Garrett tugged on the sleeves of the sterile gown and stripped it from his arms before tossing the stained garment in the nearby hamper. A quick glance at his wrist told him it was nearly nine-thirty. He pressed his thumb to his temple and reminded himself the headache would go away as soon as he had something to eat.
He’d spent the past twelve hours on his feet covering for two ER interns who’d not bothered showing for their twenty-four shift. He was tired, hungry, and most likely smelled like day-old fish. He was also in desperate need of a shave. He felt more like a bum than a respected physician.
Still, there was nothing he could do about it other than grab a quick bite to eat and head to his office for a few moments of downtime before his eleven o’clock department head meeting.
He gathered up a bagel with cream cheese, an apple, and a large cup of black coffee from the commissary and took a left turn at the first corridor. He’d barely reached the halfway point in the long hallway when he saw her…his new secretary.
Much, much younger than her four predecessors, she was hunched over her typewriter, a long string of black ribbon in one hand, the unraveled spool from which it came in the other. He closed the distance between them and stopped in front of her desk.
A brief lift of her head was the only acknowledgement she gave of his arrival before she returned her attention to the items in her hands. “I’ll be with you in a quick minute,” she said, her voice far huskier than he’d expected given her young age. A shot of awareness skittered down his back.
Rather than speak up, he stood there watching while she fumbled with the broken ribbon. She’d obviously pushed the loose strands of chestnut hair from her face at least once or twice because streaks of dark ink adorned her left cheek. Even smudged, her alabaster skin was flawless.
Garrett cleared his throat, drawing her attention for a second time. “Excuse me,” he said, a bit more forcefully than he intended.
She set the ribbon and the empty spool aside and reached for a tissue to wipe her hands. “I’m sorry for keeping you waiting.” Motioning toward the typewriter, she added, “I’m afraid this contraption got the best of me.”
“It does look rather intimidating,” he teased, tamping down an outright chuckle.
“How may I help you? If you’re looking for Dr. Langley, he’s not yet arrived.”
Garrett straightened his stance, pulling himself up to his full six-foot-one. “I’m Dr. Langley. You must be my new secretary.”
~ ~ ~
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