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Chapter Seven

The con list had several items, while Lauren could only find two pros for staying in town and accepting the job at the hospital. One major factor was money, she couldn’t go on forever without working and having something to live off of. The other was finally getting a sense of security, permanence. No matter how she looked at it, she knew simply bouncing from one place to another for the rest of her life wasn’t an option.

This could be a fresh start, a chance for her to put down some roots and consider a future devoid of magical creatures and mysterious infections.

There were still so many other things to consider. To be able to practice medicine her real name and credentials had been given. Anyone who cared to really look could easily locate her. The idea of perpetually waiting for the other shoe to drop she did not relish, but she simply couldn’t figure any other way. Lauren certainly wasn’t sophisticated enough to erect an entirely new identity, career and all—this wasn’t television for crying out loud. Her only options were to either perform medicine and risk being found or find an ordinary job where she could assume a new identity. The decision should have been simple enough, yet the idea of no longer being a doctor on top of no longer having a home would smart acutely and she’d turn away from it.

The shrill ring of the phone slicing through the silence of her room startled her clear from her seat. She could only shake her head in sheer frustration at her own jumpiness.

“Yes?”

“Ms. Lewis?”

“Dr. Kenner, yes, how are you?”

“Fine, just fine, thank you. Up to my eyes in it, but managing.” He plowed straight ahead. “I verified your licensing and background, although there was one issue.”

Lauren’s heart clenched painfully and her eyes involuntarily went to the bag already packed by the door. “What’s that?” she croaked.

“Well, there seems to be ten years or so unaccounted for. I see your schooling and your time in Africa with Doctors Without Boarders, but then it just goes dark. It’s like there’s a hole in your record. Any idea why?”

She breathed a sigh of relief even as she scrambled for a response. “Canada,” she finally blurted.

“Excuse me?”

“I was practicing in Canada.”

“Oh,” he laughed. “Well look at that. No wonder I couldn’t find anything, our background check only scans for the U.S. or U.S. based organizations. Even better, you’re international!”

Dr. Kenner’s high spirits were contagious.

“Far as I’m concerned you’re hired. I’ve submitted you to the board and we just have to wait for their approval.”

“Dr. Kenner, I’m flattered really, but I’m just not sure—”

“Now just hold on just a second, ma’am. I know you’re still unsure if you want to stay here—and don’t think I forgot my promise of a tour—but just give this some thought…please.”

“Dr. Kenner to the ER.”

“Dang it, not a single moment to myself,” he mumbled. “Look, Ms. Lewis if you could just come down here tomorrow and help out you’d really be doing me a favor. I can hire you on a trial basis until the board makes a final decision and you can decide if this is some place you’d like to be. How’s that sound?” He didn’t wait for her to answer before saying, “I really have to run though. Seven A.M. tomorrow is fine. Just come to my office and I’ll get you all set up, all right? Thanks so much Ms. Lewis. Bye now.”

The line disconnected before she could get another word in.

Lauren sat heavily on the bed. That conversation alone felt like a few minutes in an ER. She did have to admit, though, Dr. Kenner was making her decision decidedly easier.

Tomorrow she’d try out her new job and continue weighing her options. If she got to make a few days cash, good; if she got to ogle cute EMTs in the process, even better.

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