Eden May sat a shaken Dr. Billy Bell down on a chair in the break room. “Are you all right?” she asked.
Billy tried to hide his bruised ego. “I’m fine. Doesn’t that jerk understand that I am Ciri’s doctor? Her surgeon? Of course I want her to walk again. What kind of doctor would I be if I didn’t want that?”
“I’m sure he knows. Let me get you some coffee.” She walked over to the coffeepot, and Billy enjoyed the view that she left him.
“I understand he’s scared. It’s just that I know Van. He’s just a few years younger than me. I watched him grow up. I just expect more from people I know, I guess.”
“Maybe that’s why he felt safe enough to lash out at you; because he knows you.” She poured coffee into a cup. “Cream? Sugar?”
He didn’t to answer. He thought he did, but realized as she stared at him, waiting for a response, that he forgot to speak. “Sugar! I mean. Sorry. Just sugar.”
She blushed. “Here you go then. Are you okay? I have an appointment.”
“Oh, yeah. I’m fine. Go.” He looked into his coffee and swallowed hard. “There was just one more thing, actually.”
“I was wondering what you were doing later? Like, after your shift.”
Her face lit up with a smile, then quickly turned to a frown. “I’m busy. I have plans.”
Billy’s heart crept up into his throat. “Oh. That’s okay. Another time maybe.”
“Perhaps,” she said, coldly, then left the room.
Billy was so confused by the way she completely shut down. It was as if she threw up her defensive walls at the sound of a date. He shrugged it off and walked into his office, wanting nothing more than to sit in quiet and take a short nap. Instead of him lying on the small sofa in his office though, was someone else, waiting Billy to walk in.
Billy sighed in disgust. “What do you want, Bobby?”
“Hey! Is that anyway to treat your older brother?” Bobby sprang up from the sofa. His cheap brown suit, wrinkled; most likely from the day before. “Can’t I just come in and see how my little buddy is doing?”
“I’m not your little buddy, Bobby.”
Pretending not to notice Billy’s attitude. “That’s a shame about that Jackson girl, huh? How old is she? Twenty? If that?”
“The surgery went well. I’m expecting a full, but slow, recovery.”
“But she can’t be more than twenty, right?”
Billy was getting agitated. “She’s twenty-one. What do you want, Bobby?”
“I just stopped by to say hello.”
“You said it. Now leave.” He held the door open.
Bobby smiled and shut the door. “What’s with all the hostility?” He chuckled.
Billy smelled the air. “Have you been drinking?”
“What are you? My mother now?” Bobby was barely able to hide his anger.
“If mom won’t do it, then I guess I have to,” Billy sat down at his desk, avoiding eye contact with him.
“Listen, I haven’t been drinking. I was in the neighborhood and…”
“Cut the crap, Bobby!” Billy slammed his hand down on his desk. “What do you want?”
Bobby knew that the jig was up. “Just a few hundred. I just need to get this guy off my back. I’ll pay you back. You know I’m good for it.”
“Like hell I do! I stopped keeping track of how much money you owe me because it was depressing knowing I would never get it back from you.”
Bobby smiled. “So you stopped keeping track, huh?”
“Get out,” Billy said.
“I just need…”
“I said, out!”
“Billy, come on, man.”
“Go ask mom for money. I’m sure she’s gullible enough to believe any crap story you have to tell.”
Bobby clenched his jaw. “I’ll remember this, baby brother.”