Christmas Hopes

an excerpt

Making a note in his personal notepad, Ethan left the room and grabbed a chart as he passed the nurse's station. He still had quite a few patients to see and was annoyed his new fellow had yet to show up for morning rounds. Trevor Hayes had come highly recommended and his colleagues at Ivy Memorial had only good things to say about him. Right now, Ethan was not impressed.

After scanning the chart, he closed it. He knew every child in this chronic illness and surgery unit, which consisted of the fourth floor of the children's hospital, Hopes. He knew the children's families and their illnesses as well. He cared for each of them; probably too much, as the losses often took their toll. He gave everything he had though, no matter the cost to him, as they deserved nothing less. If Trevor Hayes was not going to have the same commitment then he could very well find another hospital and doctor to learn from.

"Omph!" He barely held onto his chart as someone barreled into him. A firm chest hit his own and the person nearly fell back on his ass. Irritated, he studied the other man. Shoulder length chestnut locks made his fingers itch to run through them and feel their silkiness.

Where had that thought come from?

He couldn't tear his eyes away from the fellow. Hazel eyes filled with embarrassment were almost hidden behind large, wire-rimmed glasses. The man had boyish good looks, but had to be older than he appeared. His blue scrubs and doctor's coat highlighted a dark beach tan Ethan could tell was natural rather than sprayed on. From the impact of their collision, Ethan knew the other man was lithe, trim, and in shape. Of course, one had to be fit when working fourteen hours on their feet. And damn, he was still staring wasn't he? He knew better. He never crossed personal and professional lines. He'd learned not to the hard way. "Doctor Hayes?"

"Yes, sir. That's me." Trevor pushed his glasses further up his nose and extended a hand.

Ethan gave Trevor's hand a firm shake, ignoring the spark from the touch. "You're late."

"There was construction-" Trevor started to explain, but Ethan held up his hand.

"You're right, no excuse. I won't be late again."

"See that you're not." Ethan passed the chart to him. "I have five other fellows who would jump off a bridge if I said so for the chance to work here."

"Yes, of course. I'm honored to be here and grateful for the opportunity," Trevor said in a rush. His cheeks flushed and Ethan looked away, quashing the thought that Trevor was cute when he was flustered. "Really, I am. You won't regret it, Doctor Reed. I promise."

"We'll see." Ethan kept his mask in place and turned on his heel. "Let's get back to rounds. I have a surgery at two."