Perfectly Imperfect

Here is a little sneak peek at “Perfectly Imperfect”

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Lauren Steele didn’t like hospitals. She realized how ridiculous that sounded, being a doctor, but as a pathologist, her role was different. She was able to avoid the clinical aspects of the medicine and focus on the facts, the research and not the human beings. She was focused and driven and good at what she did. Actually, she was the best. Sitting in a hospital bed was not conducive to what she needed or wanted. Sighing, she looked at her arms, bandaged and bruised and felt her head, which remained bandaged. It was all unnecessary. She was fine and wanted to leave. She pushed the nurses call button and waited.

“Can I help you?” A voice came through the speaker on the bed.

“I would like to check myself out. Can someone please come in to remove the IV?” Lauren waited and there was silence. “Hello?”

“Just a moment and I will send in the doctor. He is doing rounds and will be in shortly.”

Great, Lauren thought. It better not be that neurosurgeon again. He had been hanging around and she didn’t know why. She just needed to get out of here and she had a feeling he wouldn’t agree. Figuring she would be signing herself out against medical advice, she capped her IV and grabbed a pair of scrubs to put on. She went into the bathroom, ignoring the screaming pain in her body and got dressed, tying her hair up in a twist and frowning at how loosely the scrubs hung on her body. She prided herself on her running and staying fit and in shape. These few days in the hospital had ruined her momentum. Walking out of the bathroom she smacked into a wall.

“Whoa,” he said and held her by the arm.

“Ow,” she said and stepped back, looking again into the deep chocolate eyes of the man who had stayed with her that first night; the man whose face was etched in her mind. The man who made her heart beat faster.

“Sorry,” he said as he looked at her with concern all over his face.

Great, she thought, just what she needed: pity and shame, no thanks. “Whatever, it’s fine,” she walked over to her bag of things.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m leaving. I was waiting for a nurse to remove the IV, but I can just do it myself,” she said as she sat down on the bed.

“What’s wrong with you?” he asked, clearly irritated.

“Excuse me?”

“Why are you such a jerk?”

“You have a nice bedside manner.” Lauren said snidely.

“I’m not the one being so rude. I am trying to make sure you don’t have a stroke and end up in worse shape. I thought we established that you need to stay in the hospital,” he said.

“No, you established that. I am a doctor and I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself,” she countered.

“You are a pathologist, not a neurologist. I don’t see how reading books can help you with a brain injury,” he was irritated at her stubbornness and if he was honest, the fact she didn’t seem impressed with him, at all.

“Reading books? Is that what you think I do? Half of the treatments you use everyday were discovered by lowly pathologists, Dr. Stripe. Perhaps you could try to be a little more open to what I do,” she said and her face took on a fire and intensity that he found to be enticing.

“It’s Sam.”

“What?”

“My name is Sam. I told you that; did you forget?”

She rolled her eyes. “No, I didn’t forget, so don’t go getting all doctor on me. My brain is fine. I just felt as professionals, we should remain, well, professionals.”

“Okay, so as a professional, I think you should stay.”

She shrugged. “As a fellow professional I respectfully disagree.”

“Why are you so stubborn?”

“Why do you care?” she sighed. “Look Dr. Stripe, I appreciate how thorough you have been with my care and I promise you I will sign whatever you need to absolve you of any responsibility.”

He was getting angry at how ridiculous she was being. “Fine Dr. Steele. Leave, sign yourself out and go home. I’ll have the nurse bring you the paperwork,” he stood up and she felt badly at how cold she was being, but she just couldn’t help it.

“I’m sorry. I just need to go home. I do appreciate how nice you have been,” she said softly as she walked to grab her bag from the floor.

He turned and looked at her, unable to figure her out. “Can I ask you something?”

She shrugged; whatever opening was now closed.

“Who were you asking about when you woke up?” he asked.

She looked at him and he could see the pain cross her face. “My dog. I was walking him when I was hit. I was hoping someone found him, but I called the local pounds and they didn’t.”

He nodded. “I’m sorry,” he held her gaze and there was a definite pull between them. He moved closer and she backed away.

“I’m sure you have other patients to see, so why don’t you go see them?” she stammered, her face flushed. She turned to walk back to the bed and had a dizzy spell. She faltered and he grabbed her, his tall frame almost completely concealing her. “Oh,” she said.

He held her for a minute, waiting for her to feel steady and when she did, she sprang away from him like he was poison. They both stood there, silent.

She eyed him carefully. “Thanks.”

“Are you sure I can’t persuade you to stay? You clearly aren’t steady on your feet yet, unless it was just my charm which makes most women swoon.” Did he really just say that? What the hell was wrong with him?

“Swoon? What century are you from? I assure you that any swooning I am doing is from the car that ran over me and not from anything you are doing to me,” she turned to the bed, not wanting him to see just how much of a lie that was.

He stood there, looking at her and not knowing what to do. “Are you sure I can’t call someone for you?”

“No thanks. You can go now, I’m good,” she said as she turned to pack her bag, effectively ending the conversation.

He shook his head. “Fine,” he sighed as he left.

 

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