Sun May 6/12

@art-fashion-me @kirkland @alycat @the-clary-project @the-wild-things

[The Capital Connection]
Rachel Eliesse Baldwin

Dressed appropriately this time in some blue scrubs and a white lab coat with a stethoscope hanging around my neck, I walked over to the main desk and grabbed a file that was there alone. Patient: Darcy, Juliana. "They're in." Cathy chimed in and when I glanced over at her, she was spinning around mindlessly in her chair.

I didn't want to read them. I began to overthink it - what about if these results showed that she didn't have much time left to live? If the medication wasn't working, and she'd be moved to oncology for stronger radiation? What if she needs a stem cell transplant if chemotherapy and radiation isn't enough? A mind full of what ifs when the answer was right in my hands. "Well, are you going to stand there or look?" Cathy raised an eyebrow.

"Yeah.." I muttered quietly under my breath as I opened the yellow folder. At first I read over it slowly, and then began to skim through. Some of the information that came back was the same as the last time, but there were more notes near the end that had me sucking in my lips and pushing them down hard together. I shook my head with a soft sigh before taking a step away.

"So?" Cathy said.

"It's good and bad. I'll go see her now."

"Good timing." She smiled lightly. "The whole Darcy family is here right now."

I nodded before making my way down the hall and into the Darcy room. I spotted Julie awake. She was looking at me with a little smile on her face. I skipped toward her with a smile on mine as well. "Hello, dear." I said in some British accent.

Julie chuckled. "Hello, Miss Baldwin." She said in a similar British accent.

I laughed softly and ran my hands through my hair, flipping it over to one side. As I did this, I noticed Julie's smile turned into a straight line. I knew why, and I scolded myself in my head. "How are you feeling today, Julie?"

"I feel alright." She shrugged. "A little better than yesterday."

"Well, that's always good." I smiled. I heard noise coming from just in front of me and when I looked up, I saw Juliana's mother standing to her feet. I didn't even realize that her parents and brother were sitting on the couch. Her dad and brother were still sound asleep, and her mother was making her way toward us from the chair that she was resting on. "How are you, Mrs. Darcy? I didn't see you there."

"Hi, Rachel." She smiled sweetly. "I'm okay. A little tired, but aren't we all?"

I nodded. "I don't want to wake your husband, but it'd be nice if I was able to talk to the both of you."

I saw Julie looking up at us curiously through the corner of my eye. A couple of seconds after I had spoken, I heard shuffling coming from the couch. Both men were opening their eyes, waking up. Mr. Darcy was the first to approach us, and Julie's brother stayed seated on the couch.

"We'll be right back, Julie." I smiled at her, patting her hand lightly before leading Mr. and Mrs. Darcy just out the door. "The results came back." I said slowly.

Both parents nodded. "How bad?"

"Not terrible. We need to up her treatments because her body isn't responding the way it should, or the way it used to. It's why she feels more fatigue than usual. There is a risk that it will spread, and if it does, it will do so quickly. Don't be alarmed, we don't anticipate sending her down to oncology. I'm going to schedule her for blood work sometime next week. For now, slightly stronger treatment should help her."

Mr. and Mrs. Darcy both stayed quiet, simply nodding to themselves. I was a terrible bearer of bad news, and I was fidgeting with my fingers the entire time behind my back. "What?" Suddenly, Julie's brother was behind his parents looking rather upset.

I didn't know what to say, but I didn't need to. He continued to talk. "I'm alarmed, because that sounds terrible." He said through gritted teeth.

"I know it sounds bad," I said, "because this is the second time the cancer has appeared. But the stronger treatments will help her, and risk for spreading isn't too high."

"Are you kidding me?" He retorted. The same angry tone that I heard the first time I talked to him, but his voice was low, probably to prevent Julie from hearing inside.

His mom immediately shot him a look and when they met eyes, he knew that she was scolding him silently.

He only hung his head back with a sharp inhale and walked away. Mrs. Darcy shook her head with a frown and walked back into the room. Her husband and I followed suit and I walked over to Julie. "We're just going to up your treatments a bit. It won't be bad, okay?"

She nodded, yawning right after. "Okay. Are you coming later?"

I shook my head and took her hand. "Unfortunately, no. The nurses will be. But I'll come see you first thing tomorrow morning. How's that?"

"Good enough." A little smile came to her face before she turned away and shut her eyes.

Before I walked out of the room I talked to Mr. Darcy, who was leaning against the wall by the door. "Dr. Burns is expected to return within the next two days."

"We think you're doing just fine, Rachel." He patted my shoulder gently and I walked out of the room with a little smile. A little reassurance, especially from a patient or their family, always helped.

I did a couple other hospital rounds and checked up on Eva Mulligan, who once again was asleep. "My luck." I groaned as I placed all the folders neatly back in the cabinet, pushing the door in with my hip. "I don't know if I'm ever going to talk to the girl."

"Who, Eva?" Cathy chuckled. "Stop going in when she's taking a nap."

"We'll have to see tomorrow." I shrugged off the white lab coat that I snatched from the unit and threw it at Cathy. "I'll see you then."

"Don't have too much fun tonight!" She called out as I made my way down the hall.

I checked the time as I walked toward my car in the parking lot, realizing I was already ten minutes late to meet up with the girls at the bar. "Crap," I mumbled to myself. I hurried to my car and opened the back door, thankfully finding clothes that I had just bought and clothes that I had thrown. I always did this, and not even on purpose. I had clothes in the car that were new, clean, some dirty, but there was quite a bit in there and it came to good use.

I hopped into the back and slipped into a clean crop top and a new maxi skirt that I had bought. I spotted some heels on the floor of the passenger side and quickly slid out of the back seats to grab them. I had my hand on the roof of my car to help me balance as I slipped on the right shoe when I heard a loud skidding noise from within the parking lot.

I finally balanced on both feet, pushing myself off of my car, and eyed the motorcycle as it made its way back to its spot close to the parking lot elevator. Brushing down my skirt, I watched the rider take the helmet off and set it on the seat. He turned his head, and I realized that he was Julie's brother.

Guess he rides to cool off, I thought in my head, I wish I had a motorcycle. I walked over to the drivers side of my car when I heard "Baldwin" being called loudly. I turned around and he was taking a couple of steps toward me, which got him quite close considering there wasn't a huge gap in between to begin with.

"I see you dressed up more than I see you in your actual uniform." He chuckled lightly.

"Yeah." I smiled awkwardly. I was already running late, and I didn't know what he wanted to talk to about.

"Uh," he paused and then sighed, "I'm sorry, again. About earlier."

"Do you apologize often?"

"It seems that way, doesn't it?"

I wanted to roll my eyes, but instead I sucked in a breath with a short nod. "Your sister is going to be okay."

I saw him shrug lightly and look down at the ground. "I'd like to think so." He said in almost a whisper.

"Well, you're just going to have to trust me."

His eyes shot up and met mine. Some sort of hopeful. "Do I have a choice?" A little smile came to his face.

I chuckled softly. "No. But with a family like yours, I'm sure you won't have to worry much."

"What do you mean?"

I walked around to the back of my car and leaned against it, and he was standing in front of me by now. "You guys are there every single day, there's rarely a time when she's alone. At most, she by herself for fifteen minutes. But one of you always shows."

"Doesn't mean she'll be okay.." He mumbled.

"Your support is the only treatment that can ever really keep her going." I smiled. "We call families like yours the five percenters. Usually, and unfortunately, families fizzle out over a couple of weeks, months.. we go from seeing their faces every day to a couple times every now and then. It's sad, really, but.. not with you Darcys."

This seemed to give him more hope, because something flashed in his eyes and he returned the smile. "Thanks. I just get really upset and defensive when it comes to her."

"I understand." I slowly stood up properly, off the car. "You should get inside. I think she's been left alone for fifteen minutes too long." I joked. He just laughed and shook his head at me. Before getting in the car, I poked my head out and nodded toward his bike. "The BMW's looking nice."

He was already walking back at this point but he looked at me with a curious face. I got in and sped off to meet the girls, and hopefully a wonderful glass of white wine at the bar.
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