Chapter Two

Tracy woke up a few hours later, feeling as if she couldn’t move. She might as well have been immobile, with all the wires on her and the IV in her. A nurse was in the room with her, and soon a doctor came to visit her.

"Do you know how lucky you are, Tracy?" His tone was familiar, and she recognized him as one of her professors from medical school. Just one more reminder of my fuck ups, she thought.

"Please, tell me how lucky I am," she said sarcastically, tenderly poking at the bandage on her head with a finger.

He sighed. He clearly thought that this was all her fault. "You're bruised up pretty badly, but there's nothing broken. We were concerned about the head injury, but I think that even the scarring should go away pretty soon."

She groaned a curse. A nice, scarred up face was a great way to ensure that she'd get less tips. She poked at the bandage again, this time wincing at the sting from the pressure.

"Hey, don't do that," he snapped at her. Then he shook his head. "You've seriously got a guardian angel looking out for you."

She stared at the expensive medical equipment beeping around her. Someone paged a doctor overhead. This was a total nightmare.

"And how much is this guardian angel going to cost me?" she asked. Of course, she knew that the doctor had no idea. He didn't know she didn't have insurance. She had just been dropped from the school's health insurance and hadn't been able to afford any coverage since then.

"Well, we'll worry about that in the morning,” he said, trying to sound comforting. “For now, you need to get some rest."

"Please let the nurse know that I need my clothes and purse," Tracy said. "I can't stay here."

The doctor froze. "You have to stay here for observation tonight. With a head injury that severe, we have to make sure that-"

Tracy cut him off. "Unless you're paying for it, or unless you want to call the police to keep me here against my will, I'm leaving. I'm a waitress, and a night here will cost me weeks of salary. I cannot afford to stay here."

He sighed, then scribbled on his clipboard. She knew he was writing something like Patient Combative or Not Responsible for Injury or something like that. She didn't care. She just had to get out of there.

A long taxi ride (the price of which hurt her bruised pocketbook even more) brought her back home. She wondered how she would ever fall asleep being in as much pain as she was. But when the taxi dropped her off, she realized she could barely keep her eyes open. Must have been that pain medication they gave me, she thought.

She managed to get inside and lock the door before stumbling to her bedroom and falling into bed. Instantly asleep, she dreamed strange dreams for a while, but eventually fell into a deep slumber.


Tracy called in sick, or rather injured, to work the next day, but she knew she couldn’t take much time off. She agreed to come back in on Friday and Saturday night to make up for it, and she knew she’d be doing that an awful lot over the next few months. Kiss my social life goodbye, she thought to herself. She did her best to just lay in bed for the next three days, only moving to get food or go to the bathroom. Her dreams got stranger and stranger while she avoided human contact.

On Friday night, she rousted herself out of bed, took some pain medication, and made it to work only fifteen minutes late. The manager, while mostly an uncaring prick, let it slide this one time, making it clear he thought he was doing her a huge favor. A great way to start the night, she thought.

She was mostly slow and stiff doing her job, but she could do it. All of her bruises were gone. She had pulled her stitches out this morning, taking great care to do it the way she had learned to do it in medical school. Still, she had a small scar that ran from the edge of her right eyebrow to the middle of her forehead. It wasn’t too noticeable, and, in fact, she thought it looked kind of cool. She had thrown a little blush on to mask it, but otherwise she didn’t think it hurt her appearance at all.

She was a little slow serving each of her first customers, but soon she was back into the swing of things, with just a little creak of pain here and there. At about eight, Mr. Hayes came in with a new young woman on his arm, a brunette who had a body to die for. Tracy showed the two of them to their table, and Mr. Hayes' date quickly excused herself to go to the bathroom while Tracy went to take the billionaire’s order.

"Tonight, our wine pairing is-" Tracy started.

Mr. Hayes cut her off. "Tracy, I hope you don't mind. When I heard what happened to you, I called the hospital to make sure that you were okay. The doctor wouldn't give me any information, but when they said that I couldn't come visit you, I assumed the worst." The way he made eye contact with her made it clear that he really cared, at least a little bit. He broke that eye contact to do a quick once-over of Tracy. "I'm happy to say that you still look fantastic."

"Oh, thank you," Tracy said with a blush. "I’m actually fine, sir. I must be made of steel," she joked.

"You know, if any of your medical bills are going to be an issue, I have a friend or two at the local Chamber of Commerce who might be able to help you out."

"Really?" she asked, maybe with a little too much hope in her voice.

"Yes, really. Why don’t you come back to my place with my date and I tonight? In the morning, we can talk it over."

The tone of his voice betrayed exactly what they’d be "talking" about if she went home with him. Tracy’s hopes instantly deflated. It wasn’t that she didn't want to have sex with him, but she knew that if she went home with him tonight, she'd just be used up and thrown away in the morning. Who knew if he even had the connections he claimed to have? There was no doubt that he’d somehow pressure her into sleeping with him, and probably also with this other woman, if she went home with him.

"I’m sorry, I’ve got to get home early tonight. Doctor’s orders. Maybe another night?" she asked, hoping it wouldn’t come to that.

He honestly sounded a little disappointed by her answer. "Yes, of course. Another time." He looked down at his menu, then his eyes slowly crept up Tracy’s body. This time, he really was checking her out, as if taking a panoramic snapshot. Tracy let it happen, of course. After all, he was probably going to be her biggest tipper of the night, but it still felt demeaning.

She expected him to stop at her tits, but he kept going, and they locked eyes again. Suddenly, Tracy felt a blinding flash from behind her eyes, and nearly lost her balance. She closed her eyes until the sensation went away, and opened them again when she heard his voice.

"Are you okay?" he asked, the real concern back in his voice.

"Yeah, just a little headache," she said, unsure of what had just happened.

"Well, you make sure to take care of yourself. Think over my offer. I would love to help you out," he said, his emphasis clear. His date returned from the bathroom, and Tracy took their appetizer and wine order.

The rest of the night went pretty much normally. The way the young bimbo looked at him, Tracy could tell that the girl was going to sleep with him that night. Knowing him, he’d probably be dumping her in the morning. Tracy didn't feel sorry for the woman, but she was glad that it wasn't her.

At least tonight.

At some point, she looked over at his table and saw that he had left the restaurant without saying goodbye. He was probably so eager to tear into that sweet young thing that he hadn't stuck around any longer than he had to. She honestly hoped he had a great night, but now that he was gone, her energy seemed to leave her body. Either that or the pain medication was making her drowsy. She begged off the rest of the night, then went straight back home and went to bed.

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