“Thank you,” I mumbled, giggling nervously. “I should probably get out of your hair before your girlfriend comes back and gets the wrong idea or something.”
Edgar shook his head slowly. “I don’t have a girlfriend,” he stated flatly.
“Oh,” I swallowed, “cool. I mean, not cool. It just sucks that you’re single. I mean. Not that being single sucks. Just– Never mind. I should go.”
He rose with me and chuckled, casually slipping his hands into the pocket of his tight jeans. “You sure you feel alright? It’s okay if you need a minute.”
“No, I’m good. Thank you so much for your help.”
“Not a problem. Just remember to keep the music down. This old man needs to be in bed by nine.”
The corners of my lips twisted into a smile. “Another joke?”
“Dead serious. I need my beauty sleep.” Edgar spoke with a flat tone, but his charming smile was playful. “Have yourself a good night, Miss Flowers.”
“Good night, Edgar the Third.”
Days off were incredibly rare. So much so, in fact, that I didn’t know what to do with myself. I woke up roughly fifteen minutes before my alarm and sat in bed for another ten, completely at a loss of what I was going to do. There was no doubt in my mind that some people would think living just to work was incredibly sad, but I loved my job. I loved being able to wake up every morning to go to work and save people’s lives. The job of a surgeon wasn’t easy, marred with stresses like no other occupation, but I was the kind of person who strived under pressure. There was no place I would rather be than in an operating room under the bright surgical lights with a team of nurses working diligently by my side.
I eventually grew too bored to remain in bed, so I slipped my legs out from beneath the covers and stood. For the first time in what must have been weeks, I shuffled over to the kitchen to cook up some breakfast. On a normal work day, I usually only had enough time to grab a bagel and a coffee from the hospital’s cafeteria before attending surgery after surgery. My fridge was poorly stocked with a few eggs and a questionable jug of orange juice that was pushed to the very back. I grimaced at the lack of ingredients and reclosed the fridge door, deciding that a quick visit to the café just down the street would provide my stomach with better options after I snuck in a quick run. I returned to the bedroom and got dressed, pulling on a pair of navy-blue track pants, a loose grey t-shirt, white gym socks, and a comfortable set of running shoes. Before I headed out the door, I snatched up my phone, wallet, and keys.
I headed toward the nearby park and chose to run a few laps around the massive man-made lake at the center of the heavily wooded area. Since it was so early in the morning, the park was relatively free of people, save for the occasional fellow jogger. It had been a while since I managed to workout, so I was unsurprised when my left calf started to strain and cramp almost immediately. I was by no means out of shape, but it suddenly became clear to me that I was going to have to be a lot stricter when it came to my personal health. After all, no patient was going to listen to a doctor who didn’t follow his own advice.
After managing ten circuits around the park –a wonderfully even number of laps– I was breathing hard and drenched in sweat. The muscles in my legs were wonderfully warm with overexertion, and my lungs burned in my chest. I sat down on a nearby bench, enjoying the moment as I came down from my runner’s high. As I caught my breath, my cellphone buzzed in my pocket. I answered immediately, squinting to check the caller ID against the bright rays of the sun.
“Hello?” I greeted.
“Hey, Edgar. How’s my favorite cousin doing?” asked Ryan chipperly.
I chuckled, leaning forward on the bench to rest an elbow on my knee. “Not too bad.”
“You sound out of breath. Am I interrupting something? Should I call back…”
“No, it’s cool,” I huffed. “Just finished a run. What’s up?”
“I was actually hoping to get your professional opinion,” he started. “You remember my wife Emma, right?”
“Of course, I do. Met her last Christmas. You two are expecting soon, if I recall correctly.”
“That’s exactly right. Due sometime in March. That’s actually why I’m calling. Do you happen to know any good obstetricians? I want to make sure Emma’s only got the best looking out for her.”
I took a moment to think, glancing up at the clouds. Today was proving to be a spectacularly beautiful day. “You can try Dr. Marks,” I suggested. “Or even Dr. Wong. I’ll have to get back to you with their numbers. I’ve got them written down somewhere at home.”