I sat down and folded my arms, while a porter and a nurse took the bed complete with Henry, down to Diagnostic Imaging. Talk about feeling fed up—I felt like someone who’d been caught scrumping apples by a neighbour. I only did that once and got a hiding for it from my dad. In some circumstances, negative feedback seems to work—or it did for me: you could say it made an honest woman of me. I sniggered at my own joke, which showed how bored I was.
Ken Nicholls came in holding the piece of lead I’d dropped when I fell over and the nurse had retrieved. “I’ve just shown this to a colleague, who’s an ex-army surgeon, he said it was a bullet which had hit something hard, like bone.”
“So?” I offered defensively.
“So where did it come from?”
“I told you.” I sighed, he didn’t believe me—mind you, I was there and I didn’t believe me.
“You realise if what you’re saying is true—it blows accepted science and medical theory apart.”
“I happen to be a scientist,” I threw back at him.
“Not just a pretty face then?”
“Not even one, no—but scientist, yes. I teach at the university.”
“Golly, a real scientist, and there I was assuming that the most difficult decision you had to make was which flunky you wanted to peel you a grape.”
“You patronising arsehole, how dare you? I run a house with four children and four adults as well as work. I don’t have any help except from the family.”
“Oh, I seem to have misunderstood—I apologise. I thought you were an heiress to the Cameron millions.”
“Simon might be, but we’re all very down to earth, besides, why should I give up my career when it isn’t absolutely necessary?
“Quite. So what do you teach?”
“I’m a field biologist cum ecologist.”
“So you have some idea of what is going on inside these bodies you—um—work on?”
“It’s a while since I did all that sort of stuff, but yes, I do have some idea.”
“So you would understand that what has happened here is impossible?”
“With regard to current theory, yes.”
“So is this some sort of trick? To keep up your credibility, perhaps?”
“Credibility? What credibility? I don’t believe in it all, so what credibility have I got to maintain? I don’t want these things happening around me—it’s like something out of a Hammer Horror film.”
“Come off it—you’re enjoying every minute of it, making people better, beating the doctors—real ego stuff.”
“Mr Nicholls, I don’t know how old you are...”
“Thirty eight, why?”
“Because you seem to have a great deal of maturing to do. Maybe they should lock you in cave under the Mendips—it seems to work for cheese. I am going home.”
“Oh no you don’t,” he stood in front of the door barring my exit.
“Are you going to include false imprisonment to the other social niceties you offer the public here?”
“I’d like you to wait for the results of the X-rays.”
“So I can prove your little trick didn’t work.”
“I see. I don’t know how many times I have to tell you it isn’t a trick, it’s what happened.”
“So if I asked you to see the chap in the next cubicle, you could sort out his aneurysm, could you?”
“Why should I?”
Before he could reply his mobile rang—“It’s got to be there, do an MRI, just find it.”
“Problems?” I asked sweetly.
“No, they’ll find it.”
“You have it in your hand. I didn’t think they could use an MRI for scanning metal things.”
“This small is okay.”
“If I’m going to be held prisoner here, then I’d like a cup of tea.”
“Ah, now we have the aristocratic wife asserting herself--fetch me a cup of tea wench.
“I can’t go through the door because Nichollsian, the densest, rudest, stupidest substance known to man is in my way. If it wasn’t, I should go up to the cafeteria and buy myself a cup of tea.”
“If you promise to come back down, I could move aside.”
“Why should I promise you anything, except a law suit?”
“Because you like masterful men and you love proving them wrong.”
“I’ve already won the argument, unless I can suddenly apport pieces of lead.”
“See you even have the words you need, how many people know the word, apport?”
“I have no idea, but it has been suggested that generally people with degrees and a university education have a marginally wider vocabulary than the oiks who go to medical school.”
“Well, that puts me in my place, sorry, I should have touched me forelock before challenging you.”
“Quite honestly, I’d have thought touching your foreskin was much more in your line. Now I’d like to go for that cuppa before they close the cafeteria.”
He blushed and laughed as I pushed past him. While I was of the same opinion that moving a piece of shrapnel through tissue without cutting things was so unlikely as to be impossible, I was now hoping that we were both wrong. If only to prove him to be a kingsize idiot.
I sat there, just a few people occupying the other tables, feeling very tired and irritable. It was after nine and I should be home now, unwinding and getting ready for bed. Instead I was wasting my time drinking tea I didn’t really need while they did a scan on my future father in law. My mobile rang—it was Simon.
“How’s it going, Babes?”
“I don’t know.”
“Whaddya mean, don’t know?”
“As I said, I don’t know. I’ve just had a huge argument with the trauma surgeon, who is the rudest, most arrogant doctor I have ever met...”
“He does apologise in person though.” A voice interrupted me.
“I’ll call you back,” I said closing down my phone and shoving it back in my bag.
He placed a mug of tea down on the table. “They can’t find it—it looks like I owe you an apology.”
“You have it in your hand.”
“My pocket.” He reached in a pulled it out. “I’ve looked at Lord Cameron and there isn’t a mark on him. So how the hell did you do it?”
“I don’t know, I’ve told you what happened, I’m not repeating myself again.”
“This is solid metal—it can’t move through skin and bone and other tissue without some exit wound. There isn’t one.”
“I’ve got it: he never was shot and what you have in your hand is a loose filling from one of his teeth. There, now it makes sense.”
“Lady Cameron, you can’t just dismiss this as if it never happened. This is the most exciting moment in medical science since—I dunno—Pasteur discovered bugs.”
“For you maybe, for me, I shall deny all knowledge of it. Once Henry is out of here, I plan to never ever set foot in the place, ever again.”
“Lady C, you can’t just ignore it—this could save lives, it is so exciting.”
“Please, don’t tell anyone of this—if you do, I shall deny it and sue you for slander or libel or both or defamation or all three.” I stood up, “Good night Mr Nicholls, I hope our paths never cross again.” I stepped around him and walked out of the cafeteria back down to ICU. Henry was awake but very sleepy.
“Yes, it’s me.”
“What am I doing in here? I’ve had the strangest dreams...”
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