"Are you family?"
"We really only let family in to see patients if they're unstable."
"I'm his girlfriend," Anya embellished. "It's our one-year anniversary next month."
"Does his family know he's here?"
"Uh-" Anya was not sure what to tell the ER nurse, but luckily Michael's regaining consciousness saved her from having to make up more lies. The nurse went over to his side.
"Michael, can you hear me? Do you have pain? Do you remember what happened?"
"My head," Mike croaked.
"I'll go get you some morphine for that," the nurse said, and left, pulling the curtain closed behind her.
Anya's hand was still clenched around his. She smiled weakly. "This is some date, Michael. Are you okay?"
"Nobody calls me Michael. If you're going to be my girlfriend, you should probably start calling me Mike."
Anya blushed. "I just didn't want her to kick me out. But I can leave if you want."
"What happened? You just passed out on me. The paramedics were asking me all these questions."
"I don't know. Suddenly the headache just got so bad."
"The nurse said they're going to do some tests. She thinks it was probably just a migraine or low blood pressure or a seizure or something."
"I'm sorry you didn't get to finish your pie."
Anya laughed. "So while we're playing girlfriend, do you have any medical history in your family I should know about?"
"My grandparents have this disease where they grow wrinkles and forget things."
"No, old age. I think it's hereditary."
Anya giggled. "You must be feeling better."
"If you have to wheel me to your doorstep, will I still get a goodnight kiss?"
"I guess that depends on how the rest of the date goes."
"Well I already took you to dinner."
"Right, and you were funny and sweet."
"Check, and check."
"And if we are going with the classic romcom algorithm, you need to take me to a place that is beautiful and has a personal touch based on some obscure thing I mentioned in a previous meeting."
"Well, you mentioned you had always wanted to go to an emergency department."
Anya frowned. "I don't remember saying that..."
"I kinda read it between the lines. It was pretty obscure. Something about how the smell of antiseptic reminds you of your Mom, who was a nurse."
"My mom's a guidance counsellor at a high school."
"That must have been someone else then..."
Anya laughed. "I guess so. But you're right. The smell of antiseptic-"
"-And drunk homeless guys."
"Yes, and that smell, too. It reminds me of when I was born, in a hospital. Next to a homeless woman giving birth. And there's nothing more romantic than being born. This was so, so thoughtful."
Anya leaned in for a slow, gentle kiss. Mike took a deep breath as she pulled away, and one of the monitors started to alarm.
The nurse came back in, carrying a small bag of IV fluid. "Your heart rate just went up to a hundred and five. What are you two doing in here?" She hung up the bag of morphine as she talked.
Mike grinned. "Nothing. I just suddenly feel a lot better."
The nurse rolled her eyes. "Wonderful. Well we're still going to do a CT to make sure there isn't a neurological cause. If that's clean, we'll send you right home with some painkillers."
She asked a few more questions. Mike felt the warmth of Anya's hand in his the whole time. It seemed to give him strength. Maybe it was the seriousness of being in a hospital, but he found himself wondering if this was the start of something. She had stood by his side and lied to the ER nurse for him, even though she barely knew him. That had to be a good sign.