Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Capt. Blu, Sep 19, 2016.

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  1. Professionals

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    Avenley Rios


    Overview: The daughter of a high-ranking member of the Rios crime syndicate out of Southern California, Avenley is the epitome of the 'girl next door.' She's a generally nondescript, though bright girl, and her most defining characteristic is putting her nose in other people's business. She's ambitious, confident, deliberate, and a long-range thinker, though she has no place in her father's business as a woman. As such, she loves learning about things she doesn't understand and, no matter what, will try and find out the truth behind whatever is puzzling her.

    Even though she is quite meddlesome, she is also very stoic and serious, usually not one for joking or teasing around. Her life as a syndicate daughter has caused her to grow up fast and hard, giving her an immense amount of street and social skills.

    She's extremely competitive and is always seeking to prove herself to others, even though her weakened heart health condition makes it difficult for her to do so. She's incredibly stubborn and pessimistic, incredibly set i her ways, but not at all compulsive. Though she is definitely a tough young woman, she loves Audrey Hepburn movies, coffee ice-cream, and the really pretty coral lipstick shade at the local drugstore.​



    Duke Spera

    Age: 25

    Overview: Since the day he started school, Duke was always hard at work trying to be the best he could be. He grew up as an only child, so his only competition was himself at home, although at school was a different story- his parents even encouraged it. Duke’s parents are a quaint couple, now living a quiet life on the countryside, happily raising animals and enjoying retirement. It’s hard to believe Duke was ever a ‘country boy’ growing up, especially since most of his years were spent in the city where the action was and of course where his schools were.

    Despite such drive to be the best at what he does, Duke was and still is a rather quiet and soft spoken person when he’s not focused during work. He would much rather listen to the stories others have than talk about his own- unless of course he’s roped into talking about his passion which is essentially, the medical field.

    All that hard work got him his doctorate’s degree, allowing him to get his license as a concierge doctor. He started off as a doctor for PeakView Hospital but learned about the lack of concierge doctors and decided to aid where he was needed most. Currently, he lives in a nice loft apartment with his black Russian Terrier, Echo. On Duke’s off days, he spends time relaxing with his dog whether it be indoors or out.

    Appearance (open)

    • Bucket of Rainbows Bucket of Rainbows x 1
  2. “Alright Echo, you know the drill. It’s work time okay? I’ll be back tonight and Tammy will be by in a few to check on you and take you for a walk. Got it?” Duke Spera grabbed the keys hanging next to the wall before getting tackled, well pushed against the wall by the Black Russian Terrier he owned. He had to catch his glasses when they slanted, threatening to fall off his face. “Geez Echo,” he said with a laugh. “You’re gonna hurt me one day doing that. You’re no little puppy anymore. Yeah, yeah I’ll miss you too. Maybe this weekend Miss Joanne will let you come to her house with me. She’d love the extra company.” After saying his goodbyes to his dog Echo, Duke hurried to catch the train to get to work. As a doctor, his days were always busy, however, as a concierge doctor those busy days were specific to Tuesdays, Thursdays, and the occasional weekend visit. There was also the occasional house call, but his patient Miss Joanne Ceily was feeling a lot stronger these days and didn’t need too much help compared to months before. He would have gotten more patients, but the way she was paying, he figured he’d survive.

    The train ride was a thirty minute commute and the actual work took up the rest of the day. Like clockwork, from 8am to 8:30pm he tended to “Miss Jo” and kept her company. On some days. It was an easy job, considering she just wanted the company and only needed to give her check ups. But of course there were bad days where she just couldn’t move and everything seemed to go wrong. As a doctor, Duke was prepared for it all.

    “Oh darling, wonderful! You’re here.” Duke gave a quick once over of the short, frail woman. She was using her cane today instead of her walker. Her white hair seemed more curlier than usual, meaning she had the energy to take care of it. Her eyes were a brighter green than before and she had a smile on her face. “You’re just in time for the soaps. Harold is going to propose to Tiffany!”

    Duke gave a soft chuckle as he walked inside. “Good morning to you too Miss Jo.” And like that, the work day began. He made breakfast for the both of them, made sure Joanne took her medicine, and checked her over just to be absolutely thorough. With such a large house, it wasn’t a surprise to see a maid or two wandering around and cleaning. The real mystery was what they were cleaning considering Miss Joanne was the only one living there. Sometimes Duke wondered how she was able to sit on so much money- and not have one family member to share it with. However, her life was her own and he didn’t pry.

    It was one of the easier days at work. Duke had finally helped Joanne take her medicine and get to bed and was once again hurrying to the train like he was early that morning. “I could have just driven down here-” The thoughts of traffic flashed through his head. “Nah, the train is fine.”

    It was a good day. He had called ahead of time to let Tammy, his neighbor, know that all was fine and there was no need to check on Echo again. There was leftover pasta in the fridge. It was Thursday night, so his four day weekend could begin as soon as he got home. There was even movie night possibilities. Yes, it was going to be a relaxing evening with his favorite, very large pup.
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  3. The manor was red brick and not nearly so old as visitors assumed. The walls grew from the manicured lawn into an abode so large it had ‘wings’ and more windows than a casual glance could count. Everything about it said expensively built, inside and out, but it looked as friendly and welcoming as day-old oatmeal. The manor itself was the ego of its owner, Don Rios, laid out in brick: it was overly large and ostentatious to the point of intimidation. It lay on the tamed hill as if it had been dropped there from outer space, making no attempt to camouflage into the countryside. Inside was just as museum like, and Avenley had always hated it.

    ‘Too much’ her mother used to say about it, and Avenley couldn’t help but agree.

    Stumbling up the stairs that twisted in a perfect spiral, like a child’s slinky toy pulled form each end, Avenley huffed and clutched her chest before reaching for the railing and using it for support. She shivered in the humid room and while her stomach had stopped lurching, she merely felt bruised inside. Waves of heat coursed through her blood, a cold sweat glistening in her gaunt, but pretty, features. Her eyes had sunken a little and her skin became sallow—everything ached, everything felt like too much damn effort. In her chest, her heart beat erratically and uncomfortably, as if it had fallen away from the rhythmic, two-step beat.

    “Miss Rios?” a familiar voice called from behind her. “Miss Rios!” The household servant (though her father, Don, refused to call them by their titles of ‘servants’ and instead referred to them only as ‘household help’), Anne, came trotting up the stairs behind her. She was not overly old, but her body had aged passed her years so much so that she wore the wizened features of an old crone. The occasional strand of once golden hair could still be seen through the thick grey mane that was swept up into a bun on top of her head. She was a nice woman; Avenley had always liked her, even when she was a baby.

    “Anne-“ Avenley responded, flopping back uncomfortably against the bannister, “I fear I’m not feeling quite right, admittedly.”

    “You don’t look quite right, honestly. Come, let’s get you back in bed. I’ll give the doctor a call.”

    Doctor calls were common. Avenley was sick, always had been and it eventually got so common that her father refused to keep taking her to the doctor and instead started bringing the doctor to her through house-calls. Unfortunately, it just so happened that her normal doctor, Dr. Vasquez, happened to be out on holiday. His voicemail left an alternative concierge doctor’s number on the pre-recorded message and without thinking a beat, Anne had punched in the number to the sound of Avenley’s tender wheezing ongoing in the background.

    “Avenley, dear,” Anne mouthed over the sound of her cellphone ringing in her ear, “Dr. Vasquez is out. I’m calling someone else for you, okay? Just hang in there.”

    Just hang in there… Avenley practically snorted at the comment, but just rolled her eyes closed. It wasn’t like she had much of a choice. She had slipped in bed and resting had certainly begun to help, but she could feel her heart beat all the same… every single pound in her chest. Not through her ears, they were occupied by the steady drum, pipe, and dark voice of the Celtic music that Anne liked to put on because it was “good for the soul.” These attacks were common—when her heart would go off and do its own tangent—but she hadn’t had one quite so bad in sometime. Even the room began to feel like it was spinning, though her eyes were closed and she clenched them together even tighter, expelling every breath that she could.

    Her damn heart was damn useless, truthfully.
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  4. “Echo, I’m home!” With the light from the balcony door illuminating the living room, it wasn’t as dark as it could have been. Not to mention the light above the stove was left on in the kitchen. He could have sworn he turned that off. No matter. The place still looked the same as when he left it. Walking in led right into the living room, a room with two couches, a table, and a large tv. There was nothing really special about the spacious area in Duke’s opinion. On his left was an island that separated the living room from the kitchen, a slightly smaller space from the room before it.

    Duke hadn’t gone farther down the hall because he could hear the dog from the other room, rushing to greet him and in a matter of seconds, Duke was bombarded by the Russian Terrier. Fortunately he had already set his bag and glasses down on the living room table in preparation for this. Echo didn’t do much besides stand on his back legs and silently demand to be pet, but nonetheless the heavy dog managed to once again push Duke back some. “Yes buddy, we’ve got the whole weekend! Finally some time to relax.” As he was talking, he pried Echo off of him and shed the rest of his unneeded belongings like his wallet and jacket, onto the couch. The leftover pasta was on his mind, so he made his way to the kitchen- and of course filled Echo’s food dish in the process.

    For the most part, the loft was silent save for the hum of the tv. He wasn’t sure what was on considering he hadn’t actually sat down yet. Sure he said he was going to relax but his mind went on many tangents. There was food to warm up, there was a dog to feed, things needed to be cleaned, his small cactus on the balcony needed to be watered, he had to check-

    Well, needless to say, Duke got all of that done in record time. “Alright, time to finally sit-” His phone began to ring. “Annnd back up.” It wasn’t Miss Joanne nor her maid, but Duke answered the call anyway. “This is Duke Spera, concierge doctor, how may I assist you?” Almost immediately the woman on the other line began to spew information to him. While she spoke, Duke scrambled and grabbed a notepad and pen to write the information down. “Dr. Vasquez is out? Alright. Issues? Oh, yes, okay. Does she have any medications? Got it.” He scribbled down the address as well. “I’ll be there as fast as I can. Just have her laying down, don’t stress her,” As he listed off some helpful tips, Duke was scrambling to get his work clothes back on. “Yes, a cool towel would be helpful and loose clothing. Yes, I’m heading to you as we speak. Alright ma’am.”


    “Bag...bag..where is-” A low ‘boof’ noise came from Echo as he used his muzzle to lift the bag sitting next to him. “Oh! Thank you buddy. Sorry Echo, I have to head out again. By the sound of it, I may be out for...well it’s going to be a long night.”

    Duke was rushing out. By the sounds of it, this patient of his had a rather weak heart. It was getting too late for the train, and by the looks of the address, the train wasn’t going to take him exactly where he needed to get to- not on time at least, so he hopped in his car.

    As much as Duke wanted to assist as quickly as possible, he wasn’t going to be able to prescribe any medications just yet until he knew more about the patient. With how dire the woman on the phone made it sound, he couldn’t help but feel a bit on edge for the patient. If it was something this serious, shouldn’t they have rushed her to a hospital?

    Upon arriving at the address a looming intimidation fell over him. This ‘home’ was one step shy of a castle in his opinion. “Way bigger than Miss Jo’s place…” He muttered to himself. Now wasn’t the time for him to be nervous though. Duke had work to do. Mentally calming himself down, Duke adjusted his glasses, a nervous tick he noticed, and rang the doorbell. Just to be on the safe side, he knocked as well. While he waited, Duke reached into his pocket and pulled out his ID, indicating that he was in fact the concierge doctor they called.
    • Nice execution! Nice execution! x 1
  5. “He says to not stress,” Anne briskly quipped as she hit ‘end call’ on her phone, “And that he will be right over. He sounds nice.”

    The phrase don’t stress was difficult to grapple with. Naturally, it just began to stress her out that she was supposed to not stress—and the entire event became a bell-curve of distress where she began to realize she was more stressed by being told to not stress than she was with the aching discomfort fluttering through her chest and blossoming into her head like a tidal wave of nausea. Beneath her weight the bed felt hard, not as much as stone blocks, but not right for her normally comfy and cozy bedspread. It was hard for her to make out the details of the room, but by squinting her eyes she could make out the features. It was the same as it ever was: clean and pristine.

    At first glance, the room looked like that of a young woman’s. The bedspread was a beautiful lavender with towers arching up at every corner of the bed with a canopy twirled around them. Along the opposite wall was a dresser and in the corner a desk with a computer and neatly laid out notebooks and files. At first glance, it looked perfectly normal, but at second glance, nothing felt quite right. There wasn’t a single mess, like the room hadn’t even been lived in at all, and there was nothing personal about the space at all—no pictures hanging on the wall, no corkboards with notes and reminders pinned to it, nothing that said the room was anything but staged.

    Avenley had lived her entire life in that room like it was some kind of sick dollhouse. Her father never approved of items or objects that were deemed personal because things that were personal were things that were dangerous, things that could be used against them. She didn’t so much as not have friends as she wasn’t allowed them and her private home-schooling education had been something of a joke. She wasn’t a normal girl, that was for sure, and the dollhouse-like room always left her feeling like something of a doll—an object for her father to pose and bring out to play when he saw fit, but keep her tucked away when he did not.

    In her haze, she wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but the next thing she remembered clearly was the sound of the doorbell—distant, as it was some ways away. Anne clicked her tongue and vanished through the door, letting it fall shut behind her with a small ‘click’ of the metal lock.

    The older woman scurried across the handsome, hardwood floors, dusting off the front of her skirt as she went. Arriving at the door, she paused a moment to glance through the peephole before reaching for the lock and handle. “Greetings,” she welcomed with feigned warmth, “You must be the concierge doctor… Doctor…?” she paused, expecting him to introduce himself but before he would have even had the chance, she dismissed it entirely with a brisk wave of her hand.

    “I’m Ms. Winston. The young woman you will be seeing today is right this way. Please, follow me, if you will and please don’t mind the mess. My cleaning was interrupted by this… spell of hers, if you will.” There wasn’t really any mess in the entire front foyer for her to be speaking of as the entire place was immaculate, but she seemed keen on the idea that it was a filthy mess all the same.

    Without waiting to see if he followed, Anne turned abruptly on her heel and led the way back to Avenley’s room.
  6. The door opened and Duke straightened up, not out of fear but to make sure he gave a good first impression. It was something he always did because as a fairly young doctor, he had skeptical patients sometimes. As frustrating as it was, he tried to dispel their unease as quick as possible. It was a minor issue, he knew, but it was effective. Talking the talk was one thing, but ‘looking the part’ was where he was really judged. That and of course helping the patient.

    “Good evening I’m-” His words were cut short. The ID was still raised to show, but Ms. Winston was already walking off with haste. The way she hurried, made him much more alert- How bad was the situation really? Duke figured questions would be answered soon enough, so he stuffed his ID back into his pocket and followed right behind Ms. Winston. It was unfortunate that he couldn’t stop to enjoy the spacious and extraordinary house as he closed the door behind him. Everything about it screamed pristine. Oddly enough, everything about it also screamed...empty?

    There was no time for analysis though. He concentrated on all the information he was given prior. The patient was a Miss Avenley if he recalled correctly. She had a heart condition, a weak heart to be specific, but according to the information, it wasn’t dire enough to need a heart transplant. Considering they called a concierge doctor to keep an eye on things, the patient must have had on and off days- similar to Miss Jo’s own bouts of sickness.

    Duke was lost deep in thought until he realized they were at the the patient’s room. He gave the room a quick once over and looked at Ms. Winston as if asking permission to continue. When he got that, Duke walked in and nodded to Avenly. “Good evening Miss...Rios, yes? My name is Duke Spera, I’ll be your fill in concierge doctor for the night.” After the short introduction, he walked forward, reaching out to Avenley to help her sit up. He set his bag next to him, and reached in for his stethoscope. “You don’t need to speak if it hurts to, alright?” He gently pressed a hand on her back and placed the other, with the stethoscope over her heart.

    “Ms. Winston,” Duke’s eyes didn’t leave his work as he spoke. “Do you mind giving me more details about Miss Rios’ condition? Medications, how long this has gone- take deep breaths for me Miss Rios- those sort of things.” Looking into Avenley’s eyes, Duke also added. “If able, fruit- preferably sliced would be helpful- that, or just water. It should help with getting your energy back, at least in a more pleasant way than medication.” He had an idea of steps he could take, but before he could proceed, he took the chair from the desk and placed it by Avenley’s side. Tampering with the room felt a little odd, considering it matched just how pristine the rest of the house was, but he pushed past the thought and sat down to rummage through his bag.
    • Nice execution! Nice execution! x 1
  7. On and off days would have been how her father would have described her condition, but Avenley preferred to just see her moments of dizziness as temporary roadblocks. It was something she had lived with for the near entirety of her life. As a kid she could remember wanting to go out and play and being unable to in case she “had an episode.” She learned much later than even if she had been perfectly healthy, she never would have been allowed to play like all the other kids in the neighborhood. No, the Rios family was different from others, and that was painfully obvious in the house itself.

    “Yes, Rios,” Avenley replied, her eyes opening just a slit so she could make out the doctor now standing above her. He was younger and decidedly more handsome than her usual doctor—an older man with a terrible case of nose hairs—but she thought little of it. “You are welcome to call me Avenley,” she welcomed him, despite the disapproving glare given off by Ms. Winston at the young woman’s casual nature. “It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Doctor Spera.” Her voice sounded winded, like she had just come in from a hard run. It didn’t really hurt to speak, though the dizziness ensued, but she kept quiet all the same.

    Doctors were like that, at least her normal doctor was. He always insisted that he could only do his work under complete and utter silence so the minute the stethoscope rested against her chest, Avenley became quiet from instinct. Ms. Winston, however, seemed delighted with chatting and at Duke’s questioning, she was quick to answer.

    “Of course!” she chirped like a canary, “The young woman has cardiomyopathy. Never had surgery or anything of the sort, but she does take an antiarrhythmia and an ACE inhibitor every day to help lower her bood pressure and prevent arrhythmias. We have beta blockers on hand that she used to have to take as a girl, but she has been off those for a number of years now. She’s had this for as long as I can remember and, well, I’ve known her since she was a babe.”

    It was true, Ms. Winston had always been there. Avenley couldn’t remember a time she hadn’t been, though her father had explained Ms. Winston was hired only sometime after she was born. “Fruit?” she heard Ms. Winston clarify, “Yes, right away. I’ll return shortly.” And with that, Avenley was left alone with the doctor and she eyed him suspiciously from the corners of her eyes as he began to rummage through his bag.

    “I’m surprised you came,” she admitted, “Most doctors won’t.”
    • Nice execution! Nice execution! x 1
  8. Duke made a mental note about his patient’s first name. It was good to know she was much more relaxed than her nanny. Speaking of, Ms. Winston readily listed Avenley’s condition out for him. “Cardiomyopathy. Hm.” He mumbled to himself, having a name with the condition. That definitely cleared out his list of ‘mandatory’ treatments now that he had a specific condition plus all of the treatments they had for her. “Ah, thank you Ms.-” It was the second time he hadn’t been able to finish a sentence with the elderly woman. “She sure is...on point with work.” Duke said with a small chuckle. It fell silent for a few moments, save for the rustling of the contents in his bag. After another few moments, just as Duke pulled out a small bottle, Avenley spoke. Her voice was soft, but it was easy enough to hear.

    Her words struck a chord in the doctor and it showed when he looked up in mild confusion. “Well, that is highly unprofessional. Why would any concierge doctor just not show up to help a patient? They should realize that our job is just as important as the jobs in the hospital! This no different and they should know that every patient is important-” Realizing he was sending himself on a tangent, Duke cleared his throat and adjusted his glasses. “Uh, apologies Miss Rios- Avenley. I didn’t mean to get all...riled up for lack of better words.”

    Duke set his bag down again and examined the bottle that was no bigger than his palm. “I just hate to hear concierge doctors taking advantage of their job…” He shook his head and straightened up. “But enough about that. Why would you think something like that? Oh, and while you explain, would you mind showing me those medications Ms. Winston spoke about?” He was about to offer to fetch them himself, but for some nagging reason he decided against it. Instead he added, “Or I can wait for Ms. Winston. There’s no rush, but do carry on.” Duke quieted down and settled into the desk chair by Avenley’s bed, taking the time to look over her physical form again. Her breathing had relaxed and everything seemed normal while he was checking her heartbeat, but she looked tired. That’s what the food would be for. Instead of the tangent his mind was about to take him on, Duke kept his focus on Avenley. Despite her being a ‘one time’ patient- so he believed- Duke still wanted her to be comfortable with him enough to be trusted. It was easier to care for a patient that trusted him after all.
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  9. Hearing his tangent caused her brows to arch up her forehead in surprise. People she came across didn’t often lose their composure so easily, then again, losing composure could mean death when you worked in the field that the Rios family did. As a woman, Avenley was mostly excluded from the happenings that her father’s business empire got into, though she had a rough idea of what they did. Her brothers were her father’s prides and joys, while she was cast to the wayside as an extraneous, unneeded object that would someday be married off to a fitting suitor… some well-to-do man in her father’s syndicate, of that she was certain. She would be wed off and expected to have children, male children, for the next generation.

    Keep it all in the family, her father usually said. Outsiders weren’t trustworthy and when it came to highly illegal business dealings, trust was more valuable than gold or diamonds. For that reason alone, Avenley gave Duke a suspicious look. He was an outsider—just a normal, everyday person, and for that, she envied him. She envied his one-dimensional existence without crime and fervently wished for the same. She couldn’t help but imagining him living in some nice, small country house with a white picket fence, a beautiful wife, their two point five children and some kind of Labrador family dog. “You must not be very familiar with my family then,” she concluded idly. Most concierge doctors weren’t trying to take advantage of their jobs.

    Most of them were just too afraid. Too afraid of her father, too afraid of the family, too afraid of the surname ‘Rios.’

    The Rios crime syndicate was something of an underhanded rumor—everyone knew that it existed, yet nothing had been done about it. The details were hazy to Avenley. Scooting back closer to the head of her bed, she reached over to her bedside table and yanked open the top drawer. “My medications are in here,” she explained, fishing into the depths of the drawer before pulling up three off-orange pill bottles and handing them out towards Duke. “As for why concierge doctors don’t often like to come here… well, let’s just say my family name has a bit of a reputation around here.”

    She knew ‘a bit of a reputation’ was about as much of an understatement as one could make, but somehow the idea of saying something along the lines of ‘oh, my father is the head of an international crime syndicate that funnels millions of dollars’ worth of illegal drugs from South America to the United States and has been known to kill people who get in his way’ didn’t exactly sound like a smashing icebreaker. Plus, she rather liked talking to Duke as he was so outside of her realm of normal. She had already begun to imagine his wife’s name would be something boring like Jane… no, Sarah? Avenley settled on Sarah; it was a nice name.

    “How long have you been doing this? The doctor stuff, I mean?”
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  10. ’Must not be familiar with her family?’

    The question echoed in his head as he tried to figure out if he should have known her family. Ms. Winston. Avenly Rios. Nothing rang a bell when the names crossed through his mind. Maybe they were celebrities of some sort. With how fancy the mansion was, Duke wouldn’t have been surprised.

    “Oh. Thank you.” Duke took the three bottles and began to examine them. Multitasking was a quickly learned skill of his, so while he was examining them, he was carefully listening to Avenley’s every word. Of course, her follow up only confused him more. It made him look up with a raised brow. “Hm. By the sounds of it, it sounds important. But, I won’t pry if you don’t want me to.” Duke was admittedly curious, but he knew his boundaries and didn’t cross them. Before he could say much else, the conversation was directed towards him.

    “Well,” Duke paused, having to actually think about the answer. “I started around 20, not including the internships and all. Before being a concierge doctor, I worked at PeakView for about three and a half years. And the other two and a half, I’ve been a concierge doctor. It’s a nice job. I get to really know the patients and make those friendly connections. It’s a slower pace- and yet still very much like working at a regular hospital.” Duke shrugged, giving a friendly smile. “I like my job though, so it’s nothing to complain about.” The doctor handed her two of the three bottles back. “These that you’re taking are perfectly fine. I’ll probably prescribe a switch of these Beta Blockers though. They are a bit outdated, so the new ones should be a lot more effective.” Duke rummaged through his bag and grabbed a pen and an ‘official note’. “This will be the one that you need to pick up- well whoever can get them of course.” Contrary to the myth that doctors had awful handwriting, Duke neatly scribbled the name of the prescription and dosage and signed the bottom. She couldn’t get prescription medication without it of course.

    “Tell me a little about yourself Miss Rios- Avenley, sorry. Just some simple things like if you smoke, what kind of food you eat on the daily, exercise- all that stuff. Because,” Duke handed her the note and the third bottle, now with a star to indicate which to switch. “I believe medication wise, you’re family seems to have that covered. But as young as you are,” Sure he was making assumptions, but Avenley definitely didn’t look much older than him. “The problem may be the lack appropriate diet. Or just not enough exercise. I know it might sound a bit silly, but lifestyle changes like that actually help. It strengthens your heart and builds your stamina.” Before he continued to blab on, he paused because he did ask Avenely a question and didn’t want to be rude.

    If he had to take a guess, the young woman didn’t even live here- or she occasionally visited this home. Maybe she lived a party life in the ‘big cities’ with all of her friends- the possibilities were endless. The way the place looked, it was as if it was only for show. It reminded him of his parents cabinet full of fine china that he wasn’t allowed to be touched unless it was a special occasion. He never knew a house could feel the same way. It almost made him wonder if he’d get into trouble for touching anything..
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  11. “It’s probably best you don’t,” she replied with a half-hearted smile, closing her eyes and settling back down against her palace of pillows, her arms neatly folding her lap where the blanket had pooled. Her heart was still beating uncomfortably in her chest, leaving her feeling winded and disoriented, but she focused on her breathing and that helped. Duke seemed like a nice man and the less he knew about her family, the better off he’d be, she decided. Thankfully, he seemed fine with that answer and fell into her next question, readily answering about himself. Avenley listened intently, though her eyes remained closed for the time being.

    “That’s nice,” her eyes split open, opening her fingers as he deposited two of her pill bottles back into her hands, causing her to shift through them and look down at the labels. “Sure, okay,” she agreed, taking the note next and setting it on her bedside table. She wouldn’t be allowed to get her own medication, naturally, so Ms. Winston would likely go to fetch it later in the day when she had time. She had expected that to be the end of it… some prescription and a quick goodbye from her doctor and he’d be out the door, so when he began asking more questions, she tenderly raised her brows in his direction.

    She wasn’t entirely sure what to make of the questioning, but she went along with it politely, all the same. “Well,” she began slowly, “I eat very well, I think. I get lots of fruits and vegetables,” to stay thin, of course. As a syndicate daughter, her two jobs in life were to be beautiful and to be quiet, “I don’t really get processed foods or candy or anything of that sort, but I don’t get much exercise, I suppose. I mostly stay inside. I do yoga once a week—every Saturday morning.” The doctor’s suggestions were nice but it wasn’t like she could just start going for runs and walks. Ms. Winston likely wouldn’t approve of having her out of her sight for that long. Duke might have had a house with a cabinet full of fine China, but Avenley was the fine China of the Rios’ household.

    A knock came at the door and in stepped Ms. Winston with a small platter of freshly cut fruits. It was a medley of banana slices, strawberries, mango slices, and raspberries. She politely set it down on the side table and gave a crisp, practiced smile. “I’ll just leave this here. I have a mess to clean up in the kitchen, so I’ll leave you to your work, doctor,” she explained as Avenley reached over for a mango slice and nibbled in politely. The fruit settled easily in her stomach, falling into complete silence until Ms. Winston vanished behind the door again only a few moments later.
    • Nice execution! Nice execution! x 1
  12. Duke absentmindedly poked his cheek with the pen, making it click twice as he thought over what she was saying. Food wasn’t a problem, that was good. By the sound of it, Avenley had a pretty decent livelihood. Everything was normal and judging by the looks of it alone, she was pretty well off. However, there was one thing that did make him frown a little- subconsciously though. “I see, I see.” After a slight pause, Duke shook his head. “Well there’s your problem. If you stay cooped up inside, you’re not getting the fresh air you need. That has to change.” Before he could continue, the door made him turn his head.

    “Huh, she really delivered.” Duke thought to himself- out loud though. He gave a quiet thank you as Ms. Winston was once again out the door. He was amazed how busy that woman stayed and he had only met her about thirty minutes ago. “Uh, what was I saying- Oh, right!” The pen in Duke’s hand shifted back and forth as he recollected his thoughts. “I was only called for the night, but I’ll most definitely leave a note for Doctor Vasquez that you most definitely need to get out more- and also for the updated medication.” He tossed the pen into his bag. “I mean, a walk around this place would even be fine, it’s huge after all. That in itself is probably like a mile or two.” The doctor stood and walked over to a nearby closed window. “I’m taking a liberty in assuming you’re not a vampire, so a little sun doesn’t hurt.” Scratching his chin, he felt like he was giving more ‘obvious’ advice than Avenley might have wanted. Something about her gave off a more reserved and shut in feeling. “My apologies, if you don’t think it’s helpful, but the next step would be surgery. However your symptoms are episodic and not as severe so it wouldn’t be necessary.”

    The doctor stood to his feet and stretched out his hand. “Stand for me.” He gave a friendly smile. “Do you remember as a kid, the doctors would make you do exercises like running in place to make sure you were fit to do sports?” He paused for a split second and laughed lightly. “Well, we aren’t going to do that.” Checking the time on his phone, he figured it was already late so it was no use rushing. “Instead, we’ll just take a short break from this room- but take that pill first.” He pointed to one of the two containers he returned to Avenley. “Not to worry though, we won’t go far. Just down the steps maybe through your front yard. It’s late though, so it’ll be something short. Just to get you moving again.” He noticed she was still having a hard time so he figured getting her to slowly ease into moving more would be a good start.

    “Don’t worry, I’ll be right with you the whole time, so nothing to be worried about.” Once more, Duke gave a ‘too-pure’ smile in hopes Avenley trusted him enough to do something as simple as that. After all, as a concierge doctor he was able to do what it took to get his patient feeling better- at least for the day, or in this case the night so Avenley could sleep better. “I suppose we did just meet though, so I understand if you’d much rather Ms. Winston take you.”
    • Nice execution! Nice execution! x 1
  13. “Mmm,” she hummed hesitantly at his statement that her lifestyle had to change. It was one thing to convince her, but another to convince her father… or worse, Ms. Winston. She was a characteristically a strong woman—a woman who believed the man was the head of the house, but the woman was the neck, able to move the head any way she pleased. Still, she believed in archaic, domestic values for a woman. The fact that Avenley was ill was enough to make her be convinced the only true cure was a hot cup of tea and some rest inside. She finished her piece of mango in thought before politely dabbing her fingers clean on the napkin provided.

    He continued to talk, apologizing for his advice though there was truly no need. Avenley just remained quiet for a beat and gave him a stiff smile. “You’re fine,” she assured him, “And thank you for updating Dr. Vasquez on what changes you’d like to be made. I’d quite like to avoid surgery,” she admitted as most patients would, “I’ll see what I can do to get out a bit more, of course.” The estate that the family house sat on was patrolled by a periodic security guard and was fenced in. There had never been any sort of intrusion before, but Avenley was still expected to be supervised every time she went outside. Naturally, that made the idea of going outside less appealing. Nothing was less thrilling than being chaperoned (and subsequently scolded for one thing or another) by Ms. Winston. At least in her own quarters she could be left mostly alone.

    She got lost in these thoughts for a moment and next thing she knew, there was a hand pointed at her and a coaxing to get up. She sighed at him and his friendly smile, but slipped her hand into his all the same and dropped her legs down the side of the bed. With her feet firmly on the floor, she rose to a standing position. “No, I can’t say that I ever had a doctor do that to me before,” she paused and reached for her pill bottle when directed, swallowing down the capsule with a help from another two bites of a mango slice.

    “I’m sure it’d be best we didn’t disturb Ms. Winston’s cleaning of the kitchen,” she mused softly with a lame smile, “God knows that if that woman has to operate when there is a speck of dust in the kitchen, I’m almost fairly certain her head will explode, and then you’ll have much more to worry about than just some girl with her heart.” Her hand slipped up Duke’s arm until it was resting in the crook of his elbow. She felt winded and tired, so she used him to support a small amount of her weight. “So, a short walk then?” No one would question a doctor taking her out for a walk, so she was actually looking forward to getting out of the stifling room for at least a short while.
  14. Duke lightheartedly laughed at the joke about Ms. Winston. “She sounds...kind of scary.” He admitted with a laugh. Tall as he was, that elderly woman was still intimidating and she was always busy.

    When Avenley steadied herself, using him as support, he instinctively shifted to be able to catch her should she stumble. He wasn’t sure how dependent she wanted to be so he gave her that space and freedom to decide. It wouldn’t do her much good if he waited on her hand and foot. “A short walk.” Duke paused, looking down the steps. “Well, a short walk plus some stair exercise.” Because the stairs weren’t a straight path, Duke didn’t want to risk Avenley falling and carefully held onto her waist. “Down is usually not much of a problem. It’s the ‘up’ that usually gets to people.” Duke was simply making conversation with his quiet patient. Silence was a little more uncomfortable than he would admit, so having something to drown it out like the tv or music was always nice. It was why he was fine with the Miss Jo had soap operas playing or her favorite song playing on repeat, but here was much different. It was quiet and rather empty here and that wasn’t the most welcoming thing either.

    Like he predicted, the stairs were much quicker to descend, with or without minor pauses. “See? Not so bad.” They headed out the door at a steady pace, not bothering to mention it to Ms. Winston. It was a clear night and there was a nice breeze in the air that made him take his jacket off and toss it over his shoulder. His short sleeved shirt was much more appropriate for the weather. “Wow, the sky’s’ much clearer out here compared to my loft. It’s pretty.” He took his glasses off and hooked them to his shirt. They were technically just for reading anyway. His eyesight wasn’t very bad, but spending long nights reading paperwork wasn’t the best on his eyes.

    “Alright Miss Avenley. Your call. We can go right or we can go left.” Duke looked around. “Or we can go forward or we can go, well back. Your home, your pick.” He started to comment about how empty the neighborhood was, but he left it be, figuring a mansion of that size needed all the space they could get.
  15. “Very well, a short walk,” she agreed. Avenley was a whimsical, little wisp of a girl that probably could have blown away in a strong-enough breeze. She had a narrow build and had that shy look young women often wear, but it was never morose. Always behind those slightly pursed lips was a smile just waiting to be tempted out. “I’m usually okay,” she explained as they paused at the top of the stairs before making their descent, “Most days I can walk around and be fine by myself, it’s just every so often I have episodes like these and it makes it difficult,” she breathed out. Most days, she could move around the house with ease.

    She particularly enjoyed walking and sitting on the pool patio in the back of the house and soaking up the afternoon sun when she could, or baking in the kitchen as those were ‘approved’ activities given by Ms. Winston. Never mind that Avenley was well into womanhood at twenty-four, but her lifestyle didn’t allow for any degree of freedom experienced by most women her age. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, they proceeded on past the kitchen entrance, Avenley peaking in and smirking a little as they silently moved past so that Ms. Winston didn’t hear them and give them both a scolding.

    The night air ran across her skin and caused goose bumps to bristle against her arms. Her toes hit the grass and she seemed absolutely delighted by it, an easy smile relaxing across her previously tense features. A few deep breaths of fresh, evening air seemed to do something good for her—or at least put her in a mind-state to forget about the dull, pulsing ache in her chest. “Let’s go right,” she said when he gave her the choice, “The gardeners have a lovely garden out that way. My father had them put it in for a garden party he hosted a few years ago. It rained the day of the party, so it has never actually been used for a party, but it gets maintained still all the same.”

    With her hand still resting steadily in the crook of Duke’s arm, she gave him a gentle tug towards the right-hand side of the house. Sure enough, once they rounded the corner, there sat a beautiful stretch of meticulously-maintained garden, down to perfectly trimmed bushes and flowers curled up around themselves for night. Even in the desaturating light of the moon, it was easy to make out the endless stretch of colours—blues, greens, yellows, purples. “Isn’t this nice?” she commented, “Dr. Vasquez always says that being out among all these flowers will cause allergies and make it harder for me, but I find myself at such peace out here. I’m much more relaxed,” she said with a soft bubble of laughter, wiggling her toes in the cool grass.
  16. “Right it is.” Duke proclaimed with a nod, only to be tugged forward. He didn’t object simply because Avenley knew more about the place than he did.

    The trek to the garden was quick and ultimately very rewarding. When she said they had a garden, Duke was not expecting an entire field of garden. Surely, he shouldn’t have been surprised but the impeccability of it all (house included) was so stunning. “It’s amazing. Everything is so neat and...well, perfect.” He hadn’t been to many gardens nor did he know much about flowers, but he still appreciated the sight of it all. “All I have back at my loft is a small cactus. It’s cute though and easier to manage since I’m out so much.” He laughed. “This is the most colorful and well kept garden I’ve seen- but to be fair I don’t see that many.”

    It was also nice to see that Avenley looked a little livelier than when she was cooped up inside. She somewhat reminded him of birds trapped in cages, but he kept that thought to himself. Upon hearing Dr. Vasquez’s name, he focused on his patient once more. “Oh? Is that right?” Before he responded, Duke gave what she said some thought. He didn’t want to necessarily confirm or deny that Vasquez was wrong because the man was his senior, but to Duke it sounded a little...overprotective. “Well, I won’t necessarily say he’s wrong, but I suppose as long as you don’t roll around in the flowers?” He gave a shrug. “There’s no reason you should stop doing things that you enjoy just because it might ‘hinder’ you.” With his free hand, he put air quotes around the word hinder. “I guess you could say I’m a firm believer of giving someone their freedom no matter the cause. Keeping sick people inside only makes them more ill. Could even cause things like depression because you’re so enclosed and away from the world.” The doctor shrugged again and looked out at the field of flowers, finding a winding path that the gardner’s must have used to get through it.

    “I don’t know, that’s just something I think about. There are doctors that think hiding away is the best for you, I mean, you look a million times better- er, not that you didn’t before, I just mean in a livelier sense now that you’re out.” There was a nervous laugh that followed that before he continued. “But that’s just me. You don’t have to follow that ideal, it’s not technically prescribed in your doctor’s note. Exercise is, but you can do that inside.”

    The two continued walking down the path, giving Duke the opportunity to learn that there were several flowers he had never seen before. He tried to refrain from sounding like a curious kid when he pointed out ones he thought were especially cool looking, but at times he couldn’t help it. “By the way, when you’re ready to go back in, or if you’re feeling tired, just let me know.”
  17. It could only be described as a formal garden. The bonsai trees lined the perfect lawn in their wooden boxes. In the centre, there was a pond as large as a small lake with flowering lily pads and a wooden bridge that crossed the middle so one could look down at the Koi carp. The flower beds were a riot of May colour and even on close inspection, they were weed-free. It was manicured within an inch of its life and in that way, it had lost its natural charm, but Avenley seemed to be enjoying their stroll.

    “A cactus?” she looked back at him with a smirk, “My, I suppose that is fitting. You can let it go for as long as you want and it really won’t die, will it?” she mused. A cactus was one thing the family garden had never had, though it hosted hundreds of other exotic plants from all across the globe. “It is a pretty nice garden, isn’t it? I like it. We have full time gardeners, so it keeps them busy in the Spring and Summer, I suppose. Otherwise, they’d just be mowing the lawn all day, every day,” she mused with a small chuckle, “I really can’t stand the sound of the lawnmowers. They’re so loud sometimes and the lawn is so big they just go on for… hours.” It was probably a small detail Duke wouldn’t care about, but when she had to spend most of her time inside like a doll, the only reprieve was opening her window and nothing ruined the charming breeze and the chirping of the birds quite like the droning of a lawnmower.

    The conversation rivered on and she acknowledged his comments with a small nod, “I suppose. The hardest part is going to get that through Ms. Winston’s head; she doesn’t like letting me outside. Imagine that, I’m twenty-four years old and I’m treated like a toddler.” She looked at him from the corner of her eyes, noting the nervous laugh, “Oh hush,” she swatted at his arm, “I feel better, even. I know how I look and I’m not surprised I look… how did you put it? Better-er.”

    For the first time in a long time, Avenley wasn’t feeling tired or winded. Instead, she seemed quite alert and bright. Her eyes were attentive and clear, her walk had a bit of a spring in it. “It’s a shame you won’t become my doctor, actually. I don’t get to get out very often, so it’s a nice excuse!” she slipped her arm through his and moved forward a few paces, her bare feet pattering against the wooden bridge and pausing at the peak of its arch.

    “Avenley!” a deep, smooth, baritone voice reverberated through the entirety of the garden. The low rumble of the man’s voice wrapped around her as she looked up to see the shadowy figure emerging through the dusk light. The man walked towards the pond, his leather shoes making a rhythmical noise against the causeway, solid and regular like a soldier. His face was stern, yet peaceful as he swung the gun from his belt causing the smooth metal to gleam against the dark, inky black suit he was wearing. His face was boxy and strong, like a bulldog, and peppered with a manicured five o’clock shadow.

    “Hello, father,” she greeted in response, straightening a little.

    “My, my, look at you, my little girl,” he cooed, catching her chin between his gruff fingers, “I’ve never seen you looking so bright—and you are?” he turned to the doctor, his eyes squinted as if trying to slice through the man.
  18. Duke gave a proud nod towards her comment about his cactus. He liked the little plant, it added a more lively feeling to his home. The doctor also could have sworn a small flower was growing out of the side, but he wasn’t sure yet as it hadn’t actually sprouted. His second nod was in agreement about how nice the garden was and that it was a lot of work to take care of it all.. Absentmindedly, he agreed that the sounds of lawnmowers droning on was annoying as well, without giving much reason of how he knew considering he mentioned he lived in a loft. The only reason he could agree however was due to the fact that his full time patient, Miss Jo had gardeners who mowed the front lawn. Grant it, it was nothing this large, but still large enough to be daunting.

    The reflection of the pond at this hour, whatever hour that was rather nice. “Huh, what doesn’t this place have…” He mused with a slight chuckle.

    Being swatted at made him laugh. “Yes, better-er.” He looked down at Avenley with a curious look. “Ms. Winston sure sounds...strict.” That was as polite as he could make it sound. Duke considered mentioning that she just ask her father or do what she wanted seeing as she was an adult, but he held his tongue on the matter. It was her decision to make and Duke didn’t want to pry into her familial life. Instead, he carried on. “As honored as I am, I don’t believe Vasquez would appreciate me taking his work from him.” Of course, the two doctors could always switch clients but Duke didn’t think too much into it. She was only kidding around anyway, at least Duke thought. “Don’t worry though, if I must, I’ll pester the man into giving you your freedom.” He chuckled lightly only to be pulled forward by Avenley once more. He couldn’t help but smile though. It was a proud smile that could have easily been mistaken for adoration. Compared to earlier before, she really did look a lot better. As a doctor, every patient he was able to help in large or small ways made him feel good- even if it was in the middle of the night because of a sudden call. Making a difference was what he aimed to do with his work, so when it showed he was happy.

    Speaking of time though, “Miss-” Duke started, only to nearly jump out of his skin when a deep voice finished the name he was calling. The doctor turned around, still with his arm looped around Avenley. “So there are others that live here.” Duke’s voice was low as the man approached. It was more of a thought to himself, but it was still loud enough for Avenely to hear.

    Something about the way the man approached was rather intimidating. Was it the way he walked? The way he dressed? Maybe it was just the expression of all business that he had. As he got closer, Duke concluded that it was actually the man himself that was intimidating. Catching the gleam of a gun tucked away on the man’s hip made Duke straighten up, similar to Avenely only moments after. The word ‘father’ made Duke exhale a breath he didn’t know he was holding. There wasn’t much relief in it, but it was something. He took a half step away from his patient, letting go of her arm so she could be examined by her father. While him calling her ‘little girl’ proved that she may in fact have been treated like a toddler, Duke knew to keep his mouth shut. It could also have just been one of those endearing type names parents stuck with.

    Before he could follow that train of thought too far, the sound of her father’s voice pulled him back into attention. “Uh-” Bad start. He tried not to express his ‘mess up’ too much. “I’m Doctor Duke Spera, the concierge doctor. I was called earlier because Doctor Vasquez is out on vacation...sir.” He reached out to shake the man’s hand, despite his first instinct being to just leave it at that and keep his distance There was something a little off putting about the man, but Duke wasn’t sure what. The doctor also couldn’t help but feel a little guilty for ‘judging the book by its cover’ either.

    Duke shot a quick glance at Avenley unsure of what was appropriate to do next until a particular thought came to mind. When, or if Mr. Rios shook his hand, Duke then decided to mention what he believed was necessary. Avenley said it would be hard to convince Ms. Winston, so Duke figured maybe a word from the actual doctor would help her case. “She’s been doing very well from what I’ve seen. I’ve already written a note to get new medication as well as suggested- or rather prescribed, Miss Avenley to get more fresh air. I don’t recommend keeping her cooped up...inside.” He didn’t mean to sound like her father was the cause of it and once he realized it, he cleared his throat and nodded slowly. He straightened up and kept his composure though. This was all business, no harm done- he hoped.
  19. Mr. Rios painted an intimidating figure. He was tall, for one, with broad shoulders that were laced with trails of muscles filling out the manicured line of his suit that was tailored to fit his shape. His eyes made slits as he searched through the darkness and his forehead creased with a single wrinkle, as if assessing the situation happening out in the garden. Though it was hard to tell from his face, he was momentarily unimpressed that some strange man had been taking his daughter out, but he relaxed mentally once the man introduced himself. “Yes, right,” he remarked blandly in response, looking down at the hand that was extended towards him. There was a twitch of hesitancy and distrust, but Mr. Rios finally extended his own hand and met him in a firm, single shake.

    “I can see she is doing very well,” he noted, “It didn’t take you long to make all these changes, I see.” His tone was neither accusatory nor indifferent—but somewhere strangely in the middle, as if the man was still trying to decide if he could trust the new doctor. “I see my daughter seems to be feeling well though and I’m pleased to see that. I will inform Ms. Winston that she is to see to Avenley taking a daily walk every day then, weather permitting.” Naturally, the young woman couldn’t spend so much as a minute in her own household unsupervised.

    “I’ve also come across the rather unfortunate news that Dr. Vasquez will not be returning… to this household or any other for that matter,” he continued, his words ominous but his voice as blasé as ever. “You’ll be supervised extensively, Dr. Spera, but I’d very much appreciate if you’d begin to see to my daughter on a more regular basis.” By ‘appreciate’ he really meant ‘demand,’ as he didn’t expect anyone to not know who the Rios were and, more importantly, to decline their offer for employment. All the while, Avenley remained quiet. Her hands were folded politely in front of her, all of her fingers laced together. If she felt any surprise towards anything that was said in the conversation, her face didn’t show it.

    “My daughter needs a lot of very specialized care, Dr. Spera, and I will be sure to forward you all of her files as soon as I am able,” he said, flipping his wrist to glance down at his watch, “Very good, nice meeting you, but I have work to attend to. Please get my daughter back to the house before dark; security is keeping an eye on you both. Have a good night.” And as quickly as he appeared, he disappeared without so much as saying good night or goodbye to his daughter, who seemed genuinely unfazed by the entire ordeal. In fact, she just sort of turned back to the railing of the wooden bridge and peeked over it, looking down at the Koi fish lazily creating hoops in the water as they swam.

    Her fingers gripped the wood but she didn’t seem to be paying all that much attention to the fish, though she seemed to be trying to pretend that she was. “You don’t have to accept his offer, you know,” she finally managed out, rocking back against her heels, “But if you don’t, I suggest you move away from this city.”
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  20. There was a minute pause and Duke could see the skepticism in his eyes. As Mr. Rios assessed his daughter, the doctor nodded proudly, even being able to accomplish getting Avenley out the house. “Ah, good. I’m glad you’ll be able to-” He paused making an ‘eh?’ sound when he heard Vasquez wasn’t coming back. He wasn’t coming back at all? “What happ-” Before he could ask, Mr. Rios was already continuing. The doctor’s eyes widened a bit in obvious surprise when he was asked- more like told that he would be continuing to see Avenley as her doctor. “Sir there are-” There was no interrupting the man though. He continued on and Duke was forced to listen. Avenley needed a doctor and her father appointed him as one. Before he could get another word in, Rios was gone and it fell silent.

    “I suppose he isn’t one to wait for the proper paperwork to go through…” There was another pause as he scratched the side of his cheek. “Regular basis? I do need actual schedules...unless he means everyday.” Gears turned in the doctor’s head as he tried to figure out what just happened. With a raised brow, Duke looked over at Avenley and then walked over to lean against the railing next to her. His brow furrowed while she spoke, though his eyes were on the koi. “Well of course I don’t have to take the job. Especially not on such short notice. But I don’t think moving out of the city is really necessary. A little dramatic even.” He pulled his jacket back on so he didn’t have to carry it. “Your father must be really important and all, but there are still rules to all this you know?” He shrugged. “And I can’t just leave you without a doctor on hand. I mean, you don’t need me shadowing you constantly but I think your dad really wants me to do it…”

    He gave another shrug. “I don’t mind being your doctor, that’s not the problem. But, I still have to have the proper paperwork to get paid, you know? Maybe I can talk to Ms. Winston about it.” It was an odd outcome but Duke took it rather lightly. “Your dad must be something important...that or he’s just really, really intimidating.” The doctor paused before adding. “Or both. Maybe both. Politician maybe? CEO of some business?” Duke held out his hand for Avenley. “It’s no big deal Miss Avenley. I can switch my schedule around. I’ll probably have another doctor check on my other patient since she’s available. Unless of course, you’d prefer another doctor then hey, I can recommend some really good ones.”

    Not once did it occur to Duke that maybe this was all bad news for him. He had that gut feeling of something being unsettling, but he just figured Mr. Rios was really good at intimidation. The gun probably helped with that. “It is getting late though. I have to get back to my dog eventually.” He chuckled lightly and then glanced at her feet. “I should have waited for you to get shoes, my apologies. Uh, I can carry you if you want?” He looked around the mansion’s estate, wondering if he could spot all the security as they walked back to her house.
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