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Friends Unknown

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Von made her way along the car park, trying her best to avoid the looks she was getting from colleagues, she felt knots in her stomach as she tried to remain calm. She wasn’t a fool, she knew the entire hospital was aware of her suspension, her upcoming court case. As she made her way in to the elevator, Nelson stepped in behind her, a few other occupants inside. Von looked sideways at Nelson, who was watching her with concern.
“You okay?” He whispered.
“As much as I can be.”
“I tried calling you last night.”
“Yeah sorry, I was with my lawyer.”
They stopped talking as the doors opened, two doctors behind them, squeezing past them, one giving Von a look as she went. Nelson saw the look, the hurt in Von’s face, though she wasn’t aware she was being obvious about it. Nelson tried to reach for her arm but she quickly moved away form his touch, the doors opening to Ward 17.
“Von wait…”
“Look, you know, none of us here think any less of you.”
“For what, this isn’t my fault. I tried to save that woman’s life. I didn’t walk away unlike some I could mention, and I’m the one being sued.”
“We’re all behind you on this.”
“Well if they sack me it won’t really matter any more…will it?”
Before Nelson could respond, Von was through the doors and entering Terri’s office, the door closing behind her. Nelson stood looking at the door for a few moments, before he felt a hand on his back.
“Nelson, you okay?”
Turning around, he saw the concerned look on Charlotte’s face.
“Yeah…yeah I’m good.”
He turned and made his way to the break room to put his things away in his locker, Charlotte following him.
“Was that Von I saw going to see Terri?” She asked.
“Yeah, they have a meeting.”
“Von’s suspension, it won’t be for long. The whole thing is ridiculous.”
“Well the courts don’t seem to think so, according to Terri, the lawyer’s fees are already crippling her.”
“Yeah Terri said, she’s having to sell her flat apparently.”
“What, I didn’t know that. This isn’t fair, she shouldn’t have to be going through any of this…she tried to save the woman’s life for christ sake.”
“Hey I agree with you but the daughter thinks differently.”
“The daughters being a selfish cow, Von missed her exam to save the woman’s mother and this is the thanks she gets for it, she should have just walked by.”
“Oh come on, you don’t mean that. You know Von as well as I do, she wouldn’t do that, not even for her exam.”
“If she had, none of this would be happening to her.”
“We’re all behind her on this, she knows that.”
“But she never lets us help her, just being here…it’s not enough Charlotte, but she’s too bloody stubborn to accept help from us.”
“Nelson it’s Von, it’s who she is…you can’t change her. All we can do is let her know we’re here.”
“I need to get to work.”
Nelson moved past Charlotte, leaving the blonde defeated.

Terri came around the desk, and took a seat in the chair beside Von, looking at her with sympathy.
“Don’t Terri.”
“You know what, I don’t want to hear we’re all here for you again.”
“Okay, but we are. You know when Mitch died, you made me open up, you wouldn’t let me hide away and yet here you are, doing the same thing.”
“You’re going to win this.”
“Am I, well my lawyer’s not sure if he can.”
“You tried to save her life.”
“And caused damage when I performed CPR.”
“You did what you had to do.”
“The fees for this case alone are killing me, and with my unpaid suspension, it’s not helping.”
“Look, I can loan you money if that…”
“No, no I’m not taking your money.”
“A loan…”
“No, I’ve got the flat, I can use that.”
“You shouldn’t have to sell your home Von, where are you going to stay.”
“I’ll stay a motel or something until I can find somewhere affordable.”
“Stay with me?”
“You’ve got Lucy, you have enough on your plate and you only have the two rooms.”
“Lucy can stay in my room.”
“I’m not imposing on you Terri, I won’t. I’ll be okay, I’ll find somewhere.”
“I hate that this is happening to you.”
“Me too, not very much I can do about it though, is there.”
“Why don’t you come to mine tonight for dinner, take your mind off things.”
“That’s kind Terri but I’ve got so many things to get organised, maybe another time.”
“Okay, but are you sure?”
“Yeah yeah, I’m okay.”
As Von got up and made her way to the door, she turned back, seeing the worry in Terri’s face.
“Stop worrying, I’ll be fine.”
Terri shook her head as Von left her office, the door closing behind her.

Nelson heard Terri’s door closing, coming around the side to see Von making her way to the break room. He looked around to see everyone busy before he walked off towards the break room. He gently opened the door to see Von by the sink with her back to him, he could just make out the small cries from her, closing the door behind him. He made his way over to Von, coming up a little behind her.
“Oh….go away Nelson, please.” She said, trying to get her emotions under control.
Nelson made a move to touch her, his hand going to her shoulder.
“Don’t touch me.” She cried, as she turned around, anger in her eyes.
“Why, what is it with you. Why won’t you let anyone get close to you. God forbid you let anyone help you, be a friend to you.”
“I’m…fine.” She sniffed.
“Von, no…look at you. At least admit it to yourself, you’re not coping with any of this, you only have to look at you to see that.”
Von heard the concern in his voice, trying her hardest to regain her composure but she just couldn’t. Before she knew it, she slid down to the floor, her tears falling freely. Nelson stood for a few seconds just watching her crumble, before he snapped back in to action, coming over and sitting down beside her, his arm going around her shoulder.
“It’s okay, you’re okay.” He said quietly.
Von found herself falling in to Nelson’s chest, her cries coming in waves as he held on tightly to her. The door to the break room opened, Charlotte appearing, Nelson waved his free hand for her to get out, which she did as quietly as she could before Nelson spoke.
“I think we should get you home.”
“It won’t be for much longer, will it.”
“I heard, what were you planning on doing?”
“Motel, I’m not sure.”
Nelson pulled back, getting to his feet before extending his hand for Von, who got to her feet with his help. He rested his hands on her arms, forcing her to look at him.
“You’re not staying in a motel, you’re coming home with me.”
“Nelson I…”
“It’s not up for debate Von, you’re staying with me, for how ever long you need.”
“I can’t do that.”
“You’re not getting a choice.”
“Listen to me, now I know you and I haven’t always seen eye to eye on, well pretty much everything, but you’re a friend and I’m not standing back while you’re going through all this and doing nothing about it, besides, I could do with the company. It gets boring on your own after a while.”
Von couldn’t speak, still trying to find her voice, watching the way Nelson was looking at her.
“It’s time you gave in and accepted help from your friends, I know it’s hard for you to do but you can’t go on like this, otherwise you’re gonna break.”
“I wish to god I hadn’t helped that woman that day.” She said, anger in her voice.
“Hey, come on.”
He put his arms around her again, as she leaned in willingly this time, the tears beginning again.
“You don’t mean that, that’s not who you are.”
“But I…”
“That court will find you innocent, you did what had to be done, end off. We’ll all be here with you, I promise you. I won’t leave you.”
Nelson leaned in and kissed her cheek, feeling her lean in to him as he did so before he pulled back.
“Come on, I’m gonna take you home.”
“You’re new home, I’ll clear with Terri, come on…it’s time to start letting people in.”
Von gave a small smile, before Nelson’s arm found it’s way around her waist as he guided her out.