“I can’t believe you brought me to the ER,” Richie throws at Bev for the fifth time. “I hereby disown you, madam.”
Bev’s busy sitting on the edge of the bed, trying to turn on the tiny flatscreen TV with what looks like a remote control from 1987. Or another planet. “I’m telling you, you can’t take any chances with a head injury. Remember Natasha Richardson? That shit scarred me for life. Better safe than sorry.”
“Well,” Richie sighs, relaxing into the flimsy pillow behind his head, “Remind me to send you the bill for a million dollars when it comes.” He doesn’t have insurance at the moment.
There’s the click-clack of fancy shoes outside. They stop on a dime. Richie looks up, nearly choking on his own spit at the sight of the cute, young doctor paused in front of the open doorway to his room--long white lab coat and everything, plus a head of tousled chestnut brown hair and pretty hazel eyes. He peruses Richie’s chart with an adorably furrowed brow.
Richie leans toward Bev and manages to sneak in a whisper just before the doctor comes in: “I take it all back, every word. This was the best idea you’ve ever had.”
“Hi, Richard?” he says briskly, extending a neat little hand toward Richie. “I’m Doctor Kaspbrak.”
“Richie,” he replies, or corrects, then actually chokes on his own spit this time. Hearing this gorgeous man refer to himself as Doctor might be enough to give him a boner in the ER.
The doctor stares at him with an amused, patient smile as he gets his breath and his ability to speak back. “...You okay?”
“More or less,” Richie says, realizing belatedly that his head’s still pounding from earlier.
“Is this your…?” Doctor Dreamy gestures to Bev.
“Uhh friend and nothing more, thanks,” Bev is quick to say, dropping the remote to give him a firm handshake. “Beverly.”
“ Ouch ,” Richie directs at her before turning expectantly back to the doctor, to whom he’s taken to internally referring as his future husband.
“So, tell me what happened,” he says, already pulling out one of his tools: one of those pointy flashlight thingies Richie used to despise when he went for check-ups as a kid.
“A bunch of, uh, baking sheets fell off the top of the fridge and hit me in the back of the head.”
There’s a pause. Bev swallows a laugh.
“How are you still finding this funny?” Richie pinches her leg.
“I will never not find this hilarious .”
Dr. Kaspbrak gives him a look. “How many baking sheets are we talking here?’
“Three, three or four.”
Bev chuckles again.
“And did you lose consciousness at any point?” he asks.
“Only five seconds ago, when I saw how gorgeous you were.” Richie figures he may never see this guy again; might as well go for broke.
“Oh my God ,” Bev says under her breath, sounding mortified.
The doctor ignores his remark, though, driving right through his line of questioning. Or trying, anyway. “Any vision problems?”
“Nope, not apart from the usual, anyway. I can still see how super hot you are,” Richie shoots back, throwing in a wink for good measure. “That’s not lost on me.” It’s really not; the guy looks even better up close. He’s got freckles , for God’s sake.
He narrows his eyes at Bev. “Is he always like this?”
Before Bev can reply with an affirmative, Richie says, “If you’re trying to get at whether or not I’m a flirt, well, the answer is a hard maybe. But: I am nothing if not monogamous in my flirting. And I am hopelessly devoted to you, Doctor K.”
“Pretty impressive, after only knowing me for two minutes.”
“Well, that’s all it takes, in your case.”
“Uhh,” Bev starts, pointing toward the door. “Should I leave?”
“ No , please don’t,” the doctor says. “So you’re saying you didn’t black out or anything when the injury happened?”
“No,” Richie confirms, trying to be serious, at least for the time being. “It was just shocking. Freaked me out, is all.”
“Well,” Doctor Hot Stuff drawls, shining the pointy light into Richie’s ear, “I hope whatever you were baking was worth it.”
Bev clears her throat. “It definitely wasn’t pot brownies.”
Richie’s Future Husband starts massaging his fingers into the front of his neck, then the side, then the back. He smells really fucking good. Richie’s eyes go heavy. “They were totally pot brownies,” Richie whispers.
The doctor smirks at him. Richie realizes belatedly that the guy must be kind of tiny, if they’re almost eye-to-eye with each other like this. “Then that explains why you won’t stop hitting on your doctor.”
“No, I told you: devoted,” Richie says, chancing a little smirk of his own. “And sober. I promise.”
Doctor Kaspbrak steps back a little, asking Richie to follow his finger as he moves it up and down and side to side in a crucifix pattern. Damn, he’d make a really hot priest, too, Richie thinks.
“Okay, so the good news is that there’s no sign of a serious head injury. You may still have a concussion, but the symptoms of that might not show until as much as 72 hours from now, so it’s too early to tell. If you do end up having a concussion, you’ll want to stay away from screens, try not to read or work too much--anything that strains the eyes. But there isn’t anything special that we would do.”
Richie’s eyes drop to his stethoscope, noticing the rainbow sticker pressed to the back of the round metal part. “So I won’t be coming back to see you?”
“Not unless your symptoms worsen.” The doctor shoves his hands into the pockets of his lab coat.
“...Not even to take you out on a date?”
“That’s it, I’m leaving,” Bev says, standing and shuffling out the door without another word.
The doctor’s face is flushed, and wow, does that suit the hell out of him. He hesitates, gnawing on his bottom lip for a brief moment. “If you have all your faculties about you a week from now, and you’re definitively not in my care anymore, then… sure.” He smiles, and it’s such a warm thing, Richie almost wants to touch it.
“Huh?” he says dumbly. “Wait, what?”
“Don’t make me change my mind.”
And with that, the love of Richie’s life exits the room, leaving him sitting up in bed with his jaw in his lap.