"You’ll never guess who I bumped into today!" Jenny moved around the foot of the trolley, and sidled up to Andrew. She had her gossiping face on, he thought to himself, and he wasn’t interested in encouraging her.
"No, I’m sure I won’t" he replied, he checked the clipboard attached to the side of the trolley one last time.
"Right, Mrs Stevens, we’ll get you up to the ward as soon as possible" He gave her his best reassuring smile.
Her injuries weren’t life threatening, but they were quite extensive, she wouldn’t be capable of looking after herself for a while. He pulled aside the cubicle curtain, causing an irritating squeaking sound that the staff of Broadway General Hospital had all become quite accustomed to. Mrs Stevens winced. Jenny Richards followed the doctor into the corridor and towards resus. She would have been a very attractive young woman, he thought, if it weren’t for her inability to keep information to herself. Andrew had come to think of her dark eyes as being ‘beady’; and her slender, perfectly pointed nose was all too often stuck in other people’s business. Particularly his own.
She obviously has some piece of hearsay she’s desperate to tell me, he thought to himself, Might as well get on with it.
"Go on then, who?"
"Adrian Jeffries" it took Andrew a second to place the name, and when he did he realised just why Jenny was informing him. He continued on his way, not entirely sure how to respond.
"You remember? Maggie’s husband. I know you remember her!" she looked up at him, an expression of false innocence on her face.
"Oh yeah" Andrew said in as nonchalant a voice as he could manage.
"He’s left her" She continued " quite a while ago, just after they left Holby in fact"
"Well, I’m very sorry to hear that" he pushed through the double doors that shield the resuscitation room from the rest of the department. Again, she followed him.
"Turns out that all the time she was here she was having an affair! Adrian found out about it somehow and they’re getting divorced." She couldn’t hide her glee at being the first with this particularly juicy bit of gossip.
"Why are you telling me this?" Andrew looked down at her coldly. They both knew why, but would she dare to actually say it?
"Just thought you might be interested, that’s all. I know you two got on quite well" she held his gaze all the time she spoke. He lost his nerve first and looked away from her.
"Yeah ...well... thanks for the info" He strode off to a patient at the far end of the room.
Jenny smiled mischievously to herself and muttered under her breath:
"I wonder if it was with anyone we know?"
Maggie sat alone in her flat. It was a nicely decorated place, small but comfortable enough for a single person. On the top of the portable telly that was the main feature of the room sat a photo of the man that she’d once loved more than anything in the world. In the picture he had his arms around her and they were laughing. He looked handsome in a tuxedo; she wore a pale pink dress that perfectly complimented her curly blonde hair and piercing blue-green eyes. It had been taken at a party, almost three years ago now. The hotel ballroom they were in was so dimly lit that the background was almost completely black, and only the light of the flash bulb illuminated the couple in the foreground. It made it look like they were the only two people in the world.
Since then so much had changed, all for the worse. Adrian had left her, she was alone, and worse, she was lonely. She’d long given up watching the television, and instead just stared, transfixed on the photo on top of it. The photo that reminded her of how perfect things could have been. The photo of her and Andrew.
She couldn’t stand it any longer; she got off the sofa and turned the picture frame so that it was face down. Then she returned to her seat and tried to concentrate on something, anything else.
"How are you for working on the 28th, Andrew?" Rachel Wilson, Clinical Nursing Manager, asked her colleague on their way out of resus. She was a tall elegant woman, who you might easily mistake for a ballerina, if it wasn’t for her white and blue nurse’s uniform.
"What next weekend? No can do I’m afraid, besides Rob’s covering for me, I arranged this weeks ago"
Rachel stopped at her office door, and tucked an errant strand of brown hair behind her ear as she pondered what to do next.
"Rob’s just called in" she explained "His mum has been taken very ill, and he’s flying back to Ireland to look after her. Chances are he could be there a while, and in the meantime we’re down a registrar. If you take a whole weekend off as well, what are we going to do for doctors?"
Andrew Bower, departmental consultant, sighed and lent back onto the door frame.
"You’ve still got Phil. And Jackie….." He didn’t want to let the department down but he had a very special weekend planned and was determined not to have to give it up.
"They’re just SHO’s. If a major incident came in they wouldn’t be able to cope. Jackie’s only been here two months. It’s bad enough that the building is falling apart, at least I thought I could rely on my team. It’s just one weekend Andrew, we all have to make sacrifices"
As he looked into her steely-grey eyes, he knew that was a sentiment straight from the heart. Her own efforts to keep the A&E department open and running smoothly were at least partly to blame for the recent break up of her marriage, and whatever might have happened in the past he didn’t want his own marriage to go the same way.
"Rachel, If you’d asked me yesterday I would have said yes" She gave him a look that said she didn’t really believe him " but I told Duffy about the holiday last night and she’s really excited! A romantic weekend, away from the boys, away from hospitals, away from you and Charlie Fairhead is what we need right now. She’ll never forgive me if I have to cancel."
"It’s all very well you not wanting to disappoint your missus, but you are needed here" she stepped into her office and sat at the large wooden desk, an impressive pile of paperwork laid out in front of her. She picked up the top sheet and started to read it.
"But it’s not fair!" Andrew exclaimed, sounding more than a little like a kid who’d got his comic confiscated than a senior medic. Jenny walked past and gave her consultant a quizzical look.
He stepped into the office himself and shut the door to shield them from the prying eyes of Jenny and the rest of the staff.
"Look I’m sorry for ruining your plans, but I’m more concerned with the smooth running of this place, than your romantic interludes. Besides Duffy knows what this job is like, she’ll understand" Her own husband had been a nine-to-fiver in a bank, and had never understood the strain of being a nurse, or how important it was to her.
"You don’t know Duffy!" Andrew was only half joking.
"Unless you can magic up a senior doctor who knows their way around a casualty unit there is no way I can let you go this weekend."
"Right then! If that’s what it takes" Rachel had worked with Andrew long enough to recognise the look in his eyes. He had an idea and she knew that nothing stopped him when he had an idea. He left the office with that determined look and headed for the lift to the 3rd floor.
* "Where's he taking you? Somewhere nice?" Charlie enquired as he came up beside Duffy at admin.
"Yes actually. A secluded piece of paradise on the Devon coast, we're going to be wined, dined, and pampered like royalty!" She gave the patient board one final look and placed the board marker in the tray at the bottom.
"And let nature take it’s course, is that the idea?" he interjected.
"Ah, that's what he hopes" Duffy smiled, took a biro from her tunic pocket, and started to fill in a patient form on the desk.
"Don’t you?" Her smile turned into a mischievous grin.
"Jealous?" She glanced up him from her paperwork.
Charlie was momentarily taken aback by his friend's flirting.
"No…" he started slowly "Not in the least, I've never had the slightest desire to have a dirty weekend with your husband!" as he finished a broad smile spread across his face.
"Charlie!" she exclaimed.
He moved off toward the cubicles, and Duffy reached out and grabbed at his bottom. He jumped away from her and felt himself start to blush. He didn’t look around but he could hear her giggling behind him. It was a nice sound, and not the sort of thing that you can fake. It told him that Duffy was genuinely happy and looking forward to spending time alone with Andrew. After the problems that he knew they’d had in their relationship, what with Andrew’s affair and Duffy’s fling with Max, it was good to think of them as being back on an even keel again. He only wished he could make his own wife as happy as Andrew seemed to make Duffy, and with that bittersweet thought he got on with his work.
Up on Bradley Ward, Andrew headed towards a small blonde woman in her early thirties. She wore black trousers and a lilac top; her short hair framed her pretty face, although her expression was one of a decidedly frazzled woman. She was sat at a desk, working away on a computer in the ward’s admin area. A trolley was wheeled past and caused a few of her papers to float to the ground. She cursed under her breath and bent to pick them up. Noticing a shadow being cast across the fallen papers and faded lino floor she grabbed at them, and sat up straight looking at the man stood in front of her.
He was of average height and build, wearing a striking green plaid shirt and sandy coloured trousers. Around his neck hung a stethoscope, so even though she couldn’t quite read his nametag from her position she was reasonably sure he must be a doctor. He had, she thought, a kind face, with a smile just playing on the corners of his mouth, though behind his glasses his eyes were serious. He ran his hand through his short greying hair before he spoke.
"Hi, you must be Doctor Woodman." He held out his hand and she stood up and shook it.
"That’s right, and you are?"
"Andrew Bower, I work downstairs in A&E, we’ve never met, but you used to work with my wife, back at Holby General. Lisa Duffin? Remember?" He looked at her expectantly.
"Of course, yes Duffy, um... Lisa, she said you worked here. How do you do?"
"Well, not that well actually. You’ll think I’m incredibly cheeky but I would like to ask a favour." He hesitated to see how she would react. Duffy had told him that she had been a good friend and he hoped that George would still feel some kind of loyalty towards her. George’s expression was unreadable.
"Actually Dr Bower..."
"Please, call me Andrew"
"Andrew" she started again "I am rather busy at the moment."
"It won’t take a minute, just a simple yes or no, George. You don’t mind if I call you George?"
"No please do. OK go ahead, what are you after?" She gave in.
" I’m supposed to be taking Duffy off for a nice romantic break this weekend, but my registrar has let me down and if I can’t find a good doctor with emergency experience, I’ll have to cancel our trip, and let Duffy down"
"I see where this is going, and it’s precisely the reason I got out of emergency medicine. Did Duffy suggest you ask me?"
"Oh no, she still doesn’t know that there’s a problem, I thought I would try to get it sorted myself. I took the liberty of running it by your consultant and he said it would be fine. If you agreed, of course. It’s just a couple of day shifts, though you would be on call at night."
"Yeah. Saturday night" she didn’t sound enthusiastic.
"Duffy said you were one of the most professional and dedicated doctors she’d ever had the pleasure to work with" He tried to play up to her vanity. It wasn’t working. He tried a different tact.
"You’ve got a little lad haven’t you, Tim is it?"
"Ah yes Tom, well, if you ever need someone to baby-sit for you Duffy and I will be more than happy to help out. Look, George, this really means a lot to us, we’d both really appreciate your help" He looked at her pleadingly and for a moment she could understand just what Duffy saw in him. And he certainly was persistent….
"Alright, just this once, if management clears it, but you and Duffy will owe me." She had relented and inwardly Andrew let out a cry of delight.
Andrew thanked George and they said their goodbyes, he walked back off to the lifts with a decided spring in his step. Though not thrilled with the prospect of a weekend in A&E, George was pleased to be able to help out an old friend.
Everyone deserves a weekend away from that place once in a while, she thought.
She was just about to get on with her work when Sister Becky Davis came up beside her. She sat on the corner of George’s desk and leaned over to her conspiratorially.
"Was that Dr Bower I just saw?" she asked in a low voice.
"Yep. Wanted a favour, and like a mug I agreed" she gave a wry smile.
"You want to be careful with that one, George, from what I’ve heard he can’t be trusted." She glanced around to make sure no one was listening.
"What do you mean? He seemed OK to me, I’ve never met him before but I used to work with his wife…."
"What’s she like?" Becky interrupted.
"Duffy? She’s a perfectly nice woman, good nurse, good friend actually. Why?"
"It’s just…Well… there are certain rumours, surely you must have heard them, about him …um…playing away from home? I can’t believe that his wife doesn’t at least suspect something. I just wondered what kind of woman puts up with that from her man." She sat back up straight and smoothed down the front of her navy blue tunic.
"Are you saying he’s having an affair?"
"Was, certainly. The woman in question, Maggie something I think, moved way just about a year ago, didn’t hand in her notice or anything, just went. My friend Jenny downstairs reckons it was going on for ages. And both of them married. Him with kids. Honestly men like that should be shot"
"Steady on Becks. It’s just a rumour, and besides he was here talking to me about taking his wife off for a romantic break"
"Was that HIS wife or someone else’s?" she said meaningfully. She jumped off the edge of the desk and left George to get back to work, but George couldn’t help but wonder whether she’d done the right thing. She tried to reassure herself: Not all rumours are accurate……
Back in the familiar surroundings of his department, Andrew got on with his work, he was looking at a couple of chest x-rays, counting broken ribs, when Rachel came up behind him.
"Got a minute Andrew?" she asked.
"Don’t tell me, you’ve cancelled Christmas" he said dryly without even turning around.
"Look, you’ve sorted cover, you still get your weekend off, so don’t have a go at me." She replied tetchily.
"What is it?" he took the X-rays off the light-box and turned to face her.
"Richard Walker wants to talk to us ASAP in his office"
"OK what have we done wrong now?"
"Actually he implied that it’s good news"
"Maybe he’s resigned!" Andrew hypothesised.
"We can but hope!" she grinned back.
"Hey speak of the devil" Andrew looked over Rachel’s shoulder and directed her to follow his gaze.
Coming through the double doors from reception was Critical Care Manager Richard Walker himself; a short, overweight man in a grey suit at least one size too small for him. He ambled towards them; his round face was flushed. He was softly spoken but very direct.
"Andrew. Rachel" he nodded at them in turn.
"We were just coming up to see you Mr Walker"
" Well, no need now. I have some good news for the two of you, well for the whole community actually" Walker wasn’t prone to overstatement so the doctor and nurse gave each other confused looks.
"As I’m sure you’re aware this hospital is a little run down." there he was, back to his usual understatement "Well, the trust have finally decided to stump up the cash to give the place a bit of a facelift"
"What kind of a ‘facelift’?" asked Rachel slightly warily.
"Are we talking a lick of paint, or something a little more useful?" Andrew was naturally cautious about Hospital Trust’s redecoration policies. He had, after all, ended up back in Holby as locum consultant after Julian Chapman had resigned over there being enough in the kitty for the boardroom to be done up, but not for new emergency equipment.
"No, Dr Bower, I do not just mean a ‘lick of paint’ this entire department is going to be refurbished. The whole place." He smiled proudly.
"But that’ll cause disruptions for months!" Rachel could envisage it as she spoke. Whole areas blocked off by plastic sheeting, builders wandering around, getting in the way, plaster dust and noise. Not to mention a reduced capacity for the duration of the work.
"I don’t think you understand me. The whole ground floor is to be gutted and rebuilt. The department will be temporarily closed." He stressed the word temporarily "All the staff will be found alternative placements, either at this hospital, St. Thomas’s or Holby City. I’ve drawn up a list of provisional placements, there is some room to manoeuvre, but I wouldn’t encourage it. Work starts in about three weeks, dates to be confirmed. Miss Wilson, if you would inform your staff, I’ll have the placement list to you by the end of the day. Any questions?"
Both Andrew and Rachel were far too shocked to think of questions, so Walker headed back off to his office.
The staff gathered around the list that Rachel was pinning up in the staff room.
"Now don’t you go blaming me if you get put somewhere you don’t want to be" She looked at her own name on the list, she was going to St. Thomas’s. She’d been the sister there before coming to Broadway General, Walker had probably taken that into account.
Andrew stood up from the worn sofa that ran down the side of the room and made his way through the staff to the notice board.
Andrew Bower – Holby City Hospital
He read. He let it sink in a second before moving away from the board. It meant that he would be working with Duffy again, he wasn’t sure how he felt about that.
"Happy?" enquired Rachel.
"Not sure. You?"
"Yeah. There’s a good team at St. T’s. I’ve kept in contact with a lot of them over the years. I’m sure it’ll be a little odd at first, but it’ll also be nice to spend some time with the old gang again!" she sounded more and more enthusiastic. " I’m actually really looking forward to this Andrew. Could be fun!"
"Fun?" he queried.
"Seeing old friends, working in a familiar place, and for a while at least someone else will be in charge and I might get a chance to relax! Surely it would be the same for you, going back to Holby?"
"It’s been a while since I was last there, I don’t really know the current staff. Duffy, of course, Charlie, that’s about it actually. Everyone else has moved on."
"Be nice to spend more time with her though, wouldn’t it?"
"Yeah, I did always enjoy working with her before. Maybe you’re right..."
"Wouldn’t be the first time!" she laughed.
"...the Bower’s back together, setting the world to rights. We do make a pretty good team."
"You going to go and phone her with the good news then?"
"No I’ll keep it for our trip, then when she says: ‘It’s so nice when we spend time together, we should do it more often’ I can surprise her. You know, I’m quite looking forward to this myself now!"
Go to Part Two
* This scene was originally shown in the episode 'Travelling light' written by Matthew Leys . I claim no rights to it whatsoever.