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Anniversaries and Other Calendar Mishaps

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Kyle said, "It's the two month anniversary."

Lily blinked, looked down at the form she was finishing, checked her watch, dated and signed at the bottom, looked back and finally said, "I'll bite. The anniversary of what?"

"What do you want for it?" Kyle smiled benevolently, "Because I kind of thought roses were... cliched. There's always jewelry, though."

Frowning, Lily said, "We met more than two months ago." When a nurse handed her the lab results she had been waiting for, she started walking down the hall.

"Chocolate?" Kyle shouted hopefully. Lily didn't bother to turn around.


"How do you feel about getting pets as gifts?" Kyle whispered.

Pulling the chart up from the end of her patient's bed, Lily quickly scrawled her decision onto it. When Kyle inhaled to speak again, she said, "He's in a coma, you don't need to whisper."

"A kitten or a puppy?"

"I don't do well with animal fur." Lily still hadn't looked at Kyle, tapping the saline drip attached to her patient out of habit and automatically checking his heart rate.

Gesturing with his chin, Kyle said, "Blood pressure looks a little low."

The chart received another mark, and Lily put it back into its slot. Turning and focusing on Kyle she said clearly, to avoid any confusion, "Look. We've known each other for four months and a few weeks-"

"Four months and two weeks," Kyle corrected, smiling when she narrowed her eyes.

"Four months and two weeks," she repeated. "It isn't our two month anything. Unless you can't count, in which case, the failing educational system should explain your lack of a basic grasp of time."

"Maybe it's two months of something else," Kyle said. "And what about a fish?"

After she left, Kyle said to the patient, "Because, I really have no problem with getting her a fish, but I'm not sure it sends the right message."


The lab results had a splotchy coffee stain on them and Lily glared at the new nurse, not noticing Kyle until he said, "Two months is too short to have its own material, right?"

She swung her Glare of No-More-Coffee-On-Top-Of-Labs to Kyle. "It is not two months of anything."

"I realized that getting you a fish might be moving a little fast and also, there's the viable possibility that you could kill it."

"I'm a doctor. I went to medical school. I can handle a fish." She pursed her lips.

"Great," Kyle smiled again and Lily wanted to tell him that although he thought he looked cute when he smiled like that but really he just looked psychotic. "Fish it is, then. Are you ok with bettas? They're a little more sturdy."

Lily gritted her teeth. Without looking at the nurses, who she knew were going to gossip about this, she said, "I don't want a fish, because it is not the anniversary of anything."

Jerking his head to the side a little, Kyle shrugged. "Well, you're the one that pointed out the poor, poor state of the educational system and its inability to explain time to young impressionable doctors." He smiled again, "What if we treated this like it was two years instead of two months? That's paper."

"No," Nurse Coffee Stain said. She wilted again when Lily threw her another glare. "Paper is one year. Two years is cotton. Or china."

Focusing back on Lily, Kyle said, "China. That's perfect. Do you want a dish set?"

"I'm going to go do my job," Lily said. "And you can't afford a dish set on the salary we pay you."

"Five years is a clock," Nurse Soon-To-Be-Sent-To-Bedpan-Duty said.

"Clocks. I should get you a watch, so you won't have as much trouble with this whole time thing." Lily knew he was making internal air quotes.

He smiled. She snapped, "You look psychotic smiling like that. And it is not our two month anything. You have to go do the consult for the patient in exam room five."


It was two hours later that he managed to catch up with her again. "I've been thinking."

"How rare," she said dryly. "Did 348 get the Paracetamol?"

The pharmacist typed into the computer briefly. "Yep."

"If you don't do well with fur then a fur coat is out, right?" He pulled his lips down as though trying to fight off a smile.

Pausing from writing, Lily squinted at Kyle raising one eyebrow curiously. "Were fur coats ever in?"

"My mother used to like them," Kyle stopped, reconsidered and Lily went back to writing. "You're right, no on fur coats."

"On our anniversary last year, my wife withheld sex when I didn't buy her one," the pharmacist looked startled when they both turned to stare at him. "Oh, you were listening. Usually you two don't listen to anyone else."

Throwing up her hands, Lily stalked off to find a patient that needed saving. She was beginning to wonder if there was a time when she spent time walking away from anyone other than Kyle.


The day went by quickly after that. Two girls came in, beaten and gang-raped and she didn't have time to feel physically ill at how brutal the human race was. She had to stitch them up, move them, be in the room when the police questioned them and then give her own statement. Yes, they were gang-raped. Yes, she did the rape kits herself. No, it really wasn't possible that it had been consensual.

Not for the first time, Lily wondered how anyone could think it was a good idea to send two male police officers to interview rape victims.

"Didn't anyone call the rape counselor?" She asked. Everyone avoided her eyes.

The lounge on the second floor, the one that no one used, seemed like the best alternative to writing up the report immediately. The couch always smelled a little like rotten cheese, the coffeemaker was broken and at some point someone had disconnected the refrigerator without taking everything out first.

One of the interns, had been good enough to leave behind a hospital pillow and blanket, white against the dirt gray of the couch. Lily settled in, facing away from the door, eyes shut decisively. Her watch was set to go off in half an hour, and unless she was paged, she was on break.

When someone opened the door, she grimaced without opening her eyes. The door didn't close, so eventually she opened her eyes, blinking until she saw Kyle in the doorway.

He smiled half-heartedly, "Chocolate?"

"Go away. I don't have energy for this," she closed her eyes and wasn't disappointed that he took her at her word and left her alone in the dark.


The really bad days always ended with a bang. The almost really bad days always ended with a whimper that made the unresolved nausea she felt that much worse.

Despite the lack of resolution, at home she had her couch, her ice cream and her television. When someone knocked on the door, she figured it was her neighbor looking for more sugar, even though Lily had explained that not only did she not have time to cook, she did not like to cook either. She would never have sugar, ever.

Kyle did not want sugar. He had roses in one hand, Martinelli's in the other.

Saying nothing seemed like the smart thing to do.

"It's been two months since we saved that car crash victim and you told me that maybe I wouldn't fail out of this." He looked at his hands. "You said that if I quit it would be because I was a coward."

She took the flowers when he shoved them at her more out of shock than anything else. He had brought her flowers; he had had days as bad as hers. One of those days she had made him feel like he could deal with his life and wanted to her to know it.

"Do you want to come in?" she asked.

When he brushed by her, he pressed a quick kiss to her forehead. She smiled, and said, "You still can't count. That was two months and a few days ago."