“Clear!” a voice called out as I entered the trauma room at Northwestern Health System where my patient was having a cardiac arrest.
“Who’s the nurse?” I calmly asked.
“I am, Dr. Greenway.” She stepped toward me holding a clipboard that contained the patient’s emergency room records.
I sighed with relief knowing our fully competent Critical Care Nurse Maria would have her shit together, and my patient would be well cared for. As she recited a full report on the unfortunate patient’s chain of events, the staff continued their efforts to resuscitate him, shocking him with two hundred joules from the defibrillator once again. I reviewed the chart, and since his heart rhythm remained chaotic, I determined he would need to be taken to the Cardiac Catheterization Unit as soon as possible for further intervention in order to live.
While the nurses got everything ready to transport the actively dying man, I headed toward the physicians’ locker room to prepare for what appeared to be a long night. I pulled my hair up and twisted it into a bun, changed into some not-so-cute seal-blue scrubs, then thought, Ah, shit! as I remembered I had plans to hang out with the ladies tonight. I grabbed my cell phone to call Keira.
“I know you’re not calling to cancel on us…are you?” she asked.
“Yes, I’m sorry.” I pouted. “I have an emergency cardiac cath, and I’m not sure how long I’ll be. You guys go…and have a shot or two for me.” When Keira groaned, I added, “Hey, if I get done in the next hour or two, I’ll meet you there.”
Hanging up my navy-blue pinstripe peplum skirt and crisp white blouse, I carefully placed my new pair of nude leather red bottoms in my locker and began to ponder on the choices I’d made. Becoming the top female Cardiologist in Chicago at such a young age wasn’t easy. Hell, I’d had to sacrifice the simple pleasures in life such as hanging out with friends, dating, and coming home at a decent time. And sex? Forget about it. I was sure the cobwebs down there had formed me a new hymen. My career was my life. I was single, with no boyfriend, no “friend with benefits,” no one-night stands. And definitely no children.
Wait, that was a lie. I did have a baby; I’d given birth to my private practice Greenway Health about five years ago, and it had blossomed ever since.
While I pondered, my stomach began to growl, so I grabbed a fresh apple from the fruit tray located in the lounge and redirected my thoughts to the challenge that awaited me: saving my patient’s life. Before biting into it, I thanked God for the leftover apple because I knew I probably wouldn’t get another meal tonight.
An hour and a half later, and another victory. I updated my patient’s family on the severity of his condition, watching as their fear and worry softened to relief at the news. That was why I loved doing what I did, saving lives one day at a time. Giving someone another chance to live fulfilled me and gave me a sense of purpose in the world.
I charted, dictated, and proceeded to the physicians’ locker room to remove my scrubs and don my clothes. I happened to glance at my cell phone, noting the time. It was ten-thirty p.m. already, and I’d received a message from Keira.
Keira: Hun, we’re still here having a great time, hope you can at least stop by?
I guessed I could go for a drink or two. It was Friday night and I was officially not on call. Why the hell not? I texted back.
Nikki: What’s the address?
Looking down, I realized I was in no way dressed to set foot in a club. Maybe a business interview. I remembered the cute white camisole I’d left in my car that should do just fine with my skirt. After all, I wasn’t planning to stay too long after a day like today.
I set my GPS to take me to River North, a place that bustled with the nightlife of Chicago. This new club was a little far from home, but for some reason, Keira wanted a change from the elite lounges we normally enjoyed. She was a very dear friend of mine. I’d met her about three years ago through my partner Dr. Dave Davenport. They were dating at the time, and she became very close to me. In fact, I would go as far as to say she was my best friend—which was a difficult title to earn because I was usually too busy to maintain friendships.
Keira Davenport, also known as the best damn defense attorney in Chicago, was beautiful and crazy as hell. She and Dave married about two years and had been happy together ever since. They had their fights on occasion, but what couple didn’t fight here and there? Whenever they squabbled, Keira would adopt her, “I’m going to do whatever the hell I want,” mood and would drag me out to bars, clubs, or wherever she needed me to go to help her realize she had a good man at home.
“Zero point five miles until your destination,” alerted my GPS.
My phone rang, and as I read the caller ID and phone number on the dashboard, I sighed, realizing it was someone from the hospital.
“Dr. Greenway,” I answered.
“Nikki, it’s Dave.”
“I see you had rough case. I just wanted to update you on his status,” he said.
I shook my head and smirked. Dave knew damn well I was probably with his wife. He was checking in on us. He never called me to “update” me on patients, and when he did, it was only ever to see what Keira was up to.
“Dave…I’ve not made it to the club yet, so I’m not sure what Keira’s doing. Look, I’ll watch out for the both of you. I promise,” I said sarcastically. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated Dave playing the big brother, but I often got bothered playing the middleman between Keira and Dave. Sometimes, I wished they would leave me out of their marital issues. I mean, hell, I had my own damn problems.
“Uh-huh. Okay.” He hesitated and sighed. “I know you will. Please be safe.”
“You have arrived,” my GPS announced as I pulled up outside the address. I looked up, noticing the white, bold, and bright sign on the building that read “VIN.” As the valet walked around my black 2018 Tesla Model S with his eyes bulging, rubbing his hands together like he was ready to take my second most important baby for a joy ride, I made a note of my mileage just in case.
He opened my door. “Good evening, ma’am,” the young guy said, handing me my valet ticket. I nodded as I stepped out onto the red carpet, giving him a, “Don’t try me,” kind of look when he took his seat in my car and carefully drove it down into the parking garage.
I was impressed with the décor inside the club and the overall aura as I walked through the place. Black and white checkered marble floors contrasted well with the red satin walls. Puffy white ornate sofas outlined the VIP section on the second floor that looked down onto the dance floor below. I also noticed the beautifully designed bars on both levels.
I texted Keira to let her know I’d arrived. She responded quickly.
Keira: Second floor, VIP entrance, I’ll meet you there.
I was not one to go out and mingle much because of my long hours, but when I did, I tended to attract the rich businessmen or jocks who dipped in the pool of assholes and cheaters I didn’t have time for. My last serious relationship, I’d almost sacrificed my career to being married and pregnant with one of the most successful lawyers in the country. Jeff and I were prefect together in theory, but his wants were not my wants. I wanted easy, uncomplicated companionship, and he was ready for a family. I just wasn’t ready then, and, honestly, I still wasn’t ready now. I guess that was why I end up in places like VIN. On occasion, I’d find myself with a man just to satisfy my needs, but the majority of the time, I’d end the night jumping into my satin sheets alone.
As I walked the dance floor, some well-known, wealthy entrepreneurs and professional athletes caught my eye. I began to think VIN might become my new regular hangout spot, but again, I quickly reminded myself, you’re married, remember? To your career?
I noticed I wasn’t too overdressed; other women had put a twist on their work attire as well. I stepped up to the roped-off VIP section where a muscular hunk of testosterone was standing guard.
“Party?” he asked in an English accent.
Keira popped up and yelled, “Alton! She’s with me.”
The guard unhooked the rope to let me in.
“Keira!” I embraced her in a tight hug.
“Nikki! Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming!” she yelled above the music.
“Where’s everyone else?” I asked. Keira had told me earlier today she’d invited some of the ladies who worked in her law firm’s building.
“Hun, I don’t know…and I don’t care. You’re here now! I think Jada and Simone left,” she said.
“You’ve been here alone?” I probed.
“I wasn’t ready to leave yet, and I was waiting for you!” she exclaimed.
I gave her a, “What the hell were you thinking?” look as she grabbed my hand and guided me to our VIP booth.
“Let’s sit at the bar first,” I said. After a day like today, I needed a drink—a stiff one.
“What can I get you?” asked a handsome bartender with “Andrew” printed on his name tag.
“Andrew, what tequilas do you have on your top shelf?” I asked. He listed a few, and I was surprised to learn they sold Trago, one of my favorites. “Trago on the rocks with a side of lime, please,” I ordered.
Andrew raised his eyebrows in surprise as I swiveled around to take in the atmosphere. VIN was a classy place.
“Cosmo, please,” Keira ordered.
As I glanced around, I found I recognized a lot of the club-goers. There were many physicians, lawyers, CEOs, and other business owners, including the proprietor of my favorite tapas restaurant, Dimitri, my sexy Puerto Rican Papa—which reminded me, I should go there next week for dinner.
Keira and I tried to catch up but spent more time yelling in one another’s ears repeatedly for thirty minutes or so because of the bass booming around us. So, instead of putting us at risk of developing laryngitis, we surrendered to the music and danced to song after song. After what seemed like forever, I dragged Keira off the dance floor. I needed two things. One, a drink; and two, a place to rest my achy feet. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my red bottoms, but after a long day, my feet tended to feel like a dog had been gnawing on them.
Finding a barstool, I turned around to face Keir and noticed Andrew talking to someone at the bar from a distance. A strong, sculptured man who screamed power locked eyes with me. He was wearing a tight black button-down shirt that seemed like it was carved to fit his body. Suddenly, my palms began to sweat, and for some reason, I felt a little intimidated and nervous, which was a rarity for me.
Oh boy, here we go…
I’d only wanted to enjoy the company of my girlfriend. Instead, as I sipped my delicious tequila, the gentleman approached.
“Can I see your ID?” he demanded.
“What the hell?” Keira yelled above the thump of club music.
I crossed my legs and slipped my hand into my Louis Vuitton clutch. “What’s this about?” I asked.
“You see, ma’am—” he began.
“She not your ma’am!” my tipsy friend defended.
“Well, my bartender believes you’re a little underage to be here and drinking” he explained.
I laughed hysterically. “What?” As the man continued to stare into my eyes haughtily, my hand found the card inside my clutch, and I pulled it out to pass it over to him. “Gladly,” I responded in surprise.