The Mind Reader (2015)

Chapter 7


Dr. Renault wasn’t difficult to find in the large cafeteria. Actually, he hadn’t even entered the cafeteria yet. He was waiting for her by the door. “I was hoping even with running a bit late I would catch you before you chose your food and sat down. Chara quickly heard in her head though, the additional and unspoken, “so I could treat you to lunch.”

His next thought was an apology aimed directly at Chara, yet unspoken. “This isn’t a romantic venue but wait until our next date.”

All the preparation of emphasizing this meeting as an appointment had been torn down in an instant – even before they sat down to eat. So he thought of this as a date, did he? She felt herself blush again, the heat on her cheeks kept rising. She wondered if he noticed her blush.

“She’s even more stunning when she blushes,” he thought.

Dr. Renault’s thought blew her away and only made her cheeks grow all the hotter. She knew they were candy apple red now. She had to stop focusing on his thoughts. This was the hardest aspect of possessing the gift. Her grandmother had warned her about this since she was a child and barely understood what was happening to her.

While Chara couldn’t completely shut his thoughts out, if she concentrated enough, she could push them far enough to the back of her mind to be able to pay attention to the verbal conversation. She tried to do just that.

After selecting their food and the doctor paying for it, he led her to a table in the far corner of the cafeteria. They sat down to casual conversation. Halfway through the meal, Dr. Renault finally opened the discussion on the patients.

“You appear to have a real gift for diagnosing,” he told her.

“You know as well as I do that nurses can’t diagnose,” she teased him.

“I do, but your suggestions are spot on,” Dr. Renault’s words were interrupted by the buzzing of his cell phone. If she couldn’t tell by the look on his face, Chara certainly knew by the string of curse words shooting through his mind he was irritated by the interruption. His mood, though, changed as soon as he saw the caller ID.

“The results of all the tests I ran on Mrs. Kendricks today,” he said to her. “I’m going to take this if you don’t mind.”

His French accent appeared to be even more distinct as he talked on the phone. Upon hanging up, he said with glee. “You’ve seemed to have done it again, my dear. Mrs. Kendricks does have a full-blown case of celiac disease.” He paused a beat. Chara beamed. She felt a sense self-worth that her ability, her gift, was instrumental in helping someone. He then said exactly what he thought. “You are an amazing nurse.”

I hope you’re proud of me right now, Grandma, she thought. We’ve just done our part in reducing the suffering of a person. Thank you for everything you’ve taught me about using the gift.

He sat with his eyes closed for a moment. Chara dared not disturb him. She knew he was formulating the patient’s planned treatment. When he opened his eyes, he apologized. He explained – needlessly, but he didn’t know that – to Chara.

“Sounds like the perfect start,” she agreed. “Would you like me to let Mrs. Kendricks know when I get back to the floor or would like to stick with protocol and tell her yourself.”

“Again, it’s like you read my mind. If you could not only inform her, but tell the cafeteria of her need for a special meal I would greatly appreciate it. I’ll forward the formal paperwork to them shortly.”

Abruptly, the glowing beam that Chara felt coursing through her body halted. She heard him say, “This young lady is the one who can help catapult me to the success I’ve been craving. I need to do everything in my power to keep her on my good side.”

His mind reeled. Less than a half hour ago, there was not one indication in his thoughts that was where he wanted this relationship to go. Now abruptly, he thought the only purpose she had in his life was to forward his career. What an SOB! There was no doubt about it, she was crushed.

She tried to console herself. She shoved his greedy, egocentric thoughts aside and instead imagined how Mrs. Kendricks would react learning the news. She could even feel the excitement she would feel at learning the pains were real and someone finally took her seriously. But more than anything else, she knew the relief that would flood the patient’s entire body as she learned how easily it could be managed.

Chara, for her part, was ready to walk away from the lunch. Walk away from the bastard doctor and forget all about helping him with any of his other patients. She put down her fork, picked up a napkin, wiped her mouth and was about to get up from the table.