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Death of a Ballerina -Part 15-

Last night I updated part 14, so today you get an extra installment. For more installments see the novel index. All posts and pages on this blog are the exclusive property of Citystreams; Copyright 2006-2008; All rights reserved.

Clary left the Armitage room with tear streaks on her face and a dripping nose. She held a wadded up tissue in her left hand. As a medical school student, she had been trained to deliver bad news to a patient. None of her lessons had dealt with trauma of this nature, however. She felt overwhelmed.

Greg had asked her to call as soon as Honey could answer questions about the case. She checked the clock above the nurses’ station before calling her brother. She grinned through her tears, maliciously hoping that she would wake him up.

“Good morning!” Greg’s cheerful answer assured Clary that he’d been awake long before her call. Her brother had always been a morning person.

“Yeah. Hey, Greg. I just broke the bad news to Honey Armitage.” Clary shifted her weight and looked down at her Mary Jane Crocs. She swiped at her nose. “She said that she’ll be ready to answer your questions in a couple of hours. She needs to call her mother and her sister first.”

Greg agreed to meet her at 8am in the Armitage room. As Clary clicked her cell phone closed, she calculated the time difference for another phone call. She ached to hear Elizabeth’s voice, even if it was a voicemail message. Her best friend had gotten a placement in a very competitive residency program, and Clary felt enormous pride in all that she had achieved, but the placement had been on the other side of the country. Three time zones, and roughly twenty two hours of driving, stood between them.

She stared at the closed cell phone for a minute, and wavered. In the end she decided to wait. She would certainly catch her friend post-call with only one hour of sleep in a foggy state of stupor. Or worse, she would be loopy from taking an Ambien, and she would never remember the phone call. Clary decided to wait until lunch time. Her heart felt heavy as she dropped the phone back into the pocket of her white coat. Another tear rolled down her cheek, but this one was not for her patient’s loss. She grieved for her own loneliness.

Straightening, Clary folded her arms and squared her shoulders. Rounds would take place at 7:30, so she needed to check in on her remaining patients. She brushed the tears off of her face and marched around the corner where she ran into and bounced off of another white coated individual.

She grabbed frantically in the air, but ended up seated in the hall with an aching bottom. Above her loomed a man in his late twenties with a long face and spiky brown hair. His eyes were wide behind a pair of thin red glasses. “I am so so so sorry,” he stammered.

She smiled up at him and watched as relief flooded his face. Chuckling, she reached up and he supplied a hand to assist her.

“My fault.” Clary tossed her hair over her shoulders as she stood up. “I wasn’t paying attention. Totally absorbed by the lives of my patients. As usual.”

“Aren’t we all?” He grinned at her and Clary felt the color rising in her cheeks. He was actually quite handsome, and she suddenly felt nervous.

“My name is Will Jackson. I’m a third year IM resident and I was cutting through OB for a geriatric consult.” He paused as he realized that Clary was studying his white coat intently. “What are you looking at?”

“Oh.” Clary blushed. “I was just noticing that your name tag doesn’t say Will. It says A.W. Is Will short for William?”

His cheeks turned rosy. “Er, no.” He looked down at his watch intently. “Will is short for Wilkes.”

“Wilkes Jackson?” Clary’s eyebrows furrowed.

The man sighed and his head dropped. “It’s actually Ashley Wilkes Jackson.” He paused for a second. “My mom went through a big Gone With the Wind phase.”

Clary’s eyes danced and she beamed as she stuck out her right hand. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Will.” Her voice caught, and she almost broke out in laughter, but she held it in miraculously. “My name is Clary. Which is short for Claire Marie Anderson.”

He took her hand and rolled his eyes. “The pleasure is all mine. But I’m going to have to run if I’m going to make it back to the floor in time for rounds. My attending can be a hard-a….” Will looked at the ceiling for the right word to substitute, “act to follow.”

Clary laughed and felt herself relax. “Then you’d better run. See ya around!”

Will took off and Clary moved quickly to¬† her next patient’s room. Her steps seemed lighter and she felt a smile bubbling up from the inside. Somehow she felt sure that she would be seeing Will again.