The Call

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Finally, Tim thought to himself, as he lumbered through the door after a long day at work. Throwing off his shoes in the hallway, he walked to the kitchen and placed the bag of groceries on the table. Staring down at his less than appetising dinner he sighed – it was already 6pm, and he’d been at work since 7am. Tim, you see, was a doctor in a busy accident and emergency department in east London, and after a long day of road traffic accidents, drunken fools, and sprained ankles, he had little motivation to spend hours cooking an amazing meal for himself. But, despite the long hours Tim was in a job he loved, and for that he would settle for a ready meal of spaghetti bolognese with some “ready in 18 minutes” garlic bread. He turned on the oven, and threw one of the chilled baguettes on a baking tray, and put it in the oven. It would take more like 20 minutes, he thought to himself, as the oven was cold. He put the bolognese tray on a plate, poked holes in its plastic lid with a knife, and placed it in the microwave.

This was his life now, and left him relatively little time for socialising. After 5 years of med school, 2 foundation years, and now 4 years of specialist training in trauma he was almost 30 and didn’t really have the time for relationship building. There were a few other doctors training for their specialism, most of them around his age, but nobody really wanted to settle down right now, only a few short years from completing their specialist training. With that came an inevitable move, perhaps to somewhere far away in the country – something that isn’t so healthy for long term relationships. Tim had resigned himself to single life for the time being, and it showed. The bin was quite full, and the sink contained the remnants of the last 5 days meals – 5 plates, 5 knives, 5 forks, 5 cups.

Returning to the living room, Tim dropped to the sofa, laying with his feet up and flicking the TV on. In such a busy life, it was the downtime that seemed to be both fleeting and slow. The days off, and the breaks between shifts seemed to go by in an instant, but something as simple as waiting for the TV to turn on seemed to last forever, wasting more of his precious downtime. The TV picture came on, just in time for the 6 ‘o’clock news.

“Tonight, after weeks of striking, ministers in Westminster have voted to impose the new contract on junior docto…”

Tim changed the channel. Every day it seemed more and more like the government wanted to make the lives of the next generation of doctors worse. It was almost like they though doctors had an easy ride. He’d had enough of that for now, and flicked to a documentary channel. At least the animals of the Galapagos islands had fewer societal struggles. With the noise in the background, he made his way to his room to get changed, throwing on some slacks and a t-shirt. It was about time to put the microwave on, he thought to himself as he came back to the kitchen, the scent of garlic bread wafting through his small flat. Tim lived in a relatively small flat in one of the cheaper neighbourhoods of London, it wasn’t much, but it didn’t really need to be. He rarely entertained guests, and realistically only needed it for a place to sleep.

*DING*

Tim grabbed a towel and gingerly pulled the hot plastic container from the microwave, steam billowing out and covering his glasses as he peeled back the plastic cover. He looked over them, through blurred vision and flipped the pot onto the plate, splashing some hot bolognese sauce onto his hand.

“Fuck!” He shouted, sucking the back of his now burning hand.

In anger he roughly dropped the plate to the countertop, but thankfully, the plate held. He opened the oven, and threw the garlic bread onto the plate, grabbed a clean knife and fork and retreated to the living room. Tim rarely used the table that sat to the side in his living room, opting instead for eating on the sofa with the plate on his lap. Only moments after taking a bite of garlic bread, his phone vibrated in his pocket.

Fumbling for his phone, while balancing his plate on one knee he silently prayed it wasn’t work. After a long day the last thing he wanted was a major accident and another long night at work. He looked at his phone, it wasn’t work, but it was his ex girlfriend, Emily. Tim and Emily met almost two decades earlier, during their early teenage years. Their relationship, like many of Tim’s had fizzled out while he was at med school, with the long hours on placement ruining the time they had together. Nevertheless, a relationship of almost 8 years had left a lasting friendship between the two. They didn’t speak often, but there was certainly no animosity between them.

“Hey Emily what’s up?” Tim asked, not really wanting to start a huge conversation.

“Tim…” She replied, her voice seemed panicked.

“Emily? Is everything ok?” He continued, beginning to get quite concerned.

“Tim, it’s Kate, she’s…” Emily tried to continue, but it was obvious she was struggling through tears.

Kate was Emily’s sister, and in a way, almost a sister to Tim himself. güvenilir bahis She was 5 years younger than both Emily and Tim, and he’d known her since she was basically a child, and he’d been around for most of her childhood.

“What has happened Emily? Is she ok?” Tim asked, sternly. One thing he’d learned as a doctor, especially in a trauma situation, is that authority and directness worked best.

“Tim, I wouldn’t ask but… we aren’t in the country, and we can’t get a flight back until tomorrow…” Emily was obviously distressed, speaking quickly.

“Emily, where is she? What has happened.” He asked again, this time more sternly.

“She’s in London, her boyfriend…” She cried down the phone, “…Jake… He’s attacked her. She’s at the police station…”

“Emily, which police station? London is a big place.” He snapped at her, impatient.

“Bishops…something?” She cried, panicking that she couldn’t be more specific.

“Bishopsgate?” He asked.

He knew the area well, his first foundation year had a rotation at the Royal London hospital.

“Yes? I think so?” Emily sobbed.

“Alright, I’m leaving right now,” he lied, “let them know I’m coming.”

She thanked him over and over, as he changed back into his clothes. As she put the phone down he grabbed a hooded sweatshirt and put it in a bag, jogging to the tube station. It was only 5 stops on the district line, but it seemed to take a lifetime. Thoughts spiraled through his mind. What kind of state was she in? It couldn’t be that serious or they’d have taken her to the hospital? Tim stood by the tube door, waiting for the next stop and as the door opened ran for the stairs to the ticket barrier. He arrived a Bishopsgate police station with a strange feeling in his stomach, one of dread. As a trauma doctor he often saw people in horrible situations but he’d almost never experienced being on the other side of the profession.

Heading in, Tim went straight for the desk. It was relatively early, before the usual drunken hours that both the medical and police service dread, and the police station was almost entirely empty. The desk sergeant was a stern looking lady, her hair pinned back. She certainly looked like she’d taken a lot of abuse from angry suspects in her life.

“Hi there…” Tim started.

The desk sergeant looked up at him and almost begrudgingly asked, “Can I help?”

“Hi, I’m here to collect a family friend” He replied.

“Does this family friend have a name?” She feigned a smile, but it didn’t seem very genuine.

“Kate” He continued.

“Oh. I see. Can I see some ID?” She asked, in a way making Tim feel like some kind of a suspect.

Tim pulled out his wallet, and passed his driving license and NHS ID to the desk sergeant. Almost immediately her attitude changed.

“Oh. Dr. Tim Keller? Her sister said you’d be coming over at some point but I didn’t realise you were a doctor” she smiled again, this time far more genuine, probably happy she didn’t have to deal with the family member of another suspect who insisted they had done “nothing wrong”.

Tim laughed taking his ID from the counter, “Yes, I actually did a foundation rotation down the road the the RL”

Tim always wondered how differently the police treated other emergency service professionals and the general public, and had never himself come into contact with the police outside of a professional capacity. And, it seemed, the difference was stark.

“How do you know the victim? I just need to know for our records” She asked.

“A long time family friend, I’ve known her since she was this big” he smiled, gesturing towards his hips, about the height Kate had been when he first met Emily.

“Hmmm let me check that she wants to see you”

“Absolutely, can I ask, what kind of condition is she in?”

“She’s quite shaken up, with some cuts and bruises. It could have been a lot worse, but someone interrupted the assailant”

“Has she needed the attention of an FP?” He asked. An FP, or forensic practitioner, was a member of the healthcare service assigned to collect evidence from rape victims.

“Nope, no need, the assailant only managed to get a few hits in before being interrupted, she was very lucky”

“Have you caught the bastard?” Tim asked unable to contain his rage.

“Unfortunately not yet, we have officers working on it as we speak though”

She walked out of the reception area and out of sight, leaving Tim waiting anxiously. He assumed Kate didn’t know he was coming, nor had he really spoken to her in the last 5 years. In fact, the last time he saw her she was only 16. Now she was in her mid 20’s, and judging by her Facebook posts she looked rather different.

“Dr. Keller?” The desk sergeant asked, returning to the doorway, “Would you like to follow me.”

Tim headed for the door, unsure of what exactly to expect in the bowels of a police station. Initially they appeared to be heading to the cell block – leading him to worry that they’d put her in a cell? Thankfully, they took a turn towards the interview rooms, türkçe bahis which looked a lot less like a prison. The desk sergeant stood beside a door, and opened it in front of her. In the room was a table, with chairs arranged on both sides, exactly like the crime dramas on the television.

Facing away from the door, in a coral dress, was a dark haired girl. The first thing Tim noticed was the blood on her shoulder, and the bruise forming underneath it. It wasn’t until the girl turned to look at the door that it occurred to Tim that it was Kate, he could barely believe it. Even as a doctor, nothing prepares you for the victim to be someone you know or care about. As she looked Tim in the eye he saw a huge black bruise over her right eye, made worse by the mascara smudged down her cheeks. But as she looked at him he saw her vacant expression turn to a partial smile.

Tim walked through the door towards her as she started to stand, wincing in pain. As he approached she extended her arms, tears in her eyes, and he pulled her gently towards her.

“I’ll leave you two for a few minutes,” the desk sergeant smiled, “let the officer outside the door know when you’re ready to leave”

Tim nodded, holding Kate close to his chest. Kate was still the same size as the last time he saw her, a good foot shorter than him, perhaps more. The desk sergeant closed the door as she left, and Tim released Kate from his grip. She looked up at him, tears streaming down her cheek.

“I’m sorry Tim… you… didn’t have to come all the way out here” She sobbed.

“Don’t be silly, I told you the last time I saw you that I’d always be here for you if you needed me. Do you remember?”

Kate smiled through tears, “I do, that was so long ago!”

Tim pulled her close again, her arms wrapped around him.

“How about we get you out of here? I live pretty close”

“Please” She sobbed.

Tim had no idea how long she’d been there, nor what she would have done had he not been there to collect her. He unwrapped her arms from around him, and headed for the door. The officer outside took the two of them back to the front desk, where Tim and Kate were greeted with paperwork.

“Dr Keller wasn’t it?” the desk sergeant asked, “We’re just going to need some signatures from yourself and some contact details should we have any more questions for Kate”

Tim started filling out the paperwork in his usual, terrible, doctor’s handwriting. Kate stood close, he could tell from her behaviour that she felt exposed and vulnerable having spent a reasonably long time in a small room. Tim put his free arm around her, putting her slightly at ease.

Just as Tim was about to finish signing all the paperwork shouting erupted outside. Three police officers brought in a man in handcuffs, he was fighting them.

“Sir, please stop resisting. You’re only making this worse for yourself… Sir.. Please.” a female officer shouted.

The commotion was clearly distressing Kate, who pulled herself closer to Tim.

“Tim…” she began to sob.

But before he could respond the man in handcuffs ran towards him and Kate.

“You bitch!” He screamed, “This is your fault!”

Tim looked closely at the man and recognised Jake, Kate’s boyfriend, the man responsible for the state Kate was now in, from Facebook photos the two had posted together.

“Who is this?!” Jake shouted, lunging his body at Tim, “Have you been cheating on me? When I get out of here you’re gonna pay for this!”

Instinctively Tim put himself between Jake and Kate. The desk sergeant seemed to be in shock, not sure what to do.

“Put him in a cell and let him calm down!” She barked at the three officers who’d brought him in.

Tim turned back to Kate to see tears streaming down her face, her breathing fast and her entire body shaking.

“Kate! Look at me… It’s all going to be fine” Tim reasoned, the last thing he wanted was her passing out in shock.

Kate stared, almost through him, nodding gently but not speaking.

“Ma’am, I think we should leave now, she’s in shock and she needs to get out of here”

The desk sergeant quickly nodded, shuffling the paperwork into a folder, handing Tim Kate’s belongings – a purse and a torn cardigan. Tim looked at her for a moment, she wasn’t appropriately dressed for an early spring evening. He took off his coat, and put it over her shoulders, putting on the hooded sweatshirt he’d thrown in the bag to keep himself warm. Graciously, an officer offered to drive them back to Tim’s flat, so no tube or taxi journey was needed.

As they approached Tim’s ground floor flat, he fumbled for keys in his pocket. Kate remained close, visibly scared even with the police officer standing at the end of the driveway and Jake in custody. They entered, Kate unsure of the darkness. Tim turned to thank the officer as he shut the door, locking it behind him.

“We should get you cleaned up Kate,” he smiled, “would you like a drink?”

“Err…no… no thanks,” she replied, gently shaking her head.

Tim wandered in the direction of the bathroom, güvenilir bahis siteleri beckoning her to follow.

“Alright, just let me get a cloth and a bowl”

Kate continued walking towards the bathroom, fumbling for the light switch as she reached the door. Tim went to the kitchen, and grabbed a mixing bowl from the cupboard – from a time when he used to bake – two clean bathroom flannels, a bag of peas from the freezer, and his first aid kit. As he turned to go back to the bathroom he heard gentle sobbing. As he entered the room he found Kate sat on the the floor, staring towards the full width wall mirror, tears rolling down her cheeks.

“Look at me…”, she sobbed barely able to speak, “look what he has done to me!”

Tim placed the bowl on the cabinet and sat down beside her, passing one arm behind her back, pulling her close as her head slumped to his chest. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best idea to let her see herself, see the damage Jake had done to her, without being there with her. With each sob he felt her body shake, the feeling of her wet tears beginning to soak through his shirt.

“Kate…” he started, resting his cheek on the top of her head, “your injuries will heal, and you’ll be as beautiful as you were before”

She started to protest, but Tim simply smiled.

“I’m the doctor here remember!”

He felt her shoulders shudder with a brief giggle, a welcome break from the sobbing.

“I hope so…”

“How about we get you cleaned up then?” He asked, gently squeezing her body.

Kate nodded, and pulled her face off his chest.

“I think… I think I’ve ruined your shirt?” She said apologetically.

Tim looked down to see a black streak of mascara in the patch where her tears had settled.

“Don’t worry about it, its only a shirt”

Tim stood up, and helped her to her feet. He emptied the contents of the bowl onto the counter and placed it under the tap, turning on the hot water. As the bowl filled he moved her to the toilet, sitting her on the seat.

“We need to get a cold compress on your eye, the bruise will heal better and the swelling will go down” He smiled.

Looking over her body he inspected her wounds. Although the police had said she was fine, he trusted his own medical opinion more. Her right eye was swollen, her eyelid almost double its normal size and forming a deep red-brown bruise far darker than her fair skin. Her makeup was streaming down her face and the dried remnants of blood from her nose remained above her lip. She’s obviously taken a hit to her nose, but thankfully not enough to break it. However, the blood had certainly poured from it, with dots of it on the front of her dress and on her left shoulder, staining the strap of her dress. Under it was another bruise, spread over her collarbone. Looking further down he noticed her knees were scraped, and her lower body was smeared with a thin layer of dirt – at some point she must have lost her footing, or perhaps she was pushed.

Tim took out his phone and turned on the torch.

“Kate, can you follow the light please”

Kate did as she was told, following the light as he moved it. Thankfully, there were no obvious signs of concussion.

“Ok,” he said, taking the bag of peas from the counter and wrapping them one of the flannels, “hold this gently on your eye, it will sting a bit, don’t push too hard”

She raised a hand to her eye, wincing as the cold touched it. Tim took the overflowing bowl from under the tap and emptied it a little, turning off the water. He soaked the other flannel, the water was hot to the touch but not unbearable. Wringing it out he moved closer to her, taking her free arm and gently wiping away the dirt. The flannel steamed in the relatively cold bathroom air, but the droplets of water it left on her arm only cooled her down. That, combined with the icy bag of peas soon made her shiver. Tim pulled the bath towel from the radiator, which seemed to be spending the majority of its energy heating up the towel, and draped it over her shoulders.

“Much better!” she smiled.

He rinsed the flannel and began cleaning her again, gently wiping the makeup from her other cheek and eye. She smiled, the feeling of someone else removing her makeup seemingly alien to her. He put her hair behind her ear and cleaned above her eye.

“Lets take a look at that eye then” he said, gently pulling the arm holding the bag of peas away from her face.

The cold had left a ring of even paler skin around the roaring bruise on her eye, the swelling easing a little perhaps.

“I won’t rub your eye with this, that would hurt, but we will clean up that cheek ok?” He smiled.

Kate nodded, and Tim gently began removing the mascara from her cheek, careful not to put too much pressure near her eye. After most of it was gone he placed the peas in her other hand and placed it back over her eye. Taking her hand in his he began to once again clean her arm, this time feeling the cold from the peas in her fingers. He stopped just a few inches from the bruise on her shoulder and the bloodstained strap of her dress. Gently, and slowly, he lifted the strap of her dress and bra, and pulled it down beside her arm. At first she seemed a little uncomfortable, but the release of pressure from the bruise overcame that.

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