Jealous Feelings – First Chapter

Chapter 1

“Come on, Drew. You’re studying the history of Western civilization, not the history of Jake Collins.”

Nancy Drew drained her coffee mug and tried to concentrate on her notes. She had a quiz in her Western civ class later that morning, but she was so tired she had decided to put in her last hour of studying at Java Joe’s, a coffee bar on campus. But the coffee must not have hit her yet. because she wasn’t absorbing anything. All she could think about was Jake.

After a great, relaxing weekend with her boyfriend, Nancy was having trouble getting in gear for the week ahead. Jake was a junior, and she’d met him at the college newspaper, where they were both reporters.

On Sunday they had taken a short road trip and spent the day wandering around flea markets and antique stores, and picnicking at a nearby orchard. It had been totally romantic being wrapped in Jake’s arms and sharing grilled chicken and brownies and crisp tart apples. Nancy shivered as she remembered Jake’s delicious kisses. They had been having problems lately, and for a while, Nancy had questioned her commitment to him. Now, though, everything seemed to be back on track between them.

Still, their troubles may have been worth the time they needed to work them out, Nancy decided, twirling her reddish blond hair around the pencil she was holding. Once she and Jake were alone now, they had nothing to argue about.

“You know, nothing goes better with coffee than a fresh croissant.”

Nancy looked up from her notes. Terry Schneider was standing beside the table, his black canvas book bag slung over his shoulder. He held a giant mug and a croissant for himself.

“Actually, on Monday morning, nothing goes better with coffee than more coffee,” Nancy joked, handing Terry her empty mug. “Can you get me a free refill while you’re up?”

“Anything for a caffeine-starved freshman,” Terry said. “Wouldn’t want you to fail on account of me. Cream? Sugar?”

“Milk,” Nancy said. “Just a little.”

He set his mug on the table and went over to the counter to fill Nancy’s mug.

Nancy had met Terry, a senior, through the Focus Film Society, a campus film club of which Terry was president. Terry had initially been interested in dating Nancy, but she’d made it clear that she was committed to Jake. Since then, Terry had become a good friend. Nancy didn’t see him often, but they always had fun when they did get together.

A few weeks ago Jake had seen Nancy with Terry and accused Nancy of cheating on him with Terry — which was something Nancy would never do. The fact that Jake could assume she was cheating had made Nancy wonder how well Jake knew her. Fortunately, they’d gotten past that. Even though Jake wasn’t crazy about Terry, he accepted their friendship.

Terry reminded Nancy of Ned Nickerson, her ex-boyfriend from home. The two guys were very similar, both tall and athletic with strong facial features and gorgeous eyes. Both had deep, sexy voices.

“And what makes you think I might fail?” Nancy asked as Terry sat down opposite her. He straddled a chair and dropped his book bag on the floor. “Don’t you have more confidence in me than that?”

Terry tore his flaky croissant in two and handed half to Nancy. “I was just joking. If anyone fails, it’ll be me. I’ve got a killer statistics exam in” — he glanced at his Swiss Army watch — “twenty minutes.” He groaned.

“Drink up,” Nancy recommended. She took a sip of hot coffee and a bite of the croissant. “Thanks for breakfast. I forgot about the food part.”

“No problem.” Terry smiled at her. “So, you have a test or something?”

“A Western civ quiz,” Nancy said. “You have to study just as hard for a quiz as for a test, but you get only a few points if you do well.”

“I know,” Terry agreed. “I hate quizzes. I think there should just be one final exam. That would be it. One test, one hundred percent of your grade. Three hours, and it’d be all finished.”

Nancy laughed. “More like three hours and I’d be finished! That would be awful. We’d all flunk for sure and have major anxiety attacks.”

“Well, maybe you’ll like this idea better,” Terry said, sipping his coffee. “The Tivoli theater downtown is showing Marc Bartique’s latest film — you know him, the French director who did Remember Bombay. I was wondering if you’d want to check it out with me. Maybe we could bring it to the Film Society next semester. We could do a Marc Bartique weekend. What do you think?”

Nancy hesitated. She did want to see the movie — she loved Marc Bartique’s other films — but she wasn’t sure she should see it with Terry. Jake might not appreciate that.

“Look” — Terry put his hand on Nancy’s arm — “I’m not asking you out, out. I’m just asking if you want to go as, you know, friends. This would not be a date.”

“I know,” Nancy said, but she was glad to hear Terry say it anyway. That meant he understood she was interested only in being friends — nothing more. “You know what? I’d love to see the movie. I think Jake would, too. I’ll bring him along,” Nancy said.

Terry nodded. “Sounds good. How about Wednesday night? That’ll give us something to look forward to after your quiz and my statistics exam.” He glanced at his watch again. “Uh-oh. Got to put in some last-second cramming. See you later.”

“Good luck! Thanks for breakfast,” Nancy called after him, waving the last bite of croissant in the air. Pastry crumbs dropped onto her study notes. She quickly brushed them off and got back to work. She had a quiz to take — in less than an hour!

George Fayne squinted at the alarm clock be side her bed. “Eight-thirty?” she cried. “It’s already eight-thirty?”

George had set her alarm for seven so she could jog before her first class. She must have turned it off and fallen back to sleep. Now she’d be lucky if she even made her first class.

What a way to start the week, George thought with a moan. As if Mondays weren’t bad enough. She swung her long legs over the edge of the bed and sat up, rubbing her face and trying to come to life. She felt as if she’d been run over by a truck.

A large truck with heavy tires, she decided as she stood up and looked in the mirror. Her curly dark hair was sticking out every which way; her face was creased from becoming one with her pillow; and her brown eyes were bloodshot.

Time to hit the shower! She leaned down to grab her basket of shampoo and soap from under the bed. When she stood up, the room seemed to be tilted on one side. George lost her balance and fell onto the bed, the other furniture in the room swirling in front of her eyes. Her stomach was churning as she felt herself start to sweat.

Abruptly she knew she was going to throw up. George dropped her basket and raced down the hall to the bathroom. Now to add to her Monday morning troubles, she was sick.

“You don’t faint at the sight of blood, do you?” the doctor asked.

Ginny Yuen looked across the desk at Dr. Hazel Mosely, head of the research department at Weston General Hospital. “No…I mean, I never have.” The way Dr. Mosely was talking, Ginny was going to be very challenged by her volunteer job in the hospital’s research lab.

“Good. Because you’re going to be seeing a few things that might make you squeamish,” Dr. Mosely continued. “Categorizing blood samples on slides, for example. And you’re going to have to be tough, even if you don’t feel tough.”

Ginny nodded. “Okay. I can do that,” she said. “Occasionally you’ll interact directly with patients,” Dr. Mosely told Ginny. “I expect you to handle every situation as a professional.” Ginny nodded again, smiling slightly. “I was a volunteer in pediatrics,” she said. “I’m used to being around patients and their families.”

“Yes, I know. You did come highly recommended.” Dr. Mosely closed Ginny’s file and tapped it against the desk. “Let me go find the resident you’ve been assigned to. If he’s not busy, he’ll come to meet you and show you around the department.”

“That would be great,” Ginny said, smiling.

After Dr. Mosely left the office, Ginny stood up and paced back and forth, examining the doctor’s diplomas that were framed and hanging on the wall. Ginny tried to picture having her own name on so many degrees. She had so much work to do before she graduated from Wilder University in four years — never mind going on to medical school.

For a second Ginny wondered what her ex-boyfriend, Ray Johansson, would say if he could see her now. She was dressed in a starched green lab coat, her long black hair pulled back into a neat bun. She looked so conservative, so professional — the exact opposite of the way she’d been with Ray: spontaneous, offbeat, laid-back. With him she had spent her time writing lyrics to rock songs instead of studying chemistry, the way she did now with her good friend Frank Chung.

Ray would probably say that Ginny was giving in to her parents, who had pressured her to stay in the premed program. Maybe she was. She’d hoped that volunteering at the hospital would make her feel more committed to premed.

So far, she wasn’t sure. There were plenty of things she’d rather be doing than sitting in Hazel Mosely’s office, waiting to meet the resident she’d be assisting.

What if he’s incredibly demanding? she thought. What if he thinks I don’t know enough to help him with his research?

Ginny was still pacing and worrying when the door opened. Dr. Mosely came back into her office, followed by a drop-dead gorgeous guy, the most gorgeous guy Ginny had ever seen, with broad shoulders, smooth straight brown hair, and deep chocolate brown eyes.

Dr. Mosely should have asked if I faint at the sight of gorgeous men, Ginny thought, not blood.

She could barely take her eyes off the doctor’s face, his bright smile and his twinkling brown eyes. Even his eyelashes were perfect — thick and dark and curled up at the tips.

“Hello, Ginny. I’m Dr. Malcolm Hendrix.” He held out his hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m looking forward to working together.”

“Oh, and me, too,” Ginny sputtered. He had no idea how much! She shook his hand, admiring his strong grip and long, agile fingers. “Thanks for taking me on, Dr. Hendrix.”

“Malcolm,” he said warmly. “Call me Malcolm, please. We’re colleagues now.” He smiled at her, and his whole face lit up.

Ginny thought she might melt. All of a sudden premed didn’t seem so bad.

“So, can I give you a tour of the hospital?” Malcolm offered.

“I’ve done some volunteering here,” Ginny told him as they walked out into the hall. “But I don’t know too much about the research labs.”

“Then I’ll be happy to show them to you,” Malcolm said. “Since that is where you’ll be spending all your time for the next few months. I hope that doesn’t sound boring.” He laughed, glancing at Ginny.

“No” Ginny said with a smile. “Not at all.” She wouldn’t mind spending a few months with Malcolm — anywhere!

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