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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"Teresa, have you seen Maca?" Esther asked her know it all, see it all, friend and colleague.
Reaching for a file, Teresa replied, "She was just here a couple of minutes ago. I think she's in exam room 2. Why? Is something wrong?"
"Her doctor told her to work half shifts, and in exactly one hour, she will finish an entire shift. I don't know what I'm going to do with her," a frustrated Esther informed the admittance clerk, hoping that the resident busy body would take it upon herself to remind her lover that she was overdoing it.
"I think Cruz is in the room next door. Let me go and get her to take over while you distract Maca. You can take her into the dressing room, and then Cruz could slip in and treat the patient," Teresa suggested as she walked around the desk to accompany the nurse down the hallway.
Smiling, Esther replied, "Good idea, Teresa. I'll just tell Maca that I need her opinion on a patient and that we need privacy."
The nurse walked on ahead of her friend and proceeded to knock on the door to exam room 2.
"Oh, Esther, I almost forgot to tell you. I hung some mistletoe over the door in the dressing room," Teresa said in a whispered voice.
Esther gave a mischievous grin and opened the door to retrieve her lover while Teresa knocked on the door to the adjacent exam room muttering, "As if those two need an excuse to make-out in the dressing room. Dios, if I had a dollar for every time they've been caught in the act, I could retire and live in luxury for the rest of my life."
A few minutes later, Esther was escorting her wife into the nearby dressing room, explaining about the problem with the imaginary patient while Maca listened intently as she blindly followed her lover.
Opening the door, Esther paused and looked up at the newly placed decoration as she smiled and pointed it out to the unsuspecting doctor. Silently thanking Teresa, she pulled her lover inside and gently kissed her lips. Soon, neither woman could remember why they'd stepped into the room in the first place.
Esther reluctantly released the delicious lips, and the loss of contact with her partner immediately caused her brain to jump start once again as she suddenly remembered why she had maneuvered Maca into the dressing room.
"Mi amor, you have worked well past your shift today. Come over here and sit down, please," Esther said, learning months ago that her lover didn't take well to being ordered around and her frequent use of the word, please, seemed to keep Maca from blowing her stack.
Sitting on the nearby bench, Maca closed her eyes and leaned her head back. "Ah, this does feel good. I'm sorry, Esther, but I really did lose track of the time. Let me finish with this last patient, and then we can go home."
Esther moved behind her partner and began a light massage of her neck and shoulders, stalling while she decided how to explain that Cruz had taken over her case. When Maca leaned into her touch, Esther embraced her and whispered, "Sweetie, Teresa and I were worried about you and asked Cruz to take over for you."
The doctor immediately stiffened at the words, but Esther hung on to keep her from standing. "Listen, please," the nurse offered, and miraculously, Maca began to relax. Relieved, Esther continued, "Everyone knows that you can do your job, but every now and then, you need to let people help. You know how Cruz is; she'd never take over one of your cases unless she knew it was in your best interests."
A few moments of silence ensued before Maca finally responded, "I'm going to allow it this time, but don't expect me to just drop my patients because my shift is over. I do appreciate you looking after me; however, please try to keep Teresa out of any of your plans. She'll take it as a sign to constantly monitor my activities, and I can't have both you and her manipulating me. Besides, she'll get to the point where she'll never direct a patient my way, especially if the end of my shift is near."
Grinning, Esther replied, "Okay, I promise, but don't expect me to agree to back off too much."
Maca smiled and compromised, "Fine. You can still be a busybody. Now, what do you say we get up from this hard bench and go home?"
Esther quickly stood and took her lover's hands, assisting her from the bench, and, together, they made their way toward the door.
"Hey, Maca. Maybe we should steal Teresa's mistletoe and hang it over the door in our apartment," Esther suggested, pointing toward the decoration.
Reaching upward, the taller Maca easily removed the greenery and teased, "I've got a better idea. Why don't we hang it on the ceiling above our bed, then we can come up with our own mistletoe tradition."
Esther grinned and took the mistletoe from her smiling lover. Opening the door, the two left the room walking hand in hand as they headed for the trauma room exit.
"I already have several ideas in mind for our new mistletoe custom, but I just wonder what Teresa is going to say when she discovers her mistletoe is missing," Esther chuckled, putting her arm around her lover and hiding the greenery behind her back just in case Teresa was anywhere near the front desk.
Meanwhile, around the corner, a grinning Teresa stood on a stool in the doorway of the dressing room, replacing the mistletoe for the third time since shift started. Now, she just had to find a way to get Cruz and Vilches into the room.
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