Author's Note:

This is one of the few pieces that I already have done. It's just a matter of getting my lazy butt in gear and editing it.


Patient Confidentiality (working title)

By: J.L. McCoy

It's not often you meet someone who completely blows everything away with just the blink of an eye or a simple word. Hell, it's almost damn near impossible. Day in and day out, you sit there waiting on that special someone to just sweep you off your feet and take you up a circular staircase like in Gone with the Wind. He sweeps you off into his strong, loving arms and kisses you passionately that later on lands you in a compromising position.

At least that is what happens in the romance novels.

In reality, it all starts fine and dandy until the morning after where you can't even stutter a "hello handsome," much less get your panties on quick enough and high tail it out of there before the sheets get cold.

When the patient walks in through the waiting room door, I know what they see. They see a woman sitting there eating her low fat yogurt and turkey sandwich for lunch. One hand is doing three things at once, while the other is sitting there holding the four dollar romance novel she picked up just that morning. Her hair is mousy brown pulled back in a ponytail. Her thick rimmed glasses sit awkwardly on her nose, and her clothes look like they came from the second hand frump market as some people like to say. There is nothing spectacular about that, right?

That would describe me--Michaele Bradison. And yes, it is pronounced just like the boy's name.

My wonderful life began when my dad wanted a boy and refused to give me a girl's first name, expecting me to miraculously switch genders. So my mom slapped an "e" into the name to make it feminine and to spite the Marine she called husband. It was her last ditch effort to keep ties to her femininity, and to keep my dad from overrunning the household with testosterone. He pulled me towards sports, and my mother pulled me towards dolls, and over the years they finally came to an agreement about me and left me alone to choose my own path.

"Do you think that shirt could be any uglier?"

"I know! It looks like she pulled it out of the dumpster somewhere."

"She smells like she came from the dumpster…"

I looked up from my novel intent on listening to their conversation. They stopped whispering as soon as they saw my eyes glancing their way.

The girls in question would be my co-workers; Melanie Bradford and Janine Nielson. The main one, Janine, had been the bane of my existence for the past three years. She was a high school beauty queen almost drop out with the IQ to match her bra size.

"Oh please don't stop for my benefit. Maybe you noticed my perfume. It's the latest thing. It's called White Trash. Janine, it's the perfect scent for you. Would you like to try it?" I innocently ask fluttering my eyelashes.

Janine's eyes closed half, making her blue eyes seem darker. If her eyes could kill, I would be dead.

"We weren't talking to you," she retorted.

She turned around to her station, pressing computer keys with her perfectly manicured nails. Melanie looked at me slightly guilty, but when I looked up she quickly looked away.

Melanie was the nice one of the two, but was easily swayed by Janine's remarks. She had just started working for Blaylock Convenient Care Center in Pace Springs, Mississippi only six months before. She was hired straight out of community college. I tried to befriend the shy girl, but Janine had sunk her claws in before I had the chance.

We all three heard a door open down the hall to one of the doctor's offices and turned our head to notice Dr. Blaylock. He was a man of about sixty years and well ready for retirement. He looked younger with his dark blonde hair only slightly streaked at the corners with white. His eyes always twinkled with that youthful mischievousness.

"Only as young as I feel," he once said.

"You can send the next patient back." He walked back to his office.

I looked at the paper in front of me. Tatyana Pavinski was the next name on the list. I grabbed her patient records from the stack and motioned for the little woman to stand.

"Mrs. Pavinski, Dr. Blaylock is ready to see you if you'll just follow me," I said with a genuine smile.

I heard Melanie and Janine talking softly as I ushered Mrs. Pavinski to the back examining room.

"How is your leg?" I asked putting a blood pressure cuff on her arm.

She was almost eighty by her charts, and suffered bouts of slight dementia. Mrs. Pavinski would not hesitate to slap someone for insolence or backtalk. She was a Russian transplant that had been coming to Dr. Blaylock for about two years. I finished the blood pressure test, and pulled the cuff off her small arm.

"It's alright, dearie," she said in her thick accent.

I wrote down her statistics in her file, and put it on the supply counter. I walked to the door and opened it, looking at Mrs. Pavinski

"Dr. Blaylock will be with you in a few moments."

I closed the door and walked back up front into the middle of Janine's conversation. I pressed myself against the wall so she would not see me.

"Wow! That ring is beautiful," Melanie exclaimed studying the diamond solitaire on Janine's finger.

"I know. He bought it out of the blue and proposed to me," Janine said.

Her hand went over her heart as if in thick emotion. It made me want to gag with how fake her acting was.

I watched her subtle movements at Melanie, like trying to pull her hand away a little more forcefully then necessary. She believed common workers to be below her, but did not hesitate to vie for their attention if need be.

"So tell me about your new beau," Melanie asked placing her hands in her lap.

Janine looked down at her nails, scrutinizing them. "He's nice, very generous. He buys me whatever I want, and he's very handsome. Drives a little white sports car. He promised to buy me one once we are married."

"When do you plan to get married?"

Janine looked straight at Melanie, "Not too soon. Maybe within a year."

"How old is he?"

"Older. 32. He treats me so good. Not like any of those other boys."

"Well, what's the name of this mystery guy?"

"Don't you think you've asked enough questions?"

I pulled myself away from the wall and walked back into the reception area as if I never heard anything. I saw the ring on Janine's finger.

"Nice ring. Where'd you get it? Looks like something that came out of a bubble gum machine," I commented.

Janine glared at me, and had the grace to not comment on what I said. I clicked off one point in my mind for her on that score.

For the last hour of the day, we worked in a relative, but tense silence. I pushed the keys to write up a patient's diagnosis and medical bill, and started to feel a slight dizziness. I gently shook my head and rubbed the bridge of my nose to dispel the feeling.

I heard the clock in the waiting room chime four. It was time to head home and to a hot shower.

The hallway to the offices stood behind my part of the reception area and I could hear someone's soft footsteps coming through it. It was probably Mrs. Pavinski leaving.

I picked up my purse from underneath my desk; the romance novel fell from its pocket onto the dog-eared page. It landed at the feet of Janine who was already ahead of me in leaving. She picked it up from the floor.

"Please, hold me tighter. Never let me go," she read dramatically wrapping her arms around herself. She laughed at the line.

"You can only get a real man in the novels, and never in real life."

She threw book down on the floor, and walked past me. I grabbed it and stuffed it back into my purse. Maybe she was right, but I was not going to let her get to me.