!alice*

TDBM Drabble: Visiting Hours

Prompt: Episode 5.5; I’m going to move Malice along if the writers aren’t!  
Word Count: 300


“Mrs Beazley, let’s get you some tea.  It won’t do the doctor any good for you to faint from hunger.”  The clucking sister herded a weary Jean toward the hospital cafeteria.  

Flattened against the wall, Alice watched them pass before slinking to the back stairs leading to Lucien’s room.  A hearty tea would give Alice plenty of time to get answers from Lucien…she’d waited long enough.

Someone else was on the stairs, making painful progress with a stick.  Matthew Lawson.  She slowed, giving him time.  He glanced over his shoulder and glowered.  

“No rush,” she said.  

He harrumphed and picked up his pace.  She sighed. Men.  

She took the opportunity to assess his gait, and at the top of the stairs, firmly grasped his flank.  He needed more flexion in his hip or he’d create a stress injury–

“Oi!” he roared, “hands off!”

“This muscle is tightening,” she said, ignoring his protests.  "You must stretch–“

He shuffled out of her touch.  "Lucien is helping me.  You’re not my doctor.”

She’d heard that rejection plenty of times before. Men demanding a ‘real’ doctor, assuming that she was promiscuous because she’d seen unclothed males, or simply stating that no woman doctor would ever touch them.

“I’m a practicing physician,” she pointed out.  "I’ve attended to living patients.“

He elaborated: "I don’t want to be your patient.”  But he didn’t sound like those other men.  He was focused on her mouth for one thing, and his voice was more pleading than indignant.

“Oh. Yes.”  

“Good.”  He regained his balance.  "You going to see Lucien?“

Right, Jean was not at Lucien’s bedside. "Yes.”

“Let’s get the gory details from him.”  Matthew turned briskly.  "Bloody fool really cocked it up this time.“

The frisson gone, she followed, a wide grin on her face.  "Let’s.”

She could not explain or quite understand that it wasn’t altogether jealousy she felt, it was rage. And not because she couldn’t shop like that or dress like that. It was because that was what girls were supposed to be like. That was what men—people, everybody—thought they should be like. Beautiful, treasured, spoiled, selfish, pea-brained. That was what a girl should be, to be fallen in love with. Then she would become a mother and she’d be all mushily devoted to her babies. Not selfish anymore, but just as pea-brained. Forever.
—  Alice Munro, Runaway