For the first time in a long time, I woke up well rested. Ever since I had moved away I hadn't slept very well, I was always plagued with doubts and misgivings. Now I finally had something to do besides absorb information like a sponge with legs. It was a great day, even carpooling to work that day felt fun to me. I could finally absorb myself in what I had wanted to do all along, to help animals. Jenny was plumb tired though, and when they went up to their offices to sit down Jenny had already fallen asleep again in her chair, her head resting on her arms on the table. But I was fully awake; I just wanted to get started. Mindy wasn't long away before she told us to get going to out exam rooms because they were open. When I went down to my exam room, I still get chills when I remember this day; it was now officially MY exam room. Except for the person I was going to share it with. When I looked at the name on the little dry erase board with the list of animals and names my heart sank; Bethany & Marcus's Exam Room. I have to work with THAT horn bag? I remember thinking. I put on a lab coat and stepped inside. My heart nearly skipped a beat, because in there was, no joke, the most beautiful woman I had ever laid eyes on. I had to shake my head quickly to keep from staring and gaping like an idiot. She was tall, blonde with brunette roots like she dyed her hair. She was smiling with these perfect white teeth, still makes me quiver even today. She had flawless ivory skin, too, and when she held her hand out to shake I felt numb. My legs felt like ice and it was hard to stammer out "Nice to meet you." She introduced herself quickly,
"My name is January, I'm Bob's niece. You and your friend will be helping today."
I almost rolled my eyes; I just did not want to be sharing this space with Marcus. It was bad enough I had to share a house with him. Why don't you give Marcus a chance? I heard Jenny say in my mind again. Why not? He's a good-for-nothing dirty horn dog, that's why! I responded to my own thought. I must've been standing there staring mutely because January said "You OK?"
"Oh yeah, sorry. What's up?"
"Are you ready to start?"
"Sure!" I said, maybe a little bit too happily. I blushed and cursed myself for being such a giggling idiot. Here I was smitten like I was in high school all over again. Grow up, I said to myself, you can deal with this like an adult. But inside, I knew I was just kidding myself, this was as close to "love at first sight" as I was going to get without stepping into a storybook.
At about quarter past twelve, I went back upstairs to eat lunch while Marcus took my place patting me twice on the right shoulder saying "You're looking better today." And trying to be nice. I just grimaced and brushed my shoulder off, like he was contagious. Upstairs, in the break room, I was sitting at a table with Jenny eating a sandwich wrap Mindy had brought in individual plastic wrap packets. I anything, Mindy was prepared. I still joke about her now, the "mother hen" of the animal hospital. Jenny was talking about her new favorite singer, gushing about how amazing he was. I just sort of tuned her out when she got like that. Every boy band since the day they started rooming to now had been like an opiate for Jenny. Antisocial as she was, the one public event she would jump through hoops to go to would b to see her latest heartthrob band in concert. I was more concerned thinking about January, and I must've been fantasizing pretty heavily because I had stopped eating and was just sitting there, staring off into space. Jenny waved her hand in front of my face and went "Yoo-hoo, earth to Beth? Beth do you read me?"
I blinked and said Sorry what was that?" not catching her last sentence.
"I said I saw you were reading All Creatures," said Jenny.
"I picked it up, I haven't read it yet," I replied, absentmindedly taking a bite of chicken salad which was surprisingly good
"You'll like it, Beth," said Jenny with a smile.
I was poking around the internet aimlessly when Mindy stuck her head in our little nook.
"Beth, can you head to your exam room?" before scooting off. I sighed and got up, and grumbled a bit before heading down into the exam room. Marcus was holding a gauze pad to his left arm and there was an animal carrier on the exam table January's ponytail was undone and she looked frazzled. "What's up?" I asked casually, surveying the carnage.
"Panda here won't come out of his cage," said January
"He's already got me good," said Marcus.
Serves you right, I thought and I said to January "I'll hold the cage for you if you want and maybe you can catch him?"
"That's what he tried, and that's why Marcus has some nice trophies on his arm. Try coaxing him out maybe? He's never liked me since I neutered him."
I opened the cage and looked inside. A great big bear of a cat was inside, a patchwork of black and white more like a Holstein cow than a Panda was looking at me with wide eyes. When I reached in he growled and hissed. "Now don't be a sourpuss," I said, putting on a putting face and tapped the table saying "Come here, cutie. Come here." Gradually, Panda took a few steps out before bumping his head under my hand and purring "Who's a good boy," I praised, tickling him under the chin. Panda sat placidly while January gave him his boosters and lifted him onto the scale. "Eighteen pounds, boy Panda you are getting to be chubby." But when January tried to pick him up again he hissed and batted a paw at her. So I picked up Panda and stuck him back in the cage. The owner left with Panda and when the door had shut Marcus said,
"All hair the cat whisperer," and made a little bow to me sarcastically.
"I'm not a cat whisperer, you just needed to be gentle," I retorted.
"Good job, Beth," said January and smiled.
I shivered a little inside, I tried to hide a smile that was creeping into my lips. I impressed her, maybe if I keep it up….but I didn't finish the thought.
It was a long day, and after going back up to the upstairs office Mindy appeared, seemingly from nowhere, and said in her cheery voice "I'm here to teach you how to use your computers. They are for filling out forms, processing prescription requests and of course creating treatment regimens….especially for you newbies!" I leaned back in my chair and rotated it to face Mindy and said, "I was wondering why you put us in here…."
"Well, that's because we use programs on these special computers to do all of our paperwork electronically…in order to be greener. You know, saving paper and all that? Oh and we also keep our website updated so whenever you get the chance ask Bo about getting a profile for the computer system but for now I'll just demonstrate."
Mindy spent about 45 minutes sitting at a computer with all of us hovering over her shoulder as she opened up something called "VetTrack" and showed us how to open certain forms, making an example of a rabies vaccine form, a request to transfer an animal to another hospital and a surrender form in case they wanted to have an animal put up for adoption. "Because, sometimes we use this hospital as an animal shelter. The ASPCA helps us adopt dogs and cats to families, they are around the back of the building," said Mindy.
"Mindy, we can use this just for internet right?" asked Marcus.
"Well, not when you are on duty of course. How could you anyway? It is so busy here, it's phenomenal. Every pet owner from four towns near here comes. When you are on break you can browse the internet." Marcus nodded.
"In a few weeks the other folks here will let you off your leashes you know, no more sitting around taking turns," Said Mindy, smiling. "So learn everything you can, watch them carefully, learn the methods then you are out on your own."
I nodded, wondering what it would be like to actually be a vet instead of just an assistant.
Back at the intern house later that evening, I was pretty tired. I didn't really eat much for dinner except a microwaved contained of mac & cheese and washing it down with a semi-cold ginger ale before going up to my room. Sitting down on my bed, I went to my dresser to get my PJs and go to sleep but something prevented me from wanting to go to sleep once I got there. I remembered I hadn't showered in a few days. I try to shower almost every day but these past days there had been so much to do it had slipped my mind. I grabbed my PJs and walked downstairs to the bathroom. The door was ajar so I took a long, hot shower. Whilst in there however, I decided to shave my legs. They felt prickly and I'm nothing if not immaculate with my looks. Keith used to say I nitpick every last pore on my body before leaving the house. Picking my razor out of my little metal basket of toiletries outside the shower I looked around for something to put my foot up on I realized there were none. I was in a shower stall with a sliding plastic which had nothing to put a foot up on. The lip of the stall was tiny and offered no real height. Just then there was a knock on the door.
"Hey, can I come in?" asked the muffled voice of Marcus
I rolled my eyes and said "I'm in the shower."
"Come on, I'm not going to look! I just need to use the bathroom!"
"Fine!" I said and he slipped inside the bathroom and I resumed looking for something to put my foot up on. I mumbled to myself "I wish I had like a footstool or something,"
Marcus must have heard because as he was opening the door he said "What was that?"
"Oh I just need to put my foot up on something to shave my legs and there's like nothing!"
"I don't know, maybe Mindy has something because she must shave her legs too…I hope."
I tried not to laugh and said "You know what? Just stick your hand in here and I'll sue you as a kickstand, mister funny man."
"Alright, I promise not to look either don't worry."
And he stuck just his large hand inside the curtain and I said "Thanks,"
After I sent him scooting out the door when I was done I dressed in my floral pink PJs, my favorite by the way, and was combing my hair when Marcus stuck his head in the door and said "Hey, uhm…Mindy says there's a little plastic stool under the sink if you ever need to use it," and stepped inside.
"Thanks for your help, though," I said, looking in a cabinet beneath to sink and saw the little white plastic stool.
"No problem, oh and by the way you know you have really soft feet?"
I balled up my wet towel and threw it at his face and said "Out with you, creeper!"
"Alright, just kidding lighten up." And shot me a mischievous smile after he pulled the towel off his head.
"Good night," he said slinging the towel over his shoulder and shutting the door.
Soft feet? I thought to myself, He is such a weirdo, but maybe he isn't as bad as I thought. He didn't say anything nasty….maybe Jenny was right. Maybe he is just a big buffoon trying to impress me. "Well in that case," I said out loud, "He has a while to go before he's achieved that goal."
Sitting up in bed, reading from All Creatures Great and Small there was a knock at my door. Jenny sauntered in and said "Reading my book?"
"Yeah, I kind of like it…" I said looking back down at the pages I was reading from.
"Jenny, I think I'm going to entertain your notion that Marcus isn't an annoying sexual deviant."
"Hold on, Beth. Let me check outside to see if the sky is falling," she said back and ran over to the window and then turned to me and said "Seriously, you are going to stop hating Marcus? Who are you and what have you done with my best friend?"
"I asked him to help hold my foot up so I could shave my legs in the shower…stop giving me that look he wasn't in there with me just his hand!" Jenny was giving me an odd look still but said "Uh huh."
"Well, he wasn't mean about it and wasn't being creepy. Just said 'OK' and did it for me. It was really nice, even though it was a creepy thing to ask him."
"Right well, in the future Beth take it in baby steps. Don't want to freak him out, and then he will think you are the sexual deviant freakazoid," said Jenny walking back towards the door.
"Until tomorrow," said Jenny over her shoulder.
"Night," I said, looking back down at the book.
Yeah, maybe I'll try to be nicer to Marcus. I will be working with him; I might as well try to be friendly.