Chapter 1

Dean Hawthorn was sitting in the staff coffee lounge. He ran his finger round the rim of the plastic cup that contained his nasty looking coffee and sulked. The door opened and Joe Willis' laughter at some joke being told in the corridor, proceded Joe's entrance. Dean and Joe shared rooms at the hospital where they both worked. In fact they'd shared most things since they were sixteen years old. Schools, collages, medical school, clothes, music, girls. The only parting of the ways had been their choices of medical fields. Joe was a junior neurologist, Dean chose psychiatry.

"Move your clutter." Joe nudged a pile of folders that was on the chair next to Dean. Dean tutted childishly and moved them to another chair. "Who's pissed on your chips?"

"Does it never irritate you how dull people are?" Dean said moodily.

"I take it the nurse from orthopaedics was a bit of a let down." Joe commented.

"And the receptionist from outpatients before her, and Paula from geriatrics, and Mandy from surgical." Dean said irritably. "How can intelligent, professional women be such airheads?"

"I think I know where this is headed." Joe sighed and Dean gave him a swift glance. "She said no again?"

"She did." Dean shrugged. "As politely and as beautifully as she's done for the last six months. What am I doing wrong Joe?"

"Not every woman finds you irresistible, Dean. Don't be so arrogant." Joe preached. Only about ninety five percent of them did, and always had. Joe wasn't a bad catch himself, but Dean had been described as everything from fit, stunning to godly, plus everything in between.

"Bah! I didn't go in ego first Joe. Piss off."

"No, actually you didn't." Joe conceded. "You want to know what I think?"

"Umm ... no."

"I think you just won't accept the refusal." Joe shrugged and Dean heaved a sigh. "No listen. I'm not saying it's your ego, I'm saying you just don't recognise a refusal when you see one."

"Bollocks." Dean smiled.

"Probably." Joe grinned. "Or it's just plain old pissing you off that you can't have that one so it's making you more stubborn."

"I don't know what it is, to be honest with you." Dean said. "I mean, she's a looker, obviously, but it's not that." He frowned. "If it was just that on it's own then the ego would take over. No, it's just ... everything."

"Oh you have it bad, pal." Joe laughed. "I've heard she's a very nice girl actually. Even on neuro they've mentioned how good she is with the patients on your ward."

"Yes she is, she's fantastic." Dean agreed. "During one of our chats I suggested that she get herself the qualifications she needs to get higher. Nursing, maybe med school. She's very intelligent Joe, just doesn't have enough on paper."

"I see it in many of our care assistants. They seem to have a more basic connection to the patients. You know? They don't have the responsibility for their medical welfare so the connection they have is different."

"You know, that's more or less what she said too. She said she just wasn't cut out for responsibility and it's pressures, especially when it involved the welfare of real people." Dean shrugged.

"I've never known you have that type of conversation with anyone you have your eye on, in the fourteen years I've known you." Joe laughed. "Do you ever get round to asking the girl out?"

"Very carefully, yes." Dean nodded. "I'm not daft. If I just swaggered in and said 'Hey fancy going out for a drink?' she'd avoid me like the plague. I've asked her if she wants to go for a coffee, have lunch here in the cafe, mars bar from the vending machie and that's as far as I get." Dean sighed miserably. "She just smiles and tells me no thank you. All sweet and polite too."

Book Index       Jigsaw       Next

©Jack Frost & The Hooded Crow