The Millionaire and the M.D.

By: Teresa Southwick

A shadow in the doorway startled her again. This time she ignored it. Without looking up she said, “I thought you went home, Grace—”

“Hi, Doc.”

She looked up. Speaking of the devil. Standing there in the doorway was the noble brother in question.

“Gabe.” Rebecca struggled to slow her pounding heart and get her breathing under control. “What are you doing here?” she demanded.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.” He grinned and turned on the charm Grace had seen.

Rebecca felt a little shimmy in her stomach that was as annoying as it was surprising. She’d felt it earlier, too, in the exam room, a feminine reaction to his masculine appeal, but the doctor part had taken over and concentrated on her patient.

This time she was one-on-one with him. He had startled her, but that was all. She wasn’t afraid. She couldn’t be afraid of a man who’d brought his runaway teenage sister to a prenatal exam any more than she could help noticing how blue his eyes were and that his dark-blond hair could use a trim. Any woman with a pulse would find it impossible to ignore his broad shoulders, wide chest and flat abdomen in the white dress shirt tucked into a pair of well-cut slacks that showed off his muscular legs and great butt.

“I saw Grace in the parking lot,” he said, his voice like warm chocolate and Southern Comfort. “She let me in.”

“Why did you come back?”

“I want to know how my sister is.”

“Amy and I discussed everything.” Rebecca had done all the talking so “discuss” was stretching it. But she’d given the teen a lot of information. She took off her glasses and tossed them on the stack of charts. “Did you ask her how she is?”

“Yes. Now I’m asking you.”

“If there was something she didn’t understand, I’d be happy to explain it again. To her.”

“I’d appreciate it if you’d explain it to me.”

“She wouldn’t tell you.”

It wasn’t a question. If he knew, he wouldn’t be here, which would certainly make her life easier. But she was puzzled. Amy had gone to him for help and now was holding back. Why?

He leaned a shoulder against the doorjamb as he shrugged. “You know how teenagers are. A lot of it went over her head. She couldn’t remember. So just give me the facts.”

“I can’t do that.”

“Why?” he demanded. “I’m her brother. I’ve got a right to know.”

“Not so much.”

He blinked. “How’s that?”

“Amy is not in a coma,” Rebecca explained. “She’s able to give consent and she’s choosing to make her own decisions about her medical treatment.”

“I’m not asking to make decisions.”

“Right.” She suspected he wanted to be in control, otherwise he wouldn’t have come back for information. If Amy wasn’t inclined to share it, why had she gone to him in the first place?

“Don’t look now but your skepticism is showing, Doc. I just want to know what you told her.”

“There are laws protecting a patient’s right to privacy. If Amy wants you to know, she’ll tell you.”

“She won’t say anything.”

Then neither would Rebecca. She folded her hands on the mess of paperwork in front of her and stared at the baffled expression on Gabe’s face. For a man who liked to be in control it wasn’t a comfortable place to be. And why that tugged at her she couldn’t say.

When the silence stretched out, determination replaced bafflement. “If possible, Amy’s even quieter after seeing you earlier. I’d like to know whether or not I should be concerned.”

“It’s not that simple.”

“It could be,” he argued. “All you have to do is tell me she’s fine. Or how about this. I’ll say it and you just nod. One for yes, two for no.”

“I can only say that this is a discussion you need to have with Amy.”

“Who’s going to know if you tell me anything? It’s not like I’m going to rat you out. For that matter, I wouldn’t even know who to tell.”

“I’m sorry, Gabe.” It occurred to her that Grace might have a point. He was annoyed, yes, but if he didn’t give a damn he wouldn’t be here after hours badgering her for information. Chalk one up for him. “Clearly you care about your sister, but my professional obligation is to my patient. I’m Amy’s doctor.”

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