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PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS

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Chapter 4

The day was going by slowly. Paul and Daryl sat at the kitchen table letting the moments tick by until it was time to leave. Daryl is nervously bouncing his leg while biting his fingernails. Paul was currently trying to distract himself by writing in his journal. His appointment is today.
He had already went through the elimination process. It took two days to weed out unfit candidates. Surprisingly enough, he made the cut.

Dr. Marshall wasn’t there throughout the entire examination. He guesses today will be the day that they meet the mastermind behind the trial. To say he was nervous would be an understatement. He's fucking terrified. Paul wishes he could say something to comfort Daryl's nerves but how, when he can't even comfort himself? He knows not all questions will be answered but most will. Doesn't help things much though since there's a huge chance this trial won't even work. He tries not to think about it. He should feel lucky. Being given the chance to even try was miraculous.

He looked up from his journal to peek at Daryl through his lashes. He looks more nervous than Paul. He smirks and taps his phone to check the time. “Shit.” Paul stands up to put his coat on. His appointment is at 3:00 and it’s already 2:30. “We gotta go or we’re going to be late. Are you sure you want to come?”

“Course I’m comin’.” Daryl gives him a look and stands as well.
“Okay, I just wanted to make sure.”

As they make their way out into the parking lot of their apartment complex a sudden wave of nausea hits Paul like a truck, forcing him to stop and clutch his stomach. Taking a few unsteady breaths he reaches out his hand and calls to Daryl. Daryl glances back at Paul and immediately stops. Worry blossoming over his face as he sees his lovers body try to expel the contents of his already empty stomach.

He runs over to Paul and places his hand on his back. “What can I do?”

Paul doesn't know. There's nothing he can do. He doesn't let him know this has happened before. Doesn't let him know that this is something he's been dealing with for a while. He's been trying to shelter Daryl from the symptoms only because he doesn't want him to worry. Especially with the knowledge that he's helpless. “Let it run its course.” He's gasping now, trying to get oxygen back into his lungs.

Paul straightens up and avoids Daryls eyes. “Come on, baby. We gotta get going.”

******************************************************************
The waiting room at the office is ridiculous. Paul Snickers and glances at Daryl before walking over to sign the sign in sheet. There are posters of Doctor Who. One in particular is the Tardis with the quote ‘Trust me. I'm the doctor.’

As they sit, Daryl begins bouncing his knee again. “That happen before?”

Paul sighs and turns his head away to face the window. “Yes.”

“Rovia. Paul Rovia”

They both get up in unison. Daryl looking uncomfortable and Paul looking resigned.

“Alright fellas if you’d just follow me please.”
As they go down some hallways and turns Daryl whispers “I wish ya wouldn't have kept this from me.”

“I know.”

“Here we are! Now, if you two will just sit a moment Dr. Marshall will be in shortly.” The lady says.

Paul sits while Daryl wanders around aimlessly. There's pictures hanging on the walls. Its not a patient room, it's the doctors office. Daryl feels so out of it. Out of his element. Emotionally drained. When did he stop paying so much attention to his surroundings?

The pictures are of a young woman with blue hair. Huh. Must be the docs kid. There's a few with blue hair and a baby girl. There's one with blue hair, another woman and the same baby. All kinds with just the baby. Maybe the docs a grandpa? “Daryl.”

“What? I'm tryin’ ta figure out who this guy is that's gonna be helpin’ you.” he says to a very tired looking Paul.

“And that's fine, but could you please sit down right now. You can read him when he gets in here.”

Daryl sits heavily in the chair next to Paul's. He's nervous. Can't help but to feel this is just a big joke. Pretty shitty one at that.

Minutes tick by by the time the door opens. They both swivel their heads only to see blue hair come through the door.

She walks around them to the desk and promptly sits down before speaking. “Well, it's a pleasure to meet you two, I'm Dr. Marshall. I’m the head of this trial and will see you fairly regularly. Which of you is Mr. Rovia?”

Paul raises his hand, “I am.”

“Pleased to meet you.” She turns her eyes to Daryl. “And who's this?”

“This is Daryl. My partner.”

“Nice to meet you. Will you be joining Mr. Rovia throughout the entire process?”

Daryl stares blankly for a moment before replying “You're a woman?”

“Uhm. Of course.” she says. Dr. Marshall looks amused. “And you're a man.”

“I'm sorry.” Paul speaks up. “We thought you were a man.”

“Is there going to be a problem?” if possible, she looks even more amused.

“No of course not. We just misguided our…”

“How old are you? You don't look old enough to be doin’ trial doctor shit.” Why is He so angry? There's nothing wrong with being a woman. Jesus, she looks 25 at most though!

“I’m 33. And I can assure you I am plenty old enough to be doing what I do. Ten years of medical school can account for that.”

“I'm sorry, he's just nervous.” Paul says endearingly before gripping Daryls hand.

“Its only fair to find out who you're going to be dealing with so I completely understand.”

“‘M sorry.” Daryl mutters. He realized his mistake as soon as the words left his mouth. The tightening around his hand let up a little.

“Its okay. Now. To tell you a little about me. My name is Randi Marshall. I've been building this trial since medical school with the help of mentors and associates. We are dedicated. I am the head of this entire facility. We will be spending some time together during administrations and monitorings. This,” she pulls out a black leather bound journal, “ will be your homework. You are to write down any symptoms that get worse, any new symptoms or anything you think may be important.” Paul takes the offered journal.

“So when does everything start?”

“Your first dose will be administered today as soon as we get done here. After each dose you will be required to stay afterword for an hour just to be cautious.” Paul nods in understanding.

“Who's the kid?” Daryl asks.
“Daryl.” Paul scolds.

“No it's fine. That’s my niece.”

“So what gotcha into the doc business?”
“Jesus Daryl.” Paul sighs. “We talked about this.”
“Again, it's alright. It's only fair.” Blue hair replies. She looks down and takes a breath before steeling herself to form her answer. “My best friend was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at a very young age. She was tough and fought it for a long time before she eventually passed away two years ago. She's the reason I fight so hard to find something to keep the diagnosed here longer.”

Great. Now he feels like shit. Its a great reason. Too great. He feels stupid for asking it so harshly.

“Shit.” he says.

“Yeah. It’s shit.” Dr. Marshall replies.