Nurse Matthew Owen was having the worst night at work that he could remember in a long time. Pulling a double during flu season, he’d been on shift almost thirteen hours. Thirteen hours with no food. Nothing that counted as food except a Snicker’s bar he’d scarfed down quickly on his jog out to the parking lot to grab his second spare pair of scrubs. After he’d been barfed on no less than three times during the night he’d finally resolved himself to wearing a pair out of supply closet. He didn’t even have any of his usual go to liquid caffeine pick-me-up as the “coffee and beverage patrol” had recently started cracking down on anything drinkable at the nurse’s station citing OSHA workplace rules. Stopping in front of the whiteboard that listed all the current patients receiving care, he added his initials to the next patient for him to see.
Caroline Andrews, the perky little blonde nurse who was the floor’s admitted “nosiest nurse ever” and his favorite wing-chick fanned herself as she came out from behind the curtain. Matt cracked a smile. His smile became a snicker when she whispered, “Fevers are definitely contagious tonight, ‘cause that patient is hot!”
Matt rolled his eyes knowing Caro was seconds away from launching into a detailed description complete with waving arms. The bubbly blonde’s rants were always amusing when he had a second in between patients but he didn’t exactly have time tonight. “Extra hotness points, Caro?”
“All of the hotness points, Matty!” she fanned herself again, slumping against the wall in a mock faint. “I mean look at you, you’re cute as they come, but that man? Damn. I knew I should have worn my lucky panties tonight.”
Despite himself, Matt laughed again. “Puppies are cute. Kittens are cute. So are purple unicorns according to my niece. A man should never be described with an emasculating word like cute, Sweet Caroline.” He tugged on the end of her ponytail. “And it’s Matt. If you call me Matty, no one will take me seriously.”
Caroline called after him as he walked away, “No one does, Matty. You’re our big teddy bear!”
Matt shook his head as he grabbed his next patient’s check in sheet from the holder and scanned it quickly as he nudged aside the privacy curtain that separated ER bed 4 from the hallway. He’d been called things like teddy bear, nice guy, or cute, or described as the boy next door his whole life, so he’d long since gotten used to it. Though in his mind, being 6’4’ and built solidly; he didn’t think that qualified as cuddly. And cuddly didn’t get him laid after the self imposed hiatus from dating he’d imposed on himself after his last boyfriend had called him selfish for always putting his job first. A rant that had taken place in front of his fellow ER staff. Yeah, he’d needed a hiatus on dating, especially anyone associated with the hospital.