Katherine “Kit” Valentine rode her bike to work every day, rain or shine, with very few exceptions. She loved riding through her small town and saying hello to her neighbors. Washington State had been her home her entire life, and she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
As she rode down Maple Street, she smiled and waved to her neighbor Mr. Abernathy, who was raking a mound of colorful leaves in his yard.
“Good morning, Kit my dear!” The old man shouted as she rode past.
“Good morning!” She shouted over her shoulder as she continued on. She wasn’t late to work yet, but she knew from experience that if she actually stopped and talked with Mr. Abernathy, she would be. The man could talk the ear off of anyone who had the time, and that morning in particular she did not have the time.
As she passed under the ancient oak trees that lined the street, she couldn’t help but smile to herself and think how lucky she was. She had a job she loved, and as a registered nurse working at Walla Walla General Hospital, she never had to worry about being bored. Her days were long but enjoyable, and Kit treasured the chance to help keep her neighbors and friends healthy.
She jumped the curb when she crossed 2nd Street and soon was pulling her bike into the designated parking in front of the main hospital entrance. She scooped her bike lock out of her backpack and secured her most precious possession, before heading through the patient entrance and making a bee-line for the café.
“Kit! I got your coffee already,” her best friend, Rachel, waved her over with two giant cups of coffee in her hands.
“Oh thank God,” Kit responded as they sat together at a small corner table huddled against the wall. From there they could people-watch, which was an activity that had initially bonded the pair together.
Rachel worked in human resources for the hospital and always had the very best gossip. She loved to share the latest tantalizing tidbits with anybody who’d listen, and more often than not that was her best friend Kit.
“So guess what I heard this morning,” she half-whispered, her lips poised artfully over her cup. ”Never mind, you’ll never guess.”
“You’re terrible at guessing games, Kit.”
Kit responded with a mock growl and tapped her watch. “Any time before shift starts…”
“Okay, okay,” Rachel scoffed. “The girls upstairs were all aflutter about the new hire for the ER they brought in. His name is Robert Whiting and he’s seriously tasty looking.”
“Eww, do you have to talk like a horny teenaged girl?”
“Believe me, look him up online and tell me the man doesn’t look good enough to eat. I’ll wait.”
Kit pulled her phone out and typed in the man’s name. Up popped several professional photos, the kind that hospitals took to show off their prominent physicians. It looked like he’d worked in Chicago as the chief of emergency services, the same title he’d have here in Walla Walla. Rachel wasn’t wrong, the man was very attractive. He had a strong jaw and the kind of hair that looked like it would be fun to run her fingers through.
It had been a long time since she’d run her fingers through anybody’s hair other than her own, so it wasn’t surprising that seeing an attractive man might bring about some feelings in her.
“He’s…nice looking,” Kit said after a moment.
“He’s smart as hell too, from what I read about him. Big shot trauma doc and he starts on Monday. No idea why he’s here, but I’m sure he’ll be good for our ER.”
“You think? I hope he doesn’t think he needs to bring his big-city ideas over here. We’re doing just fine on our own.” The idea that a man could just come in and change what she liked about her place of employment irked her. They were a good hospital, small maybe when compared to anything in Chicago but that’s how she liked it.
“Hey, as long as he looks as good in scrubs as he does in that picture, he can do whatever he wants as far as I’m concerned.”
“So crude, Rachel.” Kit glanced at her watch again and swore. “Crap, I gotta go.” She took a final swig from her coffee cup before tossing it in the nearest trash can and headed into the ER.
To Be Continued…
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