She Doesn’t Hate You
“You want to order lunch?” Nate asked? Amy’s energy had shifted noticeably since being informed that Amanda’s family was on the way.
“Okay,” she agreed, quietly. “Um, whatever you want is fine.”
He punched a few buttons on his phone trying his best to ignore Amy and allow her to process whatever she was flipping around in her head.
“Hi, it’s Dr. Dorough. Can I get a chicken Caesar but with ranch dressing instead…” He looked up and Amy smiled sadly, touched that he remembered her standard order. “…dressing on the side. And a turkey and avocado BLT. Bring it up to my office, thanks.”
Nate hung up slowly, unsure of what to do with the thickness in the air.
It felt strange to still care as he did but to be unable to do anything for Amy. Offering a shoulder or an ear could only hurt her in the long run. She’d been right about not having someone. She had lots of someone’s but not the someone. It dawned on him suddenly, what was bothering her.
“You thought you were alike… you and Amanda? That you both are alone?”
Amy nodded looking shell-shocked. “I guess. ,” she paused, drawing in a breath. “Does it make me a bad person for wishing she was?”
“No. And maybe you are alike. Just not in the way you thought.”
“How do you mean?”
“There is no good reason she should be alive right now. That’s because of you but not even you could have forced her to hang in there if she wasn’t a fighter too.”
Amy let his words sink in. She was a fighter. Everything that Nate had accomplished, she’d accomplished only she’d had to work so much harder. She hadn’t had a family that supported her ambitions not to mention his brains. But she was every bit as brilliant as he was … maybe more. Amy laughed a little to herself.
Their lunches arrived and they made small talk for a bit, dancing around obvious topics but more or less sharing a comfortable conversation.
“You feeling better?” he asked?
Amy nodded. “They all eventually end up teaching us something, don’t they?”
“Hmmm,” Nate agreed, taking a large bite of his sandwich. “They do indeed. And…may I add… that I really admire how you’ve advocated for her when there was no one else.”
“Thanks,” Amy grinned, genuinely. “And it means a lot that you were here today. I am sorry that you got yanked into this but for what it’s worth, I loved today.”
“Well, it all worked out.,” he answered, non-committal.
“You’re not going to tell me your connection to her are you?” Amy inquired.
“Doesn’t matter now really.”
“It’s Carrie’s designer friend, isn’t it?”
“Why do you think that?”
“Because I heard you ask her last night when I called you. Her name is Legacy, right?”
“You checking up on my girlfriend?” he asked, trying to sound like he was teasing.
“You forget that I knew who she was before you did. You remember when I lost all that weight before my birthday cruise?”
“I guess.” Nate nodded.
“Well, let’s just say that she’s good at what she does.” Amy shrugged.
“Yeah, well, so are you. I have a type, I guess,” Nate laughed genuinely causing Amy to blush. “I’m sorry. I should not have said that.”
“It’s fine,” she promised, doing her best to shake off the warm feeling he gave her. She opened her mouth as if to say something, hesitated and then tried again. “You guys got into a fight last night because I called you didn’t you?”
“No,” Nate stated. “We did not get into a fight because you called. We got into a fight because I was tired and I snapped at her. The fact that you heard it made it worse.”
“I’m really sorry.,” Amy snorted. “God, I actually meant that.”
Nate smiled sleepily, making him look more adorable than usual. “It’s alright. Everything’s fine. She’s not a fan of yours, obviously but she’s tolerant.”
Amy noticeably flinched. “I really want to come back to cardio after Amanda is discharged. If Carrie hates me, are you going to let me?”
“She doesn’t hate you and no, I won’t let that happen. You may have to apologize for the stunt you pulled on her birthday …”
Amy sighed. “Do you know how humiliating that will be for me?”
“It’s not my intention to humiliate you but you snapped, Amy. I’m over it and Carrie is too but that doesn’t mean she trusts you. Look, she works with her ex too, and he’s a prick… to me anyway. She’s not going to try to keep me from working with you. If you’re talking about finishing out residency, then we have no issues. If you’re still angling for a fellowship, you’ll have to suck it up and say you’re sorry. You probably should do it either way.”
“Do we really have to bring your personal life into our work?” Amy frowned.
“With all due respect and I do mean that, you are the one who did that when you tried to manipulate me into leaving her birthday party. You wouldn’t be on her radar at all if you’d left things alone. You can’t undo that but I am willing to move beyond it and Carrie will too.”
Amy studied an imaginary mark on the floor, her face getting hot.
“Hey!,” Nate demanded. “This is not an attack…”
She nodded but before Amy could respond, the landline on Nate’s desk rang. The caller I.D. showed an internal line.
“Dr. Nathan Dorough,” he answered pleasantly.
“Dr. Dorough, you have a call from a Bruce Van Dreesen parked on Line 7.”
“Thank you,” he replied and then to Amy, “It’s them.”
Amy sat up straight her conversation with Nate temporarily forgotten. “Here we go.”