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1. Worth It
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Reading Time: 19 minutes
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Details
Idol

Yamada Ryosuke

Relationship

Yamada x OC

Ship Name

Yamada Ryosuke x Elliot Meadows

Type

Chaptered Story

Genre

Fluffy, Romance, Slice of Life, Idol Romance

Rating

PG-13

Warnings

Animal death, veterinarian situations

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Synopsis

Elliot, a fairly newly licensed veterinarian who works in an upscale clinic where she thoroughly enjoys her wonderful, if not exhausting, job–though most of the time the pages of her diary feel the same day after day now–that is until the fateful moment she entered Exam Room 5 to treat a patient she’d never seen before–and walked (ran) away wondering if her life would be the same again.

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The day had been absolutely insane from the moment the doors opened that morning at the veterinary clinic where Elliot worked. She had just managed to sit down, finally, as it was the first time all day she’d had a moment to take a breath–glancing to the clock, then quickly to her watch to ensure she was actually seeing the numbers correctly.

The smile that spread across her face was genuine when she realized there was only fifteen minutes left until the clinic closed. Having only graduated and passed the national exam six months ago, it was safe to say she still hadn’t really adjusted from all the studying and observing to the practical application and interactions that being licensed provided on a daily–often hourly basis.

She would be turning 24 in a few weeks…something to celebrate of course, and she was happy knowing that her family was busy with some kind of party plans–areal party–something that hadn’t even been considered for the last six years. There just was no time for that kind of leisure. It would be nice, some time to just unwind and enjoy life without working or studying, even if for only one day. 

Her eyes drifted down, glancing at her fingernails, admiring one of the early birthday gifts from her parents–a manicure, something she rarely ever did these days when the most attention was having clean hair. Though the certificate to have her nails done reminded her that she should take some time to take care of herself while she was taking care of everyone else. When she was a teenager she tended to be a very girly girl–makeup, manicures, fashion–but, college left her so tired and busy it was the last thing that entered her mind.

Since having her nails done she’d begun waking up a little earlier and spending a little more time on her appearance—doing her makeup, putting soft curls in the parts of her hair that weren’t pinned up…simple things that made her feel a little more like who she really was. While she wore a type of uniform to work, somewhat negating her fashion sense, though she often wore unique colors of scrubs and coats like pinks and purples—her favorite colors.

The hue she’d settled on for her nails was a deep purple, nearly black, though the purple showed up under sunlight—shimmering and brilliant. Darker than what most women would choose she supposed, but she’d always been rather non-conformist all things considered. She’d had a lot of practice as a child at being different than everyone else.

Her strawberry tinted hair, and hazel eyes were from her father, an American businessman who had come to Japan when he was twenty as a part of his company’s expansion abroad and never returned ‘home’ again. He’d lived there for nearly five years when he met her mother, an elementary school teacher, during a time when he was overseeing the installation of software on the school’s computers. Her older brother followed quickly after their marriage, then she had been gifted a younger sister as well.

At any rate, out of the three of the siblings, it seemed Elliot had been given the most genetic material from her father—even nearly too predictable as she had his name as her own. She’d never fully understood why her older brother didn’t receive the name instead of her, as it seemed to be a very masculine name—but her mother had long insisted that she’d always dreamed of a daughter with an ‘American name’.

Her siblings had their mother’s dark hair, and her sun-kissed skin tone–and as such, it was often hard to tell that they weren’t born of two Japanese parents at all. There was no doubt that Elliot’s ethnicity held something other than solely Japanese heritage as not only were her hair and eyes a dead giveaway–her skin was milky like frothy cream and no matter how much she had tried, there was just no way to tan–instead she’d burn—and now sported a row of peachy freckles across her nose and cheeks from trying one too many times.

Despite children being both fascinated and often cruel over differences through elementary school and middle school—she certainly wasn’t regretful of her appearance, since as she got older, it became more of an asset, especially her eyes which changed colors based on some unsolvable equation–some days they were golden, others green, sometimes a mix between them all–and the red tint of her hair sometimes made them look like they had fire in them.

Sighing dramatically, she spun in the chair to glance to the chart bin which was empty–there were no patients waiting in the clinic. YES! The sound of the puppies and kittens was soothing like a lullaby, making her eyes droop and close for a moment–the peace washing over her.

She’d been drifting in contentment, waiting for time to pass so she could leave when the bell to the front door rang out. She stiffened, clenching her eyes closed, trying to stop herself from running out the back door. They most definitely wouldn’t be leaving on time now.

Why do people wait until the last minute to bring in their animals? Ugh.

She loved her job, of course she does, who would devote the kind of time, energy, and overall loss in their quality of life for the years it took to become a vet if they didn’t? Reality was, even being a vet now, her quality of life hadn’t improved much as she was just as busy and consumed now as she’d ever been, but at least she was helping…most of the time that is.

Today had just been an exceptionally hard day for her…having seen an unprecedented number of patients, many of them routine, some follow ups from procedures and illnesses–but also she’d had two dogs projectile vomit on her legs, a cat had urinated on her jacket, she’d dealt with at least eight case of parasites, one in particular that made her stomach turn, and she was now sporting five long gashes down her arm from another cat who had really not appreciated the shot that would make her well. None of that was particularly out of the norm, since Elliot was unique in the way that she was more hands on than most vets, preferring to do most things herself versus making her techs handle all the grunt work.

The hard part happened about two hours ago when a family came in with their dog–a beautiful, lovely honey colored spaniel named Lottie–who had given birth to three puppies at home before she appeared to be in distress. Elliot put on a brave face, but was devastated when she lost both Lottie and the last puppy she’d been trying to deliver. There was nothing that could have been done for her, but it still hurt. It always did. It was part of the job, that’s all, but Elliot carried the names of all those animals she’d lost moving forward, and it never got any easier. Lottie was permanently imprinted on her heart now.

She slowly rolled her head around, dropping her chin down to rest on her chest, taking a deep breath, she attempted to release the stress and muster the right attitude to handle her final patient of the day.

She heard the voice of her tech, Saya, talking to the patient in the room they’d just entered, the muffled voices soft and lulling mixed with the sounds of the other inpatient animals. She turned in the chair to look into the cage sitting next to her, having moved it up front by the pharmacy where she’d been sitting to keep a close eye on the patient. It was a small dog named Winty, who’d flared a fever this morning after a minor surgery she’d performed yesterday on her abdomen.

Elliot had been extremely worried about her, and had even come in during the night last night to check on her. That might be contributing to her readiness to leave work. Winty was sound asleep and resting, thankfully, so she reached over and picked up her chart, double checking that her temp had been recorded in the last hour and was relieved to find that she appeared to be recovering as planned. Her owner, an eight-year-old girl had to be forced to leave the clinic by her parents yesterday, nearly inconsolable, as her fear and worry was so strong. Elliot reached over and scribbled down the phone number from the file, intent on calling to let the family know how Winty was doing later that evening.

The door to the patient’s room opened and closed quickly, the sound of a puppy whining from inside echoing down the hallway until the door snicked shut made her smile. Elliot stood up from the chair, stretching backwards as she watched Saya cross into the room to hand the file to her directly instead of putting it in the bin.

“Exam room 5! Prepare yourself,” she whispered with a smile, “this one’s a looker!”

Elliot laughed lightly, snatching the folder out of her hand, and walking toward the door, “I have an impenetrable heart, unless it’s an Alaskan Klee Kai–I’m not interested!”

“We’ll see!” Saya called out as she went to do the last round on the inpatient pets before the night tech came in to take over.

Standing outside the door to the exam room, Elliot couldn’t stifle the smile that blossomed as she could hear the man in the room talking to the dog in a smooth, consoling voice trying to keep the dog calm. It was so precious. She absolutely loved owners who cared deeply for their animals, they were priceless. Taking a deep breath, she stood there listening for a moment, letting it lift her spirits, as this owner clearly adored his pet.

Opening the folder, she glanced down at the information in the file. It wasn’t the first time this dog had been seen at the clinic, in fact, he appeared to have always been treated there since he was a puppy–though, he hadn’t been in since Elliot had begun working there. Reading the notes that the tech had written–hip pain, favoring one side, loss of appetite, owner is very concerned–she glanced at the age of the dog and realized he was eleven years old. Frowning, the realization that she might need to give bad news to the owner today stung–it was something she really did not want to have to do after the day she’d had already.

She leaned forward to press her forehead against the cool door for a moment, breathing deeply to steel her nerves, then gathered herself and swung it open, trying her best to sound cheerful, beginning to introduce herself when she stopped in mid-sentence.  

Her eyes drifted across room to take in the pair sitting on the love seat positioned in the corner of the exam room–

This is the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen in my entire life!

The puppy is pretty adorable, too.

Elliot admonished herself as she willed her body to move as it instead simply stood there–mouth gaping like a complete idiot for one beat too long. She cleared her throat and quickly introducing herself, “I’m Dr. Meadows, it is a pleasure to meet you,” she bowed slightly. He didn’t move, didn’t react, his expression was rather blank, and she wondered if he had even heard her, she twisted her hand on the folder softly, looking down when he cleared his throat, shaking his head lightly before speaking.

His voice was soft but confident, and Elliot instantly pictured an angel in her mind as he said his name, “Yamada Ryosuke, and this is Riku.”

She wanted to sigh, she had absolutely no idea whatsoever what he’d just said, but it was said beautifully. She felt the heat rise all the way to the tips of her ears, and to keep from embarrassing herself any further, she turned her back to them to gather some materials and gloves from the cabinet by the door, giving herself a moment to school her expression and try to calm down the flush that was washing across her skin. She had no idea what was wrong with her. Well, clearly the tech hadn’t been lying about him being a ‘looker’–he was beautiful—and normally, this wasn’t something Elliot would even pay any attention to, but here she was flustered like a girl in middle school whose crush just made eye contact with her. She was absolutely exasperated by her own response.

Saya could have at least told her it was the human not the dog.

Taking a deep breath, she spun back around, determined to be a professional, “So what’s happening with…ah,” she glanced back to the chart laying on the table, “Riku, today?”

Elliot pointedly avoided looking at the man while he spoke, though despite her best efforts her eyes landed on his hands. They were smooth, and strong, and equally as beautiful as the rest of him, the thoughts made Elliot bite her tongue sharply to draw her mind back to business. Moving around the exam table she approached them, slowly settling on her knees on the floor in front of Riku, reaching out to hold her hand in front of his snout, giving him the chance to familiarize himself with her scent and earn his trust.

Experience had taught her to never rush the beginning of a relationship with an animal who didn’t know you. It was hard to avoid looking up at the man as he spoke about what had happened. Trying to still her mind and keep her thoughts organized, Elliot hummed and responded in the proper places despite the timbre of his voice threatening to make her forget everything.

It’s like silk wrapped in chocolate wrapped in silk.

Biting her tongue again, she reached forward to move her hand closer to Riku who had tipped his head forward and was sniffing it with his nose touching her skin.

The man had explained that he had arrived home from work to find his dog not moving properly, rather, the dog was favoring one side, was lethargic, and didn’t want to eat anything. The concern in his voice made Elliot’s heart clench, already praying that she would not have to deliver the unthinkable news to him.

“When is the last time he ate?”

Elliot chanced a glance up at the man, unnerved by how close he actually was and how he looked directly at her when he was speaking, unlike most people she knew. He was so lovely she wanted to cry, like a work of art from one of the great masters, even this close there were no imperfections that she could see–rather, he was even more breathtaking. Honestly, she felt absolutely hideous next to this kind of beauty. Unknowingly, she had been staring at his mouth as he talked, his smooth pink lips looked like they would be as soft as a newborn puppy’s fur…

Get a grip.

Tearing her eyes away from his mouth to look at his eyes–his exquisite eyes–the color unlike most brown eyes she’d seen, rather his gave her a warm feeling of happy memories of winter with her family—as they were like smooth, rich hot cocoa, shimmering with the light that danced as he swept his hair away from his brow, his thick, full eyelashes presenting the perfect frame. She bit her tongue harder to keep from sighing out loud.

I’m losing my mind.

“It was last night, around six or seven,” he glanced down at the dog, stroking down his back, giving her a moment to gather her wits as he continued, “I gave him a small meal this morning, but generally do not feed him until evening because of my schedule.”

Nodding, Elliot reached forward slowly to pet Riku, smiling as he dipped his head so she could scratch behind his ears, “I’m just going to examine him, but you do not have to put him on the table. I don’t want him to feel uneasy so I’ll do it right here on the floor.”

Elliot twisted to reach behind where she was sitting so she could drag out the specially designed cushion that was stored under the table counter, moving it so it was positioned to the side. She was so glad she’d convinced the clinic manager these were a good investment for animals with mobility issues–even if the other vets rarely used them because they didn’t want to sit on the floor of all things. Elliot didn’t let the other vet’s attitudes slow her down–she cared the most about the animal’s comfort, not her own. She was pleased when Riku began wagging his tail as she patted the cushion softly, “I’ll start with his legs, some simple tests to check for mobility and any signs of pain.”

The man nodded, standing and then moving across from Elliot, squatting down to sit Riku on the cushion, and then surprisingly, he sat across from her on the floor himself, bending his legs and leaning forward to place his elbows on his knees and rest his chin in his hands.

Elliot clicked into vet mode instantly, and went through the exam carefully and thoroughly, explaining everything she was going to do before she did it so that there were no surprises–both the owner and dog were wonderful patients, and she was nearly done with the exam when the man laughed lightly drawing her attention away from Riku.

Glancing over at him, she noted his broad smile and pink tinged cheeks, a shy fluttering of his eyes which made his already perfect face even more fascinating, as he shook his head, “Sorry, it’s nothing.”

Shrugging Elliot went back to the exam, curious about his behavior but not willing to ask, when the music that had been playing softly over the speakers from the radio station that was piped into all the rooms slowly increased in volume. She tried to ignore it, but the music was getting louder and louder and all she could think was that someone in the back didn’t realize that there were still patients in the building since it was past closing time.

She desperately tried to finish the exam, she really did, talking louder to make sure the man could hear over the music, making a sharp noise when the sound got even louder, “I’m sorry, can you excuse me for a moment?”

The man was laughing, clearly amused, despite Elliot’s complete and utter mortification. This was undoubtedly one of the most unprofessional things she’d experienced since starting work there, and she rushed out of the room, closing the door a little too hard on the way out, cringing, then called out Saya’s name over the sound of the music which was even louder in the hallway.

Saya leaned her head out of one of the doors down the hallway, eyes landing on Elliot as she cried out over the music, “What in the world is happening with this music?”

“What?” she held her hand up to her ear, clearly indicating she couldn’t hear what she was saying.

Elliot huffed, then called out louder this time, “Why is this music playing so loud!?” 

“You like the music?” she called back, smiling brightly, causing Elliot to grimace, when two of the other tech’s heads popped out of different doors down the hallway making her feel like she was on the receiving end of a comedy act where no one bothered to share the script with her.

“What?”

“You like this music?” Saya called again, her brows raised in a way to say she wasn’t leaving until Elliot responded one way or the other, the other techs laughing as they waited for an answer.

Elliot stomped her foot in frustration, not having had heard the song before this moment, even if she did actually like it, she pointed violently to the nearest speaker, practically screaming down the hallway, “The song is great, very catchy, I love it! But for the love of all things good and holy can you turn it down! I am with a patient here!”

“I know!” the techs all laughed hysterically at that. Though Saya sobered instantly when Elliot leveled her best ‘I will cut you’ glare at her. Saya stepped into the hallway and turned to walk to the other end, the other techs quickly ducking back into the rooms they were cleaning as she passed them to hopefully make sure the music got adjusted to a proper level.

Sure enough, moments later the music faded down to a soft melody and Elliot turned around, reentering the room to find the man sitting back on the love seat with his dog in his lap, still smiling brightly, his eyes twinkling. Despite his entire countenance appearing to be relaxed and soft, he exuded some kind of presence, of confidence, or assurance that commanded attention. It was inexplicable and undefinable and she felt even more bothered by the unprofessional way she’d been behaving.

“I am so sorry!” Elliot tilted her head down, casting her eyes to the ground in apology, “I don’t know what they were thinking…”

“It’s fine, really,” he replied quickly, one of his eyebrows raised, and a hint of amusement coloring his words, “It was a catchy song, wasn’t it?”

His expression was sweet somehow, and he was staring at Elliot with an emotion she couldn’t quite place, which made her flush again. Shrugging, she nodded in agreement about his assessment of the song, leaning onto the table to write into the record to distract herself, “At any rate, I have good news,” pausing, she looked at the owner’s name so she could address him properly, “Yamada-san, your dog is going to be just fine!”

She glanced up to the man who was hugging his dog and seemed quite relieved, clearly his mind had been going in the same direction hers had when he arrived, “He is certainly an elder at this point, but he’s quite healthy. His bones are strong, his muscles are still very durable, and he has good range of motion.”

Walking over to him, she squatted down so she could be eye to eye with Riku, reaching out she extended one of his front legs to reach up under his arm, “This right here, these joints on all four of his legs are inflamed, which is very normal for an animal this age–it’s similar to what humans experience as arthritis–but this side is worse than the other, which is why he was favoring the other side. Generally speaking…”

Before she could finish her thought Riku jerked his leg backward causing her to pitch forward, nearly falling into the man’s lap, catching herself on his leg, before she rather ungracefully stood up, with his help as he had reached out to steady her with the hand that wasn’t holding the dog.

“I’m so sorry,” she rushed out the words, flustered, releasing his leg like her hand was on fire, his hand holding her forearm a little longer than necessary as his body shook with laughter. Elliot quickly pulled backward, freeing her arm, and moved over to the exam table to lean against it as the room felt like it was spinning, her entire arm tingling from his touch…

God, was this room always this small!? I feel like I’m suffocating.

“What was I…” 

I’m going to die. I’m definitely going to die…

Words wouldn’t come, and it felt like her brain was shutting down when suddenly her internal monologue admonished her stupidity and then told her to ‘get your crap together!‘ causing her to nod sharply as she took a deep breath, “Generally speaking, you can see flare ups for many reasons, sometimes physical, sometimes dietary…things like potatoes, eggplant, rice, wheat, peppers, and fatty meats can cause issues.”

The words were too fast, but it couldn’t be helped at this point, and she didn’t miss the way his eyes shifted and a slight guilty look crossed his face–like most pet owners who adored their animals, it was clear that he often indulged his dog, “Of course, sometimes those treats are more important to the well-being of your pet than the issues they would cause, to make our animals happy–moderation is the key,” Elliot winked out of habit when she said it, a method meant to tease patients while still conveying the necessary information, but this didn’t feel like that and her tummy flipped upside down when he smiled back, his bright teeth sparkling from the fluorescent lighting in the room—he was breathtaking.

Stop that!

Blurting out the first thing that entered her mind, “What kind of floors do you have?”

He tilted his head, his expression quizzical, “Pardon?”

“I was wondering what kind of floors you have in your home,” she gestured her hand wildly for him to answer quickly like that was going to make everything feel normal again.

“Hardwood flooring in all of the house,” he seemed confused by the question and Elliot realized it did seem a rather forward question without an explanation all things considered.

“I thought maybe that was true,” she stepped back and opened the drawer in front of her, pulling out a plastic bag, “Younger dogs don’t have issues with smooth flooring, but as dogs age they tend to have a harder time with balance and weight distribution–which can cause them to slip–another cause of the kind of inflammation Riku is experiencing in those joints, as their legs hyper-extend when they slide outward trying to keep their balance.” 

The man’s eyes were wide and he seemed amazed by this thought, looking from Elliot to the dog and back again, “I had no idea.”

“It’s not something we think about to be honest, but it’s a real problem for our elderly dogs,” walking over to him, she handed him the bag she’d retrieved, “These are special socks for Riku, they are made for dogs who are struggling with this issue–as they are designed with grips on them to ensure they do not lose their balance or slide on the floor. My experience has been very positive with these, as I use them on my own dog, Sassy. The key is to take them off if he seems irritated by them.”

The man nodded, taking in the information, “When you put them on, make sure you associate it with something positive, like a treat or a special playtime with his favorite toy. As long as he will wear them, keep them on him. I’ll give you a few other pairs also, they’re machine washable, and I’ll be giving you some vitamins and such to give to him daily until he’s feeling better.”

The man looked up at Elliot, his face soft and warm, his eyes slightly crinkled at the edges with the gentle smile he had, adorable dimples forming on his cheeks, his voice smoothed with emotion and relief of what she’d told him, “I can’t thank you enough, I was…just really…”

“I know,” she smiled sweetly back at the man, finally finding common ground under her feet, since she understood his feelings completely, “I was concerned about that too. I’m really glad that your Riku is going home today with happy news!”

Elliot realized that her tone had given away too much about the state of her mind at this point, shaking her head when the man whispered, “I’m sorry, must have been a rough day.”

“It has had its moments, but this was a very positive one,” she turned to write down the info into Riku’s file and then walked to gather up the supplements and other pairs of socks for him to take home.

“I’m glad Riku could make you smile then,” the man kept speaking while Elliot gathered things, tucking them into a bag, “and I wanted to apologize, since we got here so late, I know you have had to work far past your normal closing time.”

“Please,” she absently answered over her shoulder, nudging a drawer shut with her hip, “It’s what I do.”

“I can understand, what I do is the reason I couldn’t come earlier. Thank you for helping us.”

She turned back around, walking to him so she could hand him the bag as he stood with Riku bundled up in his arms, “I’m happy to have helped, Yamada-san,” she leaned down to look into Riku’s eyes, ruffling the fur on top of his head, “and it was a pleasure to meet you, Riku!”

“The pleasure was all mine,” the man whispered, head tilted to the floor, as he moved toward the door, stopping and looking up at her, his eyes softened, and the words hesitate but strong at the same time, “I assure you.”

Elliot stared unblinkingly at the spot the man had been standing moments before, having opened the door and stepped through it, glancing back at her as he turned to close it, saying “See you!” while he winked with a broad smile gracing his lovely face before he smirked, undoubtedly at her shock, and then pulled the door closed.

Having come to her senses Elliot tiptoed over to the door, turning the knob slowly so it wouldn’t make noise as she opened it a crack to see the man at the reception desk taking care of payment. He was laughing and seemed very relaxed, enjoying his conversation with the clerk who was a chatty, flirty, bubbly type personality. He was petting the clinic cat absently, a beautiful orange tabby named Gracie, that roamed freely through the clinic who had come to visit him when he spoke again.

“What’s the vet’s name?”

Freezing, Elliot’s eyes widened as he asked the question, heart racing wildly as she considered why he would want to know that.

The clerk frowned for a moment before she responded, “Dr. Meadows.”

Elliot wasn’t sure what the clerk, Miki, was up to, but suddenly her sour expression softened when the man whispered the name “Meadows”, clearly a foreign surname, then cleared his throat, asking, “Is that her husband’s name?”

What?!

Miki laughed like that was the funniest thing she’d ever heard in her life and Elliot felt a little resentful of the implication that she couldn’t possibly be married. She just didn’t want to date or be in a relationship or be married. It wasn’t because she couldn’t be. Well, she really didn’t put that much thought into it really. She was either at the clinic or sleeping. There was not much else to her life at this point.

“She’s not married to a man, since she’s been married to her education for her first twelve years, followed by six more to become a vet,” Miki’s voice was sweet, whatever made her frown before long gone, and Elliot knew she meant this in a manner of compliment, even if her words didn’t really convey that, “so there’s certainly been no time for relationships or anything as exhaustive as marriage.”

The man hummed softly, and Elliot wanted to strangle Miki when she leaned forward, as if she were whispering but saying the words in a normal tone of voice, her eyes drifted past his shoulders to land on Elliot’s, a sly smile playing at her lips before she winked, her voice sing-song as she announced, “That means, to be clear, she’s single.”

The man laughed softly at that, then he burst out laughing, shuffling his feet shyly when Miki had sat back down, raising one of her eyebrows before admitting in a way only she could, in a mix of innocence and sexiness, “So am I, for the record.”

That’s what the frown was about! Of course, she’s interested in him! I mean, why wouldn’t she be, though honestly, if he has the right chromosome that’s the beginning and end of her discerning tastes. I mean, really, good grief, could you be more desperate, Miki, why don’t you…I mean ju…

“What are you doing?” 

Elliot nearly jumped out of her skin, her hand jerking the door to slam it shut, a loud curse flying out of her mouth without thinking as she turned to lean against the door, laying a shaking hand on her chest trying to calm her racing heart, eyes wide as she stared at Saya who had entered the room from the back door without her noticing.

Kill me now. 

Elliot groaned softly when she heard the man laughing loudly from outside the room, clearly having heard the door slam, and undoubtedly piecing things together himself to realize what had happened, that was, of course, if the clerk didn’t just forthright tell him.

Elliot was never, ever bringing her cookies anymore. 

Ever.

“Nothing, my goodness, you scared me is all,” fumbling for words, Elliot gestured to the mess from the exam on the table, “Clean that up.”

She had barked the order in a very non-Elliot kind of tone, walking briskly across the room to the back door the tech had entered through, frowning as she burst into laughter, mumbling something about the song that had been playing before.

Absolutely done with this nonsense, done, completely done–Elliot quickly scribbled the notes for the night tech on all the in-house care pets, and then left as quickly and stealthily as possible, out the back door.

She spent the night bouncing between two emotions–sheer, unadulterated bliss at the chance she’d had to see a perfect man before she died–or alternately, the absolute full encompassing mortification of how much she’d, and by all rights her staff had embarrassed her today. The only redeeming value of the day was the phone call to talk to Winty’s owner who was so excited to hear her puppy was healing well that she promised to color a picture for her in appreciation. Elliot had a side of her refrigerator especially for these precious works of art from children who brought their animals in to see her.

Finally falling into a restless sleep that night, her dreams were filled with beautifully expressive eyes of melted chocolate, full pink lips that spoke words of poets, a million-dollar smile, strong, soft hands, and well, just the perfect man–at least physically.

Elliot decided the next morning as she nursed her second cup of coffee and ate her muffin–the dream was completely worth all the insanity of yesterday.

Completely worth it.

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