The Mind Reader (2015)

Chapter 8


“Oh grandma,” she said silently, “what did you do to me?”

Once again, she heard her grandmother’s words ring in her ears. It’s all about the gift, my love. Use it to help others. It may cause personal heartbreak somewhere down the line, but sometimes it’s better to know when others are deceiving you. You’re a strong young lady. You’ll know what to do regardless of the situation you find yourself in.”

Chara fought back tears and resisted her initial instinct to flee. It didn’t matter she felt humiliated at this point. The only thing that mattered right now was that she helped patients if it was at all possible. Pull it together, Chara, she scolded herself. The gift isn’t about you. It never was and never will be.

“Everything okay, Chara?” Dr. Renault asked. The nurse stoically fought the meltdown that usually followed hearing his accent.

“Yes, doctor,” she said reflexively. “I was just imagining Mrs. Kendricks’ reactions at finally knowing a cause to her pains. The other doctors almost had her convinced that the pains were psychosomatic.”

“It’s only proper that you be the one to break the good news to her,” he said with no conflicting thoughts whatsoever. Damn that man, she thought. I don’t understand him.

The pair continued their lunch as the doctor talked about a few other cases. Chara offered her opinions on the patients she had. He shook his head and took notes. “I hope you know that I appreciate all that you’re doing.”

Chara was relieved he didn’t add the last two words to that sentence “for me.” He was definitely thinking that. She played down the cooperation, but made it clear that she was doing this solely to help her patients. “They place a lot of confidence in me. I do my best to honor that confidence.”

When the pair completed reviewing the list and Chara offered all advice she could, she looked at her watch. “Oh my! I’m overdue up at my station,” Chara said in a panic.

“Don’t worry about it,” Dr. Renault said swiftly. He whipped his phone out of his white lab coat and informed the head nurse of what was going on. “I’m afraid I stole her for a bit longer than I intended,” he told her. As he said this he gave Chara a quick wink. Oh, if only that man weren’t such a career-climbing jerk, intent on using everybody to get to his next level of achievement.

“But she’s been providing me with valuable insight on some of the patients we’ll be working on together. Thank you. I appreciate your patience.”

As soon as he disconnected from that call, his phone rang. “I’ll be right there,” he told the caller, “I’m in the cafeteria now. I’m only an elevator ride away.” Then, he looked at Chara, with those charming eyes (Did all Frenchmen have eyes that captivating, she asked herself), and said “I’ve got to dash. An emergency has occurred. I hate to make such an abrupt exit.”

Chara offered a weak smile. “I completely understand.” The doctor gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and he was off. She swore at him again. Then she called her best friend.

“How did it go,” Eli asked, “was it romantic?”

Chara laughed. “How romantic can a lunch in a hospital cafeteria be? Really, Eli.”

“Sorry, kiddo. I got carried away for a moment,” her friend responded.

“I guess it went well enough,” Chara responded. “I really don’t think he has any romantic interest in me, though. I believe his motives are purely clinical. Despite his dashing air, he accent dripping with sensuality, his motives were clearly and coldly clinical.”

Eli didn’t have to say a word. Chara could tell even through the cell phone that Eli was disappointed for her. “Don’t worry,” Chara told her. “I’m glad I figured it out now before I was too involved emotionally with this man.”

“Yeah, I know,” she replied. “It’s still disappointing.”

“No kidding. Let Barb know I’m on my way back to the floor. I’ll be there as quickly as I could.”

“Hey, you could do me another favor, too, if you would.”

“Sure, pal, anything.”

“Casually mention to Jan that Dr. Renault doesn’t have a romantic interest in me. Something tells me she wants him all for herself.”

“She’s never said anything,” Eli said.

“No, but I can tell. Something about her body language earlier today told me she was disappointed we were going to lunch together. This will let her know she still has a shot with him.” Chara paused a beat as she stood up to leave. “I’ll be there shortly.”

“Take your time,” Eli said, “Barb was really flippin’ upset until your doctor called. I don’t know what he said, but she calmed down.”

“I’ll apologize when I get there too,” Chara offered. “Are my patients all right?”

“They’re fine,” Eli said, but both Mr. Langley and Mrs. Kendricks would like to talk to you. No hurry each of them said.”

“Would you do me a favor and let them know I’m on my way. I’ll see them as soon as I can.”