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Accidents Happen

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Shaun was sitting on the couch with his neighbor, Lea. They were currently watching the movie The Thinning. As the movie was coming to an end, Shaun said, “I am having a good time, Lea.”

Lea turned her head towards him. “I’m having a good time too, Shaun.” She grabbed her phone that she set in between them and checked the time. “Well, it’s getting late.” Lea switched off the TV.   

“Yes, it is.” Shaun stood up and headed for the door. Lea stood up as well and followed him. He opened the door and turned around to face her. “I had a good time tonight.”

Lea smiled. “So did I.” She giggled.

“I like you, Lea. Very much.”

“I like you too, Shaun.”

“Goodnight, Lea. I will see you tomorrow.”

“You too, Shaun. You too.” She closed the door, leaving Shaun with his thoughts. He didn’t know what to think, and he was so confused at the moment.

The next day at the hospital, Dr. Glassman and Shaun were in the cafeteria having breakfast. “I have some news.”

Glassman cut up his pancake. “Oh, yeah? What’s that?” He put a piece in his mouth.

“I like a girl.”

This peeked Glassman’s interest. “Really?” Shaun nodded. “That’s great, Shaun.”

“Yes, it is.”

“What’s her name?”

“Lea. She’s my neighbor. We met in the hallway. She likes to borrow things from me... and I let her. She always returns them. She comes over a lot, and I like that. I listen to her when she talks. I think about her a lot. She makes me feel happy.”

“That’s great, Shaun. Do you think she likes you back?”

Shaun hummed before responding. “That’s what she told me, yes.” Glassman was about to speak, but Shaun cut him off. “I was at her apartment last night. We watched a movie. It was good. I liked it. Some parts were boring, but I liked it overall.” Glassman smiled at that. “After I left Lea’s, I was very confused. I didn’t know what to think.”

“I’m happy for you, Shaun.”

“You already said that.”

“Yes, but I mean it. I’m happy for you.”

“Okay.” Shaun hummed before saying, “I would like to ask her out.” Glassman was really intrigued now. “How would I go about doing that?”

Glassman was awestruck, and didn’t know what to say. Shaun was asking him for dating advice? “Well, my advice would be–” He was trying to find the right thing to say... and say it in a way that wouldn’t upset Shaun. “–to buy her something nice. Say... a necklace, or some kind of jewelry. Not anything expensive, though, Shaun.”


“Do you know what she likes?”

Shaun nodded. “Yes. I will know what to get her.”

Glassman nodded. “Okay then.” He put his hands together. “Anything else?”

“No.” Shaun stood up and grabbed his lab coat from the back of the chair. He put it on and clasped his hands together, folding them across his abdomen. “Thank you for the advice.” With that, he turned around and walked off. Glassman called after him, but he was already gone. He sighed and started cleaning up, collecting their plates and went to put them in the dish return.

Claire was at the front desk in the ER looking over files when Shaun came up behind her. “Hello.”

Claire jumped and whipped around. “Oh... Shaun.” She put a hand on her chest. “You scared me.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine. I was just looking over these patient files.” She turned back and looked down at the files. “Now, AJ will be going home tomorrow... but Brian–”

“I want to ask Lea out.”

At this, Claire dropped her pen and looked at him. “Really? No way! That’s awesome, Shaun!”

“Yes, it is. Dr. Glassman suggested that I buy her something nice. I will buy her a necklace.”

“Well, that’s a nice gesture, Shaun. You can never go wrong with jewelry.”

“Yes. That’s what Dr. Glassman said too.”

Claire was about to say something, when Melendez appeared and called her. “Dr. Browne, we need you.”

She sighed. “Well, his Highness awaits. I wish you nothing but the best, Shaun.” She turned and left. Shaun was the only one in the ER now. He hummed and left to go find the rest of his colleagues.

He entered the ICU and found them there, gathered around the desk. “Hello everyone.”

Jared looked up from his tablet. “Hey, Shaun.” He looked back down at the tablet.

“I want to ask someone out.”

Jared looked up. His expression was a mixture of confusion and awkward. His eyes darted back and forth, unsure of how to respond. “Okay. Good for you.”

Shaun nodded. “Yes. It is good.”

“Okay. Well, I wish you luck, man.”

“Thank you.” Shaun walked away. Jared shook his head back and forth. He figured Shaun wouldn’t stop until he told all his main colleagues.

Shaun snuck up on Melendez, who was so engrossed in his work that he didn’t even notice Shaun. “Hello, Dr. Melendez.”

He turned around and jumped. “Ahh! Murphy, don’t sneak up on me like that.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Yeah, well. Here’s what we’ll be doing today. You’ll be assisting me and Browne on a bronchoscopy. It’s on a 12-year-old girl who–”

“I want to ask someone out.”

Melendez raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

“Murphy, how many times are you gonna actually announce that today?”

Claire smacked Jared’s shoulder. “Jared, stop it. I think it’s sweet.”

“He told you, didn’t he?”


Jared shook his head. “Typical. When Shaun gets something on his mind, he won’t stop talking about.”

“Just be happy for him, Jared.”

“I am. It’s just– Sometimes he can be really annoying.”

“He just has a good heart, that’s all. There’s nothing wrong with that. Like I said, it’s really sweet.”

“It is sweet. I just don’t wanna see him get his heart broken.”

“What makes you think that he’ll get his heart broken?”

Jared shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. If I were Shaun, I’d be careful, though. He’s very delicate.”

That received a smack to the shoulder. “Jared! I can’t believe you just said that about Shaun!”

“Ow!” He rubbed his shoulder. “I’m sorry, Claire... but I’m just telling the truth.” Claire sighed in frustration.

“You think that Lea will break my heart.”

Claire turned around and saw Shaun standing at the desk, hands clasped tightly together. “Shaun–”

“You think that I will get my heart broken. That if I ask Lea out, she’ll break my heart.”

Jared said, “Shaun, I–”

“You think that I am weak.”

Claire tried to rebut. “Shaun, we never said you were weak.”

“Yes. Yes, you did. Jared just said it.”

“Shaun, I didn’t mean it.”

“Yes, you do. You said that I’m annoying. I’m always getting picked on, and I don’t like it.”

Claire said, “Shaun–”

“I must go now. Goodbye.” With that, he turned around and left the ICU. He dug into his pocket and retrieved his toy scalpel. He held it to his chest as he tried not to cry. Tears welled up in his eyes, but he refused to let them fall.

Claire turned back to Jared. “Jared, why do you have to be such an asshole?”

“What’d I do?”

It took all her will power not to explode at him. “Seriously, Jared? You’re really asking what you did? You just hurt Shaun.” Jared was about to open his mouth, but Claire stopped him. “Don’t say anything, Jared. Just shut up. Now, I’m gonna go find Shaun and see if he’s okay.”

She turned and headed for the door, but she was called. “Browne! I need you.”

She stopped and turned on her heels. “Which I can’t do right now because Melendez needs me.” As she walked past the desk, she shot Jared a look of disapproval. If looks could kill, he’d be dead right now. Jared sighed.

Glassman was walking past a room when he saw Shaun sitting by himself against the wall. Shaun was sitting with his legs curled up to his chest and he was clutching his scalpel close to him. Glassman walked in the room and knelt down by Shaun. “Shaun, are you okay?” Shaun looked at him, tears still in his eyes. “Why are you crying?”

“Claire and Jared made me upset.”

“How’d they make you upset?”

“They kept saying that I will get my heart broken if I ask Lea out. They think I’m annoying. They think I’m weak.”

To hear this... To see Shaun upset broke Glassman’s heart. He sighed in frustration. “Shaun. Hey, I want you to look at me. Really look at me.” Shaun did so. “You are not weak. Okay? You are the most brilliant person I have ever met. You grew up from that scared little boy that I took in to this amazing man that I’m looking at right now... and I’m so proud of you. Shaun, you don’t even know how proud I am of you.”

“Yes, I do. You just told me.”

Glassman laughed. “I suppose I did.” Shaun didn’t look too impressed, though. “Anyway, the point is... that you’re strong. You overcame many obstacles in your life.” At this, Shaun slowly made more eye contact. “You should be proud of yourself, Shaun. You’ve made immense progress.”

“Why were Jared and Claire making fun of me, then?” 

“I don’t think they were making fun of you to hurt you. They were probably just fooling around.” Shaun looked mortified and really hurt that his friends would do that. “That’s no excuse, though. You know what? I’m gonna talk to them about it. Before I do, are you a hundred percent sure they said that to you?” 

“Yes. I heard them. They were very hurtful. I thought they were my friends. Turns out I was wrong.” 

“Shaun, I–” Glassman sighed. “Why don’t you get back to work before Melendez wonders where you are. We’ll talk more about this later.” 

“Okay.” Shaun stood up, still clutching his scalpel. He put it back in his pocket. He clasped his hands together and without another word, he left the room. Glassman sighed again. What was he going to do? He wanted to believe Shaun, but he didn’t think Claire and Jared were capable of such a thing. It sure is quite a dilemma.

In the ICU, Claire and Jared were talking with Melendez. He was telling them what they had to do about the bronchoscopy. “Okay. So, we’re a go on the bronchoscopy for the 12-year-old girl. Her mother gave the consent, so all we have to do isؘ–”

“I’m here!” Shaun ran into the ICU and skidded to a stop in front of Melendez.

“Ah. Nice of you to join us, Murphy.”

“Yes. I am sorry.”

“Well, you’re lucky I’m letting you help out on this procedure instead of assigning you scut work.”

“Thank you. I won’t let you down.”

“I hope not.” He turned around and walked away.

Shaun watched him leave. “Okay.” He followed after Melendez and entered the patient’s room.

Claire and Jared were at the front desk discussing their plans for after their shift. “So, what do you wanna do after work? There’s this new restaurant–”

Glassman appeared in the doorway. “Claire, Jared, I would like to speak with you now please.”

They looked at each other and Claire shrugged before they both followed Glassman out. When out in the hallway, he turned around to face them. “Okay. I would like to talk to you two.”

Claire asked, “Did we do anything wrong, sir?”

Glassman sighed. “I don’t know yet.” He stuffed his hands in his pockets. “Have either of you spoken with Shaun today?”

“We talked to him in the ICU about an hour ago. Why?”

“Shaun’s upset. He said that you and Jared made him upset. That you were making fun of him?”

They both looked guilty. Claire said, “Yeeeahh. We were kinda messing around.”

“Well, whatever you said or did, Shaun took it personally. Now, I didn’t wanna believe Shaun… because I didn’t think you two would do such a thing. You love Shaun like a brother. You’d never let anything happen to him.” Glassman sighed. “I’d like you two to apologize.”

Claire started. “Sorry, sir.”

“I appreciate your apology, but you should apologize to Shaun. Both of you.”

“Why me? Jared started it. He’s the one who said Shaun’s delicate.”

“I didn’t mean anything by it. I–”

“Yes, you did, Jared! You told me! You told me that you were telling the truth!”

“Claire, I–”

“No! I don’t wanna hear it, Jared! Now, I’m gonna go apologize to Shaun.” Before leaving, she turned and added, “You can either join me or not.” She turned around and left.

Jared was left dumbfounded. He turned to Glassman. “Sir, I really didn’t mean it.”

Glassman spoke quietly. “Yeah, well… tell that to Shaun.” He turned around and left. Jared sighed. He didn’t know what to do.

Back in the ICU, Claire went to the room where Shaun and Melendez were. She went in and they were talking to the 12-year-old girl, getting her prepped for her procedure. They put the rails of her bed up. “Sir, may I speak to Shaun for a minute?”

“We’re about to roll the patient in for her bronchoscopy, so make it quick. Murphy, make your talk with Claire quick.”



Shaun shook his head. “No. I don’t wanna talk to Claire.”

“Murphy, what has gotten into you today?”

“We need to get the patient to the OR for her bronchoscopy.”

Melendez sighed. He didn’t really want to argue with Shaun. However, he would track Shaun down later. He looked at Claire. “Dr. Browne.”

“Yes, sir.” She went up and unlocked the brakes of the bed. They all wheeled the girl out of her room and out of the ICU.

In the OR, the patient was on the table and the bronchoscopy was taking place. A tube was currently being shimmied down her throat, and images were pulled up on the computer. Claire was monitoring the image. “Okay. Through the pharynx.” Melendez snaked the tube down further. “Past the epiglottis, into the larynx.” He looked at the screen to make sure everything was good. “Okay. Everything looks good so far.” He turned his attention back to the patient. “Past the vocal cords. Through the trachea.” Melendez looked up. “Okay. I’m passing into the left bronchus– Wait. What’s that?” He noticed some large marks on the left bronchial wall.

Shaun looked closer. “It looks like scarring.”

“From what, though?”

“I do not know. Th-that’s a good question.”

“One we need the answer to. We need to abort this procedure.”

Shaun nodded. “Okay.”

Melendez started to slowly pull the tube out. “All right.” He noticed that Shaun’s posture was stiff. “Murphy, you okay? What got into you earlier?” Claire looked at Shaun worriedly. She knew that Shaun was mad at her, and wasn’t that big on forgiveness. That doesn’t mean she’ll dump Shaun as a friend. That would just be cruel. She worried about him throughout the whole procedure. Shaun was so stiff and he didn’t say anything. “Okaaay. Don’t reply.” He sighed. “Apparently, I said something wrong.” Shaun looked back at Claire and his look was one of pure tension. Her expression wilted. She hated seeing Shaun angry and upset.

The patient was wheeled back to her room where they explained what they found. Melendez started. “We had to abort the procedure. We found some scarring on the left bronchial wall.”

Upon hearing this, the girl tried to hide her face and guilty look, but her mother saw it. “Emma.”

She looked at her mother. “Yes, Mommy?”

“Do you have anything you wanna tell the doctors?”

Emma was nervous. “N-No.”

“Emma Marie! Tell the truth.”

“Okay.” Emma sighed. “Last year, I was diagnosed with a rare lung condition: bronchiectasis.”

Melendez was about to speak, but Shaun cut him off. “A condition in which the bronchial walls are thickened. This is caused by inflammation and infection. People with it can have trouble breathing.”

“Right. And my doctor said that it’s a lifelong condition and that it can’t be cured.”

“The infections developed can cause scarring.”

“Of course. That’s why we saw scarring during the bronchoscopy.”

“Yes,” said Shaun.

Emma’s mom asked, “So, what do we do now?”

Shaun said, “There are multiple treatments available. Antibiotics, oxygen therapy, therapies to help improve clearance of the airway, and many others. Another option would be surgery... but that is only if treatments do not work.”

“So, there isn’t anything you can do?” asked Emma.

Melendez said, “We can suggest treatments. If they don’t work, we’ll have to go with surgery like Dr. Murphy said.”

Emma’s mom rested her hand on the headrest of the bed. “Treatments sound like a good option.” She looked at her daughter.

Emma said, “Well, okay. I’ll try anything.”

“That’s a good girl.”

“Okay. We’ll keep you a couple more days, then send you home,” said Melendez.

Emma nodded and smiled. “Okay.”

“Thank you for the treatment suggestions.”

“No problem.”

All three doctors left the room. They grouped together at the front desk. If it isn’t clear, Melendez isn’t very happy with Shaun right now. “Murphy, what’s gotten into you today?”

Shaun’s posture was stiff, like earlier. He had his hands clasped together. “N-Nothing. I am fine.”

“Really? You don’t sound fine.”

“You are angry with me.”

Melendez nodded. “Yes, Shaun. I am. Very angry with you. You’re not following simple orders today. You always follow orders. What’s gotten into you?”

Shaun started raising his voice. “Nothing has gotten into me.” He turned on his heel and left the ICU.

Melendez shook his head. “This isn’t right. This isn’t Shaun. What’s gotten into him?” He sighed. “Do you have any idea?”

Claire clapped her hands together. “Nope. None whatsoever.”

He knew better, though. She was hiding something. He gave her a warning glare. “Claire.”

She sighed. “Okay. Shaun’s mad at me... and Jared. We were talking about him and Jared told me that Shaun should be careful if Lea breaks his heart. He also said that Shaun was delicate.”

“Well, he’s not wrong.”


“I’m kidding, Claire. Why would he be mad at you then?”

“I don’t know. Maybe he thinks that I agree with Jared. I– I don’t know.”

“Look, you three need to work out your differences. We have an obligation to the patients... and I have no time for your petty problems.” Claire didn’t know how to respond to that. Melendez sighed in frustration. “Come on.” He left and she followed.

They eventually found Shaun walking down a hallway, looking at all sorts of posters and such on the walls. “Murphy!” Shaun flinched, but turned around. “I wanna talk to you.”

Shaun figured he was in trouble for something, but didn’t know what. “Y-Yes?”

“What’s wrong with you?”

“I told you. Nothing is wrong.”

“Look, I just talked to Claire. I don’t know exactly what happened between you, her and Jared... but you need to get your act together.” Shaun blinked and Melendez sighed. “Do it or I’ll send you home for the rest of the day.”

Shaun pondered this for a minute and then... “Send me home.”

“Shaun!” Claire had tears in her eyes. She couldn’t believe he just said that. He’d rather go home then be working with her.


“I would like to go home.”

Melendez was really angry with him now, but calmed himself for Shaun’s sake. He sighed in frustration. “Okay, Murphy. It’s your call. Do what you want... but I will be telling Glassman about this.”

“Okay.” Shaun turned around and left.

“Murphy! Murphy, get back here!”

Claire was clearly upset. “Shaun.”

Melendez shook his head. “Come on, Claire.” They turned and headed back to the ICU. He made a mental note to talk to Glassman later.

“I can’t believe Shaun would do that.”

“It’s his choice, Claire. It’s his choice.” Melendez walked away and Claire watched him leave. She honestly didn’t know what to do.

Later, Glassman was in his office doing paperwork when he heard a knock at his door. “Come in.” Melendez came in. “Hey, Neil.”

“Hey, Aaron. You got a minute?”

“Yes, Neil. I got all the time in the world.”

Melendez rolled his eyes. He sat down in a chair. “I gotta talk to you about Shaun.”

“Okay.” Glassman closed his folder. “You got my attention now. What about Shaun?”

“He got sent home.”

“Jeez. What did he do?”

“He’s not been following orders and he’s been talking back to me. Basically, major attitude.”

Glassman sighed. “Okay. I’m gonna have a talk with him.”

“Good. Maybe you could talk some sense into him. I couldn’t.”

“Don’t worry, Neil. I’ve got this.”

“Good.” He stood up and was about to leave, but he turned around. “Oh. There’s another thing I need to tell you.”

He listened intently to Melendez. “Okay. Thank you for telling me, Neil.” Melendez nodded and left. Glassman sighed and put a hand on his face. What was he going to do?

Shaun got off the elevator on his floor. He was hesitant at first, but he knocked on Lea’s door and she opened it. “Hey, Shaun.”

“Hello, Lea. You look beautiful today.”

She smiled. “Thank you.”

“I need to ask you something.”


He was hesitant at first and was wringing his hands together. “Lea, will you go out with me?”

Lea pondered this, but it actually wasn’t anything to ponder over. She liked him, he liked her. No contest. Then, her answer...

“Yes, Shaun. I would love to go out with you.”

Shaun gave a smile. “Okay.”

She giggled. “Goodnight, Shaun.”

“Goodnight, Lea.” Shaun walked off to his apartment. Lea smiled and shut her door.

At around 8:00, Glassman called it quits and left the hospital. He decided to visit Shaun. He knocked on Shaun's door and Shaun answered. “Hello, Dr. Glassman.”

“Hey, Shaun. I wanna talk to you. May I come in?”

Shaun was hesitant at first, but said, “Okay.” He stepped aside and Glassman entered.

“Shaun, I wanna talk to you about your behavior today.” Shaun had his hands clasped together and he just looked at Glassman, confused. “I talked to Dr. Melendez and he told me what happened.” Shaun looked mortified. “I just want you to know that it’s unacceptable behavior.”

“I am sorry. I will try to behave better. I’m just nervous. Nervous about asking Lea out.”   

“Well, okay. But that’s still no reason to take it out on your co-workers. Especially your boss.”

“I am sorry. I will apologize to Dr. Melendez tomorrow.”

“Good. Are you gonna apologize to Claire and Jared too?”

Shaun didn’t know what to say and he thought about this. Finally, he said, “No.”

“Excuse me?”

“No. I said no.”


“No. You cannot make me.”

Glassman was frustrated and just gave up. He put his hands up in defeat. “All right, Shaun. Fine. If that’s the way you want it.” He put them down. “I can’t make you.” He sighed. “At least think about it, though.” He turned around and before leaving, he said, “I hope to see you at work tomorrow in a better mood.” He left and closed the door behind him. Honestly, Shaun didn’t know what to think or do. He was feeling very overwhelmed.

At 10:30, Shaun decided to go to bed. He was on his side, currently clutching his scalpel. He looked straight ahead as tears welled up in his eyes.