Chapter 3 – Summons From A Far
“Druk. Did you say her name was Druk?” asked Milly. Milly couldn’t help but think her boss had a name that sounded like it came right out of some comic book movie. As she listened to the answer she took a sip of the house wine.
“Her full name is Dr. Druk Macbeth. Druk is Scottish Gaelic for thunder dragon. Now I’d like to ask you something as a woman. She asked me to call her Dr. Macbeth in large gatherings. But in meetings where there are only the two of us, she asked me to call her Dru. I haven’t had too many relationships with the opposite sex. Was she coming on to me?”
Milly thought a bit before answering. She put her drink down to give her answer her full attention. Milly gathered her thoughts, and sat straight up in her chair . She picked up a bread roll and looked directly at Brad.
“From what you’ve said I don’t think she was coming on to you, but it does sound like she might have been sizing you up. It sounds like she’s considering taking your working relationship a step further, possibly changing it to a personal relationship. How do you feel about a personal relationship with her?”
Milly tore her bread roll apart vigorously and started to butter one half of it. The directness of what Milly said took Brad by surprise. He coughed a bit and took a drink of mineral water. Before he answered he dabbed his lips with his serviette.
“I can honestly say the idea of any kind of relationship with her outside of work is very unappealing. She holds the power to hire and fire either one of us in the palm of her hand. If she and I did have some sort of relationship outside of work, and it went south for any reason, it would make working with her very uncomfortable. And based on what I saw and heard during the meeting I should add I think she’s a control freak. She’s not for me. I can live with the idea of her being my boss, but the idea of her being anything else but an employer is not for me. The woman has no sense of humor. I think her funny bone died at birth. When we met I was wearing my Daffy Duck tie which usually elicits some sort of reaction. With her there was nothing. Now I’d like to ask you a question. Just what the heck are you doing?” pointing at her plate.
The entire time Brad had been talking Milly was sewing a reef knot into what was left of her roast beef.
“Sewing. Making sure you pick me.”
Brad was very impressed. He studied her technique and discovered her tiny fingers made knot tying much easier.
“Is this how it should look?” she asked pointing at her plate.
“Well, it looks right. But the conditions for me were much different. I was in my kitchen having a wrestling match with a roast. The Butchers twine was slowly coming undone on the roast. So I did a surgeons knot with a reef knot smack on top. That held the little sucker. Didn’t know what hit it.”
“You mean like this?’ Milly tilted her plate towards Brad. Milly had done a Surgeons knot with a reef knot on top, just as Brad had said. Brad looked a little puzzled. He cleared his throat and straightened his jacket.
“You mean you did all that while I was talking?”
“Yup. I sometimes I sew while I’m watching the TV. I multitask. It’s good for the mind as well as the fingers.” was all she said.
“But you were looking right at me. You mean you can do something that delicate without watching your hands?
“I’m a surgeon as well. Sometimes when I operate I can’t always see my hands. Nor can you. I’m usually not up to my elbows when I’m operating like you, but when I am I can barely see my hands. I try to imagine where my hands are.”
“That settles it. Dr. Milly Shine, will you do me the honor of coming with me to Scotland?”.
Milly’s eyes became incredibly wide. “You mean it? You’re not joking?”
“No, I’m not joking. Of all the people in the pediatrics department I want you to come with me because in my mind you are the best person for the job.”
All of a sudden Milly took the initiative. She asked Brad to stand up. When he did she grabbed his tie and slowly reeled him in. When he was close enough she planted a kiss on his lips that was so passionate that it surprised him and made her toes curl. Suddenly the restaurant staff started clapping.
Milly turned her head slowly and looked at the restaurant staff then at Brad.
“Why are they looking at us and do you think everybody clapping?” she asked quietly.
“I can’t be positive but I think they think we’re engaged,” replied Brad.
“Is that so. Why don’t we head on home? I’m in the mood to undo something.”
“And what do you plan to undo” asked Brad.
“Your belt for starters…”.
After a furious night of lovemaking, Milly felt the need to set things straight. They both lay in bed beside each other staring at the ceiling contemplating what had just happened.
Milly just lay there and thought.
“I didn’t plan on this but I must admit it was very enjoyable. The things he did made me feel so warm inside. I don’t want a boyfriend or a lover right now. Or do I? I guess I better say something before he starts getting ideas. The only problem is I have ideas. I think I want this relationship to continue only I don’t know what kind of relationship I’m in.”
Milly suddenly started nervously talking.
“I don’t want you to get any ideas. This was just sex. I don’t love you or anything like that. It was just sex. Sex is something we both need, and from the looks of my bedroom needed very badly. The fact that we’re both co-workers and neighbors shouldn’t enter into this at all. So you can forget about any “nooners” or quick “rolls in the hay.”
Brad mulled over what Milly had said.
“Lordy, she made me feel so good. I’m glad she didn’t explode when I went down there. Her skin is so soft and warm. And her tongue swam circles around mine. Everything she did just felt so right. But do I dare tell her?. I don’t want to frighten her. I do want it to happen again. How do I tell her?”
“If that’s the way you want it. I can’t agree it was just sex. I felt something beyond the physical. Milly, I’d like to say something. You make getting up and going to work much more pleasant. You make me really want to know you. What you did was won-.”
Milly suddenly got out of bed and went into the bathroom and ran the shower. She started humming.
Attempting to get dressed Brad scoured the apartment for bits of their apparel. He found a bra decorating a lamp, a pair of panties beside a toaster in the kitchen, his tie on inside front doorknob, the bottoms of Milly’s pantsuit on the couch in the living room, and her blouse and pantsuit top on top of the TV.
Brad walked into the bathroom while Milly was still in the shower.
“I just want to remind you we have a meeting with the dragon lady at 11 AM”
The water pounded her head and made hearing and understanding anything all but impossible. Brad tried reminding her of the meeting again. Behind the shower curtain, Milly was shampooing her hair. Milly must have heard Brad say something and she let him know it was difficult to understand anything let alone hear anything. “If you’re saying anything to me I can barely understand you.”
Brad raised his voice a bit. “I’m trying to remind you of a meeting we have with the dragon lady at 11 AM. She wants to meet you before you go to Scotland.”
Still, nothing to indicate she heard and understood the message.
Frustrated Brad reached into the shower and turned it off. Then he pulled the shower curtain back. Milly had her eyes closed. Her head was covered with shampoo. She peeked just a little bit, turned her head and faced Brad.
“How dare you interrupt a ladies shower.”
“Oh keep your hair on. I’m not seeing anything I haven’t seen before. I just want to remind you we have a meeting with the dragon lady at 11 AM. She wants to meet you”.
Milly gulped in fear at the idea of meeting the dragon lady. Milly turned the water back on and quickly washed all the soap from her head and face. She grabbed the towel that was on Brad’s shoulder and dried off her face off.
“How does she know about me?” she sputtered.
“She doesn’t know about you at all. During the meeting, she said she wanted to meet the person I picked from pediatrics.”
“Why on Earth do we have to meet in her office?” It was obvious from her tone of voice she was scared at the idea of meeting the dragon lady. “Why can’t we simply have coffee or something like that?”
“She wants the meeting to be in her office. Maybe she wants to impress upon us the fact that she’s the boss and we are mere underlings who work for her. She wants to make this exchange an ongoing, annual exchange so she wants us to be on our best behavior as ambassadors for City Hospital.”
Milly sat on the edge of the tub bent down and started to lather up her legs. She reached for her razor. As she did she asked Brad a question.
“Let’s see. If I understand you she simply wants to check us out before we go. Like a parent.”
She then stood up in the tub, toweled herself off, and stepped out of the tub. “Can you hand me my robe please” she said. She quickly put on a big fluffy robe that looked like it came from a very expensive hotel. She then went into her bedroom and pulled a pair of panties from an overstuffed dresser drawer and closed the door.
With no one to talk directly, Brad leaned against a wall and talked to her bedroom door.
“That’s exactly what I think. I think it’s nothing but a pre-trip pep talk. And you’re right. I suspect it’s going to be a talk much like a parent might give to a child going off to camp for the first time.”
When Milly exited her bedroom she was fully dressed. Brad stared at her in complete surprise.
“How do manage to look so damn good! You don’t suppose we have time-“
“Down Fido. Heel. I haven’t had a tumble of that ferocity in some time, so just put yourself back in neutral while I catch my breath.”
While Milly spoke he used the time to dress. His tie was the same one as the one he wore the previous day as but he doubted anybody would notice. As he dressed Milly looked at him from head to foot like she was studying him. She then sat in a chair while she waited for Brad to finish dressing.
“You know, sometimes I’m envious of you men. All you have to do is comb your hair, mouthwash your mouth, put on a clean shirt, and if you add a jacket and some pants you’re basically good to go. But no matter what you do you almost always screw up your tie.”
“What’s wrong with my tie?” asked Brad.
Milly put her hands on the tie and started adjusting it.
“What do you call this? A Windsor knot?”
“Sorry. Haven’t a clue,” said Brad
“This things all balled up, take it off.” replied Milly.
Brad struggled with the tie.
“You know that hydro-electric pole at the front of this building? When you look at it do you see anything wrong with it?” she asked.
“It might be a bit crooked from when some clown hit it a few weeks ago but outside of that I haven’t noticed a thing.”
“That pole has been crooked for six full months. Sort of like this damn tie. This thing needs to be ironed. But since we haven’t got the time we’ll have to use Shine method.”
“I’m almost afraid to ask, but what exactly is the “Shine Method”? asked Brad.
“It’s something my father taught me. When you need to iron something but you haven’t got the time or an iron you lay it on the floor and put big heavy books on it.”
Milly held out her hand as Brad untied his tie. When he finally got it off he handed it to her. She lay the tie on the floor and covered it with heavy books.
“Old phone books used to be OK but since they been discontinued and digitized dictionaries and coffee table books are the best.”
Five minutes after Milly placed the geographic atlas on the tie it was right as rain. She knelt down, picked up the tie, placed it around Brad’s neck, and proceeded to tie the tie. Within a few seconds, she finished. “There you go. One Shine knot. Guaranteed not to warp, wrinkle or droop” Brad walked towards the bedroom and checked out the tie in the mirror.
“I’m really impressed. When we get home you’ve got to teach me this knot.”
Milly straightened Brad’s tie before they left.
When she was finished she held on to the wide end of the tie and towed him gently through the doorway.
“C’mon Schweitzer let’s go to work.”
As Brad parked the car in the spot designated just for him he got a text message to report to the cardiac wing as soon as he arrived. Milly got a similar text on her phone so the two didn’t see each other until the meeting. When they did arrive at Dr. Macbeth’s office it was with five minutes to spare. Dr. Macbeth’s secretary let her know Doctors Foster and Shine were there to meet with her, but there was no response until it was fifteen seconds before eleven AM.
Milly asked Brad a question that almost couldn’t be answered.
“How come I feel I’m walking to my own execution?”.
“Relax. She doesn’t have fangs. At least none that I noticed.”
“Thanks. That was a big help. I just know I’m going to have nightmares tonight.”
As Milly entered the office she noticed a lot of technology -low and high tech. First, there was a typical run of the mill type coffee maker, a CD player, a laptop computer, a desktop computer, an extremely large HD screen built into the wall, and a small mp3 player. The desk was custom made to house the laptop, the desktop computer, and a telephone. On the walls were a few pictures. The walls had built-in bookcases that held an encyclopedia set, a dictionary, a medical dictionary, and countless medical journals from all over the world.
Dr. Macbeth came out from behind her desk. Milly noticed she was wearing a dark green pantsuit with a Jade necklace. On her wrist was a very expensive looking charm bracelet.
“Welcome doctors. Dr. Foster, could you be so kind as to introduce me?”
“Dr. Macbeth may I present Dr. Milly Shine. The best pediatric diagnostician of the entire pediatrics department.”
Milly calmly took the compliment. But she also thought the compliment unnecessary.
Dr. Macbeth gently shook Milly’s hand. “I think you made a very good choice Dr. Foster. I hope it wasn’t too taxing?”
“Once I saw her in action I knew she was the only choice.”
Dr. Macbeth started to walk around her office pointing at things.
“Welcome to my inner sanctum. From this office, I can contact any hospital, large or small, in the world. I can video conference with almost anybody on the planet, or simply call up somebodies employment record. From what limited information I have at my disposal I don’t think either of you has been to Scotland before. Am I correct?”
Both Milly and Brad said “Never” at the same time.
“Good! I had these information packs on Scotland specially made for the both of you. In them, you’ll find little pieces of information that I hope you’ll find of use over there. I know from personal experience from when I moved to North America the culture shock you two will experience. To make the transition a wee bit easier for the both of you the head of Highland Central Dr. Fergus MacTaggert has arranged to have you both “shadowed”. They will help you over any cultural bumps. And there will be lots of those. Now, before I go anywhere I do a lot of research. You both have two weeks before your flight so I’d like to suggest you do the same.”
She took out her pocket computer, tapped a few buttons and smiled. Brad noticed she was in an exceptionally good mood compared to the first time he met her.
“I think the dragon lady has lost her fangs” he whispered to Milly.
“I think the Dragon Lady got lucky last night,” she whispered back. Brad chuckled.
“Are we going economy and is this a night flight?” asked Milly.
“Didn’t Dr. Foster tell you? You’re both going in first class. Champagne, caviar, sleep masks, the works! Highland Central is going all out to get you there in style and comfort. As for the night flight portion of your question, this will be a night flight. You know, I’m in the mood for a coffee and a hotdog. Why don’t you two join me? I’m buying.”
Milly cleared her throat then spoke. “We have to clear our schedules first.”
“Nonsense Dr. Shine. I’ve already done that for you. I’m the boss and whatever I want I get! You two are mine for the next two hours. Follow me if you will.”
They exited the office they had entered not ten minutes earlier and headed for the elevator.
“You have the most delicious assortment of…what did news call it…”street meat” I’ve ever tasted. But the hot dogs are simply wonderful” said the Dragon Lady in the elevator.
Dr. Macbeth went to her car. Milly noticed it was a candy apple red Ferrari. As Milly and Brad climbed into the back seat Dr. Macbeth said the car was a birthday gift.
Brad mumbled quietly to Milly “Birthday gift my foot! There’s a five-year waiting list for one of these babies. They’re handmade!”
“Probably for services rendered if you get my drift” she mumbled back. She squeezed the inside of Brad’s thigh.
After lunch, Dr. Macbeth drove them back to the hospital. The meeting concluded in her office.
“I’m really very anxious that this exchange goes off without a hitch so I want both you to on your very best behavior. You two will be ambassadors of a sort. I want Highland Central to see how useful an exchange of this kind can be. It’s my hope that this will be the first of many such exchanges.”
At the end of the meeting, the information packs were handed out. Dr. Macbeth also handed them two letters from a legal firm in England.
“These look rather important and judging from the stamps on them they’ve been in the mail a good long time.” Milly and Brad would not find out just how long until they got home.