“Dr. Jamestown, are you still with me? Or is there anything you need me to repeat?” Royal asked, interrupting the older man from his deep thoughts.
“I heard everything you said. Delia Valentine did have four children, though she only knows about three of them,” Dr. Jamestown confessed since lying might lead to a deeper probe into other things. Things he didn’t want anyone to know about. Things that were much worse than Delia’s secrets. Things that would devastate his professional reputation and shatter his career into a million pieces.
Royal’s brows rose. Intrigue flashed in his eyes. His head went to the side. “Why wasn’t Delia told about her first child?”
“Well, she was only fifteen when her mother Valena first brought her into my office. Delia had recently been in a fight with some neighborhood girls and was hemorrhaging pretty badly. When I examined her, I discovered she was in her first trimester, barely a month along. I talked to Valena and she asked me specifically not to tell her daughter about the baby. After all, Delia didn’t even know she was pregnant at the time and was going to lose the fetus anyway.”
“Why would her mother ask you to conceal something like that?” Royal asked, putting Delia’s medical documents back into his briefcase since they were no longer needed.
“Valena didn’t want a miscarriage to be on the girl’s conscience. With Delia being so fond of children, her mother felt like that kind of emotional burden would be too heavy for her to bear. Perhaps even send her daughter over the edge.”
Royal nodded in understanding. “Miscarriages are harder on some people than others,” he noted, recalling what he’d witnessed in the lives of some of his own patients and their spouses. Even so, Royal still thought that Delia should have been told about the miscarriage. That she had a right to know, especially back then.
What about now?
Now Royal wasn’t so sure anything should be said to Delia about the miscarriage. After all, she had more than enough sorrow on her plate as it was.
“What about Delia’s damaged clitoris? How did that come about?” Royal asked, getting back to the second reason he’d come all this way today.
“That might have happened during one of her deliveries.” Dr. Jamestown casually shrugged. “But, hey, since she never complained about it, I thought everything was fine.”
Ire burst forth in Royal’s soul at the casual way the man explained Delia’s situation. A situation that Dr. Jamestown, no doubt, created for her. And that nonchalant shrug was downright offensive to him.
“Well, Delia was not fine,” Royal retorted with flashing eyes. “The woman hadn’t had an orgasm in years. Plus, it was your duty to make her aware of and fix whatever was wrong with her, whether she complained about it or not.”
Dr. Jamestown grew angry now. “Why you arrogant little punk! They told me about your superior attitude. How you were a royal pain in the—”
“Whoever they are also told me about your shaky fingers,” Royal interrupted. “Shaky fingers that undoubtedly severed Delia Valentine’s clitoris at some point. The fact that you are so nonchalant about the issue only confirms the fact that it is way past time for you to retire.” He leaned closer to Dr. Jamestown’s desk and added, “Tell me, doctor, how many more women have you damaged because of those unsteady hands of yours?”
“How dare you try to damage my reputation?!” Dr. Jamestown raged as the color drained out of his face.
“How dare you be so negligent of your patients,” Royal countered. “And you damaged your own reputation by staying in practice longer than you should have. If you want to save what’s left of your respect in the medical community, I advise you to stop while you’re ahead. Stop before someone like Delia realizes what you did to her and sues the pants off of you.”
“Are you threatening me, doctor?!” Dr. Jamestown now stood to his feet, ready for the young man to leave his office and his life, never to return. If he had the brute strength or wasn’t so afraid of scandal, he might have tried to physically remove him.
“I’m advising you, doctor, to retire while you still have most of the respect of your peers! Believe me, you’re losing it fast year by year,” Royal replied, not budging from his seat. He’d leave when he got good and ready.
Dr. Jamestown plopped back down in his chair as the young man’s words began to sink in like oil to a sponge. No amount of wringing would ever get all the grease out. What a mess.
Surely this was a dream, right? Some kind of nightmare? This could not be happening in real life. Was Dr. Jamestown’s deepest, darkest secret really out?
That would certainly explain why Dr. Jamestown was no longer being invited to certain events anymore. Events that he was once the keynote speaker of. This also meant that anyone who knew Dr. Jamestown’s dreaded secret could start a probe. A probe that could lead to some serious jail time for him and a few nurses, none of which were named Charlize since she’d always walked the straight and narrow path.
Somewhere in the world a big oak had just been cut down. Dr. Jamestown could identify with that tree as his career suddenly came crashing down around him.
“If you knew what I know about Delia Valentine, you wouldn’t have wasted your time or money on this trip,” Dr. Jamestown said with a cruel gleam in his eyes, determined to break a few branches on his way down. “A woman that can kill the father of her own children doesn’t deserve any kind of pleasure, physical or otherwise. In my opinion, Delia should be circumcised and sterilized so that she can’t reproduce ever again. And the kids that she does have should be taken away from her.”
“When I want your opinion, I’ll let you know,” Royal said calmly, grateful for that talk he’d had with Charlize because it removed the shock and sting of the older man’s spiteful disclosure. “I do, however, want an invitation to your retirement party,” Royal added with a pointed stare as he finally stood up to leave.
Arrogant little punk, Dr. Jamestown mused as he watched the young man exit his office with a confident stride. When he was alone again, he looked down at his hands. They were trembling even now and not just with ire, either.
Maybe it is time to retire, Dr. Jamestown realized, unable to ignore that potent truth any longer.
* * *
As Royal got into his blue rental Mercedes and headed for the
This would be Royal’s proverbial fleece of wool: If Delia decided to terminate their professional relationship, he would see that as a sign that it was okay to pursue her. If she returned to him as a patient for her annual checkup, he would keep their relationship strictly platonic…no matter how much it pained him to do so.
Now I just need to stay even busier for the next nine months, Royal mused, estimating how long it would be before he had a legitimate excuse to see Delia again. This would be a great opportunity for me to sign up for some overseas work, he mused, desiring to use this time to do something worthwhile such as help poor nations that have a scarcity of good doctors.
Yes, I’ll check into that tomorrow, Royal decided.
© 2008 by Suprina Frazier