“I didn't know you're a doctor, Mr. Hyde”, Lucy remarked, when he let her in.
He looked at her. “Well, I'm Mister Hyde, not Doctor Hyde. I don't really have a doctorate, but I do have a doctor's knowledge. That's just as good, in my opinion.”
“Well, it's good enough for me anyway, since I can't afford a real doctor”, Lucy noted.
Hyde laughed and went to the other room to get his medicinal equipment.
She looked around.
Mr. Hyde's flat was surprisingly homely and tidy. The furniture was tasteful, a fire was burning in the fireplace and the room was cleaner than her own old room at the club had been. Lucy knew that Hyde was financially fluid (he had always paid her handsome, after all), but she would have expected this place to be far messier.
A chuckle made her turn to the door frame.
Hyde was leaning in the door frame, grinning at her. “Do you like my humble abode?”
She blushed a little, without knowing why. After all, there was nothing wrong with looking about.
“It's certainly nice.”
He looked at her expectantly. “Why are you still standing there like a statue? Take a seat! On the couch, not the chair”, he added, when she wanted to sit down on a wooden chair.
She obeyed gratefully and sat.
Hyde took a chair of his own, grabbed a note book and a pencil and sat in front of her. “So, what's the matter?”
Lucy remembered why she had come here and straightened. “I haven't been feeling well lately.”
He lifted an eyebrow. “Can you be more specific?”
She began to explain: “When I wake up in the morning, I feel nauseous. It's hard to keep anything down. At the same time I have weird cravings, even for things I wouldn't eat otherwise. And sometimes I feel very hot, like I'm burning up. And I'm having mood swings.”
“How long has this been going on?”, he asked.
“For two months.”
“I see. A few more questions, do you feel a burn or itch in your crotch?”
Lucy knew what that was about, but shook her head.
He made a few notes, then stood up.
“Well, I will have to give you a physical examination, so if you would free your back?”
She was not comfortable with that request – considering this was Edward Hyde – but obeyed.
He better keep it professional!
Sure, he had promised to never hurt her again, after the incident, but she didn't trust him one bit.
He took a stethoscope from his bag and told her to turn around.
Lucy almost jumped, when she felt something cold on her back.
“Now, take deep breaths”, he instructed her.
So she did. After about a dozen inhales and exhales, he told her to stop and face him.
For a second she caught the hungry gaze in his eyes that she knew so well, when she bared her bosom. But he recovered his professionalism instantly and went on to finish his examination, making notes all the while.
When he was done, he spoke: “Alright, I'm going to evaluate everything, why don't you lie down in the meantime?”
Lucy blinked at that nicety, but took the offer.
He went to the other room.
She continued looking around.
There were no flowers, such a shame. But lots of full bookshelves and pictures. Mostly pencil sketches and watercolour paintings. They looked pretty. Lucy couldn't help but wonder, who had painted them.
Hyde came back and his face looked so sombre, that she feared the worst.
Oh my god, please let it not be the French Pox, please, please, please-
“Alright, Lucy”, he began, “Before I tell you, one final question – have you slept with any other men than me in the past months?”
She didn't have to think for long. “Mr. Hyde, you've been my only client for half a year – no thanks to your jealousy”, she added pointedly.
At least he had always tipped handsomely.
He looked her deep in the eyes (probably to make sure she wasn't lying), before his expression became unreadable. “I can't decide, if I should be pleased or terrified.”
How was that terrifying? She was confused.
He took a deep breath, before cutting to the chase.
“Alright, I have some good and some bad news for you.”
She braced herself.
“The good news is that you're not ill. I know myself to be healthy and if one of your other clients had infected you with a venereal disease, it would definitely be obvious by now.”
Oh thank god! Wait-
“And the bad news?”, she asked carefully.
Lucy gaped at him.
Then she fainted.