“Yeah,” Steve said as he pulled a stethoscope out of his coat pocket. “I've got rounds and then a meeting and then we’ll hit the Tap.”
“Can you even beat two buck beers?” Mark laughed as the elevator door slid shut. He turned to put his arms around her. “We could do a little heavy petting before we get to the 9th floor,” he whispered.
“No,” Kaitlyn said as she pulled away. “What just happened here?”
“I’m on staff at this hospital,” she began.
Mark interrupted, “and baby you look hot in the coat!”
Her face closed as her mouth opened. “I’m on staff here, and you’re just a volunteer, and you’re going out with my colleagues, and they don’t even speak to me on the elevator!”
“Steve is a friend of mine.” Mark put his hands into his pockets.
“He’s my colleague and this is where we work. You’re just a volunteer.”
“Look, Steve absolutely said hello to you.” The elevator jerked to a stop. They stepped off and turned toward a wing. “Okay. Hey baby, come tonight and get to know him. You’ll love him.”
“No, I don’t want to be known as Mark’s girlfriend. It’s difficult enough carving a place as a woman in medicine. I’m not negating all my progress to be thought of as your date.”
“Kaitlyn, I’m doing everything you want here. I understand how difficult it is to do a fellowship. I get that. So, you don’t want anyone to know about us? I don’t tell anyone here we’re seeing each other. Shit you work with two of my best buddies and they don’t even know we’re together. I don't lie but I'm not being open. Look, I’m sneaking kisses in a hall. I’m an adult. And you’re pouting like a child.”
“I want my own identity. I want to be recognized for me.”
“Let me coach you to a little realization babe,” Mark pulled his hands out of his pockets and crossed them over his chest. “You’ll be recognized for who you are when you define who you are. You want to be treated as an equal? Then act like one. These are good guys. Treat them like human beings and not stepping stones or hurdling blocks and you’ll be treated as one of them. I'm just a volunteer and they don't treat me any differently.”
“Don’t tell me how to behave.”
“Look, you can come tonight or not. It’s up to you.”
“I’m not coming. My acceptance here isn’t going to be because of you.” Kaitlyn turned into a patient’s room.
“Suit yourself.” Mark said. He walked back to the elevator and waited. One of his buddies came and waited at his side. “Hey Craig,” Mark said. “Steve and I are hitting beers tonight. You in?”
“Can’t,” Craig said as he glanced at his watch. “Hey I saw you talking up Kaitlyn. She’s hot.”
“Yeah she seems nice,” Mark said as they stepped onto the elevator. Seems. Mark silently judged his word for honesty. She does seem nice.