Beca wasn’t a fan of hospitals, but she was starting to think hospitals were a fan of her.
There was no other explanation for the way Beca seemed to be naturally drawn toward them. Ever since she could remember, Beca has always found ways to injure herself. When she was five she fell off her bike and scratched her face up. When she was twelve she got in a fight with the bully at her school and broke her nose. When she was twenty-two she got drunk and tried to climb a tree.
It’s not hard to determine what happened from there.
So Beca has always been prone to injury. At this point she’s very familiar with hospital waiting rooms, ER visits, and nurses fussing over taking her temperature and blood pressure.
Still, that doesn’t mean she particularly enjoys her quite frequent visits to the medical establishment.
But like she said, fate had a funny way of forcing her back every time.
Beca curses when she accidentally jostles her wrist as she walks into the waiting area, bringing up her other hand to cradle the throbbing limb to her chest as she approaches the receptionist desk. A kind-looking older woman smiles at her.
“Hi there! What can we do for you?”
“I’m pretty sure I broke my wrist,” Beca says, holding up the joint in question and immediately wincing at the movement.
“Oh dear, that’s not good at all,” the woman says, a look of concern crossing her face. She starts typing on her computer as she continues to speak, asking for Beca’s name and having her fill out all the appropriate paperwork before sending her away to wait.
Beca slumps down in one of the hard chairs, inspecting her discolored and swollen wrist as she waits. Luckily she doesn’t have to wait long, her name being called only a couple of minutes later.
Beca quickly looks up to see a redheaded nurse standing by the doors leading back to the examination rooms, her eyes skimming the few people sitting around. She smiles kindly when Beca stands up and walks over, leading her through the double doors.
They wind through the hallways until the nurse – or Chloe, as she introduced herself – stops outside a room and gestures for Beca to enter, walking in behind her and shutting the door. Beca situates herself on the uncomfortable bed/table while Chloe starts typing away at the computer in the room, the paper crackling under her in a way that makes Beca wince.
Beca catches Chloe giving her a knowing look out of the corner of her eye as she tries to keep her movements to a minimum in an attempt to keep the paper from making more noise. She blushes, ducking her head a little.
“The paper on this is really obnoxious,” Beca mumbles, ceasing all movements together.
Chloe chuckles in understanding, and Beca briefly pats herself on the back for at least making her laugh in an awkward situation. “Believe me when I say that I’ve seen every single kind of strategy there is to avoiding making sound on those things. Spoiler alert: it’s impossible.”
Beca grins. “That almost sounds like a challenge.”
There’s more typing as Chloe raises an eyebrow. “Well, I would be thoroughly impressed if you were to succeed in that challenge,” she says, glancing coyly at Beca in amusement. She focuses back on the screen a moment later. “It says here that your last hospitalization was three months ago for kidney stones, have you had any since then?”
Beca internally shudders at the memory. “Luckily not.”
Chloe is silent for a moment, reading whatever is on her screen. “Wow, you’ve actually had a lot of hospitalizations in the last year.” She looks back at Beca with a teasing glint in her eye. “Someone has an affinity for injuring herself, I see.”
Cue more blushing from Beca. “You have no idea,” she says with a shake of her head.
They go through all the procedural questions that Beca could answer in her sleep at this point, going through the motions of it all, but the last one makes Beca look up in surprise.
“Any romantic partners at the moment?”
Beca wrinkles her eyebrows together. That was a new one. They must have just barely added it to the rest of the questions. “Not at the moment, no.”
Chloe types something into her computer, something definitely longer than Beca would have considered needed for such a simple answer. Beca shrugs it off; it’s not like she knows how any of this medical stuff works, anyways.
There’s another minute or so of typing before Chloe approaches Beca on the observational table. “So what happened to your wrist?” she asks, taking the injured limb in her hands and inspecting the swelling.
Beca takes a brief moment to marvel in how soft Chloe’s hands are before those very hands probe gently at her injury, causing Beca to hiss from the pain. “I, uh, tripped.”
Chloe turns Beca’s arm over to inspect the underside of her wrist. “You tripped,” she repeats, still focused on her inspection. Beca resists the urge to shiver as cool hands brush over the bruising found there.
“Yeah, I- okay so the stairs leading up to my apartment are really narrow, and so they’re kind of dumb to walk up sometimes and so today I just… tripped. Walking up my stairs. And landed hard on my wrist.”
Beca avoids eye contact as she explains, and when she finally does look at Chloe again she can see just how hard the nurse is trying to keep a neutral expression on her face. Amusement shines in bright blue eyes as Chloe bites her lip, and Beca finds her eyes inexplicably drawn to the action. “You’re laughing at me,” Beca laments.
Chloe clears her throat and shakes her head a little, schooling her features. “No, I’m not,” she says quickly, though there’s a hint of a laugh to the words that contradicts her claim. Chloe carefully turns Beca’s wrist back over and lightly runs her fingers along the bruising one last time before pulling her hands away. A shiver runs down Beca’s spine. “I’ve heard much worse ways that people have hurt themselves, trust me. This isn’t the most ridiculous by a long shot.”
She makes her way back across the room and types a few more notes into the computer. “But it is pretty ridiculous, right?” Beca questions.
Chloe grins at her. “Maybe a little, but I’m technically supposed to be a professional and not admit that, so you better not tell my boss about this.”
A short laugh escapes Beca at that. “Your secret is safe with me,” she assures, holding her non-injured hand up to her chest.
Chloe bites her lip again when she glances at Beca in an attempt – Beca assumes – to stifle her smile and finishes up typing her notes. “Okay, you’re all set, Beca. I’ll go get the doctor. I don’t think he’s running behind right now, so hopefully you won’t have to wait too long.” Chloe pauses with her hand on the door handle and looks at Beca once more. “Try not to do anything crazy while I’m gone, like, tripping on your shoelace or anything,” she says with a wink before disappearing out the door.
Beca stares in shock at where Chloe just was before shaking her head and laughing to herself, wondering if she can make a request for Chloe to be her nurse every time she injures herself from now on.
As it turns out, Beca doesn’t even have to request that Chloe be her nurse the next time; apparently the universe feels bad enough for the way it treats her and makes it happen.
This time it’s a foot injury, with Beca hobbling over to Chloe standing by the double doors in the waiting room on the crutches she’s had since she was fourteen.
Beca is only a little miffed that she’s never had to adjust the height on them.
Chloe’s eyebrows wrinkle together in concern. “Did you drive here by yourself?” she asks, looking around at the fairly desolate waiting area.
Beca shakes her head as they make their way – albeit slowly – down the hall. “My roommate drove me. She dropped me off.”
Chloe blinks. “She just… dropped you off?”
“Yeah, she went to go get food,” Beca explains, completely used to this kind of behavior from Amy. “She’ll be back, it’ll be fine.” It doesn’t seem to do much in the way of reassuring Chloe, but she makes no comments after that.
They walk past a few desks where nurses sit typing away at computers, none paying the two of them any attention except for one. A pretty brunette turns in her seat as they pass, giving Beca a once-over before clearing her throat. “Hey, Chloe. Is this your next victim?”
Chloe hums in the affirmative. “Sure is. Why do you ask?”
The nurse flits through the papers in her hand nonchalantly. “Just checking,” she says breezily, looking at Beca briefly once more. “You were totally right, by the way,” she adds as an afterthought, winking at Chloe.
Chloe seems to flush a little. “Okay, we need to go. Bye, Stacie,” she says quickly, picking up their walking pace slightly and forcing Beca to really put her crutch skills into overdrive.
“What were you right about?” Beca asks when they reach their room, unable to hold back in her curiosity. She leans her crutches against the wall and struggles her way onto the table-bed, making far more noise with the paper than she did last time.
Chloe shakes her head as she starts pulling up Beca’s files at her computer. “Nothing, just something we’d been talking about earlier. Have your periods been regular lately?”
Beca blinks in surprise at the sudden change in topic. “Um, yeah, they have.”
“Glad to hear,” Chloe says, inputting the information into the system. She continues asking the same procedural questions as last time, ending again with the question about her romantic partners.
“New injury, no new partners,” Beca answers with a resigned sigh. “At this point I might as well say that I’m in a relationship with my health insurance card.” Chloe lets out an easy laugh at that, and the sound brings a smile to Beca’s face, so she decides to go for another joke. “Maybe I should just say that I’m seeing you at this point,” she adds with a light chuckle.
Except, there is no responding laugh from Chloe this time. Beca looks up to see a light blush on Chloe’s cheeks as she continues typing, a strange look on her face, so Beca is hasty to continue with, “Or, like, the front desk lady. I talk to her a lot nowadays, too.”
Chloe does laugh at that, and Beca feels the tension leave her body. She wheels her chair over to Beca and begins unraveling the sloppily wrapped ace bandage around Beca’s foot, her deft fingers handling the task with ease. “Well, I think either of us would be lucky to have the opportunity to go out with you.”
Beca’s eyes widen in surprise, but before she can respond Chloe’s cold fingers press lightly on the swelling around her foot. “Fuck,” she says instead, wincing.
“So what happened this time? Trip up more stairs?” Chloe asks, shooting her a teasing look. Beca rolls her eyes, but only for the show of it.
“You’ll never let that go, will you?” she sighs, faking exasperation. “Well, if you must know-”
“Beca, I literally have to know,” Chloe cuts her off.
Beca blushes. “I want another doctor,” she announces, crossing her arms petulantly.
Chloe releases her foot but pats her on the side of her leg. “Too bad, you get me. What happened?”
Beca’s shoulders slump a little. “I might have… dropped a box on my foot.”
There’s a second of silence in which Beca can actually see Chloe holding back her snickering. “Oh yeah?” the nurse asks diplomatically.
Beca feels her ears burn. “It was a heavy box!” she immediately states defensively. “And besides, it wasn’t really my fault. My roommate dropped the other side before I was ready so it slipped out of my hands.”
“The same roommate that left you here to go get food?”
Beca bites the inside of her cheek to stop a smile from creeping on her face. “That would be the one, yes.”
Chloe hums a little, nodding her head. She wheels her chair away again and types a few things into her computer before standing up. “Alright, I’ll go fetch Dr. Mansen for you. He’ll probably want to run some x-rays on that foot later, which I’ll handle for him.” Chloe winks and pulls the door open. “Looking forward to it.”
The door shuts a moment later, once again leaving Beca to sit in stunned silence. She shakes her head a little, ignoring the way she inexplicably misses the exuberant nurse already.
“Where did you say you got these knives from again?” Beca questions Amy as she chops up some potatoes for dinner, impressed with how easily the sharp edge cuts through each vegetable.
Amy takes a sip of whatever drink she has in her hand and shrugs. “My uncle’s boyfriend’s cousin’s cousin knows a guy and he hooked me up with a sweet deal.”
Beca holds up her knife and inspects the elegant craftsmanship, grinning. “Well thank you Mr. friend of a friend of a friend.”
“Of a friend,” Amy adds on helpfully.
“These really are so sharp, though. Like, I’m legitimately so amazed right now,” Beca says, bringing the knife down quickly on a potato and cleaving it in half with a satisfying thwack.
Amy nods in agreement. “I bet you could take on a raging dingo right after it’s had a full feeding of numbat with those knives, no problem,” she offers sagely, popping a chip into her mouth.
Beca swipes the knife through the air, enjoying the crisp swish accompanied by the action. “I have no idea what any of that means, but I agree whole-heartedly,” she says distractedly, too focused on the movements of her weapon to pay attention to her Australian friend’s wild scenarios.
She spends a little while goofing off, her task of cutting potatoes long forgotten, while Amy watches her and munches on snacks, offering advice on her technique every so often. Eventually Beca’s eyes narrow in on her next target: an empty and unsuspecting box of pasta sitting on the counter about a foot away.
Beca grins, her tongue sticking out in concentration as she pivots to fully face the box. She tosses her knife up in the air, letting it spin in an impressive display of skill before snatching it out of the air. She thrusts her arm forward, intent on stabbing through the very heart of the box, except her angle and aim are a little off. The blade of the knife hits the edge of the counter instead, Beca feels her hand slip down the knife’s handle, and-
The next little while after that is a bit of a blur for Beca. She registers Amy leaping up from their table with a surprised yell. She feels warmth dripping down her hand, sees lots of red to accompany the feeling. Somehow Amy manages to get her hand somewhat wrapped up and into her car, and when Beca blinks again they’ve made to the hospital.
The next time Beca becomes fully aware of her surroundings, she’s sitting on a bed- an actual bed, not one of the examination tables. An older man that Beca presumes is a doctor sits on a stool in front of her, inspecting her hand as he talks urgently with someone outside Beca’s line of sight.
“-going to need stitches right away. It doesn’t look like it cut to the bone, but we’ll have to be careful to watch out for any damaged nerves,” he’s saying, all the while pressing a bloodied cloth against her right pointer finger. He stands up a moment later, a new pair of hands replacing his right before a familiar figure sits down in front of Beca.
“Chloe?” Beca asks in bewilderment, still feeling pretty out of it.
Chloe smiles at Beca. “Hey, you. Glad to see you with your wits again. You were in shock.”
“I- what’s going on?” Beca asks, sitting up a little straighter and looking around the room. “Where’s Amy?”
“Your friend is out in the waiting area. She was pacing too much and making us nervous in here,” Chloe says with a light chuckle. “She told us what happened. Playing with knives, Beca? Really? I think now you’re just looking for excuses to come see me.”
Beca blushes. “I- well, I mean, they were cool knives,” is the only thing she can think to say, as if it will make this whole situation better.
Chloe laughs again. Beca is starting to think that laugh might be one of her favorite sounds. Cool fingers swipe across her forehead to move some hair away from her face. Beca thinks that maybe those cold hands are one of her favorite feelings.
“Okay, let’s get this started,” the doctor says, wheeling his stool over to Beca. Chloe gently peels away the cloth covering Beca’s wound and moves her own stool over to let him be in front of Beca. “Alright, Beca, I’m just going to sew up that cut for you here and then we’ll see how it’s doing with mobility and such.”
Beca nods numbly in response. She curls the fingers of her left hand into a tight fist, nails digging into her palm, mentally preparing herself for the sting the next few minutes would bring.
A hand slips into hers a moment later, preventing it from being too tense. Beca looks at where Chloe is sitting next to her, watching her diligently. Somehow Beca feels her heart beat even faster – from either adrenaline or something else – and she squeezes Chloe’s hand tightly. Chloe squeezes hers back in return and smiles at Beca reassuringly.
And maybe the sight of that smile is starting to become one of Beca’s favorite, too.
The sound of beeping is the first thing that registers in Beca’s mind as she wakes up, squinting against the bright fluorescents of the room.
She was decidedly not in she and Amy’s tiny studio apartment, and once that registers in Beca’s mind she starts to feel herself panic. The nearby beeping starts getting faster as Beca feels her heart rate increase and she moves to sit up, pain flaring in her left side at the movement. Beca looks down to see her left arm in a cast and slumps back down in the bed, already exhausted by her efforts.
Beca looks over more slowly to see that she’s attached to a monitor and quickly realizes that she is in a hospital room. She calms down a little, the beeping slowing down to a normal rate again as she takes in her surroundings. It was pretty basic hospital room, luckily a private one, not shared by other patients. From the looks of it, Beca would guess that she was in the ER.
A warm lump on the bed next to Beca’s leg registers in Beca’s mind, and she looks down to see a full head of red hair sprawled across the blankets. The woman’s face is turned away from her, though the sight of familiar scrubs makes Beca’s eyebrows crinkle together in confusion.
“Chloe?” she croaks, her dry throat preventing her from saying much else.
Chloe lurches up, apparently having been woken up at the sound of Beca’s voice. “Beca! Oh my gosh, you’re awake!”
“Water?” Beca requests, gesturing to her throat.
“Right,” Chloe says, standing up and moving to retrieve a water bottle from a nearby table. She settles right back down after screwing off the lid for Beca, her blue eyes carefully watching as Beca takes a few greedy gulps before handing it back. “How are you feeling?” Chloe asks, setting the bottle down on the floor for now.
Beca groans. “Like I got hit by a truck. What happened?”
Chloe lets out a little laugh. “Well, considering you did get hit by a truck, I’d say that’s an appropriate reaction.”
Beca’s eyes widen. “What? I got- what?”
“It’s strange that I’m the one who has to explain how you got hurt this time,” Chloe comments with a smirk before becoming more somber again. “You and Amy got T-boned at an intersection when a truck ran the red.”
“Is Amy alright?” Beca asks, her eyebrows knitting together in concern.
Chloe nods her head quickly. “Yeah, Amy’s fine. The truck hit the driver’s side – your side – so she’s in a much better condition than you. We kept her overnight because she got a nasty bump on her head that we wanted to monitor, but last I checked she was awake and already hitting on some of the male nurses looking after her.”
Beca lets out a sigh of relief and chuckles a little. “Good. I’m glad she’s okay.”
“Me, too,” Chloe agrees. She places a hand on Beca’s knee over the blanket. “I’m glad you’re okay,” she adds, her hand squeezing for emphasis.
Beca feels her heart clench at the obvious concern in Chloe’s voice. “Well, if you were assigned to take care of me, it’s no surprise that I am.”
Chloe blushes a little and tucks a lock of hair behind her ear. “Well, I mean, I’m not technically the one assigned to you.”
Beca’s face scrunches up in confusion. “Then… what are you doing here?”
“I just,” Chloe cuts herself off with a sigh. “I was on another shift when they brought you in. They wouldn’t let me in to see you since I was working, so I waited until I was off to check on you.” She blushes again, looking up at Beca shyly. “I’ve been up for like twenty-four hours by now, so I guess I just fell asleep waiting for you to wake up.”
Beca feels her own cheeks coloring at the admission. “But… why?”
Chloe shrugs slightly. “I was worried about you,” she states plainly.
“Yeah, but why be so worried about me?” Beca questions, looking at Chloe intensely. “I mean, it’s not like we really know each other. Or do you worry about all your patients this much?”
“No, I don’t- well, I mean, I do worry about them, but it’s not like I’ve ever done this for any of them,” Chloe admits. She reaches out and takes Beca’s good hand between both of her cold ones, thumb running across the scar on her pointer finger. “I guess there’s just… something special about you, Beca. I’ve kind of felt it since that first time we met, right after you tripped walking up your stairs.”
Beca rolls her eyes fondly. “You’ll never get over that, will you?” she asks with a smile.
Chloe grins teasingly up at her. “Never,” she promises.
Beca sighs exaggeratedly. “If you’re gonna be like that, I won’t even bother to tell you I feel the same way,” she says breezily, looking up at the ceiling instead of at Chloe.
The little gasp that Beca receives is enough to break her façade. She looks back down and sees a bright smile on Chloe’s face. “Really?”
Beca sighs again, this time a little dreamily. “Really.”
They smile at each other for a tender moment before Chloe reclaims one of her hands to retrieve something in her pocket. “Well, in that case,” she says, uncapping the sharpie now in her hand. She begins writing on Beca’s cast, her red hair covering her writings and obscuring Beca’s vision until Chloe leans back to reveal her name written in swoopy letters, followed by a heart and her phone number. “Give me a call when they give you the good-to-go here. We can go grab a bite of something. I even know the Heimlich if you start choking on food,” she quips, rising from her chair.
Beca gapes at Chloe, at a complete loss for words. Chloe bites her lip.
“I also know mouth to mouth if something truly devastating happens, although I’m hoping we won’t need an accident for that to happen,” she adds on with a wink.
Beca feels her face heat up as her heart rate monitor speeds up a little, causing Chloe to laugh gleefully before she says her goodbyes and disappears from the room.
The room seems so much emptier after Chloe’s left, and Beca slumps against the pillows of her uncomfortable hospital bed. She looks down at her cast – bright pink, no doubt Amy had a say in the color – and stares at the lone markings covering the surface. Chloe Beale.
Beca grins and shakes her head a little, thanking the universe for giving her such rotten luck in some things, but not all things.