“You gonna stay out here,” he asked, “…gonna be a while, air conditioned
Reluctantly she got out of the car and followed him across the ambulance
The emergency room was fuller than she had expected it to be, not that she had ever made a habit of noticing emergency room occupancy before…hell, it was always my emergency when I was in Sunnydale Memorial’s: either me or potentials or Dawn or Tara or Mom…had it go there, didn’t I… and same in Europe… at least they have music here.
She grabbed a rumpled two year old copy of Cosmopolitan off the nearest end table and looked around for a seat; the only unoccupied one was between the sticky over-active toddler and his very…very…pregnant mother and the old guy with the oozy toe.
The loud speaker crackled faintly … Doctor Randal to recovery room six stat…then resumed its music …want your leather studded kiss in the sand…Gaga!…God, does it have to be that one… she thought as the toddler smeared spit covered lollipop over the empty seat she had been eying…want your bad, bad…
Spike finished talking with the triage nurse on duty and looked over to her standing there, then to the overcrowded, rather germy looking waiting room and cocked his head for her to follow him through the triage doors.
Ooh la la, watch out for romance… He held the swinging door open waiting; she took the magazine with her.
The elevator ride was silent except for the ‘rah rah’s.’
“Hello Nance,” he said to the nurse on duty at the desk.
“’Bout time, Spike,” the attractive auburn haired woman said handing him the clipboards with a smile that was absolutely salacious, “…full house; rooms one and two are ready whenever you are, three’s still in emergency, be another hour at least.”
“Three, dealin' em in spades tonight are we? Sorry, Love, you caught me out and about.”
“Nance, this is Buffy, the ER’s a bit crowded, ya mind?”
“No, got the desk to myself tonight, Roland’s off and Kelly and Kim have the floor, I could use the company.” She turned her attention to Buffy, “Buffy, was it,” she glanced to Spike for confirmation on the name; he nodded almost imperceptively, still going over the clipboards. “Hi, I’m Nancy Porter, there’s a waiting room down the hall, the light switch is on the left. No coffee though, we turn it off after visiting hours. You can stay out here if you want. I could really use the company after I get these orders in the computer and I’ve got a fresh pot on back here, just help yourself.” She nodded towards a little alcove at the end of the counter.
Spike looked up from the clipboards, “Kev’s here, again?” He asked with dismay, putting the other clipboards on the desk.
“Yeah, you missed the two times he’s been here since you last saw him.”
“Boy should just check himself in to the morgue, he keeps this up,”Spike slid the other clipboards across the desk to her. Nancy shrugged and sighed in
Buffy was pretty sure she should not be listening, patient privacy issues and all, and tried to busy herself with the outdated magazine as she sat on the bench across from the nurse’s station.
“Gonna be a long night, Pet,” he said to her, “…I can call Cisco to come get you, if you don’t want to stay?”
Buffy quickly shook her head and re-busied herself with the tattered magazine. That was your last chance out, you stupid, dumb…bint… she thought, ruffling the pages…now you’re stuck here with Florence-un-buckling-his-belt– with-her-eyes-Nightingale…besides…How to Understand Your Man, page 127…really need to read that one. Surprising herself, she actually read the article, it didn’t help, and the next one ‘Twelve Things You Can do With Your Tongue That Will Make Him Scream’; twenty minutes later she was bored nearly to tears and could think of at least six more.
“You’re the one, aren’t you?” Florence, er, Nancy asked her.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“You are his disclosure,” she said with certainty and the smuggest smile Buffy had seen since Sunnydale caved-in.
“Never mind,” she said filling her cup from the coffee pot in the alcove, “…employee privacy, not supposed to talk about it but everybody does.”
Buffy’s look of total confusion made her chuckle sending a wisp of steam up from her cup as she sipped it.
“What do you mean?” Buffy asked her curiosity piqued.
“It’s just unusual, on the employment application,” she sipped again offering Buffy a cup, “…they ask have you ever been convicted of, suspected of, or perpetrated a crime: robbery, felony assault,” she emphasized the last, stirring her coffee intently.
Buffy decided she would have that coffee after all.
“For his job, well, you usually don’t mark yes. I mean, the convenience store knock off, sure, he wasn’t convicted, he pleaded out and it never went to trial, but in his position, even if you were Chester the Molester, you don’t disclose it on the application unless there was a record of it on file somewhere that could be reviewed, proved, and you sure as hell don’t disclose an ‘attempted’ there was never a record of, not if you actually want the job anyway. So, you’re her, you’re his disclosure, have to be with the way he looks at you.”She concluded with another sip.
“And you got this all off his application,” Buffy asked.
“No, he just talks a lot over…” she stared at the dregs in her cup, looking up; she continued”…hot chocolate actually.”
Buffy looked at her and suddenly thought of little marshmallows.
“And, come on,” Nancy said refilling her cup, “… every single female on the floor this side of dead and a few of the guys too, would kill to get that look out of him; the one he has when he looks at you.”
“So he does a lot of socializing with the staff here,” she asked fanning the hot coffee.
No, not really, maybe a little, a lot of small talk mostly. I think he really doesn’t like all the attention he gets, with the eyes…”
“And the hair,” Buffy added.
“And the accent,” Nancy went on.
“And the abs,” Buffy sighed.
“Yeah, that too,” the nurse inquired.
Buffy nodded sheepishly.
“I’m really impressed. Practically every young thing fresh out of candy stripes tries to make a play for him. He talks with a few of us more personally, he’s sort of our sexy matty mystery man; good to talk to, great as a friend, anything more and they say he’s a little… cold.
Buffy’s eyes grew large until she realized that wasn’t what she had meant. Nancy laughed at her expression and then Buffy did too.
“He's really good at what he does you know. He did me a few years ago when my ex went on the rampage; there I was all blaming myself and wanting nothing but to go back to him.”
“What exactly does he do,” she asked.
“Listens mostly, talks to them, recommends programs, and gives a preliminary evaluation to the shrinks and the cops.”
Sounds a lot like what he does at the Mission… Buffy thought.
They had a good girl talk until number three was ready to be brought up. Nancy excused herself when Roland popped in with the proverbial clipboard for her to enter into the computer. Spike popped back in as well. Buffy thought Nancy’s smile was salacious; Roland’s had redefined the word. Was he checking out Spike’s ass on his way out? Hell yes he was.
“Good to see you two getting on,” he said a bit surprised at the fact and looking really tired. He opened the cabinet under the coffee alcove and asked,
“Nance, you got any…”
“No, all out, it’s on the list, “she said apologetically, “… coffee’s good though.”
“Thanks, Love,” he grabbed a cup off the stack and poured a cup Taking a sip, he asked Buffy, you okay, Pet, still got two to go, not too late to call for a ride?”
“No, I’m good.”
He swapped clipboards and headed back to work.
Buffy and Nancy talked again after the data was entered, then Buffy headed to the darkened waiting room to curl up for a quick nap.