Chapter 60

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Connie had found it harder than Sam to continue on the past week. She found herself thinking of all the outcomes except the one she wanted and struggled to ever wipe the images from her mind. A part of her wandered if this was all too soon, maybe things would be better if she didn't have this baby.

Staring into space, she sat behind her desk thinking about the options she had before her now. There wasn't an awful lot she could do with Sam and Elliot knowing about the baby. Dropping her head into her hands she groaned shaking her head. What was she thinking? She couldn't get rid of this baby, it was wrong no matter what way she looked at it.

Leaning back in her chair she closed her eyes wishing everything would disappear for a while. She was no closer to feeling comfortable about everyone knowing of whatever her relationship with Sam was, she wasn't even sure what to call it. Besides, news travelled quick in a place like this and so she wanted as long as she could get without everyone in her business.

A knock at the door bought her attention up before Hansen stepped into the office. "To what do I owe this pleasure?" "I needed to catch up with you before the meeting this afternoon..." Rolling her eyes she got up from where she sat beginning to move folders around her desk. "Well unless you hadn't noticed, I have a department to run with several sick patients. Whatever you want to say can wait until the meeting."

Connie walked past him towards the door as he remained facing the windows. "A formal complaint has been made against one of your members of staff." Her palm flat to the door, she turned back slightly listening to what he had to say. "I received a letter yesterday to say that Mr Strachan had been acting inappropriately." Facing him properly, the confusion showed on her face. "I thought it was best you were in knowledge of the fact before the meeting this afternoon where it will be mentioned." "But this afternoon is about funding."

Hansen wandered closer as his words gradually hit her. "And what's the easiest way to save money?" "Staff cuts..." Connie lifted a hand to her forehead releasing a sigh as he paused at her door. "Exactly." Letting the door shut behind him, Connie exhaled deeply before letting her head fall backwards looking up to the ceiling.

Turning around, she threw the office door open wandering into the department to her patient. The atmosphere within the department had changed as the afternoon drew in, everyone seemed somewhat on edge and Connie couldn't deny the change in her demeanour after hearing about the complaint. Of everyone that it could have been, it had to be Sam. There was no way she would be able to say anything about their relationship now, she couldn't jeopardise everything like that.

Sam wandered out of the staffroom, passing Connie in the corridor. "Hey-" "My office. Now." She barely lifted her head to look at him as she bitterly spoke the words that told him something was seriously wrong. Rather than question her here, he followed her quickly to her office where she held the door until he was inside.

"Anything you have to say?" Sam shrugged glancing to her as she crossed the office stopping the other side of her desk. "I don't know what-" "A formal complaint has been made against you. You know, this is the last thing I need right now." He frowned shaking his head as he rest his hands in his front pockets. "Who?" "Well I was hoping you could help me out with that one. Formal complaints aren't just made for no reason Mr Strachan!"

He threw his hands in the air as she looked away from him, annoyed at the situation she had now been put into. "Of all the things you could have done, you do this. You know this is going to lead to a question on your place in this hospital." "Connie I haven't done anything!" She scoffed glaring at him. "If that were true, there'd be no complaint-" "Seriously!? Have you even asked what this complaint has said?"

Connie placed her hands against her hips with a steely glare. "I was only informed this morning, just in time for my budget meeting with the board. So I now have to waste my time fighting your corner in order to try and save your job from being cut!" "If it's that much of a burden to you don't bother." She pushed her tongue into her cheek as she shook her head. "You'd like that wouldn't you? Make it easier for you to blame your job loss on someone else rather than your own stupid incompetence! You know what, just get out of my office. I can't stand the sight of you right now."

Sam surrendered knowing better than to argue with her like this. He couldn't understand where the complaint had come from, neither could he understand why she wasn't believing him. Backing out of the office he wandered down to the staff room as the anger began to rise. Connie sighed heavily as she gathered her files together before making her way towards the meeting, praying that it wouldn't come down to her to fight for his job.

Connie couldn't help but fidget as she sat in the meeting, unable to fully concentrate with her mind all over the place. "You expect the department, already understaffed, to continue while you cut more members of my staffing team? It won't work." "Mrs Beauchamp we're asking for your co-operation, we don't want to make this difficult. Anyway, hasn't there been a complaint in the last week?"

Leaning forwards, she rest a hand to her forehead. "The complaint is irrelevant right now. Mr Strachan is a good consultant and it would be a loss to the department. How do you propose running a department that doesn't have enough staff to fill a theatre, let alone maintain a department while surgeries are taking place?" "Uh, well-" "You don't know, exactly. This is my department, and I am telling you that getting rid of consultants is not going to solve your so called budget crisis."

Hansen glared across the table at Connie as she continued to fight her case, refusing to back down. She was never one to give in and she always won the argument where her point was concerned. "For the record, I will not make this easy if you decide to go ahead with making redundancies on my team-" "Is that a threat Mrs Beauchamp?" She turned her gaze to Hansen as he watched her, curious and knowing that she wasn't one to risk her own position.

"Consider it a verbal resignation if you decide to go ahead with your firings in my department." His eyes widened in some disbelief as she rose from the table. "Mrs Beauchamp that is totally absurd-" "Call it what you like Mr Hansen, it is what it is. You want to ruin the department, by all means go ahead but I will not be associated with a failing department due to your inability to know what will destroy it."

With nothing more to say and not caring about hearing anything else, Connie gathered her things and left the room. She was fully aware that how she had just finished the meeting could mean she very quickly lost everything, but she knew it was what she had to do. Getting rid of members of staff would not be good, no matter who they were and if there was one thing she would always do, it would be fighting for them.

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