It was a slow day in the ER. Unusual given that the hospital was in Manhattan. Between the tourists and the locals coming in from the neighboring Burroughs it was always jammed full of people. Melanie had been there since 6am. Another almost three hours until the end of a twelve hour shift.
"Hey Mel," Linda said as Melanie walked past the check in desk. "Can you take curtain 2? Guy came in with a leg injury."
"Sure," Melanie said, taking the chart from Linda.
"He has a posse with him."
"What?" Melanie asked, brows furrowed.
"There are three other guys with him," Linda said, rolling her eyes. "He's a grown ass man for God's sake. I don't know why he needs three other guys to hold his hand. But," she added with a wink, "he's mighty cute."
As Melanie headed to the cubicle she heard a sudden burst of laughter coming from behind the closed curtain. She pulled it back to find three men doubled over in laughter, the fourth sitting on the bed.
"What's so funny?" Melanie asked with a smile, looking for the patient's name on the chart.
"Nothing," one of the guys said, holding out a hand. "I'm Joe," he said.
"Hi Joe. And you must be Mr. Quinn?" she asked, looking at the man seated on the bed.
He had shaggy brown hair covered with a backwards baseball cap and eyes that looked like pools of chocolate. As she looked into his eyes she felt a knot forming in her stomach. Linda was right, he was cute. And his eyes were mesmerizing.
"Yes," he said. "But call me Brian, please."
"OK Brian, what brings you in today?" she asked, pulling her eyes away from his and looking down at the chart.
"I think I sprained my ankle," he said, pointing down to his left leg, which was propped on a pillow and covered with an ice pack. "I didn't feel anything snap so I don't think it's broken."
"How did you manage that?" Melanie asked, moving next to the bed to have a closer look.
He winced when she removed the ice pack. His ankle was swollen, skin red from the ice pack and already starting to bruise.
"I fell on the ice," Brian said. Melanie gave him a puzzled look. "I fell ice skating. Or rather, trying to skate," he said. "I should have just taken the loss." The other guys chuckled.
"What does that mean?" Melanie asked, looking at him, then the other guys.
"We're on a tv show," one of the other guys said. She looked at him. "Hi," he said, holding out a hand. "I'm James. We film a hidden camera show called Impractical Jokers. Q hurt himself when we were filming today."
Melanie shook his hand and said "Oh, I've heard of that show but I've never seen it." The corners of James' mouth turned down and he looked hurt.
"Well we'll have to change that," he said, a slight smirk on his face.
"Can you let her get back to Q?" the fourth guy asked. "I'd like to get out of here some time today. You know I don't like being in here with all these germs."
Melanie refocused her attention on Brian. "OK, let me just get your vitals," she said. She placed a digital thermometer in his ear. "Normal," she said. She then took his blood pressure. "125 over 80. Very good." She then placed two fingers on his right wrist to take his pulse. As she did so, a shiver ran down her spine. Touching him made her skin tingle. She made notes on the chart and then made to exit. "The doctor will be in shortly," she said, glancing back at the patient with a smile.
"Well?" Linda asked, raising her eyebrows as Melanie arrived back at the desk.
"Didn't I tell you he's cute?!" Linda looked closely at Melanie for a minute before asking "Why is your face so red? Did something happen?!"
"Yes you did. And yes he is,"Melanie said flashing a smile, ignoring the other questions.
"And your face?!"
"Nothing happened. It's just hot in here." She suddenly realized her face felt like it was on fire.
Linda eyed her doubtfully before asking "So what's the deal with his 'gang'?"
"Oh, they all work on a tv show together. That show Impractical Jokers. It's some sort of hidden camera show."
"Oh my God!" a voice from behind them exclaimed. "I love that show! Are you kidding me?? That's who is in there?! Which one is hurt?" another nurse, Julie, asked them.
Glancing back at the chart Melanie said "Brian Quinn. He said he fell trying to ice skate."
"Q?! He's the one who got hurt?! Were they filming?"
"Yes, that's what one of the other guys said."
"This is unreal," Julie said. "Have you ever seen the show? It's the funniest show on tv."
"No," Melanie said. "But I guess I should check it out?"
"Yes, you should!" Julie said.
Dr. Andrews appeared and asked for the chart of the patient in curtain 2. Melanie handed it to him and he signaled for her to follow him.
"Mr. Quinn!" he announced, pulling back the curtain. "What seems to be the problem today?"
Brian looked past the doctor, to Melanie, and gave a huge smile. Melanie felt her face get hotter and averted her gaze. His eyes. His eyes did something to her. As if she stared into them for too long she would turn into a puddle on the floor.
Brian looked at the doctor and explained the story once again. After examining the leg Dr. Andrews informed him it was most likely not broken but he would need to get an X-ray just to be sure.
"Sit tight and I'll get that ordered for you, then Melanie will take you up." Brian looked at Melanie again, flashing a smile. Dr. Andrews left and Melanie turned to follow.
"Melanie?" Brian called to her. She turned to face him. "That's a beautiful name," he said, giving her a wink. She blushed once again, certain that her face now had to be the color of the blood flowing through her veins.
"Seriously man?" Joe said to him. "Can you not go anywhere without hitting on women?"
"I'm not hitting on her," Brian scoffed. "I was just being nice and giving her a compliment."
The fourth guy, whose name she hadn't gotten, rolled his eyes and snorted.
"I'll be back in a few minutes to take you for the X-ray," Melanie said, turning abruptly and leaving.
"I heard that," she heard Julie say behind her as she closed the curtain.
"Heard what?" she asked, spinning around to see Julie standing there with a smirk.
"He was hitting on you! Q was hitting on you!"
"No he wasn't," Melanie said turning to head back to the desk. "He was just being nice. And why does everyone keep calling him 'Q'?"
"That's what they call him on the show. And don't try to change the subject. This explains why your face is so red. He's cute, right?"
"He's a patient," Melanie said. "You know we don't get involved with patients."
"I don't hear a denial," Julie said with a wink.
YOU ARE READING
When she moved to New York City the last thing on Melanie's mind was finding the love of her life. But then she met Brian Quinn. And life took and unexpected turn.