"Are you also here to administer first aid?"
A blush was born on the cheeks of the doctor but she quickly covered it.
"Your heart was racing, setting off an alarm and your vital signs went flat. I'm surprised you didn't hear it."
"Well, we were kind of in the middle of something before your untimely entrance."
"I apologise for caring enough to not let you die."
"As long as I have enough money to afford the treatment right!?"
Namdi retorted, his voice biting. Surprised at the complete 180, Doctor Oluwakemi took a step back, hands holding a clipboard up to her chest as a makeshift shield. The air chilled in the private patient ward.
"I think... I should find you another attending physician."
She mumbled, edging toward the door.
Zainab, a single button still undone on her blouse, could see the hesitation behind the cat-eye glasses the doctor wore.
"Doctor, I apologise on his behalf. He doesn't like hospitals. Namdi?!"
Reaching out, she placed her palm on his arm, calming the shivers she was close enough to see. Seeing Zainab's unyielding disposition, Namdi caved.
"My bad doc, got a little bit of a bad flashback. So how long were you watching us?"
She blushed again, her body visibly relaxing.
"Namdi! Doctor I suggest you don't bother being gentle when treating him."
"That will be taken under advisement. I'll give you a minute to calm down."
With one last look at Namdi, she turned around. It was then Namdi noticed a small hill right below his waist, capped off by the hospital gown. Flustered, he rushed to press the budding mushroom down, leading to painful repercussions. Sighing, he began running numbers in his head, Zainab's unrestrained smile warming up the room.
"Alright doctor, you can turn around now. You look kind of young for a doc. Are you sure you know what you're doing?"
A subtle change occurred in doctor Oluwakemi when she heard this. They both watched her make her way to his bedside. She immediately saw the lipstick on his bandaged rib. With a pencil, she poked it not too gently.
"Does it hurt?"
Tears struggled to escape Namdi's eyes but he sucked it back in shaking his head, aware of Zainabs watchful gaze.
"What about here?"
Her pencil jabbing harder at another section of tender ribs. Namdi nearly bit his tongue as once again he bore the pain with little expression on his face. Behind doctor Oluwakemi, Namdi could easily read Zainab's silent words. He became even more determined to not make a sound. Reconnecting his sensors, her eyes lingered on his lips.
"I don't remember you having a cut lip."
Puzzled, she checked the chart. Zainab's blush went unnoticed.
"I bit myself, lips taste better than your hospital food."
"Doc, can he be discharged today? My parents will be joining us for dinner."
"Today? Zainab, I'm not sure I’m in the condition to survive a dinner with your dad"
"Hush, you aren't the doctor!"
"Doctor please tell him/her!"
They said at the same time, two pairs of eyes, one demanding, the other pleading. Under the weight of the attention, Oluwakemi quickly turned to the chart in her hand. With a finger, she pushed at the bridge of her glasses, taking her time to collect herself. She turned to Namdi, expression of unfinished revenge evident.
"Yes, he can be discharged this evening. Lucky man, there were only light bruising and a minor cut on his forehead."
"This is light and minor?! You just want to get rid of me, don't you?"
"Sir! I do not take lightly what you are inferring."
"Inferring? Just admit it. I want a second opinion. I hear about female doctors being..."
"Quit it Namdi!"
Like a puppet on a string, he bit back the rest of his words. With a smile, Zainab washed away Namdi's initial outburst.
"Thank you doctor. If you don't mind giving me your number in case something comes up."
"That'll be fine."
Zainab reached for her phone nestled between a vase with plastic flowers and her purse; swiping before handing it to the doctor.
"Here, if you don't mind typing it in."
"That reminds me, here's his phone. Paramedics left it at the front desk."
Namdi watched his phone fall into Zainab's hands, an unexplained dread sinking in. Could she have left something in it? The thought now born in his mind. There was no reason for Zainab to open his phone. She hadn't before. But then again she had never had a reason to. Still, there was no reason for her now. Or was there. Maybe she did suspect something. Round and round his thoughts went coming to a grounding halt when he remembered one crucial moment.
"My ring! What about my ring?!"
He shouted, stunning the two ladies with phone in hand. Zainab's gaze traveled to Namdi's fingers while Oluwakemi looked puzzled. They then both looked at the doctor, one in earnest.
Continued on next page...
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