The worst day of the year inside that hospital had come. During the last few weeks, I had evaluated all the resumes and papers of the students who were applying for the residence and only the last step of the selection was missing: the formal presentation of the projects of each intern. Every year three new residents were accepted in each specialty, but I, as general chief of surgery and also chief of neurology, needed to participate in the selection process of all my colleagues. A whole day full of 20 nervous youngsters, unfinished projects, and lots of coffee to last the long day.
I wore a cream satin shirt, a dark green pencil skirt, and the most comfortable high-heeled shoe I had in my closet. I could be dead at the end of the day, but never without style. I drove my car for the three kilometers that separated my house from the university campus in automatic mode, the day had barely begun and what I wanted most was to get back to my bed and to Adso, my cat. Only he really understood me.
On the way to my office, I could hear the buzz coming from the auditorium across the hall. All the interns were together at the lobby door and talking loudly due to their nervousness. Suddenly my gaze, which had previously covered those familiar faces, stopped at the blessed redhead. By the way, very difficult not to notice the presence of that man of more than 1.90 height and hair tied close to the neck, forming a beautiful tangle of fire-colored curls in the region.
I stopped walking instantly as soon as I put my eyes on him. He was always very helpful and pleasant to everyone around him. His smile, as nervous as he was, was one of the most beautiful I had ever seen in my life, yet I had never received a smile like that directly to me. Our relationship was strictly professional and his interest in neurology was insistently present from the first day that he had been accepted into that teaching hospital. His interest was so present that the Scotsman was often irritating, always with insightful questions and assertive answers. His intelligence was above average and, I don't know why, it bothered me deeply. His beauty bothered me deeply. His presence bothered me more than anything else!
I confess that I always asked more of him than the other students and, since he wanted a place in neurology so much, I tried in different ways to make his life more difficult. It was stronger than me. But I never stopped watching him during the time he was already there. In the corridors of the hospital, in the cafeteria, or in the operating room. He would be a great surgeon; I had no doubts. His hands were very firm in their movements, perfect for the specialty he was looking for. The muscles of his arms worked in synchrony as he finished the sutures of my surgeries or when he helped me in some surgery. Our eyes met from time to time during those moments, but the professionalism and my superiority came on top of everything. And I thanked the universe for being in a mask, only this way James Fraser wouldn't see how flushed I was.
He continued to talk animatedly with a colleague, gesticulating his arms and body so masculine that I didn't notice when his gaze was fixed on mine. I was so lost in my thoughts and the movement of his body that I hadn't felt those blue eyes stuck in mine. I was nervous and didn't know what to do, feeling the blush rise up my cheeks. But I stood firm and did not take my eyes off of him, staring at him firmly. At that moment, luckily for me, Joe called all the interns to enter the auditorium. We looked at each other for a longer time than expected, maybe one not wanting to lose to the other, until he gave in and gave a half-smile, turning his back on me and quickly entering the room. I woke up from that numbness and blinked my eyes a few times to focus my thoughts on what mattered. I started to walk back to my office, had to leave my belongings, and take all my notes for the long day to come. The auditorium was full of other colleagues, in addition to the interns and colleagues who would evaluate them. As soon as I entered the room the conversation stopped almost instantly. Everyone turned their heads to me and the silence was so intense that I could hear the dry sound my heels made when my feet leaned against the wooden floor. I sat down at the place that was assigned to me, among the other chief surgeons, and smiled lovingly at Joe.
"Dr. Abernathy, can we start with Cardiology?"
"Perfectly, Dr. Beauchamp."
Three o'clock in the afternoon. The last round of presentations had begun and it was the students' turn to apply for neurology. Five students for three spots. We had finished the evaluation of the general surgery students and I deliberately left those running for neurology for the end. I loved what I did so much that I wanted to have time and peace of mind to evaluate everyone without interference from other colleagues. I also knew that, at that time of the afternoon, the auditorium would be much emptier than at the beginning of the morning and would have as few parallel conversations as possible during the evaluations.
What I didn't expect was to see a presentation as flawless as Dr. Fraser's. His project was perfect, I already knew that, but the mastery he had over all the content showed how ready and fit he was for the position of resident.
However, his beautiful project would be put into practice on my own terms.
I knew I wanted to be a doctor from an early age, and no, it wasn't because I liked to play with it. Although my family lives in the famous highlands of Scotland and has a large rural property, I was never interested in continuing the business that was part of the Frasers for years. I can't deny my origins, I've always enjoyed living in a quiet place, away from the hustle and bustle of the big city and where I could ride to relax.
But the human body has always intrigued me, and not only the women's bodies, as you can think. I've always wanted to know more about how our body works, a machine that looks so strong, but at the same time is so fragile and can be turned off in a matter of seconds. I ended up discovering this in the worst possible way, just as I found out which area of medicine I wanted to pursue. My older brother, William, or Willie, as he liked to be called, yes, he liked it, unfortunately, he's no longer with us and it was because of him that I moved miles away from my family.
Willie was always a great driver, but he liked to run along the narrow roads of Broch Mordha, the small town where he worked in the family business. One day the car he trusted so much played a trick on him and so Willie ended up in the hospital, almost without serious bodily injury, just with a head injury. It seemed harmless if this part of our human body was not so delicate and dangerous. Unfortunately, my brother never woke up from his bed in the hospital and it was then that I decided, I would be a neurosurgeon, I wanted to understand how our brain worked and how to save people, who just like my brother, could leave in such a foolish and silent way.
I knew that Scotland had good universities, but I wanted more than that, I wanted universities that had an excellent research program for neurology. I ended up living in the U.S. and it wasn't just at the age of 18, I came before, I wanted to study in schools that prepared students for Harvard, Yale, and other universities that were part of the Ivy League, that is, the most prestigious in the country. I knew that my family was suffering from the loss of my brother, and I was also and I confess that I was somewhat selfish in moving away and focusing on things other than Willie's absence, but my parents always supported me in everything I wanted to do, just as they did with all their children.
Now I was walking to another day of my residency, after graduating from Harvard, yes, I am a nerd and with pride, I got a place in Boston hospital and it was not just any place, it was a place conquered in a sweaty way in Dr. Beauchamp's team. The first time I came across my boss, so to speak, was on my first day at the teaching hospital. I knew the fame that she had, to be tough with the students, to always ask questions that no one could answer and penalize everyone for it, but no one had told me about her beauty. I knew that she was not much older than I was, despite carrying a title of respect, she had been a student prodigy of the university and had graduated with honors and, of course, before her time.
Every time she entered a room, everyone was instantly silent and their attention turned to her. Her hair was always impeccably arranged, without an out-of-place strand, smooth, in a shade of brown that reflected a few shades of red depending on the light. Her clothes were equally aligned, a bit serious perhaps, but I think it was to impose respect due to her age. But what really got me out of my head was her eyes, a lie, they were of a tone that reminded me of good old Scotch whiskey, but what really got me the most out of my mind was her body, being more specific, her ass perfectly round and sharp. I knew I was being a completely stupid man by wasting so much time admiring this part of my boss's body, but it was stronger than me, and inevitable, she was always walking in front of me.
But back to today, as I said before, it was my first official day as a neurology resident on Dr. Beauchamp's team, or Sassenach, as I liked to call her in my head, yes, she was English, as she made sure to make that clear in her daily speech. Which annoyed the others a lot, except me, well, she annoyed me on a lot of things, except that. She had scheduled a meeting to discuss my project, I was anxious, I could finally put into practice what I had always dreamed of. I always said that this project was like my son, or in this case, my brother, Willie, was the inspiration for me to create it. I wanted to be able to recover patients with brain damage that was considered irreparable, so I wanted to be a miracle in the life of every family that suffered from it.
I knocked on the door of Claire's office, ops, of Dr. Beauchamp, who I hope will never know that I call her by her first name, and I waited for permission to enter. It didn't take long for that to happen, and I was soon sitting facing her, who remained with her head down, reading something at her desk. I waited, I knew she didn't like to be interrupted, and no matter how much I wanted to know about my project, this was one of the situations that I couldn't challenge her with my cleverness and loose tongue.
"Fraser." she finally spoke after long minutes, and yes, she liked to call her residents by their last name, never by their first name. "I'll be straight to the point, your project was the best I've received, not only this year but from all the residents I've supervised. It is revolutionary and practically flawless." ok, that was good, very good, I opened a smile lightly, but I saw that she remained with the same serious expression as before, normal. "So I chose it to put it into practice, it will be funded by the university and it will take my name, but don't worry, you will still be part of the team and together, we will execute it."
And finally, she opened a small smile, a smile that I knew very well and didn't like, a fake smile that only showed us, the students, how insignificant we were near her. What do you mean, you'll use my project, but it won't bear my name? Okay, now she wasn't by any means the person I found attractive, in fact now I just wanted to wipe that satisfied smile off her face and it wouldn't be in a beautiful way!