Play With Me (With Me In Seattle)(10)By: Kristen Proby
“Damn, I’m sorry, man.”
I step out of the room and let the guys chat it up with Nicholas, give him gifts and just make his day.
Hell, make his whole life.
About an hour later, the players file out, smiling and joking with each other and with Nick. Will offers me a sweet, sad smile. “We need to talk later,” he mutters.
I frown and cock my head to the side. Talk? About what? I don’t have time to question him.
“Okay, guys, if you’re comfortable splitting up for a while, there are a lot of kids anxious to meet you. I have extra nursing staff on hand today to lead you around and introduce you to kids and their parents.”
“Sounds great,” Sanders responds and offers Jill a cocky grin. “Lead on, sweetheart.”
They each grab baskets full of gifts and follow my staff to various parts of the department, and I laugh as I hear whoops and cries of excitement coming out of the rooms.
“This is awesome, Will. These kids will remember this for the rest of their lives. Thank you.”
“My pleasure. I’m gonna stick with you, if you don’t mind. Where to next?”
* * *
Okay, the man is good with kids. He’s kind and a good listener. He has patiently posed for dozens of photos, flirted with my girls, made the guys feel like he’s their buddy, and just been generally awesome today. All five players eventually made it to every room and talked with every patient. Now, we’re all gathered in a common area that we have set up for families, where they can come and rest. It’s recently been remodeled, and it proudly boasts about two-thousand square feet of plush leather couches and recliners, an enormous big-screen television mounted to one wall, tables and chairs near outlets for laptops and plenty of space to spread out.
Now the oldest patients who are able to leave their rooms are scattered around the space, at the suggestion of Kip, so the kids can ask questions and have a little more time with the team before they leave for the evening.
They’ve already been here for a staggering five hours.
“Meg, I need some help with an IV in room twenty,” Dr. Sanchez whispers to me so she doesn’t interrupt the Q&A session.
“No problem.” I follow her back to the room and help her, and then when I return to the lounge, I stay out of sight so I can listen.
“So, do you have a girlfriend, Will?” A pretty sixteen-year-old patient named Liza asks with a shy smile.
“No, I don’t, sweetheart.”
“Why not?” someone asks.
“Well, there is one woman I’m interested in, but I don’t think she likes me back.”
“Well then she’s stupid,” Liza retorts, and everyone laughs.
“No, she’s smart,” Trevon jokes, punching Will in the shoulder.
“Who is it?” Nick asks him.
“Actually, you know her,” Will begins and I bite my lip and feel my eyes widen. Holy shit! “I’d love to get to know Meg better.”
“Well then ask her out,” someone out of my line of vision advises him.
“I don’t think she’s interested in me.”
“We can help,” Liza offers. “We know her really well.”
“Um, okay.” Will suddenly sounds nervous and I grin.
“She loves music,” my patient, Bree tells him.
“And chocolate,” offers Mike.
“And she likes hugs,” my thirteen-year-old Jason chimes in.
“But if you fuck with her, I’ll tear your heart out of your chest, cancer be damned,” Nick states clearly, harshly.
“Nick!” his mom exclaims. My feet are rooted to the floor. I should go take care of this, but I can’t move. I want to hear Will’s response. Silence fills the room and I picture the two guys, one almost a man and one a grown up, staring at each other.
Finally, Will says, “You know, Nick, I already had a lot of respect for you just from our chat earlier today, but now I just think you’re badass. You’re a good man. You don’t need to worry about Meg.”
I walk into the room in time to see Nick nod soberly and look at the floor. The other four players’ smirks have left their handsome faces, and are instead looking at Nick with respect.
“Okay, everyone,” my voice is bright, not giving a clue that I just heard the conversation about Will and me. “I know you probably have a lot more questions for our guests, but I think it’s time we let them off the hook. They’ve spent a lot of their time with us today.”