The obnoxious buzzing of her alarm clock roused Ellie from coveted slumber. She blindly slapped at the snooze button, knocking the numerous text books that surrounded her off the bed and onto the floor. She could hear her roommate, Penelope, making coffee in their tiny kitchen. Reluctantly she rolled out of bed and shuffled toward the sweet aroma. She plopped into a chair and rested her head on the table next to Penelope’s worn Bible.
“Good morning," Penelope called out cheerfully.
From under a tangled mass of her red curls Ellie grunted. She was not a morning person.
“The coffee’s ready,” Penelope said as she took two mugs out of the dishwasher. “What time did you go to bed?”
“Who knows? It all runs together. I sleep. I study. I go to class. What a life.”
Penelope sat the steaming cup down beside Ellie. “It’s temporary. When we graduate things will be easier.”
“Just wait. You’ll see.”
Ellie lifted her head just high enough so Penelope could see her eye roll. “Mrs. Postitive Penelope.”
Penelope smiled. “I’m going to disregard your rudeness since you haven’t had your caffeine yet.”
Irritated, Ellie blew into her coffee. “It’s just that whatever happens, you make it sound positive.”
Penelope ignored Ellie as she popped two bagels into the toaster. “I’ve got that big test today, so I’m going to the library to study.”
“I thought you studied yesterday.”
“That was the plan, but Hannah needed help with a paper and then John had a flat tire and needed a ride.”
Ellie wasn’t surprised. Penelope was always doing for others, to her own detriment. “You’ve got to stop doing for everybody else. The nice guys never finish first.”
“You weren’t complaining when I got up to make your coffee,” Penelope teased.
“Whatev--,” Ellie began but was interrupted by the sound of clattering dishes followed by Penelope’s sharp squeal.
“Ow!” Penelope’s face grew pale as she grabbed her hand. Blood oozed from between her fingers and dripped to the floor.
Suddenly wide awake, Ellie jumped from her chair and grabbed Penelope’s hand to look. “‘Ow’ is right! What did you do?”
“My sweater got caught on the cabinet nob. I lost my balance and fell into the dishwasher. That knife was sticking up...it broke my fall.” Penelope started to sway as she glanced down at the guilty knife.
“Hold on.” Ellie steadied Penelope and then led her to the sofa. “You need stitches. Let me get dressed and I’ll drive to the ER.”
“But my test,” Penelope protested weakly.
“It’ll wait,” Ellie said over her shoulder as she threw on a t-shirt and wiggled into her jeans.
Once they were finally in an exam room, Ellie nudged Penelope. “You know, you can complain. It’s okay. I won’t tell.”
“I was just praying.”
“Whatever,” Ellie said under her breath.
Without warning, their surrounding privacy curtain was suddenly flung open. Ellie looked up to see the finest example of the male specimen she had ever witnessed. The tag on the white lab coat read Matt McCurdy. M.D. A quick glance to Penelope revealed she was equally impressed by the good doctor. He gently lifted Penelope’s hand and observed the injury. “Ow! I bet this hurt.”
Ellie was disappointed when she was summoned by the hospital registrar to fill out medical forms. She much preferred to watch Dr. McDreamy do his job. She quickly filled out the forms, then dashed into the bathroom to apply mascara and wrestle her hair into a clip. When she returned to the exam room, Dr. McCurdy was just finishing up the stitches.
“Hello, Ellie,” the doctor said. He knows my name, she smiled to herself. “Penelope told me how nice you were to drive her here.”
Ellie nodded and smiled. “That’s me. I’m nice.”
Dr. McCurdy finished giving Penelope instructions before the girls reluctantly told him goodbye. Penelope needed to stop in the restroom so Ellie sat down to wait for her. Her heart skipped a beat when Dr. McCurdy approached her.
“I’m glad I caught you alone. I wanted to ask you a question.”
Ellie’s heart was racing. Here it comes. He’s going to ask me out!
“Does Penelope have a boyfriend?”
Ow! Ellie’s heart hurt. “No.”
“Great! Remind her she needs to come back in a week for me to remove her stitches. She sure is a nice girl. You don’t meant many genuinely nice girls these days.”
“Yea, whatever,” Ellie mumbled as he walked away.
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