Chapter 1

God, that thing looked awful, hideous even!

It was green and goopy with brown and red chunks and had yellow slime oozing from its pasty white wrapping.

It looked like something that was inside one of his patient's diapers yesterday.

"What do you think, Dr. Morgan?"

Max looked at his office manager and asked seriously, "You aren't going to eat that are you? It looks terrible!"

Laura Goode looked down at her plate and replied haughtily, "Of course I'm going to eat it, it's my lunch!" She watched an expression of revulsion cross her boss's expressive face and huffed, "Were you even listening, Dr. Morgan?"

He was still staring at that awful blob of green-yellow slime on her plate. "What is that thing?" Max rearranged his overlarge frame in the too small chair and whispered to his young head nurse, Anastasia, "Is that thing even a food product?"

Anastasia slapped her hand over her mouth, embarrassed, when a girlish giggle escaped. "Stop it, Dr. Morgan, Laura's serious. Weren't you listening?"

Luckily the staff had, over the years, become accustomed to Maxwell Morgan's frequent lapses in attention. Usually they assumed, correctly, that he was puzzling over a case or mentally digesting some article or study he'd recently read. Far too often, lately, his mental meanderings weren't work related at all. No, recently he'd been thinking more and more about his beautiful head nurse.

There was no excuse for it, really; overwork leading to tiredness perhaps then leading to daydreaming. Normally he kept a very tight reign on his imagination while in the office. Lately; however, thoughts of the luscious Anastasia Petrova intruded with greater regularity.

She was a vision; you couldn't blame a man for appreciating the view. Warm chestnut curls cascaded down her back, bewitching green eyes twinkled merrily, a lush pink mouth curved into a ready smile. Anastasia was curvy, womanly, and soft in all the right places; she had a figure blessed by her Russian Gypsy heritage. And the way she moved that figure... She flowed from place to place. Max loved to watch her move. So did the children's fathers. Anastasia was young and bright, a relief from being married with children, as it were.

The kids loved her for her teasing nature and tolerant sense of humor. Max had two-hundred and fifty kids in a pediatrics practice and an office manager forever hounding him to take on an associate or a partner.

"... Morgan... Dr. Morgan? He's gone again." He heard Laura despair over him.

"Ouch!" Max winced when the throbbing on the back of his neck penetrated his foggy mind. "What was that for?" He looked at the innocent expression on Anastasia's face.

"Do we have your attention now?" Anastasia asked sweetly. No one in the office would have suspected her of pinching her boss, but her younger brothers could tell them differently. She was big on pinching to garner wandering attention.

"Yeah, what?" He asked while rubbing his sore neck.

"What do you think of having a pajama day?" Laura enunciated.

Max though it over. Every Friday the staff tried to do something fun; Friday's were long and hard days usually due to far too many sick kids. Why is it always just before the weekend when little Johnny gets the flu or little Suzy the Chicken Pox?

He'd learned long ago to have extended hours on Friday's and to be available by pager on Friday nights. The staff was good about it, too. The nurses split their shifts to work the longer hours and they rotated the triage calls. He and his Physician's Assistant, Eric, usually took turns being on call over the weekends.

The best part about Friday's, though, was the theme. Years ago, on Halloween, the staff dressed in costumes. The following year they had repeated the event and decorated the office, too. Each exam room had a different theme; haunted castles, screeching dungeon, bloody murder scene, and so on. It was such a hit it became a yearly tradition until Laura. When Laura worked her first long Friday she'd suggested the weekly Friday theme idea. Since then they'd had Dye Your Hair For A Day, Dress As Your Favorite Actress or Actor Day, they'd even all dressed up as Tele Tubbies and Care Bears.

"I vote yes, not only yes, but hell yes!" Eric grinned at Max from across the table.

"So it's okay, Dr. Morgan?" Tina asked. Tina was one of the nurses, newest to the staff, and fresh out of nursing school.

"What was the theme idea? I missed it."

Anastasia laughed, "You should have been paying attention then! We want to combine Fuzzy Slipper Day with our new idea of Pajama Day."

"I still vote hell yeah!" Eric crowed. "Who wouldn't want to see Tina in a tiny little nighty?"

Everyone laughed but Tina. Everyone knew Eric was a gentleman that preferred other gentlemen, but Tina still wasn't used to his bawdy sense of humor, especially when it was directed toward her, which it seemed to be quite frequently.

"Hey, now think of the kids and their parents!" Laura admonished. "No tiny nighties, no ratty t-shirts, nothing see through."

Max quickly saw the advantage to Pajama Day especially when combined with Fuzzy Slipper Day. What does Anastasia wear to bed, he wondered?

"Okay, I agree." Suddenly he thought of those fathers seeing Anastasia in something see through. "But with Laura's restrictions." Max gave his seal of approval and watched his staff set about making plans.

It wasn't nearly as elaborate as the Halloween haunted house theme but it would be just as visually appealing, he mused.

As the planning wound down and staff began to leave the lounge area, Laura called out, "Stasia, be sure to wear those pink marabou heels again."

Max was the last to get up and move. He was comfortable, or as comfortable as a 45-plus man could get when he wedged his six foot five inch muscular, bulky frame into an uncomfortable chair built for people smaller then himself.

Anastasia watched her huge boss haul himself out of the small chair and thought, not for the first time, "I wonder why you don't get a bigger chair?"

"Why? I only sit in it once in a while." He watched as Anastasia's hand flew once again to cover hour mouth and a horrified look came over her face. "You didn't know you were talking out loud, huh?" Max chuckled. It happened to her on occasion and she usually revealed an interesting bit of her mind when it did.

"I hate when that happens." She grimaced.

"I don't! It's so much fun." He roared with laughter when she blew him a raspberry. "Listen; can you do me a favor?"

She pondered his quick change in tone from playful to sober. "Sure." She watched him move to the lounge door and shut it. Uh oh, she thought, must be serious. Despite the current tone of their coming conversation she couldn't help but notice the snug fit of his faded jeans and tight black t-shirt. Dr. Morgan was nothing if not casual in the office but he sure was a hottie. She could watch his muscles bulge all day long and never tire.

"See what you can do to make Tina more comfortable, huh?" Max gestured over his shoulder, "She didn't see the humor behind Eric's joke and she's just so stiff. She's been here long enough to feel the flow of the office and kind of understand everyone but she's just so..."

"Young?" Anastasia offered the only explanation she had for Tina's inability to fit in.

Max wondered if it truly was Tina's young age that made her so uncomfortable. "Do you really think so?"

"I think she's very young, only twenty, and still she lives at home. This is her first real job and she's only been a nurse for the six months she's been here." Anastasia walked to the door, preparing to leave, but before walking out she mused aloud, "I think she's a little girl trying to grow up too fast."

She left the room pondering how alike she and Tina truly were.

Anastasia pulled her brand new Mini Cooper™ into the parking lot early Friday morning and noted her boss was already at work. This brought to mind the rather enlightening conversation she had the previous evening with Tina. It seemed those similarities Anastasia became aware of actually went deeper than she'd imagined.

Tina was a young nurse, as was Anastasia at her current twenty-five; however, the maturity she'd always been possessed of was rather lacking in the younger woman. Anastasia prided herself on her professionalism but she also knew when to relax. Having a sense of humor, Anastasia mused as she entered the brightly decorated waiting area, was paramount to being a nurse; that and the ability to do ten things at once and do them all really, really well.

Anastasia grabbed the faxes from the machine, the mail from her box and Dr. Morgan's as well as she headed to the coffee pot in the lounge. Dr. Morgan wouldn't be fit to speak to unless he'd already had a cup of coffee.

As Max finished his latte, the third cup of coffee and counting, he sat back in his old leather chair. It squeaked when he moved and it creaked as he redistributed the bulk of his old aching bones.

I'm getting too old for this! He thought to himself. A full day yesterday, evening rounds at the hospital, and then an emergency call to the ER to see his eight year old niece. While there he saw another of his tiny patients and took over her care as well.

He'd come straight to the office after an all too brief shower at the hospital. Thankfully he'd still had a few set of scrubs in the trunk of his car.

Max startled to the voice of his head nurse, "You can't wear those!"

She was standing in the doorway to his office, an indignant expression on her lovely face, carrying far too much paper and a steaming cup.

Puzzled he questioned, "What's wrong with them?" That's when he noticed her lack of uniform. Suddenly he recalled today was Fuzzy Slipper and Pajama Day. Anastasia glided to his desk on feet shod with pink marabou high heel slippers. He sat, mesmerized by her attire, as she set the coffee and papers on his desk and put her hands on her beautifully curvy hips; hips that were now covered by her nightgown and robe.

Anastasia stared at her boss, furious that he could have forgotten. Not that the man didn't look good in his scrubs. But still... "They're not pajama's, that's what's wrong with them. "

Max shook his head, "The scrubs are going to have to do. I have an appointment in fifteen minutes and no time to go home and change." And what, exactly, would he change in to, Max wondered.

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Romantic /