When Brooklyn had the time, which was on never really the occasion, she would walk to central square before driving to work. It was a summer morning and her first consult wasn’t until 10:00 am. She decided to sleep in a little then take a walk around Copley square. She took a moment to admire the old church that sat in the middle of the busy city. She was the church, calm, even when everything else was frantic. This was one of the traits that made Brooke and excellent surgeon. In times of chaos, she was always calm and focused.
She always drove her white bentley on her way to work, but the beautiful spring morning begged her to walk there instead. On her way she noticed the small coffee shop that Michael always took her too. Brooklyn stopped for a moment and tried to remember the last time she walked in there. She remembered getting a croissant and getting butter in her hair as a child. She walked in to order herself an iced coffee and looked at the seat by the window. Michael and Brooklyn always used to sit there, watching all the busy people walk by.
Michael was Brooklyn’s sort of father. He raised her like she was a princess and loved her more than anyone ever would. Growing up, a lot of people walked away from Brooklyn. But Michael always stayed by her side. Always didn’t last forever though, he stayed with her until he passed away from lung cancer when she was 17. His will left Brooke with all of his inheritance. Exactly 2.3 million dollars of it exactly. 2.3 million dollars Brooke had no idea what to do with. She grew up fairly spoiled too, Michael being a successful businessman had nothing else to do with his money but spend it on his sort of daughter. He had no close family or friends because most people thought he was an asshole. Which yes, he was, but to everyone but Brooklyn.
She sipped her coffee as she walked into the Hospital. It was one of her favorite places. She loved it so much because it was one place that could make her feel a thousand type of ways. Sometimes she felt happy in the hospital because she was saving lives. Sometimes she felt sad in the hospital because she couldn’t save a life. Sometimes she felt frustration. Sometimes she felt tranquility. Sometimes she felt like she was on top of the world. Today was the start of Dr. Brooklyn Walker making history.
She walked into the patient’s room. This was her first patient to experiment her clinical trial. His name was Harold Jackson, 10 years old, suffering from leukemia.
She introduced herself, “Hi I’m Dr. Walker, how are you doing today?”
Harold was sitting on the bed as the nurse was putting in his IV. He look very weak but he smiled. “I’m doing okay, how are you?”
“I'm doing alright” Brooke exchanged with a smile. She started to explain the process and how Harold would have to do 2 weeks of chemotherapy to reduce the cancer then weaken the bone marrow to replace with a fake one. It was going to be a very difficult process, but she was very confident it was gonna work.
“You're a very tough kid. You're gonna have to be a fighter.”
“Matts a fighter.” Said Harold.
“He's my brother, he played hockey at Boston College. Matts my… my…” he took a moment to think as he looked at his mother.
“What's the word again?”
“Role model.” Escaped Mrs. Jackson’s lips, the word was forced out, like it had a bitter taste. She looked at her husband strangely as he gave her one of those “I don't know” looks. Brooke found it pretty weird, like there was a story to this Matt.
Brooke gave Harold a high five and walked out of the room. As she shut the door behind her, she looked at her clipboard to see what her next appointment was.
“Interview at 12:45 am in the conference room”. Was written on her agenda.
The time was 12:43 and the conference room was on the opposite side of the hospital. Brooke began to sprint, she couldn't miss this interview. Her article was going to go in a TIME Magazine, her clinical trial would be legendary. She walked into the conference room.
“Hi, sorry I'm late.” She said panting as she sat down. Brooke looked up to see a man with fluffy dark hair with a beautiful jawline. His eyes drew into hers, she wasn't sure what color they were, one moment they were green, the next they were brown.
“No problem.” He looked down at his notebook to ask her the questions as he pressed the record button on his tape recorder.
“Can you tell us about your clinical trial?”
She began to tell her story of getting the idea during a surgery two years ago, and working hard to get it off the ground. She explained the process and how her first patient is the perfect candidate for the clinical trial.
The interviewer wrote down her words onto the paper, leaving the pen to his paper as the only sound in the air. She noticed the way he held the pen, it wasn't the normal way. His index finger wasn't even on the pen, which caused his handwriting to be very messy. She looked at the paper, then looked at the lanyard attached with his keys that was sitting next to his hand. It had a pattern of Boston College logos on it.
“You went to Boston College?” Brooke interrupted the silence.
He looked up with his confusing colored eyes. “Yeah.” He looked back down to continue to write. “I played hockey there, senior year I messed up my finger pretty bad, just in case you're wondering why I hold my pen like a weirdo.” Brooke laughed.
“My client for this clinical trial loves hockey. He said his brother played on the Boston College hockey team, maybe you know him?”
“What's his name?”
“Matt Jackson” she responded.
“Well I'm not sure if his last name is Jackson but that's what his brother, Harold’s last name is so.”
He looked at her without saying a word, his eyes looked a darker, sadder, color then it was earlier.
“Are you okay?” She asked him.
“No it's nothing it's just” he took a moment to breath.
“You just said Harold’s your client for this clinical trial. I didn't know he had leukemia.” Brooke was confused of how the news would be so painful to him. How would he know Harold so well?
“Harold’s my brother.”
Brooke couldn't speak.
“We can finish this interview later, but I need you to tell me where he is.” His voice was calm, yet Brooke could sense the pain he was feeling.
She stood up, “Follow me.”
Brooke took Matt to the room and paused before she opened the door.
“Harold is behind this door. I know that you may feel angry, confused, sad, or whatever it is, you cannot show him. He is weak right now, and he is fighting so hard. Matt, you need to keep yourself together. I need you to be strong. Harold needs you to be strong.”
The sound of beeping machines and the steps of the nurses clogs lingered in the air.
“Are you ready?”
She opened the door as they took a step in. Harold was lying down on the bed watching TV. Neither of his parents were in the room. Harolds face lit up like sunlight overcoming a shadow.
“Matt!” He exclaimed.
The two brothers hugged each other and fell deep into conversation. Brooke stepped out of the room to give them some space. She leaned on the doorway looking at the way they interacted with each other. Matt didn't show a slight sense of pain, neither did Harold. Brooke never knew what it was like to have a family. Michael was her family, and she had never loved anyone like that before. But Harold and Matt’s relationship was very different. She always thought brothers hated each other and had a hard time getting along. The way Harold and Matt interacted with each other put a smile on Brooke’s face, and made her feel happy- that only lasted a moment.
“Matthew?” Brooke turned around to see Mrs. Jackson standing behind her, red lipstick and her work clothes and Louis Vuitton purse was just a reflection of who she was. Brooke then looked at Matt. His face was in anger, it changed so quickly from happy to mad. “Mom.” He stated. There was a moment of silence.
Matt let out a fake laugh with a scoff. “So how long were you planning on keeping this from me?”
She tilted her head, “No honey it's not like that.”
“Then what?” Matt cut her off. “Then what is it like? Just another one of your fake ways to keep me out of trouble?”
“Matt let's not do this in front of Harold.” She said. He walked out the door as Brooke shut it behind him.
“I was just trying to protect you.” Mrs. Jackson said.
“No you weren't. I'm not gonna listen to this bullshit you were only trying to protect yourself. You're stupid reputation is the only thing you care about. You care about it more than you care about me, or Harold, or anything else.” Matt was starting to raise his voice.
“I did this because I know where you go when things like this happen.” She said between gritted teeth.
Matt was pacing. “What do you mean?” He snapped.
“You know what I mean.” She snapped back.
“What the drugs?” He said loudly. People around the hallway stopped and stared.
“Keep your voice down.” Mrs. Jackson whispered harshly.
“Oh sorry I didn't mean to embarrass you.” He said sarcastically.
“I already had to deal with Harold, I didn't want to have to deal with you too.”
“Oh so you did this because you didn't want another thing to deal with? I'm an adult mom.”
“Then act like it!” She interrupted as she slammed open the door.
Meanwhile, Brooke sat on the end of Harold’s bed, talking to him to take away what was going on outside the door.
“Matts pretty cool right?” He said.
“Yeah, you're pretty lucky to have a brother like him.” Said Brooke.
“So you like him?” Harold said.
“Yeah I mean I don't know him well, but he seems like a good guy.”
“So you have a crush on him?” Harold said with a devious smile.
“What? No of course not.” She said with a smile.
“If I were you I'd have a crush on him too.” Harold laughed.
“I don't have a crush on him silly.” She rolled her eyes in a joking way.
“Oh come on, you were staring.”
“Was not.” She scoffed.
“Don't worry I'll let him know about our conversation.”
“No you won't!”
They were interrupted as the door swung open. Brooke got up from her seat and fixed her lab coat as she announced, “I'm gonna go.”
“Yeah me too.” Matt said as he gave his mother a look.
“Later dude.” He high fived Harold.
Matt and Brooklyn walked out together. Not saying a word.
“Listen. I know it's very unprofessional, but is there anyway we can continue your interview another time? I'm not having the best day.”
Brooke Said with understanding, “Trust me, I get it. I'll just give you my number and you can give me a time and place.” He handed his phone to her as she typed in her number.
“How about over dinner?” He said in a flirty way.
Brooke looked up at him and looked to the side. “I really hope you're not trying to take your brothers doctor out on a date.”
“Well.” He laughed. “Why don't we pretend you're not my brothers doctor then.”
Matt walked away with a smile. Brooke looked at the ground, then looked back at him, wondering how he could look so good just from the back.
She continued on with the day with countless consults and labs. At the end of the day all she wanted was a surgery to do. The sun started to set and the sunlight no longer was peering through the blinds. Her phone buzzed as she went to look at it. There was a text from a new number: “Hey it's Matt. What are you doing right now?” A smile appeared on her face as she read the text. “At work. Still one more hour to to:/.” Brooke replied. “Can I pick you up after and take you somewhere nice?” Brooke started smiling more. “That sounds great:)”
Brooke checked her watch every few moments to see if the time would go by. This was the longest hour ever, she just wanted to get out of work to see Matt. Brooke walked out to the lobby to find him waiting there in a Boston College hoodie and shorts. How could he still look good in a hoodie? She approached him.
He tilted his head towards the door, “ready?” They started walking out. “Should I be?” Matt smiled at the ground as he opened the car door. It was a beautiful black Jeep without a roof. He helped her up into the seat. “I've never been in one of these before.”
“This is Margaret” he said as he tapped the steering wheel.
“You named your car?” She said in more of a statement than a question. Matt turned the car on, as it rumbled into the summer air. As the car drove, the wind blew in their faces as the city lights gleamed in her eyes. It was already 9 p.m. and they were still driving around the busy city. Brooke started to shiver as the air was not as warm as it was that morning. Matt took off his hoodie and let her wear it.
The car came to a stop. “Here we are.” Brooke looked at Matt and giggled. His fluffy hair was in disarray from driving.
“Nice hair buddy.” He said
“You too!” He ran his fingers through her hair messing it up even more. They got out of the car and looked up at the tall building standing majestically in front of them. The prudential center. It was one of the tallest buildings in Boston and in Brooke’s opinion, the most beautiful building she had ever seen. They walked in to the first floor, which was a shopping mall. There was a shopping cart selling Boston merchandise. Brooke picked up a Harvard hat and placed it on Matt’s head to fix his hair. He picked up another Boston hat and placed it on her head. They sales lady came over, “Can I help you?”
“Oh um no sorry.” Brooke stuttered as she took off her hat.
“Yes actually.” said Matt. “I'd like to buy these two hats.”
“Forty dollars.” He handed her his credit card.
“Did you really just spend 40 bucks on hats.”
He smiled in a cheesy way and nodded. Brooke laughed. They continued walking around the mall until they went in an elevator.
“Where are we going?” Brooke said as the stepped in.
“You'll see.” Matt pressed the button on the 52nd floor. Brooke started to panic has the elevator closed shut and shot up causing her to lose her balance.
“You good?” He said.
“Yeah.” She lied. Brooke hated heights. She had a traumatic experience riding a Ferris wheel when she was nine, and she hated heights ever since. The 52nd floor was somewhere Brooklyn had never hoped to go. She concealed her feelings to keep from upsetting Matt. They stepped out of the elevator and Brooke was starting to feel light headed and her ears were popped. The floor was a restaurant called Top of the Hub. Brooke had heard about it many times before, but her fear of heights kept her from ever going. Matt approached the hostess and skipped over the whole line of people waiting to get seated. Matt said something to the hostess Brooklyn could not hear. She nodded and said, “this way.” They followed the hostess through the restaurant. There was a cellist playing a tune in the corner and the restaurant was lit but by the city lights from the windows. Brooke tried not to look outside, she tried to forget about how high up they were. People dressed all nice looked up and down at them dressed like hobos. The door in the back opened as Matt and Brooklyn walked in. The room was dark and empty until Matt turned on the light.
“This is the banquet room.” He explained.
“How do you have access to it?” Brooke asked him as she looked around.
“Family connections.” He shrugged.
Matt walked toward the window to get a view of the beautiful city at night. The city lights twinkled in his eyes as he looked out the window, then at her. “Come here.” He said with a smile.
“Um actually I shouldn't go over there. I'm terrified of heights.” She said embarrassed. Matts faced turned into a look of worry. “I'm sorry, you should've just said so I don't want you to be scared the whole time.” He said as he walked toward her.
“No don't worry I'm okay I'll just not look out the window.” Brooke looked into his eyes. His strange colored eyes.
“It's not so scary when you're here.”
He looked at her and smiled, then leaned in to give her a soft kiss.
“I'm here.” He whispered as he looked into her eyes to kiss her again.
Matt grabbed her hand and started walking to the window.
“Come on it's not so bad.” Despite Brooklyn’s fear of heights, she wasn't even scared as she approached the window and looked out. She felt a knot in her stomach and took a deep breath.
“See, its not so bad.” Said Matt.
“Yeah it's not so bad.” Brooklyn said as she looked out into the gleaming city.
“It's not bad at all.” She took a breath. “It's beautiful.” She said in almost a whisper.
Matt looks at her and the way her chocolate skin was smooth just like her voice.
“Even the scariest things can be beautiful.”
Brooklyn took a break from admiring the view of the city to admiring him.
“Kinda like you.” He said.
“You find me scary?”
“No.” he laughed as he looked down. “That's not what I'm scared about.”
“Then what is? What are you afraid of?” Brooklyn said.
“Falling in love I guess.” She didn't know what to say. Was he telling her that he loved her? Matt looked up.
“Why are you afraid of that?” Brooke asked.
“I've only fell in love once before. I can't control it. When I fall for someone I fall fast and I fall hard. And it's scary.” she waited for him to continue speaking.
“It's really scary because I don't know what's gonna happen, so it hits you ten times harder.”
“Who were you in love with?” Asked Brooke.
He started to fidget with his hands as if the subject was too painful with him.
“Her name was Madison. I fell too hard for that girl.”
“Well she's an idiot.” Brooke looked at him confused. “Drunk driving accident. It was my fault.”
“You were driving drunk?”
“No I wasn't even with her when it happened. I was supposed to pick her up from a party but by the time I got there she had already driven herself.”
Brooklyn could sense his pain. His eyes were changing into that sadder, darker color. The same way when he found out about Matt.
“That's not your fault.” Brooke said, trying to make him feel better.
“I thought it was. And it messed me up pretty bad.”
“What do you mean?”
Matt sat down on the floor and so did Brooklyn.
“I didn't know how to cope I guess. Just a stupid teenager thing. I got into the drugs because it calmed me down. I had to go to rehab to get clean, but I guess I'm triggered to go back to it pretty easily. That's why my parents kept me from knowing about Harold. They didn't want me to go back to that. But they don't get it, no one does. It was my escape.”
“I never got into that stuff but I know what you mean. My mom coped with drugs after my dad left. It was her escape.” Said Brooklyn.
“You're dad left? And you didn't do drugs? I wish I was that strong.”
“Both my parents left.”
“What happened?” Matt said.
“My dad was engaged to this woman while he was sleeping with my mom. I guess she thought she was more than a hooker to him, but she wasn't. She stopped birth control to have a kid with him because she thought that was the only way they could be together. And when he found out, he gave her money for an abortion, but she didn't get one, so here I am.”
Brooke looked out the window again, feeling a sense of relaxation rather than the fear she used to feel. Matt held her hand, rubbing his thumb on her skin in a circular pattern.
“Do you remember your dad?”
“I only remember one thing about him. I was five. He came into the apartment and my mom and him were screaming at each other. He had a silver watch, I remember very clearly. My mom was crying hysterically, and went to the bathroom and locked herself in. When she came out she was seizing and blood was coming out of her nose. I called 911 to get help. I haven’t seen her since either.”
Matt pulled her body into his, embracing her in a hug. “I’m so sorry this happened to you.”
She released after a few moments as she wiped away a tear.
“I’ve never told anyone about that before.”
“Matt, don't be afraid to fall to hard in love with me. I’m not gonna hurt you. I know what it’s like to be hurt and trust me I won’t do that to you.” she said.
“I’m already falling and I’ll never leave you either.”
That would stick in Brooklyn’s mind forever. She had grown up with people always leaving. The words that Matt said replayed over and over again as he dropped her home.
Early the next morning was a force for Brooke. She had not gotten much sleep and had to prep for a surgery on a torn ACL today. She walked into the hospital with a large, much needed coffee to get her through the day. Brooke walked into the room for a consult, the nurses were already prepping the patient for surgery. She read the chart of the patient. Cameron Kelly, 12 years old. Torn ACL, having surgery today.
“Hi Cameron. I’m Dr. Walker.” Brooke, said shaking his hand. In the room with Cameron was his mother, Marie, his father, Tyler, and his sister Paige. They all introduced themselves. Marie was an one of those stereotypical “soccer moms” and Tyler was one of those white dads. He carried a silver watch on his hand. You could tell he was made of money. Paige looked a little younger than Brooklyn, she was blonde with the similar blue eyes Brooke had. Mr. Kelly seemed to be staring at Brooklyn. She found it strange, yet continued with her consult. When she was finished she walked out of the room. Tyler followed.
“Dr. Walker?” she turned around.
“I just wanted to apologize for staring at you back there.” he said.
Brooklyn smiled, “No don't worry about it.”
“It’s just-” he hesitated. “You just look like someone I know. Just like her.”
Brooke didn’t know what to say.
“Her name is Simone.” he looked at the ground. “God I haven’t heard from her in years I hope she’s alright.”
“Simone?” said Brooklyn, her voice quivering.
Mr. Kelly nodded. “You know her?”
“She’s my mother.” Brooke looked down at the watch on his wrist. A flash of her father slamming the door behind him that night triggered when she saw the watch.
“You’re my father.”
“Brooklyn.” he said trying to embrace her in a hug.
“I have a consult.” She walked away from him.
Brooke wasn’t sure what to feel. It was a mix of anger and pain, there was no word for it. She didn’t show it externally, she stayed completely calm, but on the inside she was screaming. She went along with her day until she went to the cafeteria for lunch. And there he was again, walking towards her.
“I believe we have a lot to talk about.” said Tyler.
“Yeah.” said Brooklyn as they both took a seat.
“I never wanted to leave you or Simone. But I had to, I was already engaged and my family would frown upon me if I married a black woman. I realized that it wouldn't matter what other people would think, as long as i was happy with her. But it was too late when I realized that, by that time I couldn't get a hold of either of you.”
“Is she okay now? Is she sober?” he asked.
“Not since the last time I saw her.”
“She overdosed on cocaine because of you. I never get to see her again because of you. But it doesn't matter, I never want to see her again anyway.” said Brooklyn.
“I’m so sorry.”
“That doesn’t change anything.” she snapped.
“I never went a day without thinking of you and her.” said Tyler.
She looked at him with anger in her eyes. “And why is that? You got your way anyway. You got your trophy wife and super star children, why would you want to worry about me? I can't believe that you ever would.” Brooklyn stood up and walked away. He didn’t dare catch up to her.
She walked into the scrub room to prep for her surgery. She operated perfectly on Cameron’s leg. He was just a 12 year old boy. A boy she knew nothing about, but Brooklyn hated him. She hated him because he got the childhood Brooklyn always wanted. With parents, with a family. She never had that, and she hated him because he did. When the surgery was done, she checked his post- op and everything seemed fine. Cameron was still under anesthesia. Marie thanked Brooklyn for her work. When she looked at Marie, all she could think about was how different her life would be if there was no Marie. It would've been so much easier. She looked at Michael as she walked out of the room.
Brooke started making her way toward Harold’s room, when Matt stopped her in the hallway.
“Hey!” he said, so happy to see her.
“Hi.” Brooklyn continued walking, she didn’t want to talk to him right now.
“Nothing I just had a bad day.” she kept walking.
“Okay but you don’t have to push me away.”
She stopped to turn to him. “I know i don't have to, but i choose to so please leave me alone.”
An announcement came on, “Room 206 Code blue.”
“Harold.” Brooklyn said to herself. She walked into the room to see that he was crashing. Brooklyn took her stethoscope to get his heart beat and looked at his monitor.
“His lungs are collapsing.” She said as she looked at one another doctor. “Book an OR right away I need to take him into surgery now!”
Brooklyn looked into Harold’s eyes as she put on his oxygen mask. All she could see was how scared he was. “It’s going to be okay Harold I promise.”
Brooklyn was calm. Dr. Brooklyn Walker was calm. She opened up his chest to irrigate the fluid in his lungs, everything was going fine. The lung had some bleeding so she started to stitch it back up when the monitor started beeping.
“BP is dropping.” said one of the nurses.
“Damnit!” She rushed the stitches so she could balance his heartrate.
His heartrate went flat. Suddenly her mind took her to the last time she saw her mother. In distress, she suddenly remembered.
“Tyler please don’t leave.” Simone said in tears.
“This is not what i gave you thousands of dollars to do! On drugs? Seriously” he was yelling.
“Tyler I love you, please try to understand.”
He grabbed her by her wrists and pulled her in. “You screwed up my life you know that? I’m done Simone you’ll never see me again.” Tyler pushed her into the ground. Simone was screaming and crying his name.
She sat by the door weeping as she turned to Brooklyn sitting in the corner.
“He left because of you.” said Simone. Brooklyn started crying, she was terrified and confused.
The next thing she remembered was her mother seizing from the overdose of cocaine in her body. Brooke snapped back into reality.
“Dr. Walker!” yelled one of the nurses. Brooklyn got herself together.
“Get me a crash cart! Charge paddles to 100!”
She grabbed the paddles and shocked his heart. Still the monitor line was flat.
“200!” she yelled. Still nothing.
“300!” she said. The scrub nurse wouldn’t charge it. With tears in her eyes she looked at her. “Charge the damn paddles.”
“Dr. Walker, he’s gone.”
She let go of the paddles and ripped off her surgical mask. Her eyes were cloudy from crying she could barely read the time.
“Time of death, 10:43” she sobbed.
She went out into the hallway, crying hysterically.
“Brooke?” She looked up to find Matt with a sense of fear in his eyes. She continued to sob as she went up and hugged him.
“What’s wrong?” Brooklyn couldn’t barely get the words out. “He’s gone.”
When Matt heard that, he pushed Brooklyn off of him. “He’s gone because of you. I don’t want to see you again.”
“Matt.” Brooke was sobbing. “Matt please.” He was already gone, just like everyone Brooklyn ever loved.