As Caleb Winstone rode the elevator to the fifth floor of Eastlake Community, the familiar aromas shouting hospital engulfed him. Though slightly different from the scents of his last placement, they smelled of coming home. Exhaustion threatened to swamp him but he had places to visit and things to accomplish before he sought sleep.
The indicator flashed five. The doors parted and he stepped out to face the nurses’ station. A half dozen women stared and collectively sighed.
“Enter the handsome doctor.”
Gasps and giggles greeted him.
Caleb felt his face heat. Had he really said that? He considered a strategic retreat but the elevator doors had closed. Though he’d been called handsome often enough, he had no reason for the blatant announcement.
A burst of male laughter interrupted his swirling thoughts. “Hello, Caleb. You certainly know how to make an entrance.” A tall blond man rounded the end of the desk and offered his hand,
“Alex Carter, good to see you again.”
Alex clasped his hand. “Are you in town for good?”
“Looks that way. I’ve joined Joe
Grogan’s practice.” Caleb grinned. “Blame my announcement on jet lag. Arrived
this morning from
“Have you been home?”
Caleb shook his head. “Came straight here. Decided to complete the paperwork and get my parking pass and then go to the office before I go home. I’m meeting Joe at one thirty at the office. Actually, I’m in no hurry to reach the stone mansion.”
Alex nodded. “Are they still upset over your career choice?’
“Naturally. They equate my straying from the financial sphere as a betrayal like they did when I chose swimming over football in high school.”
“Shame. Let me introduce you to today’s crew.” Alex walked to the desk.
The nurses smiled. Were they hiding laughter? He felt sure his appearance and words would make the rounds.
Alex grinned. “Ladies, this is Caleb Winstone, the newest addition to our staff. He’s joining Dr. Joe and vying for the handsome doctor award.”
Caleb shook his head. Years ago Alex had been a tease. His first wife’s behavior had soured him. The second marriage had brought a welcome change. “I’ll get you.”
Alex mentioned name after name until they reached the tall brunette at the end of the desk. Her lab coat marked her as the unit’s nurse manager.
“Caleb, Jenessa Bradshaw, Acting Nurse Manager. Her husband is Director of Nursing.”
“Glad to meet you,” Caleb said. “Sorry about the grand entrance.”
She laughed. “You said what we were thinking.”
“Don’t encourage him,” Alex said. “Half the girls in high school followed him around.”
“The other half followed you.” Caleb turned to Jenessa. “Why are you just acting nurse manager?”
“Our newly hired one was to start two months ago but a family emergency intervened. She’s starting on Monday.”