Author's note: This is a companion piece to my story "Misunderstandings." Although it can be read on its own, having read the other one first may help you to understand some things. Apologies for any mistakes, especially with the medical stuff, which I know next to nothing about. Any and all comments are very welcome and appreciated. Please tell me what you think!
15 September 1959; the Winchester home; Boston, Massachusetts
The baby was crying again. Charles Winchester reluctantly opened his eyes and groggily stumbled out of bed, pulling on his bathrobe as he went. "I'll handle it, don't worry," he assured his wife when he saw she had been woken up as well. Isabelle Winchester didn't protest, gratefully dropping her head back on the pillow. Technically it was her night to get up with the baby, but he had to be into work early this morning anyway and there was no sense in disturbing both their slumbers.
Across the hall in his daughter's room, he picked up the desolate little girl from her crib and soothed her fears. "Hush now. Daddy's here." Clinging to her father's neck, the sobbing gradually ceased, but Charles remained there, holding her, until she fell back asleep again. His daughter, Elizabeth, was just a little over two years old. Ordinarily a tractable child, she was at the moment going through a phase of nightmares and having difficulties sleeping through the night. Unfortunately, that meant her parents had difficulties sleeping through the night as well.
Holding his almost-sleeping daughter in his arms, Charles couldn't help but be a little bit in awe. There was something about being up at 4am that made everything seem just a bit more profound. She was so small, a perfect little specimen of humanity, and yet so completely trusting of him. His own father had hardly been cruel, or a bad father, but he had never been anything more than a father. Never been a dad, much less a daddy. Beth would never want for anything money could buy, that much was assured, but more than that he wanted to be sure that she would never want for the things that money couldn't buy. He knew there were people who would be astonished to hear him even acknowledge that there were things money couldn't do, but those people had never met the little-boy-Charles. The boy alone in his room wondering forlornly why he'd been left alone again with only the servants for company, wondering why his father didn't love him. The thought that Beth might someday do the same thing terrified him right down to the marrow of his bones. If he had anything to do with it this little girl in his arms, this crowning jewel of his existence, would never doubt for a moment just how much her daddy loved her.
"Is she back asleep?" A voice whispered softly behind him.
Charles carefully shifted his position so he could see his wife. "I think so. Why aren't you?"
Isabelle crossed the room to put her arms around her husband with her chin on his shoulder in order to gaze down at her daughter. "I was, but I can't help worrying about her when she cries like that. Is it normal?"
"It's just a phase. As long as it doesn't seem to bother her in the daytime, so I wouldn't worry too much. Doesn't she look like an angel though?"
"Now she does. I wouldn't have said the same thirty minutes ago."
"Rubbish. She's always a little angel."
"And she's going to grow up to be daddy's little girl if you have your way." She smiled indulgently at Charles. "Don't you have to be getting to work soon? I know Tuesdays are your early days."
"Yes, unfortunately I do. I also have a possible new surgeon coming in for an interview this morning. Lucky me, I get to show him the ropes."
Isabelle eased little Beth out of her father's arms and back into her crib. She stirred, but didn't wake. "Why are you doing it if you don't want to? I thought that was the fun part about being the head honcho, you don't have to do those sorts of things."
"Yes that is one of the perks, but I've also found that if I don't take care of new people myself in the beginning, some underling invariably botches it up and I have to step in later anyway." The two stepped out of the baby's room and, heading back into their own, were able to raise their voices somewhat. "This is really just a formality though. This fellow comes very highly recommended from Boston General, and I don't anticipate much of a problem with him."
"Maybe this is a stupid question, but why is he thinking about moving to Boston Mercy if they like him so much there?"
"Because, my dear, we are offering him more money. For the right amount, anyone can be bought."
"That would be it. Well Charles, since I don't think I'll be getting back to sleep any time soon, I'll go start the coffee while you shower." She leaned up and kissed him lightly on the lips before exiting, leaving Charles to get dressed.
15 September 1959; Boston Mercy Hospital; Boston, Massachusetts
Charles was in his office filling out some of the interminable paperwork involved with being in charge of the department when the receptionist stuck her head in the door. "Dr. Winchester, the new surgeon is here."
"Ah, yes. Thank you, Abby. If you'll tell the nurses to start prepping Mrs. Shoemacher then?" He pushed aside the papers on his desk. "And please show Dr...Dr...what was his name again?"
"It's Dr. McIntyre."
"That's it. Sounds familiar somehow, but I can't place it. No matter, show Dr. McIntyre in."
"Yes, doctor. And I'll get right on Mrs. Shoemacher."
Abby left the room, and a moment later the new doctor entered. Charles stood up and walked around the desk to greet the arrival. "Good morning. I am Dr. Charles Winchester, the head of thoracic surgery here at Boston Mercy."
The other surgeon, a tall man with grey-blond curls and a mischievous twinkle in his eyes, reached out to shake his hand. "I'm John McIntyre. So you're the head of this clown outfit, are you?
Winchester admirably refrained from rolling his eyes, simply replying, "Ye-es, that would be me. McIntyre, I'll be frank with you..." He stopped as he noticed the other man shudder slightly. "Are you alright?"
"Oh yeah, I'm just dandy. I don't like the name Frank, that's all. It has a sort of nauseating sound to it; can't help but think of cesspools every time I hear it."
"Is that right," replied Charles, clearly not comprehending and not particularly caring either. "If we can go on with the business at hand...?"
"Oh sure, be my guest."
"Well then...I'll be direct with you, McIntyre. The hospital administration is quite impressed with you. They have, however, left the actual decision to hire you up to me, as I would be your supervisor. I have to admit, I've seen all your credentials and they're quite good. I don't foresee there being many problems."
"Sounds good to me, boss. Or can't call you that yet?"
"Not quite yet. Your references only tell part of the story, and first I want to see how good you are in the OR."
"Oh is that all? No problem. Just let me at whatever it is, and I'll have them fixed up in a jiffy. Then we can go back to discussing my contract." McIntyre was completely at ease.
"Don't get ahead of yourself, McIntyre. I said I didn't foresee any problems, but I've been wrong a time or two before." Winchester led the way out of the office, with McIntyre following behind.
A few minutes later they were in the scrub room, getting ready for surgery. "Am I supposed to be assisting you in this, Doctor, or do you trust me enough to let me do it myself?" McIntyre asked. "I'll warn you now, I don't much like playing second banana."
Charles was already beginning to dislike the man. "Oh you'll be performing the operation, all right. I'm just here to ascertain whether your unprofessional demeanor carries over to the OR or not. But rest assured, doctor, I am the "first banana" here, as you so delicately phrase it, and if you work here, you will be answering to me."
"Oh, so that's how it is, is it?"
"I'm afraid so. Now, as you can see from the chart there, the patient is rather elderly, and there is a high possibility of complications during the operation."
"And you probably picked that one special for me, didn't you?" McIntyre finished scrubbing up and began to dry off his hands.
"Of course I did. Anyone can do a straightforward operation." Winchester set down his own towel and headed towards the OR. "Come as soon as you're done examining the chart. I'll be waiting."
McIntyre made a face at the other man's back muttering to himself, "Just wait till he sees me work. Won't ol' Chuck be eating some crow then."
Some time later, he jauntily sauntered out of the operating room, having handily performed the surgery, not even flinching when the patient's heart stopped and he had to massage it to get it beating again.
"Congratulations, McIntyre. The job is yours." Charles said casually.
"Shot a big hole right through all your doubts about me, didn't I, Winchester?" asked McIntyre with a smirk.
Charles looked at him, half surprised. "Did you think I'd be shocked that you're an excellent surgeon? I expect every doctor on my staff to be superb, and you simply met the standard."
"Met the standard!? I did a damn good job on that lady, and I'd like to see you do better!"
"Don't worry, you'll get your chance." Winchester pulled off his gown, tossing it in the bin for dirty laundry. "I hired you because you're a good surgeon and we need good surgeons, but watch your step around here, McIntyre. I've dealt crazier characters than you, and you don't impress me."
McIntyre watched him walk out of the room and muttered to himself, "Well how do you like that? Certainly a friendly fellow. Ought to be a joy to work for, but I've never let an egotistical jackass slow me down before." He had to go up to Winchester's office again to iron out the details, but took his time getting there, stopping to talk to the nurses and then again to flirt with Winchester's receptionist. "I didn't get your name before, honey."
"Abby. I've always liked that name; makes me think of ripe, plump fruit." He grinned at her, seating himself on the edge of her desk. She giggled. "Do you have a last name, Abby?"
"It's Abby Jameson." The woman, who really was little more than a girl, smiled shyly up at McIntyre from her seat behind the desk.
"Well, Abby Jameson, I am Trapper John McIntyre, and I am very glad to meet you."
"That is a very good question, and someday I will tell you the answer. In fact, if you're very lucky I might even show you. I have this funny feeling we'll be seeing a lot of each other in the future."
"Oh, Dr. Winchester did hire you then?"
"He did. And right now I'm here to see him again. Can you tell him I'm here?"
Abby turned bright red and apologized profusely. "Oh I'm so sorry, Dr. McIntyre! I don't know what I was thinking. Of course I'll tell Dr. Winchester for you. I'm really sorry!"
McIntyre just grinned at her. "Don't worry about it, Abby. I'd rather look at your beautiful face than his pompous smirk any day. And call me Trapper. I'm not much good at that formal stuff."
She blushed again, and then turned to do her job. "You can go in now, Dr...Trapper."
"Thanks, hon'." He winked at her and ambled into the office.
30 September 1959; Boston Mercy Hospital; Boston, Massachusetts
Charles walked back into the hospital building after lunching with a colleague. He was not having a good day, or a good week for that matter. Beth was still waking up with nightmares, keeping him from getting much sleep at night. And to make matters worse, the new surgeon he had hired was turning out to be quite a disruptive influence on the staff. McIntyre had only been there for two weeks, and yet half the nursing staff was enamored of him, not to mention Winchester's secretary, Abby, who positively melted every time the man was nearby. Then he'd scared one of the interns out of his wits, not that there'd been much to lose, with an elaborate prank involving a skull, a candle, a jar of Vaseline, and two plastic gloves. Charles had assumed that after dealing with Pierce and Hunnicutt in Korea, no one could possibly be as bad. Of course, he'd been right, but McIntyre had his own special way of being positively asinine that was starting to fray Winchester's nerves.
Seeing McIntyre was sitting on the receptionist's desk in front of his office again, he cleared his throat loudly.
Abby jumped as if she'd been bitten. "Oh! Dr. Winchester! I didn't see you there."
"Obviously. Dr. McIntyre, if I could see you in my office...?" Without waiting for an answer, he walked past both of them into the other room.
Trapper turned to the secretary. "Duty calls, my dear. But don't worry, even Doctor Grumpy there can't keep me from coming back to see your pretty face." She just giggled, and looked up at him from under her eyelashes.
Trapper sauntered into the office. "What can I do for you, Winchester?"
"Ah, yes." Charles looked up from the case file he had before him. "McIntyre, I'd appreciate it if you would leave my secretary alone. Miss Jameson is currently spending more time daydreaming about you than answering the phones."
"Is that right?" A rather lecherous grin appeared on McIntyre's face. Nudging Winchester with his elbow, he asked, "So, whaddya think the chances are of getting her to play doctor with me?"
Charles was disgusted. "This is a hospital not a harem, McIntyre! Besides, I was under the impression that you were a married man."