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Chapter 6 - You're F*cking With Me

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A month in and nothing has changed. Corbin still hates every move I make, though it makes it a little easier now that I've had time to feel him out. Poor Dr. Nicks got diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which sounds like hell. With her hours being reduced, I'm officially assigned to both, a situation I have almost come to enjoy. There is never a boring night in the ER, and even with Nicks' condition, I've still managed to log some hours with her in the OR. 

I am a creature of routine; it's where I thrive. That, and I've been treating my power girl playlist like it's self-care. 

While humming along to Lizzo's flute playing, I stare through the window of the NICU watching baby Aaliyah. She is doing much better after being delivered prematurely. Now that she's in Dr. Nicks' territory, I get to check on her every morning during my rounds.

The tiny baby stares up at me with big, brown eyes. I don't know if she can see me or not, but I can see her. Her complexion has lost the yellow tint she had from her jaundice. She's gained weight in her arms and cheeks, and is just shy of chubby. She's adorable.

Wait. Do I like babies now? Answer: Only the hella cute ones.

I look up to find Corbin looking through the window beside me, his arms crossed in his usual pose. I pull out my earbud and tuck it into my pocket. Even though he tried to blame me for getting distracted and not keeping up with my patient's status, deep down, I think he knows I may have been the only reason she made it.

"She's getting big," he says just above a whisper.

"She's up to seven pounds now!" I brag as if that has anything to do with me. "Her lungs and heart are healthy and strong, looking better every day. Her mom comes in all the time, said she's been eating a ton lately. She's supposed to go home later this week. I bet her mom is thrilled."

He stares down at the tiny baby looking unamused. "You talk . . . so much," he murmurs and walks away.

"Yeah, you have a great day saving lives, too," I mutter to myself when he's out of earshot. 

. . .

I feel bad for Nicks. She spends her time tied to ice water and Gatorade. Last week, she stopped wearing heels so she could run to the bathroom quicker. I never thought I'd see the day.

"I know what this is, it's right on the tip of my tongue," she states in frustration. She sips her ice water through the fat straw of her bottle while we go over the charts. "God, you know who always knows shit off the top of his head? Milo."

"Who?"

"Dr. Corbin," she answers and drinks again. "You know we're old friends? He went to college with my husband."

Why would I know that? And why would I care?

"They've been friends for decades. Way, way back into our Atlanta days." I have no idea what she's talking about, but at least I know where her accent comes from. "Would you go show him this and ask him what I'm missing? I guarantee he'll know in two seconds."

She looks at me with a pleading expression. I both admire and dislike genuinely kind people. They always seem to get what they want without making waves, but I've never managed to learn what they do when someone tries to use them. "Sure."

"You're a doll, Naomi!" she calls after me.

I was hoping not to have to see him until I was on his service, but that's wishful thinking. My mother's words echo in my head every time I have to see him. When he realizes he doesn't have power over you, he'll back off. Playing meek has worked well enough, but it really depends on the day and how recently he's gotten laid. 

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