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An Informal Christmas, Click to Buy
“Is he still here?” Why waste time on good mornings?
Suzie tilted her head in the direction of the hallway, which meant the man in question was either packing their storeroom to within an inch of its life or waiting in her little cubicle of an office. “Mr. York, I need a word.” She spat the words out loudly enough to be heard no matter where he lurked.
A hand snaked out and grabbed her arm as she passed Suzie’s desk.
Rylie peered down into the older woman’s eyes.
“Go easy on him. He means well, and he doesn’t look so good. Do you know yet why he’s donating?” Suzie’s uplifted eyebrow said it all.
Rylie released a sigh and studied the light fixtures in the ceiling. Father, I’m in a rotten mood. Please temper my tongue and fill me with kindness and patience for adults today, as well as for kids.
Sleep had chosen not to visit her last night, and if the dark circles in the mirror that morning hadn’t given it away, her foul disposition ought to. The parents of one of her patients had suffered a complete meltdown the night before. They’d even used the D-word. Divorce. A nurse had texted to tell her. The couple’s six-year-old daughter, after witnessing the whole thing, became so distressed that sedation had been ordered.
The Child Life budget didn’t allow for overnight workers, and since there was rarely ever a need, it was usually a nonissue. After all, the kids were supposed to be asleep. The nurses were fantastic and handled whatever came up during the night. This, unfortunately, was different. A fight like that wouldn’t be forgotten by morning, not by the young girl who had witnessed it.
Rylie shook her head. An attitude adjustment was in order. She was angry at the parents for fighting and frustrated she hadn’t been present to intervene. To the mom and dad, it was a disagreement — nothing more, nothing less. To their daughter, though, who’d been given far too much to deal with in her short life, it was one more thing piled on top of the plate of wretchedness she’d been served.
Suzie released her arm but wasn’t ready to let her go yet. “I’ve known you a long time, Rylie, and I’ve never seen you to take a dislike to someone the way you have this guy. I’ve also never known you to be ungrateful about a single donation to the children of this hospital. What gives?”
The words were a sledgehammer to her middle. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Rylie focused on breathing to alleviate the pain.
Suzie was right.
Rylie was out of control, and she knew it. She’d been heading down that particular slippery slope for a while but thought she’d managed to hide it from everyone.
She didn’t reply to Suzie’s question. How could she? She wasn’t entirely sure she knew the answer. Rylie had a job to do, though, and she would do it. If she was lucky, she’d be able to pull it off with a measure of grace, too. With another deep breath, she stepped away from Suzie’s desk and around the barrier into her cubicle.