“I would like to formally invite all staff members to a Christmas party,” Irene Quatro, director of Caduceus USA, gave the announcement. It was something they hadn’t done since the days of Derek Stiles and the original world-famous team. Of course, that was years before she worked here, since they were transferred two years before she started as a psychologist. “It will be held on the 20th of December. You may bring one plus-one of your choice. Feel free to wear Christmas jumpers - although Robert, don’t go too overboard. I look forward to seeing you all.”
Irene was somewhat torn between whether it was a good idea. She had overheard Valerie and Elena talking about it the other day. Her mentées had seemed excited about the idea (okay, not Markus, but Valerie and Elena were). That’s what made her cave in. But now she’d told her wife and it seemed her wife would be her plus one, she was beginning to doubt her decisions. She didn’t know how her employees would react, although they probably didn’t care.
She sighed, looking at the pile of paperwork on her desk that was rapidly growing. She’ll talk to Yvonne about it when she got home.
Tired, and slightly grumpy, Irene headed home from work. She was definitely regretting the idea of a party. They had two close calls with operations done by junior doctors and now the Department of Health and Human Services were on their backs. It meant a whole other pile of paperwork, and that she wasn’t really going to have a Christmas break.
She unlocked the door to her house and immediately smelt warm bread. Irene placed her bags down and hung her coat out, before calling out to Yvonne.
“Mmm, smells nice. Did you bake bread, love?”
Her wife wheeled herself into the hallway. “Yes, you dumbass. Can’t you smell?”
Irene sighed. “I was trying to be romantic!”
“I know, hon. I’m just taking the piss.”
Irene grumbled and walked into the living room, bringing a stack of paperwork with her. Yvonne followed.
“Bad day at work?”
“My employees are stupid, my junior doctors are stupid, the DHHS are stupid and the Christmas party is stupid.” Irene sat and put her head in her hands.
“Woah, what happened? Why are the DHHS involved?” Yvonne wheeled her chair to the sofa and transferred to sit next to her wife.
“Two junior doctors screwed up surgeries today. Not majorly, and the patients are alive, but it isn’t good and could cost us money unless I fix it and prove that we don’t deserve to be sued!”
Yvonne rubbed her wife’s back gently. “Irene, I think you put too much pressure on yourself.”
“The whole hospital relies on me getting them out of their messes! Excuse me if that isn’t pressure!”
“It’s a lot for one person, and nearly humanly impossible for one person to oversee it all.”
Irene glared at Yvonne. “Director Kasal did. Director Hoffman did. I have to.”
“No you don’t,” Yvonne stubbornly refused to let her wife’s glares and anger get to her. “And besides, Sydney had his brother to fall back on. Director Hoffman had Sydney. You’re doing this alone and it’s gonna burn you out. I can’t let you do that.”
TW // EDs
Irene sighed, and turned to hug Yvonne. “I have to do it. No one will be of any help. I would’ve asked Valerie or Markus, but I think they’ve been stressed recently, especially with Val having anorexia.”
Yvonne hugged Irene a little harder. Valerie and Markus were like her kids, and she was upset and scared when Val was hospitalised. It had caused many sleepless nights, arguments and tears in their household. Those two meant an awful lot to her.
TW // OVER
“I think that was a good move. I know how much they mean to you.”
Irene nodded, thinking while she signed papers. Yvonne lifted herself into her chair and went to the kitchen. Eventually Irene finished with her work and joined her wife in the kitchen, automatically going to kiss her cheek.
“Hey, we’re doing a Christmas party this year and I was wondering if you’d be okay to come? I’m pretty sure everyone would be okay with us, they’re a lot less judgemental but if you don’t want to that’s okay-“ Irene rambled. Yvonne watched her, amused, until she finished.
“Yes, I’d like to come.” She said, grinning. “Now, help me with plates, I can’t reach them.”
The night of the Christmas party came around. Irene walked into work with Yvonne at her side, warm breath making patterns in the air. Her gloves fingers brushed against Yvonne’s shoulder, making sure she was okay. When they arrived they heard sounds of laughter and music from the establishment. The two entered and were immediately met with a smiling Justin Everett.
“Hey Director! Who’s this that you brought with you?”
Irene hesitated automatically. She’d faced enough homophobia to be afraid to mention her wife.
“I’m her wife, Yvonne.” Yvonne answered for her. “Nice to meet you Dr...?”
“Everett, but call me Justin please. Hey guys, come and meet the Director’s wife!”
The Special Disease Counteraction Team crowded around the two. ‘Hello’s, ‘Nice to meet you’s and ‘someone get a camera so we can take a picture now they’re here’ were all heard. When someone eventually came with a camera, the doctors crowded in for a photo. Afterwards, the crowd dispersed leaving Valerie and Markus with Irene and Yvonne.
“Director, how come you never mentioned your wife?!” Valerie asked.
“I never really saw the reason to, and a lot of people were quite homophobic to me as I grew up.” She sighed. “It made things hard, but Yvonne helped so much.” Irene smiled softly.
“Well, Irene has definitely told me a lot about you two. Valerie Blaylock and Markus Vaughn?” Yvonne asked. The two looked shocked, and a tad embarrassed. “That’s a yes then. Don’t worry it was good things. You two are literally like her kids, the way she talks about you-“
“Okay that’s quite enough,” Irene said, going red. “Let’s go get a drink and see what food there is.”
“I think there are some mince pies left,” Val said. “If you get there quickly. I’m afraid the drinks are either alcoholic or water.”
Irene nodded a thanks and went away with Yvonne.
“She feels like we’re here...kids?” Markus asked, confused.
“Apparently so. Would explain why she was worried about me though.” Valerie said. It didn’t seem to bother her as much. “C’mon lets get back, we can’t leave Cynthia on her own with alcohol.”