Secret Santa, Part II

Previously: Part 1, Silver Bells [U]

This is part two of Yeeben’s little Secret Santa present. I’m not going to lie: there’s no smut. It’s just pure fluff.

Safe for work. No sex or violence.

* * * * *

Secret Santa, Part II: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

When Ashley came round again, she was surprised and delighted to find the most beautiful and enchanting woman she had ever seen, just inches from her face.

“Can you try to sit up a little for me?” the young resident asked. She had blonde hair and blue eyes, but that didn’t come close to describing the perfection of either.

“What?” For some reason, Ashley had just assumed that the young woman had been leaning in for a kiss.

“I just want to have a look at your eyes with this,” she held up a medical implement. “It’s called a funduscope and it will help me work out what’s wrong with you,” she explained.

The singer shuffled herself until she was almost in a sitting position and waited while the doctor examined her pupils. At this close proximity, she could feel the blonde’s soft breath against her cheek and the urge to just lean forward, close the gap between them and kiss the blonde was even stronger now; Ashley had to concentrate as hard as she could not to.

“Well, nothing wrong there,” Dr Carlin noted, walking to the end of the bed and picking up the medical chart. “How long have you been having these blackouts?” she continued, pen in hand.

Ashley looked towards her sister, who shrugged. “Um, just today, I guess.”

“Your sister tells me that you’re having some memory problems today but that, otherwise, you’re pretty healthy. She also tells me that you think you were in Seattle yesterday, but that you’ve not been there in months.”

The brunette nodded. “It’s the damnedest thing. I can remember my childhood, clear as a bell, but I can’t really remember anything since high school. I catch some bits and pieces – pictures and sounds, mostly – but no actual.. um, events. And I can definitely remember Seattle, but that’s getting kind of hazy, too.”

“And have you taken any drugs in the last week or so? I mean, even prescription medication?”

Ashley shook her head. “No, I don’t do drugs any more. I haven’t since I…” She couldn’t remember what had made her stop, but she knew she had. “No, I don’t think I have,” she finished lamely.

“How about alcohol? Were you drinking heavily last night?”

Ashley could vaguely remember a hotel bar and a half-finished drink. “I’m not sure. I don’t think so. I really don’t remember it much.”

Kyla interjected and said, “As I said before, Dr Carlin, I didn’t see her take anything, but she can party quite hard after a big gig. But it’s always been just alcohol.”

“Any falls? Any head injuries that either of you know about?” Both sisters shook their heads.

“Have you been admitted to hospital or otherwise been under the care of a doctor at all?”

Ashley looked to Kyla, who replied, “No, not since she was a child, other than routine check-ups. We don’t even have a regular doctor.”

Ashley watched as Dr Carlin made some notes on the chart. She had to stifle a moan as a sudden image of the blonde writhing beneath her, naked and wanting, passed through her mind. She wondered idly if she had equally strong reactions to all the women she found attractive; she suspected not. She might not know very much, but she knew that there was definitely something different about the young woman in front of her. She ruled out the possibility of them having met before, as the doctor had given no indication that Ashley was anything other than a normal patient.

Ashley sighed, wishing she could remember something, anything, that would make sense of all of this and would explain why she had the unshakeable feeling that the blonde was somehow important.

“Miss Davies?” the blonde in question prompted.

“Huh?”

“I said, I think we’re going to admit you and run some tests. The neurologist on-call will pop up to see you once you’re settled and run through your treatment plan.” She slipped her pen back into one of the pockets of her white coat. “I’ll arrange for you to be transferred as soon as possible.”

“Wait.” Ashley was confused again. “You’re not going to be my doctor?”

The blonde laughed softly, possibly the most beautiful sound that Ashley had ever heard. “No, I’m just an ER resident. I’ve done all I can. You need to see a specialist.”

“But I want you to be my doctor,” she pouted.

Spencer tilted her head to one side and regarded the singer for a moment. Sitting down on the edge of the bed, she turned to her patient. “Look, I know this is confusing for you. All I can tell you is that, despite what you might see on TV, the sort of amnesia that you’re describing is incredibly rare. There’s usually an obvious physical or emotional reason for memory loss, so we’ll try to work out which one it is. You’ll be sent for an MRI, where they’ll look at images of your brain, and the neurologist will explain everything to you. I’ll also arrange for a psych consult, so that we can assess if you’ve had any emotional trauma.”

She leaned over and took the other woman’s hand in her own. Ashley felt an instant jolt the second she felt the resident’s touch and another slew of images passed through her mind, all of them cloudy, but all of them definitely involving the blonde, and many of them x-rated.

“For most people, these episodes do pass, often within 24 hours. Sometimes the cause is never known. Hopefully, it will all just come back to you.”

She tried to stand and remove her hand, but Ashley was gripping onto her for grim death. “I’ll need my hand back,” she commented, smiling. “It’s kind of vital for assessing patients.”

Ashley flushed with embarrassment and let go of the blonde’s hand reluctantly. “Will I see you again?”

Spencer hugged her chart to her chest. “You’ll be seen by some of the best specialists in San Francisco. I promise you that they’ll do their very best for you.”

“It’s important!” Ashley exclaimed, panic rising in her at the thought that she might never see the young doctor again. She gave her best puppy-dog-eyed stare.

Spencer didn’t know why she relented. She had never once felt the need to see a patient again once they had been transferred or discharged. In fact, she considered her sense of detachment to be one of her main assets in being an ER physician. Her mother, whose career she had followed, had always told her that it was important to care as much as you could for the person in front of you and to treat them as you would wish a family member to be treated, but to be able to let go once they were out of your hands. The job pulled you down otherwise and left you burn out by forty. But there was something about this patient, about her obvious fear, that touched her heart in a way that she couldn’t remember feeling before.

“I’ll find out which ward you’re admitted to and I’ll come and see you at the end of my shift,” she promised. “Just to make sure you’re okay,” she added. That seemed to calm her agitated patient.

“You really promise?” Ashley asked, in a very small voice.

Again, Spencer felt the unfamiliar tug at her heartstrings. “I…” She stopped, unsure of what she was going to say. “Yes, I promise,” she finished, still surprised at her own behaviour in the first place.

As both sisters watched the resident open the curtains and leave, Kyla murmured, “What the fuck was all that about?”

Ashley turned around to face her sister. “What do you mean?”

“Well, she’s not the first woman I’ve ever seen you hit on, but that was pathetic.”

Ashley looked thoughtful. “If I tell you something, will you promise me that you won’t think I’m insane?”

Kyla rolled her eyes and folded her arms over her chest. “Well, no more than I already think you’re basically nuts.”

The brunette spoke softly. “I’m going to marry that girl.”

“The doctor?” Kyla shrieked in reply.

“Yes, the doctor.”

“Okay, I lied,” her sister commented. “You really are fucking insane!”

Ashley sighed heavily. She shouldn’t have said anything. “I don’t know what to tell you, Ky. I just know. I know the way you know -”

“About a good melon,” Kyla finished for her.

They laughed at their little shared joke. Sitting down on the bed, Kyla leaned over and stroked the hair away from her big sister’s forehead. Perhaps, given everything else, her sister falling head-over-heels in love at first sight was the least of their worries.

* * * * *

Ashley flicked aimlessly through the channels on the TV in her room. She had gone from being confused and disoriented with no memories, to be bored, confused and disoriented with plenty of memories that she didn’t recognise.

She’d had an MRI and seen the neurologist, only to be told that there was nothing untoward showing up on her scan. His treatment plan was to keep her in overnight for observation and do another scan in the morning, just to be certain. After that, Kyla had left, with a promise to return later; she said she had work to do, including cancelling an interview that she’d lined up for Ashley the following day. They agreed that Kyla wouldn’t mention Ashley being in hospital to anyone, but they both knew that it would probably get out anyway.

They’d admitted to her to a very nice private room that felt more like a hotel room than a hospital room, which Ashley had found strange. She understood that some people didn’t want to feel like they were in hospital, but she would have been more reassured by her room feeling just a little more clinical. And maybe smelling a little more of bleach. She had always found the hospital smell quite comforting as a child. It also wouldn’t have hurt to have a view onto the corridor, so that she could see the nurses passing. A little eye candy might lift her spirits, after all.

A very earnest and well-meaning psychiatrist had come by and Ashley had delighted in making the woman very uncomfortable by telling her exactly what memories she still had, although she did not mention that the various romantic and sexual scenarios in her mind involved another doctor in the hospital who couldn’t very well have participated in them. The psychiatrist agreed that Ashley had probably received enough therapy as a kid to know for herself that she wasn’t psychologically damaged or, at least, not any more psychologically damaged than she ever had been.

The strange thing was that, after the psychiatrist had left, she had started recovering memories, lots of them. She could remember tours and vacations and random, mundane things like going shopping with Kyla and meetings with the record company. The problem with this was that she couldn’t shake the feeling that these memories were not real. They didn’t have the sense of having happened to her; rather, it was as if she was seeing a movie in her mind, a movie shot from her perspective, and, in remembering, she was experiencing the events for the first time.

The only memories which gave her a tangible sense of having lived through them were the very clouded but somehow visceral ones that featured the young blonde ER resident, Dr Spencer Carlin. And it was patently ridiculous that they could be real, as Ashley doubted she would ever, for one moment, forget having met her. And it wasn’t like she couldn’t remember having sex. Somewhat depressingly, her newly-reclaimed memories seemed to indicate that she had quite the penchant for meaningless sex with random women.

Her ruminating was interrupted in the best way possible: Spencer Carlin walked through the door. She was still in her scrubs and Ashley had her first chance to really admire the blonde in full length, so to speak. She looked more attractive in those blue scrubs than any woman Ashley could ever remember meeting (and she could remember sleeping with some of the more desirable women in Hollywood, for a start). Ashley could tell that there was a great body underneath, as well. And the v of the tunic-style top allowed Ashley a tantalising hint of cleavage, a hint that she felt right between her legs.

Realising that she was staring, she smiled and opened her mouth to say ‘Hi’; however, she heard herself say, “You came back,” in a tone of almost hushed awe.

“Well, I promised I would,” the blonde replied cheerfully, giving no indication that she had noticed that Ashley had flushed a deep red.

“Yeah,” Ashley agreed.

“So,” Spencer began, picking up the chart from the end of Ashley’s bed and sitting herself down in a comfortable armchair next to it, “how did it go?”

“Well, the neurologist said he found nothing in my scan to worry him, but wants to do another something tomorrow. And the psychiatrist agreed that I haven’t had any recent psychological trauma. Besides everything’s started coming back.”

Spencer looked up from the chart and tilted her head. “But there’s something wrong?” she asked. She didn’t know how she knew that, but she could tell from something in the brunette’s tone.

“It’s like they’re not my memories. I remember most of the last ten years now, but it’s like I wasn’t really there for it. Like it maybe happened to someone else. A different me,” she trailed off, knowing that she sounded foolish.

The blonde nodded and started reading the chart again. “Well, it’s a good sign that everything’s coming back to you. I’m sure you’ll feel right as rain after a good night’s sleep. You’re right about one thing, though. Your specialists agree that they can’t find anything wrong with you.” She dropped the chart to the floor and looked up at the TV, propping her feet up on the bed. “What you watching anyway?”

“North by Northwest. I always liked Cary Grant.”

“Me, too,” the blonde agreed. “Always wore great suits. So, are you cancelling the rest of the tour?”

Ashley raised her eyebrows. That was the first indication the blonde had given that she even knew who Ashley was. Spencer obviously caught her surprise, as she murmured, “The whole floor’s buzzing with the fact that you’re here, you know. I’m surprised you’ve not been inundated with people dropping by for made-up reasons just to get a look at the big, famous rock star.”

She inferred from the comment that Spencer wasn’t that impressed and Ashley felt her ego twitching. “And you? You’re not here for an autograph?” She immediately regretted the response when she saw a flicker of disappointment pass across Spencer’s face.

“I don’t really like your music,” the blonde replied, keeping her eyes on the TV, but allowing a small grin to escape that belied her words.

“No?”

Spencer shook her head. “Too cool for its own good.”

Ashley chuckled at that. She really liked this girl. She was a feisty one, for sure. “But you thought you’d drop by anyway and take pity on me?”

“I had nothing better to do,” she lied. The truth was that Spencer didn’t actually know why she had agreed to visit Ashley after her shift, or why she was sitting there, watching TV and chatting with a famous patient, when she had a date with one of the nurses from ICU. At best, Sandy would be pissed that Spencer was late; at worst, she’d never agree to go out with her again.

“Well, I’m glad I’m not keeping you from anything important.” Ashley looked at the blonde and asked the question that had been bothering her all day: “Have we met before?”

“What?” Spencer replied, turning away from the TV screen.

“I have this sense that I know you.”

“Oh. Well, I doubt it. I’m not regularly in the tabloids.”

Ashley gave her a mocking smile. “No, I mean before. Where did you go to school?”

“Catholic school in Ohio,” Spencer grimaced. “I nearly went to high school in Los Angeles, but my parents decided it was best that I stayed with my grandparents and finished school before coming out here for college.”

“I went to a few Catholic schools in my time, but none of them in Ohio.”

“A few?” the blonde echoed.

Ashley shrugged. “I was a mixed-up kid. I’ve been to lots of different schools – boarding, private, Catholic, public. Only thing my mother didn’t try was military academy, but I’m pretty sure that’s only because she couldn’t find one to take me.”

“And you’re not mixed-up any more?”

Given the current situation, it was a fair question. “Nah, I don’t do all that partying stuff these days, no matter what my sister told you.”

“Your sister didn’t tell me anything bad about you at all. I was thinking more of what I’ve read in the tabloids,” the blonde commented.

“Oh, so you read about me, even though you don’t like my music?” Ashley teased. “You shouldn’t believe everything you read.” She dropped her voice to a low whisper. “If I did everything they said, I’d be in here for exhaustion, not amnesia, or whatever it is.”

They held a look, one that lasted a fraction too long for either of them to be entirely comfortable.

Spencer cleared her throat and eased her feet off of the bed, placing her hands on her knees. “I should get going. I just wanted to keep my promise to see that you’re okay and you seem to be just fine.”

Ashley could feel the panic rising within her. She couldn’t just let Spencer go. “Can I see you again?” she blurted out. That definitely was not her smoothest line ever.

Spencer stood, before bending over to pick the chart up off the floor and replace it at the end of the bed. “Well, you’ll be discharged tomorrow, so I don’t think you really need to see me again.”

“No, I mean, can I see you outside of here?” It suddenly occurred to Ashley that she didn’t even know if Spencer was gay or bisexual or in any way interested in women in a romantic fashion, so she hastily added, “For a coffee or something? You know, to say thank you.”

Spencer looked quizzically at the brunette. “You don’t have to thank me. It’s my job. And I didn’t really do anything anyway.”

Ashley was exasperated and clutched at the first straw she could think of. “We could catch a Cary Grant movie together.”

“You go to the movies?” Spencer asked incredulously.

Ashley thought about that for a moment. “Well, no, but I could make an exception for you.”

The light suddenly dawned on Spencer. “Oh my God,” she exhaled. “Are you asking me… on a date?”

“Um, yes,” the brunette answered, feeling her face flush with embarrassment once again. As far as she could remember, this level of bashfulness was really not her style and she was not enjoying it too much.

“A date?”

“Yes.”

“That’s crazy!” the blonde retorted. “I don’t know you. You don’t know me. You’re Ashley Davies, for God’s sake! And… you’re my patient.”

“Not anymore. You said so yourself.”

Spencer flashed her a look. “It’s inappropriate.”

“That means you’re considering it.”

“I… You… I’m not dignifying that with an answer.” Spencer shook her head and walked to the door. “I’m glad you’re feeling better, Ash, I really am, and I hope it all works out for you. Bye.”

Within seconds of Spencer leaving, a nurse appeared to check on the patient, taking her temperature and pulse and adding to the notes in the chart. Although the nurse made polite conversation and Ashley responded in kind, the brunette paid very little attention to the woman. Even if she had, it was doubtful that she would have recognised her, as they had met the previous evening in a diner in Seattle, a meeting that was not even a fleeting memory for Ashley, for it was part of a past that no longer existed.

No, Ashley’s mind was consumed by only one fact: Spencer had called her Ash.

She grinned to herself. That was definitely a good sign.

* * * * *

“Jesus, are we not done yet?” Ashley moaned to her sister and tour manager, as she was shepherded into one of the conference rooms in the Palms. “I have a thing I need to do.”

It was three days since she had been discharged from hospital, four days since she’d last seen Spencer Carlin, and she didn’t want to be anywhere that wasn’t San Francisco. The blonde occupied her every waking thought and most of her dreams, as well. Finishing the tour and suffering through press conferences – which she hated at the best of times – were not even on her list of priorities right now.

Kyla tried not to lose her patience with her sister. “Ashley, press conferences are part of your job. Besides, your ‘thing’ will wait. Her shift doesn’t end until eight. And that’s not for another two hours.”

Ashley turned to stare at her sister, open-mouthed.

“You think I don’t know what you’ve been up to, these past couple of days? Ashley, I sign the cheques that pay for all those flowers you’ve been sending to San Francisco’s answer to Dr Kildare. Plus, I saw the note you have in your suite with her shift times on it. I take it, by the way, that she’s not been taking your calls?” her sister whispered, as the press started filing in.

Ashley shook her head. “She’s playing hard to get.”

“Have you ever considered that she’s just not interested?”

“Not even for a moment.”

As her sister read a brief statement regarding the rumours that Ashley had been hospitalised for a drug overdose, Ashley had to admit to herself that she secretly suspected that her attraction to Spencer might be unrequited. She pushed the idea from her mind, though; it was too awful to contemplate.

She half-listened as Kyla stated firmly that her sister suffered an unexplained black-out – one which had not been the result of any narcotics – and had been given a battery of neurological tests at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in San Francisco. Although the cause of the problem was still unknown, she had made a full recovery and seemed to have no lasting ill-effects. Once the tour had ended with their current two-night run in Vegas, Ashley would be taking a few weeks’ vacation over the festive period. In the new year, she would be checked out again by specialists in Los Angeles and, assuming they also gave her the all-clear, she would be getting back into the studio to begin recording her next album.

Kyla then opened the floor up to questions. None of them were unexpected: most called the ‘unexplained blackout’ into question. Several asked openly about drugs and alcohol.

Ashley leaned forward towards the microphone, trying not to squint as her eyes were assaulted by what seemed like hundreds of cameras flashing at once. “Despite what many of you might think, I do not use drugs. Well, not any more,” she allowed, as she heard some dissenting murmurs in the room. Her juvenile drug arrests had been well-reported over the years. “I haven’t for a very long time, in fact. I was taken into Saint Bartholomew’s because I woke up on Saturday morning and couldn’t remember a damn thing. Not like when you fine ladies and gentlemen of the press have one too many martinis and can’t remember what rumours you’ve written about me the night before -” a small titter of laughter passed among the gathered reporters, “but an honest-to-God, couldn’t-remember-anything-since-I-was-eighteen black-out.”

She took a pause and sipped at a glass of water on the table. “As Kyla has already told you, we don’t know what the problem was and neither do the doctors. I was seen by the finest medical teams that San Francisco has to offer and I want to thank each and every one of the people involved in my treatment for their professionalism and for the very high standard of care they gave me. I would especially like to thank Dr Spencer Carlin, who treated a famous rockstar like a real person and helped me through what was a very frightening time. And, even though none of you have actually asked, I’m fine now, thanks.”

She leaned back and was about to wait for more questions when she had a sudden thought. “Oh,” she added, “and I hope Dr Carlin will allow me to thank her personally by taking her to dinner at the St Gregory Hotel this weekend.” She sat back once more and tried to avoid her sister’s glare.

Ashley was famously gay and had been seen in the company of many glamorous women over the years, although she had never confirmed or denied whether she was seeing any of them. The press immediately sensed that there might be a story behind this, and a new clamour arose.

“You don’t think you took that too far?” Kyla hissed, placing her hand over the mic, as the press pack started to ask questions about Dr Spencer Carlin and her role in Ashley’s treatment.

Ashley shook her head. “Nah. Not a chance.”

* * * * *

Next up: Part III: There’s No Place Like Home (For the Holidays) [U]

* * * * *

Or, download as an eBook:
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Kindle .mobi version: http://cl.ly/EL5Y

10 Comments

  1. Makiki
    Posted 27 December 2008 at 1.52pm | Permalink

    I love this! It’s cuteness like only you can write it, Dev. Hope you can write the third part soon, since it will probably be as brilliant as the first two parts.

    [For once, I can promise that you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the updating schedule for the finale – Dev]

    I liked the part where she first had memories of Seattle, but that her memories slowly faded into ‘new’ ones. Good choice.

  2. iocaste
    Posted 27 December 2008 at 2.15pm | Permalink

    I really like Yeeben’s present :P
    Twas fluffy!
    The hospital scene was really cute and et me tell you Spencer is one tough cookie. I like her.
    So Ashley has a second chance with Spencer only this time she doesn’t remember that this Spencer is in a way the same girl she once fell in love with. So it’s just like starting over.
    Anyway thanks for writing this story Dev. I really enjoy reading it.

  3. evilgiraffe
    Posted 27 December 2008 at 3.20pm | Permalink

    Aww I love this kind of fluff.

    I wonder is the psychiatrist someone important given that Ashley’s “memories” started coming back after her visit.

    The bit where Ashley was trying to ask her out was so cute.

    So Santa’s little helper is checking up on how it is going then? I wonder if any intervention will be required. I don’t think so, Spencer will surely give in soon enough; she is obviously feeling it too.

  4. clomle4
    Posted 27 December 2008 at 7.15pm | Permalink

    Your brilliance is far too under-appreciated. [I concur! Strongly! – D]

    Because we don’t get enough of the brilliance.

    Like this.

    Sheer brilliance.

  5. Puff
    Posted 27 December 2008 at 11.52pm | Permalink

    Just wanted to say how much I love this Dev. It wasn’t smutty but it was pretty hot in a strange way. Hot fluff lol. Anyway, even though it’s not my present I can’t wait for the next part.

  6. Heart-san
    Posted 28 December 2008 at 12.17am | Permalink

    Great job on this chapter. ^_^

  7. yeahbutno
    Posted 30 December 2008 at 10.45am | Permalink

    hahahaha how crap is that chat up line Ash???? mmnnnn nearly as crap as mine with the swede!!!

    Bless her, how damn cute is she?

    And ohhh North by Northwest, excellent choice, THAT scene was incredibly cute Dev.

    I love your Kyla and Ash interaction, especially the *murmered” pathetic bit and the errrrr I know you are sending her flowers bit hahahaha normally I cannot abide Kyla, YOU make her awsome!

    And THAT wasn’t a nurse that was Santa’s wee helper keeping an eye on stuff, wasn’t it?

    So, what, is Ash in a new life/reality/timeline?

    Who cares? she has Spencer again.

    *runs to read part 3*

    THANK YOU Dev, BEST SS ever, saying that I only had one before and that was a chocolate willy? This is a MILLION times better.

  8. yeahbutno
    Posted 30 December 2008 at 10.49am | Permalink

    mmnnnnn that seemed un-thankful, wasn’t meant that way, I don’t really eat chocolate…..and well……!

    So this is honestly my best SS ever and most likely FOREVER and EVER.

    It BETTER be fluffy in Part 3 too.

    *runs to read*

  9. yeahbutno
    Posted 30 December 2008 at 10.51am | Permalink

    And ohhhh Ash are you bloody insane for saying that at the press conference?……..I would have done the same too.

    heehee

  10. Wicked1
    Posted 30 December 2008 at 10.51am | Permalink

    Oh, I like this, kind like a ghost of Christmas past/future, but not. Ashley definitely took it too far, mentioning Spencer’s first and last name, just because the paparazzi is crazy. I hope she stays in this new present and it isn’t like a dream, so she won’t live in a world with Spencer dead

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