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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2089160
by mandy
Rated: 13+ · Novel · Drama · #2089160
chapter 2 getting there...
Colin stretched glancing at the clock, 6:25 flashed repeatedly as he hurried to the bathroom turning the shower on, he eventually dressed pouring himself a mug of coffee, shuddering as he tasted the Luke warm beverage. He sighed lighting a cigarette glancing at his watch, he hurried to the prep room.

'Good morning,' he stated surprised he had arrived early than expected. 'She's okay I'll see you later,' he handed him the file walking towards the door.

'What did you mean last night? You asked if Marie had said something,' he turned to face him his attention drawn from the file he held, 'I thought we had discussed everything,' Paul sat on the edge of the bed.

'She told me how much she likes you; I thought she might have let it slip before she fell asleep,' Paul said trying not to laugh, 'I'm sorry Col, but it is funny, they all like you until they find out,'

'It's just a crush, and we both know it,' Colin replied closing the file, 'I know how she feels, I was teasing her last night, hey she might fancy you next,' he laughed sliding the file on the bed.

'I don't think so,' Paul paused, 'Have you thought about my other suggestion, it shouldn't upset her,'

'It's certainly an option, I'll discuss it with her and we can decide then,' Colin glanced at his watch, 'If reliving does cure the nightmares, Marie will be the shortest stay patient we have had,' Paul left the room thinking about his suggestion, and chance of the success. Colin held Marie's hand gently removing the canola, before holding the oxygen mask against her face, she lifted her hand as if to push his hand away opening her eyes, slowly closing them again, she held his hand turning to face him, her eyes closed, snuggling into the pillow.

'How do you feel this morning,' he removed the sensor as he spoke, she glanced at the machines as he switched them off, 'Its okay, just rest for a few minutes,' she clung to him her hand resting on his chest, 'You slept all night, and you didn't have a nightmare.

'I didn't have a nightmare,' she stated shocked, 'I must have slept for hours, you must be tired,' she sat up leaning on the bed rest unable to accept she had actually slept.

'Paul stayed with you last night, I'll take you back to your room' he opened the door as he spoke, she walked a few paces turning to face him, kissing him on the cheek.

'I didn't think I would ever sleep properly,' she whispered unable to look into his eyes, he lifted her chin gently.

'I think you should get dressed, I'm starving,' he laughed.

'Will you be in your room, I can give you a knock when I'm ready?' he nodded walking into his room. Marie sat on her bed thinking about holding him, the kiss she had stolen, the smell of his aftershave surrounding her, she sighed, a knock on the door disturbed her thoughts, she opened the door surprised to see Paul.

'I thought you had gone to bed,' she stated allowing him to enter.

'You certainly look a lot better, and I'll get some sleep after breakfast,' he sat down offering her a cigarette, 'I didn't think you would ask Colin, so did you have a good night?' she smiled to herself thinking about Colin, 'I think, I'll let you get ready for breakfast,' Marie quickly showered and dressed hurrying to Colin's room, he opened the door allowing her to enter.

'What's wrong you don't look very happy?' he asked concerned.
'Did I say anything before I fell asleep?' she sighed dreading his answer.

'Your secrets are safe, I think it's time for breakfast,' he opened the door as he spoke; she breathed a sigh of relief thinking he didn't know how she felt. They walked to the dining room, she sat at one of the pine breakfast tables a white lined table cloth draped across the surface, A tall blond hair girl caught her attention sitting quickly reading, pausing to finish her drink, she turned to face Marie, eventually sitting beside her flicking her long blond hair away from her face.

'Have you just arrived,' she paused glancing at the doctors, 'Its nice here, you just have to get use to it,' she whispered holding Marie's arm,' unless you have him, for your doctor I mean,' she glared at Colin, her green eyes wide with awe. 'It's just a friendly warning get out,' fright-filled the girls' voice, she returned to her table before Marie could question her.

'Marie began to worry, Colin hadn't hurt her, but! She sighed, it was obvious the girl had arrived before her; she must know what Colin and Paul are really like. The girl glanced at Colin and then Marie silently, urging her to heed her advice, Marie hurried out of the room, running to the front door, pausing before walking into the garden sitting on one of the wooden benches shielded by a large oak tree, she stared at the front entrance expecting Colin to come out and question her.

'Karen, have you seen Marie?' Paul asked curious about her absence.


'She's probably taken my advice, and left, you shouldn't lie, it's not my problem' Karen sneered. Paul hurried to Marie's room only to find it empty, he hurried to the front door surprised to find it open, Marie sat crying confused, trying to decide if she wanted to leave, to turn away the help she desperately needed, not realising Paul was standing behind her.

'Karen can be annoying but she is a nice girl really,' he sat beside her, 'Why are you upsetting yourself like this?' he sighed, 'I don't know what she said and to be honest I'm not really interested' he turned her head gently but she turned away.

'She said if Colin was her doctor, she would leave, and she implied you are just being nice because I'm new here,' she lowered her head wiping her tears away. 'I really like him, Paul, I can talk to him'.

'If you like Colin, why are you listening to Karen, has he hurt you?' he offered her a cigarette, 'I know what Karen's trying to do, but it doesn't concern you,' he paused lighting her cigarette, 'If you want to know the truth, I'll tell you, or would you prefer Karen's version,' she glared at the clinic knowing Colin would be waiting for her. The memories from her nightmares flashed into her thoughts as she gazed at Paul, unable to decide if she wanted to know the truth, 'I think you should stop upsetting yourself, I don't want you making yourself ill do I?'

'Would it change anything if you tell me? I knew, I made the wrong decision coming here,'

'I don't know if it would change anything, but it normally upsets the girls at first,' he held her hand preventing her leaving, knowing she was confused and frightened, 'You want to run away because a girl has upset you' she stared at him in disbelief.

'If I want to leave, can I?' she asked quietly.

'Marie, if you want to leave you can, we won't force you to stay but I think you know that' he paused briefly, 'I'll start with the clinic, we have three doctors but we do have a full surgical team,' he glanced at her trembling hands, 'We only have four patients, Alan runs the clinic. He's a consultant surgeon' he sighed as she interrupted him.

'I don't want to see him,' she snapped.

'Do you want me to continue, you are being very silly, you haven't met Alan because he is on holiday'

'I am not silly, I just don't want to see a surgeon, I can't, not yet,' she cried the surgeon that haunted her nightly formed inside her mind, Paul wiped away the constant flow of tears, she trembled, shaking with fear as he turned her to face him, comforting her.

'Marie look at me' he whispered she gazed at him trying to compose herself. 'I suppose you can't talk to me,' he hugged her, 'Calm down and you will feel better,' she sat shocked silenced by his words.

'I'm sorry, but,' she held her hand unable to finish her sentence, unable to except he was a surgeon.
'I think Colin should take you home, I don't think we need to continue do you?' Paul sighed. 'I didn't want to upset you, but you are here to get well and you will if you trust us. Marie give us a chance to help you,' he paused, 'You said you didn't like surgeons, but you can talk to me,'

'Why didn't you tell me when I arrived?' she asked staring at his eyes.

'We discussed it before you arrived, and, the only reason we decided not to mention it was because of your past experience,' she began to relax her thoughts drifting to Colin.

'What about Colin is he a normal doctor?' he shook his head.

'If I said he was it would probably make you feel better, but it would be a lie.' He paused interrupted by Colin, 'If you can talk to Col, ask him, but I think you already know it's obvious,' Paul smiled reassuring her, pulling Colin aside, 'She knows about the clinic, but she wants to know if you're a normal doctor,' Paul laughed returning to the clinic.

'I thought you wanted something to eat' Colin stated leaning on the bench, he sighed as she ignored him, Paul words firmly fixed in her mind, 'I think we should go back to my room and talk,' he took her hand but she pulled away. 'Marie you are the most annoying stubborn patient, I have ever had,' he picked her up carrying her to his room, 'Sit down and drink this,' he handed her a cup of coffee, locking the door, 'What has upset you this time?'

'Paul told me about the clinic, I know he's a surgeon,' she gazed into his hazel eyes wanting him to hold her, to tell her everything will be ok. 'He said you are not just a doctor,' he laughed sitting beside her, handing her a cigarette.

'I'll tell you, but you won't like it, what did I do last night?' he held her hand turning it over showing it where the canola had been. 'I just happen to be one of those doctors you hate,' she moved away from him crying, confused knowing her had helped her and she liked him but he was an Anaesthetist, she had feared them for nearly 10 years. 'It wasn't me Marie, and you know that,' he whispered lifting her chin gently. 'I think we should go out and get something to eat, and drink and I won't take no for an answer,' he picked up his car keys as he spoke. She reluctantly followed him glancing at the bench, it would have been easy to forget he was a doctor if Paul hadn't told her the truth, she paused at the car.

'Get in Marie, we need to discuss a few things,' Colin started the car as he spoke, waiting patiently for her. She sighed clipping the seatbelt in place, 'I don't want you to think about your nightmares, you had a good nights sleep, and you can't deny it,' his words faded, as she ignored him, he parked the car turning to face her. 'Ok if you want to ignore me, I'll take you home,' silent tears rolled down her face, she clung to him desperately.

'I can't believe you hurt people, not you, I can remember that doctor, the mask,' she gasped trying to breathe.

'Its ok calm down,' he held her reassuringly as she began to relax, 'I don't think you want another panic attack do you?' he whispered as she laid on his chest trying to understand his emotion, 'I think your ok now' he laughed sitting her back into the seat. 'I didn't hurt you last night, did I? and I want to discuss a few suggestions we can try,' Colin opened the door leading into the small cafe' hurrying her inside, he paused at the counter ordering a breakfast and two mugs of coffee before sitting beside her.

'I don't think we need to hurry back, Paul should be asleep and Karen will be occupied elsewhere,' he stated quietly 'We don't normally work weekends unless we are on call and I'm not, so will you please relax'.

'I wish I could, if you only knew what I was thinking,' she mumbled to herself thinking how he had held her close. The waitress placed the breakfast on the table quickly returning with the drinks.

'Marie,' he turned her to face him. 'I do know what you are thinking but! You hate Anaesthetist, eat your breakfast,'

'Do we have to go back to the clinic after breakfast?' she asked hoping he would say no.

'Do you want to stay with someone you hate?' he teased hiding the smirk on his face.

'I don't hate you, I hate what you do' she sighed.
'You didn't say that last night, you almost begged me to help you,' he nudged her gently. 'I didn't hold you down, and I wouldn't force you to do anything and I certainly wouldn't hurt you,'

'Have you ever hurt anyone?' she asked nervously.

'Would you honestly believe me if I said no?' he sighed. 'I can honestly say, I haven't hurt anyone intentionally,' he stated finishing his coffee. 'What would make today perfect for you Marie? And you could try smiling it easy' she turned away quickly hiding the smile creeping slowly across her face.

'Do you want an honest answer or a lie' she pushed the empty plate away as she spoke.

'I thought you said friends are honest,' he replied leading her outside, 'And I hate lies'

'I think my perfect day would be,' she turned away hiding her embarrassment unable to finish the sentence.

'Say it, finish the sentence, or we will be going back to the clinic, I brought you out for breakfast remember' he flicked her hair away from her face trying to gain her attention.

'I think my perfect day would be staying with you, if I'm awake or not,' she glanced into his eyes as she spoke, 'I know you won't hurt me, Colin,' she sighed. 'I don't know what I want to do, we could stay in the car, I'm not bothered,' he took her hand leading her back to the car, 'I would prefer to spend the day with you, not Colin the doctor'.

'Get in, I think we need to talk,' he opened the door for her. 'Why do you think I am two different people?' he asked concerned. 'I know how you feel about doctors, and I don't want to confuse you,' she tried to interrupt but he silenced her. 'I am a person, and I work for the medical profession,' he offered her a cigarette. 'I knew a girl once, and no she wasn't a patient before you ask' he turned to face her. 'She was like you, she needed help and we offered, I was prepared to lose everything for her,' his voice drifted into silence, thinking about the time he had shared with Jenny.

'What happened?' she asked curiously.

'She was engaged to one of my colleges; they split but got back together,' regret filled his voice.

'She was a fool,' she whispered to herself.

'Why?' she turned away avoiding answering him. 'We can sit here all day' he started the car. 'Do you want to know what Paul suggested?' he parked the car beside the lake, turning to face her. 'I think if the nightmares continue and they don't subside, we could relive the day you had your tonsils removed,' he took her hand sitting beside the lake, she said nothing as he sat beside her, tears filled her eyes.

'Why do you want to hurt me,' she laid back closing her eyes, her arm shielding the sun from her face.

'I don't intend to hurt you, and you know that, but you told us a few things that didn't make sense,' he pulled her arm from her face as he spoke. 'Do you want me to prove it?' she turned to face him resting her arm. 'If you tell me to stop I will, so don't get upset,' she gasped as he slid his arm around her waist holding her gently but firmly. 'If you got away from six doctors get away from me,' she struggles to free herself eventually crying, he released her holding her close. 'I'm not holding you now,' he wiped her tears away with his hand; she sat up saying nothing for a few minutes turning to face him.

'You don't believe me, do you?' she snapped.
'I don't believe six doctors held you down, I just proved that I think a 10-year-old child, wouldn't try to get away if I'm wrong' he paused. 'Why didn't you get away, I do believe you think it happened, we just need to find a way to convince you'.

'But, I can remember everything that happened that day' she pulled his sunglasses off as she spoke, quickly sliding them on, laughing, as he turned her over leaning on her hands. 'You're holding me down again,' she stated as he slid the sunglasses from her face.

'I can't hear you objecting this time,' he laughed brushing the grass from her hair. 'I think we are going to be good friends Marie, and you can start by accepting that I am not two different people' he paused. 'I can't change Marie, and I don't want to' he whispered.

'I can pretend you're not a doctor, when I'm with you, just us I mean?' she tried to free herself to no avail.

'Stop running away from the truth, just face it,' he sat her up. 'What do you think about my idea?'

'I don't think, I could do it, I'll panic,' she paused. 'I don't want to hurt you,' she replied clearly agitated by the suggestion.

'I know you can do it, why don't you trust yourself, and if you think you are fast enough, try it,' he laughed.

'You want me to hit you?' she sat up surprised by his statement, he nodded, she attempted to hit him but he caught her hand.

'I don't think I have anything to worry about,' he whispered as she tried to hit him again. He held her turning her to face him. 'Do you want them to stop because if we do this they might, and you can leave?


'Leave!' she sighed. 'I don't think I want to leave, will it just be you, no one else?' she asked nervously.

'Paul will probably be there, but not to hold you before you think it, just tell me what really frightens you, and I will take it away,' he hugged her hoping to reassure her.

'You can't, not if you want to do anything they did,' she paused thinking how the doctors had held her down, how the mask had cut her mouth. 'It was horrible, slowly suffocating' a solitary tear rolled down her face.

'What would you say, if I said I can give you something to take that sensation away' he handed her a cigarette lighting it. 'I can't promise to take it away completely, but I don't think it will worry you,' he glanced at his watch. 'It's nearly dinner time we can discuss this later,' he brushed the grass from his jeans, pulling her to her feet.

'I want to Col, I'm just scared it was horrible,' she said quietly clipping the seatbelt in place.

'It won't bother you when the time comes, trust me,'

'When are you thinking of doing it?' she trembled dropping the CD's, 'I'm sorry Col,' he held her wrist checking her pulse.

'You are nervous now, I've already told you not to worry, I want to talk to Paul first,' he sighed. She sat silently thinking about the nightmares and a possibility of a solution, 'Wake up,' he nudged her.

'I am awake, I was thinking about' she sighed. 'It doesn't matter; she hurried to her room before he could reply. Colin walked into Paul's room.

'Marie sat on the edge of her bed trying to forget about the nightmares, confused, the thought of Colin forcing her to breathe from the mask, slowly suffocating her hurting her, he hadn't thought about properly, she convinces herself. She quickly changed for dinner hurrying to the dining room.

'Paul agreed, now we just have to decide when' Colin stated sitting beside her concerned by her silence. 'Marie eat your dinner we can discuss it later,' she sat quietly picking at her food trying to think of something to say troubled by his decision; she finished her meal pushing the plate aside. 'Don't you want you coffee?' Colin asked as she walked towards the door shaking her head before returning to her room, Paul stood to follow her concerned. 'She's okay Paul, I'll deal with her little mood later,' Colin finished his meal walking to her room, knocking lightly. She opened the door allowing him to enter.

'I suppose you have come to moan at me' she sat down as she spoke.

'Why should I waste my time arguing with you Marie, if you don't want to try it, just say so,' he sat beside her. 'If I didn't think you could do it, I wouldn't have suggested it' he handed her a cigarette, 'Talk to me, and tell me what's really bothering you,'

'I've just been thinking about the nightmares,' she turned to face him. 'I'm not sure, I want my mouth cut and bleeding because I know it will happen,' she snapped losing her temper.

'You really think I would do that?' he sighed. 'I think the only way to convince you is to show you,' he took her hand but she pulled away, hurrying to the bathroom, locking the door preventing his intrusion, tears ran down her face thinking he would never force her. The images from her nightmares formed inside her mind, laughing at her. She fell to her knees feeling faint. 'Open the door Marie and stop running away,' Colin stated leaning against the door. 'If you think hiding in there will change anything you are mistaken,'

Marie gasped trying to breathe lifting her tear-stained face, the wall surrounding the shower turned into an array of brightly coloured lights, blending, swirling before her eyes. She fell forwards steadying herself quickly, her arm trembling from the weight of her body. Colin searched his pocket for a coin eventually unlocking the door, glancing at her trembling body as he walked inside, locking the door before sitting beside her, pulling her towards him gently, comforting her as she cried. He silenced her as she tried to talk, wiping her tears from his hand.

'Why do you insist,' he sighed as she held him close. 'I won't do anything to hurt you, and you won't believe me,' he whispered, she began to breathe easier, walking to the hand basin, running the hot water, staring at him.

'Do you think this is just about what you want to do?' she whispered washing her face. 'Why are you my doctor Col? Why couldn't I have met you anywhere, but here?' he turned her to face him.

'I think you are confused,' he took her hand returning her to the bedroom, sitting her down. 'What can I do to convince you?' he lit a cigarette throwing her the packet. 'I certainly can't force you to trust me, and it's quite obvious that is the problem,'

'I do trust you,' she mumbled turning towards him, tears slowly filled her eyes. 'I just don't want you to hurt me, I'm sorry!' she cried leaning on his shoulder.

'If you trust me, come with me,' he paused turning to face her. 'I will explain everything and I promise, we will only talk,' she nodded, wanting to prove her trust, trembling as he took her hand leading her to the prep room, slightly resisting as he opened the door pulling her inside. 'Do you realise the ridiculous thing about this, and I mean what we are doing now,' he paused unlocking the cupboard. 'It's not going to worry you when we do it for real,' he held the flexible face mask sitting down, tapping the bed with his hand wanting her to join him, 'Try it and show me where it cuts your mouth,' she shook her head refusing glaring at the mask. 'Just do this,' he held the mask against his face, 'Marie it can't hurt you, it's not attached to anything, come here, I'll help you,' he sat her down beside him holding the mask against her face, removing it examining her face. 'I can see any blood yet' he replaced the mask locking the cupboard, turning to face her. 'Well?'

'Why is everything different Col, the doctors, surgeons even the mask,' she asked confused.

'You had your tonsils out nearly ten years ago, things change' he sat beside her, 'I think we should forget about the work, you've had enough for one night' he took her hand returning her to her room.

'I thought you wanted to discuss when you wanted to do it,' she asked, not wanting him to leave.

'I'll decide when, so no more talk about the masks, doctors, I think we should talk about something else you said earlier,' he locked the door. 'I am your doctor because you were assigned to me, and you couldn't have met me anywhere but here,' he laughed. 'It's just a crush Marie, it's quite normal,'

'I think I know how I feel, I just feel different when I am with you,' she sighed. 'I've never felt like this' she turned away hiding her embarrassment.

'Never,' he laughed. 'Marie you could be leaving next week, if you do, Paul will probably want you to come back for a few weeks, just to stay overnight, and we still have to monitor you for 6 months'.

'Will you still be my doctor?' she asked her head lowering not wanting to leave.

'No, it would probably be assigned to Alan or Paul, and I'm sure that will disappoint you,' he smiled as she glanced at him. 'But you getting discharged early will depend on a positive response to the procedure'.

'Will I still see you? Or when I leave,' she sighed pouring herself a cup of coffee, 'It's not a crush Col, I'm not bothered what you think' she sat beside him neither said anything for a few minutes.

'What's wrong now, I thought you wanted to leave,' he asked his arm resting on her shoulder. she shrugged ignoring his question. 'You can't ignore me all night,' he turned her head but she turned away.

'I wasn't ignoring you,' she cuddled into him as she spoke closing her eyes, he sat her up, saying nothing for a few minutes, he grabbed her hand hurrying to the car park, 'Where are we going?' she laughed.

'Anywhere, but here' he stated unlocking the car. 'I think you will relax away from the clinic' he drove high into stilton forest and nature reserve. Marie walked towards the edge glancing at the thousands of malt coloured lights from the town below. Colin held her concerned she would fall, she turned to face him her hands resting on his neck, pulling him towards her, he paused glancing into her eyes, kissing her, the warmth from his hands waking the longing to be in his arms again, to feel the sensation of his lips caress hers, only silence surrounded them. 'I'm in a difficult position, I have a job to do and if I upset you, it won't be deliberate,' he sat her down on the grass sitting beside her. 'If you can't accept that,' he sighed.

'I know you have a job to do, and I know it will probably be difficult at times, but if I have to choice between my nightmares, and never seeing you again, there's nothing to choose,' she hugged him, 'I don't feel like I have a problem when I am with you,'

'Why can't you accept what I do? You should tell me how you feel and before you say you can't, or it's embarrassing,' he kissed her neck slowly, making her gasp, 'That tell me everything' she gazed into his hazel eyes as he spoke.

'You might be trying to trick me, pretending to like me or something,' she mumbled, expecting him to say something, anything to satisfy her thoughts. He slid his arms around her waist she turned to face him revealing her, tear-filled eyes, trying to turn away.

'I'll only say this once, so listen and look at me,' he lifted her chin gently. 'I would never try and trick you and I mean that,' he pulled her towards him hugging her, 'You're really confused; you need to relax and stop worrying, let me worry that's my job,' he reassured her.

'It feels like I've known you for years, I now you think this is a crush Col, and I can't prove it isn't, but I know I like you,'

'I think we will know if it is a crush, we can find out all the annoying things, habits we both have' he laid her down as he spoke, his arm resting across her waist. 'You're too confused to decide at the minute,'

'Why can't we stay like this,' she gazed at the stars high above the tallest trees.

'What would you do if I upset you? Let me guess, you would ignore me, argue,' he stroked her hair as he spoke. 'You're too stubborn to forget it,' he teased.

'I'm not stubborn,' she pushed him back kissing him pausing briefly. As he touched her face, stroking her cheek returning her kiss. 'It's getting late, don't you think we should go back' he nodded pulling her towards him again kissing her, they returned to the clinic, 'Do you want a coffee?' she asked hurrying inside.

'You can make one tomorrow, I have something to do,' he pulled her towards him, as if to kiss her, 'I'll give you a knock in the morning, and if you can't sleep come and tell me,' she nodded returning to her room, Colin hurried to Pauls room. 'I think we should take Marie down tomorrow, she's frightening herself and if we wait until Monday, I think she will change her mind,' Colin said lighting a cigarette, 'I tried to discuss it earlier but she paranoid,'

'Why do you think she is paranoid, Colin you haven't, not again, I warned you not to get involved,' Paul said sternly. 'I thought you said it won't happen again, this time, your risking your job, career, everything.'

'I'm not risking anything, because I haven't done anything except hug her, I'll see you tomorrow about seven,' Colin returned to his room Pauls words weighing heavy on his mind.

'Marie awoke early the next morning trembling holding her pillow close trying to sleep. She sighed glancing at the clock, frightened to sleep, a tapping sound caught her attention, she wrapped her dressing gown around her before opening the door, surprised to find Colin waiting, dressed in his familiar light blue scrubs, she began to tremble walking away. Frightening herself as he closed the door holding her gently.

'I, I can't do it Col,' she cried trying to stop herself trembling.

'I thought you might like to join me for a drink, I knew you would be awake' he paused leading her towards the door, 'And I did say, if you didn't want to do it, it was okay, so you don't have anything to worry about'.

'I'll get dressed first,' she stated trying to think of an excuse.

'You can get dressed later, I want to talk to you,' he held her arm escorting her to his room, a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a tumbler containing a clear substance place side by side on the table, she glanced at them, then Colin, sitting down.

'What is it, what will it do?' tears ran down her face as she questioned him, he sat beside her handing her the tumbler.

'When you had your tonsils out, you said the nurse gave you two tablets,' he sipped his orange, she placed the tumbler down refusing to drink it, 'It will help you to relax,' she shook her head adamant not to take it, searching for his cigarette. 'I thought you wanted to help me, it won't put you to sleep, that would defeat the object wouldn't it?' she picked the tumbler up glancing at the contents.

'It's not this I am worried about,' she mumbled.

'If you drink that, I don't think anything will worry you and I don't want you to have a cigarette until you wake up,'

'So you are bribing me again' she turned to face him shocked.

'No, I don't want you feeling sick, you could make yourself ill,' he finished his orange juice, 'Drink it and I'll tell you how it will affect you,' reluctantly drank the contents snuggling into him, her head resting lightly on his chest, he stroked her hair lightly glancing at his watch, 'How do you feel?'

'Tired, I woke up too early,' she mumbled turning to face him, 'I thought you said, you would tell me what it does,'

'In a few minutes we will go to the prep room, Paul should be there, he will be dressed like this, so you don't have to worry' he checked her eyes as he spoke, 'You should be awake in a few minutes,'

'If I go to sleep you mean,' she slid her hand under his shirt, her eyes closed, he held her hand sliding it from under his shirt, it fell limp onto the cushion.

'I don't think that will be a problem,' he whispered pulling her to her feet. 'I think you want to go back to sleep, don't you?' he held her arm escorting her to the prep room. 'Lay down and close your eyes, and if you feel frightened squeeze my hand,' he glanced at Paul, 'Marie look at me,' he demanded, 'We are going in there in a few minutes,' she struggled to hold Colin close. He picked her up carrying her into theatre laying her down, handing her the mask, 'Practice breathing this'.

'Do you think she will believe she nearly did it herself?' Paul asked holding her hand. 'I thought she would have changed her mind,' Colin took the mask from her hand holding it against her face stroking her hair. She tried to push his hand away, struggling to hold her breath, the doctors from her nightmares filled her mind. He removed the mask. 'Hey calm down, I said squeeze my hand, Marie would you do anything for me?' silent tear ran down her face begging him to free her from her pursuers, to help her subdue them. 'Just breath Marie, and I promise it will be over,' he stroked her face as she breathed deeply struggling to free herself, to escape, 'You're tired, close your eyes and relax' her hand slowly slipped from his falling by her side.

'She really does like you, doesn't she?' Paul stated glancing at Marie as she slept.

'If liking me helps her, I don't have a problem with it,' Colin held the oxygen against her face. 'It makes our job easier' she began to cry pushing his hand away.

'I've changed my mind, you promised Col, you said if I told you to stop, you would,' she snapped struggling to free herself, thinking he would hurt her, 'Your angry because I changed my mind,' she sighed turning away, refusing to look at him, he sat her up putting the things away. 'How do you feel, look around first then tell me,' she glanced around the theatre.

'I don't feel anything, am sorry Col, I tried,' he took her hand leading her back to her room. She opened his cigarette packet but he took it from her hand throwing it on the table.

'Why are you sorry?' he sat beside her.

'I can't have a cigarette now because I couldn't do it, because I panicked, that's not fair,' she gasped feeling his arms slide around her waist pulling her into his arms.

'You can have a cigarette when you wake up properly,' he hugged her. 'I told you it wasn't anything to worry about, didn't I?' she turned to face him puzzled.

'Did you use the mask?' he nodded, 'I didn't fight to get away or panic?' she asked in disbelief.

'I can't say you didn't try, but it's normal, the difference, this time, you didn't feel frightened you can ask Paul you held my hand, I told you to take two deep breaths and it would be over, and it was.' she snuggled into him closing her eyes, drifting to sleep her body still very weary from the anaesthetic he hunted for the remote silently hoping the procedure would help her. She opened her eyes staring at him 'Did you have a nice sleep because you didn't have a nightmare.' he handed her a cigarette. 'It's too early to assume it worked, but it looks promising' she sat silently thinking, hoping she wouldn't have another nightmare. 'I'll be back in a few minutes, I have to get changed, I think you should get dressed unless you are having breakfast in your pyjamas,' he laughed. She walked towards him holding him close, wanting him to hold her, 'I'll be 5 minutes I promise, he kissed her on the cheek, 'I hope you have a good imagination,' he smirked.

Marie turned the shower on, stepping into the warmth spray; her eyes closed imagine herself in Colin's arms, kissing her, holding her tenderly. She jumped hearing Pauls voice, quickly wrapping her dressing gown around her wet body, hurrying to his side.

'You didn't have to hurry, I only wanted to say you really impressed me this morning, it took a lot of courage to face your problem, and you've only been here a few days'.

'I trust Col, he said he wouldn't force me if I changed my mind,' she stated quietly.

'So it didn't upset you, or worry you, waking up in theatre,' she stood in disbelief interrupting him.

'I wasn't in theatre, that wasn't' she paused, 'It didn't bother me, was it the drug he gave me?' Colin walked in standing behind her.

'Why don't we find out' Colin glanced at the dressing gown now damp from her body. 'I think you should put some clothes on first' he sat beside him. 'I was going to ask her why the prep room frightens her but the theatre doesn't,' he handed Paul a cigarette.

'I hope it worked because the puzzle is getting weirder,' Paul sighed, Marie joined them now dressed in her tight blue jeans, a white brocade lace top hung just short of her navel, she sat down glancing at them occasionally. 'I'll see you both in the dining room,' Colin held her, rubbing her shoulders gently, glancing at her in the mirror; she held his hand turning to face him.

'You said if this works, I would be able to leave, I don't want to leave Col,' he held her close hugging her.

'Sit down,' she sat down as he spoke. He sat beside her. 'If you have to leave, will it really be a disaster, I've already told you, Paul will want you to come back for a couple of days' he held her pulling her towards him as if to kiss her, pausing just as their lips touch, 'I won't be your doctor' he whispered kissing her.
They walked along the corridor pausing at the prep room. 'I want you to tell me how you feel when I ask' he opened the door taking her hand.

'Okay, how do you feel?' he walked towards the door leading to the theatre.

'I can stay in here if you want me to, but it make my stomach churn' she sat down the colour drained from here face. He took her hand pausing before walking towards the theatre.

'Well?' he asked turning to face her. 'Marie this is where you woke up,' he paused walking towards her, 'And it didn't bother you,'

'I don't know, it doesn't frighten me, I can't remember this room in my nightmare,' she glanced around trying to find something relevant to her nightmares.


'We can discuss it later, I think we need something to eat,' he took her hand pausing at the door, 'I really hope this worked Marie,' he kissed her on the cheek, they hurried to the dining room, Marie sat at the dining table next to Paul, he sat beside her.

'Have you accepted Colin is an Anaesthetist,' she nodded glancing at Colin, 'So you don't hate them,' Paul asked.

'I don't hate either if you, it's a job and nothing else,' she stated wanting him to leave.

'I've known Col nearly six years; I know when he's happy, trouble, and I can assure you, he's not the best person to keep a secret,' he returned to his table.

'Paul said some really weird things,' she whispered as Colin sat beside her. 'I think he knows,'

'He's guessing, he doesn't know anything because we haven't done anything,' he whispered, 'Give me a knock after breakfast, I have a few things to do' she sighed. He had never left without her. Karen sat beside her placing her cup on the table.

'I wanted to apologise, I didn't want to upset you' she sighed nervously, 'Can we start again' Marie gazed at her, Karen's words still fresh in her thoughts, the same words that nearly forced her to leave. 'Colin will be taking me into theatre soon, he really frightens me, Marie,' she whispered not wanting Paul to overhear.

'Why?' Marie asked, turning to face her. 'Talk to him if you have a problem' Marie stood as if to leave glancing at Karen's tear filled face. 'We can talk in your room if you want,' the girls walked silently to Karen's room, pictures hung scantly around the walls drawing Marie's attention as she sat down.

'I didn't want to frighten you, that's why I told you to leave,' she handed her a cigarette lighting one for herself.

'Colin hasn't frightened me, he's helping me,' Colin put me to sleep this morning, the same way they did it ten years ago,' he didn't hurt me, Karen'. She turned away quickly, her face giving revealing her emotions.

'You fancy Colin,' Karen stated laughing sitting beside her, 'Does he know?' she shook her head unable to reveal her secret. 'He is cute, but he's a doctor remember,'

'I know but!' she stubbed her cigarette out, 'I just like him, have you told him how you feel'.

'How can I tell him, and do you really think he will care?' Karen stated, frightened. 'Colin knows, I tried to upset you, and you want me to talk to him' tears filled her eyes. 'If you care so much, come with me,'

'I can talk to him and so can you,' Marie stated defending Colin.

'I didn't mean come with me to talk' tears rolled down Karen's face. She turned away trying to hide her embarrassment. 'Come with me to the theatre,' Marie hugged her trying to comfort her eventually agreeing.'









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