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On Call

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Nigel hadn’t exactly been happy when news of Andy storming out of brain surgery had filtered back to him. Miranda, to her credit, hadn’t ratted Andy out, but too many witnesses had been lurking in the hallways. It had made for an especially tense week, with Andy being relegated to the scuttiest of the scut tasks on a daily basis; she knew better than to complain.

 

She didn’t express anything like jealousy when Emily got the nod ahead of her to assist Christian Thompson on a CABG. There would be other opportunities to hold a heart, after all, and Em was one destined to be a Cardio God. So Andy ran around collecting labs and doing rectal exams and vowing to never take a stand about anything, ever again.

 

The interns were hiding out in their basement lair instead of taking lunch in the cafeteria, and Andy found herself wishing she’d sneaked off somewhere on her own.

 

“It’s so cool of you to throw a party for Serena’s boyfriend, Andy!” Doug exclaimed for about the hundredth time. His confidence was slowly growing, and it meant he didn’t think twice about expressing his enthusiasm. Andy found herself maliciously hoping he had a crappy day, if only because it would shut him up for a while.

 

“It’s not a party. It’s a gathering,” Andy corrected (again). “Serena wants her boyfriend to meet her friends, and so we’re having a few people round for a few drinks.”

 

“Jocks only,” Emily warned. “Surgery, Trauma, Plastics. No losers.”

 

Serena mumbled something and looked away, blushing slightly.

 

“Excuse me, Serena?” Emily pounced on her. “Did you just say that you’ve invited people from Peds?”

 

“Yes?” Serena ventured. “This was this really nice girl on my case yesterday.”

 

“Great,” Nate cut in. “Pre-schoolers at our party.”

 

“I don’t recall you being invited,” Andy sniped at him. “And can we keep the numbers down? You guys have to buy more ice. And more booze, if you keep adding people like this. Don’t trash my mom’s house.”

 

“Okay, but can we agree no Psych people? I don’t want them running around analyzing people all night,” Emily whined.

 

It was Doug’s turn to mumble then, causing an uproar from the group. Andy shook her head, wondering what in the hell she’d signed herself up for. Thankfully her pager went off, signaling the end of her short break, and she went dutifully to whatever pile of crap Nigel had to punish her with next.

 

Her punishments seemed to have lessened slightly, since she was on discharge duty. Simple enough, it meant giving final results and getting forms signed so that patients could go home and free up some beds. Andy didn’t exactly like it (mostly due to all the unsolicited hugging from relieved loved ones) but she’d had worse days lately.

 

She was so intent on her paperwork that she didn’t hear Miranda’s approach. One minute Andy was happily scribbling alone at the nurses’ station, and the next Miranda’s elbow gently brushed her own.

 

“Coffee?” Miranda ventured, passing off a cup from the good coffee cart as though she had no idea how she came to be holding it.

 

“I’m not thirsty,” Andy protested, weakly. Miranda made no move to retrieve the cup, sipping from her own instead.

 

“How are you doing? I see Dr. Charlton got the nod for the CABG this morning. That had to hurt.”

 

Andy shot Miranda a dirty look before initialling another set of test results and signing the discharge papers.

 

“Em wants cardio; it’s not a big deal.”

 

“And you want neuro?” Miranda asked, her voice suspiciously light.

 

“I haven’t decided on my specialty. Besides, I blew my chance at neuro last week.”

 

“Hmm,” Miranda replied. “Well, why don’t we discuss that, or something completely unrelated, over dinner tonight? Waiters, real silver, plenty of carbs--if you insist.”

 

“I can’t,” Andy grumbled, pretending not to be tempted by the offer. Miranda all dressed up for a fancy dinner would be a sight to see, but Andy had an appointment with her mother’s lawyer after her shift. Who knew how long that would take?

 

“Forget about the party,” Miranda teased.

 

“How do you know about the party?” Andy asked, wide-eyed with surprise.

 

“Never mind that. Half the hospital will be at your house. We can be somewhere else, alone.”

 

“What do you mean, half the hospital?” Andy choked.

 

“Thanks for not inviting me by the way. I see working here has done nothing to improve your manners. Anyway: dinner. Think about it. That’s all.”

 

Watching Miranda walk off down the hall, Andy resisted the urge to bang her head repeatedly on the desk. When was her life ever going to get less complicated?

 

*

 

Almost as though Nigel had sensed Andy’s conversation, her day took a turn for the worse after lunch. Instead of the easy world of discharge forms, she had a box of latex gloves and a few tubes of lubricant jelly await her. And not remotely in the fun way. Nigel made a bitchy comment about getting in on the ground floor of general surgery, and Andy forced herself to smile sweetly and thank him for the opportunity. She’d just content herself with silent fantasies of spiking his next mocha latte.

 

Emily and Serena came to alleviate some of her boredom between exams, and it seemed the invite list had spiraled completely out of control as Andy feared.

 

“Nurses, Serena? Seriously?”

 

“Oh, you’d rather have the whole nursing staff pissed at us instead? We need them more than we need attendings.” Serena pointed out. Andy had to reluctantly agree with her logic. Senior doctors could ignore interns or freeze them out of a specialty, but nurses could do serious damage to their workplace survival.

 

Just then Andy’s cellphone rang, and she ducked out into the hall to take it.

 

“Dr. Sachs?” Great, Isabel from the nursing home.

 

“Yes. Is everything okay? I have the notary coming, and the attorney, for 6.30pm?”

 

“That’s right, Andy. Just calling to confirm, and to remind you not to be late. Your mom is pretty lucid today and we don’t want to waste that.”

 

“I’ll be there,” Andy confirmed. “Anything else I should bring?”

 

“Well...” Isabel paused. “Your checkbook? There will be a small fee for--”

 

“Yeah, I got it,” Andy snapped, hanging up the phone.

 

But four hours later, even with traffic delaying her only slightly, Andy arrived at the nursing home only to find out that there was absolutely no point. A group of embarrassed men stood around her mother, who was swatting away nurses and barking out orders about a cranial reconstruction.

 

Damn it.

 

Andy blinked back the tears of frustration that were forming, and for one insane moment she thought about calling Miranda and saying ‘hey, I’m free for dinner after all’. But her house was already being filled with drunk and rowdy hospital staff, and Andy knew the responsible thing would be to go check up on it. And hey, at least there would be booze.

 

Emily greeted her with a cheer and an almost full bottle of tequila. Figuring what the hell, Andy took a big gulp, threw off her jacket and joined the grinding bodies on the dancefloor that her living room had somehow turned into. In that moment, with the loud music and the sound of Em laughing in her ear, Andy felt better than she had in weeks.

 

Things calmed down a little as the night went on. Andy was stunned to see Nigel there, chatting with a bunch of fifth-year residents and hogging a bowl of Doritos. Everywhere she turned there was a vaguely familiar face, clutching some kind of booze and yelling thanks at Andy for such a great party. Oh well, a little popularity wouldn’t hurt.

 

She ended up in the kitchen (pretty much the rule for any decent party) playing strip poker with Em and Doug. Doug kept apologizing for out of control the guest list had gotten, which made it even easier for the girls to cheat him left, right and center until he was down to his boxers.

 

The drunk and maudlin stage was settling in, as Andy thought about returning to the nursing home tomorrow to finally resolve the power of attorney for her mom. She thought about all the bills that were eating through the money her mom had left, and how long it would be until Andy’s meagre intern salary started picking up the shortfall.

 

“Why the hell did we want to become surgeons, anyway?” She thought out loud, prompting Emily to snatch the almost empty bottle of tequila away from her.

 

“If you’re talking that kind of nonsense, you must be drunk,” Emily spat.

 

“I’m not! I can drink as much as I want. I’m not driving, I’m not on call, I’m not doing surgery tonight. It’s my house, so gimme!”

 

Andy grabbing the bottle back prompted Emily to fall off her stool. She lay on the floor laughing, the Queen of Hearts stuck to her face and her hair all over the place. She looked happy, Andy thought, before climbing down to join her.

 

“Hey, has anyone seen Serena’s boyfriend?” Andy asked, from her new hangout on the kitchen tiles. “Isn’t this party supposed to be about meeting him?”

 

“Oh, he came earlier,” Emily said between hiccups. “But we needed more ice so I sent him to the store. Stupid hockey player.”

 

They dissolved into helpless giggles, and in that moment, Andy felt very glad for her new best friend.

 

Later, as the party finally began to wind down, Andy took her little bit of remaining tequila and wandered outside. She looked up at the house she now called home again, trying hard to remember her early childhood there. Images flashed into her mind--a red wagon, a neighbor’s big, brown dog--but nothing seemed to stick. Hugging herself against the late evening chill, she was lost in thought when Miranda came walking up the driveway.

 

“I didn’t invite you,” Andy said upon noticing her.

 

“You turned down dinner with me for tequila? Tequila’s a bad choice, Andrea. It won’t call, it won’t write; it won’t remember your birthday. Tequila will only... disappoint you.”

 

“Do you know when my birthday is?” Andy asked, squinting a little in order to focus.

 

“That’s hardly the point,” Miranda deflected. “So, are you going to invite me inside? Or can anyone just walk in from the street?”

 

“Nope,” Andy answered, glowing with the success of a new and quite amazingly good idea. “Not going inside.”

 

She stepped closer to Miranda, dangling the tequila bottle before dropping it gracelessly in the grass. Miranda’s eyes lit up suddenly when she saw the look on Andy’s face. Not that Andy took a lot of time to savor that. Not when she had something much, much more important to do.

 

She kissed Miranda good and hard, and let Miranda kiss her back. There, in the midst of the overgrown lawn and the strewn party debris, Andy wrapped her arms around Miranda’s slender waist and pulled her even closer, before breaking briefly for air and then kissing her again.

 

Not thinking was amazing, Andy realized. Not thinking meant the warmth and wetness of Miranda’s mouth, and that determined tongue caressing her own. Not thinking meant that Andy let Miranda lead her by the hand to Miranda’s parked Mercedes before slipping into the backseat like rebellious teenagers.

 

“This is probably a bad idea,” Andy mumbled as Miranda pressed hungry kisses against her throat. “But oh...”

 

“Finally,” Miranda muttered in turn, her usual cool composure nowhere in evidence. Even her hair, that perfectly-styled silver bob, was already mussed. Andy felt a little proud at having that effect on a woman internationally renowned for being unflappable. And even better? Miranda was as good a kisser as she was a neurosurgeon. Talk about hitting the jackpot.

 

But Andy remembered her not-thinking plan, and reapplied herself with enthusiasm. The tequila had left her feeling pleasantly warm and horny. The hours she’d worked lately had left her so exhausted, she’d barely had the energy to get herself off, aside from the occasional quick fumble in the shower when the frustration got too much to bear. But this was something entirely different.

 

Not trusting her balance, Andy was quite content to let Miranda be on top. Sure, Andy’s legs were a little cramped because five-nine was five-nine and not even Mercedes made a backseat to accommodate that, but better here than in her bedroom where any nosy partygoer could stumble in.

 

Miranda’s impatient hands half-unbuttoned, half-tore Andy’s shirt open, and her contented sigh on uncovering Andy’s simple black bra sounded a lot like relief.

 

“I don’t do this,” Miranda murmured as she let her mouth trace across the slope of Andy’s exposed chest. “Sleeping with interns is the oldest cliché in the book.” She paused, looking up at Andy with heavy-lidded eyes. “And I do not do cliché.”

 

“But you’re gonna do me, right?” Andy asked, feeling pretty damn flirty as Miranda sat upright to pull her own off-the-shoulder sweater off. And Miranda in a bra and tight black jeans was just about the hottest thing Andy had ever seen so she was really, really glad that Miranda’s answer to her stupid question seemed to be ‘yes’.

 

Andy ran her hands over the smooth skin of Miranda’s torso, revelling in the heat and softness of her skin. Miranda took the opportunity to unhook her bra, which left Andy feeling pretty glad that the windows were fogged up already.

 

When Miranda fell on her again, Andy fumbled a little to ditch her own bra, and the reward of their bare breasts brushing while they kissed left Andy moaning softly from the back of her throat. She’d had trouble remembering that ill-advised night together, thanks to the effects of way too much alcohol, but Andy felt confident that she would remember this even through her tequila buzz.

 

“I have no idea how I held out this long,” Andy confessed, panting, when Miranda released Andy’s mouth and moved on to her breasts. “I mean, ahhhh--”

 

She’d been interrupted by Miranda’s very pleasant attention to her right nipple, already sensitive from the slight chill in the car. While the steady flicks of Miranda’s tongue sent electric shocks flying through Andy’s nervous system, she busied herself with stroking the impossibly smooth skin of Miranda’s naked back. As Miranda got a little rougher, teasing with little nips, Andy responded in kind by raking her short nails down Miranda’s back, which made her hum with pleasure.

 

“God,” Miranda breathed when she finally pulled away for a moment. Seeing her chance, Andy sat up and fumbled with the buttons of Miranda’s jeans. Miranda gripped hard on Andy’s shoulders, letting her head drop back in enjoyment when Andy let her mouth return the favour of exploring.

 

“I don’t know why you changed your mind,” Miranda whispered. “But I’m so very--oh, yes--glad that you did.”

 

And somehow, with a little wriggling and yanking Miranda’s tight jeans down, Andy got to what she most wanted: the considerable wetness between Miranda’s thighs. Miranda welcomed Andy’s touch, and it was a struggle to try for finesse when Miranda began to buck her hips so eagerly. Andy settled for working two, and then three, fingers inside, using firm strokes that drew little gasps from Miranda’s parted lips.

 

Using her other hand to cup and caress Miranda’s bare breast, Andy found herself mesmerized at the. Miranda’s perfectly pale skin had flushed a really pretty, dark shade of pink as she ground herself against Andy’s hand. Twisting her wrist, Andy offered a silent prayer that her tendons would forgive her before tomorrow’s potential surgery, but it was worth any potential pain right away. As she grazed Miranda’s clit with her thumb, Miranda cried out softly. Oh God, that kind of power could get addictive, fast.

 

Andy picked up her pace, muttering words she’d barely thought about, and when Miranda came the sight alone nearly sent Andy along with her. Oh damn, was she in trouble.

 

Miranda fell against her, boneless and sated but pressing dazed kisses to the exposed skin of Andy’s neck and shoulder. Leaning back against the window, Andy hissed at the cool condensation against her skin.

 

Just as Miranda had recovered, and Andy found her own jeans being undone by nimble fingers, there was a sharp rap on the driver’s side window.

 

Shit.

 

Please let it be Emily, Andy thought. At least then there would be no explanations necessary, though whether Miranda would be okay with another intern catching them was dubious at best.

 

“Miranda,” Nigel’s voice sounded angry through the glass. “I don’t know what piece of ass you’ve dragged in there, but you’re blocking me in.”

 

“One moment,” Miranda said, her voice strangled and her expression mortified. She yanked up her jeans, almost falling off the backseat in the process, before pulling her sweater back on haphazardly. Andy would have laughed at the disorganized sight if she weren’t also pretty traumatized.

 

Andy pulled her own shirt closed, doing up a couple of buttons and looking around for a jacket or a blanket of some kind to hide her face under. Not that it mattered, because in her panic, Miranda had already opened the car door and stumbled out to find a waiting Nigel staring back at them both. Andy flushed what had to be a violent shade of red, and looked away.

 

Fan-fucking-tastic.

 

“Uh huh,” was all Nigel said as he stormed off towards his own car. Miranda stood there, dumbstruck, for the briefest of moments before slamming the open door shut and then sliding in through the driver’s door. She gunned the engine without saying a word, reversing out into the street already crowded with cars. Unsure what to do, Andy simply lay there on the backseat, feeling like a complete idiot.

 

As Nigel’s car pulled out of the driveway after them, Andy watched the tail lights blink and fade away as he drove off into the night. Miranda had kept the engine running, drumming her fingers nervously on the hard leather of the steering wheel. Andy contemplated reaching out to touch her, but everything in Miranda’s super-tense body language suggested that might be suicide.

 

“I should go,” Andy said at last, forced into it by the oppressive silence. Miranda gave a terse shrug and said nothing; she didn’t even bother to look round. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

 

As she stumbled back towards her own house, Andy felt suddenly and painfully sober. Miranda’s Mercedes peeled off into the night, like she was fleeing the scene of a crime, and Andy tried her damndest not to cry.

 

At least now, she figured, she’d have a nice concrete example for the next time she tried to rationalize dating her boss. It sucked, and it would be super embarrassing come the morning, but it would be one of those nights a person learned from. Or Andy hoped like hell it would be, anyway.

 

Trudging up the stairs, Andy dodged drunk doctors and nurses, at least half of whom were making out with each other. By some miracle nobody had invaded her bedroom, and so she slipped inside before barricading the door with her dresser. It wasn’t until she flopped down on the mattress that she finally let the first tear fall.