Chelsey watched him from behind the nurse’s station. She smiled as his fingers drummed the counter.
“So how is she?”
Dr. Brad Holcombe closed the chart in his hand and raised his green eyes to her.
“Not good. Ms. McCleary seems to be in the end stages of renal disease and her daughter is not a match. By the way, could you change her IV for me?”
“Of course, doctor. Anything else I can do for you?”
He glanced sideways before leaning in close to whisper.
“I would love to see you tonight.”
“What about Clara?”
“She will be out of town on a business trip. Why don’t you come over around seven?”
Out of town. Always sneaking around and hiding. The secrets drained Chelsey but he promised her he would end it soon. She knew from previous experiences that she would be the one ended but she couldn’t help herself, could she? At least happiness filled her for the moment. The desire to be loved overshadowed the guilt she felt from being the other woman.
“I will be there at seven.”
The sound of his beeper broke the conversation. He gave her a wink and handed her Ms. McCleary’s chart. She walked toward the room to check on her patient, a sweet old lady who always wore a smile despite the pain of her terminal illness. Her kind words and scripture quotes inspired the nurses to take extra special care of her.
“How are you feeling this morning?”
“Oh, I’m feelin’ fine, a little pain every now and then but nothin’ I can’t handle. At least I can listen to the rain. It soothes me.”
Chelsey noticed the Bible lying in her lap.
“Yes. God’s word gives me comfort and peace each day.”
“Peace, huh? Maybe I should read a few pages.”
“Does your relationship with the married doctor give you peace?”
Chelsey spun around from the IV pole she attended.
“How did you know about that?”
“When one lies in bed all day, she notices things that others are to busy to see. It has been quite obvious to me for some time now, and if I may say so, you are the one who is going to get hurt. Dear Chelsey, Jesus doesn’t want you hurt, but you must choose his ways or the pain will come.”
“What about your pain Ms. McCleary? You love Jesus and follow his ways, why would he allow the pain to come to you?”
“Before I knew him, I lived a life similar to yours. It wasn’t until my kidneys began to fail that I turned to him. I thank him everyday that I got sick because if not, then I would be without him forever. He is so much better than any old doctor.”
Chelsey sat on the edge of the bed to reinsert the IV. She lowered her voice so no one would hear.
“He loves me Ms. McCleary, and I love him. He won’t hurt me.”
Chelsey shifted her eyes to the needle she needed to insert. The shaking of her hands caused her to slip and blood began to spurt onto her gloves and arms.
Get control of yourself Chelsey. Don’t let this woman rattle you.
Chelsey held tight to the wound to stop the bleeding.
Ms. McCleary took a tissue from the bedside box and began to wipe the blood off of Chelsey’s gloved hands.
“The blood of Jesus was shed for us all, Chelsey. Like the rain falling outside, his blood rains down on us washing us clean. All we have to do is step into the rain.”
Chelsey looked into her patient’s gaze for a moment then finished her task, washed up, and headed outside for a smoke break. The cold air hit her face as Ms. McCleary’s words replayed over in her mind. Chelsey looked to see if her hands were still shaking, but a smear of blood caught her attention instead. She lifted her arm away from the shelter of the portico and watched as the rain washed away the stain.
“Can you really wash me clean? I don’t know how…I’ve done so many things wrong.”
A voice distracted her as she stepped toward the rain.
“Chelsey are you okay?”
She turned and saw Brad.
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