Pressure (Valley Hospital Series Book 1)

 

 

Lillian Bryant

 

Pressure

A Valley Hospital Novella

 

By Lillian Bryant

 

Copyright 2015 Lillian Bryant

 

Except the original material written by the author, all songs, and song Titles contained in this book are the property of the respective songwriters and copyright holders. The author concedes to the trademarked status and trademark owners of the products mentioned in this fiction novel and recognizes that they have been used without permission. The use and publication of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead or events is entirely coincidental.

 

 

Editing by Kathleen Payne and
Swish Design & Editing

Book design by
Swish Design & Editing

Cover design by Tracey-Lee Mylchreest

Cover image Copyright 2015

 

To those afraid to fly their freak flag… just do it.

 

For

Laurie and Sasha… here’s to all our dirty little secrets.

 

“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” I’d have to disagree. As a doctor, I prevented death every damn day. Taxes… if you really wanted to, you could live off the grid… be void of society and all its many greedy little devices. The only thing I’d ever held as a certainty was myself. I controlled my own destiny. I owned my life.

Every fraction of my life was one puzzle piece fit flawlessly into another. Every second was a breath I planned. I had been naive. What Ben Franklin didn’t account for, what he left out of his simple little quotable… was lust… love… it does funny things to people, and, until it walked through my door, I thought I was prepared.

I wasn’t.

I can still feel the pressure of her embrace, the fullness of each breath, with each push and pull inside her. She took every last piece of certainty I had and burned it to the ground.

 

The quiet beeping almost matches the rhythm of the wall clock. Most people would be annoyed by this, but not me. There is order in the sound. The almost silent pattern soothes me. The blue light shines from the bank of monitors. This patient will make it. I saved her life. I lean back in my chair; my hand runs through my dark hair and then scrubs down my face. It’s only three hours into my shift and I’m tired as fuck. My only entertainment is in watching everyone run around, grabbing IV lines, and the medications that I’ve ordered. It’s a symphony of chaos, but it’s a perfect semblance of order. I need that control, that elegant design… I need it to breathe.

 “Dr. Larkin, we’ve got a GSW en-route, but Dr. Miles and the trauma team have it covered. Lucy is rooming a lac as we speak and there’s a toddler with a fever still in triage.” The nurse smirks at me. “I know how much you love it when people use the ER as a clinic.”

Laceration or sick kid? These are my choices; I internally cringe. Shit, Miles gets all the good patients. Gunshot wounds are much more interesting. You don’t go into medicine thinking you’d ever care who you were helping, but after a while it wears on you. I never thought I would—after just two years—start losing empathy for some of the patient demographic. Maybe it has something to do with my fucked up childhood.

I’d been born to a single mother. My father was a druggie loser who never made it a week without being in jail. I got my first job slinging newspapers at age twelve, and I haven’t stopped working since. For as long as I can remember, I was either working a job or studying. After my mom died my first year in college, I was on my own. I decided right then to be a doctor, to help fix people… help make the world a better place. I like that medicine is strict, regimented. I like the art of anatomy and the beauty in healing. My childhood was shit, and I wanted more for myself… for my future.

I inhale deeply. “What room is the laceration in?”

The nurse smiles like she thinks she knows me, like she wants me. “Room five, sir.” I like that… “Sir.” Too bad I don’t fuck co-workers; I could use her to release some tension. That shit goes down around here way too much. I see how these nurses look at me. Most of the time they hate me because I’m a hard ass, I expect one hundred percent
all the time
. But sometimes, that desire in their eyes, I feel it and have to shake it off. There isn’t time for screwing around. There are lives to save, people to fix. I don’t need the added complication of an office romance.

“Thanks…” I eye her name badge as I stand from my chair. “Jennifer.” I give her a stiff nod, dismissing her. Her smile falls as she walks away and I feel like a dick. I can’t afford to care, though. This is who I am. I don’t attach well, I feel like what’s the fucking point. My life is set, planned… I don’t crave the nuances of the world.

Being raised by a single parent taught me that. “You work hard for what you want, or you’ll end up like me.” My mother’s words were always there, driving me. The scholarships, the hard and long nights studying, it got me where I am today. It isn’t my thing to sleep around. Occasionally, I’d buried myself in a girl or two in my frat days. I’d find the intermittent fuck buddy to pour my extra energy into during my residency, but here at work, I’m a professional. No piece of ass would ruin everything I’ve worked for.

I grab the chart of the laceration patient from beside the door. Flipping through, I note it’s a twenty-three-year-old female. Large lac on her upper right thigh.
Nice.
At least I don’t need to call plastics for this one. I rap my knuckles three times on the door before entering.

Still looking at the chart as I enter the room, I announce myself. “Ms. Evans, I’m Dr. Larkin. I see…” I look up and my words hang in the air.
Holy shit.
This woman is fucking gorgeous. She smiles up at me and reaches one hand out to shake mine while she pushes her hair behind her ear with the delicate fingers of her other. Her dark chocolate hair hangs over her shoulder… the rich color… appealing. She nods as she takes my hand in hers. Her skin feels too good against mine. I instantly release my hold. Towering over her, my six-foot-three frame looms above her. She couldn’t be an inch over five-foot-one, and when her bright green eyes meet mine again, all I can think about is how this small, tiny body would feel underneath me, above me, wrapped around me.
No.

“Bailey,” she says in the sweetest voice I’ve ever heard and shifts her body on the exam table with a grimace.

It takes me a second to remember where the fuck I am. Her skirt is too short, and my eyes devour each inch of exposed thigh. I swallow, my mouth dry. “Excuse me?” My eyes land on hers.

She gives me a coy as hell grin. “It’s my name.”

My gaze drops from hers, back to her perfect, tanned, sculpted legs. It’s then my desire drunk brain takes in the makeshift bandage wrapped around her right upper thigh. I move closer to the exam table and notice her cheeks turn a pleasant pink. The rise and fall of her chest eggs me on. “Let me take a look at this.” I grin as she bites the side of her cheek. My dick is hard as fuck and presses painfully against the seam of my pants.

Thank God I have on my white coat.

“Should I lay back?” Her eyes search my face.

I nod. “Tell me what happened.” I watch as her small frame lies smoothly back; her perky tits push against the silky fabric of her dark green top. Her nipples pebble underneath the cloth. The room feels smaller… hot, and I can’t stop myself from running my fingertips slowly and inappropriately up her thigh to where the bandage is taped.

Her lips part with a whispered breath, evidence my touch has not gone unnoticed. “I-I was out celebrating with some friends and I rolled my ankle. These freaking heels…” She turns to face me and her lips spread into a warm smile. “I’m not a heels kind of girl.” She giggles; her breath is sweet with a hint of alcohol. “Anyway, I dropped my wine glass as I was falling and it hit the ground first. So when my ass hit the floor, a piece of glass sliced my leg. It was well orchestrated, I assure you, doctor.”

The word doctor smacks me in the face like cold water. My fingers fumble with the bandage, but I finally remove it. I inhale deeply trying to pull my shit together.
This isn’t me.
I clear my throat as I take in the wound. “It’s pretty deep, it’ll need stitches, Ms. Evans.” I don’t allow myself to look at the V between her legs. I close my eyes and wet my lips as I turn to the cabinets behind me to gather supplies.

“Bailey,” she says again. I can hear the smile in her voice.

I grab the things I need and roll the metal work tray over to the table. “I’ll need to numb it first, then I’ll clean it out. Irrigate it. Are you up to date with your Tetanus immunizations, Ms. Evans?” I can’t say her first name. It will make her real, and I can’t afford that. I can’t attach a name to this unexpected fire that’s quickly moving through my veins.

Her eyes lock with mine. “Yes, sir. I had a booster vaccination four-years-ago.” She chews at her bottom lip nervously as I approach her.

Sir

“This is going to hurt. Hold on.” My left hand wraps around her knee, keeping her still as I inject the Lidocaine. She gasps. “It hurts now, but it will be numb soon.” My voice sounds flat as I try to maintain my professionalism.

“Fuck that hurts.”

The crass words coming from her sweet mouth makes me laugh. “It does. Just give it a second.”

Except for the sound of our breathing, the room is silent while I continue my work. I want to take my time, keep her here with me. I like how my hand feels holding her leg. I like that my hands are the ones drawing her flesh back together in a flawless seam. I do great work. I give everything I have… always.

I place tape on the gauze that’s now covering the sutures. “Keep it dry for tonight. You’ll have to return in seven to ten days to have them removed.” My gloves snap as I remove them and throw them in the trash.

“Sounds like a plan.” When I turn, she’s standing just in front of me. Maybe a foot separates us. She’s biting the inside of her cheek again, suppressing a smirk. I tower over her even more now; my breathing increases as pink fills her cheeks once more. “Seven to ten days… it’s a date.” Her smile finally shows; a dimple deepens in her left cheek.
Fuck.
She holds out her hand and I take it in mine. “Thank you.”

Her hand shouldn’t feel this good. I shouldn’t want her like this. I let my eyes drink her in one more time. The thought of my body consuming hers, filling her up, and breaking her down across this fucking table starts to eat at my chest. “See you then, Bailey.”

When her name spills from my mouth, I internally flinch. Her smile broadens even more as she nods her head. “See you then.”

After she leaves and the door shuts behind her, I pinch the bridge of my nose and close my eyes, a quiet growl rumbles in my throat. “Fuck,” I whisper harshly.

I will never see her again…

The thing that’s freaking me out the most is that I actually give a fuck enough to care about it.

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