This is a crazy thing that my friend kitty90s suggested to me.
I apologize if the subject offends you.
Poplar, London, March 2020
He was looking at her while she kept the sterile instruments in a closet. She counted them, then remembered, looking at the ceiling, counting on her fingers, and she counted the ones in the closet again, verifying that none were missing.
She looked funny doing that.
Suddenly she sneezed. Once, twice, three times.
"Sister, I think you have caught a cold." He approached her, taking a pack of tissues from his pocket and offering her one.
"Thank you." She smiled, taking one and blowing her nose. "The storm last night is definitely taking effect."
"I offered to drive you to Nonnatus in my car." He looked at her raising an eyebrow, she smiled sheepishly, blowing her nose again.
"I didn't think it would rain so much, I got soaked. Next time I will accept your offer."
She sneezed again. He worried, he always did with her. He gave her another handkerchief.
"That offer will be today, I will not let you go by bicycle taking cold air. It is also about to rain."
Sister Bernadette sneezed again.
"God!" She complained, making a ball with the handkerchiefs and throwing them into the garbage can with force, "Getting sick is the worst thing that could happen to me now, I wanted to finish a master's degree and I have exams the next week and..."
Another sneeze. Patrick couldn't help but laugh when he saw her face full of fury.
"Please! Someone to help us!"
They looked at each other. The scream came from the door of the small hospital where they worked.
They ran and opened the door. There was a man hugging a woman full of tears and sobs.
"The baby!" Exclaimed the man, pointing to the woman, "Baby, there!"
"Calm down, everything is fine." Sister Bernadette smiled, making them come in, "He is a doctor and I am a nurse, we will attend you right away."
The woman kept complaining as Patrick helped her sit in a wheelchair and pushed her into the delivery room.
"Doctor, I'll be there in a moment, I'll try to calm the father and call more nurses."
Patrick nodded and led the woman quickly, complaining in an incomprehensible language that he assumed would be Chinese. He knew some words in that language, his son Timothy learned a lot from his Chinese schoolmates, but he was afraid to mispronounce them and make things worse.
The storm was raging outside, and the father only repeated words that she did not understand.
"I'm sorry, I don't understand you. Your wife will be fine, don't worry." Sister Bernadette dialed Nonnatus's number again, while with the other hand she dialed Cynthia's number on her cell phone.
The man sneezed.
"Oh, we are the same, I also have a cold. I'll make you a tea so you get warm."
Unable to locate a nurse, she left the phones. It seemed cruel enough to make them go out in such a climate. She and Dr. Turner would manage very well together in this delivery.
She smiled at the thought of him.
They both looked at the little baby. He was already several hours old, he was strong and healthy and he slept peacefully after taking his milk. His mother was no longer scared and patiently read an English dictionary.
"Certainly last night was a test, one of the worst." Patrick looked at Sister Bernadette, who seemed about to fall asleep on her feet.
"Yes. I still don't understand how everything got so complicated, or how we managed to solve it."
"It would not have been possible without you."
She barely smiled, then yawned. Patrick looked at the time, it was almost 6, in a while all the nurses would arrive. He sat down in a chair, the Chinese woman smiled at his gratefully. Perhaps he could practice the words Timothy had taught him, the woman could correct him. He was going to talk to him when he had a coughing fit. He must have stood up and found a glass of water.
"He is fine?" The Chinese woman asked.
"The doctor? Yes, sure, it's just a cough." Sister Bernadette kept a safe distance. She no longer sneezed but felt bad, and did not want to infect the woman or her baby.
"Where is my husband?"
"He went to rest at home, he was very tired. He also said he would call your family to let them know about the baby."
"He has been tired since we arrived from China." The woman smiled, "All the preparations and nerves stressed him more than me!"
Sister Bernadette nodded, trying to smile. She also felt tired, in a strange way.
She heard that there was a knock on the door, so she went to open it, it was probably the nurses.
She met Sister Julienne, with a mask covering her mouth.
"Sister, did something bad happen to you?"
"I'm sorry." Said the older nun, and a group of people dressed in white suits and masks entered. Sister Julienne followed, but one of them yelled at her to stay at the door.
"What's going on?" Dr. Turner appeared, looking at everyone.
"We need to know who was in contact with Zhang Min. He's in the hospital, isolated. He went there because he felt very bad and is positive for coronavirus. He told us that his wife had her baby here last night."
"Positive for what? But that disease is only in China!"
"And where do you think the Zhang family came from, sir?"
"Have more respect for Dr. Turner!"
The man looked at Sister Bernadette, gave her a mask.
"Sister, were you with Mr. Zhang?"
"Yes, I was with him all night. Wait, you can't go there, there is a woman with her baby!"
"Sister, you have to be calm." Sister Julienne wanted to get closer, but a man pushed her away.
"I was also with the Chinese family," said Dr. Turner, "There was no one else, they arrived when we had already closed, the two of us attended the delivery."
They gave him a mask and he put it on.
"This is ridiculous!"
He looked at her from the sofa, folding his arms. He felt calm, just the opposite of her, who walked here and there like a caged tiger.
"It's not so bad, sister."
She turned and he regretted saying that. He wanted to tell her that it wasn't so bad being locked up alone with her in Nonnatus House for two weeks, but he had to behave.
It would be a difficult test, just the two of them isolated in the only place they could give them so they weren't occupying collapsed hospital beds. He had spent months enjoying her company too much during the endless hours of work. Sometimes he wanted to live with her, but it was impossible. She was a nun, he shouldn't look at her otherwise. In addition he was more than a decade older than her, and meanwhile she looked like a girl, he looked like an old stalker.
His wish had been fulfilled, in a strange and troubling way. They both had the disease, with mild symptoms, but they could not stay at home with other people.
"I'm bored," she dropped into a chair in front of him, "I can't stay doing nothing!"
"Sister, we've only been here for one day. Don't you have something to read? Or to knit? Maybe...cook something? By the way, what is the wifi password? I'll use my time to catch up on the series I started five months ago."
"There is no wifi here, it is a convent."
"God doesn't give free wifi? What a stingy," he laughed at his own joke. She threw a cushion at him.
"Enough, doctor. If you continue like this, I'll use my time to kill you or something. Don't you despair of being doing nothing? Don't think of your son?"
"I'm calm because we were with the infected man and from there, they brought us here. I didn't see my son, Timothy is out of danger and now he is in his uncle's house, and I imagine he will be happy because classes were suspended. And I'm also calm because I shouldn't work, nobody calls me on the phone, I don't have to be running from one place to another, and I could catch up with my series if I could have wifi in this convent. If I open the windows, can I take the wifi from the square?"
"We can't open the windows!"
"I know, it's just a joke!"
"I'll go to sleep!"
She slammed the door and threw herself on the bed. She immediately started coughing, so she sat down, took her temperature, and wrote the result on the pad of sheets they had given her to write everything her body was experiencing.
She walked to the window. In the square there were few people, walking in a hurry, keeping distance from the building to which they always came looking for help. She felt like a pariah from the Middle Ages.
She looked at the time, it was still early, the day was not ending and she was convinced that this was torture. It was wrong to get sick with the virus that was quickly spreading across the planet, but it was worse to have to spend days and days locked up with Dr. Turner, alone, as if they were a marriage.
She would have liked that, to be a marriage with him. But she shouldn't think such things, being in the house she shared with her sisters. Distance was the best, she would try to avoid him as much as possible. Nonnatus was a place big enough for two people to never meet.
She heard a knock on the door of her room.
"And who is going to be? There are only two of us here!"
She opened the door, he was leaning against the frame.
"How do you know this is my cell?"
"I knocked on all the doors until I found you. Would you be interested in cooking? I could never learn, I didn't have time and now I do. I can pay you for the lessons when we get out of here."
She sighed. She was firm in her decision to keep her distance until he knocked on the door.
"Okay. Let's go to the kitchen."
"It is the last one."
He saw her kindly give him the last biscuit they had cooked the day before.
"The last one? But we did a lot! If I continue like this I'll get out of this quarantine weighing fifty more pounds."
She laughed a little, taking a sip of her tea.
"I'll leave it to you."
"Thanks," she bit it, "They really are very delicious."
"Do I have a future as a baker?"
She laughed more.
"If one day you get bored of medicine, you know what to do. Is the time," she said looking at the clock.
She immediately brought one of the boxes with the antibiotics that they were to take. She took out two pills, gave him one, and took the other with what was left of her tea.
"Have you had a fever, doctor?"
He cleared his throat, thinking about the night before. It was little fever, but enough so that he could not sleep at all. Also, his phone didn't have any more internet and money to buy gigas, so he was just looking at the ceiling imagining what it would be like if his condition worsened. He did not want to die and leave his son orphaned.
"Doctor? Do you feel good? I see you down. We must report if you feel worse."
"Last night I could not sleep, I had a fever, but not much. Today I have nothing but I feel very tired."
"Go to sleep, I'll call you when I have lunch ready."
Two men in special suits and masks left food bags at the door. She quickly opened and entered the bags.
She felt sad that everyone avoided her like that, but things had to be that way, everyone had to be protected.
She started making the food, turned on the radio as the silence made her sadder. She hardly ever listened to the radio, it was not too much allowed for the nuns. All the stations had news about the disease. She changed until she found music, left it there, and continued making the lunch.
She turned up the volume when started a song that was her favorite when she was little. She hadn't listened to Britney Spears for years, and suddenly forgot she was quarantined and sad.
When the song ended, she turned off the stove.
"Doctor! Doctor, lunch is ready!"
There was no answer. She walked down the hall to the doctor's room. She knocked on the door and he didn't answer either. Looking everywhere, although she knew that no one saw her, she opened the door and entered.
He was asleep.
She reached out and touched his shoulder, he woke up with a start.
"Where I am?!"
"Doctor, you are at Nonnatus."
"Oh, God!" he grabbed his head, "Agg, I feel very bad."
Instinctively she put her hand on his forehead.
"There's no fever."
"Those antibiotics, I feel that they kill me instead of healing me."
"I'll bring you the food, don't get up."
When she returned with the lunch, he was already sitting, clutching his head.
"Thanks, you're an angel," he said taking the tray. She looked away.
"I'll go to lunch."
"Why don't you eat here? I will not infect you with anything that you no longer have."
"I can't doctor, it's your room."
"But no one is here to tell you something."
"I can't, don't insist."
She didn't want to sound so severe, but she had to.
When she finished eating in the kitchen, she went to get the tray. He had eaten everything, leaving no traces of food on the plate.
"It was delicious!"
"Thank you. Do you feel better?"
"Yes. I felt bad, some medications give me nightmares."
"Oh, me too. Until now I have not, but in a few days they will give us other medications and I'm afraid that they'll give me nightmares. I always...dream about when my mom died and it's terrible."
She had never told anyone that. She took two steps to leave.
"Sister, sit down." The doctor pointed to the bed next to his.
Resigned, she left the tray on the floor and sat on the bed.
"I always dream of Iraq. You know, I had to go there. The weird thing about this time is that I dreamed horrible things but listened to Britney Spears."
She laughed out loud.
"I think I had the radio with a very high volume, because it was me who was listening to Britney!"
"I didn't know that the nuns can listen to music that is not...sacred? Gregorian? I have no idea what is the name of that music they put in churches."
"We can't listen to music, but you already said it, there is nobody here to tell me something. Especially Sister Evangelina!"