all in good fun, but still, for him to show this kind of kindness made me soften a bit.
I combed my hair slowly, deciding to leave it down around my shoulders instead of tying it back. I didn’t want to make the effort. I slid a little powder fresh deodorant under my arms and spritzed on a little gingery perfume. I was only heading to the hospital cafeteria, but I enjoyed the extra little splurges. I wondered how many other patients got to feel this good in the hospital tonight.
I eased my way out of the room. Regardless of how I was feeling, I did not want to use a wheelchair. I used the doorway to brace myself before I walked down the blue and white tiled hallway. As I turned the corner, I caught a glimpse of my boss.
“Brendon?” I called out hesitantly.
I puckered my lips, suddenly wishing I had just slipped back into my hospital room. Even if I was fully clothed, I was suddenly feeling exposed. After all, Brendon had picked out my clothing right down to my underwear and toiletries. Oh llamas! I hope he didn’t see my tampons!
“Kass,” he used my given name instead of his usual obnoxious ‘Fullbright.’ “You’re awake. I mean, you’re up and about. Doc clear you?”
“Sort of,” I shrugged. “What are you doing here?”
“I was thinking about arranging for a little jail break.”
“I’m in the hospital, not prison.”
“I know, but I thought you’d like some real food tonight.”
“Well, I’m on my way to the hospital cafeteria.”
“How about Tiny Tokyoko?”
I hesitated. The Simpanese restaurant was one of my favorites. I loved the ethnic variety in Bay City. However, there was no way I felt up for riding across town in the low-riding seats of Brendon’s Ferrari 458 Spider. Sitting outside in the nippy night wind and the low Bay City fog didn’t sound appealing either as my favorite eatery didn’t have indoor seating.
“Uh, I don’t know if my stomach can handle sushi tonight.”
“What about teriyaki chicken?”
“Uh… no thanks.”
“Spicy tuna rolls?”
“Brendon, I’m going to the cafeteria. I can’t leave the hospital anyway.”
“Where’s the rebel in you?” Brendon leaned forward and made a pleading face. “I’ll drive you to the Simasian Market, we’ll grab the food from Tiny Tokyoko and bring it back, and no one will be the wiser.”
“Um…” I tried not to laugh. “That’s a sweet offer, but I’m going to pass. I shouldn’t leave the hospital. I’m still a little wobbly on my feet.”
“Then at least allow me to escort you to the cafeteria,” Brendon said.
“Oh what a gentleman!” I said sarcastically.
“You want a wheelie?” he teased.
“No thanks,” I took a step forward. “I can get there on my own two feet.”
“Want me to carry you?” he offered.
“Oh you’d like that,” I smirked, and then quickly dropped my head, feeling the heat rise in my cheeks. He’s still your boss, Kass.
The hospital cafeteria thankfully was on the same floor as my room. We walked a snail’s pace down the hall but at least I made it without assistance. I could feel Brendon’s hand hovering near my back though so he could catch me if I fell. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.
The cafeteria was abandoned except for the chef standing behind the bar. I was glad because I didn’t really want to talk to anyone else. The room was filled with white tables and chairs, matching the large grey-and-white tile floor, but clashing dramatically with the mint green and gold colored walls. Whomever had decorated this hospital sure had an odd sense of design principles.
“What’s a matter, Shore?” I asked after he helped me to my seat. “You don’t like chicken stew?”
That was all the cafeteria had been serving this late at night. Oddly, I didn’t care. It smelled fresh and the bowl was steaming hot.
“No I was thinking the ’70s called and it wants its’ colors back,” Brendon said sourly.
I laughed, a deep-seated belly laugh. It hurt the stitches in my side, but I needed to laugh.
“It wasn’t that funny,” he said as he sat down next to me.
“I needed a good laugh,” I remarked.
“And I really wanted spicy tuna rolls,” he sighed.
“Yeah and I wanted pizza,” I waved my finger at him. “But we’re going to listen and stay at the hospital like Dr. Bachelor ordered.”
“Okay, goodie two shoes,” he teased.
I made a face. “You can get spicy tuna rolls tomorrow. Order them in from Tiny Tokyoko‘s for lunch,” I suggested.
“Yes, but it’s not the same without your company,” Brendon tried as the chef delivered our food.
“Sure, Shore, I, a wounded accident victim and lowly intern, make great company,” I laughed again, and sipped my stew.
The hot liquid felt soothing against my parched throat, warming my insides as the meat slid down into my belly.
“Come on, you’re the only one who likes Simpanese food in the office.”
“Yes, Chloe hates Simpanese with a fiery passion. She told me so herself once. She prefers spicy New Simoleans cuisine to the tastes of the Far East. Simone just picks all the seaweed off her sushi which is so sacrilegious. Angelina is dieting… always…” Brendon paused to make a gagging gesture. “She says rice makes her fat. Who eats Simpanese without rice? And Constance can’t use chopsticks to save her life so that rules out everyone but you.”
“Yes, but Brendon, you do realize you just named women who work in the office. You could eat with one of the guys,” I said, amused.
“Yes, but fat Freddy always goes home to his wife for lunch, and Jin is afraid of me.”
“Jin? The little guy that works down in the copy room?”
“Yes, but he’s afraid of me.”
“Because I stapled too many reports together and then I yelled at him to fix the stapler because he keeps jamming it every time I’m in the copy room. And he made me wait a full thirty minutes for my copies one time. The guy is slow.”
“The red one in the copy room? That’s the one you’re talking about?”
“Yes that red one.”
“Well, that’s why. Everyone knows you have to turn it upside down and hit the backside twice before using it.”
“That sounds dirty.”
I narrowed my eyes. “Eat your soup.”
“Ahem…” he cleared his throat. “Stew.”
“Stew, whatever, it’s getting cold,” I amended myself.
“Sip the stew… not eat.”
“You have to chew the pieces of meat.”
“Okay, okay, I’ll eat my stew.”
Brendon walked me back to my room after we finished our evening meal.
“Are you going to invite me in?” he teased.
“Don’t be ridiculous! This is a hospital!” I squeaked.
“You’re cute when you blush.”
“I enjoyed breaking bread with you tonight.”
“We didn’t actually break bread.”
“Our evening meal then… it was nice.”
“Better than eating spicy tuna rolls alone?” it was my turn to tease.
To my surprise, he leaned in and hugged me. Without thinking, I wrapped my arms around his shoulders. He felt nice. I realized it had been weeks since I had gotten a hug from someone. I lingered a little longer than I should have in his embrace, my thumb absently sliding up into his hair.
I jerked my hand back. What are you doing Kass? He’s your boss. Say goodnight.
“Uh… thanks for the clothes,” I said dumbly.
He grinned wickedly. I wished I hadn’t said anything. He leaned in close to whisper something in my ear.
“If you liked that, you’re going to love my ‘little surprise’ I had delivered to your room.”
2.5 Coming Soon
- Will we learn what Jocasta really meant?
- What is Brendon’s “little surprise?”
- What will happen tomorrow when Kass checks out of the hospital?
Author Changes: What’s different?
- Date changes.
- Small grammatical changes.
- Asimian was changed to Simasian.
- Tiny Tokyoko is a little hole-in-the wall corner Simpanese restaurant, a throwback to a little corner restaurant with standing room only in my own hometown. Tiny Tokyoko is located at the Simasian Market in Bay City. (You’ll get to see it soon… a lovely custom lot I downloaded from the TSR).