Chapter One

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Jazz music played softly in the waiting room of the Memorial Day Surgery and several clients sat in the blue padded seats, surround by the smell of fresh cut flowers in the large vase on the reception desk. Behind the long desk the two receptionists sat side-by-side going about their work.

Martha, a long serving employee of the clinic, was a short, domineering woman with bright red hair with matching lips and nails. Commonly known as the matriarch, no one dared defy her. She was the boss so to speak. Even Dr Max, the head surgeon - whom everyone feared more than Martha - was afraid of Martha.

Chris, three years employed full-time with the clinic, was a tall, flamboyant young man with bright blue eyes and baby face features. The go between among the staff and Martha, put Chris in a favourable position, especially with Dr Max. Chris became the only person Dr Max tolerated due to his fear for Martha. If Dr Max needed something done he always asked Chris, and that made Chris the one person whom everyone came too when they needed something from either Dr Max or Martha.

It had not always been this way for Chris. When he first began, Chris worked in the records room part-time filing, retrieving, and any job Martha gave him. The job supplemented his other part-time job and help Chris get by. This job Chris enjoyed from the start and when Martha barked, Chris obeyed.

The previous woman working with Martha quit one morning quoting, either that woman goes or I do. The staff might fear Martha but they weren't prepared to be without her. Martha had stormed into the records room, pointed at Chris and asked, "Ever answered telephones before?"

Chris nodded to stunned to reply given the manner in which Martha approached him.

"That will do." She had replied. "Come with me."

Martha stormed out the room and Chris had followed, finding himself at the front reception desk, wondering what he was doing there. Martha pulled out the chair beside hers, handed Chris the wireless earpiece and demanded, "Answer the phones. If no one is here but you - attended to the patients at the counter first before answering the phone. Never do either of those two things at the same time. It's rude and I won't tolerate it."

Chris took the earpiece, and that was that. He had been working with Martha on the reception desk from that day on - much to the appreciation of all who worked there.

Every year the surgery took on interns. These surgical interns where provided with experience before they left for full time positions elsewhere. Under the guidance of Dr Max, the interns came and went yearly and the permanent staff always enjoyed the banter between the cocky interns and the experience nursing staff.

There were three surgical interns currently at the clinic - two women and a man. Chris never gave past interns too much time - he did not have reason to communicate with them, although he would sometimes greet them and make general conversation if required. This time the male surgeon, Dr Eric Marshall, left all the staff at the clinic with much to talk about. He was to die for and even Chris found himself drawn to the fine specimen of a man. When Chris took his breaks with any of the other women, their conversations were always drawn back to Dr Marshall.

Taller than Chris, Dr Marshall had amazingly long lashes, gorgeous olive skin, dark hair, and deep brown eyes. Chris could go on and on about Dr Marshall. It was on Dr Marshall's arrival that most of the nurses discovered Chris was gay. Although most had their suspicions over the years - it took Dr Marshall's arrival to be confirmed.

How could he not - Dr Marshall might turn any man? Chris loved all the gossip and was shameless at how he got it. Often the nurses would go out of their way to give Chris little tidbits of news and he would blush and go coy over them. They loved making Chris behave that way and Chris had to admit he didn't might at all. For months, Chris fantasised about Dr Marshall but never did he ever do anything about those fantasies? And so the nurses teased and Chris took it all - knowing it was never going to eventuate to anything because Dr Marshall was an intern and would be gone at the end of his internship.

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