Just after morning rounds, Nate was headed back to his office to catch up on the charts he’d left before the weekend. He kept his mind on his work but she would creep in unexpectedly and he’d find himself smiling at some rather inexplicable times. Lauren’s condition had improved considerably but with her immune system so compromised, she’d been confined to the hospital indefinitely. He left her room with a promise to return and play checkers later in the day, grinning to himself. He sent a quick text to Carrie, just so she’d know he was thinking of her and headed back to his office to catch up on the charts he’d left behind over the long weekend and to scarf down a quick lunch. He had about an hour and a half before his second procedure of the day.
“No, ma’am. I’m very sorry,” he heard a volunteer say through the phone at the visitor’s’ desk. “Hospital policy doesn’t allow flowers or live plants on the cardiac floor.”
Flowers! Nate, ya dumbass, he thought. He Googled the number for a florist and placed a call. Gavin Bishop, the Chief of Surgery caught up to him at the tail end of his call. He signaled Gavin to walk with him. “Yellow preferably.,” he said, remembering that he’d seen a vase of yellow tulips in her apartment the first time she’d invited him in. “Oh…uh. I don’t remember the address. It’s uh…Columbus Circle. Caroline Davison Method, it may come up as CDM.”
“I love her,” the girl on the phone gushed. “Who are we delivering these to?”
“To Caroline Davison.”
“Oh,” she quipped, sounding both surprised and impressed. “Is there a card?”
“Sure. Um,” arriving at his office, he turned his face toward the door in an attempt to hide the last of his conversation with his boss. “Just say Always, Nathan. Just that.”
“Are you in trouble?” Gavin teased when Nate hung up.
“Ah, got it!” Gavin smiled, winking at Nate.
“What can I do for you chief?” Nate asked, dryly. He liked and respected Gavin a lot.
“I got a call today from a friend at Mass Gen.” Massachusetts General had one of the top heart surgery programs in the country and had tried on a few occasion, to lure Nate into making a move. Happy where he was, he never had an interest. Now, with Carrie in his life, he really had no interest in making any changes.
“What do they want,” Nate sighed, assuming they were courting him again.
“Well, she inquired about Dr. Craythorne. Seems they’ve given up on you and are after your protege.” Gavin joked. “I seem to remember Amy expressing her interest in being matched to cardio. ”
“That was her plan. I’m not sure why you’re asking me though. I’m not sure what her plans are to be perfectly honest.”
“Before I mention it to Dr. Craythorne, I wanted to know if you felt comfortable recommending her. You’ve kept your distance lately and your personal life is no business of mine but professionally, is there anything I should know?”
“About Dr. Craythorne? No. She’s got better instincts than me and she’s talented.” Nate insisted. It was true. Amy lacked some people skills but a as surgeon, she had an enviable talent. He felt sad sometimes that she really didn’t know how brilliant she was.
“Nate,” Gavin said seriously. “Do you want her gone?”
“I’m sorry what>”
“Don’t mishear me. Dr. Craythorne is an asset but so are a lot of other people. I can make this happen if you want.”
Nate let it sink in. Gavin was essentially offering to get rid of Amy. It was an amazing opportunity and would give Amy a clean slate. All in all, it seemed like a good idea for everyone. So why did the idea feel so gross? Nate sighed. “Why don’t you let me talk to her?”
Carrie shifted in her seat waiting for Legacy to join her for lunch. Too hungry to wait, she wolfed down a chicken cobb salad in record time; her third meal of the day and it was only just 11:30. The activities of the previous days required frequent refueling. She laughed to herself and wriggled in her chair again. She sat outside at one of their favorite spots, in a wrought iron chair, awaiting her friend’s arrival. She hadn’t remembered the chairs being this uncomfortable.
She wondered what Nathan was up to. He’d left her place early that morning for work. Letting him go had been agonizing but the things she was feeling were the kind that could only be processed with a girl’s best friend. The last several days had been emotionally … full and Carrie had no idea how she’d describe them. The sex stuff would take care of itself; as soon as she had the courage she’d spill her guts. But meeting Nathan’s family and the feeling that she had somehow changed though she couldn’t pinpoint exactly how were details that were impossible to put into words.
“Hey, I’m sorry,” Legacy rushed to the table, a huge bag of fabric teeming over. Some people smoked when they were stressed, some were binge eaters. Legacy had her own coping mechanisms.
“Hi!,” Carrie beamed, without standing to hug Legacy as she usually would. “What’d you buy me?”
“What didn’t I buy? I’ll show you all of it later. I don’t even know what I’m going to do with half of this stuff but…” she noticed Carrie’s almost empty salad plate. “You ate already?”
“I was starving. Sorry. Anyway, I’m dying to know about your showdown with Amanda.”
“No showdown. Not yet, anyway. I was hoping you’d have time to go on an errand with me today.”
Carrie leaned in. Legacy continued. “So, I did like you said and hired a P.I., right? In the meantime, I sent her a bunch of messages and emails. No reply, not that I expected anything. She blocked me from just about everything. I was feeling smug like I had her cornered when the P.I. got me her address. He was going to go by for me but he was expensive as crap. Plus, I don’t want to tip her off. I called, her office line. Get this, it’s a 5th Avenue address, one of those mid-rises. I called the number.” Legacy finally took a breath. Carrie, she has a receptionist answering her calls.” The words spilled out in one long string.
“I’m sorry.” Carrie began.
“Whatever, it’s fine. I did my share of moping. The other day when you called and I had a headache, that was the tail end of my pity party. I may not get what I want out of this but I’m not rolling over and playing dead.”
“What do you want?”
“Credit for my work!,” Legacy’s voice raised an octave. “I don’t want to hurt anyone but I want her to admit that she stole from me.”
“You know that’s not likely. Her career will be ruined once people find out what she did if you can make it stick. But, and I’m only trying to look at all sides, what if you end up looking like the ass?” Carrie asked.
“I’ve thought this over and I’m willing to fight this. It’s not right, Carrie,” Legacy said, defensively. “When you got sued, you didn’t just throw up your hands and settle. You fought for your reputation.”
“That was different. I had an actual lawsuit forcing me to make a decision to either settle or fight. I gambled because settling would have made it look like I was at fault when I wasn’t. Anyway, with this Lindsay thing, I think we are going to settle just to make it go away quietly.” Carrie reminded her.
“God, we’re just attracting the drama from everywhere. I forgot about Lindsay.”
“Lindsay’s not important. My point is…don’t fight this because it’s what Carrie would do. I’m sticking my head in the sand and letting David deal with her.” Carrie stated. Legacy was right. The drama seemed to be swirling around them lately and she didn’t even care. She’d been so wrapped up that last couple of days that she’d legitimately forgotten all of it; Lindsay, Amanda, Ayla’s crush on David.
“Will you at least go with me? I want to see for myself what she’s up to. If I have to let it go, I will but not until I’ve made every attempt to back her into a corner.” Legacy pleaded.
“You know I will,” Carrie assured her. “I have some stuff this afternoon but if we go right from here…” Her phone dinged and he took a glance at her phone and blushed. Nathan had text her just two words.
“So,” Carrie giggled, looking up from her phone. “I had sex!”
Legacy choked on a sip of water. “Oh my God! What? Oh, my…way to bury the lead! When?” Forgetting everything they’d just been discussing.
“Saturday…Sunday morning… some other..uh..stuff Sunday afternoon, yesterday and sort of this morning…” she blushed again.
Legacy’s jaw dropped. She waited but when Carrie offered nothing further she blurted, “And?”
“And, what? It was good. It was… he was kind of perfect.” she felt the color rise to her face yet again and she buried her face in her hands and laughed.
“You should see yourself. Oh my God, Carrie.” she scooted her chair closer. “I want every sticky detail.”
“I don’t know what I’m supposed to say.”
“You do not get to cheat me out of this. This is THAT conversation, the one every one of us had in P.E. except for you. I’ve been very patient and now it’s time to spill.”
“Alright.” Carrie shook her head, amused. “I…I don’t know where to start.”
“I’m waiting,” Legacy grinned, leaning her chin into her hand.
“Fine. So, no one ever tells you how much it hurts!’
“I did tell you. You just can’t compare it to anything else so it’s impossible to describe. Was it bad?”
Carrie squirmed. She’d barely talked about this out loud with Nathan. “Doing it barely hurt at all, not like i expected it to, though I almost couldn’t handle… um… it. He was so good, Legacy. I don’t know how to explain it. He was… he just did it all right.”
Legacy fanned herself. “Big?”
“Is he big?”
“Yeah,” she confirmed, flushing. “At least I think so. It was like, I don’t know, like…like being a size 4 but making the double zero skinny jeans fit anyway.”
“Hell yeah,” Legacy laughed.
“I had sex and I’m sorry I totally changed the subject but I had sex I had sex!” Carrie whispered.
“So, Aladdin enters the Cave of Wonders and then what?”
“It was like…it wasn’t exactly like in the movies but it kind of was too. Also, you know how girls in movies are always moaning and squealing and I’m like ‘that’s so fake’?”
Legacy raised her eyebrows. “Uh-huh! You do it too.”
Carrie bit her her lip and shook her head, laughing at herself. “I totally do it too.” she cackled. “I can’t help it.”
“You’re cute right now.,” Legacy smiled, glad for the distraction.
“I totally did it!” Carrie sang and then lowered her voice, looking around. “And now my vagina is screaming at me.
“Well it’s like that!” Legacy laughed at her. “Lay off for a day and you’ll be ready to ride again. Pun soooo intended. Hey, I’m going to write a song about it!
“Do not! Bitch, you’d better…” Carrie pointed at Legacy, knowing exactly what she was planning.
“Oh no, it is on! Turn about is fair play.” Legacy pretended to argue.
“That’s not fair. Anyway, I was sixteen and you have no one to blame but yourself. You told everyone and, please. You had SEX with a guy named REX. I had no choice. Besides, nothing rhymes with Nathan.”
“No, but what about Nate?” She spoke into her phone. “Show me words that rhyme with Nate.”
“Quit,” Carrie laughed.
“Nope. Oh, here we go. Ate, bait, crate…no,” she scrolled down. “Ok, Wait and Great Mate…Ha! Nate was great. She made him wait but… Fate, procreate, ornate. Oh my God, Consummate…this is too easy! Oh, shit! Masterba…”
Carrie threw a tiny grape tomato from her salad at Legacy’s head and they squealed with laughter.