COFFEE TALK
By Athena

The halls were empty, the phones at the front desk silent; their usual incessant shrilling missing for just under an hour. If Lydia didn't work there, and had just walked through the double doors, she would have mistaken the emergency room of County General for the morgue. Up the hall, Dr. Carter walked briskly into Exam 3. Lydia began to head in that direction, hoping for something to relieve her boredom, but Yoshi appeared within seconds, hurrying after the young doctor. Slumping, Lydia shook her head and frowned. Why in the world was she here? Seven in the morning, and only three people on the board! She heard faint voices, then a burst of laughter coming from the doctors' lounge. Cocking her head, she walked over to the door, her white shoes padding lightly, and pushed it open. Haleh, Conni, and Chuny were all sitting at the round table in the middle of the room, paper cups of coffee resting in front of them. Lydia smiled as they all quickly spun in her direction. "Did someone up in Management mess up the schedule?" she asked, her pale forehead crinkling a bit as their startled expressions relaxed. "Oh, who cares, honey," Haleh answered, resting her big body back into her chair. "If they've got the money, I'll take it." Lydia went to the counter and began to pour her own cup of brew, hoping Jerry hadn't prepared it. "So... what's the gossip?" She turned, lounging against the counter, and sipped carefully as the others began to grin at each other mischieviously. "The new doctor," Chuny whispered, her grin threatening to cut her head in half.

"Mm-mm," Conni answered, folding her dark arms over her chest, a firm set to her jaw. "That man is the finest thing I have ever seen walk in here." Lydia nearly coughed out her coffee, but it wasn't from the comment. She was just surprised this conversation hadn't happened earlier. Smiling fiercely, she asked the woman, "I thought Doug was the finest thing you'd ever seen." Haleh shook her head. Conni freed one of her hands and made a flapping motion. "Gone." She looked around, feigning confusion. "Doug who?" "Have any of you seen his ass?" Chuny suddenly asked. Haleh clapped a hand to her chest. "No," she breathed, and rolled her eyes upward. "Lord, let me get just a glimpse." "He's always wearing one of his coats," Lydia remarked, trying to remember. "I did," Chuny affirmed, and the other women's eyebrows rose to full arch. "The day of the coffee shop explosion? I saw him before he got into his coat." "How was it?" Haleh asked. "How was what?" Yoshi asked, walking into the room at that moment. Lydia backed up as he hurried past her to the soda machine. "Fine. Nice and tight." Chuny paused, searching for the right adjective. "Squeezable... like a nice, ripe tomato in the supermarket." All four women burst into another round of laughter. Yoshi turned, a sweating can of Dr. Pepper in his left hand. "What?" he asked again. Conni barely glanced at him. "Dr. Kovac's ass," she answered. Yoshi paused, then shrugged and nodded, hurrying past Lydia again. "Yeah, I think so too." He left the room without a backward glance. The nurses stared at each other for several seconds, then silently decided that his remark was a discussion for another time.

"You know he's gonna have someone barkin up his tree any day now," Haleh said, knowingly, referring to Luka again. They all nodded in agreement. Lydia mused, "Too bad I'm happily married." Conni turned in her chair and stared at her pointedly. "Don't tell me you haven't been looking plenty," she said, sarcastically, her orange curls bobbing with the emotion. "Woman, we all have." Lydia smiled sweetly as she pulled up a chair to the table, sitting between Chuny and Haleh. "Well..." she began slowly, and looked around, a bit embarassed. "Looking plenty... imagining plenty... dreaming plenty..." She giggled as Chuny nodded knowingly. "Lydia, I been dreaming so much I been waking up with wet panties," she told her. Haleh let out an amused squawk, and Conni lightly smacked Chuny on the arm, laughing hysterically. Haleh finally composed herself. "Oh, if that man doesn't watch out, he's gonna be the victim of a gangbang!" "Did you see the way Kerry was looking at him after they handled that rape victim yesterday?" Chuny asked. Lydia nodded quickly, barely noticing the coffee she swallowed. "And she called him Luka," she whispered. "No more Dr. Kovac." "Her hand was on his arm," Conni nodded. "I don't think she could help herself. 'You were great back there, Luka.'" "There was someone else who was a little wet," Haleh tried to get out seriously, but only succeeded in driving herself into another fit of giggles.

"Have you noticed the looks Lucy's been sneaking?" Lydia asked. Conni snorted. "Yeah; puppy-love, when she ain't rushin around like she's got a bottle rocket bout ready to blow her ass into space." Lydia had to cover her face with her hands after that one; she could envision little Lucy blasting off, and the laughter rocked her sides until they ached. Haleh shook her head, and Lydia controlled herself enough to mutter along with the other nurses: "Med students." It was enough to get them all started again. "Chuny, you ain't attached," Conni said, poking the Hispanic woman. "Go make your move." "Mmmm," Chuny murmured, her eyes closed. "What do you think I should do? Get him into the supply closet, or just shove him into an ambulance and take off?" "The supply closet," Haleh answered confidently. "Quicker fix." "I think he has a thing for Carol," Lydia suddenly said, and those were the words to momentarily sober the nurses. Then Haleh briskly shook her head, as if to clear it. "Nah," she said, firmly. "He ain't that much of a saint." "Him and Cleo?" Conni ventured. Lydia nearly spit out her coffee. Chuny growled. Haleh turned shocked eyes on her friend. "Are you kidding?" she asked, loudly. "Him and the Ice Queen? You wanna turn that poor boy's penis into a popsicle stick?" Chuny brayed out laughter. Conni threw up her hands and said, "Just thinkin out loud. So-rry!"

Lydia drew an imaginary circle on the tabletop, then said suddenly, "You know what? I can't stop thinking about fucking him." She looked up as the others stared at her in astonishment and amusement. "Just had to put my two cents in." Chuny nodded in agreement. "The man is definitely the most fuckable I've seen in a long time." "Fuckable," Conni whispered. "Oh, Lord, so fuckable," Haleh announced, solemnly, but it sent them into gales of laughter yet again. The lounge door was thrown open. "We got multiple GSW's coming in in about two minutes," Malik said, then stared suspiciously at the women. "Who're you all moonin' over now?" he asked, then thought a moment. "Lemme guess-- Dr. Kovac?" They all gave each other knowing glances, then Chuny turned and put a finger to her lips. "Sshhh," she whispered to Malik, who only rolled his eyes and left the doorway. Ever the professionals, the women immediately left the lounge and walked toward the glass doors of the ER. To Lydia's surprise, Luka was already there, his arms folded over his chest, leaning against the wall, waiting for the first of the ambulances to arrive. She'd forgotten he was on-call that morning. As they approached, four in a row, side by side, he turned and smiled, his teeth white and even. "Good morning," he said, and Lydia felt herself melt a little at the accent in his deep voice. The nurses stopped five feet away from him, and in unison answered, "Good morning, Dr. Kovac." Luka's smile slipped a notch, and, after staring at them for a moment, slight confusion in his blue eyes, he returned his attention to the doors as a siren wailed in the distance. The nurses each grinned a little, but let nothing more that they were thinking or feeling show. After all... doctors couldn't know everything, could they?
11-13-99

 

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