"He's says he's fine and what am I up to!" El yelled all of a sudden, shocking Dr Lauren out of a calming lull.
"What do I say?" she continued frantically. "What am I up to? I'll sound really stupid if I say I'm hanging out with you. No offence. But you know what you're like. What cool thing could I be doing? I could say I'm doing really important treatment on a patient. But I wouldn't really be texting if I was doing that. I should say I'm getting coffee! But that's not really cool, is it? What do you think I should say, Uncle Chris?"
Dr Lauren replied by calmly standing up and walking out of the room. There was only so much any sane man could take.
El frowned and continued racking her brains for a cool activity from around the hospital.
Dr Roy glanced behind her. A scowling Christopher Lauren stared her down from the other side of the ward. She had known this would happen eventually. After making sure her patient was comfortable, she headed over to the battlefield.
"What do you want now?"
"I think you know that, Alma. Do you honestly expect me to step back and let my niece fall for that boy? Every day is hard enough without that."
"Honestly, Chris," Dr Roy said, shaking her head. "Nothing's going to come of it. It's just El fluttering about again. It's what young women do. Trust me; I used to be one a million years ago."
Dr Lauren gave her a look.
"Funny. But seriously, Alma. I'm not having this. Eliza and I don't need to pay for her father's mistakes. He paid well enough for those."
"So did I. You forget that sometimes."
Dr Lauren opened his mouth to reply, but a diversion sprung up behind them before he could. A young doctor had been working quietly with a patient. Now he was distracted by a colleague thundering through the room towards him, yelling.
"Alf! I've done it! I've got a date! This is amazing!"
Had it been anyone else, the scene would have been funny. But the two senior doctors watching from a distance knew the story behind this seemingly cheerful event. And in their minds, they were starting to picture what would come of it.