When Hugh brought up dessert, Liz realized with a start that they’d almost finished their meal without so much as a word being discussed about the track record of Dr. Whitman. But there had just been so much to talk about. In a way, this was the first time that she and Hugh were speaking to one another as just friends, rather than as a doctor and patient.
After Hugh had paid the cheque, they drove to a gorgeous, heavenly-smelling patisserie.
Over dessert, Liz finally brought up the topic of Adam Whitman’s racy past, or the lack thereof. She said, “So, I spoke with Gladys, my receptionist friend who seemingly knows all about the love life of Adam Whitman and Lisa Parker.”
Hugh cocked an eyebrow and Liz continued, “Well, Gladys swore up and down that what she told me earlier about their torrid make-out session was absolutely the truth.” Liz shrugged. Somehow, in the days since she’d met Hugh, the sting those words would be created seemed somehow dulled. It could be that Gladys was a bit of an exaggerator, mused Liz. So, Liz was never quite sure whether she ought to believe her or not.
Liz told herself that was all there was to it. It wasn’t because maybe Liz had begun thinking of Hugh Regan more than Adam Whitman. Hugh had been through a tough time lately, and had been her patient. It was natural, therefore, to worry about him more, she told herself firmly.
Hugh frowned. Liz was trying her best to look cool about it, but Hugh knew it had to hurt. He exclaimed, “Aww, I’m sorry, Liz!”
Liz shook her head, “Well, the thing about Gladys though, is that while she’s a total sweetheart and a good friend of mine, she’s also a little, well, prone to exaggerate.”
Hugh’s brow furrowed and he asked, “So, what would that mean, exactly? That she caught them simply shaking hands or something and made it up into full-blown kissing?”
It was Liz’s turn to frown. Truth be told, she’d never thought of it any further other than well, that the kiss was a bit of an exaggeration and might not have happened. Liz realized she hadn’t been particularly bothered when Gladys had maintained what she’d seen, and so she hadn’t indulged in her usual bout of over-thinking. Only a week ago, Liz mused, she’d have been crushed by Gladys’s words. What did this mean, she wondered? Surely, she wasn’t getting a crush on Hugh instead? The man was still hurting, and had clearly told Liz he wasn’t ready to date just yet.
She said, “I’m not quite sure, you know? I simply didn’t think about it that much.”
Hugh was feeling a little sorry for Liz. The young woman in front of him was so infatuated with Whitman that she refused to entertain the possibility that the kiss with the other lady doctor had actually happened. Liz had simply been content to label her friend Gladys a bit of an exaggerator and call it a day.
Hugh sighed to himself. He knew the news he had for Liz would be a further blow. Would she still continue to give the rascally Whitman the benefit of the doubt, he wondered?
He said, “Ready for my news?” Liz nodded, so he went on, “I had a phone call with Tiffany Gupta.”
When Liz looked a little alarmed, he added hastily, “I made it under the pretext of giving her an update about how I was doing, please don’t worry. It was fine, really. She didn’t suspect a thing.”
Liz asked, “Well? What did she say?”
Hugh continued, “Yeah, so a few minutes in, I asked her a bit about Whitman. I made it sound like I just wanted to thank her for having doctors like Whitman and you looking after me. I told her I wanted to thank her for being so discerning when hiring doctors like him and you.”
Liz’s eyes widened like she was getting an inkling about what he was about to say. Hugh went on, “Only, as she told me, she wasn’t really the one to hire Hugh at all. He was hired at the insistence of one Mrs. Taylor? Apparently, she sits on the board and knew Dr. Whitman from before. When he was working at a rehab center where Mrs. Taylor had checked in for a short while.”
Liz was looking at him quizzically, “Is there something else, Hugh? Because, yeah, it’s sort of disappointing that he isn’t a Tiffany-hire like I thought. I mean, because she’s known for her rigorous checks and interviews. But, what does that mean then? That Mrs. Taylor met him at rehab, was probably impressed by his dedication, and then recommended him here? That’s not really bad, is it?”
Hugh’s heart sank. Liz wasn’t going to like what was coming next, and more so if she was determined to be believe in Whitman’s innocence. He decided he couldn’t tell her just yet, not when he himself wasn’t a hundred percent sure. Tim, his assistant, had said that the rehab center where Whitman had been working previously, hadn’t had good things to say about him. Hugh had asked Tim to investigate some more. Until he had concrete proof as to what had been going on between Whitman and Mrs. Taylor, Hugh felt it best to not say anything else to Liz on the subject. He’d find out more soon enough, and then he’d tell her.
So, Hugh shrugged, “I’ve asked Tim to find about what went down at the rehab center. When I know more, I’ll let you know. But for now, I just wanted you to know that Tiffany wasn’t the one to hire him, for what it’s worth.”
Liz said, “Thanks for letting me know, Hugh. I-”
Liz and Hugh turned in surprise as a melodious voice called out to him.
Liz looked on as a very tall woman and a slightly shorter man approached their table. Liz turned to Hugh, whose face had gone white.
“Hello, Savannah, Damon,” he said a little stiffly.
Liz turned in surprise to take a closer look at the couple. Savannah was a vision, just as she’d been in the images Liz had found on googling Hugh’s name. She was wearing a gold metallic draped mesh mini-dress that showed off her endless, tanned legs. Her beautiful, curly hair cascaded down her plunging neckline. In a word, Liz mused, she looked flawless. She turned to take in Damon. His jet-black hair was styled into perfection, his silk button-down shirt emphasizing his wide shoulders. They made for a good-looking couple, thought Liz, only, they were rotten on the inside. Liz glanced at Hugh, hoping he’d be able to talk to those two without betraying just how hurt he was.
Damon was saying in a hearty voice, “You look well, Hugh, considering. I mean, Savannah and I heard you had to be rushed to the hospital. I hope all is well.”
Liz didn’t wait long for Hugh to reply, hoping he wouldn’t say something rash. Instead, she cut in pleasantly, “Hello! I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Liz Davis. Hugh’s doctor and newest friend. Happy to report that we had to let Hugh go because he’s in actually in such fantastic shape.”
Damon sneered at her, “Right. Well, we heard differently.”
This time, Liz didn’t wait for Hugh to reply, “I’m not quite sure what you heard, but it was a false alarm. His assistant Tim was just making sure. He is just that loyal, if you know what I mean?”
Damon was about to interrupt, but Savannah cut in, “Hello, Dr. Davis. I’m glad Hugh has a friend like you. Damon, we really should be leaving.” Damon shrugged and looked away. She turned to Hugh and said, “Goodbye Hugh. I didn’t come here to upset you. I just wanted to apologize. For everything.”
Hugh glanced at her blankly. Damon slipped a possessive arm around Savannah’s waist and said, “We have to go, honey. You can’t get stressed out, in this state. The baby comes first.” Savannah’s eyes widened and she looked away.
‘The CEO’s Favorite Doctor: A Wholesome Romantic Comedy’ by Bhakti Mathew