Chapter 4 : Healer Keith Bennett
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“Spattergroit. You’re right.” He said. I knew I was right. I blinked a few times, waiting for him to continue. “Have you considered Med School?”
“I did it already.” I explained to him, crossing my arms. He raised one of his perfectly crafted eyebrows at me before tucking the chart underneath his arm.
“Then why are you a receptionist?” He asked. I felt my face flush at his comment. I was a receptionist because all of my ties I had previously had to the healing world had vanished. No one would take me under their wing after finding out I was the estranged daughter of the Price’s.
“It’s a long story.” I mumbled. Bennett smiled down at me and I felt my cheeks flush pink. He was so attractive that I’m pretty sure all the other males in the hospital swooned over him almost as much as the girls did.
“I’d be glad to hear all about it. Stop by my office after your shift is over, yeah?” Bennett said. Before I could even think of a smooth enough comment to give him back, he had already spun around and walked in the opposite direction.
I turned myself, heading back towards my own desk. Healer Bennett wanted me to meet him in his office. I could melt in a pile of Vi if I wasn’t careful enough. He was just so damn charming and good looking and everything a woman could possibly want in a man. Plus, he was pretty filthy rich, which helped any man’s case when asking a woman back to their office. I wanted to go find the interns and rub it in their faces, but I thought better of it. I sat down in my chair next to Pam who had to do a double take of me.
“What made you so giddy? Take a potion during lunch? I think the better question is why didn’t you bring me any?” Pam nudged my shoulder. I wasn’t even aware I had such a large grin on my face until now.
“If I tell you, you cannot tell a soul. Understood?” I whispered. She nodded her head enthusiastically. “I mean it Pam. One peep and I’ll come hunt you down and make you eat your own toes.”
“Touchy, touchy, aren’t we? I won’t tell anyone, Vi. You’ve got my word.” Pam put up her right palm and placed her left on her chest.
“Healer Bennett saw me out-smart his interns and wants me to meet him in his office after my shift is over.” I said this in such a rush that I wasn’t quite sure Pam had heard me. Then she started to screech with excitement. Yes, she heard me just fine.
“Oh my gosh! What in the bloody hell do you think he wants to talk to you about? Think he wants you to become a healer? Do you think he wants to shag you?” Pam asked, eyes wild as she seemed ready to rocket out of her chair.
“Hopefully both.” I joked with a wink.
“Oooo you dirty little hussy!” Pam joked back as we both began to giggle.
“Excuse me?” We both turned to see Bennett’s intern standing in front of us, looking as though she was a dog who just got punished for peeing on the white couch.
“What do you need?” Pam asked in a dull tone.
“Do you know where the mop bucket is? Someone puked in their room and Bennett wants me to clean it up with a mop.” She said. I looked at Pam and we both fell into a fit of laughter. I could see the intern’s face growing more and more red with embarrassment.
“Second floor janitor’s closet!” I managed to get out before she ran away, tail between her legs.
“Maybe he wants to take you under his wing. Newbie is so out of here.” Pam whispered.
“I think he’d be doing us both a favor if he kicked newbie out. She’s not apt for this job.” I explained, paper punching a large stack of files.
“Oh my goodness, is that you, Violet?!” I heard the annoying screech that I had nightmares about the night before.
“Oh. Hi Veronica!” I could hear the shakiness and the octave higher my voice took on. She didn’t seem to notice.
“James never told me you worked here!” Veronica added, the large smile still on her face. I suddenly felt a pang of guilt upon seeing her. She looked like she was glowing with joy.
“Nothing I can say I’m proud of.” I tried. Veronica let out a short laugh and tilted her head to the side.
“Did you manage to get over that hang over from the reunion? James stayed at Freddie’s that night and was dreadful the next morning.” Veronica said. In a way, it felt like she was holding James in front of me like a piece of meat, waiting for me to take the bait. No, that would be way too obvious.
“Erm yeah. Hangovers are my specialty.” I mumbled. Veronica let out a hearty laugh at that. Well at least someone thought I was funny.
“Something we can do for you?” Pam jumped in. Veronica’s face was still plastered with a smile.
“Yes, I have an appointment with Healer Brown.” She explained. Pam nodded, gesturing towards the elevator.
“Third floor, second door on your right.” She explained. Veronica nodded her head and then turned her attention back to me.
“I’m sure I will see you again, Violet!” She said before hopping towards the elevators. I grumbled slightly as she waved once in the elevator.
“Why is it always the polite ones that I mess things up with?” I asked Pam.
“I’m not nice?” Pam asked, pretending to look affronted.
“No. Not at all. Where do you think I learned my bitchiness from?” The large smirk that appeared on Pam’s face gave me all the answer I needed.
I stared at Healer Bennett’s door. It was mahogany and had gold embedded deep into the glossy finish with “Healer Keith Bennett” on the front. Just the sight of that made me want to swoon. I lifted my hand, but thought better of it and pulled it back to my side. What if he wanted to fire me? Or what if Pam was right and he wanted to shag me? Was I wearing my attractive knickers? Did I remember to shave my legs this morning? I felt my heart flutter a bit too much in my chest. Suck it up, Price. You can do this.
I took a deep breath and lifted my hand, only to have the door yanked open. Except I didn’t see Healer Bennett and his gorgeous smile waiting for me on the other side. I was face to face with James Sirius bloody Potter. My smile immediately fell as his eyes widened upon seeing me. My hand fell straight to my side and my once smile was now a grimace. James ran a nervous hand through his hair at the sight of me. Great. Bloody great. No shagging of hot healers for me.
“Hey Vi.” Was all he could muster up to say to me.
“Potter.” I grunted back.
“Price! You’re a bit early!” Healer Bennett said from behind his large desk, getting up as he came towards the door where James and I were in our standoff.
“I get done at quarter past every day.” I mumbled as he joined us.
“Oh right!” He said, the charming smile on his face not even getting the grimace off of my own. “You two know each other?”
“A bit.” James said cryptically. I wanted to hit him right on the spot, but thought better of it.
“We went to school together.” I added, trying to cover up James’s stupid comment.
“Hogwarts? I went as well! What house?” Bennett asked. I grimaced immediately. I didn’t realize the proximity in our ages.
“Gryffindor.” I mumbled.
“I was a Hufflepuff. Beat young James here for the Quidditch Cup my last year. One of the proudest moments of my life,” He let out a hearty laugh at this, smacking James on the back.
“We could always play again!” James joked. This got another laugh from Bennett.
“I don’t think I can move on a broom like I used to, but thank you for the offer.” Bennett said. Always so polite. Swoon.
“I better get going, then. Big game coming up and all.” James muttered quickly. I was pretty sure the season hadn’t started yet, but neither Bennett nor I was going to correct him.
“If that problem persists, James, make sure to come back in.” Bennett suddenly took on his healer voice, handing a prescription parchment to James. James’s face flushed slightly as he nodded.
“Will do.” He mumbled, making to leave as quickly as possible.
“Will you excuse me for one moment? I forgot my wand in my locker.” I said to Bennett who nodded in understanding and went back into his office. I rushed after James, grabbing his arm as quickly as possible.
“What?” He hissed, glancing around to make sure no one noticed. I felt the bite in his voice and immediately let go of his arm. Ouch. I thought he was the one in love with me.
“I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to develop some sort of rash.” I hissed back, ripping the potion prescription out of his hand. It was a potion for a common cold. Fantastic.
“Oi! Isn’t that confidential or something?!” James grabbed the parchment back, tucking it away in his pocket.
“Well how was I to know?” I defended, crossing my arms in defiance. “Your wife was in here today after all. Wouldn’t be surprised if she had a parasite or something.”
I felt bad for that comment, but knew I wouldn’t take it back. James, oddly not looking the least bit surprised by my comment, ran a frustrated hand through his thick mop. Did he want to scream at me? Probably. Was he going to? No. That wasn’t the James Potter way. Not at least in public. James was the type to bottle up all of their anger and not let it show until it was all ready to come bursting out. There was only so much shaking one bottle could handle before the top came off and it all came pouring out.
“Don’t you have a meeting or something to get to?” James bit. I glanced momentarily back at the door leading to Healer Bennett’s office. The child in me wanted to keep my feet planted and keep arguing, but the adult in me knew it was better to let it go.
“It was nice to see---er…. I mean….” I felt my cheeks flush as I fumbled over the right words. Was it nice to see him? Did I want to see him? I couldn’t exactly say ‘I’ll see you later’, but ‘have a nice life’ didn’t quite suffice.
“It was nice to see you too, Vi.” James said with a small smile pulling at the sides of his lips as he turned, retreating down the hall. I had no control as my eyes slowly wandered down his body, watching the way his shirt hugged him a little too tight and his pants curved oh so perfectly around his bottom.
I felt my face grow hotter as I realized I couldn’t check out this married man, no matter how bad I wanted to. It was almost as wrong as when I slept with him, except this time I was keeping my hands off. I turned back towards Healer Bennett’s office and felt my heart beat pick up again. While James may have ruined my plans of shagging him senseless, that didn’t mean that I wasn’t going to go back in there with the most confidence Violet Price would muster.
Which, let’s be honest, isn’t very much.
I tapped on the door much too quiet, but was obviously heard as he called for me to come in. I opened the door cautiously, holding up my wand to show him that I had gone and gotten it (even if it had been in my pocket all along). He barely looked up from the multitude of papers on his desk as he gestured to the chair in front of him. I sank into it, feeling like I was back in school and McGonagall was telling me she knew I was the one who had made Cynthia Brown’s forehead flash “BITCH” over and over again. In my defense, she had said it was crafty spell work after giving me detention. Healer Bennett finally looked up from his paper and smiled at me.
“Sorry, I was just reading over your healing school records. You were an above average student with a lot of promise. Tell me, why didn’t you go on for an internship anywhere? That seems to be the only thing standing in your way of being a healer.” Bennett looked at me quizzically as he flipped through a small manila folder in front of him.
To say it was all a touchy subject would be an understatement. No one talked about that anymore. It had been years ago when all of it had happened. It had seemed at the time that everyone had been aware of the incident, but I suppose you don’t realize how little your “world” really is until you realize someone like Healer Bennett doesn’t know anything about you other than the fact that you have been the lobby receptionist for a while and have a little bit too much of an attitude.
Oddly enough, you sometimes find yourself wanting to divulge all your deepest secrets to a complete stranger (especially if their gorgeous, breathtaking eyes are studying you so closely). Sometimes you just need someone who has no idea what is going on to tell you what they think of the situation. You need to have someone from the outside look in on all that is wrong in your life and hopefully tell you it really isn’t all that horrid. I looked at Bennett with mild fear, not knowing if I could rehash it all, but I opened my mouth anyways.
“You want it all?” I asked him. “It’s a rather long, tedious story.”
“Tell me it all, Ms. Price. Don’t spare the details.” He said. I took a deep breath.
“The Price’s are a very old, prestigious pureblood family…” I began to explain. He leaned forward as though he was a small child listening to me tell the most amazing story. “My younger brother and I are the only ones left in the line, really. When I started healing school after I had graduated from Hogwarts, I didn’t really worry because my parents had all the connections here. I thought that I’d be the first pick for interns. I was going to be, honestly, until….until my boyfriend and I broke up. He proposed to me and I had turned him down for some reason that I still don’t understand to this day. When my parents had found out about the break up, they demanded that I apologize and accept his proposal. They had loved him. I guess pride took over and I couldn’t be wrong. We got into a horrible argument which ended with them demanding I leave and never come back until I have him on my arm again.
“Then it all came crashing down suddenly. No one wanted to take on the Price daughter as their intern. I had to find a new flat because I obviously couldn’t afford the one I was in prior to the break up. I went from job to job, trying to get in to some type of healing internship, finally landing the receptionist position, which I’m still sure I got because my shirt was a little too low and Xavier Talsaw is a perv. I haven’t talked to my parents in 8 years and don’t intend to. I am still attempting to salvage the little bit of pride I have left to find something to do with my life before I hit 30.”
He nodded along with everything that I said and even did the “mmms” at the right moments. I stopped when I was done, pursing my lips slightly at remembering all that had happened. I could hear the swearing from my father. I could see the tears running down my mother’s face. I could feel Adam dragging me away from the large estate that I used to call home. I remembered the long nights of sleeping on Adam’s couch and drinking until I couldn’t stand the taste of alcohol anymore. I remember wondering why no healers had chosen me. I remember falling down into a spiral that I had just started to drag myself out of.
“You’re a strong woman, Violet.” Bennett said simply. I felt my face flush again. I could feel myself wanting to swoon over him.
“Thanks.” I mumbled, not one to take compliments well.
“Is it safe to assume that James Potter was that supposed ex?” If he had glasses, he would be staring at me over them. I nodded, unable to find the right words to describe my relationship with James.
“I’ve got to ask….why did you call me in here?” I didn’t want to be rude and try to drag his attention back to the real reason I was here, but bringing up the past made me want to have a few fire whiskeys. He gave a small smile, however, and chuckled at me.
“Well, I have recently had an…opening in my internship and I would like to give you the opportunity to be my intern.” Healer Bennett nearly made me melt on the spot. Was he serious? Was I hearing things? Was I dreaming? No, if I was dreaming, he would have asked me to be his intern with his shirt off while snogging me senseless.
“I thought you had an intern.” I stated stupidly. A small smile tugged at the corner of his lips.
“She has been let go.” He said. “I must warn you, it is long hours and can take a toll on you. I expect the very best from my interns and nothing less. I have yet to have an intern actually make it passed the internship, but I have high hopes for you.”
“Yes! Absolutely! That would be a fantastic opportunity!” I stumbled through my words, a large smile plastering itself on my face. Healer Bennett stood up and I followed suit, shaking his hand with too much vigor. “I won’t let you down.”
“I don’t expect you to, Violet. Let’s discuss this better over dinner tomorrow night, yes?” Bennett said, his head turning to the side. I faltered slightly. Did he just ask me out? No, it was a work date—a work meeting. It was purely innocent.
“Yes, of course.” I said, nodding my head very fast. Bennett’s bright blue eyes seemed to have a certain sparkle that I could only place with satisfaction.
“Perfect. Your address was in your chart. I’ll pick you up around seven.” He said, coming around the desk to walk me out. He placed his hand on my lower back, a warm sensation shooting up my spine.
Oh Mr. Bennett, what you do to me.
“Sounds perfect.” I said, trying to give my best smile to him.
Keith Bennett might just be the death of me.
“I don’t like this, Vi.” Adam said to me, crossing his arms as he sat on my bed, watching me toss shoe after shoe out of my closet. I ignored him, pulling out a red pump that I was pretty sure I had worn with a Halloween costume some year.
“I got an internship, Adam. You should be overjoyed for me!” I hissed at him, pulling the black short boots out and smiling to myself. Perfect.
“I’m happy about the internship, but not about the date with the man who you will be your mentor. That doesn’t sit right with me.” Adam explained, grabbing the Witch Weekly that was on the floor and starting to aimlessly flip through it.
“It’s not a date. It’s a professional meeting…thing.” I explained, getting up from my floor, kicking a few shoes out of the way as I looked at myself in the mirror in the light pink sundress.
“That’s not professional at all to take your intern out for dinner.” He mumbled.
“Why do I have a pink sundress? I have red hair!” I grumbled more to myself than to Adam.
“Because you were once a blonde.” Adam answered. I grunted at him unattractively.
“A lot has changed since then.” I said aimlessly, throwing a pillow at Adam to cover up his face while I pulled the dress off, settling for dark pants and a nice shirt.
“Apparently. The Vi I knew wouldn’t be trying to impress some pretty boy healer just for an internship.” Adam received a glare for that.
“The Vi back then didn’t have her whole career riding on one healer.” I retorted. He huffed, but didn’t say anything else. I was glad. Adam sure was opinionated when he wanted to be.
“Just remember, I do have a license to kill. Quite literally, actually.” Adam said as I heard the knock coming from the living room. I gave Adam one final glare before rushing down the hall to not keep him waiting.
Pulling the door open, Bennett was wearing a dress shirt and dark pants as well, his blonde hair slicked back in the most attractive way possible. He held a leather folder under his arm and smiled immediately upon seeing me. I felt my heart do a moderate flip at the sight of his smile. Oh Merlin, he cleaned up well. I wanted to melt on the spot, but I felt that would be highly inappropriate given the circumstance of my attempt to try to be casual in all of this and not just be another intern in love with Healer Bennett.
“Shall we?” Bennett said, sticking out his arm for me to side along apparate with him. Suddenly, Adam was behind me, sticking out his hand to Bennett to shake.
“I’m Adam Price. Vi’s brother.” He quickly said. Bennett, not the least bit taken back, shook Adam’s hand immediately.
“Hello Adam, I’m Keith Bennett, Violet’s mentor.” Bennett said smoothly, not missing a beat. I immediately felt embarrassed by Adam’s actions and took the first opportunity to shoot him a dirty look.
“Well, let’s get going!” I said, my voice way too high for anyone’s liking. Adam wanted to say more, but I elbowed him in the stomach to prevent this, slipping out the door and grabbing onto Bennett’s arm before he had the chance to object.
Bennett apparated us right into the middle of Hogsmeade, a few people walking around us in the warm summer night that was coming on us. The street lamps were slowly twinkling on as the sun was setting over the distant Hogwarts castle. The small shops around were treating the last couple of customers of the night, ready to close up for the night. I felt myself hold on to Bennett’s arm a little too long, but he didn’t seem to mind.
“I was thinking just the Leaky Cauldron. Quiet enough for us to talk.” He explained, making his way towards the pub a few buildings down from us. I had to admit I felt slightly disappointed by this, but let him pull the door to the pub open for me, being quite the gentleman.
When we walked in the door, I looked around for an empty table, not quite realizing how many people go to the Leaky Cauldron on a Friday night. The place was packed, booths filled with people and the bar with not a single stool open. It wasn’t too loud as people were keeping to themselves. I looked back at Bennett who looked to frown at the looks of the place, contemplating his next move.
“I didn’t realize it would be this busy.” He sighed.
“Healer Bennett!” We heard a woman’s voice shout across the
room. Looking around, I immediately froze upon spotting who had been calling Bennett. Veronica Potter. What was worse was that there was James, Freddie and a brown haired girl I didn’t recognize all sitting at an oversized booth. James was attempting to get Veronica to put her manicured hand down, but it was too late.
“We can go somewhere else, Mr. Bennett.” I quickly said, wanting to get as far away from the Leaky Cauldron as possible at this moment.
“Call me Keith.” Bennett stated, putting his arm around my waist and pulling me into him. “And we can go join them. I’m sure they’d love the company.”
I immediately knew what he was doing and I was very grateful for it. We made our way over to their table, weaving around other people as they had made room for us. Keith kept his arm on my waist and I felt the heat growing all the way up the back of my neck. When we reached the table, I saw the redness in James’s face, but not from embarrassment at calling his healer and previous girlfriend over to the table. He looked far beyond simply pissed off.
“Price! I didn’t know you had a boyfriend!” Freddie said way too loud. I glanced at James, who raised his eyebrows at me for an answer.
“It’s still pretty new.” Keith quickly answered before I had the chance, smiling down at me. I barely had time to swoon as I could feel the death glare from James on me.
This couldn’t get much worse.
Author's Note: Yes, a bit of a delay, but what do you think?! Keith Bennett, the heartthrob healer, playing Vi's boyfriend to help her not look so pathetic in front of James? All of the drama? Why is James around so much? Good questions I ask myself! Stay tuned ;D
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