Caleb hated hospitals. He’d never enjoyed the white coats, brights lights, and odd smells of the super sterile environment required to help people heal because in his experience most people who went into hospitals never came out again. He was already an hour late to his appointment seeing as there had been an elevator fiasco requiring a handyman to reset the zut thing before he could even arrive on the right floor of Evermore General.  Either way, being trapped in an elevator with someone else was far better than hiking it alone. It was fair to say that he wasn’t the best in enclosed spaces, but he’d be much farther on his way to a panic attack if it weren’t for a patient who introduced herself Cora Breadford. Caleb was fairly certain that was the tipsy version of a similar name.

The lobby was busy, crowded with coughing patients of many types, who barely looked up when he entered the room. Caleb forced his hands deep into his pockets, ignoring his instinct to get out of her as quickly as possible. Argent had been right in the fact that his injuries needed some care and as much as he hated to admit it, what Caleb needed the most was a safe place to rest, a lot of sleep, and people to take care of him. His head throbbed under the fluorescent lights. Grimacing as he approached the front desk, Caleb struggled to get the words out of his mouth that needed to be spoken. The nurse at the desk continued typing away, busy with the charts and patients, waiting for him to speak up. It took him several minutes, but felt like forever as he struggled to explain, half of his words turning French as they fell from his tongue.

He was late. The elevator broke down. His head hurt.

Caleb settled into a chair in the quietest corner of the room he could find, which was filled with coughing kids and a few pregnant ladies.

Je déteste les hôpitaux...

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Malva found herself staring at the window pane of her room, as she fiddled with the amethyst pendant that hung lowly around her neckline. It was the pendant that held a lot of significance towards her, especially considering it was the token and symbol of who she was and why she did what she did. Settling herself comfortably by the balcony of her rather dark, dull, and somber room, the Aspect of Magic found herself leaning against the balcony door frame. Today seemed very quiet to her. But then again, every day was the same thing to her. Malva kept herself cooped up inside her room, without anyone having the guts to face nor bother her unless they were willing to be hit by a random hex, doing the same inane thing every single day for the past few months; which was studying on the dark arts. It seemed to be the only thing the pessimistic Ailward Aspect was doing, these days.

Stretching her limbs out briefly, she lets out a heaved sigh as her hooded blue hues skimmed through the pages of the 800-year-old book on blood magic. For someone who disliked dark magic with all her might, Malva was doing a very bad job at keeping herself away from it. Her prying self was keen on trying to regain the knowledge she thought she's lost since 400 years ago. God knows how much she needed those right now. The Aspect of Magic knew there was an impending danger brewing from afar, and it was just waiting to strike them down as soon as the time was revealed to be fitting. It wasn't associated with light for sure, so she needed to get down to business and get herself more acquainted with the lesser of the two. As she stopped momentarily at a page that was talking about a certain spell that enables her to control the victim much like a marionette, she squinted her eyes slightly and read every word carefully.

Now that is interesting. And cruel. But she'll take it.

But just as she was about to grab the yarn from her drawer under her vanity table, she was interrupted by the ringing coming from her phone. Malva sighed in distress and frustration before fishing it out from her bag that laid across the room. Slumping back against the door, she swiped the caller ID and answered. “Yes?” From the sound of her tone, it was clear that she hoped the call meant serious business or she's a goner. Unfortunately, it was. Which meant she will have to resume her studying and reading afterwards instead. “I'll be right there..” Out of all days, it just had to be today. Don't get her wrong, she loves her job as a doctor, it gives more insight to her knowledge-loving self. But sometimes, their timing can be so off that it ticks the Aspect off. “I'll get back to you later..” she mumbled silently as she closed the book and placed it on her shelf, where the other books resided.

Grabbing her bag, she tossed her phone in it with a few essential items before wrapping herself in a windbreaker and scarf and make her way downstairs. They lived in a quiet secluded area that not many came venturing around, with the exception of their guards, so the distance between the manor and the hospital derails her. She made a quick stop by the living room to snatch the keys and went towards the garage before plopping herself in her car. Briefly after revving up the engine, Malva drove off the compound and into the human territory, which was where her workplace was located at. After a couple of minutes, she arrived shortly and parked her car in the car park down the basement level. She didn't bother using the elevator, knowing fully well how packed it was going to be-- especially at such a peak hour. She hated being in tight spaces, one could dub her being claustrophobic, easily.

After greeting the staffs working busily momentarily, she rushed into her office and replaced the windbreaker with her doctor's coat. The name Malva Ailward etched itself on the left side. While reviewing her patients’ files, she was told that they were short-staffed in the ER and the nurse had asked if she wasn't busy enough to come and assist. Well, they were short-staffed which meant Malva had to come down and help if they were going anywhere near progress. She saw the number of patients waiting for their treatment and was about to go inside to help, until she saw a male mumbling in French sitting by, very closely. Somehow he piqued her interest. Stopping a nurse who was rushing in and out, she asked if there was a neurosurgeon specialist available for appointments. But everyone was in surgery sessions and some were away. She was then dismissed by Malva who said she'd take care of him.

Personne n'aime l'hôpital, monsieur. (No one likes the hospital, sir.)” She quipped lightly. When you've lived long enough, and especially when you've been to many places dealing with things, you tend to pick up a few languages. Tucking both her hands inside her pocket, she tilted her head slightly to the left to talk to the male. “Si vous pouvez vous adresser à mon bureau, je peux vérifier votre état correctement. À tout le moins à l’écart de toutes les foules occupées au service d’urgence. (If you could please come to my office, I can check your condition properly. At least away from all the busy crowds in Emergency Department.)” she offered kindly.

He had good reason to dislike hospitals, after all. There were a lot of uncomfortable memories buried in his head that took place there, but right now his headache was too bad to even attempt thinking back.  Most everyone in the room kept to themselves. Personal bubbles in hospitals didn’t often break. There was an unspoken code of silence that was only so often broken by the phone ringing at the front desk. Still, sitting in a waiting room, filled with patients, Caleb’s eyes roamed towards the giant window to the far side of the room. There was a potted tree that he could identify as a baby Douglas Fir, famous for bringing joy to everyone at Christmas. Inside the branches, hopped a robin. He smiled. What a friendly speck of color on the otherwise bleak day. Caleb had been carrying his camera on the ride into Evermore, but it had endured a few bumps on the day of the accident. He'd have to tinker with it before it would be able to take pictures again. Luckily, right now, all he had was time. Eyebrows knit together in thought, the young man pulled the battered equipment from his bag and began puttering away at the mechanics. “De cette façon ... et ça ... non non.” He shook his head, staring at the inside of the camera. “Hmm.” 

If only he had his tools, this would go a lot faster. Caleb looked at the long line of patients. Surely, there were people waiting ahead of him. Would they really notice of he slipped out to get something and came back in twenty minutes? Everything was still and quiet. Eesh, there was no escaping the hospital heebie-jeebies. Caleb shivered as someone was pushed through a set of large doors on a stretcher. “Bonne chance, amie. The hospital sucks.” He whispered under his breath and went back to fiddling with his camera. The last thing he wanted to do was watch more people be wheeled into death traps.

French was the last language he expected to hear in Colorado. There wasn’t even a lot of reason for him to use it. 

He was perfectly fluent in English and only spoke French for the simple comfort that it was enjoyable and felt like home. Hearing another person speak it was like music to his ears, but an old favorite song that never was worn out no matter how many times it was played. Standing in front of him was a young brunette woman in a white doctor’s coat with her hands tucked into her pockets. Her pronunciation wasn’t native, but it was skilled. Caleb tilted his head and nodded, quickly placing his camera back into the backpack that he carried. “Je suis Caleb.” He smiled and offered her a hand to shake. “You speak my language beautifully.”

He followed her through the double doors towards the offices, which thankfully were not the same as the place which the sick man on the cart had gone. They were private and filled with more large windows like the one he had so admired before. Early afternoon sunlight rushed in only inhibited by a few blinds which kept it from being overpowering. The chairs were comfortable and the walls were lined in bookshelves and a desk inhabited the far corner. This was not a typical sterile doctor’s office filled with white walls and steel instruments. Caleb surrendered his backpack to a nearby chair, his eyes wandering across the books and finally, to the doctor. “This does not look like a hospital.”

It wasn't usual to see foreigners residing in Evermore, but over the past years, it became much more frequent when most tried to move in and relocate in attempts of starting anew. For Malva, who's had her own fair share of going around the world occasionally to supervise things on field, so hearing foreign languages wouldn't be a surprise to her. When the male introduced himself, she shook his hand for the sake of good mannerisms. “Je suis Malva.” she returned with a smile, before shortly leading him into her office. While walking there, she took the liberty to answer what he has to ask. “French would be my fourth language, easily. That happens when your mother's French.” she quipped slightly, retracing her family roots back to what it was a thousand years ago.

Her father was Russian and Portuguese altogether. Same goes for her mother who's Russian and French. When they moved to a new coven in North America, a place to what is known as Atlanta today, they were met with new customs. And while Malva grew into the new culture, she made sure to carry her Russian heritage until today. It was one of the things she was proud of. Pride is one of her fatal flaws-- hubris. But a flaw she chose to bask in, nonetheless. Growing up, the Aspect of Magic picked off Galician-Portuguese and French from her parents respectively. Once they arrived in her office, she took out a small flashlight from the drawer and took a seat in front of Caleb, who's already sat on the extra chair. “Nope, this is a hospital, Caleb. Not every office is dull and somber, and while I know hospitals aren't supposed to look jovial, this is mostly the look of the offices for most heads of departments. I'm a pathologist, head of the pathology department as well. So my office will look very different since I conduct most of my operations at the laboratory.”

As a pathologist, she works a lot with the lab, studying the diseases, if not with the morgue where she performs autopsies. She had to admit, working with dead bodies seemed to be a colloquial thing, so it has numbed her over time. It would be the first time she worked around dead bodies anyways. “But like I said. I'm a pathologist, not a neurosurgeon, so this is not my field of expertise. The only thing I could do is diagnose you following the reports the others would give me. But I am a minor in ER, which means I can inspect your injuries, which will make the diagnosis easier. Now I'm going to need you to answer my every question honestly.” She instructed and took an empty file from the drawer once again, this time with a pen twirled in between her fingers.

Placing the file on the desk, she switched on the flashlight and hold it in front of him as she directed it towards his hues. “What are you here for, Caleb? From the manner of your pupils dilating at a simple impulse, it seems that you would suffer a minor concussion. Any idea why that's the case?” Multitasking was a trait most doctors would have, seeing as they need to get a lot of things done. But starting a conversation with the patient while doing so will also prompt them to tell the truth.

So, the tree branch to the head had left its mark. Caleb rubbed his fingers against his temples as the bright light shining into his eyes did nothing for the residual headache he had. Despite that his surroundings were much more office than they were doctor and he was thankful, Caleb still wished to get out of the building as quickly as he could. Nothing good ever came of staying in a hospital longer than necessary. There was a lot that could be said of the young brunette in the white coat’s bedside manner. It certainly wasn’t the most welcoming, but Caleb had a sense that the town had reasons to be in the very least curious about outsiders, perhaps even a bit fearful. It was hidden away in a little nook, off the maps, and off the roads, far from the outside world. He’d never heard of Evermore, Colorado until he was inside it. Caleb fiddled with his keychain, eyes scanning the massive bookshelf on the wall which posted a maze of curious titles.

Despite his hesitation at the woman’s approach and foggy memory, he decided to be as honest as he possibly could.  More than anything, he was a traveler, but somehow, he felt that he'd discovered a place that some people didn't want found. “I wanted to s'éloigner de tout...get away. A storm chased me into a crossroads and a tree branch knocked me out. I feel a bit lucky that someone found me and brought me here.” He stood and offered her his hand to shake, unknowing if she’d take it.

It wasn't usual for Malva to act so conveniently despite being a doctor who's supposed to have excellent bedside manners. But then again, she's a pathologist. The only other people she actually talks to are with other doctors and nurses alike, and not the patients directly. She's better at writing than speaking, always. That hasn't changed. So to receive such treatment from her, it wasn't surprising. At least she was being honest, that's a huge factor contributing to her occupation. The Aspect of Magic is good at her job, that's it. Don't expect her to act outside it, because there's a small number that was countable when it comes to that.

Much like her nature, she would prefer if Caleb would not lie to her regarding anything that occurred to him. She hated when people does that. You don't lie to your doctor. Why else would you bother to go to them for a checkup if you're still going to do that?

Her icy blue hues was fixated on the male for a while, before eyeing him to see if there was any other form of injuries that he suffered from. Better be safe than sorry. Regardless of her mannerisms, as a healer, she swore the Hippocratic oath, and she intends to uphold them. Every single one of them, without failure. Pride was one way to come in between too. So she would not allow any of her patients to come out of her office while they are still hurt.

Malva also noticed him wandering his eyes around her office. It was true, her office was unlike any other, even compared to the pediatric department. It didn't hold that much color like the pediatrics, but the variety of books arranged neatly on the bookshelves decorating the south side of her office. There were a few vases with her favourite flowers like carnation, hydrangea, and gypsophila.

“I'm not sure if I should welcome you like a concerned citizen or not. Personally, I wouldn't be that gal who would tell all good things about her home.” she drawled, and switched off the flashlight before jotting down a few notes on the clipboard. “Like I said. You have a minor concussion. You might have a few migraines here and there for the next few days, maybe a week at most.” she exclaimed. “But just to be sure.. We'll do a CT scan on you to measure just how much the concussion affected your cortex.” Getting back to her seat, she pressed on the phone and dialed a number, presumably to the radiology department to ask permission to use the room. While waiting for their confirmation, she crossed her legs as she leaned against her seat. “Who took care of you? Before you came here?” She was curious, of course.

He was thankful when the flashlight disappeared, as his eyes could honestly use the rest. Walking here in the bright sunlight hadn't exactly been a breeze, but his haphazard packing hadn't come concussion prepared and didn't include sunglasses. The young man did his best to keep his gaze from wandering around the room as the doctor sat down and towards the front. He tended to struggle with eye contact when he was nervous and hospitals weren't his favorite. Caleb had been blessed to be a child who was never sick and never missed school days even when everyone else got the flu. He’d skated through young adulthood with one well visit and never needing to step foot inside a doctor’s office. When it came to his own health, he was blessed. When it came to the health of those around him, they weren't as lucky. His Mother had died of an under-diagnosed aneurysm when he was only twelve and his great-aunt who became his caretaker suffered from heart problems. Now, his fiancée was missing and presumed dead in a plane crash. Caleb struggled to find words. Who took care of him? Currently, no one. They were all miles away, or dead. At twenty-five he was perfectly capable of taking care of himself, but previously it had been…”Ava.”

It was the first time he had said her name out loud, at least to another person. Caleb glanced up and hoped his emotions hadn't run amok on his face, as they tended to when Ava was brought up. As quickly as he met her eyes, he looked down, fiddling with the engagement ring on his left hand. Men didn't typically wear them, but he did. It was a personal joke between the two of them that she always lost things and she had never wanted to lose him.

Caleb felt a little sick, but he wasn't sure if it was the memories or the idea of lying in a medical tube while someone took pictures of his head, but before long he’d submitted to lying on a thin cold table. Two giant half circles spun above his head, stopping every few minutes as the giant shutter of a camera snapped back and forth. Oddly, some sense of stillness came over him and after a bit the noise started to fade out as he drifted off asleep. It had been three days since he’d slept more than a few hours per night and before long, someone was shaking his shoulder awake.

Following the male's reactions to her, she could pinpoint that he was indeed a shy guy. That or he's just nervous, which was more than acceptable when it comes to her honestly. Especially when it comes to her. Malva could come off as intimidating at times and her bedside manner is absolutely horrible, which still prompted some other people to wonder just how was it that she was able to bag a resident role in the hospital, a doctor position, much less the head of the pathology department. Everything stays in the air, from one rumor to another and it eventually dispersed whenever she steps inside the room. No one would dare to meet her eyes and tell all of that straight to her face without pissing themselves. It wasn't really something she got bothered by, truthfully. If that's how people perceived her, then there's nothing much she could do to change their perspectives. To each of their own.

She wasn't really expecting for him to answer her but when he did, she stopped every action she was doing earlier and placed the clipboard in her hand down, setting it aside on her table as she crossed her legs and leaned against the seat. Now who could that be. From what she read, with his body language acting out very easily, Caleb didn't seem like he had anyone with him. “Ava? Who is she, if you don't mind me asking? Your sister? Friend? Cousin? Aunt? Fiancee? Wife?” Very unusual that was Malva Ailward, who didn't like asking people questions as it took her too much effort to care into things she didn't want to bother herself with, here she was, inquiring the male about whoever it was the name indicated. Regardless of her ‘characteristics’ and persona, the Ailward Aspect is rather good at what she does, so that's why she's here to stay.

The moment his eyes went down to his fingers, her eyes also fell on it. There's a ring there, on his ring finger. Ironic. So she would be someone significant to him, fiancee if not wife. “And where is this Ava right now? Surely she would know where you've gone to.. Since it seems that she's your guardian.” Even for a grown adult, everyone needed a guardian, sometimes people even opted to put friends or employers as their to-go-to in their medical profile, in case anything occurred. When the nurse came knocking into her office, saying the room is good to go, she nodded and thanked the nurse before dismissing her.

Leading Caleb to the said room that was on the left side of the same wing where her department is located at, she closed the door and started the machine. “Also, I'm going to need you to sign here.. For consensual agreement.” She gave him a log book that required the patient's name, code, and signature, to which she had filled out two of the columns. When she saw him closing his eyes and probably drifting off to sleep, she was struck with a sense of relief because it could be an uncomfortable procedure to some. After a while of running the tests on him, she shook him awake. “Mr Segal.. It's done. You can wake up now. I don't think falling asleep in a MRI room is ideal. The place gets uncomfortable after a while.”

At-elle dit mal à l'aise? He was surprised that she admitted it. Nearly everyone he'd ever spoken to who worked at a hospital always tried to paint another picture. They were bright, clean, accessible and convenient, but never uncomfortable. Finally, he'd found someone who was willing to tell the truth. It was unusual in the medical profession to be more honest than necessary with the patient or their family.He'd only known professionalism over compassion. Caleb nodded and shoved his feet into his shoes. She left the room for a moment to give him privacy to change back into his clothes and as he tunneled his arms through a raglan tee and his legs through a pair of skinny jeans, Caleb couldn't help but contemplate her earlier question. Who was Ava to him? It was easy to put it into simple terms.  She was his fiancée, the love of his life, and his adventuring mate. Once you got past that it was difficult for Caleb to find words despite that he knew he'd once written letters declaring his love for the redheaded American who had changed his entire perspective on the world. As he exited the room, Caleb shoved his hands deep down into his pockets struggling to face the fact that he truly was alone. Alone was something he'd gotten used to as a child, but as an adult it was different. He'd always had friends in France and it made him wonder why he still felt a connection to Evermore when clearly there was not a soul here that he knew.

The hallways were quiet and the fluorescent lighting flickered as he walked by. Caleb had always wondered why there were so few windows in buildings that claimed to provide healing. The outdoors, fresh air, and natural light were so much more healing than being trapped in a system of recycled air and glass bulbs. He reached upwards and screwed the lightbulb one place to the left. The vibration ceased and a steady stream of light flowed down into his palm. He nodded and continued walking down the hallway. When everything failed to make sense at least science and electricity remained the same. A soft sigh was hefted from his shoulders as he once again joined Dr. Ailward in her office. The test results were ready. Caleb wasn’t afraid, not really; but a small irrational doubt clung to the back of his mind. His mother hadn’t known she was ding and wasn’t a lot older than he was now. He knit his fingers together, his hands again coming to rest upon his engagement ring. It was a dark silver, thin, and on the inside bore the engraving, ‘pour tous jours’. which in English meant ‘for all the days.’ Caleb smiled softly. “Ava is my best friend. My fiancée.” He looked up at Malva, unable to say the next words despite knowing they were true. So, in a will to get them out anyway, he used a childlike metaphor. “She went away. Far away and I don’t think she can come back.”

Truthfully, Malva was never one to show any compassion or empathy alone, to anyone else. It wasn't that she didn't want to, it's just simply because there's no room for her to feel the kind of weakness that would only bring her down someday. For Malva, emotions were a luxury she couldn't afford, not in this life, or in another. Not if she still has magic running through her veins. She did wonder when did it went wrong though. Once upon a time ago, she had no problem with being empathetic, showing off her compassion to anyone who would take it. Despite being abrasive and pessimistic, she was once a bright and free-spirited gal. The world just hardened her through all the hardships she has faced alongside her family. There was only so much a person could handle anyways. It was only a matter of time when she gave in tirelessly.

But as a doctor, it was a prerequisite for her to know the art of professionalism. She knows when to be kind and show what's left of the nurturing side of her, which is actually quite a sum. Much like her other colleagues, Malva too, was quite serious and cold, but she didn't like to sugar coat things and believed in honesty above everything else, it was one of the things that differentiated her with others. When others would try their best to kiss up to their patients, you'll see none from the Aspect of Magic, though it was possible that it's just her demeanor of not giving a damn influencing most parts of her deciding factors. As soon as the results came out, displaying itself on the monitor to which the brunette had them printed out for a physical copy, she left the room to give Caleb some privacy to change out of the mandatory clothes that was given to him earlier.

Taking the form, she leaned against the glass window and skimmed through the fine print, her sapphire hues going through every single word carefully. Humming to herself softly, she offered him a thin-lipped smile at his reaction. She understood what that metaphor meant, of course she did, her life wasn't exactly a fairytale nor was it even considered a decent life any person would go through. The pressure weighing on her shoulders, it was evident. “I'm sorry to hear that. No one should have to go through that.” Prompting for the male to take a seat in front of him, she pushed the paper towards his direction. “You do have a concussion, but it's not as serious as I would say it could come to" she pursed her lips slightly before continuing.

"Though minor, there's still a few repercussions that could come from it. A single concussion doesn't equal to a permanent damage, so that's one thing you can look forward to. But your blood vessels is a bit strained.. Anymore pressure and you would've succeeded into tearing it. I would advise for you to stay warded for a few days so we can conduct more research on your injury. I can't diagnose this on the spot, no doctor could, honestly.. I need at least a day or two minimum.”

Caleb was surprised at the words that sprang from his mouth. He hadn't even really dared to think in the last eleven months about the state of his life and his relationships. It was easier to run and move on than to face everything he was missing in life. Of course, it grew tiring to live out of a suitcase and never sleep in the same bed, but for him it was still easier than staying in an apartment that the person he loved the most would never come home to again. He couldn't bear that thought - which was why every day, Caleb did everything that he could in order to shove as far away as possible. Still, sometimes in the silence of two a.m. when he woke without intending to the pressure of loneliness felt like he was standing on the ocean floor. He could appreciate the morning because with it came sunlight, and songs of birds, but once the sun went down it was like everything changed. The world was dark and sleep was often far from his bed.  Moonlight walks helped, especially now that he was out of the city where the noise was constant and demanding. Out here in the wilds of Colorado, Caleb could see more stars than he'd ever known existed in France. It reminded him of the chalet that he'd grown up in where the only sounds at night were the creaking of the house settling and the hum of a hundred crickets. 

He couldn't imagine ever living in a city again. The small spaces were just nothing to trade for the open outdoors. As Malva pursed her lips gazing over him and deciding upon a diagnosis, Caleb found his gaze traveling out the window. There wasn't a lot she could ask him to do that was worse than his current predicament. It wasn't as if he had to stay in the hospital for a mild -- ai.

The last of her sentence caught up to his ear and Caleb gulped. He'd really rather not. Making his bed at a hospital in the middle of nowhere seemed less inviting than taking his chances with a concussion. But, as he shook his head, Caleb felt guilt creeping up on his shoulders. He knew it was irresponsible to not take care of his own health. Ava had scolded him many a time about his lack of a sleep schedule and fear of medical offices, but it hadn't been so bad back then because she always came with him. They had even suffered through flu season together. He tucked his hands in his pockets and gave the doctor a slight nod. "As you wish."

Caleb seemed peculiar, that’s one word Malva would use to describe the human before her. He seemed mundane enough, no shady backstory and his upbringing sounded independent enough, nothing out of the ordinary, just that he just so happens to be one of the many humans that found their way to the eternal city and would probably end up making a permanent residence there. The city held something special inside its walls and borders, it’s enigmatic and it pulls everyone into it, and she was sure even humans weren’t excluded from its ‘charms’.

But what she could pinpoint was that he does seem disturbed and bothered by something, and she wasn’t sure if it was just his personal life or something else. Malva is a good listener but she’s a better reader, though no one usually notices that she’s eyeing them from afar, and not in a stalkerish way, just that she’s unusually perceptive and attentive about everything. The Aspect of Magic hates not knowing something, it makes her feel impish and none of to anyone’s surprise, the meticulous perfectionist vessel of Malva Ailward would never tolerate that. Following the reaction, Caleb elicited once Mal told him he would be required to stay warded for at least a few days so they could monitor him better, without any worries or problems occurring halfway. It would be safer for him too, to stay inside the hospital walls, when times are becoming dire as of late.

Evermore is beautiful, but much like a rose, it is not without its thorns too. It looks pretty and calm from the outer, but once you prick your finger on its sharp thorns, your view towards the eternal city would change in a split second, breaking away whatever perceptions you had on it before. But then again, everything beautiful is dangerous too. That’s when you know it’s perfectly balanced. As should the nature deem it. “I know staying in the hospital isn’t exactly ideal, believe me, I do. You’re not the first patient who would scrunch their nose up at the mere idea or suggestion of it, so don’t worry. If I’m not a doctor, I wouldn’t want to be surrounded by such space either. Too… sterilized.” Sometimes, too clean seems way off, like the calm before the storm kind of off.

“It’s only for a few days, I’ll try to run a few tests and analyze the CT scan results, if luck has it, I should have the department done in less than a day.” Taking out one pen to write his name down, she pushed the form his way slowly. “Please fill out the consent form and biography, for identification purposes. I’ll have them make your spot.” And with that, Malva dialed the reception and told them to register one more bed.

It had never struck Caleb before that he was lucky when it came to the familial genetic department; but as he gazed down at the intake survey it stared him in the face. Heart disease, asthma, high cholesterol, diabetes: he placed a red X next to the health conditions raging in a line down the paper. However, at the bottom of the column there was a section labeled other. Caleb's brow wrinkled as he wrote 'cerebral aneurysm, maternal' in the blank. There wasn't a lot to say about it, but it had influenced his life in a major way. As far as he knew. he was as healthy as a horse. Caleb carefully filled in the form and set it on the table. The majority of health care was free in France, so while he'd lived in abroad any flu or fever had been covered out of pocket. However, it wasn't much of a problem considering that he had worked well before getting engaged and his mother's art still brought in revenue. 

Caleb shoved his hands deep into his pockets, wondering if he'd have to surrender his comfortable jeans and tee for a hospital gown. That was a bit more breezy than he was used to; Ava would have teased him, just as she had before he jumped into the lake that day before he proposed, water logged and sun-kissed. There were no ways to argue his way out of it and for some reason that made him smile. He reached for his backpack and followed the nurse to his temporary station. It was roomier than he thought and painted a soft blue. There was a medical chart on the wall and a window above the bed. The natural light streaming onto the bed relaxed his nerves.

Caleb settled onto the bed and accepted the scrubs that were handed his way and the moment of privacy to change. At least it wasn't a nightgown. While this wasn't his ideal situation, he did have his packpack with a novel to read in the downtime while he waited for Dr. Ailward to return from her rounds and at least he knew that he was doing the thing his fiancee would have wanted. 

Où qu'elle soit.

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