Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Chapter 21: Depression

Switching off yet another terrible news cast about the burglary in Metropolis, Kelly sat down on the only piece of furniture she had saved from her mother, a double-armed chaise lounge covered with brown suede, pulled up her feet under a new chocolate cord comforter that some of the other nurses had given her for her birthday, and fanned out the classifieds section of the newspaper. Sipping on her hot chocolate, she shrugged with some resignation as she noticed that there weren’t any openings in the nursing field.

She hadn’t really expected there to be; Smallville had been in an economic depression for so long that no one gave up there jobs even when they got sick. If she wanted to stay in nursing school, she might need to move… just to find somewhere to finish an internship. Earlier that afternoon, her academic counselor had pledged to see what she could find, but Kelly really didn’t expect much. Smallville really only had one medical center – the hospital itself and the private practice doctors all preferred to rent from the hospital as doing so offered them the greatest access to up to date technology and an in-house temp nursing service without the worries of handling payroll and labor issues.

It was hard not to get depressed as she looked through the classified, harder even than it had been to stay cheerful when she first left Chapen’s office. At least then, she knew she knew that everyone was pulling for her.

It was even harder to say goodbye when she finally got downstairs, but she was really touched to see how many people had come down to see her off and tell her how much they would miss her, too. It was such a sweet moment that she couldn’t help but notice how angry Mr. Luthor was when he walked through. It had been Kelly’s first instinct to follow him and find out what was bothering him before he went in to see his poor friend, who she was sure wouldn’t be able to deal well with such a strong emotions. But, with the security guards right beside her, Kelly knew she wouldn’t have had much of a chance to get very far.

Thinking of how sad Mr. Kent had become when she started to wash the odd scarring on his chest, Kelly pulled the phone cord that was looping down from the edge of the chaise until she found the receiver stuffed in the comforter where she had tucked it when she finally got tired of answering sympathy calls. Direct dialing the third floor nurses station, Kelly almost cheered when her best friend Nancy answered.

“Hey Nance?” Kelly chirped.

“Oh, Kelly… I’m so sorry..” even over the phone, six hours later, it sounded to Kelly like Nancy was still crying.

“Oh, don’t worry about me, Nance, I’ll find something… I always do. But, I have a question… the young man who was checked in for anxiety attacks, Mr. Kent… How is he doing?”

“Okay, I guess.” Nancy answered. “He hasn’t had anymore attacks or anything.”

“But?” To Kelly, the ‘but’ practically screamed from Nancy’s indecisive tone.

“Well, he asked his parents to go home so he could get some sleep…”

“But, he hasn’t slept a wink?” Kelly finished for her.

“Nope, he hasn’t even shut his eyes as far as I can tell.”

“Nance, what about Mr. Luthor or his other friends, did anyone stay with him?”

“It’s funny that you mention, Mr. Luthor. He came about the time you left,” Nancy stopped to sniff and blow her nose “but then only walked around outside the door for awhile, but didn’t go in and hasn’t been back since.”

Kelly nodded to herself, glad that Mr. Luthor had shown some common sense. It really irritated her when friends and family just barged in on patients without caring how it would affect them. Well, that’s it. Enough moping for me.

“Nance, do you think I could get in to keep him company for a while?”

Nancy’s answer was quick, “Sure you can anytime. John didn’t want to be the one who took you downstairs anyway and is pretty mad that Chapstick ordered him to. Kelly, while your at it, if you have any of those little cookies left? He hasn’t eaten a bite.”

“Sure, I made some this morning before work. Oh, Nance, maybe I’ll bring tigger, too.”

Nancy’s voice brightened at the thought. “That would be a great idea. They didn’t put depression on his chart, but if he’s not depressed, I’m not a crows’ fan.” Nancy, in fact, had every banner, button, ribbon, poster, flyer, and knick-knack that the Smallville high crows had ever issued.

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