Ellie’s head hit the wooden arm of the mustard coloured lounge and she was immediately awake, she wiped the trickle of saliva from the side of her mouth and straightened her hair. She sighed and thought to herself that at least this lounge didn’t have plastic coverings on it!
She jumped up and walked around the dim waiting room, same beige walls, small barred window but the mustard coloured armchairs and lounge was a change. She wondered if they had employed a different interior designer for this waiting room, chuckling to herself. Probably more like a bigger sale on and hence the purchase of the cloth covered suite.
She stretched her arms above her head and yawned loudly, perhaps too loudly as there was no-one else in the waiting room.
“Oh, hi there!” a familiar voice said from behind her.
Ellie spun round in surprise but then in embarrassment, trying to right the loud yawn and the drool on her face in one swoop.
“Hi, how are you?” it was Mike, in civvies again.
“Yeah, not bad, thought I’d find you here. How’s she doing?”
“Not too bad, she hasn’t opened her eyes yet, but the doctors are happy she’s responding to there examinations, you know pupils and all that..” Ellie trialled off looking down, why was she explaining to a surgeon what the vitals were?
“Oh, good. How are you doing?”
“Yeah a little stiff from this comfortable lounge,” she said flourishing to the lounge and smiling.
“Hmm, looks real comfortable.”
“I’m ducking downstairs for a bite to eat then back again, I’m on call tonight so I’m shacked up in one of the on call room upstairs. Care to join me?”
“What in the on call room?” Ellie said startled.
“No! For a bite to eat.” Mike responded quizzically.
Ellie could have kicked herself, perhaps she should just put her other foot in her mouth!
* * *
“I used to come back here when I was a foundation doctor, they are open until really late, I used to duck out with one of the other all nighters” Mike said as they sat at a quiet table at the back of a small restaurant that resembled someone’s front room.
“Hello Dr Mike, how are you tonight? Working late?” the elderly waitress asked in her French accent. “And you have female company, this is good to see!” as she plonked a carafe of water an two glasses on the table.
“Yes, thanks,Clarisse.” Mike said nodding his head.
“Oh, so you prefer male company when you generally come here?” Ellie asked jokingly
“Well it’s usually the other all nighter with me, generally male or I’m on my own!”
“So how long have you been a Surgeon?” Ellie asked.
“I am a speciality training registrar, I’ve got a few more years before I qualify as a consultant, but I’ve been at the Royal for a few years now, I came here after I completed my degree. How about you, how long have you worked in publishing?”
“I graduated just over four years ago, I’ve been at Penguin Publishing house ever since, working my way up to junior editor. I like it there, my current boss, Morgan, is pretty good, she’s really good at her job and she’s also pretty understanding.”
“Yeah, it’s pretty good here too. I’m still in touch with my undergrad mates, you met some last night, they’re a pretty good bunch, despite some of them being a bunch of toffs!”
“What do you mean, toffs?” Ellie queried.
“You know, they’ve had a privileged life, got through uni without having to hold down a second job, don’t have a student debt to pay off!”
“Oh, yeah. Well I was one of those toff’s, well, not at uni but at secondary school.” Ellie said. Mike’s face changed slightly, “sorry, I didn’t mean to insult you.”
“That’s ok, I’m not a toff now. My dad lost everything in a bad business deal. He managed to hang onto what was our country property in Kent, but otherwise my family lost everything. It was pretty bad when we were going through it, but I’ve managed to work my way up to junior editor and I’ve just bought a basement flat in Camden!” Ellie smiled at Mike, it was nice to talk to someone else about it, she would never tell Emma and the gang.
Clarisse returned to take their orders and leave a bottle of red wine on the table with two glasses.
“Clarisse knows my preferences for wine, but I’m on call so it’s all yours.” Mike said, pouring a glass of wine for Ellie.
Well I won’t be drinking a whole bottle to myself!”
“Ah, part of my plan to ply you for your hidden secrets then take you to bed.” Mike’s eyes twinkled
Ellie feigned surprise, “so this is how you win hearts, you dine and thoroughly wine them?”
Mike chuckled, “So, how do you know Kate, she’s the daughter of the Morse family, socialites aren’t they?”
“Yeah, me and Kate go back to secondary school, we hung out together, well there was a group of us, including Emma, who you met.”
Mike nodded his head.
“You don’t seem to be like them?”
“Hmmm, they’re the school friends, we’ve stayed in touch despite everything. We lost one of our school friends last November, suicide they suspect, drug overdose.” Ellie looked down at her hands.
She felt comfortable talking this way with Mike, no need to put on the airs or the professional appearances she did with the gang or at work.
The evening flowed smoothly, Ellie drank another glass of wine and eyed Mike up, he was handsome in a boy next door sort of way, he had an easy going temperament and sweet smile, she decided. She reached for the carafe of water at the same time as Mike and suddenly their hands touched, she pulled her hand away immediately, looking at him. She could see he felt the electric charge between them.
“I was only joking about getting you into bed, I now have the secrets, anyway.” He smiled his charming smile and Ellie melted.
* * *
The air outside the restaurant was cool, and Ellie involuntarily shivered.
“Here, take my jacket”, Mike offered wrapping his jacket around her shoulders, he lingered a little longer than necessary touching her shoulders, she looked up at him and before she knew what was happening he had lowered his lips to her and they were in a passionate embrace.
Mike ran his fingers through her hair, holding her close to him.
“Sorry” he said softly as they pulled away from each other.
Ellie leaned into him as they walked back to the hospital.
“No need to be sorry, it was quite enjoyable.” Ellie replied, how was she going to stop herself from making a huge mistake, she thought.
Before they went inside the hospital, Mike turned to Ellie, “You use the on call room tonight. I’ll sleep on one of the couches in the doctor’s lounge.”
“No, that’s okay, I think I’d like to take you up on the earlier offer,” Ellie replied, standing on tip toes to nip his bottom lip.
* * *