The Unexpected Crush, Book Two (An Alpha Billionaire In Love BBW Romance) (2 page)

BOOK: The Unexpected Crush, Book Two (An Alpha Billionaire In Love BBW Romance)
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3

N
othing spreads
as fast as gossip, and by the end of the week, half of the Emergency Room staff seemed to be under the impression that I really was in a relationship with Chase Donahue. No matter how many times I denied it, people continued to talk about it.

When a piece of equipment when haywire on Thursday afternoon, one of the nurses cursed as I tried to help her fix it.

“Can’t you get your fancy boyfriend to approve some new monitors?” she asked as she kicked the machine. “Something good has to come from sleeping with the CEO of the hospital. Surely you can talk him into replacing this piece of crap.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I replied icily, moving away from the machine.

“Sure you don’t,” she snapped as I walked out of the room.

If possible, things went even further downhill from there. I was unable to stop the hemorrhaging of a patient admitted after a car accident, resulting in an emergency surgery being performed right there in the ER.

It hadn’t been my fault — I was completely sure of that. No one would have been able to stop the flow of blood the patient was experiencing without surgery. Dr. Talbot, however, the attending who had been forced to perform the emergency surgery, saw things differently.

“God, what is wrong with you?” he demanded after the patient had been stabilized and sent to the OR. “You may have been able to sleep your way into this internship, but sexual favors can only get you so far. One more mess-up like this, and you’re done. I’ll make sure you never work in another hospital ever again.”

With that, he turned and stomped out of the exam room. For a long time I stood there, frozen in place. I had no idea what to do. It appeared that even the attendings were now under the impression that I had slept my way into this internship. At this point, no one seemed to believe that I had earned my place here, even though I’d made far fewer mistakes than Kyle or Julia combined since we’d started.

Taking a deep breath, I texted my friend Carrie, a resident in the surgical department, asking if she would be available to get coffee anytime soon. Luckily, she was about to go on break and agreed to meet me in the cafeteria.

“Everyone in the Emergency Room seems to think I’m sleeping with Chase Donahue,” I announced as I collapsed onto the seat next to Carrie. She raised an eyebrow as she pushed a coffee across the table towards me.

“What? Why?”

“Kyle and Julia are spreading rumors, I guess. They learned that I’ve been working with him on a special project, then he came to meet with me in the ER a few days ago. They just assumed that it had to be sex related — as if I’m not competent enough to actually be working with him. I don’t know why they hate me.”

“Because they’re envious brats,” Carrie replied. “But seriously, how did they convince the entire staff of this?”

I wasn’t ready to tell Carrie about my little indiscretion with Donahue. It’s not like anyone else was aware of it anyway. They were only going off of rumors. At this point it was all hearsay. “I’ve been working on that project for him, so I’ve had to meet with him regularly after hours. And then he made that visit to the ER on Tuesday. Nothing inappropriate happened at all. We just talked in an empty room for a minute — strictly professional. I don’t understand where all this is coming from.”

Carrie was studying me closely as I spoke, a critical expression on her face.

“And nothing
is
going on between the two of you?” she asked when I was finished.

“What? No!” I insisted. “Not you too!”

“No. Obviously you haven’t slept with him,” Carrie said.

I tried to keep my face neutral at her assertion, not allowing the truth to show. I thought again about admitting my mistake to Carrie, but I just couldn’t do it yet. I was still too ashamed, especially now that people thought it was how I’d landed my internship in the first place.

“I just mean,” she continued, “are there any sparks between the two of you? Sexual tension? Something casual observers might pick up on and misinterpret?”

“The guy is a pompous asshole,” I replied, not wanting to lie about our chemistry, but not wanting to admit to it either.

“Yes,” she agreed. “But he’s also young, and rich, and kind of hot when he isn’t glaring at everyone.”

“Why would I care that he’s rich? I’m going to make money of my own, if I make it through this damn residency. Plus, have you ever even seen him not glaring?” I asked.

“Well, no,” Carrie replied. “But I imagine it could do wonders for his face. You have to admit that he is at least
a little
good looking.”

I didn’t agree or disagree. We were heading into uncomfortable territory so I tried to steer the conversation another way.

“People are starting to think I slept my way into the internship,” I told her.

“What? Who?” she demanded.

“Dr. Talbot accused me of it this morning,” I said.

“He accused you of sleeping your way into this internship?” she asked, angry on my behalf.

“Yeah. He was mad because I’d failed to stop a patient from bleeding out in the ER and he had to perform emergency surgery. He even threatened to have me fired. And it wasn’t my fault, I’m sure of it. No one would have been able to prevent what happened.”

“Even if it had been your fault,” Carrie replied. “I’m pretty sure that’s harassment. You should complain. You could have
him
fired.”

I thought about that for a moment. I didn’t want to be seen as a tattletale and I didn’t really want Dr. Talbot to be fired. But I did want the gossip and harassment to end. Because Carrie was right, this was harassment. Dr. Talbot had accused me of sexual misconduct, and he called my abilities into question. He’d used rumors as a means to threaten me, but even if I
had
been seeing Donahue, his comment would have been out of line.

“I’ll talk to Barns about it,” I promised Carrie.

I left my lunch break with Carrie a little early and headed to the office of Dr. June Barns, the ER Residency Program Director.

“Kaia,” she greeted me with a smile as I entered her office.

“Hello, Dr. Barns,” I replied. “Do you have a moment to talk?”

“Of course, what’s going on?” she asked once I was seated.

“Do you remember that rumor that was going around?” I began. “The one about me sleeping with Donahue?”

Dr. Barns nodded.

“Well, I think it may have gotten out of hand,” I replied.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“Today, I had trouble preventing a hemorrhage in the ER — which wasn’t my fault, I don’t think anyone could have stopped it. Anyway, Dr. Talbot was angry because he had to perform an emergency surgery, right here in the ER. Afterwards, he insinuated that I’d only received this internship because I was sleeping with Donahue, which is crazy since I didn’t even meet him until weeks after I started here. And we aren’t together,” I added hastily. “But Dr. Talbot threatened to have me fired if I messed up again.”

She was silent for a long time, a serious look on her face.

“Well,” she began after a while, “first of all, Dr. Talbot cannot have you fired. That is outside of his jurisdiction. And second, you are correct, what he said was inappropriate. Even if you
were
in a relationship with Chase, Talbot would have been out of line. You were hired by a large committee of doctors, who offered you this internship spot due to your remarkable qualifications. You have every right to be upset, and I suggest that you speak to the department chief about this. I will be more than happy to back you up.”

I nodded, a little bit dazed. Her response was far better than anything I was expecting or could have hoped for.

“I will do that,” I assured her, standing. “Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it. But I better get back to work, my break is almost over.”

She stood and smiled.

“If there is anything else I can do for you, Kaia, please let me know. We are really happy with you here, and I want to make sure that you’re happy as well.”

“Thanks,” I said again as I left her office, feeling more confident than I had in a very long time.

4

A
fter my conversation
with Dr. Barns, and a similar conversation with the Chief of the Emergency Medicine Department, working conditions in the ER began to improve drastically. A memo was sent out, reminding employees that one’s personal life was personal and inappropriate to bring up in the work place.

I was pretty sure that Dr. Talbot also received a reprimand. He never apologized to me for what he had said, but he hadn’t repeated any similar sentiments. In fact, he had since avoided me like the plague, and when we were forced to interact, he went out of his way to be professional and detached. I was okay with that, even though the guy was grumpier than normal and taking it out on everyone else around him — other than me.

Between the crackdown from department chief and cessation of any further surprise ER visits from Chase Donahue, gossip about my personal life slowly died down — at least in my presence. Perhaps Julia and Kyle had been informed of Dr. Talbot’s reprimand and were scared of facing admonishment of their own, because even my fellow interns had given up their snide remarks and criticisms of me.

The best part of my entire week, however, was that at the end of the week I realized that I had not been summoned by Donahue as promised. In fact, I hadn’t seen the man in over a week. I’d finished the last of the old case files, which I delivered to Donahue’s secretary while avoiding him personally. I was expecting to be called into his office to discuss my reports, but it never happened. Not that I was upset about that fact.

Or at least I wasn’t admitting to myself that I was upset. Only late at night, as I lay alone in bed, did I lament the absence of those steely eyes and knowing smile. Most of the time, I reminded myself that I was thankful to be rid of the smug bastard and threw myself into each Emergency Room shift with as much enthusiasm as I could muster.

All in all, the following days went smoothly — at least compared to the month prior. The only dark spot on my otherwise smooth week was the lingering possibility of pregnancy. I tried to push this worry out of my head, as there wasn’t anything I could do about it at this point except wait and see. But the possibility that I might be pregnant — with Donahue’s baby — still followed me around everywhere I went, casting a shadow on everything else I did.

I should have known the peace couldn’t last, however. I was finishing up my shift on Sunday night when I was finally summoned to Donahue’s office.

My stomach sunk — both from fear and from anticipation. I’d reviewed all of the case files he’d asked me to almost a week ago — if he’d wanted to go over them, he would have met with me before now. But there was really no other reason why he could possibly need to see me today. Despite this, I also couldn’t refuse to meet with him, so, although I was dreading the experience, I made my way to the twelfth floor.

“Dr. Davenport, hello,” Donahue said, standing as I entered the office. His normally cold eyes were warm, and his expression was soft. I was a little taken aback by his sincere greeting and seemingly genuine smile.

“Hi, Mr. Donahue,” I said after a moment of confusion.

“Please, we’ve been working together for over a month,” he replied as he returned to his seat. “You can call me Chase.” I didn’t know how to respond, as I’d never seen the man act this way. It was like he was a completely different person.

“Okay,” I answered. “Then you should call me Kaia.”

“Kaia,” he repeated, still smiling warmly.

“Chase,” I answered, slightly sarcastically. I didn’t want to start another fight with him, but I wasn’t sure how to take his apparent personality upgrade.

He raised his eyebrows, the familiar smirk almost returning to his lips.

“Anyway,” Chase continued, “how was your week?”

“Um… good,” I replied, slightly taken aback. He had never asked after my week or day before. “It’s actually been one of the smoothest weeks since I’ve been here.”

“Well, that’s nice. Probably has something to do with not having had to work with me at all.” Something sad passed through his eyes as he said this, but it quickly disappeared. “Unfortunately, I have another case I need you to look at. I hope it doesn’t put too much of a damper on things.”

“I thought I’d read through all of your files,” I responded, confused by the slight tingle of excitement I felt at the opportunity to work with Donahue…
Chase
… again.

“Sadly, there was another death this week that needs to be examined. I hope you don’t mind,” he said as he handed over a file.

“Um…” I felt like I
should
mind — I really did want to be free of this man and the haunting memories of what we’d done together. Or did I? Those memories didn’t want to stay where I’d hidden them, especially not when he was in front of me, smiling at me so casually. His entire face had softened with the addition of a genuine smile, and his pale grey eyes danced with excitement as he gazed back at me. I stared at the large hand cradling the file and couldn’t help but remember what that hand had felt like on my hot skin, exploring the curves of my body. As much as I hated him, I couldn’t deny that I felt drawn to him as well. But that chemistry was dangerous. I couldn’t afford to make another mistake. Things had just gotten back to normal.

However, I really wasn’t in a position to tell him no. If I did, I would have to acknowledge our past indiscretions, as well as the continued desire on my part, which I couldn’t seem to dampen. Instead, I took the file from his hand and plastered on a fake smile.

“I don’t mind,” I lied, just needing an excuse to get out of his office before I said or did something else I would regret.

“Great,” he replied. “Can you have it read by tomorrow evening?”

“Yes,” I answered, though that would mean I’d have no time to relax between now and then, as I was scheduled to begin another twelve-hour shift in less than ten hours’ time. But I just wanted to get this over with, so a meeting with him wouldn’t be hanging over my head all weekend. There was also a small part of me that was excited to see him again the following day, though I didn’t want to acknowledge it.

“I’ll meet with you after my shift tomorrow,” I told him as I stood to leave.

“Sounds good. It’s a date,” he replied.

I tried not to flinch at those words. Obviously he meant that in the most professional way possible. At least that’s what I assured myself as I turned and headed to the door with a final “good bye!”

Since time was of an essence, I splurged on a taxi instead of taking the bus home. Still, I was unable to fully focus on the file in front of me once I was back at my apartment. My feelings and desires were so tumultuous and conflicted, I was unable to fully immerse myself in the case. I was up much later than I meant to be and eventually fell asleep on the sofa, the image of bright grey eyes dancing through my mind.

By the following evening, I was tired and more than a little cranky. Not only had I sacrificed sleep to carefully analyze the case report, but I had then experienced the most hectic ER shift I’d worked thus far. A five-car pileup on the freeway near the interstate had brought in over twenty patients within a one-hour period. Eventually, some of the patients were moved to nearby hospitals — and two were air-lifted to Portland General for more in-depth procedures — but it had been chaotic in the Emergency Room for a few hours.

Thankfully, I had been sure to bring a change of clothes and toiletries to freshen up before my meeting — not that I was trying to impress Chase Donahue. I’d just assumed that I would want to change out of my scrubs, as they were usually sweaty and gross by the end of a twelve-hour shift.

When I finally made it up to Chase’s office — mentally chastising myself for thinking of him as Chase, though I couldn’t stop myself — I was starving and exhausted, but at least I thought I was looking better than I felt.

“You look like crap,” he said as soon as I entered his office.

“Thanks,” I snapped, particularly angry, as I’d spent some changing, putting on some make-up, and making myself presentable.

“Sorry,” Chase replied, actually looking chagrined.“I just meant that you look tired.”

“I am,” I admitted. “I don’t know if you heard about that huge accident, but the ER has been crazy all afternoon. On top of that, I was up late reading your file. Plus, I’m starving. Things were too busy in the ER for me to take a break, so I skipped lunch.”

“Great,” Chase said with a smile. The face I made must have been awful, as he shot me an apologetic look and continued. “Not great that you skipped lunch, but I’m glad you’re hungry. I am too. I was thinking we could turn this into a working dinner.”

“I’m pretty sure the cafeteria is closed,” I replied, not sure what to do with his continued niceness.

“The cafeteria is also disgusting,” he stated as he stood and fastened his jacket. “I know of a place that’s close.”

“Sure,” I answered, assuming that we were going to walk to the restaurant across the street. Instead, Chase led me down to the parking garage, where he sidled up next to a black sports car.

“Nice ride,” I said dryly as he opened the door for me. I wasn’t lying, though. The car was obviously very expensive, even though I knew nothing about the subject. It had a vintage look to it, yet somehow it appeared modern, with soft black leather seats that I sank into comfortably.

“Thanks,” he said with a smile. “It’s an Aston Martin DB3S. It was my father’s.”

I nodded idly, trying to price a car of this caliber. It was probably worth over a million dollars, maybe more. I shuddered at the thought — it would cover my student loans in no time.

The car ride was silent and slightly awkward, but I was too tired and hungry to care. I was surprised, however, when we pulled up in front of a restaurant I hadn’t been to before and Chase handed his keys to a valet before ushering me through the door.

“Donahue,” he told the hostess and she nodded, walking us towards a corner table.

I was tired and starving, but I couldn’t help the nagging feeling telling me something wasn’t right. We were at a fancy restaurant, where we already had a reservation. This “working dinner” was starting to feel an awful lot like a date.

“What’s going on?” I asked suspiciously, though I couldn’t help but attack the bread as soon as it was on the table.

“What do you mean?” he inquired innocently.

“This,” I motioned around the room. “This isn’t the type of place for a working dinner, it’s the type of place for a date,” I snapped.

“Oh.” Chase was quiet for a moment, actually looking a little nervous. “We can leave if you want. I just like this place — that’s all. We’re both hungry and we have stuff to talk about, so it makes more sense if we stay. And it’s a work dinner, so it’s on me.”

I eyed him warily but I couldn’t deny that I was starving, so I finally relented. After that, the dinner went smoothly. The food was delicious, and Chase was as suspiciously nice as he had been the previous evening. We discussed the case and came to some similar conclusions about what had happened and why.

Halfway through the dinner, the conversation once again drifted into ‘date’ territory as Chase asked about my move from Chicago and how I was finding the Pacific Northwest. I was too tired to fight the direction in which the night seemed determined to go, so I just allowed myself to enjoy the conversation, and Chase continued to be in good mood as we finished our meal.

“Am I taking you back to the hospital to get your car?” he asked as we got back into the Aston Martin.

“I don’t have a car,” I admitted, a bit embarrassed. “I take the bus usually.”

“Then let me drop you at home,” he replied.

“That’s not necessary,” I told him, but he insisted.

As he pulled up in front of my apartment complex, the evening began to feel even more like a date. I couldn’t shake the memory of his warm, rough lips against my own and the feel of his tongue exploring my mouth. The impulse to lean over and kiss him washed through me, but I unbuckled my seatbelt as fast as I possibly could and got out of the car instead.

“Goodnight, Kaia,” he called after me, and I yelled my goodbye without turning to look at him as I practically ran into the building. Once again, images of our passionate night together ran through my mind and I couldn’t block them out, no matter how hard I tried.

“Dammit!” I exclaimed out loud as I leaned against the door. “There is no way this isn’t going to turn out badly.”

BOOK: The Unexpected Crush, Book Two (An Alpha Billionaire In Love BBW Romance)
7.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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