"Dr. Newman is willing to wait a few more minutes. You're her last appointment today so..." Nurse Sofia Carter let her sentence fade as she watched the young mother-to-be sit so bravely in the chair, waiting for her extremely late husband. At first, she wondered if the girl was really married. So many of the young ones who came through the door pretended and created fantasy men to replace the dogs who ran out on them, but after one look at the diamond and her matching wedding band, there was no doubt in her mind. No one could create a fantasy that real, or that expensive.
"No thanks," Dawn answered as she stood. Having always been afraid of doctors, she was terrified. She wanted to wait for Nikolas, but she couldn't have the doctor wait forever. Postponing the appointment was out of the question. She needed to make sure her baby was okay. She would muster her courage and go through with it. "I'll see her now."
"Are you sure you don't want to wait?" Nurse Carter asked again. She could see how scared the girl was and maybe her husband really was on his way. She'd hate to see her go through the first time alone.
"Wait for what?"
Dawn turned as she heard his voice. Her face brightened and she released the air she had been holding. Nikolas came to her and wrapped his arm around her waist. He whispered against her ear, "I'm sorry. Sheba had to go in for emergency surgery and I lost track of time."
Dawn wrapped her arm around his waist and pulled him close to her. Resting her head on his shoulder, she said, "Okay. I'm just glad you're here."
"Wild horses or even sick ones couldn't keep me away," he said with a laugh.
Dawn laughed at his joke and said, "Oh, Nikky."
Nurse Carter watched the reunion with well-trained eyes. He finally showed up, she thought, good for him. With a professional smile, she said aloud, "I'll tell Dr. Newman that you're ready."
"Thank you," Nikolas said. After the nurse left them alone, he pulled Dawn to the plush, brown sofa. He could still feel her trembling against him. He rubbed her arms with gentle hands to calm her. "It'll be okay."
"I'm acting like a baby. I'm trying, but I just hate going to the doctor," she said, her eyes looking at her fingers as they played with the buttons on his shirt.
"I'm sure it won't be that bad. I'll be with you the entire time, holding your hand. Will that help?" he asked, placing a finger under her chin to lift her head. As her eyes met his, he cupped her face in his hand and caressed her cheek with his thumb.
"I guess," she said. She tried for indifference, but she couldn't keep a straight face. She laughed softly when he pulled her closer to him and whispered, "Tease."
"Excuse me," Nurse Carter said as she stood in the doorway which led to the examining rooms and Dr. Newman's office. "The doctor will see you now."
"So, how did it go?" the voice on the other end of the telephone asked.
"Well, it went okay," the young man answered hesitantly. He had failed his assignment miserably and he was terrified to admit it. His boss, although he's never seen him...or was that a her, he couldn't tell because the voice was always altered, was ruthless. The mysterious disappearance of the person who introduced him to this line of work told him to always be wary. The money was good, but it didn't come without a price. Now, as he stood quaking in his boots, he wished he'd never even gotten himself involved with this line of work.
"What do you mean by okay? Did you see her?"
"Yes. I saw her.."
"And?! You are trying my patience, Maxwell!"
"I apologize. I meant no disrespect, sir um...madam? Honest, I didn't. I did see her. She was as you described. Young, black. Her hair was in braids. She was a very attractive girl," he said, swallowing the lump of fear that lodged in his throat.
"Anything else? Did you do as you were instructed?"
"Um.." Maxwell hedged as he tried to come up with a reasonable lie. Nothing came to mind, so he decided to go with the truth. "Not exactly. I bumped into her and she fell."
"You did WHAT?! You knocked her to the ground? What kind of imbecile are you? I make pains to separate them. I make sure the damned horse takes ill at the most opportune moment so that for once, *he* would not be by her side and you do what?? You knock her DOWN?! You must be a fool to confess this to me," the voice said angrily.
"No! I tried to take her, but the timing wasn't as perfect as it should have been. Someone saw me-"
"Someone saw you?"
"No! They didn't see *me*! They saw her fall. No one saw my face. I made sure of that. The woman, a doctor, I believe, saw her fall and the doc helped her up. She and the girl talked for a few minutes. Otherwise, I would have gone back for her."
"Otherwise?! Why are you wasting time with this telephone call to me? Wait for her and grab her at the end of her appointment."
"I was gonna do that, but *he* showed up. There's no way I'd be able to get near her now."
"You may be right about that. Listen closely and listen well. Another mishap and it will be your last. Today will be counted as a lost. Don't go anywhere near her again until I advise you to do so."
As the sound of the dial tone signaled the end of the conversation, Maxwell breathed a sigh of relief. He'd made it through this time, but next time he might not be so lucky. His last minute decision to bump into the girl instead of taking her could have cost him his life. In the future, he would not be swayed by her innocent beauty. The next time, he would do as he was told. The next time, he would take her.
"She's putting on a brave face, but she's very nervous about this visit," Nikolas said, honestly. Dawn had left with Nurse Carter to provide the urine sample Dr. Newman would need to check her hormone levels. Nikolas was pleased about the time alone with Dr. Newman because it would give him and the doctor a chance to get to know one another.
"I sensed that. Do you have any idea why? Is it me or all doctors?" she asked, as she leaned back in her large leather chair. Her brown eyes were warm as she watched Nikolas contemplate her question.
"She's pretty much afraid of all doctors. I think it has something to do with her father. He was a doctor and they didn't have the best relationship."
"Thank you, Nikolas. Knowing this will help us all in the long run. So tell me, do you have any questions or concerns?" she asked as she laced her fingers together and rested them on her desk.
"Her morning sickness. She's begun to lose weight. This can't be good for either her or the baby. Is there anything that she can be given that will help? She's concerned that taking something would harm the baby, but there has to be something, right?"
"There are a few things. Tea and crackers help some women. Has she tried those?"
"She lives on them. I feel she needs something more. Isn't there anything else?" Nikolas asked, worried that there might not be anything that could help Dawn.
"I can prescribe a vitamin for her to be taken along with her prenatal vitamins. I have a pamphlet which outlines a diet for women who suffer from morning sickness. It may prove useful. I'll go over it with both of you once she arrives," Dr. Newman reassured him.
"Is there anything else?"
"I can't think of anything..." Nikolas said. He paused as one thought crossed his mind. He hadn't discussed it with Dawn, but he was concerned about it, so he decided to ask the doctor for her opinion. Maybe she would be able to provide some insight for both of them. "Dawn is in a band. She does a lot of movement onstage. Dancing and singing. Will this harm her or the baby? Could this be too much for her?"
"Right now, I can honestly say the answer is no. She should minimize the dance movements. No flying or sailing into the air, of course. The singing may even be calming for her. Her body is going through a lot of changes, Nikolas. She'll need a stress outlet to help her deal with it. If she likes to sing, I think she should continue. That is, until she is unable to do so. For the time being, I think she should be okay."
"Thanks, Doctor," Nikolas said, breathing a sigh of relief. Music meant a great deal to Dawn, but he was concerned that she would have to put the band on hold. Knowing that she wouldn't for a little while set him at ease.
A light tap on the door signaled the end of their private conversation. Nikolas greeted Dawn with a smile, pleased to know that he and she had made the right decision by choosing Dr. Newman as their obstetrician. Dr. Newman seemed to be a very caring and intuned physician. He was sure that in time, Dawn would see that and become as relaxed with her as he now was.
After Dawn had taken a seat next to Nikolas, Dr. Newman smiled at them. Brushing a reddish brown dredlock from her face, she said, "Welcome back, Dawn. Now, we can begin."