The Millionaire and the M.D.

By: Teresa Southwick

When Rebecca looked around at the quiet beauty of the yellow rose painting on the wall and the words inscribed over the archway—Dignity, Collaboration, Justice, Stewardship, Excellence—her own soul sighed contentedly. Within these walls, she felt confident, fulfilled, at peace.

She stopped at the information desk and smiled at the older woman with glasses. “Hi, Sister Mary.”

“Dr. Hamilton. How wonderful to see you. You’re here for your workshop. Do you also have patients to see?”

The hospital board of directors had talked her into doing ongoing educational workshops to educate the public about the prevention and risks of teenage pregnancy. This was her third time and the first two had had dismal turnouts. Sister Mary was in charge of volunteers and felt guilty that Rebecca’s time was wasted unless she also had another reason for being here.

Rebecca nodded. “Yes, I have a couple patients to look in on while I’m here.”

“Good.” The nun glanced down at a paper in front of her. “You’re in the McDonald conference room again.”

Rebecca nodded. “If anyone shows up, promise me they won’t go down the street for a Happy Meal.”

“I’m terribly sorry about that misunderstanding, dear. The volunteer was new. We’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

“Assuming anyone actually shows up.”

“Someone already has. I made sure he knew the McDonald conference room was not a fast-food establishment.”

“Thanks, Sister.”

Rebecca’s curiosity spiked as she walked away from the desk. He? Her goal was to reach teenage girls and prevent situations like Amy Thorne’s. But it takes two to tango as the saying went and just because boys were anatomically incapable of carrying a baby didn’t mean they shouldn’t understand their responsibilities in preventing conception. Unfortunately, she’d found that an abundance of testosterone limited a boy’s ability to think with his head, and they didn’t normally seek out information voluntarily. So a he at her workshop was a major surprise.

She pulled open the heavy conference room door and walked past the chairs in the reception area. The McDonald conference room was divided into two smaller areas that could be combined into one large room if turnout warranted. Based on past results, she had no illusions it would be warranted for her.

When she rounded the corner into the tiny room and saw who her “he” was, she wanted to walk out again.

“Gabe,” she said, hoping he’d chalk up her breathless tone to hurrying into the room. It was, in fact, on account of her heart beating too fast, something quickly becoming a habit when she saw him.

He was resting a hip against one of the long tables in front of a dry erase board. “Rebecca.”

“How nice to see you again. It seems like only yesterday.”

One corner of his mouth quirked up. “It was yesterday.”

“What are you doing here?”

“I work here.”

She wasn’t born yesterday. “Really? Patient facilitator? As in facilitate them right back to Texas?”

“You have quite the sarcastic streak. Did they teach you that in medical school?” he asked.

“No. It’s a gift.” She readjusted her stethoscope, then folded her arms over her chest.

“Nice accessorizing.”

“I like it.” Unlike you, she thought uncharitably. “Seriously, why are you here?”

“To talk to you.”

“How did you know I’d be here?” she asked.

“Like I said, I work here.”

She was in and out of this hospital all hours of the day and night, and she had never seen him until two days ago in her office. “Doing what here exactly?”

“My company was retained to do the hospital expansion project.”

With great difficulty Rebecca resisted the urge to smack herself in the forehead. She knew Mercy Medical was adding four patient floors to their existing facility in order to accommodate the explosive population growth in the Las Vegas Valley. She’d seen the evidence of construction—a portable trailer and signs around the hospital that said T&O Enterprises, but she hadn’t connected the dots. For a smart woman she was d-u-m-b.

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