Episode 34 ~ Is That Her?
Updated: Sep 5
“Hi,” he said stiffly, “how are you?”
“I’m okay,”she lied,” why are you here?” Amy seemed annoyed and he didn’t blame her. She was supposed to get a week off from him and here he was catching her looking unraveled.
“I’m sorry. I know I said I wouldn’t be around. I forgot something,” Nathan nodded toward the bag that he’d set down by the door. “I’m leaving now.” He started again for the door.
“Listen, I’ve been thinking about what you said, about remembering what’s a stake.” She began. “you’re right and I’m really going to try.” Her voice was steady but it was clearly a strain to hold it together. Still, he appreciated the effort.
‘I’m glad,” he admitted,” and no matter what, Amy, even if you decide you hate me, I’ll still teach you.”
She sighed. There was no way she would never hate him. She tried. It would be easier if he’d treated her badly or had just not been a quality person. But he was an incredible person and she was afraid she’d love him forever.
“I won’t. Hate you, I mean. And I’m thinking about,” she inhaled deeply at her admission, “going to see a shrink. I acted like a crazy person and I’m really embarrassed.”
“You don’t need to be. No one knows what happened and listen, we’ve all had our moments. Remember Neville Carson? Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. I’ve never fought so hard and lost so bad before, and I was a total asshole for a month.” He was being so forgiving.
“That was different.” She insisted.
“How? I was angry, hurt, disappointed, I blamed myself and I took it out on you. Sounds pretty similar. He said sadly, “For the record, I think seeing a professional is a good idea.”
“So you think I’m crazy, “she attempted to joke.
“I know you’re crazy,” he smiled meeting her eyes.
She welled up with tears but managed to hold them back. “You missed a spectacular aortic dissection last night,” she informed him, shaking it off.
“Spectacular aortic dissection? You are just the right kind of crazy, Amy.” His voice was soft and reassuring. She wanted to run into his arms, rest her head on his chest and pretend everything was alright. She couldn’t. She’d seen something that morning that knocked the wind out of her. Something she’d never be able to unsee as much as she wanted to.
“It really was and,” she paused, “I missed you in there.”
“I get it!,” he agreed, “You have no idea how I get it. I love it in there with you. You and I, we…” He put his hands to his face trying to choose his words carefully. He wanted to tell her what he’d realized hoping it would help but terrified it would hurt. “Who we are when we are operating, it’s something magic. I don’t share that with anyone. It’s like we are one mind and at times it’s intoxicating. I think we tried like hell to force the same thing outside of the O.R. and we had a pretty good run at it if you ask me.”
“But you can’t force it? ” she whispered. It wasn’t really a question.
“Okay, that’s not the word I really wanted to use. We had something good, Amy. I won’t ever be sorry and I hope you won’t be but I’ll live with it if you are. I just want you to be okay.” He continued.
Why did he have to be so great? She wanted a reason to hate him, to lash out again. She wasn’t proud of her outbursts but they felt better than this. This resignation and the acceptance, given what she’d seen this morning, was killing her. She pulled out her phone. “Can I ask you something?” she asked him trying very hard to swallow the knot that had formed in her throat.
“Of course,” he stated with a look of concern.
She extended her phone that she’d opened to Instagram.
“Is that her?” she asked sadly, bracing herself for the answer.
He smiled, looking at the picture in the same way he looked at her in the picture. He realized it quickly, closed his eyes and let his smile fall. It didn’t matter. There, in the candid shot, was a picture of Nate, her Nate with his arm around Caroline Davison. She was laughing and he looked at her in a way that he would have described as admiration. Amy knew what it was and it was way more than admiration. She had wanted so desperately for him to look at her that way, just once, but here he was for all of Instagram to see, giving her look to some other girl.
“Where did you get this?,” he asked, trying to act as though it didn’t really matter.
“It’s on Instagram. All the event photos are there. I shouldn’t have looked. I wanted to see if I could figure out who she was. Which was stupid. Do you know who she is? Are you having a midlife crisis? You know you’re in over your head, Nate.” She was rambling.
He laughed. He didn’t mean to but for once Amy didn’t seem to take offense. “Yes, I know who she is and no, I’m not having a midlife crisis, though if I were, I guess I wouldn’t know it.” He smiled genuinely. And continued,” Maybe it won’t work out, maybe it will, but it doesn’t change anything. Anyway, it’s not like Carrie is some kid, she’s older than you.”
Carrie? Amy thought, already, she was Carrie. A single tear spilled over. She swiped it away angrily, furious with herself for letting him see her do this again. Her heart willed her to beg him to be with her but her pride intervened. She steeled herself on the door and forced a smile. “You look happy and I want you happy.”
“Amy,” he started.
“Really,” she interrupted. “I’ll be fine.” The words were true and she knew it but they rang hollow. She looked away from him and quickly added, “I’d better get back to work.”
“Okay,” he said, looking at his phone. “I have to get going too.”
She wanted to ask if he was meeting her but resisted the urge. Whether he was or wasn’t made no difference. She’d been replaced. Nate’s phone rang, the ringtone a sappy love song Amy had never heard. Forever could never be long enough for me… He grabbed the phone and silenced it.
She caught a glimpse of his screen before he’d picked it up off of his desk.
❤️ Carrie ❤️
He had it bad.
“It’s okay.” He assured her. “Listen, I don’t know what else to do or say right now. I want to make all of this better…now, but I can’t. Just be good to yourself okay?”
She nodded and smiled. “Thanks, Nate.” was all she could manage. But she didn’t cry. She had a feeling she might be done with the tears. She hoped so. They both headed out into the hallway. She turned left and he turned right toward the elevators.
As he turned the corner, his voice carried down the corridor. “Hi, it’s Nathan, sorry I missed you.” which was followed by his rich, warm laugh. The sound was cut off by the elevator doors. Before Amy had the chance to acknowledge the stinging pain in her heart, her pager went off. She took off, hoping for an aneurysm or prolapse. She needed something she could fix.