Chapter 10

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As the hours went by Connie found herself losing interest in the pen pushing she had been forced into after a meeting with the board the previous week. There were a few hours left of her shift, many of the others already having come to and end. Perks of being clinical lead of a department.

Sam wandered into the staffroom as everyone stood in there chatting. "So are you coming out tonight Valentine? About time you got back in the saddle isn't it?" Greg joked about behind him as he shut his locker nodding with a fake laugh. "Alright, alright. I'll come if you agree to stop harassing me." "That's what I like to hear."

Turning round he smiled across to Sam. "You're coming out aren't you?" He pulled his jacket out of his locker shaking his head. "Nah, I've got Em to get back to." Greg nodded in understanding as some of the staff began to wander out of the room. Penny, Oliver and Sam remaining. "Not even for one?" "Better not, it's been a long week for her." She nodded with a smile before stepping out of the room bickering with her brother.

Sam walked out of the staffroom moments later, along the corridor towards Connie's office. He knocked wandering inside finding her sat at the desk. "Everything alright Mr Strachan?" "Perfect. You not getting an early night after this week?" She shrugged looking up from the paperwork. "Apparently not-"

Her attention was snapped up as Greg waltzed in. "Sorry, didn't realise anyone else would be in here." Connie shook her head smiling as he walked across to the desk. "I'm heading out for a drink with everyone so I'll call you tomorrow?" "Oh, yeah... Okay. I could probably do without the distraction tonight anyway." He nodded with a smile leaning down to press a kiss to her lips. He deepened it instantaneously before breaking from her. "See you tomorrow."

Greg wandered past Sam patting his shoulder, offering a simple smile in response. He saw the look of exasperation on Connie's face as she looked to the desk. "Right come on..." Sam walked to the desk picking up her coat. "Sam?" "How about you, me and a curry. You want a distraction, well here it is." Shaking her head she rolled her eyes. "I said I could do without distractions-" "And I know that look on your face, you do it whenever you're lying."

Connie looked up to him still holding onto her coat. "Sam we-" "Two friends, having dinner because one is being bored to death by politics and paperwork." Letting a small smirk cross her face she pushed the chair backwards to stand up and slip her coat on. Connie leant over the desk turning the light off, Sam's eyes dropping to look across her body. "Keep your eyes to yourself Strachan-" "When you stop being hot, I'll stop looking."

Rolling her eyes she stood up wandering towards the office door with Sam hot on her toes. They wandered out of the hospital with one another, crossing the car park to her car. "Where are we going?" "You just drive and I'll tell you where." She shook her head with a sigh getting into the car as Sam pulled his phone out to text Emma.

"Shouldn't you be getting home?" "What? Me? No... Em's working late tonight anyway." Connie nodded as she pulled away from the hospital heading in the general direction of the town. "Turn right here-" "But-" "Just do it Beauchamp." She shot a glare across the car at him as they sat at the traffic lights. "Look unless you want Mr boyfriend to see me taking you out for dinner, we're avoiding town." "This isn't a date." "No but I doubt he would be likely to listen either way."

Connie sighed driving on as he pointed her towards a small place tucked out of sight. Getting out of the car Connie shivered momentarily as the cool breeze hit her. Sam waited at the front of the car as Connie locked it before walking towards him. "So what was all that paperwork? You've been doing it all week." "Department assessments... The board want to know individual staff appraisals by the end of the week as well as recommendations for where further funding needs to go."

Sam nodded as they were seated taking a menu. "Sounds exhilarating-" "About as exhilarating as your company is, don't worry." "Ouch..." She smirked as he held his chest before returning his attention to his menu. They both ordered quickly as Sam paid for their drinks, carrying them back to the table.

He placed a glass of wine before Connie who shook her head. "You can have one, relax a little Connie." She surrendered pulling the glass closer as she ran her fingers around the base. "So... How's Emma's promotion working out?" "Yeah, great. She seems to be enjoying it. I mean me personally, don't see the change in jobs except the added time with Craig." "Still not jealous I see."

Connie smirked beginning to sip at her wine as Sam rolled his eyes. "Hardly jealous just, curious as to what my girlfriend is actually doing in her job." "I'm sure she could ask you the same about your 'late hours', was it?" "Hmm?" "The excuse you gave her for not being home tonight, and don't lie again. She's home and you're not, none of us are in the clear." He gave a knowing look before their food came and stopped the conversation momentarily.

As the night rolled on they laughed with one another, chatting the evening away. "So come on, these appraisals... Must be some gossip you can share with me here." Connie placed her glass down with a smirk. "You're not getting a word out of me Strachan-" "Oh come on... Just one name?" Sighing she leant forwards resting her elbow on the table and her chin on her hand. "Fine, one name." "Dr Valentine-" "Hey there's two of those." "You specified names, it's only one."

Rolling her eyes she ran her finger up the spine of her glass. "Penny Valentine. Over confident and ungodly time keeping. What she lacks in people skills she makes up for in medical knowledge. Oliver Valentine, can barely keep his eyes on his medical work when a female colleague is working with him unless it's his own sister. And even then the concentration is shaky." Sam scoffed, choking on his drink as she looked to him. "Con!?" "What? You asked and I said, god forbid you heard yours then."

She threw him a sarcastic smile as he leant forwards. "Come on then, surprise me... What is your appraisal of me Mrs Beauchamp?" He raised his brows as she bit her lip leaning closer, feeling his leg brush against hers beneath the table. "Improved medical knowledge and skill since the last appraisal, probably down to the amount of attention paid to the lead of department. Persuasive, talented, incredibly cocky and lacks a certain finesse..." "What finesse!?"

He leant back as she smirked before her eyes dropped to her phone. Sighing she picked it up raising her eyes to Sam stopping his ramblings. "Greg I thought you were out drinking tonight?" "I just wanted to say how much I love you Connie... I really, really love you." She ignored the lump in her throat as she gave a tight lipped smile. "Mhmm, you too." She found her self unable to say the words while sitting opposite another man who held some sort of place in her heart too, she was just unsure of where that was.

The phone call ended abruptly after that Connie lifting her eyes to where Sam was watching her with a wry smile. "We should get going." She nodded grabbing her coat from the back of her chair as they wandered out of the restaurant and down to her car. "Con..." Stopping her, she turned to face him as he looked down at her. "I know this is probably the last thing you want to hear right now, but I had a lovely evening with you."

She felt his hand brush against hers before lacing it together with his. Stepping closer she wrapped her other arm around his waist while he held her to his chest. Letting go of her hand he enveloped her into a tight hug instead, placing a kiss to the top of her head. Connie breathed in the smell of him as she rest her head to his chest. "Thank you for the distraction." Glancing up at him he smiled before they moved to get into the car.

Sam let his hand fall to her thigh as she drove, every now and then dropping her own hand to hold his. Stopping outside his home, she looked to the darkened house. "Thanks for the lift home Connie, I'll see you in work tomorrow." She nodded as he leant closer pressing his lips to her cheek tenderly. Their eyes met briefly before he looked away and got out of the car without another word.

Connie remained in the car for a moment longer before starting the engine again and pulling away. Heading in the direction of her home, thoughts filled her mind of the perfect evening she had had. No idea of where she wanted to be, both men came to her mind that night in bed. She rolled over with a groan wishing almost that the decision would be taken out of her hands and made in some other way.

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