What The Heart Craves

By: Tyra Small

Chapter 1

Briana Smith, or Brie as she was known to her friends looked at Dr. Collins incredulously.

“What does that mean?” she asked.

“What it means Ms. Smith is that you are, to put it simply, exhausted,” Dr. Collins said perusing her chart.

“I know what fatigued means. What I’m asking is if that is all it is?” Brie questioned.

“Yes. We’ve run all the tests and everything looks normal,” Dr. Collins stated.

“Oh thank God. I thought it was something serious,” she said in relief.

Dr. Collins was about to reply but at that moment he was distracted by a disturbance coming from the reception area.

“I don’t care if she’s with the doctor I need to see her right now!” the voice demanded.

Brie bit her lip in embarrassment, recognizing the voice immediately.

“What on earth?” Dr. Collins said.

“Look here lady. If you don’t tell her I’m here, then I will just go back there myself and look for her,” the voice said getting louder.

There was a mumbled reply and then:

“Oh really? Yes, please call security. I’ll wait,” the voice spat.

“Dr. Collins. She is looking for me. It’s my best friend Amanda Douglas. She’s my emergency contact. You can speak freely in front of her,” Brie explained.

A few moments later a frenzied Amanda was brought to the examination room. Amanda was not as threatening once you got a good look at her. Standing at five four and rather petite, her fiery attitude was laughable, although her thick brown mane of unbelievable curls, a little disheveled at the moment, added to her height considerably. Her deep brown eyes were watery and Brie had a momentary flash of guilt for worrying her unnecessarily.

“Brie,” she said hugging her best friend. “You’re okay. Thank heavens. Jeannie called and said you had collapsed,” she said getting teary eyed again.

“I’m fine,” Brie said patting her on the back. “It’s nothing serious. Just a little exhaustion.”

“Actually,” Dr. Collins said cutting in, “It is not as harmless as you think.”

“What do you mean?” Brie questioned.

“Exhaustion untreated can cause numerous health complications. You can get high blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, migraines and that’s just the milder symptoms,” Dr. Collins replied.

“Okay I’ll get more sleep,” Brie said offhandedly.

“Briana I have been your doctor for many years. I know you better than that. I’m putting you on a mandatory leave,” Dr. Collins said seriously.

“Mandatory leave?” Brie echoed. “There is no way I can take a mandatory leave,” she complained.

“Well, here is the thing Briana. I don’t want to have to do this but I will make sure it is enforced. I don’t want you working yourself into an early grave. It is my professional opinion that you need a break. Physically and mentally,” Dr. Collins insisted.

“Enforce it?” Brie questioned.

“Unfortunately Briana I am employed by Sutton Enterprises. That means that while I cannot disclose your medical chart I can submit my recommendation,” Dr. Collins stated.

“Dr. Collins you can’t do this. I have so much to do. There is no way that I can take a break right now. But I promise I will get as much sleep as necessary,” Brie pleaded.

“Briana I wish I could believe you but this is the third time I have seen you for similar reasons in the last six months alone. According to your chart from Dr. Richie you missed two menstrual cycles. That’s not normal. All overworked and stressed related. I must insist. I’m sorry,” Dr. Collins replied.

Brie let out an expletive. Dr. Collins did not seem phased in the slightest.

“Brie,” Amanda said slowly. “I agree with Dr. Collins. You have been overworking yourself lately.”

“So what am I supposed to do? Go somewhere and sip long island ice teas somewhere tropical for a week? Fine,” she conceded.

“Actually Briana I was thinking more like a quarter break. The fact that you’ve lost twelve pounds since I’ve last seen you worries me,” Dr. Collins said real concern in his voice.

Brie couldn’t argue with that. The truth was she was just too busy. Sometimes so busy she didn’t eat properly. Just grabbed whatever was convenient, sometimes not eating at all. Standing at five six and already very slender, the weight loss was becoming noticeable. All of her clothes were fitting looser. She had recently cut her normally long hair into a sleek bob, a suggestion from her hairdresser who had noticed the thinning of Brie’s naturally thick hair. The truth was she had seen the signs but chose to ignore them. Although she couldn’t deny the dark circles under her eyes or the recent hollow of her cheeks. So she conceded.

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