Closed Close Quarters
It was a cold morning to start his new job on. The sky was still grey, and the dew had frozen into a thin frost on the grass and windows outside Oliver’s home. It surprised him how much he felt excited for the new post, considering he had turned it down when initially offered.

Dr. Dietrich arrived at the hospital with two trunks in the back of a cart. The attendant helped him move them into the front before heading out, leaving Oliver in the unusually quiet ward. It didn’t take long for him to find the office. Singular office, which it appeared he would be sharing with the nurse, Catherine. A second desk had been added, but he couldn’t help the look of surprise and disappointment on his face. It must have been years… no, decades since he shared an office with anyone.

“Good morning.” He tipped his hat, and reached to hang it on a hook before he realized there wasn’t yet one attached to the wall. He would need to fix that, of course, Mrs. Leclerq wouldn’t have a reason to keep on for herself. “I hope settling in here won’t disturb your work.” Oliver added, though if it did he hardly had a choice in the matter. His belongings wouldn’t unpack themselves.
"Good morning Doctor," Catherine rose from her desk as the man entered without so much as a knock. Fortunately she had been expecting him, and the office was tidier than usual, its monolithic shelves freshly dusted with the curtains drawn to let in the fresh winter morning light over the dark wood, and two new bouquets of flowers set out, one for both his and her desk.

"Oh, no you won't disturb anything at all, please make yourself comfortable." It was indeed a white lie, born of Catherine's innate desire to placate. She had greatly enjoyed the space to consult with patients in private, or to have a place to focus on keeping the hospital records up to date, or even to just catch her breath and gather her thoughts. Still, the work alone at the hospital with only a few other, new nurses to help her was overwhelming at times and in the early nightfall of winter the large imposing office was lonely.

"I can't tell you what a relief it is to have the position filled at last," she offered, welcoming. The doctor, after their brief encounter earlier in the fall would not have been her first pick on his temperament alone, but she had been assured that he had come to know the little town of Madsmoor well, and the trust of the local villagers, not to mention benefactors, was worth a great deal in her book.

"Is there anything I can do to help?" Catherine offered, silently noting the doctor's failed attempt to hang his hat.
Dr. Dietrich smiled, thankful for the welcoming words. Her attitude was a great deal warmer than when they had met a few weeks ago regarding a patient from the manor. It had taken her a long time to let him just simply do his job. Hopefully his new position here would clear up any similar misunderstandings.

“Oh, I would hate to impose.” Oliver excused, as he moved the vase of flowers from his desk up to the top of the shelf to make room for his briefcase. “I imagine I’ll mostly be unpacking today, and I suspect you have other work to do?” He asked with a hint of curiosity. After all, unpacking would be twice as face with twice the hands.

He opened his briefcase and began to move his collection of pens and stationary to the top drawer of the desk. The drawer was a bit sticky, causing a screech as he opened it. Older furniture, he frowned. Probably would loosen up once the dust was cleared.
After a moment's hesitation, Catherine returned Dr. Dietrich's smile. This was her first time seeing the expression on the man's features, and she supposed, in that moment, that perhaps there might be a civil working relationship after all. Or perhaps it was all just perfunctory. She cast a glance over to the sound of the vase being removed to the shelf as the doctor mentioned her schedule.

Ah, Catherine thought, and there it was. The suggestion she should get back to work, hidden under the usual English niceties. Her expression returned to its usual professional demeanor. The idea that he might think her anything less than as busy as she was crept under Catherine's skin. Indeed, she had scheduled for this, but there was always more work to be done around the hospital.

"Unfortunately, I indeed do," she replied, offering an apologetic smile in excuse. "We've been short on staff, what with the hospital being new and all, and the difficulty of finding trained professionals out in a small town as this, though I expect your work here will be of great help." She winced as he opened the drawer. "I'll be in the ward, feel free to call one of the staff if you need anything, and we'll make introductions once you're all settled." With that, Catherine gathered up her charts and bustled out, a curious look in the direction of the two trunks the doctor had brought in, and what they might hold.

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