When I awoke the next morning, I felt stiff, like I was running all night. My dreams sure did a number on me last night; this was going to feel like a long day now. So I got my shower, breakfast, and into my work clothes. Piper was honking the horn for me to hurry up and get going. We drove to work in silence; we never talked this early in the morning.
Once we got to the hospital I was called to Derrick’s office. Dread filled my heart at the thought of him being disappointed in my first emergency.
“Winter, I heard that you were called in last night. How did that go?” he was sitting behind his desk leaning back in his plush chair.
“Umm… not as good as I had hoped.” I could feel my own disappointment swell inside and could only guess that Derrick could see it as well.
“What do you think went wrong?” Derrick was too calm; he had to have heard about it. So why was he questioning me on it?
“I think it was that I was not strong enough to hold down an injured patient.” Honesty was the only thing I could think of, he had to know, so why lie.
“That is part of it; the other part is that you should never work on a patient that you know.”
“But I don’t know him… the only time I have ever met him was last night when he fell. I couldn’t even tell you his name if you had asked me to.” I was shocked; everyone thought I knew this man.
“Wait, you know nothing of this man, yet he knows your name, full name I might add, and that you work here treating the burn victims? One of you has to be…” Derrick stopped and pulled out a file from the shelf behind him. He flipped through pages until he found what he was looking for. His face turned dark, and his violet eyes flashed violently.
Derrick looked up at Winter, “You have to do yourself a favor and try to stay away from that man. He is a very unstable person that you cannot help. I will go talk to him, but if he tries anything uncomfortable with you, then you better let me know. Do you understand?”
“Y-Yes, sir,” I nodded quickly.
“Good, you are dismissed.” Derrick waved me away as he stood from his chair.
I did the only thing I could think of, I retreated to the nurse’s ward. My head was spinning from what I just heard and I felt a little sick. Was Derrick telling me that I had a stalker? If he was so unstable why was he not put away in an institute or something? Goosebumps covered my flesh and a ghostly chill came over me.
I went to go find Derrick again; I was not feeling well anymore. As soon as Derrick saw my pale face, he told me to just take the day off, and try to relax.
“Look, I mean it if you need anything I will do my best to help out. Right now you need to just relax, you’ll make yourself sick with worry otherwise.” Derrick put his hand on my shoulder, “Go home, take a nice hot bath, make a hot meal, and then curl up and read a good book. That’s what I do when I need to unwind.”
I nodded with a sigh and went to clock out, and then go back to the nurse’s ward to get into my normal clothes. Today was turning out to be a hell of a mess up in my life. What was I going to do if I did run into that man in town or something? The fear in me said I was going to scream and run, but the cold fear in me said I would be too scared to do anything.
The chilly wind hit my face as I stepped outside; I sat on a bench as I waited for the taxi to pick me up. With how caught up in my thoughts I was I didn’t even hear the footsteps that approached me. When a male cleared his throat to get my attention I almost jumped up to run away, but I controlled myself… well… okay, I screamed a little.
“Holy crap, you scared the-“I looked up at the man and froze.
“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to frighten you. Are you alright?” I had to make myself smile or piss off the man who knows all about me.
Swallowing the lump in my throat I nodded, “I’m okay, now that my heart is beating again.” When he frowned at that I smiled again and tried a sweeter approach, “How’s your head, you hit it pretty hard when you fell.”
He reached around and rubbed the back of his head with a grin, “Yeah it made quite the bump. I’m doing great now, thank you for helping me, and I’m sorry about the, um, bruises.” He gestured to my arms where the hand-prints were yellowing.
“No, no, it comes with the job.” He frowned again, “besides you seemed pretty hurt so I don’t think you were all there to know that you were hurting me.” His frown deepened, “I didn’t even feel them, I just happened to look and notice anyway.” He shook his head at me, “What’s your name anyway, mine is Winter,” pretending not to know that he knew my name.
“Kraig Parker, Um Look, I wanted to say I’m sorry, and thought, that is if you want to, that I could take you out to eat, or something.” Now he rubbed the back of his neck nervously.
“Well, I, um… yeah sure, one night out won’t hurt, I need a nice time out every now and then.” How was I going to talk my way out of an apology dinner?
“Great!!! Do you work tomorrow night?” He waited for an answer with such a huge grin on his face I thought he was going to burst.
“I get off at four tomorrow, I can be ready by… six-thirty… seven o’clock. Where can I meet you?” Feeling like I needed to keep my home private to a man that more-than-likely already knew, I thought to pretend convenience.
“The Little Bistro, just a block from the elixir shop where the witches hang out.” His grin was beginning to frighten me even more that the man himself.
“You mean that little Goth shop?” I had not heard the odd people called witches before; this man was really off in the head.
“Yeah, yeah, Goths, if you face the shop then look down the street to your left… that restaurant at the end is The Little Bistro.” He was getting giddy and seemed to wiggle around as he explained where the date was going to be.
“Okay, I know the place you’re talking about, yeah that would be fun.” My taxi pulled up and I said goodbye as I jumped up and waved as I climbed into the cab.
Once I was home I felt a little bit better, still mostly freaked out, but nothing locking all my windows and doors didn’t help get rid of. I felt good enough to get a quick shower and get in my p.js, eat a nice salad and crawl into bed reading a medical journal. Can you guess what happened next? Well, I will tell you, two pages in I was out like a light.