Home > Love with Me (With Me in Seattle #11)(2)

Love with Me (With Me in Seattle #11)(2)
Author: Kristen Proby

“Any idea why?” I ask.

She doesn’t look up as she shakes her head. “No, sir, you know what I know.”

“Thanks. I’ll see you tomorrow.” She offers me a wave, her eyes still on the task at hand as I walk down the corridor.

I stop by my office to shed my coat and stethoscope, then walk up a flight of stairs to the medical director’s office.

“Hello, Mick,” I say as I step into his space and close the door behind me.

“Jace,” he says with a friendly nod. “Have a seat.”

“What’s up?”

He frowns and glances down at the open folder before him. Mick Leamon is a tall, fit man of sixty-three. His hair is shockingly white, probably from close to forty years’ worth of surgeries.

He’s also someone I’ve grown to respect and admire.

“I’m not going to beat around the bush, Jace. We have a clusterfuck on our hands.”

“How so?”

“Do you remember a patient by the name of Manuel Walters from a couple of months ago?”

“He died on my table.”

He nods, his expression grim. “That’s the one. The family is suing you and the hospital for wrongful death.”

My hands tighten in my lap, and my stomach clenches. I’ve never been sued for malpractice. I’ve never even been threatened.

This could tank my entire career.

“Mick—”

“I know,” he says, holding up his hands in surrender. “I know that you went by the book and that the investigation will find that you didn’t do anything wrong. I’m not worried about this.”

“Well, I’m glad, because I’m sure as fuck worried.”

“Seattle General has an excellent team of attorneys who are already working this case.”

“Why aren’t they here with us?”

His lips tip up into a smile. “Because I thought it would be more comfortable if we started this with a friendly conversation.”

“Should I hire my own attorney?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Let me rephrase, if it was your medical license on the line, would you hire your own damn attorney?”

“No,” he says without pause. “The hospital stands with you, as do I. The attorneys are representing you. I don’t think you need more counsel, but that’s always an option if hell freezes over and it comes to that.”

I exhale and nod. “Okay.”

“I’d like for you to meet with the attorneys on Tuesday at noon.”

I frown. “Mick, I’m in surgery on Tuesday.”

“No.” He closes the folder and rubs his hand down his face. “You’re not. Unfortunately, as of right now, you’re on paid leave while the investigation is underway, until we can get this cleared up.”

“For how long?”

He shrugs. “A month? Six? Hell, I don’t know, Jace.”

“Months?” I stand and pace the office that overlooks Puget Sound. “Jesus Christ, Mick.”

“We need you here, Jace, so trust me when I say that we’re doing everything we can to wrap this up quickly. In the meantime, I’ll fly Sean Tiller out from Boston to cover your surgeries.”

“I hate Sean Tiller.”

“He’s an excellent surgeon.”

“And a pain in the ass.”

“I won’t argue there,” Mick says with a laugh. “So, we’d best get this investigation wrapped up so you can get back into the operating room.”

“I didn’t do anything wrong that day, Mick.”

“I know that, too.” He’s somber again, sympathy and concern in his blue eyes.

“The chief position—”

“Isn’t going anywhere,” he immediately assures me. “It’s still yours, and we will just make do until you get back to work. Go get some rest, see your family, go to the movies. Go do whatever it is you do when you’re not here, and I’ll see you on Tuesday.”

I stare at him for a moment, then nod once and march right out of his office to mine so I can grab my things before I hurry to my car.

But now I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to go home. I don’t need to be in my head right now.

Joy.

I want to see Joy.

She was with me after Walters passed, so she already knows the story, and she’ll have words of wisdom.

She always knows what to say.

Since the gala two months ago, and losing Walters, I’ve been spending more time with Joy—when we both have time away from our respective jobs.

Which isn’t as often as I’d like, so it’s not like I see her every day. But we’ve managed to squeeze in an evening or breakfast here or there.

I can’t explain what’s happening, other than I just can’t stay away from her.

She’s working today, so I drive right over. Her vet clinic isn’t far from her home, and at this time of day, she should be just about finished.

I haven’t been here in years. Joy’s remodeled the waiting room with new tile floors, comfortable, grey chairs, and a coffee station with fresh-baked cookies.

She said the smell of the cookies covers up any of the unsavory odors from the animals.

She’s a smart woman, my Joy.

“Fuck off.”

I stop short, blinking and looking around the empty lobby.

“Be nice, Bill,” Stephanie, the receptionist, says with a frown. “He swears.”

“Fuck off.”

I glance behind her to find a parrot perched in a large cage. “Pretty bird,” I say.

“Shithole.”

I can’t believe it, but I actually laugh. This might be the worst day of my life, but Joy’s bird is a kick in the ass.

“Is Joy here?”

“Yeah, she’s finishing up an emergency surgery. Everyone else is already gone for the day, and I’m just waiting for her to finish so I can lock up and go.”

“Is she alone back there?”

Stephanie cocks her brow like I just asked a stupid question. “No. She has a tech with her.”

“Go ahead and lock up. I’ll wait.”

“Sorry, but I’m not getting fired for you.”

“Fuck off.”

I laugh again. “Bill has a bit of a potty mouth.”

“Yeah, it’s why he’s here. His owner, who also had a potty mouth, died a couple of months ago. We can’t rehome a parrot that swears like a sailor. So, it seems he’s an office bird now, and he just insults the customers.”

“He adds color,” I say with a shrug.

“If you’re going to wait, do you mind if I go in the back for a few minutes? I have some medications to organize.”

“Go ahead,” I reply with a nod, watching Bill, who ruffles his feathers as Stephanie passes.

“Shithole.”

“Do you like Stephanie?” I ask him softly. “I saw the way you watched her.”

“Fuck off.”

“Hey, I’m not judging. I mean, she’s not my type, but she’s a pretty girl.” I sigh and lean on the counter. “It’s been a shitty day, Bill.”

“Shitty day.”

“Yeah. Hey, I’m sorry about your owner.”

“Shitty day.”

“I bet that was a shitty day.” I rub my fingertips into my eye sockets. “Jesus, I’m holding a conversation with a bird.”

“It’s kind of cute.”

My hands fall, and I whirl at the sound of Joy’s voice. “Hey.”

She frowns when she sees my face. “What’s wrong?”

I glance around, but she shakes her head.

“I sent everyone except Becky, my all-night tech, home. I just need to check on my patient once more before I leave.”

She leads me back to where all of the animals are kept. On a table in the middle of the room is a small cat with stitches in its side.

“Nice stitch work.”

“Thanks,” she says with a wide smile. “She had some complications from being hit by a car last week, but she should be good to go now.”

   
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