Ayesha Patel was born in Gujarat, India and later moved to Texas. She quickly found her footing in languages and creative writing and weaves her diverse background into her stories. She currently lives in the beautiful, though rainy, state of Washington with her husband. She also writes sci-fi and fantasy as Kaylie Austen. Read her interview here. Below you can read an excerpt from her book, Priya in Heels. Courtesy: Ayesha Patel.
Women who wore heels all day belonged in a mental institution for heinous self harm. Residency taught us to always look professional, and I envied the female docs who rocked nice shoes every day, but I drew the line with heels. Hello, plantar fasciitis, anyone?
Even in sneakers, pain bubbled around my ankles and prickled up my calves. One month of fifteen-hour days in one of Houston’s busiest emergency departments had turned my ankles into dainty twigs ready to snap in half.
I tried not to wobble to room twenty-three, and the wheelchair in the corner called my name. Maybe the ED tech could wheel me to the next patient?
The nurses giggled as I hobbled past station two. “Oh, honey, try doing this for a living,” Mara said.
“You’ll get used to it,” David encouraged.
I skimmed over the file I’d been using to fan myself
with. It belonged to a man who lived in epic STDville. Eww. Thank goodness his numerous venereal diseases couldn’t attach to his folder and fly off onto my mouth.
“Oh, wait, this one.” Dr. Lemur snatched that folder from me and replaced it with a thinner one.
This man thought he had a broken ankle. Much better! On my last day in ED rotation, I wasn’t in the mood to deal with another nasty sexaholic. I had already had one last week, and the guy had persistently hit on me. He had been lucky that he’d walked out with his genitals intact.
More times than not, the reality of a person’s illness paled in comparison to what they thought they had. This broken ankle was more likely a sprained one, and that was an easy fix.
Still attached to my notes, I opened and closed the glass door to room twenty-three, then closed the curtain behind me before looking up. What a mistake! I almost stumbled over my aching feet. Okay, I had to close my mouth now before the patient slapped a piece of tape across my forehead that read, “Idiotic Buffoon.”
The patient straightened and gave me a lazy smile. Yeah, he knew he had the looks. Shimmering green eyes like emeralds. Auburn hair, a little wavy, wisped across his forehead, curled over his ears, and flirted with his shirt collar. Kissable lips curved upward, set above a firm, square jaw. He almost had me stuttering like a boy-crazy teenager, the way his intense eyes held my attention.
Icy air puffed down from the ceiling vent and tickled
the back of my neck, jolting me back to my senses. It was one of those weird moments when time stopped and all of a sudden you couldn’t remember what you were doing or how long you’d been mentally gone. It was a moment that made me think, Damn!
“Tyler O’Connor?” I managed to say, playing off my unprofessional reaction to the stunningly handsome man and quelling any interest.
“Yep,” he replied in a thick, low voice. Either too dreamy to be real or sleepy from pain medicine.
“Think you sprained your ankle or broke it?”
“Okay, let’s take a look.” I snapped on a pair of white
gloves from the triage cart, pulled up a rolling stool, and sat down. All the while, I surreptitiously noticed that Tyler was focused on my face, so meeting his eyes again was impossible.
With shoe off, sock on, Tyler rested the injured foot on a chair. The butcher paper crinkled underneath him as he shifted on the gurney while I lifted his foot onto my lap. At six-foot-one and a muscular two hundred pounds, according to his chart, his leg felt like dead weight.
I pulled down his sock to check for bruising and wounds, then pressed and felt for swelling. He hissed.
“Yep,” he responded in his amazing verbal repertoire. “What were you doing when you injured yourself?” “Walked off stage and buckled on a step.”
The image of this tall, brawny man stumbling down a
few steps tickled me. I stifled a giggle. When I looked up, he rested his forearms on his thighs and leaned in, his face way too close for comfort.
“Oh, sorry.” Apparently, the giggle had escaped.
He flashed an insanely swoon-worthy smile. “Do I need an X-ray?”
“Only if you want to spend a bunch of time in our lovely hospital.”
“Do I get a meal and you at my bedside?”
I responded dryly to subdue his flirting, “You get a hit of high-energy electrons and an hour of sitting alone.”
“It’s not even broken, is it?”