My eyes fly open in a panic, and I lie here in the bed, blinking to take in the darkness of the room. I look over and see it’s almost time for me to get up anyway. So I lie here, thinking about nothing.
Entering work the next day, I’m carrying a box of doughnuts. “Hey, guys, I was up super early and picked up doughnuts,” I tell everyone. Walking past them to the staff room, I find Gabe making coffee while he checks something on his phone. “Morning,” I say more chipper than I planned to. “I bought doughnuts.”
He turns his head to look at me, his eyes roaming my body. “Thanks,” he says, picking up his coffee and heading out of the room.
I grab my stuff and walk back to the nurses’ station, seeing a picture of a huge log cabin. “What is this?” I look up to see Ava and Corrine smiling big.
“It’s our cabin for the weekend,” they tell me. “Dr. Walker cleared the schedule for Friday, so we drive up Saturday and then come back Sunday.”
I look down at the picture. It looks huge. “How many bedrooms?” I ask.
“Five,” they both say together.
“Someone is going to have to share,” Ava says. She looks around, and seeing it’s only us, she says, “I say we pick straws to see who gets to share with Dr. Walker?”
I look up at them as Ava and Corrine nod, giving each other high-fives. “I’m out,” I tell them. “I’ll gladly forfeit that one.”
“Are you crazy?” Ava says. “Not only is he so hot, he bought her the best shoes of life. I don’t know how his fiancée left him at the altar.”
My head whips around. “What?” I ask, trying not to be too eager, my heart pounding against my chest. “I …”
“Oh, yeah,” Corrine says, looking around again. “He was up at the altar, and everyone walked down but her. Word is that she got some cushy job up in Chicago.”
“I would not let him out of my sight if he was mine,” Ava says. Corrine clears her throat quickly, so she stops talking.
“Where is everyone?” Gabe stops by my side, looking at his watch.
“They went to get a doughnut,” I tell him. “So we really doing this whole camping thing?”
“We are,” he says, watching Ava and Corrine get up and walk away. I turn to look at him.
“This should be a barrel of laughs.” I wink at him and turn on my heels, ready to greet my first patient of the day.
The knock on the door makes me raise my head from the charts in front of me. “Come in,” I say. The door opens, and my father enters.
“Hey there.” He comes in, going to the chair right in front of my desk. “So what is this whole camping retreat?” He folds his hands together, smiling at me. “You hate camping.”
I lean back in my chair. “I don’t hate camping,” I tell him, and he raises an eyebrow at me. “What?”
“I just think it’s funny that you’re planning to take six women with you camping when you don’t even know how to fish.”
I roll my eyes. “I know how to fish. I just choose not to.”
“Well, this should be interesting. How is Crystal?” He looks at me, and I know that his question is innocent.
“She already has all the other nurses on their toes.” He laughs. “Emma said that Ava is not happy she isn’t your go-to anymore.”
“What is she talking about?” My eyebrows squeeze together. “I haven’t treated her any differently.”
“Not what she said,” my father starts. “Just that Crystal is always the one you turn to now.”
“I’m training her,” I counter, “and she knows her shit, sometimes better than I do. She diagnosed a UTI because he had anal sex.” My father throws his head back and laughs. “I wish I was kidding.”
“I can’t wait to work with her,” he says, and something in my chest tightens. It’s only normal he would work with her; she is a nurse. “So when do you guys leave?” he asks.
“Friday at six a.m.,” I tell him, making a note to call the guys and see if I can borrow some camping clothes.
“Bethany called me today,” he says, and I start rocking in my chair.
“Yup, wants to come in and show us the latest things they are working on.”
“When is she coming?” I ask him.
“Friday afternoon.” He smiles. “That should be a good time. Your mother is going to sit in the meeting with me also.”
“You think that’s a good idea?” I ask. My mother is as prim and proper as they come, but Bethany fucked with her boy.
“I think that it’s exactly what she needs to do. That or”—he pauses—“she told me I would sleep on the couch for a week if I didn’t tell her. Gotta say, not too fond of that fucking couch.”