Hot Crossings -3- The Clinic

Recognizing the unknown...

~HOT~
~CROSSINGS~

Part 3

THE CLINIC

By: Rebecca Anne Stewart.

With special thanks to Christy Lake & Misty Dawn

~THE CLINIC~

~[]~

Rebecca and Jeffery began to verbally spar, trekking towards Jeff's car. When they had threaded their way across the parking making polite conversation about the trip over, "how was the weather, etc," Jeff suddenly announced, "Damn! They did it to me again! I don't believe this."

"What's the problem?" Becky asked. "Did you forget something?'

"No." He explained, irritated. "Oh, Hell, it's really no biggie. It just seems that every time I come to pick someone up, they close the damned parking attendant booth at this exit." He walked toward the booth, then realizing that futility, turned back to Rebecca. "We'll have to drive all the way around to the main part of the terminal to get out now." The exasperation he felt was obvious in his expressions. "And wait in line with all those idiots there..." He looked as though he was ready to rip the booth in question apart bare-handed. "With a ferry just coming in, the line up's going to be incredible." Then suddenly, he let it all go in a whooshing sigh. "They probably do it on purpose, just to get more money for parking!"

"Jeffery... they do not do that on purpose, you are just being silly," she snapped back.

Looking across the huge expanse of parking lot, Jeff spotted the parking lot attendant chatting up one of the girls in a kiosk selling handmade candles and such.
"Hold on," he yelled. "I got me one hell'uv an idea." And then he began to strut purposefully across the lot towards his intended target.

"Hold on yourself there, Jeffery Alexander Stewart!" Rebecca remarked crisply. "I am not about to go traipsing across this parking lot in heels just so you can take out your anger on some poor unfortunate minimum wage kid who is probably just following orders anyway! You can forget that idea right now! Now, come on, let's get to your car and get out of here. I'm paying for the parking anyway, so don't worry about it."

"Can't do that, 'Bekers'. That's the same punk that told me the other exit would be open now. I just can't let him get away with this. It's the principle of the thing'n all, yuh know... Here, you take my keys...go get in the vehicle. I'll be there in a second."

"I don't know what your car looks like." Becky groaned in a pleading tone. She actually stamped one dainty foot in her frustration.

"It's the black Dodge 4x4 over there by the corner. It's right over there." Jeff's finger pointed roughly in the general direction of a big black box-on-wheels as he hurried away. "You can't miss it."

Once again, now thoroughly frustrated, Rebecca began the walk across the lot, this time she pushed the luggage cart, and prayed she didn't break a heel or twist an ankle. Some gentleman my cousin is, I tell you, she thought caustically as she continued her jaunt. Oh, that must be his car there, she exclaimed silently, as she came to a big black dodge SUV."Not bad." , she thought. "Jeffery must be doing okay to have a vehicle this nice. Too bad he doesn't dress a little nicer. He looks like a bum! And thirty-four is far too old to wearing a ball cap backwards on your head like some teenager, or wanna be rock star." Just as she wheeled the cart around to the back of the vehicle, Jeffery jogged past. Looking confused, Becky shouted out to her much larger cousin, "Jeffery! I'm right here."

He stopped in mid-step and stared at her. "What are you doing over there behind that toy wannabe truck? You don't like...gotta pee or nothin', do ya?"

"JEFFERY!!" she exclaimed, totally red faced, as if, Rebecca Anne Stewart, would even think of committing such an offensive act. "The VERY idea!" she turned her head and lifted her chin in a haughty gesture.

"Darn it, will you quit foolin' around and come on?" He said, taking over pushing the cart as he trotted off again in search of "his" vehicle. "You're gonna make us late."

"But...You said the black 4x4 over in the corner...I thought this was your car?" Rebecca sputtered.

"That useless thing. Those over-priced dinky tinker toys are made for people with more money than brains. Come on let's go," he shouted. "I ain't ate yet. and I wanna zip thru Ronnie's and scoop a couple 'a egg a muffins before they cut off breakfast"

Finally they reached Jeff's truck. Rebecca stood looking up in utter dismay at the huge black behemoth before her. Thinking to her self, "This thing is monstrous, how do one even get in it?" She asked, "Jeffery! Jeffery, where is the elevator for this beast?"

"What?" came a muffled answer from the back as he pitched Rebecca's bags like bales of hay into the back of his truck.

"How am I supposed to get into this Beast?" she inquired. "Do you have a ladder?"

"A what?" Jeff asked. "Just open the door and just jump up in."

"Jeffery! I can barely reach the handle on the door. Just how do you expect me to "just jump" up in there?"

Examining the situation that his cousin was in, Jeffery pondered how to solve it. "Huummm... Never thought of that, Cuz... I figured it be like, no problem. Okay. How 'bout we try this. I can lift you up and put you onto the seat. How's that?"

Rebecca realized that this was quickly developing into a no win situation, shrugged and nodding meekly, submitted to the large man's suggestion, as embarrassing as it was. Tossing her handbag up the two stories to the truck's bench seat, she offered her hand to him.

Jeff grabbed her around the waist, and accompanied with a small squeal from Becky, easily lifted her like a small child up onto the seat, and then audaciously fastened her seatbelt for her. Settling in amongst the clutter sharing her perch, she wrinkled her nose at the smell of old sweat socks and discarded burger wrappers that were now assaulting her senses. "What a pigstye." She thought, but forced a tiny, crooked smile at her escort, who had by then entered the truck from the driver's side.

"Excuse the mess. Didn't have time to clean the inside this morning. Got tied up fixing a twin Huey with rotor problems till late last night."

Becky, not wanting to appear inconsiderate, just smiled and nodded.

The starter whined, cranking over the Power Wagon. With sudden cough, the ancient monster's engine came to life, making that loud racket only straight pipes can, as the pistons fired in order. While Becky squealed and cupped her hands over her ears, he shouted, "Ready to Rock?" and slid a tape into the cassette deck, and an old AC-DC number began to add to the barrage of noise, already making Becky squeamish.

"If you play it real loud, you can't hear the motor as much," he shouted against the powerful reverberations vibrating the fillings in her teeth, then he pulled the stick shift down and put the transmission into gear. Feathering the gas as he released the clutch, they roared off with a shuddering surge forward as the clutchplate engaged the flywheel.

"It ain't much to look at. Needs a bit of body work, but mechanically it's sound." Jeff screamed in apology almost at the top of his voice.

After paying for the parking fees, they made their way across the causeway onto the mainland. Becky noted, as Jeffery had promised, they were just one among hundreds in a long procession of non-descript vehicles trying to accomplish the same thing. The bumper-to-bumper traffic was slowly inching its way down the highway. Spying the turnoff into Twassassen, her driver deftly manoeuvred the bulky vehicle into the turn off.

"Gotta grab some grub," he barked in explanation as they pulled into the franchised giant.

"Two Eggs-A-Muffin, with sausage, a couple 'a hash browns and a large coffee." he screamed at the speaker mounted on a pole set in the ground some 100 yards below the throbbing engine. "Want anything, Becky?" he asked.

"No... No thank you!" But she considered asking for earplugs. Jeffery opened the driver's door and twisted his body till it was almost half-way out of the truck to retrieve his "Grub" from the frightened girl leaning out and stretching up from the pick-up window far below.

"Hold this!" Jeff bellowed to Becky, handing her several bags and a huge cup with a queer looking lid attached, as he then crammed bills and change back into his jeans tight pocket. Then, with an awful roar, they were off once again. Rebecca watched the well-practiced move as he removed the little tear-away portion of the weird-looking coffee lid with his teeth and spat the offensive bit of plastic out the window.
.
"Oh! Charming!" Becky said quietly to herself as she I-wish-I-were-someplace-else observed his almost too-rude antics. I can only pray no one I know ever asks me anything about this.

Carefully placing the coffee, so as not to spill it, snugly in between his thighs, he grabbed the first of the morning's meal, and with an enthusiasm rarely observed outside of Nature's Wonder, quickly made the first portions disappear with minimum of bites. Rebecca stared in awe and wonder of the ongoing male feeding frenzy, until the only things that remained was the paper waste and a lingering aroma. The paper wastes then joined the rest of the collection undulating about her feet as the truck rolled and swayed along the ashalt ribbon toward their destination.

Soon they had passed thru the Massey tunnel and surfaced on the other side of the south channel of the Fraser River. The noise inside the tunnel was ten-fold, and Becky, again cupping her hands over her ears, was certain she was going to lose both her breakfasts before the came to the exit. As they exited the tunnel, Jeff turned the volume of the tape deck to a more comfortable level of only 100db, and asked, "So, what's the plan, Stan?"

"Pardon me?"

"What's the buzz, Cuz? You know... like, what's happening?" he yelled over the din of the engine.

"Jeffery, must you always speak as if you are an adolescent teen? Can you not carry on, normal conversation in an adult fashion? I feel as though I am conversing with a high school dropout, instead of a fully grown adult." Becky suddenly gave full vent to her frustrations and simply yelled back as loud as possibke. It actually helped, she noticed, and smiled slightly.

"Wooo... Sorry all to hell there, Cuz."

"And quit calling me Cuz! You sound like an illiterate reject from some inner city project. My name is Rebecca... please use it!"

"Hey, lighten up. Don't get yer knickers in a knot. It's not like yer time of the month, or something like that, is it," he teased.

"JEFFERY!" Becky shouted.

"Okay! Okay. It was a cheap shot ... sorry... all right? Just trying to lighten things up a bit. Okay?"

Jeff reached over and turned down the tape a little lower and then continued.
"Becky... this is how I am. I ain't from the right side of the clan where all the money and titles are... like you are. I come from the poor side of the family remember?"

Rebecca turned to face him, and stated, rather matter-of-factly, "Jeffery, you know as well as I do, that I have no claim against the Family Inheritance. I was disowned by Father more than thirty years ago... and, all that aside, pleading poverty is still no excuse for bad manners and a slovenly appearance." She waved a hand casually taking in the truck's interior.

"Reb. I'm a friggin' aircraft mechanic, for God's sake, I tear apart planes and helicopters all day. It's what I am. I ain't like that fancy shmancy dude I saw you with at the terminal. I'm just regular folk."

"I am sorry...you are correct. I should not have said anything to you. I do appreciate the ride and the help. I am just a little apprehensive about today, and beside all that, my girdle is killing me!" she apologized

Jeff's shot back, lightning fast and right on target. "Well Cuz, if that's what gives you that shape you are sportin' today, it's well worth it...cause, you're one hot lookin' chick!"

"Jeffery!" she scolded him, again.

"Well it's true. You is one mighty fine lookin' piece of woman flesh. Even if you are my CUZ!"

They both broke up, laughing at that. Rebecca smiled politely amid Jeff 's whoops and hollers.

It was not all that much longed before they crossed the Oak Street Bridge and entered the Shannesey district of Vancouver. As the pickup lumbered north towards the hospital, Rebecca began to get a little anxious about the impending visit. She once more checked her watch only to discover that they still had approximately twenty minutes before her first appointment.

"How much further, Jeffery?" she asked above the noise in the cab.

"Just about there... I dunno' maybe ten, fifteen minutes max... why? You gettin' worried?"

"Just getting a little apprehensive, I guess."

"Hey! Don't worry. It will be cool... Honest... They're gonna' zap ya'...Y'all getta' new hair do. And in a couple a' weeks you and lover boy can pick up where you'se left off," her younger cousin pointed out playfully.

"Jeffery. Robert is not my lover!''

"Ya right! Ya coulda' fooled me. I saw the way you two was looking at each other, and it was all I could do to stop you from playing kissy face there in front of the whole dang world."

"We did not play kissy face, as you call it."

"Huummm," was the response she got back.

"AAARRRGGGHHHH! Family!'' Rebecca shouted in frustration.

Minutes later the exhaust belching beast careened a rickety right turn onto Tenth Ave. And they headed down the tight, narrow street, challenging the small, puny family-type vehicles they met for supremacy of the road. For some reason they seemed just to melt from the path in front of "The Beast".

"Almost there!" Jeff shouts.

The suspended Power Wagon turned left to enter the underground parking lot at the B.C. Cancer Clinic.

"Oh Shit!" He yelled and slammed on the brakes.

Rebecca not expecting this, squealed excitedly and did a two-handed dance on the dashboard.

"Sorry 'bout that," he apologized, "My truck won't fit into the parking garage."

When she quickly regained her dignity, Rebecca asked "Now what?"

'Hey! Do you realize that was the first incomplete sentence you have said to me this whole trip? I must be rubbing off on you." JA joked.

Clearing her throat she began again. "Jeffery, where are we going to park this... this overgrown tank?"

"That's the easy one, Sweets. On the street... That way you get to show off thosekiller legs of yours some more to all the poor slobs out taking their coffee break. The hard one is going to be to find a parking place out there."

"Huummm." she mumbled.

Finally, surprising Becky at how quickly done, Jeff located a parking spot that "The Beast", as she had christened the bulky vehicle, could easily be manoeuvred into. With deft expertise borne of familiarity, her cousin wheeled the monster truck around and shut it down, and in the suddenly deafening silence, whispered, "Better put all your bags in the cab... Hate to get all your clothes stolen."

The decent from the truck was almost as tricky as the climb into it. Once again Jeffery offered his services and helped her out.

"I should remember to drive this thing when I go on dates," he said. "That way I could put my hands on more chicks and have an honest reason."

"If you ever pulled up in front of a house in "THE BEAST!" to pick a woman up, you would be going out alone. No self-respecting woman would ever set foot in this...this Pumped-up Rust Bucket, that you seem to be so proud of."

Slipping a couple of Loonies into the meter, he just smiled at her and said, "You rode in it, didn't you?''

"Come on," she growled. "I am going to be late." Her lovable lips set in a pretty pout as she stalked off.

Moments later they enter the front of the building and Rebecca strode purposefully up to the receptionist. "My last name is Stewart. I have a 10:30 appointment for assessment."

Little shivers of delight ran up and down the graceful woman's spine as she felt the eyes of the male inhabitants of the reseptory staring at the purient sight she proudly, prudently, purposely presented before them. She normally enjoyed the feeling of being appreciated for her beauty. She smiled slightly at this thought, but wondered if in this case it might not be as an object of raw lust she was observed; it was, after all, a provocatively feminine Power Suit she wore.

"Stewart, Stewart? Now where is that file?" the over-worked clerk asked no one. "Huummm...We have a C. A. Stewart reporting today. Could that be you?" she asked Becky.

"Yes, it must be. But, it should read R. A. Stewart, not C. A. That should have been fixed by now."

Suddenly the receptionist realized who was standing before her. "Oh.... OH! Um.... Aawww... Yes... Aawww... Miss Stewart! We have your file right here, please have a seat... and I will just pop in and notify them that you are here. Would you please tell me your correct name now, and I will see to it the records are altered, ASAP."

"Of course," Rebecca replied, cooly, and quickly giving the information to the clerk, and then took a seat next to her cousin to begin the long process of "Hurry up" and "I'm sorry, it'll just be a short wait".

Jeffery, already fully relaxed asked, "Everything cool?"

"Yes, Jeffery. Everything is just fine."

"So like, how long is this part gonna take?"

"It will probably take the rest of the morning, and I suspect, could consume a major portion of the afternoon. If you wish to go take care of some business...I can take care of my self.''

"Well, I was thinkin' that I'd slip home and grab a shower. And then, maybe we can scoop some thing for lunch. Whacha' think?''

"I think you going home and having a shower would be an excellent idea, Jeffery. I will meet you back here when you return. Is that all right?"

"Hey! Another incomplete sentence. That's two in the last hour. Maybe I am rubbing off on you."

Jeff lifted his six-foot plus bulk from the chair and headed towards the door telling his cousin that he would be back in a couple of hours tops.

A few minutes later Rebecca was paged by the Technician.

"STEWART!" He shouted.

"Right here." she said rising gracefully from the chair and moving toward the man.

"Okay. I can't read the initials here on the file. Is it C. A. Stewart or R. A. Stewart? I can't decipher it."

"It's R. A. Stewart." Rebecca smiled back.

"Okay. Please walk this way, please," he directed and led her thru large double doors and into the next office.

Rebecca followed the technician down the corridor until he stopped in front of a changing room. Giggling inside, she resisted his invitation to "walk this way" and mimic his masculine gait, as the old Aerosmith tune ran thru her head.

"If you would please remove all your clothing, except your bra and panties..." he inquired inviting her towards the changing cubicles. "You will find a gown to cover your self with. Please ensure that you take all of your clothes with you and please do not leave any valuables behind. When you are finished doing all this, please take a seat in the reception area over here." He indicated a spacious, spartan waiting room to the left with his right hand, "And we will be right with you."

Rebecca, alone in the tiny stall, complied with the man's request. "Oh, thank goodness! I finally get to remove this torturous girdle! The darned thing has been digging into me for the last four hours." Carefully removing the designer outfit, she caught her self wishing she had a clothes hanger so that it would not wrinkle. Finally, with a heart-felt sigh, sliding down the girdle, she rubbed the offended area where her garter belt had left some serious indentations in her hips.

"OW! That hurts!" she squealed softly. "Rebecca, that was a stupid thing to do this morning. God, I'll never do that again..." she chastised herself and again advised, "Second note to self: the aforementioned Blonde Moments, Have got to stop!"

Taking two gowns, she quickly covered her delectable tidbits; one slipped on in the traditional manner, with the rear exposed, and the other drawn on over the other, as if she was donning a coat. "I'll be damned if I'm giving anyone here a free show!" she remarked.

Stepping out side the metal closet, she danced lightly across to the waiting area to continued her wait. The tiles were cold under the soles of her bare feet and she padded quickly, hopping and hoping no one was watching her lively little dance, into the waiting room and took a seat.

In a few minutes a nurse appeared and asked her name. Inviting herself to sit next to her, the nurse quickly explained that she had a few questions to ask. They were the simple, ones like name, date of birth, sex... As Rebecca answered the nurse, she began frantically flipping thru her charts to see that she indeed had the correct patient.

Rebecca put her mind at ease by quietly explaining the problem to her.
"Your records probably indicate that you are to treat a Charles Allan Stewart correct?"

The nurse' still flipping the records agreed. "Yes. That is correct."

"Well, Nurse Walker," she continued after looking at the young nurse's nametag. "I am that person. You are looking for me. I used to be Charles. Now I am Rebecca."

"Oh! I see." Hesitantly the nurse asks "Are you transgender?"

"Yes"

"Oh, I see," she says again.

"You seem to know a little bit about these things?' Rebecca asks her in return.

"A little. Not as much as I'd like, or should. I have a friend back home who's husband was trying to sort out some gender issues that he had, and my friend would confide in me when things started going wrong in their marriage."

Rebecca nodded her head in understanding.

"So are you still transitioning, or has everything been completed.?" she asks.

"If my body would quit getting sick on me, I could finish the thing." Rebecca sadly remarks.

"This must be quite the ordeal for you to be going through. Not only do you have the change, but you must deal with an added illness as well. You are a very brave woman."

Nurse Walker looked at her patient and sensed the tears forming in the woman's eyes. Reaching into her smock the pixie-faced nurse withdrew a Kleenex and handed it to Becky. "Just in case," she chuckled and patted the other's shoulder reassuringly.

"Thank you." Rebecca smiled and quietly cleared her throat.

"Shall we continue?"

Rebecca smiled weakly and nodded her head.

After asking a few more questions regarding personal history, MS. Walker explained what would be happening during the next few days. "I'm one of the co-coordinators here at the clinic. It is my job to answer all of your questions, schedule your appointments, make sure that you have all the correct information, and most importantly seeing that you remain healthy! Okay?"

Her patient nodded.

"Myself and others like me, will be working closely with you the entire time you are with us. If you have any questions, or you do not understand something, anything at all, please do not hesitate to ask. Okay? The Doctor should be along in a bit, so when I call you we will go into the room there and he will examine you. alright?"

Once again Rebecca's head nodded affirmative.

"I'll be back in just a few minutes." Rising, the nurse quickly went on her way to accomplish yet another task.

Barely five minutes passed before she returned. "Rebecca. Could you come with me please."

Carefully picking up her clothes the fine figured female followed the fleet-footed nurse.

"My, that is a very cute looking outfit you are carrying. Is it pure wool?"

"Yes, it is. It's Alpaca. From Peru."

"God, it's beautiful," she exclaimed in quiet awe as she felt the softness of the knit.

Suddenly stopping them dead in their tracks, she said, "Wait right here."

Wondering what was happening, Becky complied, shifting from foot to foot on the cold floor.

The nurse returned with a quilted hanger and presented it to Rebecca.

"Here. For your outfit... I would hate to see such a beautiful garment spoiled. After all you still have to wear it when you leave here today," she said, smiling as she produced a plastic Patients Personal Items bag to put the rest of her clothing in.

"Thank you very much, Ms. Walker," the frightened woman replied.

"Call me Prue," she says. "Short for Prudence"

Rebecca smiled and responded, "Becky."

Quietly accepting the kindness shown by her escort Becky, suddenly reflected, "Did you know your name is..."

"A Beatles song... off the white album? Yes, I know." she quipped as they entered the examination room.. Prue gracefully refrained from asking her paitent,

"Do you have any idea how many times I've been reminded of that? Hand me your goodies and I'll hang them over here on the hook."

"Thank you."

"Dr. Geoff will be your doctor today. He should be here any second. Don't worry. He can be a little uptight sometimes, probably because he's British, but once you get to know him he's a lot of fun... You okay? Now just relax, everything will be just fine. He's just going to ask you a few questions, and when he goes to examine you, I will be right here in the room with you, so there is nothing to worry about... Okay?"

Rebecca shyly sat on the padded office chair, and the chill of the smooth surface making her very conscious of her next-to-nudity. She hugged her self against the cool temperature that she assumed was causing the chills she felt, unwilling to admit to her self that she was scared spitless. Within a minute of Prue's leaving, a tall man in his late thirties, wearing the traditional doctor garb of white lab coat and stethoscope entered the room purposefully, speaking to her even as he walked.

"Good morning, Charles... my name is Dr... Nurse WALKER!" He bellowed the instant he noticed that he was obviously not talking to a Charles. "Prue! There seems to be a mix up in the charts again! I have a woman in number three! There is not supposed to be a woman in number three! I also seem to be missing Charles Stewart. The man, Charles Stewart, is supposed to be in number three! Would you explain to me what is happening here in my supposedly perfectly ordered little world?"

Quietly closing the door so as to not draw further attention to the scene. The erstwhile Nurse Walker expediently explained to the doctor. "Miss Stewart is Charles, or excuse me, was, Charles Stewart. Rebecca is undergoing gender reassignment and then all this developed.''

"Why have the charts not been changed to reflect Miss Stewart's true status?"

"Now that, I do not know, my dear doctor. Though I am in the process of rectifying that, even as we speak." Prue explained with a huge grin.

"Well, see that it is done immediately. Immediately, I say! We simply can not have some idiot doctor racing up and down the corridors bellowing for a Charles, now can we?" The doctor moved about the exam room waving both arms in an exagerratedly excited manner and speaking in frantic tones.

"No Doctor." Nurse Walker patted the doctor on one shoulder and calmly walked away, "That sort of behavior would never do here in our perfectly organized little clinic," and gave Becky a little conspiritorial wink. "Ah, Miss Stewart, doctor?" She then directed the doctor's attention to the woman sitting so forlornly on the edge of her seat wondering if she should flee the scene of mayhem.

"Ah yes... Rebecca." he started out to get the woman's attention. "I am Dr. Geoff. As you can see we are pretty informal, and sometimes rather disorganized around here. You have already met Prue and you will meet others here today as well. My job here is to see you every time you visit. You and I will be making many ongoing medical decsions through out your assessment and treatment. Please feel free to ask me any questions that pop into your mind. Okay? I like answering questions...it's what I get paid for...All right? Now, lets get started shall we?"

After asking a few basic questions, and information on how she had transacted hepatitis in the first place, he informed her that he needed to give her a full physical exam. " If you would be so kind as to please remove your top gown and sit down on the table against the wall. I shall be right back," he intructed as he sauntered out the room.

Timidly, Becky complied with her doctor's wishes, and then, startled, jumped and squealed when Nurse Walker re-entered the room suddenly.

"Oh, migawd, I did startle you. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you.. It's these darn silly shoes I have to wear. They allow me to sneak up on patients in the middle of the night to see if they are really sleeping or not, so I can wake them to ask if they need a sleeping pill." Then she giggled. Becky caught on quickly and began to relax and gave the nurse one of her smiles.

Doctor Geoff returned from whatever tasks he'd just performed. "Sorry to keep you waiting. I was busy sticking my hands in the freezer so that I can properly give you an exam. You know that it is a prerequisite for all doctor's to do that just before examining someone don't you. Oh yes. It's true...says so right there in the doctors handbook," he pointed in the general direction of a bookshelf containing several medical reference books, "on page forty-nine, paragraph three. You really must check it out sometime."

Both girls laugh at Geoff's antics. "Told you he was weird." Prue shrugged.

"Ha! If you think I'm weird now, you just wait. Halloween is less than a week away, and all the weirdo's come out to play at that time,'' he snorted. "So roll up your sleeve, little girl... I vant sum o' yer bloood!' he proclaimed in a haughty Count Dracula imitation. Even though she knew this was an act he performed with all his patients, Becky realized it was working and that was helping her to work through a serious subject a bit easier.

"Told you he was bonkers." Rebecca's attendant reminded her.

"Aye" was all she could manage in between giggles.

"Nurse Cratchett," he smirked, "If you would be so kind," the doctor indicated Prue should pay attention to the proffered arm and to continue drawing the samples.

"Now Rebecca. We are going to be doing quite a few different tests today. Some of them you will not understand and none will be truly enjoyable. So, like I said, if you have any questions, or you are unsure of something, all you have to do is ask. The technician who is testing you will explain to you what they are doing to you, and do so to YOUR satisfaction, because if they do not... Well, you will have to lend them a pair of your panties, because, when I get through with them, their jockeys won't fit them anymore... Okay?"

"So, Nurse Nightingale are you almost finished over there.....SEVENTY-TWO vials!" he shouted. "Really, Florence, don't you think you should leave some blood in the patient? After all they do need to function when they leave here you know."

Rebecca's head immediately snaped around to where Nurse Walker was taking the blood. The surprised patient was relieved to see that there were only seven small vials in her tray. She giggled at her own insecurity as Prue indicated she was finishing off the last one.

"Don't worry, Becky, he does this all the time. He wants to get your blood pumping so he can hear you little heart go pitter-patter when he presses his ear against your chest." she joked back.

"Darn! Busted again" Dr. Geoff retorted. "Now shall we begin." He said in earnest this time. "Nurse Chappell," he assumed a 'Bones' accent, "If you would be so kind as to retrieve my stethoscope from the ice bucket over there, we can begin."

"Yes, Doctor," she replied. "Perhaps you would prefer the one packed in dry ice instead?" she inquired, inquisitively.

"Naw! We'll save that one for next time...It should be nice and cold by then."

"Now, Rebecca... what I am doing here is feeling your lymph nodes for irregularities. Did you know that you have over thirty of the little troublemakers in your body? No? Well, before we are done, you will know each one by its first name, how many children each has, where they went to school, all the really juicy things, you know. Really... I wouldn't lie to you ...I am a doctor you know ." Taking a small penlight he searched her eyes and said, "Pretty irises." He then examines the backs and palms of her hands finishing with a detailed inspection of her fingernails.

"Rebecca, that's a nice manicure you have there, but could you do me a favour on your next visit?"

Rebecca shrug and looks into his eyes as if to say "WHAT?"

Smiling the young doctor says "Refrain from wearing nail polish until after you have been examined, please. It makes it hard to examine your nails when I haven't got my x-ray glasses on. Okay?"

"Natasha. Will you bind our victim to the bed, while I get the electro shock therapy equipment ready, please."

"Yes, Boris!"

''Lay back, honey. The Funny Doctor wants get his free feel." Prue's hands held her soft shoulders as she directed Rebecca to lie down.

By now Rebecca was not at all sure whether to take the two seriously or not. So far they had kidded about everything they had done. Yet, somehow, both had let her know exactly when they were deadly serious.

"Thank you, nursey-poo. Now get me that funny do-hickey...the thing for banging bad bruises about the knees and the other one we use for tickling the piggies, please," was the next instructions to come from his mouth.

"Okay, Rebecca, what I am doing now is checking for any swelling or abnormalities in the abdominal area. Do you feel any pain when I press here?" he asked and once more she just knew this was one of those serious moments."No"

"How about here?"

"No"

"How about here?''

But this time, even as the words were bring spoken, Rebecca gasped sharply and reacted violently against the pressure applied.

"Sorry. A little tender there are you? Sit up please. Now Rebecca, I am going to do the same thing on your back... please tell me when I touch the sore spot? Okay?"

Once more he had no sooner said the words and she cringed, again in violent pain.

"Huummm," he sighed softly. "Prue. I want A C tests done immediately. Also, I want a rush on the creatin test! And schedule Miss Stewart for an ultra sound, contact MRI, and I want a C T scan today. I want so see the results before she leaves. Tell the Scotsman to rush it as well! Also schedule Miss Stewart for a biopsy for first thing Wednesday morning. I will perform the procedure here, on sight, myself."
"Yes, doctor," she acknowledged as she briskly left the room.

"Doctor, what did you touch back there to make it hurt so much.?" Rebecca asked.

"It's too soon to tell. The tests I have ordered will give me much more clear information, so I don't want to alarm you. However I must inform you that you are showing signs of the cancer metastasising and it may have spread to your kidneys. Tell me, does it hurt when you urinate?"

She shook her head no. "But, I have noticed that I have to try harder to pee than before and sometimes I can feel, like, a pressure inside me when I pee."

"Well, let's just see what the tests show...okay, before we get too upset about anything. Okay, I think I've seen everything I need to for now. You may put the other gown back on, if it makes you feel more comfortable."

"Thank you Doctor Geoff."

"Doctor, please... or preferably, just Geoff...okay," he pled.

"Okay. Thank you, Just Geoff." she repeats back.

"I do believe she's getting the hang of it," he remarkeds as he, too, left the room.

Becky was re-gowned when, moments later, Nurse Walker returned and indicated she was once again ready to go forth.

"Where to now?" Rebecca asked.

"Well it's almost lunch and our Scotty, never as dedicated as the Enterprise's Scotty, refuses to work thru the mid day meal...so, I guess we stop for a bite to eat...Come on, and I'll introduce you to the masters of ptomaine poisoning here in our fine cafeteria."

"My cousin is most likely waiting for me out in the reception area, may I go tell him of our plans."

"You really don't want to do that, not dressed like that, do you?"

Suddenly very aware of how she was attired, Rebecca turned the colour of an over ripe tomato and instinctively tugged at the hem of the way short gown combo.

"Here, put this on." She tossed Becky a hospital robe. "and here, slip these on your feet." and slid some disposable slippers across the floor towards her. "Now, what is your cousins name, and I will go ask them to join us."

"Are you sure?" Becky inquires. "He's a bit of a slob... and this place seems pretty sanitary. You may have to fumigate after he leaves."

"Honey, he can't be any worse than my last boyfriend. He fixes cars for a living." she laughed.

"Jeffery fixes aeroplanes." Rebecca replied. "Same thing. Grease."

"Yes, I guess you're right there, grease is grease. It still gets all over them and makes them smell bad."

Rebecca shook her head in agreement as Prue walked back trough the doors to the reception area. Returning later with Jeffery, Rebecca was astonished at the change in his appearance. Gone were the torn, grease-stained jeans and the food-splattered tee-shirt, replaced with a nice pair of poly wool slacks and a tweed jacket with a coordinating golf shirt underneath. The showered and shaved man looked at his cousin and asked. "How are the tests going Rebecca? Are they going to manage to eradicate the source of the problem?"

It was all Becky could do to prevent her jaw from hitting the floor. "J...J...Jeffery?" she stammered. "You... you...you showered and shaved, and you've combed your hair."

"Why, of course, dear cousin, I do so every day," he stated matter-of-factly. "I do this every day of my life. It is a basic human function ," he continued. "Now, since my dear cousin is unable to do the polite thing."

Turning to Prue, he extended his hand. "Jeffery Alexander Stewart," he said to Nurse Walker.

"Prudence Walker," she replied, still grinning from ear to ear, the sight of the handsome man simply too pleasant to ignore.

"I'm very pleased to meet you," Jeff said. "I do hope my cousin hasn't been too much of a bother to you and your staff. Now, I believe you ladies mentioned something about needing an escort to lunch. Oh, by the way, Rebecca, that is quite the fetching outfit you are wearing. Is that a new style I have not seen in the stores yet? It's very Unitarian."

As that infamous fiery Scottish temper began to boil up inside Becky, it was all she could do to keep from hitting her condescending relative as they marched off.
Always on the lookout for a way to impress another pretty girl, Jeff began to work his winsome male charm on Prue.

"So, Nurse Walker," he began. "It must be very interesting to work in a place such as this. You must find it very rewarding to be able to help so many people overcome this terrible disease?"

"Yes, I find it very stimulating. I try and focus the balance of my day-to-day activities on the concern, that I have for the patients here, such as your cousin."

"Here, allow me to get that door for you," Jeff offered. "After you, Ladies."

When Rebecca followed Prudence through the door, she said to Jeffery, "It won't work Cuz! I can see right through your act. You are about as real as a five dollar diamond ring. CUZ!"

Jeff gave her a wink and quickly stepped out of range, when Becky took a swing at him and groaned as she missed her intended target.

"So Prudence what seems to be the specialty of the house. I'll buy," he offered."

Oh, that isn't necessary, Jeff." Prue stated, giggling girlishly. ''I'm staff, so my meals are covered, and since Rebecca can't eat anything because of her tests this afternoon. You will only have to pay for what you eat yourself."

"What do you mean I can't eat anything?' Rebecca protests.

"Sorry pet, but you are having an ultra sound and a CT scan today. Your stomach has to be void of food in order for it to work effectively. If you like you may have a cup of tea. Black, no sugar. But I would prefer you to have a glass of water instead."

Jeff leaned over and whispered in his cousins ear "Bummer, Cuz!"

She turned, exclaimed sharply, tried to strike the much faster male again, but he was quickly out of arm's reach again, before Rebecca could raise a hand.

As they moved towards the front of the line the person serving, asked Rebecca what she would like to eat. She flatly responded. "Water, with ice...please."

Prue looked forward towards Becky and gave her a little smile and a wink.

Jeff just smiled and continued chatting up the seemingly very available Miss Walker. "You must work terrible long shifts with all the research that you do here?" he asked, the thrill of the hunt filling him now.

"Oh not really. We have it worked out so that we only work twelve-hour shifts, four days on, and then four days off. so it works out quite well. When I get off at 6 today I have four glorious days off to do what ever I want." Prue remarks.

"Really what a coincidence." Jeffery states. "I too have the rest of the week off as well." He began to sense the hunt was nearing the finish.

"Really?" came the nurses reply. She actually sounded interested.

Rebecca was smiling broadly, because she could easily see the next line coming a mile away. "Here it comes," she said quietly to no onne except her self, so softly she was certain that no one could hear.

"How would you like to have dinner with me tonight?" asked Jeff casually. He sensed victory now.

"Bingo!" Rebecca said out loud.

Jeff, gave his cousin a dirty look and continued the assault with. "Perhaps we can go see a movie, or something, or we could go to a little blues club. You know, the one just off of Richards. The one that has the finest Tapas bar in the lower mainland, or if wrestling is more your style... I can get a couple of tickets to The Female Grudge Match between Britney and Little Katie tonight at the coliseum?"

"Either of the first two, sound very nice Jeff." Prue looked at him, realized she had just been "picked up" and was amazed at how easily she had gone down for the count.

"Great!" he says. "I'll pick you up at your place say about 8:00 and then we can go for dinner, and then we'll take it from there." "VINI, VIDI, VICI"
"Fantastic."

As they tucked in to finish their meal, Prue couldn't help but notice the slight tension between the two cousins.

With the usual light chatter commonly associated with lunches Prue announced, "Well Jeff, Rebecca and I have to get back, she has an appointment that can't be missed and I have a ton of paper work I have to wade through, if I want to be out of here by six."

"Right," he said as he picked up everyone's tray and mess, and then headed off towards the trashcan. He was already wondering at which hotel to book reservations.

"Here, Jeffery you will need this, if you are going to pick me up." she says handing him her address. She was already selecting her ensemble, from the skin out, just in case, she told her admonishing conscience.

"Okay, Prue I shall see you then. Becky when do you think you will be finished here today?"

"I don't know Jeffery. As long as it takes, I guess."

"Your cousin should be ready to roll about three hours from now." Prue stated.

"Okay, I shall see you then, cousin," he flipped over his shoulder as he walked out the door.

"You aren't really going to go out with that... that Lothario, are you?" Becky asked, incredulous.

"And why not? He's very cute. Well-mannered, dresses nice, you know, Rebecca, I really do know why you think he is a slob. I thought he looked very vice."

"EEEWWWW! she shouted, throwing her arms up in frustration, as she walked back into the administration area.

"Come on, Becky. We have an appointment to keep," Prue pointed out and led her charge down the hall to Nuclear Medicine. Turning the corner she spotted the technician who operated the machines in this lab.

"Pickles!" she yelled.

"Yo!"

"Pickles. This is Rebecca... your next appointment, I believe."

"Let me check the schedule." he said." R.A. Stewart?" he asked.

"Yes!" both women answered, both noting with satisfaction the corrected chart had evidently caught up with Rebecca.

"Well, I guess Prue is right... you are my next victim. Hi I'm Bill, but everyone calls me Pic, or Pickles, or Dill, or even Gerkin. What ever! I answer to them! Most anything except, Hey, Boy!"

"Well, 'Hey Boy', you better get the lead out. Geoff wants those pictures stat."

"Get the lead out..." His eyers kept drifting to and over the lovely, nearly haked woman before him. "That's so funny...What is that an attempt at a radiology joke.?" he teased.

Turning to his next patient the tech stated. "Come on Rebecca. We mustn't keep the good doctor waiting. They get testy, if they don't get eighteen holes in, before the end of the day."

Rebecca did not get the golf joke but followed this strange man anyway.

"Okay first we are going to do an ultra sound on you." Pickles said, as they entered the darkened room. "Please remove your robe and scoot up on to the table. You can leave your slippers on if you want. Okay. That's right. Now, I want you to lift the front of your gown up to just under your chest area and leave it there."

The now frightened woman complied. As the gown comes past her crotch the technician drapes a towel over that area so as not to expose her precious area.

"Better now?" he asks.

"Uh huh," she replied cautiously, feeling totally vulnerable.

"Good. Now, you can put your arms to your side and relax. This isn't going to hurt at all. Have you had an ultra sound before?"

"Yes," she says.

"So. you know what to expect then."

Rebecca nodded her head.

"Excellent."

After about a half an hour of "Take a deep breathe...hold it!.. Now breathe...", and a lot of "Stop breathing right there. Hold it...", and lots of turning on the side. Pickles announced, "We are done... Now that wasn't all that bad was it?" he asked, rubbing his eyes as he rose up from the computer screen.

"Okay, I'm going to go read these pictures. Here is a clean towel to remove the jelly. Just remain here and I'll be back in a minute... Oh and... You can get dressed... If you want..."

While she was sitting there alone in the dark, Rebecca began to get a little frightened at all that was happening. Just as she was giving in to feeling all alone in the world, Prue popped her head in through the door.

"Hi... how's it... What's the matter? Rebecca, why are you crying?"

"I don't know" she blubbered. "I just started thinking about all that is going on and I started."

"Listen, you're not to worry! Girl, you are in the hands of the best care in the country. These doc's are top notch! None finer. Trust me, I came all the way to Canada just to study with these guys.... They are the best there is!"

"Really?" she asked.

"Really. Girl Guides honour."

"You were a Girl Guide?" Rebecca sniffles. She had wanted to be a Girl Guide but it wasn't allwed.

"No.... Not really....but it sounded good... and it stopped you from crying."

"Oh... Oh, Prue. What is going to happen to me...I'm so scared."

Holding her tight against her chest, the trained professional comforted her sobbing patient. "It's too soon for anything to be conclusive, Becky, Hell. The Doctors don't even know what is going on...it's just too soon. So don't worry about it.... You could be making yourself sick over absolutely nothing... Okay?"

While all this is happening Pickles returned to see Prue consoling her patient. He quietly does an about face and slips back out in the hall without being noticed. But Prue caught the movement out of the corner of her eye.

"Come on let's dry those eyes, and let's get you straightened around. Dilly Boy must be ready for you by now, for your next test. Okay?"

With a wipe of the back of her hand to clear her cheeks, the patient nodded, and proceeded to blow her nose with the soggy tissue.

"I'll just breeze out and get some clean Kleenex for you, and you can get yourself ready for that randy vinegar soaked tech...probably prowling the halls looking for another victim."

Getting up to leave the room, Prue gave Becky a last reassuring squeeze of her hand and quickly walked out the door.

Once in the hall she slid over to Bill who was looking over some charts. Leaning back against the wall the nurse expelled a long exasperated breath.

"How's she bearing up?" asked Pic.

Prue shaking her head, replied, "Not good, Bill... On the surface she's cool and composed., but.... underneath that woman is like a frightened little child. She is very fragile, Pickles... Treat this one with kid gloves.... I only hope that Geoff's suspicions are incorrect.... God.! I hope it's not stage four.... I'm starting to like this one."

Pickles put down the chart he was reading and gave Prue a reassuring squeeze on the arm. "Come on Kiddo!" he urged, "Let's go see if we can help your friend get well. She's scheduled for the scan next."

Regaining that professional manner that is a prerequisite for all staff in the cancer ward, she put on her determined face and rejoined, "Let's do it!" as she walked back into the room with the Tech in tow.

"Okay Becky," Pickles said. "The pictures look fine. Now, we are going down the hall to the really scarey machine for the next test. We wouldn't want to keep Scotty waiting, he can get a bit ornery when he's left twiddling his thumbs, especially when he's rushed."

"Scotty?" she questions

"Ya. As in beam me up," Bill laughed. "He's from the same place as you are, so we just call him Scotsman, or Scotty for short."

"He's from Stirling?" Rebecca asked, looking puzzled at him askance as they walked down the hall.

"Don't know what town he's from, but he has that same funny accent that you have, only a lot stronger... Sometimes when he really gets to talking, I can barely understand all that he's saying."

Taking this time to take Rebecca's mind off the next test. Prue told her, "I took all your clothes and put them in a locker for you . Your name is on the outside of the locker, and whenever you come here and, you need to get undressed, or changed. You can use that same one. You may want to bring a robe and a pair of comfortable slippers and leave them here to wear when you come, and perhaps some grungies."

"Grungies?"she inquires

"Ya!.... Grungies... Slobbies... You know for slobbing around in... a pair of old sweatpants and a loose sweatshirt... Oh! . and you want to dress a little more casual when you come. We would hate to see something get spilled on that beautiful outfit you were wearing today, and it get ruined."

As they entered the MRI room a slightly rumpled man in an ill-fitting lab coat greeted them. Peering over the top of his glasses, he spoke in a broad Glaswegian accent. "Weeell there ya' are lass. I was beginin' ta' thinkin' ya' be a gettin' lost after all... it's a bein' a whole fifty feet'er more between the front desk and me workshop."

"Rebecca Stewart. I would like you to meet, The Scotsman. We call him Scotty for short, among other things, that I will not repeat in mixed company.'' Pickles said, as snidely as possible.

"I am pleased to meet you, Scotty," Rebecca shyly admitted, holding out her hand to receive his meaty paw.

"Oh! Oh Lass, Do I detect a wee bit of the God's country in yer' voice?" the large man asked as his eyes begin to twinkle.

Rebecca nodded her head vigorously as she stared into his eyes.

"Stewart.... now let me see.... You wouldn't happen to be one of those Toffy nosed Stewarts from Renfrew would ye? Paling around with all them Wallace's?" the great hulk rumbled ominously.

" I have a few relatives there," the woman admitted, brazenly puffing, ready to defend her family unabashedly.

"A Few!".... he snarled. "Aaiiee! The place be positively thick wit'em... Ya' canna toss a rock without hittin' one."

"Well, there people. I suggest you treat Miss Stewart with a little respect and honour. It's not everyday we are graced with a person with such a grand history. Her ancestors received honours at The Battle of Stirling Castle. Long before this backwood country was even thought of,'' Snapped Pickles defensively.

While Prue was leading Rebecca over to the table, the patient suddenly noticed the equipment in the room. It was every bit as frightening as Pickles had promised. Tensing slightly, she noticed the carriage they were about to put her on was surrounded by a gigantic ring. She hesitantly put her body down and looked towards Prue for reassurance. Quickly taking Rebecca's hand she smiled and gave her a wink, just to let her know that everything is all right.

"Right!" the burly Scots said. "Now, m' Lady, what we are going ta' do is put a wee needle in your arm and give you some medicine so that I can take some images of your insides. It won't hurt you, but your tummy may feel a wee bit upset. If it does, just let us know and we will help you.... Okay?.....Good.... Now Lass, I'm going to start the needle. It might feel a bit cool as it goes in but that is just normal... That's it.... Nice and easy... Got all the time in the world... Yer doin' fine... Good, almost there... Right! Okay, now we're done. Now that wasn't so bad was it?"

"Rebecca." Prue says. "You have to let go of my hand now. The doctor has to take some pictures of you now and I can't stand here."
Rebecca, suddenly realizing how much pressure she was exerting on Prue's hand, immediately dropped the lifeline, as if it was a hot potato.

While Prue made her way into the glass room off to the side of where Rebecca was laying, the Scotsman's voice could be clearly heard coming over the intercom.

"Okay now, Rebecca, I want you to close your eyes, and try and remain as still as possible. Pretend that you are a statue... Okay? Becky, the table is going to move back and forth inside that large ring that you see there in front of you, so don't be alarmed... This part should only take a few minutes... Okay? ... You ready?"

Becky weakly nodded her head as she closed her fear-filled eyes. Soon, as promised, she felt the table making a series of slow slightly jerky back and forth motions.

After about ten minutes the table stopped and Scotty appeared beside her. "You may open those beautiful eyes again, Rececca."

"That was it ?" she asked.

"No Lass... Not yet. Now, I have to put a different chemical in you. So I can compare the two readings. Just relax....it will only take a minute. He began to push on the plunger of the needle and immediately Rebecca 's stomach became upset.

"I think I'm going to be sick," she warned her attendants timidly.

"Prudence!... If you please." the doctor yelleds.

"On my way," the beautiful nurse answered as she sidles along side the table with a kidney basin and a few damp cloths.

"Okay. Becky.... Just turn your head towards me...alright.... every thing is going to be just fine...try not to move...okay....that's right ...just relax.....everything is okay...." As she is speaking to her ill patient she applied one of the cool wet cloths to Rebecca's fore head, softly wiping her face with another.

"I'm sorry for the discomfort, Lass," the doctor assured. "But, I must run this one in very slow to make sure that the dye flows evenly."

"What is that stuff" Rebecca croaks

"It's a radio active dye that shows up when I run the scanner across your body" Scotty replies, matter-of-factly. "And, I promise, you won't glow in the dark."
"Almost done.... Almost there.... Done! Now that wasn't all that unpleasant was it?" he asked in a manner much too cheerful for Rebecca's liking.

Prue's voice captured her attention once again." Okay, sweetie, turn your head towards the front again and we'll put one of these cloths over your eyes for you.... Okay?"

Becky did not answer, just complied.

The Scotsman's voice was once again heard coming to her over the intercom "Okay...Ready.... Here we go ....Remember stay just as still as possible...don't move."

After what seemed to Rebecca an eternity, the machine stopped its insistent hum, "You may open your eyes again, Rebecca," and everyone could be seen milling about. The patient sighed her relief, but was now shivering violently.

Nurse Walker quickly grabs some blankets, and deftly, with Pickles help, wrapped their charge up as though she were a mummy.

"Don't be afraid," Pickles says. " It's just the after effects of the dye. It will pass in just a few minutes," he reassures the violently shaking patient.

With both Tech and Nurse holding her to decrease the shaking. Rebecca slowly returns to normal. As the shaking decreased Prue reassured Becky that she is doing fine. "As soon as the doctor says so, I can take you to the washroom, and we can get you dressed and looking all pretty again.''

Regaining her composure, Becky assured her care-giver that she was okay. Soon she was sitting on the side of the table and Pickles had her well-wrapped in the blankets, while Nurse Walker explained the next few visits. "After Dr. Geoff has had a good long look at your tests, you and he will decide on what sort of schedule to put you on for testing." she states.

"Testing?"

"Yes, testing. It usually takes a few visits here to figure out what treatment is correct for you. You see we try and match the treatment to the patient as much as possible. Some patients however, don't have the luxury of waiting and must begin treatment as soon as possible. Fortunately for you Dr. Geoff doesn't think you have reached that stage yet... Okay ... You with me on all this so far? Good! The way it usually works is that, at the start of each and every visit you will be sent for blood work. After that you will see either me, or one of the other co-ordinators here.... Then once your blood work comes back from the lab... You will see one of the doctors on staff here.... Dr. Geoff will explain everything to you again , just so that you don't have any questions... Okay? Now, I see that crusty old geezer of a Scotsman is back. Shall we see if we can go get you dressed?"

Pickle had chosen the moment to bust in. "Prue, as much as I'd like to watch Rebecca get dressed..." He admitted with a smile. "You really don't need me there, and since I have to get some test results over to Dr. Bunn, before he falls over with a coronary. I thought I'd take off now and go do that."

"Sure, Cucumber. I think we can handle it from here... Oh, bye the way, say Hi, to Twisted for me when you deliver his reports. Now, get out of here! You pervert!"

"Thank you, Pickles, for everything," Rebecca started giggling as Pickles backed out the door kowtowing all the way.

"Yes, Mistress Walker... I shall not disappoint you... Your most worthless slave is leaving right now..."

"You guys are goofy" Becky joked.

"Helps us to release the stress," Prue answered. "Oh, Doctor?" she asked Scotty as he re-entered. "How did Miss Stewarts pictures turnout?"

"GRRREAT!" he replied, then chuckled a perfectly wicked sound. "If they were any finer. they'd be pin up material Lass."

Prudence motioned to Becky. "Come on, Rebecca, let's get out of here while we can. Before he asks you to pose for a few more stills."

Rebecca still not quite sure what to make of this jovility in the face of what should have been very serious circumstances, blindly followed Prue out the door.
The pretty nurse paused, then stopped in front of another door down the hall. While holding it open for her charge, she exclaimed, "Your boudoir awaits, Milady."

Prue indicated that she will quickly return to her, reassured her and Becky quipped, "As it should be, Wench."

Prue's startled expression drew a laugh from both of them. "Hah! I see you are catching on. That's good, cause we can not allow the seriousness of all this to get us down, Rebecca."

They sidled up to a bank of lockers, which Rebecca noticed had people's names on them, carefully printed in felt marker ink on white medical tape. She reads R. A. Stewart boldly and crisply displayed on the front of the locker in magic marker and did her best not to think of how temporary Magic Marker on Medical Tape seemed, or the reason for it being so temporary.

"I hung all your things in there, Rebecca. The washroom and showers are over there, to the right, and if you use the very first sink, you will find that it has a vanity mirror and light attached. Just a little added bonus for us ladies."

"Thank you, Prue... You have been very kind to me... I have to admit I've been as frightened as a scared rabbit today... And you have held my hand all day. Thank you."

"All in a days work" she snapped back, Trying to reassure her patient by using a convincing voice and failing. "Now come on! If you don't shake a leg, Dr. Geoff will be wondering what kept us. And with his mind, you may be sure it will be very naughty."

Becky nodded and began to obey.

"I'll be right outside at the desk when you are ready. I'll meet you out there. So, snap to it, Girl!"

"Yes, Mistress Walker," she said, trying to imitate Pickle from a few minutes earlier, kowtowing until the other girl was gone.

Letting the door close behind her, Prue thought to herself."Damn me! I have no business allowing myself to become so attached to any of my charges."

Rebecca quick as a wink divested herself of the Unitarian hospital garments, chucking them into the big laundry cart that was standing against the wall. Opening her locker she began to remove her dainties from their storage area. Coming across the girdle, she remarked aloud, "Oh, Ya! Like I'm going to put this thing back on. My hips are still smarting from this morning!" She mentally cursed herself for being so stupid this morning. "If only you had taken the time to do it properly, but no...you were so concerned about looking good and how late you were running, didn't even consider comfort," she chastised herself while primping in the mirror.

Soon the effort that she is made repair her face took form. Finally nodding at her reflection coming into focus in the mirror, smiling at her self, she once again applied her perfume, walking through the softly scented mist. Checking her stocking seams one more time in the mirror, she dashed for the bench in front of her locker to put on her slip and skirt, and finished up by buttoning her jacket.

Noticing a full-length mirror on the wall over by the washroom exit, as she slipped into her shoes, she grabbed her hairbrush, never forgetting the small pump bottle of hair spray from her purse, then moved to pose before it, gazing critically at her reflection there and pushing her hair back into place.

"God what a rats nest!" she gasped aloud. "Girl, you had better be able to perform miracle! Ghad, just look at that mop." she continued. "Oh well... I will only have to put up with it for a few more weeks." She suddenly realized the implications of what she'd just said, and felt her soul sliding down the steep slope of despair. Stopping her mind in mid-thought, she says to the mirror. "NO! I WILL NOT CRY!... I just won't permit it.... I have to be strong!... " Some how she knows that this sort of fierce determination is what it will take to make her feel better about her situation, and briefly it does.

Becky looked into the mirror and proclaimed to her self. " Rebecca Anne Stewart! You will work thru this! You are not finished with this body yet! There are things I intend to do with you yet.... So just get a hold of yourself and buckle up, cause it's going to be a shakey ride!"

Considering that was very likely the best she was going to accomplish with her hair, she retrieved her lipstick and coated her lips, and then puckered for the mirror. She gave herself a wink and thought, "Now, go out there and knock them dead, girl!"

Taking one last look around, to see she had forgotten nothing, she sashayed through the door into the administration office. Seeing Prue on the computer at the desk she asked her if there was a phone available somewhere that she could use. Looking up at Rebecca, the nurse stared for a second and then smiled back at the woman in front of her.

"Sure... If you want a little privacy go down to Pickles office, he's still over at VGH running an errand. Just punch nine for the outside line."

"Thanks Prue" Becky said and clipped her way down the corridor.

Sitting at Pickles' desk she reached into her jacket pocket to retrieve the business card that she'd put there earlier. Dialling the number on the card, she smiled as she listened to it ring.

"Bob Arnold here!" the voice reported. His voice was mellow and caused her to tingle all over.

"Hello Bob... It's Rebecca."

"Well, I was wondering when you were going to call... Rough first day?"

"I've had better... but I'm fine," she answered back carefully, "At the moment."

"So... Do you feel still feel like dinner this evening?"

"Well, that's why I was calling you Bob, I'm still here at the clinic and I haven't even picked up the key to my apartment yet.... and I have to change ....and I'm - "

"Sounds as though you need someone to put a little joy back into your day." he suggested, cutting her off again.

"Bob... I got - "

"Listen." he says I'm almost done here. Why don't I have Martin swing by and pick you up. He's a marvel at sorting out little problems."

"But..." Rebecca attempted to inject.

"He'll grab your bags and bring you back to my hotel. I'll book you a room and you can stay here tonight. The restaurant I booked for us is in the lobby of my hotel, so that will make it nice and convenient."

"But what about my landlord. I was supposed to pick up the keys tonight and move into my apartment."

"Well... phone your landlord and tell him you'll pick them up tomorrow, Or... you could have your Cousin do it. He should be able to handle that, shouldn't he?"

"All right! I surrender... God, you are persistent," she resounded, laughing lightly.

"But, of course I am," now doing a Count Dracula imitation. "Good now do you have a pen and paper handy?" Robert asked.

"Just hold on a second please." Frantically searching the desk for the required instruments, she finally found both! Huummm...Pickles very well organized, she realized off-handedly, adding height to his stature in her mind, already somewhere over Mt. Aetna.

"Okay... Go ahead."

"Right... now copy this number down." He then proceeded to give her the info. "Now, you call Martin at about ten minutes before you are ready to go, and he'll be there to pick you up... Now, don't worry, I'll inform him as to the plan... Okay?" Bob continued.

"But... Hold it... what is this restaurant like that we are going to...I will need to know so that I can change."

"Don't worry about it... I'll take care of everything... You just make the call...All right?" he reassured her. "Okay... I'll see you in a little while... Okay?"

"Yes..."

"Bye for now."

Rebecca hungup the phone, a bit stunned at how easily he had taken over everything for her, and asked the empty room, "Now, what've I gotten myself into?"
Just as she swung out of the office chair, she was interrupted by the explosive return of Pickles. Her heart lept.

"Hi there...May I help you?" he inquired. Suddenly a look of astonishment floods his features, quickly replaced by one of recognition. "Rebecca?" he asked. "Wow... You look incredible in that outfit... I knew I shouldn't have left you and Prue to run that errand... Honey. You look marvellous!" Imitating the old Saturday Night Live character.

"Thank you," she blushed lightly. "I hope you don't mind me using your phone... Prue said it was all right... I didn't mean to intrude. I had to find a pencil and paper to copy a number..."

"No worries, mate," was the tech's reply. "Anything... anything at all for a beautiful woman, such as you."

"Oh, Pickles... You flatterer... You could charm flowers off of wallpaper with that tongue," Becky laughingly rejoined.

"Well... There's one I've never heard before... Charm flowers off wallpaper. That is a good one."

"All right you two! What are you doing in there?" Prue shouted through the door. "You! Vinegar Boy! Leave the poor girl alone... Come along, Rebecca... Dr. Geoff has your test results, and he's waiting back in number three for us."

"Okay," she replied. "See you later, Romeo." Becky added, as she intentionally wiggled her way out of his office. The idea he was watching every movement of Prue and her as the moved accross the room made her giddy.

Both Becky and Prudence broke up at the look on the man's face. As the pretty pair made their way down the hall, infectious laughter could be heard from one end to the other.

"My, someone's in a good mood." The doctor noted as the pair entered the room giggling. "Please, have a seat, Rebecca, and I'll tell you what we have so far,'' the man said as he indicated the chair opposite him. "We don't have an awful lot as of yet, so there isn't a lot I can tell you at this time... We have confirmed finding a growth in your left kidney... We are not sure of the intensity of the growth or whether it has metastases at all... It's just too soon, so I can't even tell you what to do at this point and time... The assessment process usually takes a about a week, but can run any where up to 2-3 weeks, for a proper evaluation, and treatment schedule. What I am going to suggest we do is put you on some vitamins and a few blood related products, in attempt to build up some of those properties... I would like to continue the assessment...say three times a week... Lets see here..." He checked his day planner. "Well, let's just keep this simple... Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.... How's that?" he asked.

Rebecca just sat and nodded her head up and down. Once again she was stunned to realize how little of her life remained in her control.

"Any questions?" Geoff asked.

"Is my disease... um... a ..."

"Treatable?" He asked. "Most forms of cancer are treatable, Rebecca... The question is finding the correct treatment for you that is most effective at eradicating the cancer from your body."

"Will I die?" the anxious woman asked.

"Rebecca... I am not going to lie to you and tell you everything is airy-fairy, and that in a week or two you will be fine...because that's not true... The truth is... we just don't know right now... Yes you have Hepatic Cancer... The amount of damage it has done to you is still being assessed... but I can tell you this. Once we find the correct procedure for you, we will do everything in our power to make sure you walk out of here a healthy and happy woman... Okay? All right now, don't you worry about it? Right now, that's our job... You just get lots of rest... and I will see you at 7 wednesday morning."

Rebecca looked into the Doctor's face and seeing a slight smile there, returned one of her own to him.

Reaching down to take both of her hands in his he urged, "Don't worry... Everything is going to be just fine... I haven't lied to you... yet... " he joked.

The woman returneds the smile again and with a shake of her head informed him that she believed he is right. "Please, don't ever start?"

"Okay... always the stark truth. Now, I'll see you bright and early Wednesday... Prue will give you all the details."

And with that said and done, he turned and briskly walked from the room to console the next patient.

"Come on, Becky... Lets see if we can't get you out of here in the next five minutes... Okay?" The nurse stated as she grabbed Becky's elbow and escorted her out of the exam room and into the hall again. The thought that she just might get a chance to see the handsome cousin just once more time some how urged her to hurry the process.

They stopped in front of the Prue's desk and Becky asked. " The doctor is pretty busy isn't he?"

The overworked nurse looked up from the forms she had begun assembling and said, "Huummm... That is an understatement.... Between Geoff and the other three doctors we have on staff here, we look after almost 200 patients on a regular basis."

Rebecca was astonished by the information and she began saying, "Wow, that's a lot.... I never knew that there are that many people in this area with cancer."

"And getting more every year," Prue added, as she continued her task.

"You and the rest of the staff must be really over-worked."

"Tell me about it!" was the pixie nurse's almost hot reply.

"Can they hire more staff to help out?"

"Can't. We have to stay with in our budget, and there is just not enough money," Nurse Walker added not even trying to cover the note of aggrivation colouring her tone.

"Well that's just down right stupid!" Rebecca forcefully asserted. "Health care is an important part of our society... with out it, we are no better than...than....than... I don't know what... but its idiotic to count pennies when it comes to peoples health!"

"Well, that's just the way it is, Rebecca... If you feel that strongly about it... Why don't you write your member of parliament, and tell him how you feel.... Maybe if enough people do it... We just might see some change." It was only with the greatest of difficulty she hid the sarcasm she felt in her heart.

"I might just do that, Prue!" the determined woman remarked forcfully.

"Now, let's see if I have everything." Prudence finishied off her sorting. "Okay, this is a schedule of your appointments for the next week or so... OH!... Have you arranged for someplace to stay while you are here? You won't be able to go back and forth on the ferry all the time?"

Rebecca informed her that she had indeed rented a small apartment just a short walk from here on a short-term lease.

"Good." Prue agreed. "Because there will be some days that you will just be too tired to go any distance... and once you start treatment all you will want to do is go home and go to bed anyway."

The concerned nurse looked into Rebecca's eyes to see how she was coping with this. Convinced that the older girl was still holding up, she continued. "Okay... Here are some forms and questionaires for you to look over and fill out and answer for us... And this is some information on what you can expect to see in the next little bit... If you have any questions about what your are reading just highlight them..."

The nurse smiled while handing Becky a bright yellow highlighter, and continued on. "And write the questions that you have right on the sheets if you like... Now this is a standing order for your blood test that you will have every visit from now on, so don't loose this card," she instructed and handed the card to her. "You can not have anything to drink or eat after midnight, the night before your next appointment, so remember that... Prue paused to make sure Becky was following along and understood all the information she was bombarding her with.

"Dr. Geoff has requested that he wants your energy levels to be at their lowest point when they test you ... Probably so that they can make a base line to evaluate your progress... So remember that! Don't forget to wear something casual for Wednesday... unless you like wearing that gooney gown you had on today... Oh! and don't forget a robe and some slippers as well... Well, I guess that's about it...Have any questions?" Prue finished on an inquisitve note.

Rebecca shook her head as she began looking at all the information that had been passed to her. " No more than a million, but not one comes to mind at the moment." She added almost silently.

"Then...we're done!" Prue announced, rising from her chair.

Nurse Prue occupied her self by escorting Rebecca back out to the reception area where Jeffery was having a heated argument about The States involvement in Iraq. "The Yanks should keep their noses out of other peoples business. Then they would not have all these problems... that they create for themselves."

Realizing that Prue and Rebecca had just entered the room, he ended his discussion and quickly jumped to his feet.

"Hi," he greeted boldly. Though he spoke to Becky, his eyes were on the lovely nurse Prue. "How did it go?... Hello Prue," he added, wondering how she would look in civvies.

The nurse wiggled her fingers at him and smiled, unable to stop the tiny tremors of anticipation tickling her in all her wicked little "right" places.

"Fine.... We can go now if you want...that is if you are finished resolving the worlds problems.?"

Both her and Prue laughed at the last statement, the only ones not smiling are Jeffery and the other two men he was holding court with.

With a sweep of his hand he announced, "Your chariot awaits Madam... Prue I shall see you again in just a few hours." With that, the cousins were out the door.

When they reached the sidewalk, Rebecca stopped and snarled, "Damn! I was supposed to make a phone call... Jeffery we have to go back inside."

"No, we don't...here use my cell phone. All you have to do is punch in the number and press send," he instructed as he handed her the palm size device and the trek to Jeffery's "The Beast" was resumed.

Rebecca was lost in her own little world, trying to compose what she was going to say to the upcoming call's intended recipient. She was quite oblivious to her surroundings until Jeffery was standing before her, holding open the door to a magnificent metallic blue BMW.

"Where did you steal this from? " she smirked at her cousin.

"I didn't. It's mine.... This is my everyday car... I only drive The Beast, as you call it, to work and back.... I had to work on that Huey till four this morning...and rather than drive home, change, and come back to get you, I decided to catch a few Z's on the couch in the cafeteria at the hanger. And that, me dear Cuz, is why I was dressed like you saw me this morning," Jeff finally explained.

"Oh. I'm sorry Jeffery... What must you think of me... I really gave you a rough time about being such a slob, didn't even stop to think that there might be a reason you were dressed that way... Please except my appologies, Jeffery... I truly am sorry.," she pleads.

"Hey ain't no big thing, CUZ!" he exclaimed, momentarily slipping back into his uneducated inner city tuff guy persona.

Sliding into the expensive auto, the woman was really impressed at the difference in Jeffery since this morning. As Jeff slid into the driver's side and secured his door and seatbelt, she grinned at him, "Nice car, too."

"Why thank you." he says "Do you recognize it ?" he then asked and casually affixed her seatbelt for her.

"No, was I supposed to?" Becky questioned.

"It's the same model and everything as the one in that James Bond movie," he bragged. "As soon as I saw the movie... I said 'I have got to have that car! So, I went out and I bought one," he finished, bragging on his purchase some more.

"Oh, that is nice, Jeffery." She really DID try to sound impressed.

Rebecca then began the short search for the number that she was to call. Delicately punching the numbers with the pads of her fingers she silently prayed to herself, I do hope he is there.

~[]~

~Next: #4 [Xanadu].~


More [Hot Crossings]



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