Page 20 of Doctor Next Door

“Good morning,” he greeted chipperly. “I hope you like your eggs scrambled.”

“I’m never going to be able to look at that apron the same way again,” I wheezed, clutching at my stomach.

“What?” he snorted. “You don’t think I pull this look off?”

I rolled my eyes and giggled. “I don’t even know where to begin. Just be careful, I guess. I wouldn’t want you spilling hot oil all over yourself.”

“That’d be a real shame, wouldn’t it?”

Edgar plated everything up, serving me a generous portion of scrambled eggs along with buttered toast and a four freshly carved apple slices. I moseyed on over and stood up on my tip toes to give him a quick peck on the cheek.

“Thank you,” I said sheepishly as I took a seat on one of the kitchen island bar stools. “It’s been a while since anyone’s done this for me.”

Edgar threw me a playful wink. “This is just something I picked up from my Cooking for Seniors class.”

He set the plate down before me and handed me a fork. Our late-night activities had left me utterly famished, so I dug in without another word. The eggs were nice and fluffy, and the toast was the perfect golden-brown –just the way I liked it.

“Do you have any plans today?” I inquired, mouth full of food. “Maybe we could… I don’t know. Hang out?”

“Do you like my company that much?” he chuckled.

“What if I do?” I challenged, raising an eyebrow.

“Well, then that would make two of us.”

I swallowed, unable to fight the smile that stretched across my lips.

“In all seriousness, though,” he started, “I do have to get to work. My shift starts in an hour and I have to account for traffic.”

“Oh, yeah. I keep meaning to ask you what your job is.”

“I’m a doctor,” he explained simply, like the fact wasn’t something to be astounded by.

I shifted in my seat, thoroughly impressed. “Really? You’re not just pulling my chain, are you?”

Edgar shook his head and grinned at me. “I’m serious. I work at Sacramento Mercy Hospital.”

“That’s honestly amazing. Between scheduled events at the old folks’ home and dealing with me, I don’t know how you do it.”

He threw his head back and laugh, Adam’s apple bobbing as he did. “I really do hate to spend the night and run, but–”

“It’s okay,” I interrupted, genuinely happy. “Go save people’s lives. Or do whatever it is you do.”

“Surgery. I do surgery.”

“Holy shit, really? Talk about impressive. No wonder you were so effective when you fixed me up.”

“I live to serve,” he chuckled. “But maybe when I’m back we can…” His voice trailed off, sentence dropping.

“Yes?” I urged.

“Maybe we can spend some time together when I get back?” he suggested.

“We can go for a walk in the park or something,” I replied with a nod. “Maybe grab some ice cream.”

“The weather’s definitely perfect for it,” he hummed.

“Then it sounds like a date.”

Edgar kissed my forehead quickly and nodded. “A date it is, then. Try not to cut yourself on anything while I’m gone. I don’t want to see you in my emergency room.”

I brought two fingers up to my temple and gave him a mock salute. “Yes, sir!” I barked. “Although, you’ll probably want to get dressed first. I don’t think bright pink aprons are ideal for that kind of work environment.”

Edgar clicked his tongue, looking down. “Really? I thought maybe I could set a new trend.”

“I guess in this heat, people may be open to accepting alternatives.

“I’ll go get changed. It’s a good thing I live right down the hall.”

I sighed contently, smiling up at him. “A good thing indeed,” I confirmed.

11

Edgar

“Dr. Linton? Dr. Linton, are you even listening to me?”

I drew in a sharp breath threw the nose and blinked, quickly turning to look down at the nurse by my side. She had a stack of patient charts in her arms, accompanied by an expression of pure annoyance.

“I’m sorry,” I stated quickly. “My mind was elsewhere.”

“Rounds are complete,” she informed me. “And your one o’ clock appendectomy is prepping for surgery. You’ve been assigned to OR three.”

“Thank you. I’ll go scrub in.”

“Are you feeling alright, Dr. Linton?” the scrub nurse asked me. “You don’t seem… Well, you don’t seem like your usual self. You’ve got a bit of skip in your step.”

In truth, I was feeling better than alright. I was feeling fantastic. My entire morning was spent daydreaming about a specific chipper redhead waiting back home. Daliah had awoken something in me, a spark I thought had long since been extinguished. Before Daliah, all I wanted to concentrate on was my work and climbing the career ladder. But now, all I wanted was to make her smile, hear her laugh, watch as her eyes lit up with genuine excitement. I didn’t want to see her upset like she had been when she found out her work wouldn’t be featured at the art gallery. When she started to cry, it damn near tore my heart in two.

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