Day 1 (cont)
Dr Drake MacGregor
Drake watched the AmerInd yeoman leave Sick Bay. At the door, she raised her hand, and a gorgeous redhead slapped it as she bounced into the room. "Okay, I've officially entered my rutting season," he muttered.
Nurse Temple didn't look up from the computer terminal. "You're on duty."
"Think my hormones care? Three gorgeous women, back to back. To back."
"Hello?" the redhead called from the lobby. "I'm here for my medical."
"In here," MacGregor instructed from the exam room. She entered, her eyes flicking toward Temple. She had her hands behind her, which thrust her chest forward. Looking down at her smile afforded him a wonderful view of her cleavage. Keep a grip, man.
"Where do you want me?" she asked.
Open invitation. He grinned. "My bed." Instantly, her smile was gone, and a chasm opened between them, symbolized by the two steps back she took. Okay, she's not interested. He gestured toward the examination table and pretended she had misunderstood. "My medical bed."
She frowned at the table, stepped forward. She was so much shorter than the AmerInd, she'd have difficulty getting onto it, so he reached out for her arm, "Let me help--"
She retreated to the entrance before he could blink in surprise. "I don't need help!" she hissed.
He stared at her in confusion. She looks ready for a fight. What did I do? He raised his hands, palms toward her. "I think we got off on the wrong foot."
She glared. "We've gotten off on the usual foot."
"It's not one I like," he returned. "I thought the table might be too tall." He adjusted the height. "It was still set for the young lady before you."
"YD's tall," she agreed. "But I could get on it. No problem."
There was an uneasy silence until the table reached its new height. "Let's start over," he suggested, and offered his hand. "I'm Dr Drake MacGregor, Chief Medical Officer."
Instantly, her face held eager friendliness. "A fellow Mac! Great!" She stepped forward for a brief grab of his hand before she rolled onto the table in one fluid movement. "I'm Colleen MacDowell, communications ens - lieutenant."
New promotion. She hasn't gotten used to it yet. "This is Beth Temple, Head Nurse," he added. "Let’s see her record, Temple?" His eyes studied the readout panel, and landed on something odd. "You're ... heavier than you look, lieutenant."
Surprisingly, she wasn't insulted, nodded. "Yep. I'm firmly packed."
His eyes involuntarily traveled down her, noting every delicious curve. "Absolutely," he agreed. She's frowning again. Did that insult her? Most would accept it as a compliment. This one is strange.
"If you don't want to wind up back on that same foot you said you didn't like, keep your mind on your work," she stated sourly.
Definitely not interested in me.
"An excellent suggestion," Temple agreed. "Doctor, she's a heavy-worlder. Dense bones. Dense muscles."
Information sprang onto the readout panel, including a flashing note added by the nurse: VIRGIN! "Hard to believe," he muttered.
The redhead looked at him quizzically. "That I'm dense?"
He stumbled, mentally lost. Is there always 2 meanings to what she says? Or am I over-dosing on hormones? "Dense muscles," he agreed softly. "You look-" He saw a sudden flash of warning in her green eyes. He turned back to the readout and shut off the flashing note. "You look healthy. Guess I expected more differences in a heavy-worlder."
"We're just people," she responded.
"Are you reasonably well rested?" he asked the redhead.
She hesitated. "I suppose. Why?"
"Because as soon as you leave here, every man aboard will be chasing you."
She sighed in tired resignation. "I know. I hope that phase doesn't last long."
"Phase?" Temple repeated. "You mean, while you decide whom to date?"
The redhead shuddered. "While I try not to kill anyone." Before Drake could ask what she meant, she rose to her elbows. "You done with me?"
"You in a hurry to leave?"
"No," she answered. "I've got nearly an hour before I meet my brother. But your bed is hard and uncomfortable."
"You're due for some shots."
She wrinkled her nose in distaste. "Can I ask for a big favor?"
He worked hard to keep his eyes on her face. "Do we know each other well enough to exchange big favors?"
"It's a biggie for me," she returned. "I doubt if it's anything for you."
"Now I’m curious. What is this big favor? I'd better hear it before I agree to it."
"Let Beth give me the shots?"
Why in space--? “I am a doctor. I know how to give shots."
She sighed and lay back. "All doctors say that. But men aren't any good at it. It's better when a woman does it." She sat up straight and looked him in the eye. "Once, the doctor missed my arm completely, and shot hit me in the-" She blushed furiously, and could no longer look at him. "That was a man, that doctor."
Missed her arm? "Sounds like a poor excuse for a doctor."
"Then he wanted to ... tend it. And he got upset when I wouldn't go out with him."
"I don't date doctors, either." Temple’s statement surprised him. "Or did you refuse because he's a man?" The redhead gave the nurse a thoughtful look, so the blond added, "Trying to ascertain the competition level."
The lieutenant's grin was dazzling. "None! I don't date!"
Drake cleared his throat. "At all?"
On guard again, she woodenly said, "Papa raised me to be a good girl."
"I'm sure he-" He checked the readout. A woman her age is concerned what her father thinks? Should I refer this one to Ludwig? "Your father isn't here."
"He's not here here," she agreed, and tapped her temple. "But he's here."
"So you've never dated. Ever."
She blushed. "I had dinner with a guy once. Matt wanted me to."
"A brother. I have 8. Matt's the only one who ever let me go out." She thought about it for a moment. "Or did he make me do it?"
She keeps twisting the conversation in new directions. Sometimes a doctor can be nosey. "Have you ever kissed?" She gave him a startled look. "Germs can be passed by kissing."
"Then I'm glad I've never done it."
"Then you've never had sex?" She jerked as if he'd pinched her. "Even worse germs," he stated blandly.
MacDowell blushed furiously. "No, I've never been sexy."
Wrong. She's been sexy since puberty, if not before. She means she is a virgin. "Got the shots ready, Temple?"
MacDowell started to push her sleeve up. Bare skin was preferable, but not necessary. "Does this mean we're nearly done?"
"We're getting there," he promised. "Roll over."
Her brow furrowed in confusion, then cleared with comprehension. She moved onto her stomach. "This is a waste," she stated. "I told you I don't ... do that." She wrapped her arms around her head and interlocked her fingers, her whole body tense.
He took a seat near her head. "Let me explain." She peeked out, unlaced her fingers and raised her head. Again with that spectacular cleavage. "Giving you this shot when you come aboard, is standard procedure. It's no reflection on you. Besides, somebody might ... change you mind about sex."
She shook her head. "Nobody will. I-" She stopped and her eyes glazed, her cheeks developed a touch of color. The readout panel showed him that her respiration, heart rate, brain waves-everything was elevated. Somebody has caught her attention.
"Well, you never know," he stated softly. "Love strikes whenever and wherever it does. You done yet, Temple?"
"Two shots; contraceptive and vitamins."
"Good," he stated, and stood up.
The redhead reached to her derriere, where her tunic hem was rumpled. "I didn't even feel it!"
"Thank you," Temple purred. "It helps if you aren't tense, and Dr MacGregor saw to that."
"You’re the picture of health," he told the redhead. "Do you need help getting down?" He started to reach out, but her sharp look stopped him. "No, I suppose not. Thank you for visiting. I hope to see you again, in a non-professional capacity."
She hopped off the table. "I told you, I don't date."
"What about friends? We could decide to be friends."
She blinked. "Friends? With a guy?"
"It's not impossible," he said. "Some of my best -" He stopped. "Well, I've got friends who are female."
She still looked undecided. "I'll have to ask."
Ask? "Ask who?" That smile moves her out of stunning and into dazzling.
"My brother. Oh, I'd better go meet him. Thanks, Mac."
The sway of her hips as she walked out almost made him forget everything else. "The name's MacGregor!" he corrected.
"See ya, Mac." She laughed, and kept going.
"Wow." He sat down again, feeling drained.
"Well?" Temple asked quietly, again working on her files.
He sighed. "Not only virgin, but a babe in the woods."
"You'd bed her in a heartbeat," she continued.
"Abso-" He frowned, thinking about it. "No. Let someone else break her heart."
"Her brother will have his hands full, with her on board."
"Yeah," he agreed, and stared at the floor for a time. "Beth, I don't remember any other MacDowells on the Fireball."
"I've already checked," she replied efficiently. "There are no other MacDowells on board. No Gaelunders. No other heavy-worlders."
"That doesn't make sense," he returned.
"Better get used to it," she returned. "With that one, there's likely to be a lot that doesn't make sense."