At last! Sorry for the delay! I couldn’t log in. Also, three people have complained to me that they have not been able to access the blog through several browsers. I have been advised to change the theme of my blog. I might. I hope I won’t lose some of my contents.
Lola moved some step backwards with her mouth wide opened. Duke raised his body a little, staring at her with uncertainty.
“I don’t recognize you,” he said. “I don’t think we have met before.”
“How can you say you don’t recognize Lola?” Mike asked him in a confused tone. “She is the woman you love.”
Duke widened his eyes. “Love?” He burst into laughter.
Hearing him laugh, Lola turned and walked out of the ICU. She was in deep thoughts. Her heart had been broken into two. She began to walk, not having a clue where she was heading. Ahmed saw her and a surprised expression flickered on his face. She didn’t see him. Her head was down on the floor.
“Lola.” he touched her by the arm. “I didn’t know you were still around. I forgot my phone in the dressing room.”
She uplifted her head and he noticed her sad eyes.
“Lola, what is wrong?”
“He is awake.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Duke. Duke is awake.”
“Wow! That’s incredible! That’s good news!” He raised his hands bouncily.
She could only nod while looking directly into his eyes. He gave her a surprised look.
“But why don’t you look happy?”
“I am happy.” Lola said quietly.
“You don’t look happy to me.”
“He can’t remember me. Duke can’t remember me. He doesn’t know who I am.”
“Apart from you, has he seen anyone?” Ahmed questioned.
“His family. They are with him and he remembers them. He even asked of his niece.”
“Then there is a possibility he might remember me. If that is so, his memory loss of you could be temporary…”
“Or permanent.” Lola cut him short.
“Don’t say that. Dr. Robertson has left, but Dr. Melissa is still around. I will page her now.”
“That’s fine. I will go home now.”
Ahmed looked at her surprised and confused. “Dr. Duke is awake. You have to stay behind.”
“What’s the point of staying when he doesn’t recognize me? Ahmed, I am just trying to be strong in front of you. Deep down I want to break down cry.”
“This isn’t the time to cry, Lola,” he told her while holding her arms. “Fine, you can go home and rest but do not cry. You don’t need to.”
She managed to smile lightly. “Thanks.”
“I will keep in touch and keep you updated about him.” He let go of her arms.
Lola nodded and walked away. Ahmed shook his head before he approached the ICU and paged Dr. Melissa. Two nurses were already with Duke.
“Dr. Duke!” Ahmed said and Duke looked at his way. “I’m so happy for you! Welcome back sir.”
Duke smiled. “Thanks Dr. Ahmed.”
“Then why can’t you remember Dr. Lola.” Mike quickly gazed at Ahmed. “Is it possible or is my brother pretending?”
“How can you say I am pretending?” Duke asked him with an annoyed look on his face. “You claimed I was in love with her. Why should I pretend not to know her?”
“But you laughed when I told you.”
“That’s because it sounded strange to me. I have never loved any woman apart from my family.”
“Dr. Duke,” Melissa said smiling, as she walked inside. Everyone stared at her direction. She motioned towards the bed. “With the way you are talking, I don’t think you just woke up from coma.”
“Maybe he was actually sleeping.” Mike said with a frown.
His parents cautioned him to stop attacking his brother verbally. Mike went out to avoid any other confrontation. Yes, he was very happy to see his brother bounce back, but concerning Lola, it didn’t make him sad. It made him mad. He knew how Lola put all her energy and effort in making Duke come out of Coma. How could he not remember someone like her? Lola was probably the reason he woke up, after all, she was with him when he opened his eyes.
“Dr. Melissa,” Duke’s father said to her. “What could be the reason my son forgot about Dr. Lola?”
“There is a possibility Dr. Duke hit his head while he fell when he was shot. It must have resulted to the memory loss. Dr. Robertson and I will look into it.” She turned to Duke. “I know my question might sound strange to you, but did you think of anything or someone the moment you were shot?”
All eyes fell on Duke as he tried to recall. He took a deep breath and shook his head.
“I can’t remember. I don’t know if I thought of anything or someone.”
“Dr. Duke,” Ahmed said. ‘Do you still know how many contract staffs were under you before the gunshot?”
“Yes. There were three of you. Dr. Melvin, Dr. Zara and yourself.” He started to gaze at Ahmed and Melissa. “Am I wrong?”
“Yes. We are four and Dr. Lola is the fourth person.”
Duke kept quiet and had a disturbed expression on his face.
“I think you shouldn’t bother yourself, Dr. Duke.” Melissa told him. “There is nothing to worry about. You will eventually have a recollection of what you might have forgotten. This is only a temporary memory loss.”
“Thank you.” Duke said.
“You are welcome.” Melissa proceeded to examine him.
On her way home, she called her parents to break the news. They expressed sympathy for what had occurred regarding her. Both of them were sincerely glad Duke had woken up. Wole wasn’t at home. He would briefly visit the hospital and drive home later. Bidemi wanted to see Lola, but she told her, she was okay. There was nothing to worry about. Lola arrived home, took her bath and made a cup of hot tea.
She thought of Ahmed told her, and she vowed never to cry. Seeing Duke alive was what she wanted. She has gotten it. Lola heaved a sigh of relief.
After she ate a light dinner, she waited for Wole to return home. She called him, but he mentioned he was still at the hospital. At 8:15pm, on her way to the kitchen, she received a call from Ahmed. He had gotten home.
“What’s the latest?” She asked him.
“Nothing much,” he said. “Dr. Robertson came and they are going to monitor him for some days. Although, Dr. Duke is insisting, they discharge him, but your dad refused.”
“How is he?”
“He is fine. Lola, I hope you are okay?”
She smiled. “I am okay. Did he talk about me before you left?”
Lola heard him sigh and she could tell what his answer would be.
“You don’t need to answer,” she quickly said. “I will see you tomorrow.”
“No problem. Dr. Jidenna came to the hospital before I left. He knows.”
“Who informed him?”
“I think Dr. Duke’s brother. Take care of yourself, Lola.”
The moment she ended the call, Lola heard the horn of her dad’s car and she wore a smile. She wasn’t going to be alone anymore. She hiked towards the living room door and opened it. Wole hugged her and gave her a peck on the head.
“How are you?” He inquired.
“I’m fine dad.” She took his leather bag from him. She closed the door and they motioned in and sat down. “I heard Duke wants to go home.”
“He doesn’t only want to go home,” Wole removed the jacket of his suit and placed it on the sofa. “He wants to resume work immediately.”
She opened her eyes in surprise. “That’s not possible.”
“That’s what I told him. He is placed under supervision and whenever he is discharged to go home, I will give him a month leave.”
“He is going to refuse. I know him. He is so stubborn.”
“I know. He will claim he just returned from leave. Let’s see how it goes.”
“Okay dad. You should take your bath. I will set your dinner.”
“Okay dear.” He rose and hesitated to leave. He faced Lola who had stood on her feet. “Lola.”
Wole peered into her bright eyes. “I hope you know if Duke really loved you, he would remember you.”
Lola attempted to speak, but her lips only quivered. She dropped the bag and wrapped her arms around him, and erupted into loud sobs.
He patted her hair, as she cried, “He would remember you, Lola. Duke can never forget you forever.”
The next morning, eyes were all over Lola when she came in. Everyone had heard and felt pity, knowing how she reacted when Duke was shot. Lola went to the dressing room and changed. Melvin and Zara were obviously happy to hear the good news. The two of them went to see Duke and expressed how glad they were. After Lola changed her outfit, she approached the ward to attend to some patients. She met Jidenna there.
“Good morning.” She said quietly to him.
Jidenna glanced at her fleetingly. “Good morning.
He focused on what he was doing. Nurse Oliver came to inform her, a patient who had a surgery few days ago, wanted to speak with her. Lola left to see her and after she met the woman and came out of the room, she sighted Melissa and Zara walking together and chatting.
She was tempted to speak to Melissa, but she changed her mind. She took a step into another direction and bumped into Melvin. The file in his hand fell, and she apologized and picked it up. She gave it to him.
“You don’t need to apologize,” he said. “How are you?”
“As you can see, I am doing fine.”
She wanted to walk away. He stopped her by halting in front of her.
“Have you seen Dr. Duke today?”
“Why are you asking?” She asked him.
“If you neglect him, how will he remember you?”
“What makes you think I am neglecting him?”
“But you have not gone to see him today. It’s unlike you.”
She gave him a double look. “It’s unlike me?”
“Yes.” Melvin replied. “I know what happened, everyone has heard. If don’t see him often while he is still admitted, he will not remember you.”
“This is not about him remembering me. This is about him loving me. What if he doesn’t remember the feelings he had for me? Why is no one talking about that?”
“I admit both are important, but one step at a time. I will advise you to see him.”
She kept quiet for a short moment before she responded to Melvin. “I will.”
He winked and hit her lightly on the arm. “See you later.”
She watched him leave and gestured to the way leading to the ICU.
“I called Jidenna this morning to know your condition,” Yvonne said to Duke.
He was seated on the bed, still wearing hospital attire. She was sitting on a plastic chair close to him and her bag was placed on a table.
She added. “I had to come here first before going to my place of work.”
“Thanks for checking up on me. I appreciate it, but don’t you think it’s strange coming back to the place you left?”
She stared at him surprised. “I came to see you. Have that become a crime?”
“No. I am better now. I think you should call next time you want to see me. I prefer you don’t see me here.”
“You prefer I should come to your place?”
“No. I can arrange where we can meet after I have been discharged and besides, I will resume work immediately. I will be very busy.”
It was obvious she felt insulted with the look on her face. “You haven’t changed.”
“What does that mean?”
“You are behaving as if we are not friends.”
“We stopped being friends, Dr. Yvonne after you left. Do you think I have forgotten the main reason you tendered your resignation?”
“I offered you true love, you rejected me. I am offering you friendship and I get the same thing. Rejection.”
“I never rejected you, Dr. Yvonne. I did the right thing. You are a married woman and I know your husband.”
She rose up and grabbed her bag. “I am glad you are alive and looking healthy. Take care of yourself.”
“Take care of yourself too.”
Yvonne walked out, she met Lola about to come in and she quickly shut the door. She didn’t want Duke to hear what she wanted to say. She wore a mischievous smile.
“Dr. Lola, you can pretend you didn’t hear us, but I am glad he has forgotten about you.”
Yvonne marched away with her heels making loud sound. Lola heard where Duke mentioned he knew why she resigned. She became certain Yvonne’s attitude towards her was because she was in love with Duke.
Lola knocked once and opened the door. Duke had rested his back on the bed and looked at the entrance. The plain expression on his face didn’t alter. He did not want to smile to give her the impression there was an improvement with his memory.
“Good morning Dr. Duke.” She said, still standing beside the door.
“I came to check how you are doing.”
“I’m doing great.”
Lola smiled a little. “If you need anything, please let me know.”
She turned to leave and he called her. “Dr. Lola.”
Lola swerved to face him. “Yeah?”
Her eyebrows moved upwards. “What are you sorry about?”
Duke swallowed and raised himself to sit. “I am sorry that I can’t remember you. My brother told me what you did. If not for you, no one would have known Dr. Fola used my stalker against me. I’m very grateful.”
“It was nothing.”
There was silence. No one said anything to each other. Duke looked away. Lola eventually opened the door and left.
Robertson and Melissa did a scan of Duke’s brain to access it if something had gone wrong or if they missed a spot during the surgery.
Wole Duke requested to see Robertson to ask about Duke. The surgeon told him there was nothing to worry about concerning Duke’s brain and every organ was okay. Robertson informed Duke and his brother. Duke insisted he needed to go home. It was declined.
“We need to talk.” Mike said to Duke after Robertson stepped out.
He sighed tiredly and looked at him as if he wasn’t interested in what Mike had to say. “I know this is about Dr. Lola. You can’t force me on her.”
Mike scornfully gazed at him. “I am not going to force you on her. That’s impossible and I don’t want to talk about her.”
“So what is it?” Duke asked.
“It’s about dad. You need to speak with him. I told him I won’t hide it from you.”
“Dad was going to take off the ventilator if you didn’t wake up after a month.”
He looked at him surprised. “Are you serious?”
“Yes. Mom is unaware. I’m not saying it to blame him or quarrel with him. He didn’t want you to end up like uncle. I tried to change his mind. Lola begged him too. She tried to persuade him, but he refused.”
“I thought this was not about that female surgeon.”
“Her name is Lola.”
“Whatever.” Duke said in a blasé tone.
“You talk as if you don’t care.”
“How can I care about someone I don’t know? Why are you trying to force her on me?”
“I’m not trying to force her on you,” Mike said. “I’m only trying make you see the kind of person Lola is. I am not going to talk about her anymore.”
“Better and as for dad, I think I understand why he wanted to do it. I might speak with him about it. I am awake and that is what is important.”
He dipped his hands into his pocket. “That’s true.”
At the cafeteria, Zara dropped her meal on the table where Lola was eating tranquilly. She sat down opposite her. Lola just looked at her briefly and continued eating.
“Can I sit with you?” Zara asked her.
Lola gave her a look while holding a fork. “You are already sitting. You don’t need to ask.”
“I think I do. Your father owns this place. You have every right not to tell me to sit.”
She increased the grip on her fork, glared at Zara and inhaled. She dropped the fork on the plate and rested her hands on the table. “Even if I have that right, I won’t use it against you. Dr. Zara, what do you want?”
“What makes you think I want something?” She began to eat.
“I know you are here for a reason. I know there is something you want to say to me.”
“No, I don’t.”
“Yes.” Zara smiled widely.
Lola picked her fork and began to eat again. It didn’t take long before Zara opened her mouth to ask her a question.
“How is your relationship going?”
Lola hesitated at first, but decided to talk. “What relationship?”
“You and Dr. Duke of course. I know he sees you as a stranger or rather a new employee here. Are both of you not working on your relationship?”
Lola was boiling in anger as her eyes fell on Zara whose lips carried a derisive smile. “Why don’t you focus on your relationship with Dr. Ahmed? Despite how you threw yourself at him, he doesn’t want you. Do you know why?”
Zara’s eyes had become red. She didn’t say a word.
Lola leaned her face quite close to her. “You don’t need to answer me. You think about it and ask yourself why. I will give you a hint. Your attitude stinks.”
She drank some water and rose on her feet. Lola beamed at Zara and that increased the anger in her. Zara remained silent as Lola walked away. Zara pushed her food aside. She had lost appetite.
“I hope you no longer feel pain again,” Lola said to her last patient for the day.
“No. What you administered to me worked. I am grateful.” She smiled.
Lola left and went to her dad’s office to check if he was ready to leave. She didn’t meet him there. His secretary said he went out, but dropped his key to his car for her. Lola collected it and thanked her. Lola saw Ahmed and both of them agreed to see during the weekend. Ahmed also mentioned about his case coming up during the week and he wants to make a request for a day leave. Lola assured him it would be granted.
After Lola went to the dressing room to change, she proceeded to see Duke before driving home. She met him awake.
“Hi.” She said softly and moved closer to him.
“I just wanted to see how you are doing.”
“It seems you are ready to go home.”
“Yes.” She replied while smiling.
He cleared his throat and gazed at her in the eyes. “I don’t mean to upset you. Is that how you will continue to see me before you go home?”
The smile vanished instantly. “I just felt I should…”
“It’s best you don’t come here all the time.”
She felt pain in her broken heart. “But this is the second time I am coming today.”
“I don’t want to make you feel, you owe me anything. We are not a couple. I don’t know you.”
Her eyes were miserable. She pointed at herself glumly. “It’s me Lola.”
“I’m sorry Dr. Lola. I think it’s best you don’t come here. We can work together, but certainly not this. I need space. I need to be alone.”
“You don’t want to remember who I was to you? Is that what you are saying?”
“I am not saying anything,” Duke said calmly. “I only want us to move forward with our lives.”
Lola’s eyes were getting wet. She quickly turned and marched out with tears streaming down her face. Duke relaxed his back on the bed and all of a sudden, he felt a pounding headache. He touched his head in pain. The memory of Lola coming late on the first day at the hospital flashed. Duke started to breathe fast as he recalled working with Lola. He harked back to the day they argued over two patients in a meeting. It was about a kidney patient and a boy with a brain injury. Even when he didn’t agree with Lola’s decision, Dr. Wole and the others went with hers and the boy finally died.
How could he have loved someone so stubborn? He asked himself.
“No way.” Duke whispered. The headache stopped. He felt relieved and closed his eyes to sleep.
To be continued…