That Healing Touch Series by K.Darblyne

Book Two

Up in the Air

Chapter 1

The warming water danced along her body like spring showers over newly budding vegetation. Her long form was like a harboring reservoir as the tiny drops of water built up in its dips and cervices and then allowed them to cascade down her limbs and trunk. The warmth of the shower made her think of how much she had come to think of her new family here in Pittsburgh. It was as though each of them had extended a welcoming embrace to her, with that small blonde nurse being right at the heart of the matter. It had been a long time since she connected herself with anybody, yet to think of someone as family. The surgeon shook her head.

Garrett Trivoli had only been in the city five months but it felt more like home than anywhere she had ever lived before. Her time in college, medical school, residency, or the Navy had no holds on her like this place. It was proving to be very different, this year of Fellowship for her. More than she expected. It wasn’t the job or the training that she was impressed with, it was the people who went out of their way to make her feel as if she was a part of them. And she was more at home with the petite blonde than anyone.

Garrett thought about the warm-hearted nurse, Danni Bossard, who had talked her into sharing her house when the new Fellow found herself seeking a place to live, joking about being homeless. The surgeon thought about how appropriate that it was for Danni to have short golden hair. It made her think of the nurse’s unending heart of gold, always giving and caring about others before she ever thought about herself.

A lopsided smile came to her face as she thought about the woman. ‘I can’t believe I didn’t see all of the similarities before.’ She shook her head and continued her shower routine, lathering as she went. ‘It was my brother telling me all along. She’s the soul to replace him in my life.’

She no longer had sadness in her heart when she thought of him. She realized that life goes on, and that for every soul that leaves us, one is sent to take it’s place. It’s just that we have to carry their essence with us until we find that replacement. "Maybe Rene had something there? He did ask me to open my eyes." She chuckled as her mind was pulling things out of the last five months and creating a new order for them in her brain.

Her colleague Rene Chabot had teased her that he would even turn Jewish if it would help her to find someone special. She thought about his tall, thin frame and that rugged French-Canadian accent of his leading prayers at a Synagogue and laughed out loud. ‘I could see you better cast as the Yenta in the Fiddler on the Roof, Chabot.’

Then there was Karen, the E.R. Charge Nurse at night. Mom, as they all called her, had gathered her into that E.R. family, which she was the matriarch of, without a second thought, even though their first meeting was almost life-threatening in nature. Garrett wondered about her own mother, had she lived. Would she have been like Karen in some respects, always the tough disciplinarian on the outside with a soft spot for a heart on the inside?

The surgeon turned off the shower as she reached out for a towel. The sound of music was filtering into the bathroom. ‘Danni must be up now!’ She smiled and thought about the woman who found nights too long when working, but way too short when she was able to sleep through them. "I bet this early morning stuff is going to put a serious dent in her restfulness." Garrett cracked open the door and yelled out, "You better get some livelier music on, my friend. That is, if you want to get up." She paused before continuing with her toweling off, waiting to see if she was heard.

The sound of saucy Latin music was her answer. The lively beat causing even the surgeon to begin moving to the music as she dried off; the towel snapping as she reacted to its rhythm. Her mind filled with thoughts of Rosie, the auburn-haired nurse that was another pseudo-daughter of Mom’s in that growing E.R. family. She had been the outspoken one in the E.R., always riveting to the action of the night. Her loud acclamations of landing a distinguished doctor had only set her up for a fall again with this year’s candidates. Garrett looked down at her own body and sighed, ‘Too bad, Rosie. I guess the name just didn’t have the right body attached to it for your liking.’ She raised her eyebrow at the concept of being a male. Then, just as quickly shook her head, "Nah!" She liked the body she had been given, besides she was finding it quite comfortable.

Garrett continued on with her morning ritual as she readied herself for the meeting that both she and Danni were to have with Dr. McMurray. Her mind thinking about all the people that were making her life different from what it had been. Never would she have dreamed of feeling at home again. Yes, she had found some very good people here in the "’Burgh".

* * *

The lively beat of the music was doing its job. The slow movements of the woman were beginning to show more life as her eyes began to open and survey the dimly lit bedroom. "By the gods! The sun isn’t even awake yet," she cried. Then she remembered what today’s meeting was to be about and her mind took on a new attitude. ‘Ah, yes! That meeting with Dr. McMurray about the proposed project.’

Her mind conjured up the image of her tall, raven-haired friend. The demanding perfectionist of a surgeon had scared them all, except for her. She wasn’t quite sure what it was about Garrett, but she knew that underneath the entire attitude was a really good person. "Yep, glad I called that one right.’ She smiled at the thought. ‘I bet she didn’t even know that she carried that baggage around with her all these years.’

As Danni closed her eyes, she could see the interior of the dimly lit cabin, the dark form sitting huddled in front of the fireplace, just staring into it. ‘I’m just glad that you bared your soul to me that night.’ She chuckled at the thought. ‘Not to mention your body, too!’ She could feel her face flush with warmth at the thought. ‘Oh! Better not go there.’

The nurse’s mind jerked her thoughts from the surgeon, to that of getting her small frame up and out of bed. She threw back the covers and found her dream journal tucked neatly where she had left it, under the extra pillow to her right. She picked it up and fingered the cover as she contemplated reading a passage or two. Then, deciding that she didn’t really have any time for it this morning, she placed it on the nightstand. She had her favorite passages and those she knew by heart. She let her mind recount them in her head. Her favorite one of all being that of the fierce, dark-haired warrior with the twinkling eyes. There wasn’t much more to remember. The dreams never lasted longer than a moment or two, and usually occurred right before she was waking. ‘If only I knew what they stood for. Maybe someday they’ll all make sense.’ "I’d better get a move on," she mumbled as she let her feet go over the edge of the mattress and on to the floor. She grabbed her robe and headed for the bathroom.

* * *

She wasn’t quite sure whether it was the excitement of beginning the project or the anticipation of the meeting with the Chief of Trauma Services, but Danni was ahead of schedule for a daylight shift. Her morning was moving along rather nicely as she waited for Garrett to finish up in the bathroom. The half-cup of coffee left in her mug attested to that. She never would drink coffee at home in the morning, simply because she couldn’t get up in enough time to fix it and drink it, too. But Garrett, now that was a different story. The woman was an early riser. The routine of her mornings could be timed and viewed with the precision as any close ordered drill in the military, each second planned and executed without delay.

She settled into the comfortable, overstuffed chair in the living room. Danni liked the fact that she was able to relax a few extra minutes and slowly sipped at the creamy brown liquid that was completing her morning wake up. Her thoughts drifted to the upcoming meeting with Dr. McMurray. She thought about her apprehension the last time and decided not to let her nerves get the better of her. It didn’t make for a good impression of their team when one of them had to be pushed into the office while the other had to be physically dragged out of it. ‘Never thought that I could do that one.’ She flexed her biceps and laughed.

"What’s so funny?" Garrett asked as she passed through the room on her way to the upstairs. She dropped her duffel at the foot of the stairs as Danni began to answer.

"Nothing, I was just thinking about how strong I’ve become." She flexed her muscle once more and pointed at it. "See?"

The surgeon shook her head and continued up the stairs. "I’ve just got to get my toiletries for the night. I’ll be right down."

"Okay, I guess that you’re on-call tonight." Her voice trailed off as she made a face, wishing that she could be there all night, too. She contemplated the next twenty-four hours, or more, for the surgeon when the ringing of the phone disturbed her thoughts.

"I’ll get that, Gar," she yelled and made her way to the phone on the hall stand.

"Hello," she greeted the caller.

"Oh, Dan! I’m glad that I finally got a hold of you." The voice was full of life, as her younger sister always was.

"Yes, Brie. It’s me. You’re up awfully early. What can I do for you?" Danni liked her sister, but she knew what the phone call was going to be about, her missing Thanksgiving Dinner with the family. ‘Well, I made my choice and they’re going to have to live with it.’