Luna wasn’t sure if it was excitement or just plum nerves, but something caused her to wake up three hours before she had to leave for work. Not that it really bothered her. Luna had always been a morning person. This just gave her an excuse to go on an early morning jog, before the sun had even come up. Fitness had always been very important to her, after all.
As she ran through the winding suburban streets of her neighborhood, Luna loved taking it all in. The palm trees, the lush greens, the desert sun creeping over the skyline. It was breathtaking. What a way to get out and explore the neighborhood.
When she returned to her house, Luna hopped in the shower, feeling energized when she emerged. She cooked herself some eggs–the easiest thing she could think of to fill her up–and managed not to burn herself! Hey, cooking had never been her strong suit. The Londons always had maids and butlers, so it’s not like anyone ever thought to teach her how to cook. For now, it would just be lots of scrambled eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches. Probably for the foreseeable future, if the quality of her eggs was anything to go by…
When she arrived at the hospital, Luna’s nerves fully kicked in. This was what she’d been dreaming of, ever since she was a little girl. And it was finally happening! She took a deep breath, put on her game face, and walked through the glass doors like she knew what she was doing. Hey, these scrubs did make her feel a little more confident.
Upon entering, Luna was greeted by the elderly hospital receptionist.
“Name?” he asked, eyes glued to his computer monitor. “Someone will be out to admit you shortly.”
“Er, Luna London?” Luna hedged, suddenly feeling all that confidence deflate from her. “I’m not a patient, I’m the new medical intern and–”
“An intern?!” The man’s eyes snapped up to Luna’s face. “Thank Plum! I thought administration would never hire someone. We’ve been shortstaffed for weeks. Here, this is your task list for the day–the first patient is in Exam Room 4, he’ll need food I think…What’re you standing there for? We’ve got patients to treat!”
Terrified by the man’s intensity, Luna took the clipboard that was shoved into her face and scurried off down the hall toward where she assumed the exam rooms might be. Well, out of the skillet and into the fire…
She came upon a door with the number 4 on it. This must be it. She looked down at her clipboard, where her first task was listed: Deliver food to patient in exam room. Okay, that sounded easy enough. A nurse with a food cart passed by, and Luna grabbed a plate before stepping into the room, where a boy lay groaning and holding his stomach.
And her first day never stopped being hectic. She couldn’t even find time to use the restroom, let alone take any sort of breather. Eventually, the receptionist (who she came to know as Leo) must have noticed the frazzled look on her face.
“London, take twenty for lunch,” he sighed, clearly exasperated with having to deal with the new person, plus the line of patients covered in tiger stripes in front of his desk. Even though Luna felt a bit guilty for not being able to keep up, she jumped at the opportunity for a break. Eating her sandwich alone in the staffroom was the first bit of silence she’d gotten all day, and it felt wonderful.
After finishing her lunch, Luna looked back at her clipboard for the next item on her list. Intern should prepare coffee for Abernathy. Okay, easy enough, though Luna didn’t really understand why this Abernathy person couldn’t make their own plum coffee.
Coffee in hand, Luna wandered the hallway, looking for any sign of this Abernathy person, presumably a doctor. She had just rounded the corner into the emergency unit, when–
“Ahh!” The force of some solid thing crashed into her, knocking her completely off-balance. But that wasn’t the worst of it–that honor went to the piping hot coffee that splashed across the front of her scrubs.
“Plum, plum!” Luna muttered, holding the empty mug away from herself to assess the damage. “Hey, do you think you could watch where you’re going?” Her eyes shot up to the person she’d run into, and she was met with a young, concerned face with blond hair.
“I’m so sorry–are you all right?” the man asked, reaching out to steady her.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Luna grumbled. “You just ruined the coffee I’m supposed to take to this Abernathy, who apparently is incapable of making their own coffee, and now I’m going to look like a screw-up on my first day as an intern, and–”
“Oh, you’re the new intern?” The man asked, his face changing from worried to interested.
“Yes, genius, thanks for picking up on that,” Luna replied sarcastically. “Nevermind the part about you making me look like a fool in front of Dr. Abernathy.”
“Well, if it makes you feel any better, he’s feeling pretty foolish himself right about now,” the man mused. “It’s also Nurse Abernathy, for now.” He pointed to his chest, where a name tag read T. Abernathy.
Luna felt her whole face turn red, and she wanted to dive under the covers of her bed and hide from the world. When was the last time she’d done that?
“I’m–I’m so sorry, I just–It’s my first day, I’m such an idiot–”
“No, no, that was my fault,” he said, waving off her apology. “Anyway, I’m Tyson. What’s your name?”
“Luna,” she mumbled, looking up to meet his eyes. He seemed a few years older than her, but likely not by much. He definitely looked a bit rugged to be a doctor–er, nurse. “So you must be pretty important to get your coffee delivered,” Luna said, trying to lighten the tension. “Do all nurses get treated that way?”
Tyson laughed. “Not quite, unfortunately. Our former doctor just retired, and administration seems to be courting me for a promotion. I still have a bit of training to pass first, though.”
“That sounds nice,” Luna murmured.
Tyson steered the conversation back to the new employee, seemingly uncomfortable with talking about himself. “So how has your first day been, Luna?”
She grimaced. “Hectic. I feel like I’ve hardly gotten anything done.”
“Nonsense,” Tyson assured. “From the looks of things, you’ve gotten a lot accomplished. You’re doing fine. And if I’m not mistaken…”–he looked down at his watch–“…your shift should be ending. Don’t bother staying late. Go out and unwind, maybe catch a drink at Rattlesnake Juice. I hear tonight they’re doing some kind of special.”
Luna started to open her mouth to argue with him, but in truth, she was too exhausted to stay much longer. She quickly thanked Tyson and gathered her things, strongly considering heeding his advice to grab a drink.
“Luna!” called a voice on her way out. She turned to find Tyson slipping on his jacket in the lobby. “It gets easier,” he said with a wink.
Luna stood outside the bar awkwardly, still trying to convince herself to go inside. She’d never really been much of the partying type, usually preferring to sit at home with her books. But this was her starting over. She needed to get out of her comfort zone.
She tried to call Eliza up to see if she might like a girls’ night out, but Eliza seemed to be busy remodeling the kitchen with her husband. So that left Luna, all by herself. She took a deep breath, and walked in to the bar.
Okay, this wasn’t so bad. The place wasn’t even that crowded yet.
“Juice on the rocks,” Luna said to the bartender, ordering the first thing that came to mind, since she knew next to nothing about juice. Juice on the rocks was what her father had always ordered at weddings. But she didn’t want to think about that now.
Luna tried to start a conversation with the blonde woman next to her, but the woman seemed decidedly uninterested, and took off to go talk to a friend by the jukebox.
Luna took a big gulp of her juice to calm her nerves. She wasn’t really sure what she was looking for tonight. Friends, lovers. All of it was so foreign to her. She’d kept to herself so much as a teenager, never really fitting in with the other wealthy kids, that she didn’t really know how to talk to people.
After a few drinks, Luna found herself holding a conversation with a bear–a person in a bear suit?–and even that seemed forced. With the sun starting to go down, she decided to call it a night. After paying her tab with the bartender, Luna set off for home.
The night was still young. Instead of curling up with a book or just turning in early, Luna decided to put her time to good use. She was going to practice her charisma. She was a nice enough person, if a bit of a workaholic. If people like her parents could have friends, then surely she could too, with a bit of practice.
After stumbling over a speech, Luna winced. Make that a LOT of practice.