“I don’t believe it,” said Melanie Mills, staring at her friend. “Are you sure it’s the same guy? The guy from last night, he of unparalleled parallel parking skills, he of astonishingly good looks.”
Beth gulped down another mouthful of red. “It was him, and yes it was he of bloody awful manners, he who refused my invitation to share a glass with us, he who gave me the brush off.”
It was only a few hours earlier that he had walked into her surgery saying, “Thanks for seeing me. It’s not easy to find a GP willing to take on new patients at such short notice.”
“So what did you do?” asked Melanie.
“Well, I actually froze for a moment, gobsmacked, and then fumbled with the papers on the desk, and must have said something about sitting down, because that’s what he did.
“I mean, can you imagine, I was still spitting angry with him and he was definitely not the person I wanted in my surgery especially as my hangover hadn’t quite cleared yet.”
“Take pills. You’ve got the keys,” muttered Melanie.
“But he didn’t recognize me, had no idea who I was, no idea at all.
“And I said to him that we’ve met before. Last night I said. I reminded him he helped me park my car. Outside Parker’s Wine Bar, I said. And, hooray, he says he recalls helping someone, was that me! Well, I didn’t say anything about the way he snubbed me in the wine bar; decided to bring up that topic later.”
“Yeah, that was quite funny. Especially as men don’t normally refuse you. You should’ve seen the look on your face. Whew, hell hath no fury like a … Good for your soul, I guess; nothing like a put-down to bring you down to the level of us mere mortals.”
“Nonsense, Mel,” said Beth. “I only invited him to join us because he looked lonely, sitting there all by himself. And because he had helped me. It would have taken me another five minutes to get into that space and I would have dinged both the cars front and back. I’ll never get that right.
“Anyhow, there he was, no recollection. Made me feel quite queer, what with me being so upset last night and him being totally oblivious of me.
“Well, he was booked in for a thorough check-up what with him being new to the practice, so I reminded myself of the Hippocratic Oath, polished my stethoscope, and got on with it.
“Started by confirming the info on the notes I had – name, date of birth and so on.”
“What do you mean, ‘And’?”
“And, what’s his name, how old is he, is he married, does he have interesting birthmarks, scars, bullet wounds? In other words, is he fit, is he a suitable candidate for your attention? Or mine, come to think of it?”
“C’mon, Mel, patient confidentiality and all that. Can’t be saying, get struck off, you know. Anyway, hands off until I say so, if ever. My patient, me gets first dibs.”
“I’ll pay for the next bottle. C’mon, tell me.”
“And some crisps. But no detail, just topline stuff.”
“You’re on,” said Melanie.
“So, name is Brett, age around thirty-five…”
“Strong name, good age, Bethy, so far so good.”
“Not married, no kiddies. Strong jaw, clear eyes, excellent head of hair, teeth in good order, not overweight, not underweight, obviously gets enough exercise, strong hands by the look of them. Hunky, I would say. No scars so far. A dolphin tattoo on each arm, upper arm. Discreet, classy. He’s fit, Mel, bloody fit. And I reckon really intelligent. He’s got a great accent, Welsh, I think, could listen to that voice for hours on end, like velvet…”
“Beth! Whoah! Topline only, you said. He seems to have floated your boat totally.”
Beth frowned, “Hardly. He’s just a patient. Hardly my type. Anyhow, he’s going through a difficult time. His fiancée dumped him. Last night, Mel, she dumped him last night by text, can you believe it and he’s really hurting which is probably why he behaved as he did – he’s now probably got a thing about women, all women, probably doesn’t trust us. Oh, Mel, I really do feel for him.”
“Hmmm, you always have had a thing for wounded creatures, especially big strong ones you can mould into how you like them. I suspect this is another such case.”
“Rubbish, yeah. So what happens next then?”
“Well, I suggested he goes away for a while, take a break. Go to Scotland, walk the hills, bag a Monro or two. There’s a rather classy little boutique hotel in Scotland I told him about – remote, no telly, no wifi, no phone signal; a get-away-from-it-all sort of place. They’ll look after him.
“Then back here for his test results.”
“That gets him out of the way, I guess. Good thinking, Doctor Boon, great piece of prescribing. And you can get back to normal.”
“Anyhow I feel like a rest myself so tomorrow evening I’m off to Scotland for the weekend. Walking with a friend. Staying at a classy little boutique hotel I know.”
Melanie woke up to her bedside alarm just before the midday news. She cherished these lie-ins, her lazy self-indulgent Sunday routines, the slow pace after the fast-moving Saturday nights. She switched on the kettle, switched on the radio, stepped into the shower cubicle, turned on the taps. Listening with half and ear she heard, “Broadmoor high security psychiatric hospital…absconded…do not approach…Welsh accent…Dolphin tattoos on upper arms…notify police…”
“Somewhere in Scotland,” she spoke into her phone, “No she didn’t say, wouldn’t say. Remote, no wifi, no mobile signal. Oh god. Scotland, that’s all I know, that’s all I know.”