Andrew got up from bed with his usual energy. As his work was very demanding he always made a point of being well rested to face each day. He washed, put on his working clothes and went downstairs to eat his breakfast before opening the clinic.
He had agreed to meet his sister's friend today, and he wasn't sure it had been a good idea. It was true he could use some help in the clinic, he had been thinking about hiring someone for a while now, but..., a woman? Of course, he didn't know that much about women. Since his mother had died when he was but a little boy, Ethel and a couple of failed relationships was all that he knew about the "gentler sex"; well, that and his female patients, but he imagined that he couldn't pass a very fair judgment on the frailty of women in as strenuous a situation as going to the doctor when you're sick.
Well, it wouldn't hurt him to give her an opportunity, he thought as he swallowed the last of his morning coffee. In fact, he had heard so much about her over the years that he did feel a little curious. The knock on the door some moments later awoke him from his reverie and back to the present. It must be her. She was on time, he noticed, at least he would give her that.
Andrew had never suspected that a pair of brown eyes could be as fascinating as hers were. She was beautiful, no doubt, but what most impressed him of her was how the intensity of her gaze contradicted her delicate-looking appearance. She was still very young -he assumed she was 26, just like his sister- and yet the way she looked at him bore much wisdom, as if she had experienced a lot in her life.
For a moment he forgot what he was about to say, but then remembered he had not even introduced himself. "I'm Dr. Andrew Stuart. You must be Mrs. Parker, pleased to meet you." Somehow, he was having a hard time keeping his professional tone. He continued talking as he accompanied her to his workspace and helped her to a chair. "I trust my sister's opinion, so I'm willing to give you an opportunity. I must warn you, however, this is no job for amateur nurses." He had intended to give her a more forceful speech, but he was finding her presence very distracting.
"I see, Dr. Stuart," she spoke at last. "But if what you're expecting is to see me going into hysterics at the sight of a broken bone or an infected wound, you're going to be disappointed." Her words were intense, but her shaky voice gave her away: she was having a hard time talking. "I mean..., I've got my share of mayhem in my life, so those things don't impress me any more." Andrew didn't know what to make of what Claire was telling him, but there was more to her than met the eye, he was sure of that.
In any case, he lacked the time to ponder her words at leisure, since a patient entered the clinic at that moment. He decided this was as good a time as ever to test Claire's abilities, so he asked her to stay and help him for a while. He then stood up to greet Ms. Connor, and motioned for Claire to follow him. "What is it this time, Ms. Connor? Another cut? I hope it's not as nasty as your last one."
Andrew asked his patient to take off her jacket and lay on the bed. Ms. Connor had not a trace of being scared or in pain by her wounds. That was no wonder since, dealing with her farm animals all day, she must be accustomed to all types of scratches. In fact, she would always come to him, not for the wounds themselves -he had already taught her how to make the bleeding stop- but for fear of an infection.
However, when he turned his head to take a look at Mrs. Parker, that was a different matter altogether; she was scared to death by the look on her face. Not that he was surprised by her reaction, but he didn't expect her to faint so soon. He sighed deeply. She had almost fooled him earlier, when she so sternly had claimed she wouldn't do what she was just doing now.
But somehow, she managed to recover quickly, and approached Ms. Connor to follow his instructions on how she should go about mending wounds like those. Alright, perhaps she was not so frail, after all; at least, she was making an effort, and he liked that.
In the days that followed their first meeting, Andrew began to discover that his opinions about women may have been a little too harsh and ill-informed. She was everything he could have wanted in an assistant, and a fast learner she was at that, too. Her hand was always steady when dealing with his fragile tools, and she kept that soft voice so much needed, and often neglected, by those in pain. She was also very good at making sick children smile.
There were some things about her, however, that Andrew could not wholly understand. There was some secretiveness about her that intrigued him, and he was too eager to learn all there was to know about her...
Author's note: OK, so I discovered WAY too late that both Andrew and Claire share exactly the same hair color, so you will be seeing a lot of dark brown hair. I hope you can bear with me on this one, though.
I also wanted to thank all those wonderful creators, who make my life so much easier. And for those pose creators out there who might be reading this, I must shamefully warn you that I sometimes combine poses in... let's say unexpected ways.
And now that I'm at it, I also wanted to apologize for all the grammar and spelling mistakes I might make, and to thank you all for reading and commenting. :-)