Decisions, Decisions

It’s early the next morning (Thursday) and a hand-wringing Jackie is pacing outside of David’s office. She tried to leave a message with him yesterday, but apparently he got sidetracked by the latest delivery of gift bags. This time, Jackie knows, David received a medium sized leather tote bag filled with gift cards to stores ranging from Safeway ($200 cards; set of 10) to Nordies (those were in a sealed envelope and Jackie couldn’t get the envelope opened before Norman came back from getting a cup of coffee) to Best Buy (six $100 cards). 

Jackie considered lifting a few gift cards. What the heck, who would know? But the sound of Norman’s feet brought her back to reality. 

Jackie checks her watch: 7:40. 

“Where is David?” she growls at no one in particular.

“David is here,” a voice says from behind her. Jackie spins around to see David standing behind her.

“And David is not a very happy man this morning. Won’t you come into my lair…I mean, my office?”

Jackie gulps, but knows she has this lecture coming. David opens his office door and allows Jackie to go first.

”Legal is going to have some veerrry interesting things to say later on,” he warns Jackie as he steps in behind her and shuts his door.

David: “Please, be seated.”

David indicates the uncomfortable looking chrome chair in front of his desk. David himself wiggles his way to his chair behind the desk and sits down. He looks at Jackie quite seriously.

Jackie: “It was a mistake.”

David: “Which mistake?”

Jackie: “The age thing. I swear I didn’t know she was underage.”

David lifts an eyebrow.

David: “And the wrong size implant? Her medical records clearly show you indicated a size 34B to be implanted. Yet you…somehow…managed to implant a size 36B into the chest of Marnie Brown aka Marnie Princeman.”

Almost inaudibly, Jackie sighs.

Jackie: “I know that as well. I did double check the size of the implants before the surgery.”

David: “Did you double check the size of the implants at any time during the surgery?”

Jackie winces. 

Jackie: “I thought I did.”

David: “Thinking you did something during the surgery is not enough. Mrs Brown is most likely going to sue our pants off and guess from whose liability insurance the cash is going to appear?”

Jackie points to herself.

Jackie: (in a small voice) “Me.”

David: “Now Doctor Keating left a phone message explaining how Marnie had asked Doctor Keating about breast implants. Fortunately for you, Doctor Keating had the sense to write down her concerns that Marnie wanted breast implants at age 16. Okay, maybe Doctor Keating’s idea of writing this information down in Marnie’s medical records wasn’t such a hot idea, but it’s the only thing that could get us off the hook.”

Jackie: “We don’t require photo identification when checking in for a medical procedure.”

David: “You just took her at her word?”

Jackie: “She filled out the proper forms, and gave an HMO number that matched one in the database.”

David: “You didn’t note the discrepancy between her surname and the surname on the HMO card?”

Jackie: “Wellll…”

David: (in a warning tone) “Jaacckiee. Don’t tell me you didn’t notice the surname change?”

Jackie: “I did notice the name change but I assumed she carried her father’s surname.”

David groans and runs his hand through his hair.

David: “You didn’t check with her?”

Jackie: “She did say that when she turned eighteen, she went back to her father’s surname.”

David breathes a sigh of relief.

David: “At least those two stories mesh.”

Jackie: “What two stories?”

David: “Doctor Keating said that Marnie had been saying, Marnie Princeman, Marnie Princeman. You do know Marnie plans on becoming an actress?”

Jackie: “No. I didn’t. She told me that she was wanting to get boobs out to here, like her mom.”

Jackie indicates approximately how far Marnie wanted her bosom to reach.

David: “And did you intend to implant Marnie with larger boobs than you intended?”

Jackie: “No! Not for a minute. I will admit that I was looking through larger sizes, Norman can attest to that, but I had pretty much settled on 34B.”

David: “For starters.”

Jackie: “Well, yeah. I mean, if she wanted to go larger at some point in the future, she could. Look at how big Pam Lee got.”

David: “We are not discussing Pam Lee’s bust size.”

Jackie: “I’m just saying that I did what was necessary to ensure I implanted the correct size implants.”

David: “Would you agree to an affidavit?”

Jackie: “It’s come to that so quickly?”

David: “Just a precaution. Your surgical staff said you didn’t seem to notice you’d implanted the wrong size implants and even when asked, you answered that had Marnie been awake, she could have filed suit for harassment.”

Jackie: “Ah, yeah. I do remember making that comment. Would Marnie have been able to sue for harassment?”

David: “Possibly. In this country, you can sue almost anyone for anything. However, the very real possibility is that Marnie’s mother will sue on her behalf, citing negligence in implantation.”

Jackie clearly looks confused.

Jackie: “Negligence in implantation?”

David: “You didn’t check the size of the implants in the pre-op checklist and you didn’t check the size of the implants when it was brought to your attention the implants appeared to be a little larger than what the patient ordered. That’s what Legal Department is worried about.”

Jackie: “They’re not worried about Marnie lying about her age to receive the implants?”

David: “They’re worried about that as well, but their main concern is a medical negligence suit. It’s been established that Marnie falsified her personal information in order to receive medical services.”

Jackie: “She’s not going to get into trouble, will she?”

David shrugs his shoulders.

David: “Don’t know. She certainly put a spanner into our works.”

Jackie: “I’ll say. Lying about her age to get breast implants. Say, do you think she did it for the publicity? I mean, teenager gets breast implants in plastic surgery botch up?”

David tries to suppress a smile at the thought.

David: “It’s likely that Marnie didn’t think there would be any publicity. However, if this thing hits the papers, you can bet there will be publicity and from what Doctor Keating says, little Marnie will be at the cameras, sucking up every moment.”

Jackie: “This is all I need right now. Just when things were going good.”

David: “Then blam! You get sidetracked. Look, it happens a lot to docs. Someone is unhappy with the quality of care they receive so they sue, hoping for a payout. I’m not very happy with the situation, especially since you obviously didn’t double check the size of the implants before the surgery began, but we did establish Marnie lied.”

Jackie: “But will that cancel out the ooops, implanted the wrong size breasts?”

David: “I could see where the mother would say, okay, she lied. But you gave her the wrong size implants.”

Jackie: “I’m not following. How could the mother agree that her daughter lied to get the implants and then sue us because we implanted the wrong size?”

David: “Legal is trying several approaches. The mother hasn’t called in yet and I hope she doesn’t call for a few more days.”

Jackie: “I hope so as well.”

Jackie starts to rise. 

David: “One more thing.”

Jackie sits down.

David: “Until this is settled, you’ll have a surgeon tailing your every move in the OR. Not your underarm patients or the blue light patients. Just the patients going under general anesthesia.”

Jackie groans but David puts up his hand for silence.

David: “It’s just a precaution.”

Jackie: “Who are my jailers?”

David: “Rotated amongst the surgical staff and yes, that includes Tom and Nick.”

Jackie smiles.

Jackie: “At least the sentence isn’t so bad.”

David: “Effective immediately.”

Jackie: “Aye, aye.”

Jackie stands up to leave.

David: “And by the way, Jackie, would you mind not pawing through my gift bags any longer?”

Jackie looks guilty.

Jackie: “All right.”

She decides to beat a hasty retreat before David can begin reprimands anew. 

Meanwhile, inside Rae's head, she's giving a running commentary on her actions:

Driving southbound to work in the early morning, I pull over onto the road's shoulder and barely manage to get the car door open before a hot streak of puke streams out of my mouth and onto the gravel. The resulting greenish yellow puddle steams mercilessly in silent testimony to my recently discovered condition. 

I was leaning over sideways in the driver's seat--a very uncomfortable position to find myself in. 

Then again, I had recently found myself in several positions I didn't care to remember. 

"Oh great," I told no one in particular. I sighed. Bits of my breakfast burrito decorated the inside of the car door like garishly colored party glitter. I coughed, hard, hoping the last of the puke would get out of my stomach. The tactic apparently worked. 

I sit up wearily, groaned, then reach for a napkin to clean the inside of the car door. Wiping the car door clean, I hoped that the smell wouldn't stay in the car. The day was going to be warm and once I arrived at work, maybe I'd better crack the windows a bit. What I did not want was to return to the car at quitting time just to discover the hot day had combined with the putrefying remains of my burrito (a bad choice for breakfast, I now reflected). 

Just the thought made me want to upchuck again. Once again, I leaned sideways and heaved.

Nothing. Nothing but dry heaves. 

Good thing I didn't eat much of that burrito. 

Mentally, I crossed Mickey D's breakfast burritos off my 'safe to eat' list. Lately, I'd been busy discovering that I was no longer able to tolerate certain foods. Naturally, those foods were my favorites. 

And then I remembered basic chemistry: for every reaction, there is an opposite and equal reaction. 

I suppose this is why these past several weeks I have gravitated towards thick, oversized steaks and multiple lobster tails. Preferably in the same meal. Add an oversized baked potato with all the trimmings, a large garden salad and mmm, for dessert: anything chocolate and I was a completely happy woman. 

Who says pregnancy has to be boring in the food department?

Groaning once again, I sat up. Grabbing another napkin, I wiped my mouth. I'd have to brush my teeth or use some mouthwash upon my arrival at work. I certainly did not want my patients to think their oncologist couldn't keep her breath fresh. 

Wadding up my napkin, I began to throw it out the window then thought better. I looked at the burrito with longing; really, only a few bites left and did those few bites look good! But I resisted temptation and I ended up stuffing the much-shortened burrito along with the napkin into the Mickey D's bag. 

To wash my mouth, I sip some of the decaf coffee and swish it around. A bit hot and bitter. Good. Bitter like my feelings this morning.

Leaning over sideways once again, I spit out the coffee, and then repeat the process of sitting up, swishing and leaning over sideways until I am sure no puky remains are left in my mouth. 

Sitting up for the last time, I make a sour face. "Uggghh! Burritos sure do taste bad coming up!" I place the coffee cup back into its holder and take note of my surroundings. 

I watch the cars swoosh by, their occupants busy talking on cell phones and steering with only one hand. What could possibly be that important to cause these people to drive with only one hand on the steering wheel? They are driving a two ton potential death machine. Certainly a small investment in a hands-free speaker phone would not inconvenience them greatly. 

I notice several other people were simultaneously driving and reading the newspaper. Great. Just what I needed. A news junkie trying to get their fixes while driving. 

Deciding that my stomach was sufficiently empty so that I could drive, I close the car door. Looking up, I notice a billboard stationed just across from the nearest intersection. Cars stopping at the stoplight facing west would be required to read the sign. I have to crane my neck a little to read the sign. 

High School Exit Exam for Math: Final Question. 

Q: On graduation weekend, there are 35 high school graduation parties with an average of 1500 kids in attendance at each. 

If a marijuana dealer decides to hit 10 parties and an average of 100 graduates purchase a bag of marijuana at 10 dollars a bag, how much money will the drug dealer earn in one night

A: $10,000. Congratulations, Graduate! You just helped the dealer pay his living expenses for the month!

Now I know the City has a medical marijuana law, and I've found myself in the position of saying nothing when a patient tells me they've smoked pot to alleviate their cancer pain. 

I'd prefer to prescribe the marijuana, but thus far, none of my patients have had the nerve to ask me for a prescription, so I keep quiet on the subject because the less I know about their surreptious activites, the better. I do inform my patients that marijuana is available for prescription but alas, no takers. 

I've heard that other doctors in the city have prescribed; apparently, cancer patients prefer to go to Mission General Hospital to get their marijuana prescriptions. My patients seem to prefer going underground. 

In any event, since Ed Rosenthal was given a one day sentence for being a licensed supplier of marijuana (and did I ever write letters protesting the conviction), d did I ever write letters protesting the conviction), I am hoping that the publicity will get around and my patients will be more forthcoming with their medical requests. 

Edward's jury was never informed of the fact that he was licensed by the state to supply marijuana for medical purposes. This handy omission on the part of the prosecution led the jury to believe that Ed was a Timothy Leary follower, flaunting the law and growing marijuana to spite the government. 

When the jury did discover the prosecution's actions, there was a lot of shocked former jurors. 

Still looking at the billboard, I did have to agree the message was quite effective. There was a high school not two blocks away and many of these students would have to stop at the stoplight and read the sign to pass the time. 

I notice that several people driving by glanced at the sign once, then did a double take. I have to smile. 

Feeling able to take on the most irascible of patients, I glance in the rearview mirror. Seeing the coast was clear behind me, I next glance over my shoulder before pulling onto the road and continuing my drive into work. 

Despite my ability to prescribe marijuana for medical purposes, I feared that as of late I was also transforming into a misocapnist who loathed the mundungus fumes of cigarettes. 

I snicker. Misocapnist? Mundungus? I'd recently come across those terms. The former (from the Greeks) means someone who hates smoke. The latter means 'stinky tobacco'. 

I have Nick to thank for those two terms. Nick has just embarked upon an expansion of his understanding of the English language. 

Not that Nick in any way uses bad English. He's quite good at English, which is his third language after Greek and Latin. Rather, Nick's become interested in discovering the more unusual terms and their meanings like limacine (used to describe anyone or anything as sluglike) and snollygoster, meaning an unscrupulous politician. 

I thought I remembered the term from a Roald Dahl book, but Norman set me straight. "The country abounds in snollygosters," said Norman, remembering his sixth grade vocabulary lessons, and again I smile at the memory. 

I pass the billboard and continued on my way to work. Yesterday I made a decision and thus far, I haven't been able to tell anyone my decision. Those people I tried to phone were either not at home or they were busy with patients. 

It was just my bad luck anyways. I did manage to get Ellen Etzel's answering machine. Apparently she was off enjoying a quick trip to Reno. 

I asked her secretary just what Ellen was doing in Reno when she had a lot of work to do on my case. The response was termed: confidential work. I supposed that meant Ellen was on a working trip and that she was off gathering information for another case. 

For someone so young, she sure is confident of herself. And she does know how to get under someone's skin. The clothes I wore on the day she questioned me still have sweat stains and the dry cleaner swears the stains won't come out. So I've lost a nice suit. Ellen says it's a small price to pay for now I know just what's down the road. 

To compensate for the intense questioning during the trial, I plan on investing in several jersey dresses, preferably in black and preferably from Spiegel. Ellen might nix the color but if she doesn't then I won't be out of too much money. 

I meant to tell Sean about my decision yesterday afternoon and had just finished entering his new digits when I remembered two things. One, he was on his way to a safari ingeniously called Virginbush and two, he didn't know about the rape pregnancy in the first place. 

Thinking of Sean made me remember how he had scared me in the shower. That was not a nice gesture on his part. He could have stood in the bathroom and called out to me instead of sweeping back the shower curtain in a Psycho scene. 

I grimac at the thought of Sean giving Jules a right hook and blackening her eye. Matt has shown a lot of concern for her eye and yesterday, he decided to drive her to an opthamologist. She has a morning appointment and the two are going to be late for work. Nevertheless, I am a bit jealous of Jules: she gets to ride in Matt's rented Lamborghini. 

So far, Matt has yet to offer me a ride in his new wheels. Harriet, Jules, Nick and of course Matt's human love, Harmony, have been given rides in what is becoming known as the Silver Wonder of the City. Of course, it helps that Matt's visage is becoming quite well known through the recent tv interviews he's given. 

He and Nick have been given an interview in the Sunday magazine and when the article is run in a few week's time, I'm certain that the popularity of those two men will shoot through the roof. Already, the two men have been approached by numerous female patients; some want autographs, others baldly and unabashedly ask for dates. 

Matt is currently smitten with Harmony and he allows that fact to be known. He doesn't really want an intense relationship with Harmony just yet--his emotional wounds still are fresh from his argument with Jules in which she flat out refused child support for any potential live offspring. He wants to paint the town red and Harmony is very good at providing Matt with the fun he wants. 

Sadly for myself and Jules, our recent media worthy events haven't garnered the two of us much publicity, aside from Amanda Sotheby's Lifestyles segment. 

The paint! I've been sleeping on the living room couch until the paint dries in the master bedroom. The color is supposed to be called Maple Sugar, a color I tried to copy from a magazine ad I saw. 

But the sales clerk at the discount paint store didn't have a good eye for color because the gold color she mixed really is quite bright. Not at all like the dignified color in the magazine print ad. 

And it was the magazine print ad which inspired me to re-paint my bedroom. I saw the ad in an issue of Victoria magazine that I was reading as a late night sleeping aid. Immediately, I fell in love with the room in the ad--even going so far as start looking for the burgundy and gold comforter shown in the picture. I already purchased the cream colored chair. 

Maybe I should have gone with the chocolate paint I was looking at in the first place. I don't know what my soon to be ex-husband would have commented had I actually painted the walls chocolate brown. 

So perhaps it was the paint fumes that began my morning sickness. Up to this point in this pregnancy, I haven't felt any morning sickness at all. I just had the one fainting spell that started this whole mess, and of course, the hunger and strange cravings. I've gained at least ten pounds where I don't want the extra poundage and Harriet is beginning to nag me about excessive weight gain and gestational high blood pressure. 

Just my luck that I'm friends with an OB. But I think Harriet is just looking out for me. I do wish, however, that she would understand I'm not ready for her professional advice. 

Sighing, I continue my journey into work. I'm having lunch with Nick again today, and despite my morning's unexpected upchuck session, I just know I'm going to be famished for steak and lobster, an indulgence Nick is more than happy to provide me, provided I pay for the meal. With all the presents that have come Nick's way in the past few weeks, you'd think Nick would spring for a meal or two--especially a meal for a pregnant, potentially hypoglycemic woman. 

Men! For the past week--every day, the lucky ducks!--the male staff of Presidio have been receiving flowers and gift bags stuffed with expensive goodies. The men are more than happy and David has been positively floating on air. Since he too is a recent member of the Split Up Club, David's ego has been in need of serious boosting and he's been having elaborate fantasies as to the identity of the Mysterious D. 

But have there been any gifts for the hard-working women of Presidio?

Nope. Except for the gourmet treats of Mrs Winters, nothing, not even a cookie crumb, has come our way. The Mysterious D only targets the City's bachelor docs and their male staff. 

Letty has a theory that the Mysterious D is none other than Danielle Steele, who's well-known in the City for possessing 28 parking passes. How she manages to obtain 28 parking passes (which she hands out as gifts to friends, family and employees) beats the hell out of me. 

See, Danielle is a romance author and possibly prone to flights of fancy such as the recent round of mysterious gift-giving. So I have to admit that Letty's theory is soundly drawn, for the scenario could be written in a romance novel where an unknown heroine attacts the attention of several males through expensive gifts. 

Letty's theory makes sense, I muse as I take a left and find myself on a lightly-travelled road. This is the best piece of news this morning: a clear shot straight to the office. If I don't have vomit flying out of my mouth in the next five minutes, I can get to the office without being late. This is a comforting thought. 

In the opposite direction, I notice a police car cruising by, perhaps looking for a car full of teenage drivers about to be liberated from their academic exams. 

Speaking of police, I am not pleased with the serious lack of time the police have given to my case. It's been several weeks since I discovered my pregnancy, but the police still have yet to answer some of my biggest questions.

For instance, exactly how did Robert Winningham know what the fetal dna test results were? Did he hack into the computer? Brenda did not provide him with the information, despite her chatty mouth, so where did he obtain the information?

I went so far as to proffer the idea that it might be an inside job. Someone in the university aided and abetted Robert. Detective Rodriguez looked skeptical at first, then conceded there was a possibility someone logged onto lab's computer database without authorization. 

So now the computer logs are being scrutinized very closely. The university's computer department is aghast at the idea their system was hacked into and have been poring over the student, employee and professor who logged onto the lab's databases during the few days it took for the university's testing lab to confirm the dna test results. 

The computer department argued that since someone looking for specific test results would likely log on several times and do a search. Therefore, I am told, electronic footprints would exist that are traceable back to the originator of the query. 

I am only half-heartened at this news. I expected things to roll along much more quickly, and that evidence would be in the DA's hands within a week. Surely the advances in technology allow the police to access computer records relatively quickly. 

But no. I'm told that it still takes time and the computer department is co-operating with the police. I'm told Robert Winningham is co-operating with the police. I'm told this and I'm told that but what I am not told are the answers to the questions of how did Robert know the fetal dna test results and how did he get ahold of the rohypnol he used

The information provided by the dealers in drug bust some weeks ago is leading to dead ends. One of the three suspects doesn't want to cut a deal. Dyed in the wool American, he says, and he's entitled to face his accusers in a court of law. And, he further informed the DA, if the accuser doesn't have the evidence needed to convict, then the accuser is going to look like they jumped the gun and raced to court without being prepared. Thus, the accuser loses face. Woohooo.

I winced when Ellen Etzel's office told me what the suspect said. But, as the DA's office pointed out, you are entitled to face your accuser in a court of law. 

Ah, here we are at the office. And with time to spare! Pulling into my designated parking space, I spy Nick walking into the employee's entrance.  I lean out the car window and yell, "Nick!"

He doesn't hear me. I sigh again, then roll the window up, extract myself from the seat belt, collect my purse, set the car alarm and lock then exit my car with about as much grace as an ox trying to turn around in a bathroom stall. 

I hurry to see if I can catch up with Nick. I have something to tell him and he seems to be either avoiding me or he is incredibly lucky in timing. 

Just my luck! As soon as I get inside the employee's entrance, the elevator's doors are just pinging shut and I can see a flash of Nick as the door is closing the final few inches. He is looking down, his forehead burrowed in concentration. 

Strange, he's not reading the newspaper. Then it hits me. He's wearing his walkman. Possibly he's listening to the news about the death toll from the plane crash in LA. The plane slammed into a small apartment building in the Fairfax section of LA. 

I press the UP button and wait for the elevator to deposit Nick on to the surgical floor. 

Poor Nick! He always feels bad when he can't be there at the scene of a disaster. He wants so much to help people in distress. I'm sure he feels awful about the plane crash and the people killed. Death toll stood at five as of this morning. 

Ping! Another elevator opens up and disgorges several medical students. "Morning, Doctor Brennan!" says one, a tall female. I vaguely remember her name and mutter a hello back, hoping she'd take the hint that I really don't want to be disturbed this morning. There's too much on my mind regarding the decision I made. 

Squeezing my way past the exiting medical students, I notice some of them give me a dirty look but I ignore them. Standing beside the elevator's control buttons, I push the button for "1" and as the elevator doors close, I smile at the medical students. 

One sticks her tongue out at me and I return the gesture just as the doors close. I'm not sure she sees me.

One floor up, the elevator doors open and I exit into the hallway. Nurses and doctors are standing around, most talking amongst themselves and a few are reading from the newspaper. 

I walk up to Matt. He is standing in the hallway alone near his office. 

"Morning, Matt."

Matt looks up from his paper; he's one of the readers.

"Morning, Rae. Did you hear?"

Rae: "Wasn't it your worst nightmare?"

Matt: "Yep."

Rae: "So how many dead?"

Matt: "None, so far. Thank god the source was isolated quickly."

Rae: "Source? The source was the pilot. Matt, I don't think we're on the same wavelength. What are you talking about?"

Matt looks confused. 

Matt: "The monkeypox outbreak in Milwaukee. Started with a exotic pet store owner in Illinois having a Gambian rat that was ill with monkeypox. The rat transmitted the illness to two prairie dogs sold to a Milwaukee pet shop owner and later bought for a Mother's Day present. Now 39 people are ill."

Rae: "Oh. I was talking about the LA plane crash. I didn't know about the monkeypox."

Matt: "The plane crash terrifies me as well. Nick's feeling a bit down about it. He thinks he could have done something for the critically injured people."

Rae smiles.

Rae: "He's sweet in that regard. Caring for people that much."

Matt looks at Rae questioningly. Thus far, Rae has been against Nick and Matt can't forget that Rae actually asked Nick to return to Athens so she could get her marriage back on track.

Matt folds his paper and puts it under his arm. 

Matt: "Why the sudden fondness for Nick?"

Rae shrugs her shoulders.

Rae: "He is an excellent doctor and he's got such a great attitude that I thought I'd comment on it."

Matt raises his eyebrows. 

Matt: "Pregnancy getting to you?"

Rae: "Yeah. And there's seven more months to go."

Matt looks surprised.

Matt: "You're keeping the baby?"

Rae: "The pregnancy. Haven't decided on the baby."

Matt is at a loss for words.

Matt: "I'm not sure if I should congratulate you or what. So I'll just offer a good luck, if that's all right by you."

Rae: "Thanks. It's good to know I have your support."

Matt: "Welcome." 

He peers a bit closer at Rae.

Matt: "You look a bit green about the gills. Morning sickness coming yet?"

Rae: "Yeah. Breakfast burrito was upchucked alongside the road. Not a preggy sight."

Matt smiles. 

Matt: "Preggy?"

Rae smiles as well.

Rae: "Pretty. Not a pretty sight."

Matt: (smiling) "Since the vomit was a result of being pregnant, the word preggy could be appropriate."

Rae: "Please, no pregnancy humor. Not until I get something in my stomach."

Matt: "Harriet has a stash of Ritz crackers."

Rae: "Then that's where I'm heading next. See you later on."

Matt: "Have a good morning!"

Rae: "You too!"

Whew! That wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. Now that someone knows my decision, maybe I'll rest a bit easier. Uh, oh. There's Jackie. She's got the paper and oh damn! She's seen me. 

Jackie: "Morning, Rae."

Rae: "What are you smiling at?"

Jackie: "Nothing."

Jackie looks at the paper again, then looks at Rae. Rae harumphs then continues on her way. Jackie starts giggling. Letty, coming up beside Jackie, asks:

Letty: "Why the laugh fest so early in the morning?"

Jackie: "Read this."

She hands Letty the paper. Letty reads aloud.

Letty: "Invitees to the 5th Annual Bark & Yowl Ball announced."

Jackie: "Read halfway down the list, under Medical."

Letty: "Doctor Robert Dalgety, Doctor Nicholas Kokoris, Doctor Matthew Slingerland. Hey! We finally got someone invited to the Ball! Took us long enough."

Jackie grins.

Jackie: "Yep. Two docs. Now look under the section for Media."

Letty: "Ummmmm, Socialites, Academic, Media. Michael Adams, Andrea Baker, Sean Brennan. Sean!? He was invited to the Ball?"

Jackie: "Yep."

Letty: "But Rae wasn't listed under Medical!"

Jackie: "I know."

Letty: "She's gonna have a fit when she finds out her ex husband's invited and she's not."

Jackie: "Tell me."

Letty: "Did you tell her? Is that why she's in a snit this morning?"

Jackie: "Didn't tell her and since she's been pregnant, she's always in a snit."
Letty: "Tell me. I'm just glad I don't share an office with her."

Jackie: "She's gonna have an even bigger fit when she finds out Harmony's been invited."

Letty: "Under which section?"

Jackie: "Medical Students."

Letty looks at the paper again, then whistles.

Letty: "I would hate to be around when Rae discovers this."

Jackie: "Look at it this way, it's for charity."

Nearby in one of Jules' exam rooms, a mother (Wendy Carmichael) is pacing the room anxiously while Jules examines the eye of a six year old (Kiara). 

Wendy: "Well?"

Jules shuts off the opthalmascope. 

Jules: "It's certainly encroaching into the eye."

Wendy: "It's not malignant, is it? It's growing so fast."

Jules: "This is a common birthmark, called a strawberry hemagioma."

Wendy: "Sure about that?"

Jules: "Yes. The mark is caused by an overabundance of surface blood vessels."

Wendy goes to stand near Kiara. She gently touches the birthmark.

Wendy: "It's soft to the touch. Is that unusual?"

Jules shakes her head.

Jules: "Nope. We can treat it several ways: surgery, laser treatment or steroids."

Wendy looks up in alarm.

Wendy: "Surgery?" 

She signs to Kiara who looks alarmed as well. 

Jules: "Surgery is only one option of three, Mrs Carmichael."

Wendy: "I'm not sure I like the steroid option either."

At this point, Kiara signs to her mother. Wendy looks at Kiara then signs back: I'll ask her.

Wendy: "Will she have a scar?"

Jules: "Can she read lips?"

Wendy: "She's learning. I interpret what she doesn't understand."

Jules: "A small scar, but that will fade in time."

Wendy signs to Kiara who looks thoughtful then shakes her head.

Wendy: "Then either steroids or laser and I'll go with the laser."

Jules: "That's the best option. I'll make an appointment with Doctor Collette to go over the equipment and procedures with the two of you."

To Kiara, Wendy signs her decision. Kiara smiles; she likes the idea of lasers and she nods approvingly. Wendy signs to Kiara and the child jumps off the exam table and exits the room. Jules looks after her.

Jules: "When did she go deaf?"

Wendy: "After a bout with pneumococcal meningitis at age 3.”

Jules nods.

Jules: “Deafness can result from meningitis.” 

Wendy: “That's what they told us. I was so angry. Angry that I didn't get her to the hospital soon enough."

Jules: "Meningitis is a trickly illness to diagnose."

Wendy: "What she misses the most is hearing music. She wanted to be a ballet dancer when she grew up.”

Jules: "She seems to be adjusting. Kids do that better than we give them credit for. She does sign quite well."

Wendy: "She has an aptitude for languages, even before she went deaf. Her daycare was bilingual Spanish and English. Now Kiara wants to learn how to sign in a foreign language."

Jules: "Big job for her."

Wendy smiles hugely. 

Wendy: "She'll do just fine. She's got her father's intelligence."

At mid-morning, the OR suite is a bit slow, much to Nick’s relief. His paperwork is caught up and Tom has things under control. Down in ER, a some-times breathless Doctor Howland has assured Nick that there are no serious accidents awaiting his surgical skills. He’s been a bit concerned lately about Doctor Terry Howland’s health; he thinks she may have an undetected heart or lung problem. When setting up their date-rape awareness web page, Doc Howland was 

Smirking and restless, but knowing that where Doctor Howland is concerned, things aren’t always as they seem, Nick decides to go ahead with his plan of wandering down to Matt’s office in search of a free feed. 

Yep, Nick’s found the horn of plenty in Matt’s office. Daily deliveries of fresh flowers and gift bags arrive for the good Doctors Kokoris and Slingerland, along with a few goodies for the rest of the male PM staff. Needless to say, even the unflappable Letty is getting a bit suspicious about the gift bags. 

With the OR restrictions on food goods and items brought into the Surgical Suite, David declared that any bags for Nick need to be kept in either Nick’s office or Matt’s office. 

Nick is rarely in his own office, as it’s closer to the elevators than his own cube, he prefers the company of Matt’s office where the two can chat a bit, drink down a spot of tea and savor the baked goods delivered from around the world (or brought by Mrs Winters). 

As Nick approaches Matt’s office, he spies Rae down the hallway. Peering into a a large plate glass window (presumably someone’s office), Rae’s facing Nick but she’s turned to her side and she is alternately sticking her belly out and smoothing down her dress.

Leaning on Matt’s shut office door, Nick decides to watch Rae for a while. He is grinning, knowing what Rae’s decision about her pregnancy has been. 

After a few more ins and outs, Rae smoothes down her dress, takes a few steps towards Nick and then looks up, startled. She hesitates as to whether to continue towards Nick or to make a hasty retreat. 

She decides to continue walks towards Nick, who is still leaning against Matt’s shut office door. When Rae spies Nick watching her, she is startled.

Rae: “Nick! What are you doing here?”

Nick: “I work here, if you care to remember.” 

Rae: “It’s just that I was not expecting to see you.” (she fumbles with words) “Here. I mean, now.”

Nick: “Pregnancy has you a bit confused?"

Rae: "Uh, yeah. That's it. Well, I've rounds to do. See you for lunch."

Nick: "Sure. Noon it is."

Rae continues on her way, Nick knocks on Matt's office door.

Nick: “Knock, knock!”

Matt: “Just a minute!"

Shortly, Matt's office door opens.

Matt: "Afternoon, Nick! Come on in, the water’s fine.”

Nick smiles as he enters Matt's office. Spying a large basket on Matt's desk, he asks:

Nick: “What’s the latest delivery?”

Matt: “Brownies this morning. Mrs Winters. Oh! And did you get an envelope under your door? Cream colored, thick paper?”

Nick shakes his head.

Nick: "Haven't been to my office yet."

Matt: “Take a look at this, will you?”

Matt goes back to his desk and picks up the envelope in question. Handing it to Nick, Nick opens the envelope and slides out the card inside. 

On the couch end nearest his phone, Matt sits down on the couch, watching Nick read the invitation.

Nick: "The Bark and Yowl Ball?”

Matt: "By private invite only. The Ball is quite famous here in the City, really. Proceeds of the private auction go to the Humane Society. I suspect you received an invite as well, judging from the handwriting.”

Nick looks at the handwriting.

Nick: "Same handwriting as on the floral delivery cards. So, do we bring dates?"

Matt: "This is a mixer for singles. You arrive alone, in a limo."

Nick: (raising an eyebrow)  "And Harmony?"

Matt: "She could have been invited. I'll have to phone her."

Nick looks at the invitation: "Black tie and tails. Women to wear evening gown wear."

Matt: "Yep. Time to purchase the correct outfit."

Nick: "Why not rent?"

Matt sniffs his nose.

Matt: "Prefer to own my own tails."

Nick tries to suppress a smile; he can't and the smallest smile curls the corners of his lips.

Nick leans back on the couch and crosses his legs. Matt reaches over to his desk, takes a napkin and a brownie from the basket, then hands the brownie to Nick. Nick takes a morsel.

Nick: "Given any thought to our summer camp idea?"

Matt: "As a matter of fact I have."

Nick: "And?"

Matt: "I was thinking of going with a follow-the-doctor type of program, run as a day camp. What did you have in mind."

Nick strokes his chin thoughtfully.

Nick: "Similar to that idea but instead of a day camp, we offer a free, five week residential program to rising high school juniors and seniors interested in a career in medicine."

Matt: (nodding) "Not a bad idea. What about kids who've graduated high school and are thinking of becoming doctors?"

Nick: "You mean those kids just about to enter college and are undecided as to a career but they're considering medicine?"

Matt: "Yeah."

Nick: "Offer them the same free residential program."

Matt: "Excellent."

Nick smiles.

Nick: "Wasn't really my idea. I have Howard University in Washington DC to thank for the idea. They're offering a free, five week residential program for rising high school seniors interested in a nursing career."

Matt: "Still, the idea is excellent. Especially the free part."

Nick: "Think we can cobble together a program on such short notice?"

Matt: "I don't see why not. The regents are quite pleased with us these days. They should agree to anything we propose."

Nick: "Does that include the men's health clinic?"

It's Matt's turn to stroke his chin thoughtfully.

Matt: "The regents have the idea on a back burner. We could mention we'd like to see the men's clinic moved idea to the front burner."

Matt's phone rings. Matt leans over to answer it.

Matt: "Slingerland."

"It's David. Time for a brief meeting?"

Matt: "Sure."

David: "See you in five."

Nick takes the opportunity to chew on his brownie.
Matt: "You're welcome to hang out here. I'll be back shortly."

Nick: (mumbling) "Thassshasshsh."

Matt smiles at Nick before walking out of the room. Nick continues to enjoy his morning brownie. Upon finishing, he decides to head to his office to see if he has an invite to the Bark and Yowl Ball.

Nicole Sanders (the pregnant woman with a potentially malignant pulmonary artery tumor from "A Little Night Music, Please") has not made an appointment with either Rae or Letty. Nicole has not received any type of malignancy diagnosis from Rae & Nicole has opted to see her husband's internist for a second diagnosis.

Letty is not happy with Nicole's decision and Rae won't make a diagnosis of malignancy based on an x-ray. Rae wanted Nicole to have an immediate biopsy but Nicole refused.

Harriet is chatting with Letty about the situation. They are in the kitchen between patients.

Harriet: "Did Nicole Sanders get in touch with you?"

Letty: "Nope. Said she's made an appointment with her husband's doctor. She's under the opinion that the x-ray was flawed in some way."

Harriet: "Did she say when the appointment was?"

Letty: "A few weeks from now."

Harriet: "Will that be too late?"

Letty: "For a diagnosis?"

Harriet: "Yes."

Letty: "If it's a malignant tumor, she's got several months, although if it's the tumor I suspect it is, then it's inoperable."

Harriet: "A long, slow death."

Letty: "That's the long and short of it, yeah."

Harriet: "That explains why she's hesitating with the diagnosis."

Letty: "Possibly. Discovering you have a malignant, inoperable tumor and that your baby will have to be born early just so you can die is a situation I'd try to avoid learning about."

Harriet: "Perhaps we could phone her husband and see if he can convince her to have a biopsy?"

Letty:" Violation of HIPPA."

Harriet: "Isn't there anything we can do?"

Letty: "Short of hauling Nicole in, nope. We have to wait for her to make the decision."

Harriet: "What if I went to Legal and ask for a court hearing?"

Letty: "Harriet, you know the courts won't force Nicole to have treatment she doesn't want. Even if refusing such treatment might endanger the fetus."

Harriet: "So I'm supposed to just stand still?"

Letty: "Harriet, you've been around a long time. If the tumor grows large enough, it will block the blood flow to the heart. She'll have to go to the ER, where Terry will make the decision to send her up to either Tom or Nick for a crash C."

Harriet sighs.

Harriet: "How long until the tumor blocks the artery?"

Letty: "Depends on its growth rate. Since you didn't notice anything wrong at Nicole's last appointment, it's possible the tumor developed in the last month. If that's true, then another month or so, and she'll need the crash C."

Harriet: "You'll talk to Nick, let him know what's going on?"

Letty: "I could brief him, yes."

Harriet: "Please."

Letty: "All right."

In David's office, Matt is seated across from David. 

David: "As you know from WHO, SARS cases have levelled off."

Matt: "I know." 

He grins. He is quite pleased with his efforts at the hospital.

Matt: "I take it you wish to ease up on the patient visiting restrictions."

David: "You read my mind."

Matt: "You're going to have a fight up in Maternity."

David: "They've changed their minds?"

Matt: "With restricted newborn and maternity visiting hours, it's a bit more quieter for the new parents. They seem to enjoy the peace, saying they're plenty of time for visitors once Baby goes home."

David: "So what say we have visiting hours from 9:30 am until 6?"

Matt: "Sounds good."

David: "And one other thing."

Matt: "Yes?"

David: "Any chance this monkeypox virus could head out way?"

Matt: "It's a possibility. 39 people ill in the midwest and the CDC is attempting to control the outbreak."

David: "Still..."

Matt: "Still?"

David: "I'd like to give the patients some reassurance. Especially since Jules didn't catch the erhlichiosis diagnosis. Leopolodo Evangelista gave us hell for missing that diagnosis."

Matt strokes his chin.

Matt: "I heard. How about I head over to the computer department and ask them to post a message regarding monkeypox?"

David: "Will you write the message? I don't trust the computer department to do writing, although I give them excellent credit for developing the date-rape awareness pages so quickly."

Matt; "I"ll write the message and have it posted by this evening."

David: "Done deal."

At lunchtime, Nick and Rae are seated in a small restaurant, the same restaurant they visited some time back. Nick has ordered the fish and chips with the hollandaise-covered asparagus and smoked mozzarella pieces while Rae opted again for the steak and three giant lobster tails. 

Rae: "I can't believe you went out with Ophelia."

Nick: "Only as a favor to Dean Whittier."

Rae looks surprised.

Rae: "When did she ask you to do that?"

Nick: "At the most recent charity dinner."

Rae: "That was two months ago."

Nick smiles mysteriously. 

Nick: "Yep."

Rae: "Don't tell me you kept putting her off until now?"

Nick: "That I am."

Rae: "You're devilish!"

Nick merely smiles in response.

Rae: "Are you agreeing with me?"

Nick: "Depends."

A smirk crosses Rae's face. 

Nick: "I didn't like Ophelia when I met her, and after pulling a gun on me yesterday, I dislike her even more."

Rae: "Maybe she'll get a burst appendix while in jail and no one will respond to her cries until it's too late."

Nick raises an eyebrow at Rae's remark.

Nick: "A vengeful angel today, aren't we?"

The waitress suddenly appears with a huge tray carrying fish and chips, a twenty ounce filet mignon and three lobster tails. She begins off-loading four of the five plates onto the table in front of Rae.

Rae: (to no one in particular) "Plum sauce, sweet and sour sauce, honey mustard sauce and butter. Mmmmm!"

The waitress sets Rae's plates down in front of her.

Nick: "Is this what we're going to have to put up with for the next seven months?"

Rae takes up her fork and knife.

Rae: "Yep. Sorry."

Nick smiles at the waitress when she sets down Nick's plate of fish and chips.

Nick: "Thank you."

The waitress smiles back then leaves the two docs to enjoy their lunch.

Rae: "Know what made me decide to keep the pregnancy going?"

Nick, his mouth full of battered and fried fish, shakes his head.

Rae: "Sean."

In response, Nick raises his eyebrows in a question: why?

Rae: "The two of us used to say that we should fight the biggest war we could. I chose to fight cancer. How can I look patients in the eyes, like Tangie, and say that I'm aborting this pregnancy because it might be difficult for me? She has a much more difficult time than I'm having." 

Nick swallows his food, and chases it down with a sip of soda. 

Nick: "You could have made any decision you wanted."

Rae: "I know. I just sat there in HIV Services yesterday and thought: how can I abort? Oh, and I do have to thank you and Doctor Howland for posting on the date rape awareness page about testing for HIV in the event of a date rape."

Rae slices a chunk of lobster and dunks the lobster into the butter. 

Nick: "On behalf of Doctor Howland, you're welcome."

Rae: "I'll thank her then."

She puts the bite of lobster into her mouth and chews thoughtfully. Nick looks at her expression and remains quiet. 

Rae: "As to what will happen with the baby, I don't know. But at least one thing is off my mind."

Nick: "And that is good?"

Rae nods, wiping a drip of butter from her chin.

Rae: "Lobster is very good."

Nick smiles.

Nick: "I meant it is good you made one decision?"

Rae: "Yes. One more thing off my chest."

Nick sips his soda.

Rae: "I hear you've garnered an invite to the Bark and Yowl Ball."

Nick: "Where did you hear that?"

Rae: "Oh, around."

Nick: "Jackie?"

Rae: "Not this time."

Nick: "Really?"

Rae takes another chunk from her lobster tail and poises the fork into the air. Nick raises an eyebrow.

Rae: "The invitees to the Ball are printed in the society column."

She stuffs the lobster into her mouth.

Nick: "Society column?"

Rae chews, then swallows.

Rae: "Yep. Your name on the invite list is like saying you've made the A list."

Nick: "I'm afraid I'm not following."

Rae: "It means that you've arrived socially."

Nick: "But the Humane Society is sponsoring this Ball."

Rae: "True. But the Bark and Yowl Ball is the social event to be seen at. So, are you going?"

Nick: "Yes. I accepted immediately. Did you receive an invitation?"

Rae: "No."

Nick: "Could it have gotten lost in the mail?"

Rae: (annoyed) "I've never received an invite to the Ball."

Outside in the hallway near Norman's desk just after lunch, Jules runs into Jackie.

Jules: "Hey."

Jackie: "Hey back. How's the eye?"

Jules touches her still-bandaged eye.

Jules: "Opthamologist says it will be fine in a few days."

Jackie: "Great."

Jules: "Did ya talk to David yet?"

Jackie: "Yeah. Legal's in a snit, mother hasn't shown up yet and any settlement is going to come out of my liability insurance."

Jules: "It's not like you knew she was underage."

Jackie: "That's what I told David. We don't ask for photo id."

Jules: "So what about the wrong size implant situation?"

Jackie: "David says that the mother will have a difficult time bringing a lawsuit saying that we were negligent in implanting the wrong size implants."

Jules: "Huh?"

Jackie: "Legal thinks the mother might bring a lawsuit claiming that even though we unwittingly did surgery on an underage patient without parental consent, we used the wrong size implants."

Jules: "And Legal thinks you might be liable."

Jackie: "Yeah."

Jules: "I told David about Marnie's desire to have breast implants. And the fact her mother came into see me and the mother realizes that Marnie can stretch the truth."

Jackie: "Stretch the truth is an understatement."

Jules: "She's sixteen. What can we do?"

Jackie: "It's not like we can just go in an take the implants out."

Jules: "Would you do that?"

Jackie shrugs her shoulders. 

Jackie: "I could. But that would mean Marnie has a risk from anesthesia. And besides, it would be Nick who'd take the implants out if we got hit by a lawsuit."

Jules: "I take it David put you under surveillance."

Jackie: "It's not so bad. My jailers in the OR are Tom and Nick."

Jules: "At least you'll get to spend some more time with Nick."

Jackie smiles.

Jules: "Hey, did you find out who's been invited to the Bark & Yowl Ball?"

Jackie nods.

Jackie: "Yep. Nick, Matt and Sean."

Jules looks surprised.

Jules: "Sean?"

Jackie: "Rae is gonna pitch a fit."

Jules: "Remind me to not be around when she finds out."

Jackie: "I will."

Jules: "Oh yeah. I'm referring a six year old to you. Laser treatment for a strawberry hemagioma."

Jackie: "When does she want the appointment?"

Jules: "Soon as possible. The hemagioma is encroaching into the eye area."

Jackie: "I've got a block of free time on Monday."

Jules smiles.

Jules: "Great. I'll phone the mother and have her set up the appointment. Thanks Jackie."

Jackie: "Welcome."

After lunch, Rae discovers just what it is that has kept Jackie laughing. 

On her desk, someone has left a copy of the newspaper open to the society column. Sitting down, Rae peruses the headline:

Invitees to the 5th Annual Bark & Yowl Ball announced

Rae scans the list. As she suspected, her name is not listed.

She sighs. She's pushing the paper to the corner of her desk when something catches her eye. Picking up the paper, she stares at it, incredulous.

"I don't believe this! Him? How on earth did he get invited and not me?"

Uh, oh. Rae has discovered Sean has been invited to the Bark & Yowl Ball.

Rae wads up the paper and throws it across her office. 

"Damn, damn and double damn!" she shouts to no one.

Her door opens and Harriet pokes her head in.

"You all right?"

Rae: "Yes. No."

Harriet: "I heard the news."

Rae: "Don't rub it in."

Harriet: "Pregnancy can be good for you at this time in your life. I'm always here if you need help."

Rae looks surprised.

Rae: "Uh, I wasn't talking about that. By the way, how did you know?"

Harriet smiles.

Harriet: "After spending over thirty years in the business, you know. What were you talking about?"

Rae: "The Bark & Yowl Ball."

Harriet: "Matt and Nick got invited."

Rae: "I know. I saw their names."

Harriet: "Aren't you happy for them?"

Rae: "Of course! They deserve the attention."

Harriet furrows her brow.

Harriet: "So what's wrong?"

Rae: "I also saw Sean's name on the list."

Harriet: "Oh. That would upset me as well."

Harriet's pager beeps. She looks at it.

Harriet: "Gotta run. I'm here if you need me."

Rae: "Thanks."

Harriet leaves and Rae is left sitting in her office, fuming. 

At the same time, Nick is in his office, surrounded by gift bags, baskets and flowers.  The phone rings. Nick puts the phone on speaker.

Nick: "Kokoris here."

Amanda: "Nick! It's Amanda Sotheby. I heard about what happened. You all right?"

Nick: "Yeah. Thanks for asking."

Amanda: "I just phoned to tell you about the charges they're bringing against her."

Nick: "Attempted murder is one charge."

Amanda: "Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit is another. UMC is also considering trespassing charges."

Nick: "The weapons charge I can understand but trespassing?"

Amanda: "Apparently UMC doesn't like the idea of someone carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. So they're asking for trespassing charges to be brought. The DA is going to make a decision in the next week or so."

Nick: "I for one, will be glad to see Ophelia out of circulation."

Amanda: "I'll bet."

Letty appears in Nick's doorway. Nick waves her in.

Nick: "I've got to run. But thanks for phoning."

Amanda: "Not a problem."

She hangs up the phone and Nick follows suit.

Nick: "Afternoon, Letty."

Letty: "Same to you."

Nick: "Brownie?"

He indicates a plate of brownies but Letty shakes her head. She takes a seat opposite Nick's desk.

Letty: "Nope. Just swang by to let you know there might be a crash C in your future."

Nick raises his eyebrows.

Letty: "Patient with a potentially malignant pulmonary artery tumor. She refuses a biopsy and she's currently seeking a second opinion, from where else? Her husband's doctor."

Nick: "A second opinion is a good idea."

Letty: "I know. It's just that she's pregnant and there's a good chance she might have a heart attack before seeing her baby. That's the part that upsets me."

Nick: "We all have those patients."

Letty: "By the way, the review board has gone over your suspension. You might want to call them and see what's going on."

Nick: "But you know already. I can tell from the tone of your voice."

Letty grins at Nick.

Letty: "Because Doctor Howland failed to exclude a life-threatening illness from her diagnosis, you've been cleared of any wrong-doing. The suspension has been, or rather, will be erased from your employee record."

Nick: (clapping his hands once) "That is just about the best news I've heard yet."

Letty: "Always happy to deliver good news to someone. But next time, don't operate on Terry's patients. She's a bit territorial."

Nick: "I think she's a bit ill these days."

Letty: "You and me both."

Nick: "Think it's heart problems?"

Letty: "Blocked artery, perhaps. Chest pain, shortness of breath. She's been snappy, annoyed. Acting like a lot of my patients act just before I give them a diagnosis of blocked arteries or other heart problems."

Nick nods, understanding.

Nick: "I'll try to be more considerate of her."

Letty stands up.

Letty: "I saw the web page you and Terry did for the date-rape awareness. Nice job."

Nick: "Thanks."

Letty: "When are you going to distribute the coasters?"

Nick: "Tomorrow, noon until 8 pm at the Student Activities Center and the Student Health Center. Want an hour shift?"

Letty: "Yep. 1 through 2 pm. Student Activities Center."

Nick grins hugely.

Nick: "See you there."

Letty: "Until tomorrow!"

Letty heads towards Nick's office door. He calls out behind her. 

Nick: "Parting is such sweet sorrow."

Letty chuckles, exiting Nick's office and leaving him sitting at his desk, smiling. 

That afternoon, Matt is in the employee parking garage. He's just about to leave for home when Harmony comes running up. She's carrying a large overnight bag and she's having a bit of trouble running and ensuring the bag doesn't fall off her shoulder. 

Harmony: "Matt!"

Matt looks behind him. He sees Harmony, smiles, then frowns when he notices she's wearing high heels. Harmony catches up to him.

Matt: "Not a good idea to run in high heels."

Harmony panting, trying to catch her breath.

Matt: "And that bag is a little heavy for you."

Harmony: "I know. I ran all the way from the far side of the campus."

Matt: "Why? Here. Let me take that bag. I'll drive you home."

Harmony: "Thanks. Actually I need to be driven to Oakland, if you don't mind."

Matt: "Not at all. Where you off to?"

Harmony: "Santa Barbara. Mom's having another baby. I wanted to be there."

Matt shuts the Lamborghini's trunk.

Matt: "Well, congratulations."

Harmony: "I know she's a bit old but a lot of women have kids at 42. No biggie."

Matt: "You're to be a big sister."

Harmony: "Yep."

She gets into the Silver Wonder of the City. Matt shuts the car door then goes around to the driver's side, gets in, puts his aviator shades on and starts the engine.

Harmony: "Um, I wanted to ask you something."

Matt glances at Harmony.

Matt: "Yes?"

Harmony: "Would you mind it terribly if I attend a party by myself?"

Matt grins. He knows Harmony's predicament but for the moment, he's going to pretend he doesn't know what she's talking about.

Matt: (in a wounded tone) "A party without me?"

Harmony: "It's a party for unmarrieds. A mixer type of party."

Matt: "Well, I don't know."

Harmony: "It's for charity. Would you mind?"

Matt pulls the car out of its assigned space. He looks at Harmony, grins, then says:

Matt: "I've been invited to the Bark and Yowl Ball as well."

Harmony: "Why didn't you say so?"

She can't help but laugh.

Matt: "Wanted to make you beg."

Harmony: "Matt! Well, are you going to take Seti?"

Matt: "Seti?"

Harmony: "Animals are welcome at the Ball."

Matt: "Well, in that event, I shall see if Seti would like to attend. He's a particular type of cat and likes particular type of people."

Harmony: "He sure doesn't like babies."

Matt: "He likes big size people, so perhaps he'll fit in."

Harmony: "Great. I was planning on asking if I could borrow him for the Ball, but since you're going to be there, I'll let you take him."

Matt begins to drive the car towards the garage entrance. He sees Rae throwing her purse down on the ground and stamping her feet. He rolls down the window and hears her shouting, "damn it! DAMN IT!"

Matt: "Rae? You all right?"

Rae turns around. She is quite annoyed.

Rae: "Matt. Yeah. I'm fine. Just forgot to leave my windows cracked."

Matt nods, understanding what she means.

Matt: "Hot puke smell in a closed up car is not very pleasant."

Rae; "Tell me. I want to puke just smelling it."

Matt: "Leave it to air for oa half hour. Take a coffee break."

Rae: Maybe I'll just leave it overnight and cab it home."

Matt; "Always a good idea to cab it."

Rae: "Thanks. By the way congratulations on the Ball invite."

Matt: "Thanks."

Rae shuts her car door and begins walking towards the pedestrian exit as Matt pulls out of the parking garage. He's looking for a break in the traffic as Rae tries to flag down a cab. 

Harmony: "Her ex husband was invited to the Ball."

Matt looks at Harmony, surprised.

Matt: "Really?"

Harmony: "Yep. He's under Media."

Matt watches Rae flag down a cab. She sees him and Harmony in his Lamborghini and she waves. Matt and Harmony wave back as the cab pulls into the traffic again. 

Spying a break in the traffic, Matt pulls the car smoothly into the traffic and heads towards the Oakland exit.