A Time for Teasing

Timeline: February, 2008

Dr. John Beckett had been busy with appointments all day. Seemingly rushing from one room to the other. As the door opened on his last patient for the day he was surprised to see Alice sitting patiently on the exam table.

Her face brightened as he walked into the room and to John smiled only for him. She was wearing a simple red sweater and a black skirt.

“Hello Doctor.” She said.

“Hello Miss Alice,” John was flipping through some paper work on a clipboard, “you didn’t write down what brought you here today, nothing serious I hope.” John looked interested and friendly but not really worried.

“It is silly really.I am sure it will heal fine, but I thought why not have John look at it. Just in case.” Alice extended her leg a little and slid her hand down it’s silken length. Resting her fingertips lightly on her ankle. “I twisted my ankle you see. Silly I know. I can walk for the most part. But would you mind?”

“Be happy to look at your limb which one is it?.” John pulled up a small stool on wheels, when no one was sitting on it it would roll fine when weight was put on it it pushed down to the floor and was stable. John lifted Alice’s ankle and held it in his strong capable hands. “Tell me if this hurts or if you feel it pull.” John gently manipulated her ankle judging her reaction, to take her mind off what he was doing he asked, ” What were you doing when you twisted your ankle? Flex and curl your toes for me please.”

Alice wiggled her newly polished toes. John caught the scent of lavender. “Would you believe I stumbled over a book?” She watched him examine her ankle. Taking delight in his touch. “Your hands are warm John.They feel nice.” She said.

John looked up when she said she stumbled over a book and looked her right in the eyes for a second, until she started talking about how his hands felt, then his eyes dropped like a rock. As he stared at the shapely ankle in front of him John mumbled, “well books would be an occupational hazard”. John looked back up at her and said , “I don’t feel anything wrong with it but I can tape it up for you to give it a little more support, if it still hurts in a few days we can x-ray it.” While he was talking John’s hands started to massage her achilles tendon and the bottom of her foot. “I could give you a poultice to put on it tonight but I really think it will be okay.” John found himself lost in her eyes, right now he couldn’t catch a clue or buy a vowel to save his soul. His hands however continued working with out his conscious thought.

“Hmmm. Just keep doing that and it will be fine.” Her eyes were soley for him.

In a daze in the glow of the moment, John heard himself ask, “We are planing a celebration for St. Patrick’s day. Will you be my date?” John replayed what he had just said in his head wishing he could say it out loud and then in a deer in the headlights moment he realized with a sickening lurch to his stomach that he had and suddenly the rosy glow of the moment vanished and he felt his hands get clammy.

She eased her foot from his hands and slipped in back into her shoe. Her motions were graceful as she stepped off the table and knelt down before him to adjust the strap of her pumps.

Looking up into his eyes she placed her hand gently on his. “If you earn it good doctor.” She stood with a very seductive smile. Once she was partly out the door she looked back to him. “You know I may need a little extra therapy on this ankle after all. Wish I knew someone who makes house calls.” With a wink she was gone.

John sat staring on the stool for a while, and then shook himself. “If I earn it”, he said out loud and a puzzled look came across his face, “If is earn it… what the hell is that supposed to mean.” It was at times like these that John regretted his resolve to only read minds when lives were at stake.” Shaking his head, John rose to see if anyone else had slipped in or if it were time to go home.” Maybe Lyla would understand then again maybe he should figure it out for himself, on the other hand …

Seeing no other patients, John said goodbye to his nurse and grabbed his coat, after strapping his medical bag onto his bike John pedaled furiously down the trail trying to catch up to Alice. Whizzing along at top speed, John found he had been whizzing in the wrong direction because he couldn’t find Alice anywhere in town. So later that night after supper John called her house.

“Hello Alice, its John, I just wanted to tell you that after searching for you all day, I found a doctor that will make house calls in this benighted era of HMO.

“Oh. Really. That is so nice. Umm what doctor?” She asked.

“Well after looking for you since I got off work I came home and ate a lonely loney supper and suddenly it struck me, I have been traipsing all over the mountain for the past six months now making all sorts of house calls, so I thought maybe if you didn’t mind I could come over and try and earn a date with you. I also want to talk to you about something I am trying to build. I was hoping if I rubbed you the right way I might be able to persuade you to take a look at it.”

“Oookay.” She thought about his words for a moment. “It would be nice to have some company and if I get a foot massage all the better. I am not sure what you mean by everything you just said but come on over and we will see what happens.”

“I will be over A.S.A.P.”

There was a knock on Alice’s front door. “Alice, its John, anybody home?”

“Greetings Dr House call,” she said with a smile as she opened the door. “So are you going to share what is going on here? Did you pick up my mental pain over this ankle from across town, or are you just stalking me?” Aliced laughed as she limped over to the couch.

“Actually, I am here because you said you wanted someone to rub your ankle at the office today. I tried to catch up to you but you had disappeared by the time I could close up the office. I searched all over town for you for about half an hour, then I went home and got something to eat and decided to call and leave a message on your answering machine. I’ve also been wanting to talk to you about a project I have in mind and I thought if I can over now you wouldn’t be able to run away.” John said as he pushed the door shut with his foot.

John took off his coat and laid it on a chair, then handed a folder to Alice and got some oil out of his bag. Then he sat on the floor at Alice’s feet and took off her sock. “The folder has some tentative plans I have for a sanctuary I want to build. I gave each of my friends that just settled here a tree for Christmas and the ground is getting warm enough to transplant them. I want to make a spot of peace and harmony to help counteract the things we do and see. A spot to promote healing and balance negativity with positive things. I was hoping you could help me lay it out.” As John was talking his fingers were working their magic and he was practicing his holistic healing.

John gave her some time to look over the plans and then said “So what do you think?”

“What do i think. Interesting question.” Papers shuffled as she looked
through the plans.

“That feels wonderful, and painful.” SHe winced as his hands massaged. Then smiled as the moment of pain passed. She fell into a rythym of it as she spoke.

“It’s very compassionate of you to think of your frinds so much. I think it is a delightful idea tomake a sanctuary for them. I would love to help out.” Her body tensed as he moved her ankle.

“I also think it strange you have seen me today, as I have not left my house. I was on my way to work this morning and I stumbled over a book. Really embarassing thing to do. I have no idea how such a large book tumbled off the table wothout a sound. But strange things happen around here so I am not questioning it too much. But I’m glad that you ended up here. I admit I was a little concerned from your statement of rubbing me on the phone. But now that I know what you intended, I’m all for it.

John stared at her for a moment, as if lost in thought. “Alice either I was hallucinating earlier today or, someone or something, looking exactly like you was my last patient of the day. Now I am willing to admit to seeing things occasionally but tomorrow I am going to ask my nurse who the last patient I saw yesterday was and what time they left. From my point of view you were in my office just around five o’clock, claiming that you had sprained your ankle on a book. I examined you and attempted to boost your metabolic rate to speed healing. Your ankle looks worse now than that ankle did to me then.

“Now someone or something, may have arranged this little tete a tete but that begs the question of why. It also brings up another question I wanted to ask. Namely how is it that you can live a long time and not have any methods of quickly healing? Ummm, I also told you about a celebration of St. Patrick’s Day were are trying to plan and asked if you would go with me as my date and the creature in my office said if I earned it. and mentioned something about someone who made house calls. Would you like me boost your metabolic rate?” John added quickly as if to gloss over the fact that he had asked her on a date.

“Why John Beckett. Have you made this entire story up just to ask me out?” She smiled. ” But then not much surprises me in this area. You could be right about someone playing jokes. I never went to your office. But had I known how good you are with your hands, I just might have.”

“No Alice, but tell me” John said with an attempt at innocent eyes, “have you suffered a sprained ankle all day when you could have probably healed it yourself or gotten a friend to heal it instantly, just as an excuse to have me touch you? Seriously, it was partially massage therapy that got me interested in Holistic healing.” John pretended to reach back into his bag and said, “just let me put these leeches on and we can talk while they suck out the execess fluid that is surrounding your ankle.” John paused to see if she could tell he was joking about the leeches.

She laughed. “Well you are certainly in a good mood.” She looked at her ankle. “Plus I was taking care of it the old fashioned way. Plenty of rest and herbal tea. You young doctors and your fancy leeches. Maybe you should rest and try my method some time.”

“What kind of herbal tea? Chamomile and peppermint? Dash of ginseng or ginger? and I will have you know I get plenty of rest, why I sleep practically 4 hours every night whether I need it or not, ” John said with an unrepentant grin.

“Monkey king tea, actually. It is a blend of rosemary.” She said as she poured him a glass.

“These plans look really good John. I have some ideas on alignment that should go nicely.” Pausing for a moment she took a drink of tea. ” Why don’t you sit here and try some tea while you try asking me out properly.”

“I was really hoping you would be able to help with the planning and site selection” John said with a relieved grin. Sitting gingerly on the couch, John took Alice’s hand, and said in his best fake southern voice, “Miss Alice would you all do me the honor of being my date to this Saint Patrick’s day festivities? I suppose I should be using an Irish accent but I can’t do one,” John said solemnly.

“How could I say no.” She smiled as she slowly moved her ankle. “It feels much better, thank you.” Leaning back into the couch she sighed. It was a sigh of relief.

“I was wondering how long it eould take for you to ask me out.”

“Your ankle should be better by morning and healed in a couple of days, next time you are in pain call, okay? While rest and laughter are great medicine. So is extra strength Tylonol.”

“I was wondering how long it would take for you to ask me out.”

“Well longer than it should have but shorter than it will be the next time.” John smiled and sipped his tea and was silent.

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