Authors: Gemma Hart
What I Fight For
Copyright 2016 Gemma Hart
All Rights Reserved
This work is not bound by DRM, which allows you as a reader to enjoy this story on any digital platform you choose to use. But please respect the work of this author. No part of this book may be reproduced or copied without permission.
This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Any similarities to events or situations is also coincidental.
© 2016 Gemma Hart
All Rights Reserved
To literally the BEST readers in the world!
Once again, you’ve given me the chance to let my imagination run wild and I love that I can share it with you!
Within this novel are two fictional countries. Although they are fictional, I hope that I have done a good enough job to render them as realistically as possible so that you will enjoy the story without disruption.
But, just in case I haven’t done that good of a job, help a writer out and let your imagination run free with the story!
Either way, just know, this is a love story for you, my wonderful reader!
If you enjoy this title,
sign up for Gemma Hart’s mailing list and be the first to be notified about new titles while also enjoying chances at free previews, stories, and giveaways!
You can also follow her on Facebook:
Table of Content
“Just think of it as medicine,” Tammy said as she tipped the shot glass towards my lips. “Shoot it down and think of all the good it’ll do you!”
I scrunched up my eyes as I tipped back the burning liquor down my throat. I gasped as the tequila rushed down towards my belly, leaving a flaming path in its wake.
“Woooo!” chanted everyone at the table.
Through watery and now quickly hazy eyes, I gave them all a tender look of gratitude.
“I know it’s probably the cheap tequila talking—” I said, my words only slightly slurring.
“Hey!” Doc Jones interrupted in mock offense. “What are you calling cheap! I’ll have you know I’ve spent a whole fistful of pennies on that drink!”
I touched my chest in exaggerated gratitude. “And I appreciate it, Doc,” I said. I looked around the table at my friends. “It means a lot to me that you guys would keep me company as I drown my sorrows…and my embarrassment.”
Doc Jones leaned back in his chair. “Well, someone’s gotta make sure you don’t literally drown in all this booze.” He gave a quick glance over at table which was littered with empty beer bottles and shot glasses.
Joey leaned forward on the table and reached for my hand, giving it a squeeze. Although a resident doctor, he had the face of a thirteen year old boy. But an angelic thirteen year old boy. No wonder all the older ladies always preferred him over the rest of us.
“Don’t worry, Em,” he said with a cherubic smile that dimpled at the ends. “You’re way prettier than she is. It’s his loss!”
“That’s right!” Tammy agreed emphatically as she pushed another shot towards my lips.
“Ha!” I said, dribbling some tequila down my chin as I made my exclamation.
Doc Jones clucked his tongue at me as he wiped a thumb across my chin, his warm gray eyes looking at me with frustration. “Swallow first, yeah? Remember how drinking works?”
“Who cares about looks?” I said, ignoring Doc. “She is the head of her department and getting courted and wooed by all the major national pharmaceuticals. How does some no-nothing ER doctor compare to that?”
“You’re not no-nothing!” Tammy reprimanded.
“Give yourself more credit there, hon,” Margie said with understanding reproval. A veteran floor nurse, she had a stern no nonsense expression constantly etched into her face. But her eyes were understanding and her lips molded into a soft smile. There was nobody else that was more capable or efficient in a medical emergency than Margie.
I shook my head though, ignoring their words as I stared blearily into my empty shot glass.
It had only been three weeks since I had broken up with Edward. After two years together and one and a half of those years spent cheating on me, I had finally had enough. I had screwed up the courage and had demanded he come clean with me. It was either me or her, I had demanded.
That was all the incentive Edward needed to make his break. Head of surgery, he was a highly sought after man. One of the youngest doctors to reach such a prestigious rank, the nurses all fawned over his soft blonde hair and his cornflower blue eyes. They admired his graceful hands that worked like lightening magic in an OR.
And for all those reasons and more, I had stayed with him for two years. Despite the fact that I knew he was constantly cheating on me. But we had met during residency. We had history. He knew me when I was still struggling with catheters and IV lines. I thought that all meant something.
But no, it didn’t. Not when Catarina Milson was involved.
The beautiful and slightly inappropriate hospital pharmacist had caused waves when she had entered our hospital. Always wearing dresses that were just an inch too tight and too short, she soon began marketing herself in a way that caused a lot of eyebrows to be raised.
But it worked. Major pharmaceutical companies heard of her and were wooing her to come work for them.
Head of surgery and a head pharmacist, both young and attractive? It only made sense. At least, it did for Edward.
Three weeks after we had ended our long and rocky relationship, Catarina had shown up to work, her dark eyes glowing with satisfaction as she whipped out her left hand. A giant three carat diamond ring sat glowing from her fourth finger.
I had had to spend the morning meeting watching the other doctors congratulate Edward on his engagement and choice of wife. I was literally sitting four chairs away from him as he smiled and thanked the well-wishers, laughing about what a lucky man he was.
Immediately, my friends had scooped me up and taken me to the nearest bar and poured drink after drink down my throat to ease my pain.
Doc Jones, head of the ER and one of my early mentors, sat watching me with a mix of pity and worry.
“I never did like his eyebrows,” he said. “Too thin.”
I snorted. “He plucks,” I answered, now realizing I didn’t have to keep that little beauty regiment a secret anymore.
Doc Jones’s eyes gleamed as if finally feeling vindicated. “I knew it!” he whispered.
Tammy, a relatively new nurse. She was small in stature at barely over five feet but what she liked in height she made up in sweet and caring energy. She and I quickly became fast friends. “Don’t you worry,” she said sincerely, squeezing my arm. “He’s going to regret this in a matter of moments. I’ve heard stories on
Tammy said the name as if it left a bad taste on her tongue. “Apparently, there’s a trail of cheated men and broken engagements in her past.” Tammy squeezed my arm again. “He’ll regret it.”
I shook my head. It didn’t matter if he regretted it.
regretted it. I regretted allowing myself to stay in such a horrible and unsatisfying relationship for so long. And for not leaving when I
And yet…and yet….
Even though I knew all of that, I still couldn’t help but cry over that pang of hollowness in my heart. That empty pain that left my entire body numb and detached.
I squeezed my eyes shut. The heartache, the pain, plus the three shots of tequila, the whiskey sour, and the beer someone had poorly recommended all began to swirl in my head, making me feel like I was on a carousel on steroids.
“I’ll grab the next round,” Joey said, getting from the table. I was about to mumble something to stop him, or to at least tell him to just get me a juice when I heard multiple pagers go off.
I looked around the table and watched everyone grabbing their waist to check the number.
“What the hell?” Doc Jones muttered. “None of us are on call!”
He immediately got up from the table as he simultaneously dialed the hospital from his cellphone.
Joey looked down at his own pager, his brow creasing slightly in confusion. “Do you think this was a mistake?”
Margie shook her head. “Something’s wrong if they’re calling all of us,” she said. She looked at me, worriedly. “Did they page you too?”
I had taken off my pager as soon as I had left the hospital, confident in my day off and wanting as much separation from me and the hospital as possible. I didn’t think I could ever go into work again, knowing both my ex-boyfriend and his new fiancée were there.
I dug into my purse and pulled out the slim little device. I squinted as I tried to see through my blurry gaze. “I think so,” I said. Tammy saw my struggle and grabbed my pager, checking it herself.
Tammy turned to Margie, nodding. “Yup, Dr. Lyon got called as well,” she said, reverting back to hospital speech protocol.
Doc Jones returned at that moment, his face grim.
“Turns out those two new residents didn’t show up. Again,” he said, his frustration clear in his voice. “And Dr. Thompson is overwhelmed right now. A dozen gunshot victims have just been admitted and he has no one on duty to help him.”
Gunshot victims weren’t too unusual around here. Working in a hospital near East L.A., gang violence was part of our medical repertoire. Some kind of fight must’ve broken out and now the victims were being wheeled in.
Doc Jones looked over at Joey. “How much have you had to drink, Dr. Dwight?”
Joey’s eyes widened in surprise and then he stood up quickly. “Not much, sir. But I thought with us having had even just a sip of alcohol, we—”
“Right now,” Doc Jones interrupted, “it’s a bit of a crisis mode. The ER was already overwhelmed earlier today with that pile up from the 5 freeway. Now we have these gunshot cases. It’s all hands on deck.” Doc Jones turned his sharp eyes onto Margie.
“Marg? What about you?”
Margie was already grabbing her purse. “Let’s go,” she said. “I can drive. I was designated driver anyhow.”
Doc Jones looked at Tammy. As a new nurse, she wasn’t crucial to the team just yet but with this kind of emergency, every pair of hands mattered.
“Dr. Lyon clearly cannot come in,” he said, quickly taking in my swaying form. “Do you think you can see her home and then report to the ER immediately afterwards?”
Tammy nodded, her eyes wide with nervous energy. “Yes, doctor,” she said quickly in a breathless whisper.
“No, take her with you,” I said, still able to grasp the situation in my alcohol blur. I couldn’t believe how quickly everyone was moving. I realized they had really just come to keep company and to watch over me as I drank myself into a stupor. None of them had had nearly as much to drink.
“I can find my own way—”
“Don’t be stupid,” Doc Jones interrupted me sharply. “Tammy will see you home and then she can join us.” He gave me a piercing look. “I don’t want another ER case on my hands, if you get my meaning.”
He squeezed my shoulder briefly before leaving the bar, the rest of them following him out, leaving only me and Tammy at the table.
There was a beat of silence between the two of us before Tammy slammed her tiny fist on her thigh. “Oh shit!” she muttered.
“What? What?” I said, licking my lips and hoping my words hadn’t sounded as slurred aloud as they had in my head.
“We parked on Carmichael,” she said, her brow furrowed in worry.
That was right, we had. Having gotten off work sooner than everyone else, Tammy and I had driven to the bar first with Margie driving everyone else later.
But the closest bar to work was a dive bar. Our hospital was already in quite a sketchy part of the neighborhood and this bar did no favors in making the area safer. Only a few of the hospital doctors dared to visit the place.
The only reason we were even here was because Doc Jones and the bartender were good friends after Doc had stitched him up. A bar fight had led to the beefy old man getting a good slice up his arm, requiring twelve stitches. Since then, Doc Jones, who always enjoyed time away from hospital folks (excluding us), had always had a seat here.
But even still, we knew it was better to be safe than sorry.
We usually parked several blocks away to avoid carjackers and the occasional street fight that populated the area around the bar. Then we walked back in groups to the car.
I looked at Tammy. I could see the dilemma. Tammy was 5’2 if she stretched herself. Petite and tiny as a fairy, there was no way she could support a stumbling me down the several blocks to our car. Plus, having a girl stumbling about at night in this part of the neighborhood was not a good idea in general. There were too many people who could see that as a ripe opportunity to be exploited.
“But you can’t go alone,” I said, gripping her arm. “It’s late.”
Tammy bit her lip as she tried to think up a plan. “It’s not that late. We came here pretty early.” She looked over my shoulder at the bar. “Listen, Reggie is still here. He knows us and he knows you. I’ll ask him to watch over you while I go get the car. I won’t be more than ten minutes!”
I kept hold of her arm. “No, Tammy,” I said, insisting. “I’ll go with you. I can walk. I swear.”
But whatever credibility I might’ve had about my sobriety, I ruined it when I hiccupped in between the last two words.
Tammy gave me a dry look. “No, it’ll be riskier to have you walk outside than to stay in here for ten minutes. You heard Doc Jones. He doesn’t want another ER case on his hands and if you stumble out there now, you’ll break an ankle in the very least and god knows what else at the very worst.”
Tammy stood up, grabbing her things.