Luka sprinkled the packet of sugar over the surface of his cappuccino idly, even though the drink was nearly stone cold.
He and Dr Benton had been sitting at the formica table in Doc Magoos diner for over an hour, thrashing out Lukas problems, searching for a solution. Benton was a practical, logical man. He wanted to find the answer. Luka just wanted to discuss his feelings, sort out what was going through his mind to see where he could go next.
There was the thorny problem of doctor-patient confidentiality to be overcome. How could Luka let Rebecca know that he knew what she had been through? She would want to know how he had found out. Luka wanted her to trust him, but that trust might not be very easily gained.
I dont think its too much of a problem, said Benton, Its not as though you looked her up on the computer system or went to find her medical notes.
Yes, but I found out about this through the hospital, I would have had to wait for her to tell me if I did not work here.
Well, man .I think you should just talk to her. She must like you, she went out with you, she kissed you Maybe she just needs to let it all out, get it out of her system. The fact that you already know what happened might even make it easier for her to open up. I mean, I dont know, man .you just gotta go talk to her.
Luka was about to reply, but was interrupted by Bentons pager bleeping urgently in his pocket. He checked the message and stood up.
Thats me, I gotta go. Benton patted Luka on the shoulder.
Youll work it out, man. Luka attempted a smile.
I hope so. Thanks, Peter.
Benton left the diner, and Luka took a last gulp of his cold coffee before heading out towards the E.R. department.
After working for over nine hours, Luka was absolutely exhausted. His head throbbed and his muscles ached. He trudged wearily into the doctors lounge, hunched over, as though the weight of the world lay on his shoulders.
Abby Lockhart, a third year medical student, was stretched prostrate across the couch, flat on her back and snoring loudly, with an open copy of The National Enquirer covering her face. Luka could not help smiling at the shock headlines on its cover sleazy tales about the exploits of various Hollywood celebrities, and a reported feud between two rival actors on the hit medical drama series Emergency!. Those actors probably got paid more per show than Luka would earn in a lifetime. He had to smile.
Haleh, the nurse, burst in to the room.
Abby! she called, Weaver wants you now!
Abby woke up suddenly, sitting up quickly, startled and disorientated by the magazine, which she swatted violently off her face as though it were a horrible insect.
Luka picked it up.
Nice to see you studying hard, Abby. he joked.
Ha ha! she groaned, and followed Haleh out of the room.
Luka put the magazine on the table and changed into his overcoat. This place was crazy. They worked him like a dog, under the most stressful conditions, and yet the camaraderie between the staff was such that they still had a lot of fun. A little joke between colleagues, and Luka was smiling through his problems.
On his way to the station, Luka found himself turning into the street where the bar was. He knew he would, his feet took him there even though his head said he shouldnt go.
Inside, Rebeccas father was polishing the counter with a rag. He turned when he heard the door opening.
Oh .hello, Dr Luka. I hear ye er treated my daughter to an expensive meal last night!
Luka blushed and dropped his head. Rebecca must have told him about their disastrous dinner date. Had she told her father what happened at the end of it as well?
He felt very awkward, and did not know what to say.
Can I get ye a drink? offered Rebeccas father.
Luka nodded, and was handed a bottle of Tuborg.
Sorry, I dont know your name. Luka said, politely.
They shook hands, and Luka asked,
Where is Rebecca tonight?
Shes teaching, at the college.
Fraser noticed Lukas disappointment and smiled.
Ye like her a lot, dont ye?
Yes, very much.
Aye, sighed Fraser, lighting a cigarette and offering one to Luka, Shes a bonny lass, yere not the first te fall fe her. And I think she likes ye, too, judgin be the way she blushes whenever I ask about ye! Aye, she needs the love of a good man, thats for sure.
Luka looked at Frasers face. The man was very down-to-earth and open. A tell-it-like-it-is sort of guy. He decided to take the plunge. He was going to have to handle this carefully, he didnt want Fraser to guess that he knew about the attack.
Fraser, Im very worried about Rebecca, Im worried I have upset her or offended her, I I didnt mean to, I really like her.
Fraser placed his drink on the table and turned to Luka.
Rebecca has been through a lot, Luka. Take time to show her ye care, but dont pressure her. Shell learn to trust ye in time.
At that moment, Rebecca came into the bar. She looked at the two men sitting together looking serious, and marched furiously over to them.
I cannae believe it, Dad! Ye yeve told him! How could ye?
The two men stood up, both trying to calm down her anger.
Becks I didnae say anything, yeve got it all wrong please calm doon!
Oh, dont try te deny it! Rebecca shouted, It was so obvious! Why do ye have te ruin everything?
This last word came out as a half strangled sob, and Rebecca ran out into the street, crying.
Luka ran after her.
Rebecca, wait! Please wait he didnt
Luka caught up with her, and stepped back slightly. He didnt want to intimidate her by getting too close. Rebecca turned and looked at his anxious face, and took him by surprise by grabbing hold of his shoulders and pulling him to her. She buried her face in his chest, crying, as he wrapped his arms around her shaking body.
She was mumbling something, but he couldnt tell what she was saying.
Rebecca I cant hear what youre saying Rebecca Luka whispered gently into her ear. Rebecca looked up, tears streaming down her face and nose running. She sniffed a few times and Luka gave her his pocket handkerchief. She blew her nose, and Luka tenderly wiped away the tears from her cheeks with his hand. Rebecca reached up and took hold of his hand.
Im sorry, Luka. she said,
You must think Im crazy
No, I dont. Luka said, I just want to help you, Rebecca, I
Rebecca smiled through her tears, and touched his face.
Youre so lovely She looked down at her feet.
You dont want to get mixed up with me, Im Im a mess.
No, youre not! said Luka,
Youre beautiful, and youre funny and clever and
and I cant stop thinking about you.
Lets go somewhere and talk. I need to tell you something important. Rebecca said, as a cold gust of wind roared past them.
She took Luka by the hand and led him to the back entrance of the bar. They went inside the house, and he followed her up the stairs to her bedroom.
They sat down on the bed, still holding hands.
When we first came over to America from Scotland, we lived in New York for a while. Rebecca began. Luka watched her wide eyes as she spoke, and tried not to think of those dreadful pictures in the lecture theatre.
I used to love it, it was such a huge, mad place compared to our small town at home. I loved the lifestyle, the nightlife, so wild! And the music scene was so great, I used to go to so many concerts. It was on the way home from a concert at the Lincoln Center sorry, this is so difficult .
Go on .Im listening. Luka said, touching her face gently.
It was quite dark we always used to walk home after a concert to see all the beautiful lights against the night sky. I loved that view, it was so exciting, with the music still ringing in my ears.
Rebecca began to look distressed, and Luka took her hand again. She squeezed his hand hard, and continued,
he just came out of nowhere
warning. He had a knife
oh God, it was awful! Its all
a bit of a blur now, but I have all these snatches of memory, the
blood, the screaming
She buried her head in Lukas chest again, and he stroked her hair.
he raped her, Luka. He raped
her and left her to die
Rebecca dissolved into tears again, gripping Lukas torso and shaking with grief. Luka sat, holding her and rocking her gently, his mind in total confusion. He stared into space, and gradually focused on the wall facing him. He noticed a framed photograph hanging there, and he took a sharp intake of breath. The same beautiful eyes, the same bright smile, such a similar face, but it wasnt her.
Oh God, it wasnt her
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