Claire Brown does not like Morgan Reznick.
There, end of story. The blonde doctor was snobbish, obnoxious, heartless and just outright annoying. Claire didn’t know why everything Reznick said or did just got to her so much, it’s definitely not because she was attracted to the blonde the moment she laid her eyes on her. Oh no, not her blue-green eyes, or her pretty face or her irritating fake smile.
Claire entered the locker room, and headed to change into her scrubs. Her work shift starts in another half an hour, so she knows she has time to head to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee. She wondered when would Reznick arrive, the perfectionist doctor always come just as early as her. Speaking of the devil, the door to the locker room clicked open, and the familiar sound of boots reached her ears.
“Brown.” Reznick nodded in her direction, head held high as she walked confidently to her locker.
Claire scoffed under her breath, it’s just like the blonde to act so high and mighty. Maybe the comment Reznick made regarding the pedophile’s death yesterday still bugged her.
“Dr.Reznick.” Claire mutters and quickly closes her locker door, rushing to get out of the stuffy room, especially when tension always strangely rises when she’s in the same space as the other doctor. Whatever.
“Wait-” Reznick called out just as Claire’s hand reached the door handle.
“What?” Claire snapped, her short attitude seemed to surprise both herself and the other doctor. Reznick faltered at her tone before plastering a fake, all-to-perfect smile.
“Nothing, it’s fine.”
Claire rolled her eyes and got out the room. When she stepped out the room and took in the fresh air, she silently berated herself. She admits that she was rude, she didn’t know why she acted the way she did. If the other doctor were Park or Shaun, she would have a completely different attitude.
“Dammit, Claire.” Claire cursed under her breath before heading to the cafeteria, she’s blaming her terrible attitude on the lack of caffeine, even though she knew better. Maybe she’d apologize to Reznick when she sees her again later.
When their shift started, it was complete chaos. She was working under Dr.Melendez with a leukemia patient when the news came in. There was a virus from Malaysia that infected one of their patients, at first it was nothing, it was just another day in the ER room. Before long, the situation worsened and half of her friends as well as Dr. Lim were under quarantine.
Claire, Dr. Melendez, Andrew and some of the board members could only watch hopelessly from the screen as Shaun collapsed due to sensory overload while Reznick was trying her best to keep it together to undergo a surgery without the OR room. Claire knows Reznick is an impressive doctor, she was calm and collected, her (lack of?) empathy allowed her to make quick, sharp judgement and work efficiently. Claire watched the other doctor trying to take a shaking breath after the death of her friend, Tyler. There was nothing going on between the two of them, Claire knew that and she didn’t care about that, she was more worried about Reznick’s state of mind. Her respect and admiration for Reznick grew tenfold as she watched Reznick keep strong even though everyone around her was falling into chaos.
Claire’s heart ache for Reznick and Dr. Melendez when they all saw Dr. Lim collapsed in the quarantined room, she wished she had the courage to break into the quarantine room and help the other doctor. It was harder than she imagined to see the usual calm and collected, cold hearted doctor suddenly helpless but still trying to keep it together. Dr. Melendez wasn’t doing any better besides her, he was watching at the collapse form of Dr.Lim with a helpless, pained desperation.
After another 10 stressful hours, the quarantine finally broke. All the doctors were fine and cleared to go home. The whole shift Claire had Reznick in the back of her mind as she focused on her own patient with Dr.Melendez, and the moment she was cleared she all but rushed to the locker room. She wanted to see Reznick, she wanted to apologize for her morning shitty attitude and tell how proud she was of the other doctor for all that she did today.
When she entered the locker room, she was met with Shaun and Park’s tired smile, bur Reznick was nowhere in sight.
“Dr.Brown. Good work today.” Park said.
“You too.” Claire smiled back, “Have you seen Reznick?”
Park looked at her curiously for a while, before saying “check the rooftop.” Claire turned back out immediately with a quick thanks, she did not notice Park’s knowing look.
Upon reaching the rooftop, Claire saw a figure hunched on the floor, rocking back and forth. From the lock of blonde hair, Claire knew who the other person was. Once again, her heart ache painfully seeing the usually confident doctor so vulnerable. She quietly approached the other Doctor.
“Reznick?” She softly called, the blonde did not hear but rocked harder, from the way she was struggling to breathe, Claire realized the other woman was hyperventilating.
“Morgan!” She called louder and reached out to touch the woman’s arm. Morgan immediately flinched and looked up with a tearful, panicked look. Claire choked on her own sob. She kneeled down and put both of her hands on Morgan’s arm, applying pressure.
“Hey, look at me, look at me.” She said to the other doctor, but Morgan’s eyes were moving left and right too fast, as if she couldn’t focus, she was still rocking back and forth. It took only a second for Claire realized Morgan was acting like Shaun when he was uncomfortable, he would look left and round and fidget. Claire took a sharp breath at the realisation but this was not the time to make a diagnosis.
“Morgan!” She raised her voice and that caught Morgan's attention. The blonde looked at Claire helplessly. “Breath with me, Morgan. Breathe in….breathe out.That’s it, you’re doing great.” Claire continued softly until Morgan’s rocking and breath calmed down. Claire moves her thumb softly back and forth on the other’s woman’s arm. When Morgan has finally calmed down, Claire slowly moves to her side and without thinking, reaches out her arm to pull Morgan into a side hug. They stayed like that for a while, until the blonde broke the silence.
“Go ahead, say what you want to say.” Morgan said angrily, even if her voice still shook a bit.
Claire looked at her in surprise. “I wasn’t going to say anything, Morgan.” When Morgan made eye contact with her in anger and embarrassment, “Well, other than I think you’re one of the strongest women I know, Morgan Reznick. I don’t think I could have performed as steady as you if I was in your situation. You’re incredibly smart and brave to me.” Morgan looked at her in surprise.
“And I also want to apologize to you about how I treated you this morning, it was completely uncalled for.”
Morgan was stunned silent, Claire could only smile gently, one could say almost tenderly at the other woman.
“Are you...are you not going to mention what you just saw?” Morgan breaks the eye contact and stares ahead, jaw set tensely.
Claire automatically rubs her thumb on Morgan’s arm again, subconsciously providing comfort for her. She stares ahead too and replies: “Not if you don’t want to. I won’t tell anyone.” Morgan kept quiet for a long while, so long that Claire thought she had fallen asleep sitting up.
“I was diagnosed with level 1 autism when I was very little. Thankfully, my parents noticed it immediately and gave me a lot of treatments including therapy. With time, I got better and I was deemed healthy and normal by the time I reached my teens. It still gets to me whenever I get overly stressed.”
Claire listened and digested all those information quietly, she still said nothing but only nodded.
“If you ever tell this to anyone, I will make it my life mission to make your residential life miserable, Brown.”
“I won’t.” Claire looked at Morgan, “I still stand with what I said about you.”
It took a moment for Morgan to realize what she said, before a blush overtook her face. Claire thought she looked beautiful.
Claire was singing when Morgan called. Her heart skipped a beat, she wants to believe whatever they talked about yesterday might have made them a little closer, but she didn’t want to assume anything.
“You up for mimosas? I was just about to head to Hollanders, and I thought you might want to join me.” Morgan’s chirpy voice rang through, a completely different tone from yesterday night.
“You thought I might want to join you for mimosas?” Claire asks tentatively, is Morgan asking to spend time together on their day off?
“Because we don’t like each other?” Claire replies.
“We don’t really know each other.” Morgan replies as Claire’s heart skipped another beat in almost giddiness, but she knocked it out. “Hollander’s has the absolute best brunch in San Jose. I’ll drive, I’ll buy.”
“How about you just tell me what is it that you actually want?” Claire huffs.
“What else is it you’re gonna do? Sit around, play guitar and sing into your phone?”
“Wait, how did you know what I was doing?”
“I didn’t, but that’s what your profile on a certain dating app says what you like to do on your days off.”
What?? “Are you stalking me?” A blush covered Claire’s face, she might or might not have written ‘bisexual’ on her tinder profile, why was she feeling embarrassed? Claire was not one to be ashamed of her own sexuality, it took her awhile to realize that she was not embarrassed about her sexuality, but that Morgan knows that about her.
“One mimosas and I’ll tell you the fake profile that I use for’ oppo’ research. The guy I picked for my profile is gorgeous, you really wanna risk swiping right on me?”
Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. Pft, Morgan didn’t need to use a different profile to be gorgeous. Wait- what? Claire shook her head real quick, this is not the time.
“I’ll drive myself.”
“It’ll be fun, meet you in an hour.” Just like that, Morgan hung up on her. Claire took a second to look at her phone, thinking what she just signed up for.
She stood up and headed to her closet, what was the right dress code for a brunch with your co-worker you hate but kinda have a minor crush on? She wanted to dress to impress, but didn’t want to overdress. Claire huffed again as she shuffled through the clothes in her closet.
Morgan has once again, succeeding in getting to her without actively trying.
An hour later, she was sitting across Morgan in a cute little shop. It was pretty empty but it gives out a peaceful and calming vibe. She thought it’s quite perfect after the hectic shift they had, not that she’ll tell that to Morgan.
“Diego Luis.” Morgan said to her after they were served mimosas. Morgan was dressed in all black with a necklace, her blonde curls falling prettily on her shoulders, Claire mentally shook her again. Stop, you useless bisexual. “My pseudonym, I think Latin names are sexy.”
“You might want to pace yourself, we don’t even have the menu yet.” Claire says as she watches Morgan drink her mimosas. Morgan looked at her and smiled cheekily.
“I’ll be fine.”
“Hey listen, I’m really sorry about that EMT. I heard you guys were kinda close?” Claire strikes up a conversation, her own stomach sinking as she observes Morgan’s reaction. Her blue eyes dimmed and her lips pursed.
“You were wrong, I barely even knew him.” Morgan shrugs but her eyes said otherwise, Claire knows the EMT’s death affected Morgan.
“Okay. But as long as I’m here, if you wanna talk about-”
“I don’t.” Morgan interrupted her swiftly, Claire frowns. “I want a brunch partner, not a shrink.”
Claire frowns further, why is the other woman so infuriating. She was just being a nice friend, maybe for once Claire just wants the other woman to speak her mind.
“I’m not trying to be a shrink, I’m trying to be a decent human being.”
“Of course you are, St.Claire to the rescue.” Claire continues to frown, that’s it.
“What is your problem? You literally blackmailed me to be here, and now you have the nerve to act like I’m the one-” Claire was once again interrupted, this time by her cellphone. She took one glance to look at the caller ID, and huffs in further annoyance. Great, this day couldn’t get better, here I thought we could actually ‘know each other better.’
“I’m going to take this outside, if you just want to get that check, that’s fine by me.” Claire stood up and left, leaving Morgan to stare blankly as she left.
Of course her mom was going to fucked up, of course she was getting evicted, with the money that she paid for. She stomps back inside, “I have to go.”
“Mimosas, plural. That was the deal.” Morgan says. “You had a quarter.”
Claire got out her purse to pay, “Well, my mom is getting evicted.”
“Fine. I’ll come along.”
What now? Claire glares at the other woman, she was definitely not in the mood, she was naive to think that Morgan would treat her nicer after yesterday but today was proof enough that the other woman does not like her, and Claire does not have the time nor energy to unpack that.
“I’m not lying, I have to help her move.” Claire says, annoyed and hoping to get rid of the other woman.
“I could use the exercise.” Morgan says stubbornly.
Claire rolled her eyes, what is it about this woman who is just so relentless? Yesterday, it was a trait Claire admired, today it was a trait that annoyed Claire.
“Two cars are better than one.” Morgan replies, avoiding eye contact with the brunette.
“Stop. What is going on?” Claire finally says. Morgan flinched, looked away and took a shaky breath.
“You were right. Tyler’s death was….upsetting.” Claire’s eyes filled with understanding, but Morgan immediately changed the topic, not wanting to disclose any feelings. “I can carry a lot. And I’m great with moms.”
Claire thought for a second, but the quiet desperation in Morgan’s eyes did her in. She understands that Morgan wasn’t great with talking about feelings, she could relate to that. And she is not about to leave the other woman alone when she was feeling vulnerable, dammit.
“Okay.” And that was that.
Claire was being bombarded with so many surprises today, she didn’t know what she did to deserve it. Breeze lied, as she always did. Claire does not know why she always, always ends up giving her mom a second chance, a second chance to give her false hope and break her heart all over again. She knew her mom had issues, knew she was bipolar, knew she was an alcoholic, she knew it all but deep down, she still wanted to believe her.
Breeze was not being abused, but when Claire and Morgan thought she was, the first thing that Claire did not expect her to say was ‘Let’s go show him not to mess around with women’, and drove to where the man was working at the moment.
Morgan stepped out of the car, armed; another thing Claire did not see coming. But she saw the determined way Morgan held the gun discreetly yet confidently, saw the way she stepped in front of Claire to threaten the other man. Claire is not a fan of guns, big time but she has to admit that her attraction towards the blonde kinda just leveled up, like a lot. The protective way Morgan acted made Claire feel safe, and cared for even if Morgan was technically doing it for her mother. She was however, curious why Morgan would own a gun and why did she seem so comfortable with handling one.
When everything was said and done, they drove back to Claire’s place. They could have splitted ways from Breeze’s apartment but they just naturally drove back to Claire’s.
“Thank you.” Claire says to Morgan at the doorstep. “You didn’t have to help my mom with all her mess today, but you did. You know what? I think deep down you do have a heart after all.”
Morgan scoffed, “Of course I do, I just chose not to show it because people tend to use your kindness against you.”
“Only you would think that. Kindness actually makes people closer to you, it forms connection. And believe it or not, I believe that kindness helps more in our career.” Claire jabs back playfully, a quirk of a smile on her lips.
“Yeah, yeah whatever, St Claire.” Morgan smirks cheekily at her, Claire wants to be annoyed at the pet name but she somehow found the pet name almost...affectionate? She didn’t know how to reply to that, and for a short second they just stood there looking at each other with a tiny smile. It was awkward but for some reason, Claire did feel like the distance between them got smaller.
“Well, I’m going to head back now, the sun’s almost down. Bye, Claire.” Morgan says before turning around, in a moment of panic Claire shot her hand out to grab the blonde’s arm.
“Wait, Morgan!” Claire said as the blonde turned around in curiosity, it’s now or never. “Have dinner with me.”
Morgan’s eyes filled with surprise, “Now?”
“Uh, yes, now. Why not?” Claire blushed, her hand still on the other woman’s arm, she could feel the warmth seeping through Morgan’s clothes, and she suddenly had the urge to rub her thumb again. She blushed some more.
Morgan smiled, surprised at the turn of events. “Why?”
Because I don’t want you to go yet?
Claire cleared her throat and reluctantly let go of her hand. “Well, I feel bad I had to cut short our brunch date.” In Claire’s mind, it was blaring with loud alarm noises, she did not mean to say date! “We can just order pizza or whatever.”
If Morgan heard the word date, she didn’t mention it, but her cheeks were tinted pink. She acted annoyed and rolled her eyes fondly.
“I mean, if you insist.” She smiled cheekily. Claire likes this side of the blonde, a lot. This Morgan wasn’t the one who showed up at work, not cut-throat, cold hearted Morgan; this was protective and playful Morgan.
“Come in then. It’s too cold outside.” Claire hung up their coats before going to the kitchen to make some tea. “Sit anywhere you like, I’ll make us some tea. Is green tea okay?”
“Yeah, sure thanks.” Morgan replied from the living room. She was looking around the tiny apartment, it was neat, minimalistic but warm and cozy. She spots the guitar on the couch and sits gently next to it, afraid of making it fall. On the coffee table, there was a notepad with handwritten words, some scribbles and some music notes.
“Here.” Claire passed the tea to the blonde and put hers on the table. “Sorry, it’s a mess. I forgot to clear them up when you called.
“You make your own lyrics?” Morgan blurts out.
Claire blushed, “Yeah, just for fun. Gosh, this is embarrassing.” She closed the notepad and stuffed in on the bookshelf on top of the couch. She then took the guitar before placing it back to it’s stand against the wall.
“Don’t be ashamed now, I’m actually quite curious about your singing. I heard your mom is a great singer.” Morgan smiled encouragingly
“She was.” Claire smiled sadly as she sat down next to Morgan, leaving a small distance between both of them on the small couch.
“What happened?” Morgan asks softly, knowing that she’s edging on sensitive topics. “You don’t have to tell me anything, but I’m here to listen.” Not wanting to seem too soft, Morgan quickly adds, “and the pizza.”
That got a small laugh from the brunette, “No, it’s nothing major. It’s just that she couldn’t hold a job.” Claire looked at Morgan, seeing only patience in her blue eyes. “She used to sing at bars a lot, that was her main source of income when I was little, she loved to play her guitar and practiced singing at home before her show.” Claire smiles, staring ahead. Those memories of her mom singing and the gentle acoustic of the quitar were fond, one of the very few memories she loves. “She loves to sing, she also loves to drink. So there’s that.” Claire didn’t tell Morgan about the physical and verbal abuse she had to endure up until she was 18, she didn’t want to ruin the day with the topic of her mom, again.
Claire glanced at Morgan, but she didn’t see any pity in those blue eyes. She was relieved, she didn’t need pity, just company.
“What were you singing before I called you?” Morgan changed the topic, knowing Claire does not want to talk about her mother anymore.
“Oh gosh.” Claire laughs and covers her face, “Did you see my notebook?”
“It was in my direct eyesight, I couldn’t help it! I didn’t touch it, don’t worry.” Morgan laughs as well, “Come on, sing something.”
“God no, it’s too embarrassing!.” Claire says underneath her palm, still laughing. Then suddenly, two warm hands were gently prying them from her face, and she was met with two blue eyes. When did they get so close?
“Come on, just once? Consider it a favor for missing out on the mimosas.” Morgan teases, though Claire knows the blonde will back off if she sternly says no. In this case, Claire can’t seem to, not when Morgan was pulling a puppy look with her pretty, pretty eyes.
“I’m already paying for the pizzas later.” Claire rolls her eyes playfully, but stood up anyway to get her guitar. Morgan was grinning triumphantly, it kinda makes Claire wanna kiss that stupid grin off, not realizing that she had a grin on her face too.
She grabs the guitar and the notebook, before sitting down on the couch again, facing Morgan. She adjusted the position of her guitar and opened her book.
“Okay, don’t laugh okay? Nobody heard me sing before.”
“I’m the first to ever hear our local surgical resident sing? I’m honored.” Morgan teased some more, Claire glared at her but she knew her glare didn’t bring heat. Morgan leaned slightly closer towards Claire, and Claire’s heart started to beat all over the place again.
“I’m still developing this, so it’s very short. Here goes.” Claire took a deep breath and started to sing, her hair fell over her cheek but she was just focused on her singing. Her voice shook a bit when she felt Morgan’s hand reach out gently to tug her hair behind her ear, and they lingered there for a moment. The moment was tender, and it gave Claire butterflies in her stomach. She didn’t dare to look at Morgan.
When the last note ended, Claire looked up from her guitar and found Morgan looking at her with a gentle look. Not for the first time, Claire wants to lean forward and capture the other woman’s lips with her own. The moment was still tender and delicate, and it feels loaded with intention. Claire glanced at Morgan’s lips before looking at the blonde, and her heart skipped another beat when she realized Morgan was looking at hers. What if she just leaned in, is it so bad to indulge in her little crush? Her little crush that was slowly getting bigger?
A distant bark broke the moment and made them jump apart, the guitar hit the floor with a loud thunk, Claire thought her heart fell out of her chest, her face was as red as a tomato.
“I’m going to order pizza!”
“I need to use the restroom!” They both said at the same time, jumping to their feet. In a very awkward fashion, Morgan brushed by Claire to rush into the restroom, their hands brushed inevitably in such a small space. They both blushed some more.
In the restroom, Morgan splashed cold water onto her heated face. What was she thinking, what just happened or more importantly, what was going to happen if that stupid dog didn’t bark. Outside in the living room, Claire was having the same dilemma as she half heartedly ordered some standard pizzas on the phone, thoughts running a mile a minute. When she finished the call, she rushed back into her bedroom to get her laptop. A movie is what they both need right now as a distraction.
When Morgan came out of the restroom, Claire was already sitting on the couch, avoiding eye contact with the other woman at all cost.
“Hey, I ordered the pizzas. You want to pick a movie?” Claire said when Morgan sat back down on the couch. Morgan glanced at her in surprise again, she didn’t think Claire would want to spend more time with her after what almost happened.
“We’re watching a movie?”
“Oh, we don’t have to.” Claire said, thinking that Morgan didn’t want to spend more time than necessary with her after what just happened. “I just thought, never mind I don’t know what I thought.”
“No, it’s alright. I suppose a movie is fine. It’s only a quarter past seven.” Morgan said quickly.
“Anything you have in mind?”
“Not really, I don’t really watch movies.” Claire gapped at that.
“What do you mean you don’t really watch movies, have you even heard of Harry Potter?”
Morgan rolled her eyes, “Of course I have, I just never read it or watched it. It’s not a big deal.”
“Not- “ Claire scoffs aloud, “Not a big deal? Oh no, I think I have to cancel on that pizza!”
“Don’t be dramatic, we’re studying science, I grew up in a family of doctors. You don’t need something as trivial as magic when you have the wonders of science.” Morgan teased some more, the look on Claire was ridiculous, she looked like she was going to pass out. The awkwardness from before was gone, replaced by playfulness once again.
Claire insisted on watching Harry Potter from the first movie, going on rants about all of the interesting facts about the book. Morgan wondered if she could mention that she liked Lord of The Rings more than Harry Potter as she watched the brunette fondly.
They ate pizza while watching the movie, so what if they ‘secretly’ glanced at each other more than the movie during the entire show or if they were basically cuddling the entire time, it was no one’s business but theirs.
Claire’s night shift ended at 7am, she was emotionally and physically tired, her back and the sole of her feet were sore, her stomach was growling in hunger but all she wanted was the warmth of her bed back at her apartment. She didn’t see Morgan the whole shift since the other doctor was in charge of the morning shift, somehow the hospital seemed a little too quiet and dull without the blonde’s chirpy, straight forward snarks.
She was leaning her forehead on her locker, the cold metal of the locker provided her a tiny moment of escape and support for her tired body. She did not hear the click of the locker room, not the sound of boots.
“Hey, are you okay?” Morgan’s voice reached her ears, and she tiredly raised her head to look at the doctor.
“Yeah, just tired.” Claire tried to smile, but was too tired, she felt like her legs were gonna give out. Morgan quickly put down her things on the bench before stepping up to the brunette.
“Come here.” Morgan raised her arm and Claire immediately collapsed into her arms, her hands wrapped around Morgan’s waist. Morgan’s hug was something she didn’t know she needed up until now, she was warm and steady. Her taller statue meant Claire could fit her head in the crook of Morgan’s neck, and she greedily took in the smell of the blonde’s shampoo and subtle perfume.
In a moment of weakness, Claire could almost laugh at herself of how things have changed between Morgan and her. A few weeks ago, she was cursing Morgan’s existence and couldn’t even stand to be in the same space of this locker room with her, and now Morgan was someone she goes to to complain or share her Friday night.
“You smell good.” Claire mumbled and really believed she could fall asleep right there and then. She felt fingers running through her tangled, messy hair before the comforting weight of Morgan’s face leaning back on her head for 3 seconds.
“Come on, I got you breakfast.” Morgan let go of the hug, it felt too short. Claire grumbled lowly as she felt Morgan letting go.
“Coffee?” She asked as Morgan led her to sit on the bench.
“Hot chocolate with a shot of espresso, just enough that you won't fall asleep on the drive home.” Morgan passed her a tiny tray with the drink and a paper bag.
“What’s this?” Claire asked as she took the paper bag, humming contently as she drank the hot chocolate. “Gosh, you’re a lifesaver.”
“I don’t know, I simply picked it from the café on the way to the hospital.” Morgan said quickly, and looked away. Claire glanced at her weirdly at her response before peering into the paper bag.
Inside the paper bag was a single dark chocolate croissant from her favorite café that she once mentioned to Morgan last month, and that cafe was definitely not on the way to the hospital. Claire suddenly felt like crying.
“Morgan…” Claire could hear the tear in her voice, she’s too tired to keep herself together, dammit. “Frascati’s is definitely not on the way to the hospital.” She said to Morgan, but Morgan was still avoiding eye contact, a blush filling her cheeks.
“It is from my apartment.” She replied too quickly and Claire snorted out a laugh.
“No, it’s not.”
“Whatever, you’re going to eat that or not?” Morgan huffed in false annoyance, and Claire felt her heart grow two sizes bigger.
“Thank you.” Claire said and after a moment of hesitation, leaned forward to brush her lips on Morgan’s cheek. It was very light and very quick, it wasn’t exactly a kiss. She was happy to see Morgan’s face blushed redder.
Morgan cleared her throat and stood up, “Eat and take a good sleep.” She looked at Claire sternly, “ I have to start my shift soon.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Claire smiled cheekily and Morgan rolled her eyes.
“Wanna have dinner with me?” When they saw each other again, Claire was reading a patient’s report at the nurse’s station 2 days later.
“Huh?” She looked up to see Morgan at her side, reaching for something from the station. The nurses ignored them after giving them a curious glance, Morgan glared at them.
“Dinner at Paesano? You won’t believe the week I had.” Morgan asked casually again.
“Morgan, we worked in the same hospital, under the same bosses.” Claire wrote something on the report, but the corner of her lips quirked up. “But yes on the dinner.”
“Great, see you there at 8 or do you wanna go together?” Claire tried to fight off the incoming blush on her face, ‘going together’ meant one of them picking up the other, and that sounds too close like a date.
“I’ll get there myself.” Claire glanced at Morgan, the other doctor just nodded before striding away.
“So….is there anything going on between the two of you?” Mrs. Mindy asked suddenly from the station, she was a mid 40s nosy nurse who loved all kinds of drama in the hospital. Claire jumped, she forgot where she was for a moment.
“What- No, of course not. Morgan was just being friendly.” She shook her head, it’s not like she needed to explain herself.
“Hmmm, Morgan huh.” Mrs. Mindy replies shortly, shooting an amused look at Claire, Claire shook her head again, failing to shake off the blush and strode away as quickly as possible, pretending to look busy.
Hours felt like years until their shift ended, Park and Claire headed to the locker room when Morgan was just about to head out. Their eyes met and they shared a tiny smile, Morgan brushed past them after saying a quick ‘I got to go now, bye guys.”
When Claire and Park were alone again, Park spoke.
“You know, you two aren’t as subtle as you think.” Claire turned around immediately.
“What? What do you mean?” She asked before realizing, “Oh! That nosy Mindy, so the whole hospital knows we have dinner together now??”
Park looked at her blankly before saying, “No, actually. I meant the secretive smiles and looks you two give each other, and that your bickerings aren’t as cold anymore. But uh..good to know! Good luck!”
“Oh my gosh, Morgan is going to kill me.” Claire groaned in her hands. “Sorry, Park. Can you not tell that to anyone please?”
Park chuckled, “Sure thing. So are you two dating now or something?”
“Or something, I guess. I don’t know, we never really call it dates.” Claire blushed again, before taking her things out of the locker.
“Guess you’ll know soon.” Park smiled encouragingly.
Claire looked at him, “Do you know something?”
“No, don’t look at me like that. It’s just Morgan and I have been working together way before you two did, so I kind of treat her as a sister.”
“Are you giving me a shovel talk?” Claire looked at him amusingly, it was nice to know Morgan has someone on her back. Park only shrugged.
“If you know it, you know it.”
The dinner went well, it wasn’t anything special. Morgan was acting the way she always does, conversation between them was easy and free-flowing. After weeks of hanging out with the blonde, it was easy to enjoy each other’s company. To be honest, it wasn’t any different as any other time they shared a meal. Claire didn’t know if she was more disappointed or relieved. They have been skirting around each other. Claire doesn’t know what she was expecting, was she expecting Morgan to suddenly be publicly affectionate and flirt with her? That’s not who Morgan was. Morgan was subtle, soft and displays her affection through small gestures, and Claire wouldn’t have it any other way.
When they drove back to Claire's place, Claire had a strange sense of Deja Vu when they walked up to her doorstop. Claire clutched her purse and turned around, ending the dinner like this was a little anticlimactic.
“So, is this like a date or you know, just us hanging out?” She asked Morgan, the blonde stepped closer to her and Claire’s breath hitched.
“I don’t know, what does a date usually include?” Morgan teased, her voice soft.
“A kiss?” Claire replied shyly, it was out of character for her, but Morgan was just too close right now, she can almost feel her breath on her.
“So kiss me.” Morgan whispered as she leaned in, but paused right in front of Claire’s to let her close the gap.
Claire imagined their first kiss a lot of times, most of the time she thought of lips crashing to end an argument, or a passionate kiss to take away Morgan’s stupid smirk. Turns out their first kiss was soft. So, so soft. Morgan’s lips were soft and delicate, and they moved gently against her. Her lips tasted like red wine.
1990 Merlot to be exact.
Claire thinks she’ll remember this moment forever. Their lips parted way too soon for her liking, until she heard Morgan took a shuddering breath and her hands clutching her waist. She opened her eyes and swallowed, Morgan's clear blue eyes darkened, and her pink lipstick was slightly smudged.
"Again." Morgan said, more like demanded. Claire would have rolled her eyes if it wasn't so attractive. She gently pushed the blonde against the door and was glad for her high heels that she didn’t have to tip toe so much. She reached up and cupped Morgan’s face, looked at her before kissing her again. This time they were stronger, lips moving together before Claire sucked Morgan’s lower lips into her mouth, Morgan’s unexpected moan caused heat to bloom in her stomach. Not one to lose, Morgan licked her lips and her lips parted naturally to allow entry, before things could get more heated, they were once again by the distant bark.
They both smiled into their kiss before they parted.
“That dog should just fuck off.” Morgan said, her cheeks flushed and her eyes creased into pretty half moons. Claire giggled out loud, before uncontrollable laughter burst out of her. She just kissed Morgan freaking Reznick, life is so silly sometimes.
“What are you laughing about, Brown?” Morgan fake frowned for a second before laughing herself, her hands tightening around Claire’s waist. When their laughter died down, Claire leaned her forehead against Morgans and simply breath
“I’ll see you tomorrow?” She asked and felt Morgan’s smile.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
Warning: Mention of teen grooming and sexual assault! Please read at your own risk, I was inspired by Season 2 where we learnt that Morgan has a gun license, I thought that she must have a backstory.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Hey.” Morgan said when she entered the locker room, Claire was already in her scrubs getting ready for their shift.
Claire turned out and grinned, “hey yourself.” Her eyes glinted with happiness, Morgan took a second to look at her, Claire has always been beautiful to her but after their date, the brunette was basically glowing. Claire looked around to make sure no one was coming before leaning over to kiss the blonde swiftly. It surprised Morgan for a second before she quickly kissed the other doctor, she pulled back just as quickly.
“We’re at work, Claire.” She said warningly.
“I know.” Claire grinned some more, her eyes flashed playfully.
“Cheeky.” Morgan replied before taking her change of scrubs to the nearby changing room.
“Who are you with today?” Claire asked.
“Dr. Melendez with Park.” Morgan raised her voice from behind the curtains. “Okay, I’m ready.”
“Let’s get this day started.” They smiled at each other before stepping out of the locker room, professional looks set on their faces.
It doesn’t take long for some sort of bad news to hit when one works at the hospital, Morgan thinks, but this is just unjust.
“He can’t be back, this is just ridiculous!” Claire looked at Dr.Lim in exasperation. Apparently Dr. Coyle who she reported and was transferred to another hospital was coming in today to lead an important surgery.
“I’m sorry, Dr.Browne. It’s not something I have power over.” Dr. Lim looked at Claire in sympathy.
“This is just-” Claire huffed, clenching her fists. Dr. Coyle was an orthopedic surgeon who was way too friendly to her to the point of crossing the line of sexual harassment. When Claire had finally gathered the courage to report it to Andrews, she found out that not only was Coyle not fired, but he was transferred to another hospital with a higher position. The system was unjust but at least Claire could selfishly say that Coyle was no longer working under the same roof as her anymore, and now he’s back.
Claire was not afraid, she was pissed. And there was nothing she could do.
“I’m sorry to say this, but rein in your emotions. We have surgery in 2 hours, and I need my team emotionally stable and physically available.” Lim looked at Claire sympathetically.
Claire took a deep breath before letting it out, counting to 10 in her head before nodding to herself.
“I’m sorry,” she sighed.
“It’s alright, take 20 and report back to me. We don’t have much other than checking on our patients and prepping for the surgery, and that includes having a clear mind.” Lim said and Claire thanked her gratefully before leaving.
Unconsciously, she was looking for a certain blonde as she walked around. Finally she found the blonde doctor with Dr. Park on level 5.
“Hey, you busy?” Claire knocked on the door softly, the patient in the room was asleep while the two doctors were looking at the patient’s recent test results. Morgan turned around in surprise before walking to Claire at the door, Park smartly stayed where he was, but he could still hear the women's’ conversation.
“Not really, what’s up? I thought you have to assist Dr. Lim for that kidney surgery?” Morgan asked, concern filling her face upon seeing the troubled look on Claire’s face.
“Nothing, just want to tell you about something. You know Dr. Coyle, your previous attending?” Claire asked, hands flaring about in frustration, she did not pay attention to Morgan’s reaction. Morgan’s face immediately paled while her hands clenched hard around the report, she took in a sharp breath and tensed her jaw.
“Yeah, why?” Morgan stared ahead, not looking at Claire. That was when Claire noticed her reactions and alarms blared in her head. It doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots. Recognition filled Claire before a hot burning fire filled her guts. Anger and intense protectiveness flared up in Claire but she was careful not to cause a scene in public.
“He’s coming back today to lead a major surgery.” Claire said slowly, observing Morgan’s reaction. If it was possible, Claire paled some more and let out a shaky breath.
“Oh.” was Morgan’s only reply. She was still staring ahead but Claire could see Claire was worked up, to the point that she was almost vibrating. Claire wondered if Morgan was resisting from rocking on her feet, the thought made her want to reach out and hug the blonde, but she knew this was not the time nor place, and Morgan would not welcome the action. The last thing Morgan needed was to appear weak in public.
“Morgan..” Claire said softly, but that single word seemed to shook Morgan from her thoughts, Morgan looked at her with a clenched jaw, steel in her eyes. Her eyes warned Claire from asking any questions and Claire understood, it seemed that the topic of a certain doctor is a sensitive issue and not to be discussed now, but later in the privacy of their own company.
“Later.” Morgan said, Claire nodded solemnly. She knew she had to report back to Dr.Lim now, tentatively she slowly reached out her hand, discreetly brushing Morgan’s hand still on the report. When the blonde did not flinch, Claire covered her closed fist with her own gentle hand, she squeezed it before letting go.
“You’ll be okay for now?” Claire asked, reluctant to go but knew duty called. Morgan forced a smile.
“Yes, go. Dr.Lim is probably wondering where you are.”
Claire nodded and didn’t know what else to say, she wanted to say something affectionate but knew they weren’t ready to be public.
“I’ll see you soon.” Claire said before rushing away, she knew if she stayed any longer, it would do no good for either of them.
When Claire left, Morgan turned around to Park and they exchanged looks. Park’s jaws were clenched and his eyes were protective. Morgan suddenly felt a strange comfort settling in her for a short moment, she was no longer the scared 16 year old girl as before. She had two people who cared for her and would protect her. She smiled reassuringly but the smile fooled nobody.
Claire counted her steps all the way back to Dr. Lim, every count forced her to focus on herself, and her surroundings instead of her feelings or thoughts. People’s lives depended on her ability to function as a doctor, and her morality made that her priority. She forced herself to not think about Morgan at all or she knew she would spiral. The faster she was done with today, the faster she could go to Morgan.
“Dr. Browne. Feeling better?” Dr. Lim asked when she was Claire reporting back to her, the older doctor could see something changed in the other doctor in the span of 20 minutes she was out, the other doctor came back with fire in her eyes.
“Yes.” Morgan replied with determination.
While Claire was in surgery with Shaun and Dr. Lim, Morgan and Park were rushing to the OR with Dr. Melendez when their 12 year old patient had a complication pre-op, and had to undergo the surgery 2 hours earlier than expected. The surgery was a success, thankfully. Morgan exhaled a breath of relief, but her relief was short lived.
“I heard you had a successful surgery, congratulations.” A male voice broke the silence in the doctors’ lounge, Morgan and Park were taking a breather there but Park had left to get some coffee for them at the cafeteria. It seemed like Morgan’s luck had run out. Her blood ran cold and goosebumps rose on her arms when she heard the voice.
She forced herself to turn around, “What are you doing here?” She held her chin up, and forced herself to not clench her fists or seem affected by the other man’s mere presence.
“No welcome hug? I came early to see you, you know.” Dr. Coyle raised his arms mockingly. The hidden meaning in his sentence caused Morgan to shiver.
“I still have my patients to see to, if you could excuse me.” Morgan snapped and attempted to move around the man, but his arms remained open, actively blocking her exit.
“Hey, hey. What’s the rush, Morg? You’re not happy to see me? I’m hurt.” Coyle teased and blocked the blonde again when she tried to sidestep him, his bigger stature made Morgan feel trapped.
“You know better than that, and don’t call me that.” Morgan glared and crossed her arms, keeping a distance before herself and the other man.
“I don’t know what you mean, Morg. Don’t forget that you wouldn’t be where you are without me, your parents trust me more than they trust you.” Coyle smirked, he knew exactly what to say to get to the blonde. Morgan pushed her nails into her inner forearm, and forced herself to not be affected by what the other man said, she knew there were truths in his words, but they were no longer valid.
“I don’t care, Coyle. What you did was teen grooming, manipulative and disgusting. I’m no longer 16, looking for approval or permission to enter med school. I am a surgical resident in this hospital by my own merits.” Morgan stood her ground, spat with steel in her eyes.
Surprised by her reply, all teasing went out of Coyle's eyes and he basically snarled menacingly, he stepped closer to Morgan dangerously and Morgan swallowed down her fear that crashed over her like a tsunami.
“You are mine, and you owe me!” Coyle stepped forward again and Morgan faltered, she stepped backwards and was very aware of how close she was to being cornered. She felt immobile, ever since she was 18 she had got herself self-defense classes and a gun license, she made sure to make time to practice both during her days off, but they all seemed useless at the moment. She felt like she was 16 all over again.
“Step closer to me one more time and I will scream. “ Morgan said even while her voice shook, and hated herself for not being stronger. Coyle chuckled and felt only triumph, he stepped closer and aggressively restrained Morgan’s wrists against the wall, Morgan yelled and struggled.
“Scared?” He laughed some more but suddenly he was pushed away, Morgan jumped and yelled. “What the hell?!” Coyle growled. Stepping protectively in front of Morgan was Park.
“Get away from her!” Park said dangerously. Coyle stood up and patted his legs.
“I see your guard dog is back.” Coyle laughed, “Dr. Park, do you know what happened to the last doctor who pushed me?”
“I don’t care, if you touch her again I’m calling the police, I don’t think the police would be happy with how many sexual harassment complaints you had received in just last year, do you.” Park said sternly, at the moment Morgan couldn’t be more glad or grateful for Park’s steady demeanor. She was quite shaken up by the turn of events, and right now Park felt like a big brother she could count on, and a police officer (even if it’s former) that she could trust.
Dr.Coyle chuckled, “Just you wait til I’m finished with my surgery, I’ll make sure you don’t have a career by then.” He threatened before he turned around and left. When Park was sure the other doctor wouldn’t come back, he turned to Morgan.
“Are you okay? Did he hurt you?” He asked, concerned. Morgan was shaking and her legs felt like jelly. “Come here, sit down. It’s okay, you’re okay.” Park led Morgan to the couch and handed her some water.
Morgan finished the water in one cup and clenched the paper cup tightly in her hands, her legs were bouncing softly before it turned aggressive, her eyes were starting to dart left and right. Park perched himself on the coffee table in front of her, blocking outsiders from seeing this side of Morgan. “Can you focus on my voice, Morgan? Listen to me, our patient is a 12 year old boy, he has …” Park said softly about their patient until Morgan slowly calmed down.
“That was stupid you know.” Morgan said when she could finally focus back on Park. “You shouldn't have pushed him, Andrew will not allow physical assault in this hospital, you heard what happened to Kalu. “Park sighed in relief upon hearing her speak, but shrugged at her words.
“Don’t worry, he will when I say it’s to protect you.” Morgan snapped her eyes at him, mouth opened to defend herself that she did not need protection before closing her mouth again, she did, in fact, needed protection. She thought frustratingly at herself, she hadn’t been able to speak, or move when Coyle got closer and closer to her. She looked down at her hands clenched together in a fist. “Thank you, Alex.”
Her open gratitude shocked Park for a moment, and that’s when he knew this was affecting Morgan more than usual. Guilt rose up in him, “You’re welcome. I’m sorry I left you, I told myself I wouldn’t but I did, even if it’s to get the stupid coffee.”
Morgan took a shaky breath before looking at him, “No, you couldn’t have known. Thank you, really, I’m um- “ Morgan looked away for a moment, feeling uncomfortable in her vulnerability, she looked back at Alex. “I’m grateful you were here; are here.”
“You feeling better?” Park asked, “I know we had this exact conversation before in our first year together, but I want to know if your answer changed. Do you want to report to Andrew this time? I know you were afraid last time, but I know you have come a long way. The choice is yours and you know I’ll support you like I did last time, but I think you should.”
Morgan nodded, took a long breath.
“If Andrew doesn’t believe me like my parents…” Morgan said, faltered for a moment before steel set in her eyes. “I have a restraining order, and this time we have the security camera, right?” She asked even though she knew the answer, she just needed verbal reassurance from Park.
“Yes, we do. It’ll make a solid case, Morgan. I’m a former police officer, I know my rights. If Andrew or the boards still turn a blind eye to this, this says more about this hospital than me, I wouldn’t want to work here anyway. Don’t worry about me.”
That seemed to really help Morgan, she nodded again and stood up.
“Let’s go to Andrew right now.” She looked at Park, and she found only pride in his eyes.
First, they had to go to their attending first. They reached Melendez and Morgan told him vaguely that she needed to go see Andrew right now, and Park insisted on following.
“Now? What is so urgent that you have to see our Chief of Surgery in the middle of your shift, is there something I should know?” Melendez asked, looking at both of his residents sharply, Morgan looked a bit shaken up, but stood proudly with determination.
Morgan hesitated for a moment before saying, “I have to tell Andrew first before anyone, this is urgent but I think it’s best if you come along too.”
Melendez looked a bit surprised but knew that the situation was more serious than he expected.
“Alright, let’s go. I need to make a few calls to another doctor and his residents to take over three of us for the next hour.”
So the three of them entered Andrew’s office, the chief of surgery looked up in surprise.
“Is there any problem with the patient?” Andrew asked, concerned.
Morgan took a deep breath, thought of Claire and how brave she was to stood up to Andrew about Coyle and spoke unwaveringly.
“I’m here to report a sexual assault case.” She said while Park and Melendez stayed behind her, Melendez and Andrew looked surprised. Andrew crossed his hands, looked at Morgan for a while.
“If this is about Dr. Coyle, it has already been settled by Dr. Browne’s report, Dr. Morgan. He has already been transferred to another hospital.”
Morgan clenched her hands, “Yes, he has. But I’m reporting another case, Dr. Coyle just sexually assaulted me at the Doctor’s lounge on level 5 just now.”
“What?” Morgan heard Melendez spoke behind her but ignored. She remained eye contact with Andrews, the other man raised his eyebrow and assessed her.
“Dr. Morgan, are you aware that Dr. Coyle had been called in to do a major surgery right now and is currently leading the surgery in level 8? How could he possibly have harassed you just now?” Morgan swallowed the urge to roll her eyes, she saw Park step forward protectively from the corner of her eyes, but shoot him a warning look. She needed to do this on her own.
“If you don’t believe me, you may check the security camera. It happened at 10:34am to be exact, at the doctor’s lounge, he may appear friendly at first, even though his behavior was not welcomed, and he became aggressive.”
“Alright, Dr. Reznick. I’ll look into it later when I have the time. Is there anything else?” Morgan and Alex clenched their jaw in annoyance at his clear dismissal.
“Yes, actually. Before he could attack me, Dr. Park appeared just in time to push him away. He protected me.”
“Push?” Andrew turned a critical eye at Park, Park stood his ground. “You know better than anyone about this hospital’s policy, I do not allow any form of assault in this hospital.”
Park held his chin high, “Including sexual assault, I assume, sir?” Andrew stared at him some more, if he was affected, he did not show it. “Any action done to protect one self or another civilian from attack is not, in your words, ‘any form of assault.”
Andrew took a second to look at them both, as well as the grave, serious look of Melendez at the background. He thought it was smart of these two residents to bring Melendez here, while he can pretend to overlook this, Melendez certainly wouldn’t. Andrew was the one who moved Coyle to another hospital under Aoki’s orders, what a fool he would look if the hospital received another similar report the day he asked Dr.Coyle to return to help with this major surgery.
“Alright, let’s watch the security clip.” He nodded and switched on the TV on the right wall, he typed a few things on his computer before the security clip appeared on the TV.
The clip showed exactly what Morgan’s described, Morgan thought proudly. Even though she was not happy about how helpless she looked in the clip, it was important. It showed proof how serious the case was, Morgan was proud and relieved. All the sexual assaults she had endured were in private, kept to herself in her darkest memories but she felt free when it was finally displayed for everyone to see, the clip could not be denied. It was solid evidence.
When it ended, Andrew was quiet for a while before he spoke, “I will inform O’Conner Hospital regarding their employee.”
“But this happened on your ground, Dr. Andrews.” Melendez spoke up before Morgan could protest. She knew if Andrew did that, Coyle would just be transferred to another hospital without any punishment. Everyone in the room knew that.
Andrew’s eyes snapped to Melendez, both holding a challenging gaze.
“As their attending, I will not allow this situation to be overlooked.” Melendez said sternly.
“He is no longer an employee here, I think there is nothing we can do.” Andrew shrugged, it was a clear lie, but he was using his position in this hospital to hide this.
“I will take this to the police, will I be transferred to another hospital, too?” Morgan said, a challenged look in her eyes.
“I’ll follow you, since I was involved as well.” Park said and stepped next to Morgan, his unwavering presence made Morgan feel braver and resolute in her decision.
“Actually, me too.” Melendez said after a beat. Andrew glared at all of them.
“There’s no need to make this a big deal, we don’t have to involve the police. I’ll settle it.”
“But this, in fact, involves the police, Dr. Andrews.” Morgan said to him and Andrew looked at her.
Morgan steeled herself, Park nodded at her.
“I have a restraining order against Matt Coyle, and I have my own lawyer. This is not a personal issue against you or this hospital, Sir, but a personal issue between Matt Coyle and I. With or without you, I am bringing him down, even if it means bringing it to court.” Morgan finished proudly, she felt strong and powerful, she knew this was the right thing to do. “I’m just sorry I did not have the courage to do this earlier and allowed him to continue his crimes against my co-workers.”
Andrew looked at her with renewed respect, he nodded.
“Well done, Dr. Reznick, for speaking up.” Andrew replied and by the look on everyone’s face, his reply certainly surprised them. “Sexual harassment or sexual assault issue has always been an issue in every work places, Dr. Browne and you were very brave to speak up even though you knew what happened to women who had reported similar issues. In truth, I had been a coward, I am sorry for trying to dismiss your complaints.”
“Oh.” Morgan and Park looked at each other, they expected the opposite reactions, and were ready to fight harder. “Thank you, Dr. Andrew. Thank you.”
“No, thank you. Dr. Reznick. Dr. Brown’s complaint saved the women in this hospital, but your actions will help more women in work places. Just as you said, I am only sorry I did not have the courage to do what I’m going to do earlier and allowed him to continue his actions in other hospitals.”
“What are you planning to do, Dr. Andrew?” Park asked.
“First of all, I will make sure he loses his license. However, Dr.Reznick,” Andrew looked back at Morgan, “you have this hospital's and my full support to do what you need to do, not many women have your courage.”
“Thank you, Dr. Andrew.” Morgan and Park said at the same time, and Melendez nodded respectfully at Andrew.
“You are dismissed for now, do not worry. I will do what needs to be done.” Andrew said and the two doctors nodded at him and left.
Melendez stayed behind for a while and finally spoke.
“Wow, I have to say I’m surprised.” Melendez said, “I was certain you would risk your reputation.”
“I wasn’t going to, “ Andrew looked down shamefully before looking at Melendez.
“What changed your mind?”
Andrew kept quiet for a while before speaking again, “I thought about my wife, how heartbroken she would be if she confessed that to me and I just dismissed it completely. For one moment, I wondered if she had been sexually harassed but couldn’t tell me or anyone in power because we would just ignore her. That thought broke my heart.”
Melendez nodded solemnly, “It’s men who should stand up more for the women. Not because they needed our protection or if this is some savior complex, the sad truth is that we are more likely to be taken seriously.” He looked at Andrew and the same understanding passed through them, “You did good.”
“I can’t believe it.” Morgan said to Park the moment they stepped out of the office.
“Well, believe it. I’m proud of you, Morgan. So, incredibly proud of what you just did and what you're planning to do. I stand by what I said, you have come a long way.” Park patted her arm gently.
Morgan grinned, “Alright, I’m going to go see Claire, I think she has been worried sick.”
“You mean your girlfriend?” Park bumped shoulders with Morgan playfully, both of them feeling incredibly free. Morgan blushed but did not deny it. They entered the elevator and returned back to Level 5.
When they stepped out onto the floor, they found an almost frantic blob of curly brown hair down the hallway, looking into every room, clearly searching for Morgan. Morgan’s heart grew bigger at the sight. She felt so much affection for the brunette on top of the adrenaline and happy hormones running in her veins. Almost immediately, she felt the urge to feel closer to the other woman.
“Claire!” Morgan called out and stepped towards the brunette.
Claire heard her name and turned around, frantic. Upon seeing Morgan, she almost ran to the other woman. Morgan wasn’t prepared to suddenly have Claire crash into her, hugging her tightly.
“Are you okay? I have been worried sick. Dr. Lim heard from Dr .Melendez that you filed a sexual assault to Dr. Andrew, and then I came straight here to look for you, and I couldn’t find you everywhere, I was so scared-” Claire rambled, when she heard the news, she suddenly knew what Jared felt when he felt the urge to beat up Coyle. She stopped when she felt delicate hands cupped her face and soft lips on her own. She could feel the nurses’ surprised sounds and Park’s whistle around her, but all of that didn’t matter. All that mattered was Morgan was safe, she was in her arms and that she kissed her, in front of everybody. Claire kissed back just as desperately.
They finally pulled back when they ran out of air, their foreheads against each other.
“I’m okay, Claire.” Morgan pulled back and said.
“Oh, thank god.” Claire laughed in relief, “I was so worried.”
A cough interrupted them, and they were finally aware of where they were. They sprung apart and looked around, everyone was looking at them. Even Dr Lim and Dr Melendez who arrived at the scene. They blushed.
“Well, you two, report to HR as soon as possible. Dr. Reznick, you may take the day off after this. Everyone get back to work. ” Melendez said, Lim, Park and him looked at the couple amusingly.
“Dr. Browne, report back to me after your lunch break.” Lim added,
“Yes, ma’am.” They both replied at the same time, grinning cheekily at each other.
They headed to HR immediately after, Park went back to work with Melendez after winking at both of them and wishing them luck.
“The cat’s out of the bag now. I didn’t expect that.” Claire said happily, she felt giddy after their trip to the HR.
Morgan shrugged, “They were bound to know anyway, I don’t intend to keep us as a secret.”
“Ooh, scandalous.” Claire teased, their hands brushed against each other as they walked to the cafeteria together and it was enough for now.
“They better not see this as a reason for me to lose my job.” Morgan glared at the HR department behind them as they slowly made their way back to the cafeteria.
“They won’t.” Claire said resolutely, “Are you okay?”
Morgan smiled at her, “You know what? I haven’t been better. “
Claire smiled proudly at her, “Will you tell me what happened? I want to hear it from my girlfriend.”
Morgan smiled happily, “I will. Come over to my place after your shift?”
“Of course, what are you going to do after this? I have an hour break.”
“I have to call the police.” Morgan said apologetically. Claire’s smile disappeared and she looked fierce and alarmed.
“Did he hurt you? What did he do?” She asked immediately.
“I will tell you all tonight, once I made sure he’s behind bars.” Morgan said, “I don’t think I can relax just yet.”
Claire searched Morgan, she knew things were not as simple as she thought.
“I won’t ask now, but there is something I want to ask.” She said.
“What is it?”
“Can I come with you to the police station?” Claire said simply and Morgan was speechless for the third time that day.
“You want to do that? What about work?”
“I do. And I will come back to the hospital when my break ends, but I want to be with you.” Claire said.
Morgan nodded and reached over to kiss the other woman quickly. “Go get something from the cafeteria, I’m going to make the call.” She said when they reached the floor, Morgan stayed outside the noisy cafeteria while Claire got herself some quick food. Once she paid, she quickly ate it as she walked towards the exit.
Suddenly she heard a loud commotion outside, a male voice cursed loudly and Claire all but ran out, not caring the half eaten bread in her hands.
Outside, a small crowd was slowly forming as security guards restrained an enraged Coyle, still trying to fight out of their grips. He was yelling repetitively “You owe me, you owe me!” to the other person. Claire immediately ran into the circle and stood in front of Morgan, she glared at Coyle. Coyle was more triggered, yelling slurs.
In no time, police officers were running to the scene to help out the security guards. Quickly, Coyle was cuffed and dragged away, all the while yelling curse words. Everyone around them were talking aloud, Claire turned to Morgan.
“Are you okay, baby?” Claire asked worriedly, she didn’t notice she used a pet name. Morgan’s lips quirked up though, and she nodded.
“Yes, let’s get this over with.” A police officer approached them.
“Good evening, ma’am. Are you the one who called the police? Miss Morgan Reznick?” The woman in uniform asked.
“Yes, I am. And I have more to report against that man.” Morgan nodded, Claire held her hand.
“Of course, you’re safe now. Would you like to follow us to the station?” The woman asked again.
“I’ll drive myself, thank you. He’ll remain there for a while, right?” Morgan asked, suddenly uncertain.
“He will be in the cell for 24 hours until his lawyer arrives.” The woman reassures them, after a look over to make sure Morgan was in the right state of mind to drive, the police officer nodded at them before leaving the scene.
Claire turned to her, “I’ll call Dr. Lim to give me the day off, she’ll understand.”
“Claire, you don’t have to. This is my issue.” Morgan told her, even though she was once shaken up again and she didn’t dare to look at Claire. Claire’s hand squeezing hers was her only lifeline right now. She didn’t want to be alone, she had been alone for too long. Claire looked at her properly, then nodded.
“Judging by the way your hand is clenched in mine, and the way you won’t look at me, I’m calling Dr. Lim.” Morgan looked at her, saying nothing. Claire raised their tangled hands and kissed the back of Morgan’s hand softly.
“You don’t have to be alone anymore, Morgan.”
Dr. Lim gave her the day off almost immediately when Claire asked, at this point the whole hospital heard what happened, and Lim was sympathetic.
“Take care of her, Browne.”
“I will. Thank you.” Claire ended the call and they both headed to the locker room to get their things.
They drove to the police station in their own cars, and Claire reached out for Morgan's hand the moment she got out of her car.
“More than anything.” Morgan said before hesitating, “Could you maybe wait outside? I need to do this on my own, and I don’t want you to be surprised until tonight. It’s not a good surprise.”
“Of course. Whatever you need.” Claire nodded, “I’ll be right outside.”
“Thank you.” Morgan said before taking a deep breath, this is it, the moment she had been waiting forever.
Morgan was with a police officer for half an hour, which was longer than Claire expected, it also concerned her more. When Morgan finally got out, Claire was there to pull her into a hug. Morgan relaxed into her hug.
“I did it, the fight is not over yet, but I did it.” Morgan choked, and Claire hushed her softly, stroking her head.
“You did good, baby, you did it.”
“Let’s go home.”
Claire could see Morgan visibly relieved the moment they entered Morgan’s small apartment, she was glad to see it and promised herself to take good care of the other woman today.
“Do you have a bathtub?” She asked softly as she hung her coat and reached out to help Morgan out of hers, the other woman looked drained. Her movements were slow and heavy.
“Huh?” Morgan looked at her, eyes slightly hazy. Claire looked at her fondly.
“You know what, go lie down on the couch and take a nap. I’ll take care of everything else.” Claire gently led the blonde to her couch and gently laid her down. Morgan was so tired she was completely compliant, she felt asleep the moment her head hit the pillow. Claire looked at her fondly and gently pushed her blonde locks out of her face. She kissed Morgan’s cheek softly before going to the kitchen to survey what she could make for lunch. She decided on Mac & Cheese, her movements slow and steady. She wanted to let Morgan rest as much as possible.
When the dish was finally set to warm in the oven, Claire took the liberty to take a quick shower and changed into her extra change of clothes she took from her locker. It was a simple T-shirt and leggings. Then she filled the bathtub with scalding hot water along with some chamomile and lavender drop she found on the countertop, the water temperature will be just right when Morgan woke up.
When everything was ready more than an hour later, she gently woke the blonde, still sleeping peacefully on the couch.
“Hey, Morgan? Wake up, babe.” Morgan’s sleepy, confused blue eyes are now one of her favorite things in the world.
“You’re at your own home.” Morgan rubbed her eyes and sat up, she looked around in confusion and looked back at Claire.
“Oh god, it wasn’t a dream?” Morgan whispered, Claire shook her head and let the blonde process it alone in her head. After a while, Morgan nodded.
“I made lunch and prepared you a bath, which do you want to do first?”
“You didn’t have to do that!” Morgan said, feeling embarrassed. She half glared, half looked at Claire in exasperation. “I’m not invalid!”
Claire was taken aback, “Nobody said you were, Morgan. I just wanted to take care of you, did I step out of line? I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to..” Claire apologized, eyes wide. She knew Morgan was a very private person, and probably wasn’t comfortable with other people touching her things.
Morgan shook her head and her look softened immediately, “No, sorry. Thank you, Claire. I’m just not used to anyone taking care of me, I guess. I didn’t mean to let out my own issues on you.” Morgan groaned at herself.
“Cut yourself some slack, everyone has issues.” Claire smiled, “Does a bath sound good to you right now?”
“It sounds amazing.”
When Morgan got out of the bath, she was feeling well rested and relaxed. Claire was in the kitchen plating lunch for them.
“Feeling better?” Claire asked when she saw her, Morgan was leaning against the doorframe, looking at her softly.
“Yes, thank you. You really didn’t have to do all this, it looks delicious. I didn’t know you knew how to cook.” Morgan sat down, she didn't realize how hungry she was until she saw all the food.
“I kind of have to teach myself how to cook growing up.” Claire sat next to Morgan and gave her a knowing look. Morgan nodded and said nothing.
The first bite had her basically moaning, “Oh my god, this is so good.”
Claire looked at while biting her lips, trying not to laugh. “That is not how I imagined making you moan out loud for the first time.”
“Oh, shut up!” Morgan laughed in disbelief, she swallowed and smirked, “So you imagined making me moan, huh, St. Claire?”
Claire smirked back, “Like you haven’t.” She raised her eyebrow challengingly as she licked her spoon suggestively.
Morgan rolled her eyes, but her blush betrayed her.
“Oh shut up.”
Claire stayed until after dinner, mainly because she was waiting for the talk Claire promised her. She spent the day chilling with Morgan watching a movie, bantering and talking about their med school and residency experience. They were settling in the couch once again when there a comfortable silence settled on them,
Suddenly, Claire’s phone vibrated with an incoming text. Claire took her phone to check and saw that Park texted.
Park: Heard you went back with Morgan after what happened at the cafeteria, is she home safe?
Claire smiled, “Park texted to check up on you.”
Morgan smiled affectionately, but it quickly dimmed as that single text just reminded her what happened today.
“He’s a good guy.” The blonde said, “He probably texted you to give me some space.”
“He is, I’m glad you have him.” Claire said as she updated Park on their situation.
“Me too.” Morgan said and waited for Claire to put down her phone and look at her. Morgan took a deep breath, “He has been with me since my first year of residency but the thing between Coyle and I happened way before that. I was only 16.” Morgan said while her fingers played with the loose thread of her pillow.
“16?!” Claire exclaimed.
Morgan nodded and continued, “My parents are both famous artists, and my sister inherited from them and had great artistic talents as well. I was always the black sheep of the family, I wasn’t taken seriously. While my parents were fawning over my sister’s multiple medals in drawing, sculpting, painting competitions, I was winning my own medals in science fairs and science competitions. I knew I wanted to join med school since I was a kid, but of course my parents were unsupportive. I would beg and beg them too, and was more relentless as ever when my results came out when I was 16.”
Claire reached over to hold Morgan’s hand, and Morgan squeezed gratefully.
“That’s when Matt Coyle came into my life, he’s a son to one of my dad’s close friends. He was a resident at San Jose then too, he was 26. My dad’s friend suggested him to let both of us meet, said that he could be a good mentor to me, and my parents readily agreed. He was a good mentor, and I, well-” Morgan looked up at the ceiling and shook her head.
“I hate to admit this, but I was 16 and craving for any form of attention. Matt Coyle, being 10 years older than me seemed like a great substitute for my parents back then. He was handsome, smart and seemed so wise then. So I followed his footstep to medical school, and then a surgical resident in San Jose. He was manipulative however, though I didn’t know that with how inexperienced I was at relationships. He would constantly tell me how good he was to be mentoring me, then I wouldn’t be where I was without him, he would-” Claire’s voice broke.
“You don’t have to continue if you don’t want to, Morgan.” Claire said softly, her heart breaking for the other woman.
“No, I want to. I never told this to anyone other than the police just now, please listen?” Morgan looked at her, and Claire understood immediately. She knew what it felt like to be 16 and craving for attention from any parental figure in her life, so she seek validation from her high school teachers almost desperately. She knew what it felt like to have a manipulative figure, namely her mother, in her life, constantly reminding her that she owed her life to her, that without her, Claire would have starved and died on the street. All these guilt trips made it almost impossible for Claire to leave Breeze for good. Maybe Morgan and her were more similar than she thought.
“Of course,” Claire nodded encouragingly.
“He would touch me inappropriately but I did not dare to say anything.” Morgan continued, “ I was afraid to lose the only relationship I had in my life. And after two years of being groomed by him, I was afraid that I would be hopeless if he left me. When I finally had the courage to tell my parents at 18, they didn’t believe me.”
“Oh, Morgan…” Claire said sadly.
Morgan shrugged, “They believed Coyle more than me, why wouldn’t they? He was 28, a stable, smart, doctor-to-be while I was just an 18 year old young adult who was just seeking attention. When I entered med school, I didn’t report anything because he threatened to throw me out of school. Thinking back, he actually didn’t have that kind of power as a resident. When I finished med school and was more than happy to start out in a hospital far away from him, he was a rising star at San Jose Hospital and he scouted me, said great things to the president about me, when the letter came, I had no choice but to accept.”
Morgan looked at Claire, “Then I was a resident at San Jose Hospital, and I met Park. I distrusted him, as I distrusted everyone around me. He did not push to be my friend of anything, but he was my partner throughout my residency under Coyle. Park had exceptional observation skills and noticed Coyle’s abusive personality towards me immediately, he urged me to report but I was afraid, terribly so. I was finally a surgical resident at a respectable hospital, and this time if I were to say anything, Coyle did have the power of throwing me out. I couldn’t risk it”
“That’s when I heard about you, Dr.Browne.” Morgan bumped her shoulder with Claire.
“What? Me?” Claire looked confused.
Morgan rolled her eyes in fake annoyance, “There she is, Dr. Claire Brown, brave, kind St.Claire. Just after an encounter with Colye, she had the courage to immediately report to the hospital. I remembered feeling all kinds of emotions that day, you saved my life but I was also so angry and irrationally irritated by you, even though I never met you.” Morgan laughed without humor.
“Why? I’m not following.” Claire looked more confused than ever.
Morgan shook her head, “It was stupid, but I was irrational. It took 2 years of being assaulted and abused by Coyle for me to even dream of speaking up and then I failed, and I had to endure many years after that dealing with him and I still couldn’t find the courage. There you were, just one encounter and you did it. I was angry at you because I wished I was you, I thought it wasn’t unfair that you had it easy. That is why when I finally met you, I was extra snarky and mean to you, it was irrational and uncalled for, I know.”
“Wow, It all makes sense now.” Claire gaped at her, “You were such a bitch to me!”
Morgan smiled apologetic at her, “Sorry. But that was before I got to know you, but I didn’t like you for a while, to be honest.”
“Wow,” Claire said again, “Should I be worried, do you like me now?”
Morgan’s only response was to pull Claire into a passionate kiss that left them breathless afterwards.
“What do you think?” Morgan said, eyebrows rose challengingly.
Claire chuckled, “Okay, message received. Continue, please. Tell me all about why you disliked me.”
Morgan rolled her eyes playfully, “You were the opposite of me, you were so annoyingly kind, empathetic and just so nice.”
“Oh, I’m sorry all my greatest qualities were the ones you hated.” Claire teased, and mocked pulling her hand out of Morgan’s, but the blonde quickly pulled her back.
“But well, it seemed that the opposite attracts after all. I didn’t even know when I started liking you more than a friendly way, the thought was so impossible it did not even cross my mind, to be honest. But it did, and I’m glad it did.”
“I’m glad too.” Claire grinned.
“Without you or park’s constant support, I wouldn’t have done what I did today. So, thank you, Claire.”
“You’re welcome. Have I told you how proud I am of you today? For reporting to not just the hospital, standing up for yourself against Andrew but telling the police and lastly, opening up to me?” Claire said seriously. “You’re amazing, Morgan Reznick.”
Morgan blushed before a yawn stretched her face.
“Come one, I think it’s time for you to sleep, you had a long day.” Claire stood up and pulled Morgan with her.
“Do you want to spend the night?” Morgan asked hesitatingly.
“Only if you want me to.” Claire looked at her.
“I do.” Morgan said firmly. That night, the two women fell asleep in each other’s arms and Morgan had never felt safer or free in her life.
This story was not double checked for any mistakes, all mistakes are mine and mine alone. Tell me your thoughts about this chapter!