Dax was scheduled to do his first surgery at Victoria Hospital, and he wasn’t sure he was ready. He credited it to nerves, but he knew the truth of the matter was that Patty would more than likely be scrubbing in on it. He’d seen her name on the whiteboard at the nurses’ desk the last time he was here.
After their run-in two days ago, he’d hoped he wouldn’t need to see her again quite so soon. He’d spent yesterday at the Island Clinic, and his first case had been an elderly senator from the United States. The man was running for office again and preferred no one know about his heart problems. Dax didn’t necessarily agree with his decision, but he didn’t choose his patients. They were chosen for him, for the most part.
The way his surgical team would be?
Damn. Why was he dwelling on this? He hadn’t seen Patty for years. So why had the sudden shock of meeting her again thrown him for such a loop? Maybe because she didn’t look any worse for wear after what she’d put him through. He was long over her, but he was pretty sure he still bore some scars on his heart. Which was why he shied away from dating, for the most part.
But Patty… If anything, she was more beautiful now than she’d been in high school. Her high cheeks didn’t look quite as gaunt as they once did. They were softer somehow. Her eyes had laugh lines beside them that he’d had no part in making.
And damn if that didn’t hit him right in the gut.
It didn’t matter. This was where he’d chosen to work, and he wasn’t going to let Patty or anyone else run him off. He took the elevator up to the cardiac unit and glanced at the board to make sure he had the time of surgery right. He also wanted to meet the patient.
According to the schedule, the bypass was in three hours. His eyes scanned the other people on the team, then he frowned and skipped through them again. One name was notably absent now. Or had he just imagined it earlier?
No. Patty had definitely been on there day before yesterday. But today it had been replaced by…Clare Story. What the hell?
He glanced at the day’s other surgeries. And Patty was there. In four of the cases. In fact, the only surgery she wasn’t participating in was his.
So maybe he wasn’t the only one who’d been thrown out of whack. But this wasn’t acceptable. It was better just to get in there and get their differences hammered out.
She was in surgical suite one right now. So he was going to stand outside and confront her when she came out.
Seriously? Was that the smartest thing to do? He had no idea, but he couldn’t work in an atmosphere where she was actively avoiding him.
So he smiled at the nurses behind the desk and introduced himself to the ones he hadn’t yet met and then walked to operating room one and leaned against the far wall and waited.
Ten minutes later, she came through the door and took one look at him, her eyes widening in…guilt?
He said what he came to say in one succinct word. “Why?”
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