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Chapter 1 - Welcome To Hell

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"You son of a bitch!" I scream at the top of my lungs.

"Babe, it's not what you think," Aaron quibbles. The lying piece of shit.

I laugh. "Oh, okay. So, tit pics are the new way to send well wishes to your co-workers?" my words drip with contemptuous sarcasm. "I don't have time for this shit, I'm late for my first day."

"You're always running off for something else! Your school, your job, your needsit's always you, you, you!"

I shouldn't have to apologize for the inconvenience of keeping myself alive. "Yes, please remind me how I'm a high-maintenance chore for you."

"You don't hear yourself, Nay! You don't see all the shit I have to put up with to just be in the same space with you," he says. "That's the real problem here."

"No, Aaron," I answer, grabbing my phone, bag, and stethoscope. "The problem is that you keep sticking your dick in everything that walks."

"Babe . . ." he sighs, but what excuse does he have? Answer: not one I care about.

"My shift is 36 hours long. I want you gone by the time I get home." With that, I leave, slamming the door behind me.

. . .

A hospital full of strangers feels refreshing after the morning I had. There's no time to think about the possibility of my boyfriend becoming my ex-boyfriend, or the logistics of kicking someone out of a house I can't afford by myself. This is my first day of saving lives, and that is all that matters right now.

"The line for nurses is to the left," the man at the counter says. I start to correct him when he looks up with a smirk and adds, "I'm just fucking with you. Welcome to your first day of hell." He hands me my identification card and a piece of paper. "I'm still fucking with you. You'll be fine."

I feel myself attempt to smile, but my stomach is in my throat. "Ye-yeah, thanks," I tell him, and head for my destination.

"Locker rooms are that way," the nurse calls to me. When I look over, I find him pointing in the opposite direction.

Great start, Naomi. Great start. I nod and follow his guidance.

Ten or so people scramble around the locker room, some half naked as they transition into our uniform of tiffany blue scrubs. It's like they want us to look like babies. I don't do the naked thing in front of people, so I came mostly dressed. I open my scrubs and pull them on over my long sleeve shirt and bloomers, my heart racing with the fear that my bus ride didn't get me here early enough. My hair gets me stuck in my shirt right when a man walks in and starts barking, "I have the assignments for the week."  I yank my shirt down and turn his way. "I will not be taking complaints. If you have a problem with your resident, you will alert them and they will follow the proper channels to have you reassigned."

A few eyes in the crowd dart around. That sounds like a trap.

The man starts listing names while I pull my shoes on. "Reece." I perk up when I hear my name. "You will be with Dr. Nicks in pediatrics."

My posture slumps when I hear that. Kids? I don't do well with kids. One of the many downfalls of being an only child; I was around adults my whole life. I have no idea how to talk to kids. This shift may truly be hell.

There's no time to worry about that. I shove my bag into the locker and shuffle out of the room with the others in the surgical program.

We walk together in awkward silence, and I watch amusedly as we all appraise one another. Two men and two women, all of us looking as lost as I feel.

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