Crossroads
By The Lady In Black

Chapter One
"Sad, but true," Kiara thought when she left the house of the family.

It was early in the morning and she had brought a hard night full of pain and screams behind her. The streets were empty and the rain was falling down on her. In such moments she felt so lonely. Sometimes she even tried to imagine what it would be like to be the only human being on the whole world. Actually she didn’t have a hard time to imagine that. That’s how she felt every day in every single hour, in every single minute, in every single second. The street lamps didn’t spend a bright light and the sky of this night was heavily covered with huge dark rain clouds.

The storm became worse and the only thing she wanted now, was to get home. She needed a hot bath and a warm bed. A good cup of tea would complete her day. The rain became stronger and stronger and as Kiara saw a tavern at the other side of the street, she decided to go there and have a hot cup of coffee, while waiting for the rain to become less worse. There weren’t many people inside. It was pretty dark and the air was full of the smoke of cigarettes and cigars. A drunk sailor was sitting at the bar, drinking one whiskey, followed by another. In the back corner of the room an old man was sitting, reading the newspaper of the week before. There were no more people in the inn, except for the barkeeper. Kiara sat down at a table by the window and stared out of it, watching the rain falling down. The man behind the bar had seen her and came over to her table.

"Wanna drink something?" he asked.

From the sound of his voice Kiara could tell, that he was very tired. She turned her head to look at him. And what she saw by then was unexpected. The man was about 30, perhaps 35. He was tall and pretty muscular. His long brown hair was open and fell softly down on his shoulders and the mustache and the goatee made the handsome lines of his face perfect. A pair of deep brown eyes was tiredly looking down at her.

"A cup of coffee and some Jackie," she answered. The man nodded and left her back alone. Kiara turned her head to watch the night outside of the window. One flash hunted the other on the sky and the thunder kept on singing its sad, dangerous song in a deep voice.

"It’s really nice out there, isn’t it," the man said from behind her. He placed a cup of hot, steaming coffee and a small glass with a brown fluid in it on the table. Kiara nipped from the glass and put it back on the table. She nodded and gave him a tired smile.

"I’ve never seen you here before. Which way led you in such a place?"

"I don’t know. I guess I’m just a lonesome rider who has lost her destination. It seems to be the right place for me," she said.

"I’m Matt."

"Nice to meet you. I’m Kiara." She couldn’t think of a reason why she had told him her name. Matt had recognized her surprised face.

"Everyone knows each other here. That drunk pisser over there at the bar is Frankie. He has just come back from Thailand and now he has no job anymore. He hasn't said a word all day long. Sometimes it seems as if he only has a mouth to get the alcohol into his body. The old man over there is Louis. He’s already been here before I was. He belongs to this inn just like the chairs and the tables." Matt stopped.

Frankie had called for another whiskey and Matt had to go. Kiara forced a smile and looked at Matt while he was going back to the bar. She saw him giving Frankie his whiskey and then disappear into a room behind the bar. The horrible rain stopped, she finished her cup of coffee and her whiskey, grabbed her purse and left a $10 note back on the table and left the pub. She only wanted to go home.

When Matt returned he found the strange woman gone. She did have something, he had never seen before. She was beautiful. She had long dark brown hair, brown eyes which seemed to be stars made of chocolate. But there was something in her eyes, he didn’t have a name for. He had no idea how to describe it. Something sad, something depressing seemed to lay over her whole person. Matt risked a look at his watch. It told him that it was already 4 am and that it was time for his guests to go home.

"Frankie, Louis, see ya tomorrow," he said. Frankie stood up and stumbled out of the door. Louis went over to Matt and hugged him.

"See ya tomorrow, son," the old man smiled and then also left the pub. Matt took a deep breath in and sat down at one of the tables. That woman just didn’t want to leave his mind. He closed his eyes and shook his head in a senseless attempt to make her leave. Matt was too tired to clean the floor and dishes and so he decided to do it the next day. He turned out the lights and went upstairs to his private rooms. Quickly he undressed and let himself fall down into his bed, which welcomed him softly. As tired as he was, he couldn’t find any sleep.

The hot steaming water was a blessing for Kiara’s soul. Weightlessly and satisfied she was lying in the old bath-tub. A smile kissed her lips. That Matt from that pub was really a nice guy. She could even think of falling in love with him. But she didn’t allow herself to have such feelings, since a man like him would never fall in love with a woman like her. He was a grown up man and sometimes she felt like a child, like something a man would never touch. The smile on her face faded away immediately. She was a real nothing. Kiara brought her bath to an end and went to bed. But she couldn’t find any sleep. That handsome face just wouldn’t disappear from her inner eye.

Late in the next morning Kiara woke up. She couldn’t remember the last time she had slept so well. Even the pictures of dying people in the hospital, where she was working at, had disappeared completely. It was her day off and she had planned to spend the day in the park. But when she looked outside of her window, she knew that she could forget about her plans. It was still raining. So Kiara decided to spend the day at home, reading a good book. She dressed and left her house to go to the bakery around the corner. When she got back home, she was completely wet. She undressed and got some warm comfortable clothes out of her closet. Kiara made herself comfortable with a cup of hot tea and some cake on the sofa in the living room. She turned on the TV and watched the news.

There were only the usual news of a big city. Murders, robberies and so on. Nothing really special. When she had finished her breakfast she switched off the TV again. On the table, standing in front of the sofa, was the book, she wanted to read. It was a vampire story. One of her few friends told her that it would be one of the best books, she had ever read. Kiara believed her and started to read. Usually she didn’t like such stories. She couldn’t stand the violence and the horror in them. But this one was different. As she read on, she found a character in the book, who could have been Matt. The description of the guy in the book, perfectly described Matt’s looks and handsome figure. Kiara looked up from her literature, she needed to see Matt again and it had to happen that night.

Matt woke up about 2 pm. He was still tired and would have preferred to stay in bed for a couple more hours. But unfortunately this was impossible. He still had to clean everything in his pub and he had to open it again at 4 pm. So, he had lots to do, but no time to do it. But it seemed as if Matt’s heart didn’t know what time it was, or better, it didn’t know when it was the right time to bring diverting thoughts into his mind. Kiara, what a name! It was at least as strange as the woman this name belonged to. It hardly ever happened that a woman came into his tavern and when one came, she left again after ten minutes. But she was different. While other women felt quite uncomfortable in such a surroundings, she seemed to like it there. And that was a fact that made him hope, that she would probably return. Matt spent the next two hours with tidying up his tavern. He cleaned the floor, washed the dishes, and polished the tables. When he opened the front door, he hoped to see Kiara standing in front of it. But she was not there. A little bit disappointed he returned behind the bar and made some coffee.

Soon after Matt had opened, Frankie and Louis came into the tavern. Louis went to his usual place in the darkest corner of the room and Frankie sat down at the bar and ordered his first whiskey for that night. It certainly wouldn’t be the last one. The next hours Matt kept on waiting for Kiara. He had a hard time concentrating on his job. In only one hour four glasses fell out of his hands and broke into pieces when they hit the floor. Louis and Frankie didn’t show any interest and Matt was glad about it. Later in the evening more guests came and Matt had enough to do to get his thoughts away from Kiara. But then, shortly before midnight, she came through the door. She sat down at the same place where she sat the night before and again she stared out of the window. A smile kissed Matt’s delicate lips and with his heart beating heavily against his ribs he made his way towards the person he had been waiting for the whole day through.

"Wanna drink something?" he asked her, the same way as he had done the night before.

"Glass of beer," she smiled at him. Kiara found herself unable to hide the joy in her eyes, that she finally saw him again. In his own nervous state, Matt didn’t recognize it.

"Okay," he said, his eyes never leaving hers. He kept on standing in front of her, staring down at her just like he would stare at a seldom beautiful animal. Kiara raised an eyebrow, wondering what Matt was waiting for.

"I’m thirsty," she smiled at him and with it urged him to get her the beer. Matt seemed to wake up from the most beautiful daydream he had ever had. He blushed slightly and then turned around to get Kiara her beer. He whispered something like ‘of course’ while going back to the bar. Five minutes later he returned with two glasses of beer and sat down at Kiara’s table.

"Is this the usual way to serve your guests?" she asked him with a smile curving her lips. Again Matt blushed.

"No, it’s just that I hardly ever have a female guest around here and I would just like to know what you think of my little tavern. And you are the first woman who visited my tavern again. The others never returned." Matt smiled.

"I like it here. It’s not so crowded and it’s a good shelter when it’s raining." Meanwhile it had stopped raining. Matt looked out of the window.

"You haven’t come here today to get some shelter. It's not raining." Now it was Kiara’s turn to blush.

"Well, I had my day off today and I didn’t know what to do. So I took a walk and finally I landed here." She knew herself, that it had to sound quite strange, that a woman goes for a walk in the middle of the night – all by herself. But Matt didn’t seem to realize what she had said.

"I see," Matt nodded. He had hopped that she probably would have come back because of him. But on the other hand she certainly wouldn’t tell him after a talk of five minutes.

"Well…have to get back to work," he smiled and stood up. He left his full glass of beer back on the table. Kiara knew that she had lied. She did know very well what to do, since the book she was reading was really good. But she wanted to see Matt again. He was so different from her. He had self-esteem and self-confidence and likely a woman who loved him. Yes, he had a girlfriend or was even married! The smile that had curved Kiara’s lips, faded away immediately. Kiara stood up and left the tavern and with it Matt quickly. Tears ran down her face while she went back home. She really wished that she could go to work now. Probably she wouldn’t have to think of him then at least.

Kiara hadn’t returned to Matt’s tavern in weeks. He wondered why. He couldn’t think of anything he did wrong, or probably had said, since they hadn’t talked much. Where was she? Probably she was just another woman who didn’t like such a location as his tavern. At least it could be. Or was she used to being alone when she was out? He had no idea. But to him she seemed to be so different, different from every woman he had ever met. Sometimes Matt felt only lonely. Yes, he had had a couple of women, but they had never been such women, he could spend the rest of his life with. Matt let himself fall down on his sofa in his small living room and turned on the TV. It was senseless to hope that she would come back one day.

Obviously she neither liked him, nor his tavern. He zapped through the channels. Thrillers, action-movies, and what he needed the most…love stories. Matt switched the TV off. For weeks now, Kiara had always been with him – in his mind. He only wished that she had been with him physically. Actually Matt didn’t know what was wrong with him. How could he fall in love with a woman he had only seen a couple of times? Well, all in all less than two hours! My God, he had never been that sensitive before. Matt jumped up from the sofa and almost in the same moment he let himself fall down again. He wanted to go to her place, until he remembered, that he had no idea where she lived. Damned thing. The only thing he knew was, that her name was Kiara and that she was the woman he loved. He needed to see her again, but he had no idea how he could find her. He had to wait, until she would come back.

Kiara couldn’t stop thinking of Matt. In every waking moment, even in her dreams he had been with her for at least three weeks. But it was impossible for her to return. She couldn’t allow herself to love him, since she was afraid that he would only be another man who would disappoint her. In weeks she didn’t have a day off from the hospital. Kiara kept on working, since she couldn’t stand being alone at home all day long. She needed her work to keep her mind clear of Matt. But she couldn’t keep her heart clear of him. That was her problem. Kiara couldn’t allow herself to fall in love with Matt, though she knew that it was already to late.

Four more weeks passed by and Kiara hadn’t returned. Matt did his business as usual. He simply had no time to weep until his eyes became red, though he would have loved to do it.

It was a Wednesday night and Matt was talking with Louis when a stranger came into his tavern. Matt stood up and went over to the bar, where the stranger had sat down. When he passed him by, the man grabbed him by his arm and held a gun against his temple.

"Alright, no one will be hurt, as long as you do what I say," the stranger shouted. Matt nodded his head yes. He was frightened, but tried to find a way to flee from that guy. Well, there was no proper chance in sight.

"Okay, give me your money and you’ll be fine," the man yelled, pushing the gun harder against Matt’s head.

"It’s behind the counter," Matt whispered and tried to go towards it. The guy allowed him only to walk slowly. When they had reached the till, Matt opened it and took the notes, and the coins out. The eyes of the man widened in disbelief.

"That’s all? No more? Oh well, must be enough," the man sighed out disappointedly. He threw Matthew away and ran towards the door. Perhaps he thought that Matt would have reached for the telephone or something, because he turned around once again, looking straight into Matt’s eyes and then he shot him, and ran out of the door. Lifelessly, Matt’s body fell on the ground. Although Louis bones were 84 years old, he jumped up quickly from his seat and ran behind the counter to help Matt. He tried to awaken him by shaking him on his shoulders, but Matt didn’t show any reactions. So Louis looked around, searching for the phone. He found one hanging on the wall. Louis ran to the phone and dialed 911.

"Kiara? ... Kiara!" Sam yelled through the halls of the hospital. She needed her to make the round through their ward. Kiara came out of the rest room and joined her.

"Only the two of us today?" she asked Sam.

"Yes, it’s Sunday, Dr. Nivens," she grinned.

"Alright, Nurse Crowns. Anything new last night?" she asked, rising one eyebrow.

"Well," she looked into her list. "There’s a new patient at number 53 and Ms. Harper died last night."

"What about the new one?"

"He was almost killed last night by somebody who obviously couldn’t handle a gun. The police said, that he was robbed and that an old man called them. He was lucky. If it hadn’t been for the older man, he would have died. That’s what Dr. Richards said." Kiara nodded her head.

"Well then, let’s go!" Kiara said and they went their way.

When they came to Ms. Harper’s room, Kiara became a little bit sad. She still had been young, but the cancer had finally defeated her. Probably it was better this way. Finally they came to room 53. Four man were in it, all of them more dead than alive and when they came to the first of them she had to find out, that he was dead for real. The man lying in the bed by the window was sleeping. He was the new one and Kiara showed more interest in him than in the others. She went straight towards the new one’s bed. Her face became pale, when she saw who the man in the bed was.

"No," she whispered. "It can’t be him."

How she had wished for this moment to come, but in the hospital under such circumstances? That wasn’t what she had hoped for. Oh my god, it was really him and he was so helpless, so weak, so vulnerable, so ... pale. Softly she laid her hand down on his forehead. His fever was high and his forehead wet from all the sweat.

"Matt," she whispered. "Don’t leave me."

"Kiara? Do you know that man?" Sam asked her from behind. Kiara looked up at her. She hesitated.

"No, just thought that I’d know him," she lied.

"Alright. Mr. Jones and Mr. White are still waiting for you."

"I’m coming."

When they had ended their round through the ward, Kiara needed some time for herself. She was shocked to see Matt in her hospital. Matt’s file lay on her knees. She looked down at the cover of the file and read, what was standing there. ‘Logan, Matthew. Born March, 5th 1965. Gunshot wound between third and fourth rib.’ Kiara sighed out. Why did this have to happen? If she hadn’t been so shy, probably it wouldn’t have happened. She didn’t know. But she remembered something. Kiara ran out of the rest room and looked for Sam. Finally she found her in a sickroom, nursing some wounded.

"Sam, I need to ask you something. Were there any visitors for Mr. Logan?" Sam seemed to think about it and then shook her head no.

"I can’t remember anybody. And there was no address for someone to call in case of an emergency. Why do you wanna know?"

"Oh, just wanted to know, if I had to do any calls." And with it said Kiara left the room and left a puzzled Sam behind.

Kiara needed to go to Matt. She knew, that he needed her now, since there wasn’t anybody else. When she entered his room and then stood at his bed, she found him awake. Her eyes opened widely in joy.

"Hey, how are you?"

"I guess you are the one to tell me, in case you are a doctor" he whispered weakly.

"Well, I am and besides a hole in your chest and a really high fever, you’re doing fine," she said.

"Great, then it is the hole that’s hurting, I suppose." He forced a smile to appear on his lips and then opened his eyes for the first time and already wanted to close them again, when he saw the person standing by his feet.

"Kiara?" he whispered, not able to hide the disbelief in his voice.

"It’s me, yes. Hey, how did this happen?" she asked him.

"I guess someone shot me. No, I have no idea. I can’t remember anything." Kiara nodded.

"Well, firstly it’s important for you to get back on your feet again. And this will only happen, when you get a lot of sleep. So close your eyes and try to sleep. I’ll come back later." She turned around and was about to leave the room, when Matt held her back.

"Kiara?"

"Yes."

"Would you mind staying with me until I fall asleep? I can’t be alone now." Kiara smiled and sat down at Matt’s bedside. She took his weak hand in hers and caressed it softly.

"I won’t leave you, be sure. Now, try to sleep." Minutes later, Matthew fell asleep with a slight smile curving his lips.

Kiara looked down at the sleeping Matt. He was so handsome and when he was asleep, he was even more beautiful in her eyes. She kept on watching the sleeping Matt until Sam entered the room.

"Dr. Nivens? We’re just getting a new patient. He has had an heart-attack and is coming to our ward now to recover." Puzzled Sam watched Kiara. It seemed quite strange to her that Kiara was holding the hand of a stranger and even caressing it.

"I’m coming."

"You don’t need to. He’ll be coming into this room."

Only now Kiara remembered, that the other patient had died only hours before. Still puzzled Sam went away to the elevators, to wait for their new patient to arrive. Soon the man was brought by four nurses and minutes later Kiara was standing over him, watching the old man. She knew very well who the man was, even before Sam had given her his dates.

"Louis Slaughter, born August, 22nd 1916. He has had an heart attack last night, but is doing extremely fine."

"Sam, you know..."

"Sorry, Kiara, I know. You’re the doctor."

"Yes, and that’s why it’ll be my decision if he’s doing fine or not."

"Hey, I did say that I’m sorry. Doesn’t seem to be enough for you today. I’d really like to know what is wrong with you," Sam yelled angrily and left the room. The other nurses didn’t know what to say and looked down to the floor.

"You can go now. I’ll do the rest." The nurses looked at each other, sighed out and then left the room.

Kiara was already sorry, about her behavior. And to tell the truth, she had no idea herself, what was wrong with her. Usually she didn’t bellow at her subordinates, but sometimes emotional stress made her do such things. Softly Kiara’s hand wandered over Louis forehead. She knew, that he was the one Matt owed his life to, and probably she was more grateful to him, than Matt himself.

Matt needed a lot of time to recover from his gunshot wound. It hurt badly and he had a hard time to move only his little toe. Kiara was always there for him. She never left him alone. Sam was still angry with her. Although she knew, that Kiara had her own will and that sometimes she could be a real beast when a nurse said anything about a patient’s state, she had always thought that she and Kiara were friends. Never before Kiara had acted that strangely. She had never been so harsh to Sam.

Matt was lying in his bed and stared out of the window. He couldn’t believe, that he had found her again. When he turned his head, he could look at Louis, who slept most of the day. He knew that he owed his life to his old friend. Matt turned his head around and again he stared out of the window. Soon he fell asleep.

Kiara came into Matt’s room to look after him. She saw that he was sleeping and so she sat down by his bedside and took his hand in hers. Soon she found herself dreaming what it would be like, if this man was hers. She knew that this would certainly remain a dream forever. But something deep inside of her, told her, that Matt was her Mr. Right, that he was the one she really needed to spend the rest of her life with. It was strange, but never before in her life, had she met a man like him. He was just so different from any other men she had known. Obviously he didn’t need to tell everybody, that he had ten women to count on every finger. No, he was more like the shy type of a man. And that was the thing that made him so attractive for Kiara.

Finally it came so far, that old Louis was released before Matt. Matt’s chest still hurt terribly and sometimes Sam thought, that his will to live had died. She really wondered why and what made her even wonder the more, was the fact, that every time Kiara was with him, he seemed to be better. Sam was determined to find out, what was between Mr. Logan and Dr. Nivens. But there was still something holding her back, from asking Kiara – the argument she still had with her. Anyway, for Sam this was unimportant at the moment. So she went out of the restroom and looked for Kiara. She found her in room 53 sitting by Mr. Logan’s bed.

"Kiara? I just wanted to go down into the canteen for a cup of coffee. Wanna join me?" Sam gave Kiara the biggest smile she could force to appear on her face. To her surprise, Kiara nodded.

"Yes, I’d love to." She needed a break anyway. The two of them went down into the canteen and sat down at a table standing by the wall. Kiara was tired and there was nothing she needed more in that moment, than a good cup of hot steaming coffee.

"Kiara, would you mind me asking you something?"

"No, of course not."

"Well, there’s something, that seems quite strange to me. There must be something between you and Mr. Logan from room 53. You are looking so often after him. You’ve never done that before with any other patient. Tell me, you know that I’m your friend." Sam looked deeply into Kiara’s eyes, which suddenly became very sad. Kiara sighed out heavily.

"You’re right, Sam. I’ve met him a couple of weeks ago when I went home from work. It was raining heavily that night, I was trying to find shelter somewhere and I landed in his tavern. That’s where I met him." She paused.

"Come on now old girl. You can’t tell me, that this is all."

"Sam, you know that I am not good in talking about my feelings."

"But you can talk to me about them. I am your friend."

"I don’t know..." she hesitated.

"Kiara!" Sam encouraged her.

"Okay, okay. I’ll tell you. I don’t know, how this could happen. Usually I don’t fall in love so easily, but this time it just happened. I really have no clue how, but it has happened. Sam, I love that man!"

"Does he love you too?" Sam wanted to know.

"That’s hard to say. We’ve only met twice. But to me he seems to be so different from any other guy I’ve ever met. He’s so sensitive and so charming and, as you’ve certainly already found out yourself, he’s extremely handsome."

"You can tell," Sam grinned. "Kiara, if you really love him ..."

"I love him. I’m sure."

"If you really love him, then help him to get back on his feet. Be there for him. You’ve been his only visitor in four weeks, you know. And as far as I can tell, he likes you."

"Why is that?"

"Well, he never wanted you to leave, when you’ve been with him, did he?"

"True. I’ll have to release him within the next few days. That’s a problem."

"Why? You can still be with him. Listen, tell our boss that you want to go on a holiday for a couple of weeks. You didn’t have any holiday the previous few years anyway. And then help Matt in his tavern and take care of him. You’ll see what happens."

"Do you really think so?"

"Of course. Come on, just do it." Sam smiled at her.

"Okay, I shall try."

"That’s what I wanted to hear."

Five days later, Kiara released Matt from the hospital.

"When do you think will I be able to open my tavern again?" Matt asked his doctor.

"Today, if you want."

"Well, I don’t think that I can already work, though I really need the money."

"You won’t do the work," Kiara decided.

"Who else? I have no one to help me," Matt said, not able to hide the frustration in his voice. Kiara just smiled down at him. Her grin grew wider, with every passing second.

"You have me."

"What do you mean, I have you?" he asked her.

"Well, I won’t work at the hospital for a while and so I can help you to get your tavern going again. And you don’t have a choice. You need someone to help you, don’t deny it. And since you obviously have no one, it’ll be me to help you out. Besides I am a doctor as well, and so whenever you’ll need one, there’ll be one." Kiara hoped that he wouldn’t refuse her offer. But she was lucky and Matt smiled up at her.

"Sounds good to me. But I’m afraid I can’t offer you a place to sleep."

"That’s okay, my place is not too far away from yours."

"Okay, then we’ll be partners from today on."

Soon they were working together very well. Matt spent most of the evenings behind the bar and Kiara was serving the guests. She did it very well. Often, after the work had been done, Matt and Kiara sat down and talked, sometimes even until the sun was dawning. But that one fateful evening, something different happened, something both of them had been waiting for to come ever since they had met for the very first time. Kiara had already worked for Matt for over two weeks and they had really become close friends and now there was more between the two of them – they knew that deep inside of them. They were already talking for a couple of hours, when suddenly the two of them became silent. Deeply, they looked into each others eyes and then it happened that Matt’s head came over to Kiara’s and their lips locked. Their kiss couldn’t be broken, neither by her nor by him. When they released each other, they were both happy and confused.

"It just had to happen, right?" Matt asked, still totally confused.

"I guess..."

For the first time Kiara spent the night with Matt and when they woke up the next morning, it was quite strange for both of them, not to lay in their bed alone. Kiara was the first of them to tell the warm bed goodbye and to get ready for the day. When she had showered and dressed, she returned to Matt’s bedroom.

"I need to look at your wound," she told him. She had done that every day, ever since she had released him from the hospital.

"Sure," he said, though he didn’t like that thought. Of course he liked the thought, of her hands touching his body, but he knew that it would also cause him pain, though she didn’t want to hurt him. Kiara took the bandage from his chest off and examined the wound. After a few moments she started to smile.

"Looks quite good to me. The infection has gone away and now it is healing very quickly. In about a week, the pain should be gone."

"That’s good," Matt smiled. "I hope that means that I won’t need that darn bandage anymore."

"I’m sorry, but I have to disappoint you. Or do you want it to get infected again?"

"No," he said, but he was not able to hide the indignation in his voice. Kiara started to put a new bandage on his chest and always when a moan of pain left his throat, she became even more carefully. Finally when she was finished, Matt complained.

"I wonder, when I’ll be able again, to get under the shower. Sometimes I just feel so dirty." Kiara laughed out loud at his statement.

"You’ll be able again soon."

While Matt made himself ready for the day, Kiara worked down in the tavern. She cleaned the floor and washed the dishes. When Matt came down to join her, he hugged her from behind and gave her a kiss on her throat. She gave him the towel she had in her hands, and told him to dry the dishes. He obeyed her. Meanwhile Kiara went into the storeroom to get some things; she needed to replace the bottles that had been emptied the night before. When she returned to the taproom, Matt helped her to take the bottles to the places where they belonged. Now everything was ready and their guests could come. And really, thirty minutes later, the door opened and Louis came in. Kiara’s and Matt’s eyes opened wide in disbelief.

"Louis," they both yelled, as if out of one mouth. The old man just smiled at them.

"Bring me a beer," he smiled and sat down at his usual place.

"Are you sure that you’re allowed to drink some?" Matt asked him.

"Sure! Hey, I’m 84. It really doesn’t matter if I’ll die today or tomorrow." Kiara and Matt had to laugh out loud. Louis had never lost his sense of humor.

"You must know," Matt decided and brought him his glass of beer. Some time later Frankie also came into the tavern. He had only heard the night before, that it was open again. This was the first time that Matt and Kiara met him in a sober state.

"Hey Matt," he said with a deep, rough voice. "It’s good to see you again."

"It’s good to have my best guest back again," Matt grinned. "Let me have a guess! You want a whiskey in the jar."

"Well, a glass would be enough for now," Frankie grinned. Kiara gave him what he wanted. Everything seemed to be alright again, but there was still one unasked question hovering over them. Who was the one, who had almost killed Matt?

No one dared to ask, but someday the day would come, when they should be confronted with that question again. Meanwhile, life went on for them as usual. They couldn’t spend their life thinking about something they couldn’t change anyway.

One day Kiara had to return to the hospital, with a little surprise for her boss. She entered his office and sat down at his desk. Dr. Turner was a very friendly man. He knew that she was his best horse in the stable.

"So, what do you want to tell me, Dr. Nivens?"

"Well, Dr. Turner. It’s not easy for me to say this, but I’m gonna quit my job here at the hospital. I only came back to get my things."

"Dr. Nivens, You can’t do that. The patients need you, we need you."

"No, Dr. Turner, I have to go. I have another job now and I’m needed there."

"We need you here too," he tried to convince her to stay.

"I’m sorry, but there I’m needed more."

"And at which hospital will you work now?"

"No hospital. It’s a tavern."

"A tavern? Now, just don’t tell me that you’ll work as a waitress."

"I will."

"Dr. Nivens, you can’t!!! I won’t allow it."

"You’ll have to, I’m sorry, and besides my contract ends this month anyway."

"You’ll get a new one. You’ll get more money, just stay here."

"I’m sorry, Dr. Turner. I’ve made my decision." Kiara stood up and turned around to leave. But Dr. Turner wouldn’t let her go.

"Dr. Nivens, isn’t there anything I can offer you, to make you stay?" Kiara turned around again.

"I’m sorry, Dr. Turner. I just have to go."

"But don’t expect me to take you back, when you don’t like to serve drunk people anymore," he warned her.

"I don’t."

"I won’t take you back!!" he became louder.

"You won’t have to." Now Dr. Turner gave it up, but he seemed to be quite sure, that Kiara would come back one day.

End of Chapter One

Chapter One
 Chapter Two

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