As she sat in the waiting room, Amy grew more and more upset with herself. She could have been on her way home now, or on her way to the bar for an after-work drink with the other interns, or anywhere but here in the Interactive Devices Inc. medical office waiting to be examined.
But she wasn’t anywhere else, and it was her own damn fault. She’d known since her first day that the final report was the be-all-end-all when it came to evaluating her internship at IAD, and yet despite her intense desire to land a permanent job here she’d spent months procrastinating.
She had just one hope now. A doctor’s note. The kind Dr. Walter Andrews was known to write from time to time for interns who flirted with him in a sufficiently shameless manner.
The nurse looked up from her computer at last. It was almost game time…
“Ms. Stephenson, Dr. Davidson will see you now.”
Shit! Maybe she’d misheard.
“Did you say Dr. Davidson? I thought it was his day off today…” Amy immediately regretted admitting she was aware of the doctors’ schedules, since that was pretty suspicious, but it was out now, so she just let it hang there hoping the nurse would tell her she had misspoken.
“Yes, it’s Dr. Davidson you’ll be seeing today.”
“Dr. Andrews had a family emergency this afternoon, and Dr. Davidson came in to cover for him.”
The nurse rambled on for a moment longer, but Amy wasn’t listening anymore. All she was thinking was how she could get out of this appointment. There was no point in going through with it now. At best, she could claim she was having migraines, talk her way out of a thorough exam, and walk out of there with a prescription for aspirin. There was absolutely no way she was getting out of work tomorrow, let alone for the three days she needed to prep the report for her boss’ boss’ boss on Friday. The report that would determine whether this internship would turn into a job or a wasted year.
She started to sigh, stifled it as best she could, then spoke, realizing the nurse was going to ramble on until she said something.
“Oh, okay.” She tried to avoid sounding dejected, but almost certainly failed.
“Don’t worry, sweetie, Dr. Davidson is very good.”
Amy mentally sighed deeper than she had in her whole life. She wasn’t sure exactly how old this nurse was—her best guess was eighty-seven—but in any case, apparently, she had no understanding whatsoever of the reason all the female interns specifically sought out appointments with Dr. Andrews rather than Dr. Davidson.
She had just started to open her mouth to say, ‘I think I’m feeling quite a bit better, maybe I’ll just…’ but she hadn’t actually gotten a word out before the door opened and a man in his late thirties or early forties stepped into the small waiting area and said in a voice that was friendly but firm, “Come on back, Amy.”
Her fate was sealed. A year of her life down the drain.
As she followed Dr. Davidson down a short hallway and into the single small exam room—the only patients they served here were employees of IAD—Amy couldn’t help but admit to herself that Dr. Davidson was quite handsome, in a rugged sort of way. His tan face spoke of time spent outdoors, and his broad shoulders made it clear that he either spent a lot of time at the gym, or at the ranch, or wherever men who looked like that got muscles that looked like his.
Was she admiring this asshole that was about to ruin her life, even if inadvertently? Perhaps she was… With each step closer to the exam room it seemed that time slowed down, though even at a snail’s pace the walk probably took less than ten seconds.
Should she go through with her original plan and claim she was having a migraine, even though there was no way that would get her out of three days of work? Should she come up with some new illness, even though she’d already told the nurse the problem was persistent headaches? Should she try to flirt with him as she would have with Dr. Andrews?
So limited were her options that she even considered simply telling Dr. Davidson the full truth. That the report wasn’t ready, she was desperate for this internship to be a success, and she was really, really hoping he would let her out of work for a few days.
She was almost certain that wouldn’t work, but at the same time, part of her suspected it had a better chance of working than any of the other plans she had in mind. Still, she dismissed it and settled upon sticking with her migraine story, perhaps with a few attempts at flirting here and there which she could always take up a notch if he seemed to be responding. If she mentally calculated the odds, she gave herself a five percent chance of it working, a ten percent chance of him getting angry and reporting her to HR immediately, and an eighty-five percent chance of accomplishing nothing and ending up standing in front of her boss’ boss’ boss in a few days looking like a complete fool.
Another possibility nagged at her mind for just a moment, but she dismissed it. It had been almost a year since she heard those rumors, way back during her first week here. She’d heard nothing since—though to be fair the topic of Dr. Davidson didn’t come up often—and she’d written them off as either idle gossip or more than likely a story completely made up for shock value. She tried to push those thoughts out of her mind, but this time with Dr. Davidson right there in front of her getting them out completely proved impossible. Then he opened the exam room door and escorted her inside, interrupting her reverie.
“The nurse says you’ve come here because you have a headache.” His tone was somehow skeptical and scolding at the same time, without going so far as to become mean or condescending.
What would it feel like to be over his knee?
Shut the fuck up, she told the part of her mind that had apparently developed a rapid and deeply unhealthy fixation on the thought of him dealing with her irresponsibility in the most shameful way possible. He’s not going to fucking spank you.
Forcing the image of her bottom bare over Dr. Davidson’s knee from her mind, Amy concentrated on thinking about which approach might give her the best chance of coming out of this with her letter of recommendation intact. She took a moment to glance around the exam room. She’d only had to make use of Dr. Andrews to flirt her way out of trouble once, unlike other interns who had taken advantage of his services on numerous occasions, so it wasn’t very familiar to her.
The furnishings were sparse. There was a simple exam table in the center of the room and a medical desk with a rolling stool on one side along with the sink. There were various drawers and shelves containing the typical sort of things someone would expect to find in a medical office. Then she realized Dr. Davidson was staring at her, clearly expecting a response to his earlier statement.
“Oh, yes, doctor. Well, sort of, yes…”
“Why don’t you have a seat on the exam table and I’ll get your vitals. Then you can finish telling me why you’re here.”
Amy followed Dr. Davidson’s instructions, and he preceded with a tediously typical preliminary exam of her ears, nose, throat, and so forth. He even tapped her knee with the little rubber hammer like her pediatrician had done when she was a child. When he was finished jotting down notes on his chart, he set his clipboard aside and fixed her with a somewhat stern, questioning expression.
“I haven’t found anything wrong so far. Why don’t you tell me in your own words what’s going on.”
The preliminaries had provided Amy a chance to decide on the best approach to her situation, and though it was admittedly somewhat anti-climactic after all her earlier, obsessive musings, she ended up sticking with the original plan, minus the excessive flirtatiousness.
“Well, doctor, I’ve been working so many hours lately, and I’ve been getting these headaches, and they’ve been getting worse and worse and now they’re starting to make my stomach hurt too, and I think maybe I need to go home and rest a little bit.”
God dammit, she immediately scolded herself. You weren’t supposed to say the going home part out loud! You were supposed to wait for him to suggest that.
Sure enough, Dr. Davidson, who had already been looking skeptical throughout the description of her first-world problems, had actually raised an eyebrow at her final line.
“Well, Amy, if you’re not feeling well, no one is forcing you to stay at your desk. I could certainly write you a prescription for some Tylenol or Aleve, but you could have gotten those over the counter. I’m pretty sure you’re a big girl who knows what headache medicine works best for her, and since those are available at most every drug store, I can only presume you came to me for something else. If I was at the free clinic I volunteer for on weekends, my first thought would be you were here hoping for some pain killers, but you don’t strike me as that type, so my guess is you’re here for some sort of note getting you out of a jam you’ve gotten yourself into at work.”
“No, doctor, that’s not it at all!” stammered Amy, but her blush almost certainly gave her away. “I just… I just didn’t know who else to come to and I thought maybe you could help. I heard some of the other interns say that you were… you know, you were really good.”
What the actual fuck. Was this supposed to be the flirting plan? Because this was worse flirting than that freshman boy who had tried to ask her to prom when she was a senior. None of this was going well.
The doctor actually sighed out loud at that response.
“Whether or not I am ‘really good’,”—he did air quotes with his fingers—“is irrelevant to this discussion, because the treatment for a simple headache is the over the counter medicines I just mentioned. Which I’m sure you already knew. So, I’m going to ask you again and give you one more chance to tell me honestly why you’re here.”
At this moment, Amy perceived three choices available to her. Option one was to call it off, take the headache medicine he prescribed, and do her best to turn in whatever she could by Friday. Considering there was zero chance of having anything that wasn’t absolute dog shit in that time frame, she rejected this option. The second option was to come clean, throw herself on the doctor’s mercy, and hope he would help her out of the kindness of his heart. The third option was to double down, flirt harder, and hope that the floor tiles weren’t too rough on her knees if he decided to take her up on what she was implicitly, and perhaps soon to be explicitly, offering.
She chose option three.
“Well, I just heard that, you know… some of the other interns talk about how you’re just so good at helping them out with problems like this. That if they asked really nicely, sometimes you could help them out…”
Holy shit, she did sound like she was after Oxycodone, not a doctor’s note.
“So, you do want painkillers.”
Fuck. She couldn’t even tell if he was being sarcastic or if she was flirting so poorly he actually thought she was here for opiates.
“No, doctor, I just, you know… I just really need some time to rest a little bit after working so hard these last few months, and I was hoping that you could see it in your heart to help me out. I would be very, very grateful…” That last part had been meant to apply to the kneeling on the floor tiles she’d thought about a moment ago, but she wasn’t sure if that came across to him.
She was beginning to realize she was actually quite bad at this. Even with Dr. Andrews, the one time he’d gotten her out of work the morning after a hangover, she hadn’t felt like she’d done a very good job of flirting with him. It was just that all he needed was two perky tits and a smile, both of which she had been able to offer.
Of all the responses she imagined from Dr. Davidson, up to and including a call to HR to report her immediately—she wasn’t sure for what exactly, but for something—his actual words came as a complete surprise and implied she was in deeper trouble than almost anything else she’d imagined.
Flipping to a new page of his chart and looking down at it, he said, “You mentioned you’ve been working really hard lately, but I see you’ve clocked in an average of less than twenty hours a week the past four weeks.”
“Well, I’ve been working from home a lot, doctor. The new policy allows…”
“Yes, I’m aware of the new policy. It’s not really my business, but when I was doing my chart review, I took the liberty of asking HR for your remote login records and it looks like you’ve worked an average of a little less than five hours a week remotely for the last month, putting you at a grand total of twenty-five hours per week. Somehow, I doubt you’re getting work-related migraines from twenty-five hours a week, young lady.”
The scolding stung and, if she was honest with herself, she deserved it too. But it was the words “young lady” that made it the clearest that she was very unlikely to be walking out of here with a note providing the excuse she needed.
In fact, it sounds like you might be walking out of here with a sore bottom. She once again told that part of her mind to shut it and did her best to think about where to go from here. Walking out was back on the table, in theory, but in practice, not only would she not have her report done on time, it was also a possibility she might have a report written up about her for trying to fake her way into getting a note. Flirting was obviously not working out for her either.
There was only one option left on the table. Honesty. She didn’t like that idea at all.
While she was fundamentally an honest person with her family and friends in her day-to-day life, this didn’t feel like some sort of Full House moment where everyone tells the truth.
No, it was time to double-down.
“Doctor, I’ve been having these migraines for a while and just, um, you know… I’ve been having some stomach issues and even some… women’s issues too, if you know what I mean.”
She immediately regretted that. What had she been thinking? The last thing she wanted was for the doctor to do any form of exam that involved either her tummy or ‘women’s issues.’ But it was out there now.
“Is there a reason you didn’t tell the nurse about these things when you called, or tell me when I asked you earlier?”
“Well, I was a little embarrassed, doctor… it’s just hard to talk about that stuff sometimes.”
The doctor’s eyebrow rose again, his expression even more skeptical.
“Fair enough,” he said. “I’ll need to do a much more thorough exam, then.”
Shit shit shit.
This was going exactly the direction she hadn’t wanted it to go.
What direction did you want it to go? Did you think he was just going to say, ‘Oh, okay. If there’s tummy issues involved, then I guess you can take off as much time as you need.’?
“Oh, okay, doctor…”
“I haven’t got all day. Let’s proceed,” said Dr. Davidson before walking over to a small cabinet on the side of the room, opening it, and returning with a white exam gown which he held out to Amy. “You can put this on if you’d like.”
If she’d like? Was there an alternative to that?
But the doctor had already turned heel and left the room, shutting the door behind him. Amy sat there for a long moment, trying to decide whether she should put on the gown. Putting it on would certainly add to the embarrassing clinical feel of everything. But not putting it on would mean having nothing to cover herself at all once he reached the more intimate parts of the exam that she now realized would almost certainly be coming later.
She eventually decided on a compromise. Removing everything but her panties, she folded her clothes neatly and put on the gown. She finished just in time before the doctor knocked on the door and asked if she was ready yet.
“Yes, doctor,” she answered.
“Good,” he replied, entering the room once again, “it’s time to begin your examination.”