Dating Dr. Nelson

After rereading the first paragraph of the chapter Acromioclavicular Joint Separation several times in five minutes, Nelson absentmindedly reached into his pocket for his phone again. Still no new texts. He bit the inside of his cheek. He slid his phone back into his pocket and returned to rereading the first paragraph of the chapter again.

Ten minutes and five more phone checks later, Nelson looked up when his classmate, Philip, rereading his notes across from him, set his pen down on the library table. Philip looked at him. "You alright, there?" he asked him.

Nelson shoved his phone back into his pocket. "Yeah, sorry."

"Nothing to apologize for," Philip said. "Just- are you expecting an important call or something?"

Nelson shook his head. "No."

"Oh," Philip said, looking mildly surprised. "Just too much studying, then?"

They were in their third year of medical school, and the exams they had coming up in the next few days were very important. Without top marks, Nelson could kiss his aspiration of being a doctor goodbye.

"Well, no," Nelson said. He sighed. "I'm just waiting for a text from my girlfriend. I haven't seen her since last Friday and I'm really starting to wonder what's up." It was Wednesday.

"Ooooh," Philip said, leaning back in his chair. He nodded knowingly. "Girl troubles."

Nelson ran a hand through his dark hair. "Well, no," he said again. Philip looked at him. Nelson let his hand fall back to his lap. "Okay, maybe a little." He reached into his pocket and took out his phone again. "Just look at these texts, they're so vague. I can't figure it out." Philip leaned forward and peered at the conversation beneath the name 'Mia.'

'Busy today?'

'Pretty much.'

'What are you up to?'

'Work and stuff.'

'Think maybe you'll have time for me to see you later?' No response.

Philip looked up. "Ominous."

Nelson set his phone on his textbook. "It's not ominous."

"Alright, then maybe she's planning a surprise party for you. Is it your birthday soon?"

Nelson drew his eyebrows together. "No."

"Alright," Philip said. "No surprise party. It's ominous, then."

Nelson looked back down at his phone. He wanted to ignore what Philip said, but he knew better. And he knew Mia. The girl usually texted back a novel when he asked her how her day was going.

"Have you called her?" Philip asked.

Nelson nodded. "I talked to her Sunday night, but she hasn't answered my calls since then." He leaned back in his chair. "She just keeps texting me saying she's busy." He knew Mia was busy, she was always busy. Her job in the city was demanding, and she worked hard at it. But she never used it as an excuse to ignore him.

In all the time they'd dated, she'd never been so aloof. He had to study, but it was starting to make him worried. The phone suddenly vibrated loudly on his textbook and he jumped, then grabbed it.

"Whipped," Philip muttered with a smirk. Nelson preferred the term 'in love,' but sometimes he really wasn't sure there was a difference. He looked down at the new text.

'I don't know.'

Nelson's heart fell. Why didn't she know if she would have time to see him? She always knew. Both of their schedules were insanely busy, with her working full days and him still in school (with a part-time pharmacy job on the side), but they always worked to make sure they had time for each other.

It was just so…not Mia.

"Hey," Philip said, seeing the look on his face and deducing that her answer was not what he'd been hoping for. "If it bothers you so much, stop texting and just go find her."

Nelson looked at him. "You know…you know, that's a good idea." He shut his text book. He wouldn't be able to get any more studying done now anyway. He needed to solve this Mia mystery before he could start thinking about any acromioclavicular joint separation. Note to self: learn to control Mia-thoughts for medical purposes, he said to himself as he packed his bag up. He prided himself on his excellent ability to focus- that is, until thoughts of Mia managed to seep into his mind, like some deadly virus. His own personal illness he had yet to find a cure for.

"Good luck, mate," Philip said as Nelson swung his bag over his shoulder.

"Thanks," Nelson said. "I might need it." He turned around and started for the exit.

A fifteen minute bus ride later, Nelson was making his way to the flat Mia shared with her old university friend, Liddy. He checked his watch. It was nearly four in the afternoon. She should be home around now, seeing as she was usually let out early on Wednesdays, the reason why he was hoping he might be able to see her later in the first place.

As Nelson approached the familiar door, he suddenly began to doubt himself. This didn't count as snooping, right? But he wasn't snooping, he was just trying to see his girlfriend who he hadn't seen in almost a week and was worried about. And he missed her. There was no crime in that.

Before he could hesitate any longer, he raised his fist and knocked on the door. He deliberately stood outside the range of the peephole's view. Several moments passed, and Nelson was just about to knock again when the door opened a crack and Liddy poked her blonde head out.

"Oh- Nelson!" she said in surprise when her eyes fell on him. A brief look of – if Nelson wasn't mistaken – anxiety flickered through them, but just as quickly disappeared as she smiled at him. "What are you doing here?"

He shrugged. "You know, just thought I'd pop by."

"How nice of you," she said. Her voice was just a pitch too high. Yes, that made it obvious she was hiding something, Nelson decided. That, and the fact that his sarcasm seemed to fly completely over her head.

"So," he said, casually slipping his hands into his pockets. "Is Mia around?"

Her eyes darted to the wall behind him. "Um, no, she- ah, had to go somewhere."

"Oh yeah?" Nelson said, now certain that Mia was in that flat right behind her. "Where'd she go?"

"Oh, um," Liddy started. She met his eyes again, and what little façade she had left cracked. "…shopping?"

Nelson felt a smile growing on his face. "Liddy, can I see Mia?"

Liddy sighed and shuffled her feet. "I'm sorry, Nelson, but I really don't think that's a good idea."

Nelson frowned. "Why not?"

"Just…just believe me," she said, looking directly into his eyes. "You don't want to see her right now."

Right, because it would be easy to walk away after that explanation. He took a step closer. "Why? Is something wrong?"

Liddy looked away again. "Well…" she trailed off. Nelson felt a twinge of annoyance along with his mounted anxiety, but managed to stay calm. While he knew Mia the best, he'd learned a thing or two about her flatmate over the years.

"Liddy, it's just-" He broke off and sighed, looking away. When he gazed back at her he widened his eyes just slightly. "I haven't seen Mia in days, and I miss her. It's- it's hard being away from the girl I love for so long." He looked dejectedly at the ground.

When he glanced up again and saw the pity and sorrow in Liddy's eyes, he knew he was in. "Oh, Nelson," she finally said, coming out of a fierce inner struggle. She sighed. "If only all boyfriends could be as sweet as you." She looked at him. "Just don't go too near her, okay? I don't want to get in trouble for this."

"Don't worry, I'll make sure all yelling gets directed at me," Nelson said. He patted her on the shoulder as he started past her. "Thanks, Lid."

As he made his way down the hall to Mia's bedroom, he wondered at Liddy's words. Why couldn't he go near her?

"Liddy?" he heard as he approached Mia's open doorway. He paused for a moment right outside. "Who was at the door? Liddy?"

He finally moved into the doorway and Mia nearly screamed. "Nelson!" She scrambled to pull her blankets over her chest and almost fell out of her bed in the process. "What- what are you doing here? Get out!"

"Goodness, Mia," he said, stepping into the room. "Nice to see you, too."

"No- no, don't come any closer," she said, pulling her blankets up to her chin. "You need to leave right now."

"Are you sick?" he asked, brow furrowing as he took in the clutter of tissues and medicines on her bedside table, a half full glass of orange juice, her messy hair and red nose.

"Yes," she said hotly, and he noticed a slight nasal quality to her voice. "And that's why you need to leave. Right now."

Nelson walked further into the room. There was a pile of magazines on the floor beside her bed and several old DVD cases spread out next to her laptop. She even had that stuffed turtle he gave to her at a carnival years ago tucked up beside her pillow. The Standard Sick Environment.

"Why didn't you tell me you were sick?" he said, walking further into her room. She groaned.

"Because," she said. "I knew you would do what you're about to do right now." She eyed his steps. "Try to make me better."

"And what's wrong with that?" he asked, genuinely confused.

"Because, Nelson," she said, gritting her teeth. A scraggly lock of brown hair fell into her face. "You have exams starting in just one day, and you can't go catching any illnesses or busying yourself taking care of me when you need to be studying."

"But-" he started. He found he couldn't argue. "Well- why didn't you just tell me?"

"Because," she said again, only growing more aggravated, "when you hear the name of someone you know and 'sick' in the same sentence, you become a live-in nurse." She kicked at him beneath her blankets. "Now back away before you catch my germs."

"How long have you been sick?" he asked. "You're probably past the contagious stage, you know."

Mia groaned again in frustration. "Nelson, it doesn't matter. You shouldn't be risking it!"

"Okay, okay," he said, and took a step back to appease her.

"Good, now continue all the way to the door and back to the library," she said.

Nelson scowled. "Well it's nice to know you missed me, too."

Mia sighed. "Nelson, you think I enjoy being sick?" she said. "You think I enjoy being unable to see you or anyone else or go to work or take an active part in society for days on end?"

"If you'd just told me-"

"You'd have been over here playing doctor for the last five days instead of studying," she said.

"Well, active experience is a lot more beneficial than reading books-"

"And a stomach virus isn't going to teach you about orthmology."



She quirked an eyebrow at him. They both knew she'd won.

"Alright, I'll go," he said, walking to the doorway. He looked back at her. "I was just worried after not hearing from you for so long. I wanted to see you."

Mia's expression softened slightly. She lowered the blankets from her chin. "I'm sorry, Nelson. I couldn't answer your calls because then you'd hear my voice and know I was sick. It was worse two days ago." She pushed the loose lock of hair behind her ear. "I missed you, too. I just want you to do well on your exams."

Nelson smiled ruefully. "Well, I guess your little plan did work," he said. "All I've done that past few days is study."

"Good," she said. He could sense a hint of pride in her voice. Not for him, of course.

He leaned against the doorframe and crossed his arms. "So if I get top marks I suppose I'll have my sick girlfriend to thank?"

"Oh, you will get top marks," she said. "And you will thank me."

Nelson rolled his eyes. He was dating such a humble girl.

"But you won't thank me if you stay in here much longer," Mia went on. "Really Nelson, I don't want you to get sick."

"Alright," he sighed, pushing himself off the doorframe.

"Don't worry, once you're done with exams we can play doctor all you want," she said.

"You'll be better by then."

"I know."

Nelson smirked.

"Well it was nice to see you for at least a few minutes, Mia," he said.

"Yeah, thanks to my traitor of a flatmate!" she said, raising her voice pointedly.

"Sorry, Mia!" Liddy's voice came from down the hall.

Nelson smiled. "Ah, don't blame Liddy. Looks like she's doing a good job taking care of you."

"Yeah, she's pretty good," Mia said, shrugging. She glanced at him. "But I've been cared for by better."

Nelson smiled. "Next time you're sick you're getting the full treatment."

Mia rolled her eyes. "I look forward to it."

Nelson stepped back into the room. "Nelson, what are you doing, the exit's behind you," Mia said, scowling confusedly.

"I know," he said, walking closer to her bed. "It's just been so long since I've…"

"No, Nelson, stop it," she said, leaning away as he came closer. He leaned over slightly. "Are you insane!" she said, pulling the blankets up to her nose.

Just as he was close enough, he stopped. He brought the palm of his left hand to his lips, then reached out and pressed it to her forehead.

"Good as it's going to get," he said, giving her a tiny smile.

"Nelson! I- " She broke off in surprise, slightly flustered. "You shouldn't touch me!" But he could tell her resolve was only halfhearted.

"Too late," he said, and pushed some of her hair back before finally pulling away.

"Now go wash that hand right now," she said.

"I will, I will," he said, holding it up. "Oh, and your fever's broken, by the way."

"You little smartass-"

Her cheeks were growing as red as her nose. He grinned at her. "Love you too, Mia."

"Oh, just get out," she said. He could see the tiniest smile threatening her lips. "Go study."

"I am," he said, and walked to the doorway. He paused one more time and looked at her. "Feel better."

She sighed, then met his eyes and gave him a resigned smile. "I already do."

He gave her one last grin before heading back down the hallway, leaving her in peace. He stopped in the bathroom to wash his hands like she ordered, then made for the front door. Liddy looked up from the couch as he walked through the living room.

"She's not going to kill me, is she?" she said. There was a faint note of seriousness to her voice. Nelson didn't blame her.

"Nah, she's fine," Nelson said. "Thanks for letting me in, Liddy."

"No problem," she said, getting up to let him out. "To be honest I'm glad you came. She made me swear I wouldn't tell you she was sick, but she was getting irritable cooped up in there for so long with no new faces."

"Well, she'll be out of there soon."

"Thanks for the house call, Dr. Nelson," Liddy said as she opened the door for him. "Do you take tips?"

"Seeing Mia's face was all the tip I needed," he said.

Liddy sighed, looking at him. "Where did Mia find you, honestly."

Nelson grinned. "I'll see you around, Liddy."

Nelson made his way back to the library with renewed confidence. He would go and get top marks on his exams and become the doctor he'd always wanted to be. He could do it. And he would kiss Mia as soon as he could. Yes, first he would kiss Mia.

A/N: *gasp!* I wrote a story about characters other than Ace and Kristen? I'm shocked too. These are some of my newer characters I'm playing around with and I love them already. I hope you do too! I should probably join Nelson and go study for exams as well...but luckily I have no tricky medical terms to to memorize, just some pleasant Medieval history ;)