Her mother had only been 18 when she was born. Fresh out of high school and in love with a pre-med student named Doug. Her mother told her what she thought her daughter needed to know. She just hoped that he was still working at this hospital. Charity hoped that she could at least meet the man who helped to create her. She also knew in her heart that he might not be to open to even talking to her. He had never seen her, and she wasn't sure if he even remembered or knew for that matter that she existed. There were times from what her mother told her, that maybe he didn’t even know that her mother was pregnant. Charity couldn't understand how a man that valued life as a physician turn so coldly to the woman carrying his child? Well she was going to find out.
A doctor came out of the hospital and starting shooting hoops on the basketball court that was near the door. She sat there, taking drags off the cigarette that she had lit to calm her nerves. She watched him. He was tall with dark hair. His face struck her as somewhat familiar. It was almost as if she was looking in a mirror. The doctors that worked there must have come outside to shoot hoops to relax between patients because another doctor had joined him. Charity sat there and watched the doctor’s wondering if she was doing the right thing.
A younger doctor came out of the ambulance bay doors and interrupted their game. He noticed her sitting there and came over to her.
“Can I help you or do you enjoy sitting outside hospital emergency rooms?” He asked.
She laughed, “Not unless you have some courage you could lend me.” She said.
He sat down next to her, “I’m Dr. Carter.”
She smiled at him, “I’m Charity Davis. It’s nice to meet you Dr. Carter.”
“Can I ask what brings you to County?”
“It’s a long story. One that I am sure a doctor as busy as yourself wouldn’t have time to hear.” She said, “but you could tell me who those two doctors were playing basketball.”
“Sure, that was Dr. Mark Greene and Dr. Doug Ross over there.” He said, "they come outside and shoot hoops when they need to blow off steam."
“So that was him.” She said. Not meaning to say it out loud.
“Are you here to see Dr. Ross?” Carter asked.
“In a way yes. But I don’t know how happy he is going to be to see me.” She said.
Carter looked at her. She seemed a little young to be one of his girlfriends, but with Doug you never could tell, “why would you say that?"
“If I tell you, you have to promise me that you won’t tell anyone else.” She said. “I want to invoke that Doctor patient confidentially thing.” She said.
“You have my word.”
“I shouldn’t be telling anyone this, but the reason I’m here is I want to meet my father, and from what my mother tells me he just happens to be him.” Charity told him.
“I didn’t know that Dr. Ross had any children. He never talks about them.”
“Well that doesn’t surprise me at all. You see he has never seen me and I have never seen him. I guess he and my mom split up long before I was born. But I was hoping that I would get the chance to meet him.” She said looking at the hospital door.
“Ah I see and that’s why you asked me if you could borrow some courage.” Carter said.
“Yeah. My nerves are shot and I don’t know if I can do this now.” Charity said lighting up another cigarette.
“Well sitting out here smoking all those isn’t going to get you anywhere but inside on a gurney for lung disease.” He said.
“Yeah I know but it keeps my stomach from turning into knots and me empting the contents all over the place.” Charity couldn’t believe that she was sitting here telling her story to a total stranger. Let alone someone who worked with her dad. “So what is he like?”
“Doug?” Carter asked.
“No the pope,” She said laughing.
“Honestly I don’t know him that well. I’m a second year surgical med-student so I don’t spend a lot of time with him.”
“What have you heard about him?” She asked him.
“Not to talk about people but what I’ve heard is that he’s a bit of a womanizer. Cocky and does pretty much what he wants. If you want to know more about him with out talking to him, you should talk to Dr. Greene they’ve been friends for a long time. Since med-school is my understanding.” Carter told her.
“I wonder if he even remembers my mother. She said he was a bit of a womanizer too, but I didn’t want to believe her until I got to meet the man for myself.” Charity said.
“Dr. Carter.” A voice said.
“Yeah Dr. Greene.” He replied.
“You are needed in the ER.”
“I’m on my way. Dr. Greene, this is Charity Davis. I think you should talk to her.” He said heading back into the ER.
“Sure Carter, now get in there before Dr. Romano has your head.” He told him.
“Charity, what can I do for you?” He said sitting down next to her.
“It’s kind of hard to explain.” She said watching Dr. Carter walk away.
“Try me. I might be able to help." He said.
“Dr. Carter was telling me that you are good friends with Doug Ross.”
“Yeah I am we’ve been friends for a long time.” He said, “why?”
“Do you remember a woman by the name of Elaine Davis?” She asked.
“Yeah she was one of Doug’s girlfriends, but that was over 20 years ago. Doug was just out of high school when he was dating her.” Mark said.
“Yeah I know I turn 21 next month. Does he take surprises well?” She asked.
“Most of the time, but I don’t know how well he’ll take this one, if I what I think is right for what you are trying to tell me.” Mark said.
“Elaine Davis is my mother. She told me that my father dumped her when she was pregnant. That he wasn’t ready to be a father and walked out on her. I don’t know how much of it’s true. I don’t know if he knows that I exist.” She said. “But I wanted to meet him. It’s just taken me 20 years to track him down. Mom wasn’t keen on the idea. She kept telling me over and over that it was a bad idea that he wouldn't want me around."
“I don’t know how well Doug’s going to be on the idea either.”
“Keen on what buddy.” Doug said walking up behind Mark.
“Ah hey Doug.” Mark said.
“Charity, meet Doug Ross.” He said. “Charity is Elaine’s daughter.”
“Wow I didn’t know that Elaine had any children.” Doug stated.
“Oh you didn’t know then.” Charity said, “which means then she lied to me. Nothing new there.”
Doug looked confused about what Charity had just said.
Charity looked at him, “Do you have time to talk with me?”
“Yeah I do, I just got off. Let me tell Carol and we can go over to Doc’s to talk.” He said.
She looked at Mark. Charity had no idea of what Doc’s was. This was her first time in Chicago.
“Doc’s is right across the street. And don’t worry it’s a public place. He can’t kill you there.” Mark said smiling.
“Oh you’re not from Chicago.” He said.
“No I’m not.” She said.
“I see. I’ll be right back.” Doug said disappearing into the ER.
“Don’t worry Charity. For the most part Doug’s a good guy. He’s made some mistakes, but he’s starting to settle down now that Carol is back in his life.” Mark told her.
Charity finished her cigarette and watched Dr. Greene walk back into the ER. She really wasn’t sure if this is what she should be doing or not. Her head said she was being insane but her heart wanted to know her father. She wanted to know what kind of man he was. To find out what she had been robbed of growing up all these years.
Doug walked out of the hospital. “You ready.”
“Yeah, as ready as I'll ever be.” She said.
They walked across the street and into a diner that was across from the hospital.
“I wouldn’t recommend the food, but the coffee is okay.” Doug said as they sat down.
The waitress brought them coffee and Doug looked at her.
“What brings you to Chicago?” Doug asked. “I haven’t seen Elaine is years.”
“21 years I guess.” Charity said shrugging her shoulders.
“Yeah I didn’t realize it had been that long. How is your mom doing?” Doug asked.
“Oh she’s fine. She’s a lawyer in Denver now.” Charity told him, “The reason that I’m in Chicago is actually to see you.”
“I’m glad you’re mom is doing well.” He paused for a minute, “you’re here to see me.”
“Don’t get the wrong idea. I don’t have any hidden agenda.” She said pausing for a minute. “And I don’t want anything from you, other than to get to know you. Dr. Ross please, all I want is the chance to get to know my father.”
Doug got quiet. He didn’t know what to say. “I didn’t know Elaine was pregnant.”
“I get that idea, but that’s not what she told me. She said that you left her because you didn’t want to be a father. I don’t know if she told me that so that I wouldn’t get some notion to come and find you sooner or what. But I do want to know my father. Even if I am an adult now.” She said.
“Charity, I didn’t leave your mom. She just suddenly broke it off with me. I had no idea she was even pregnant.” He said.
“Then I must be quite a surprise. I didn't mean to drop such a bomb on you.” She said.
“Yeah.” He looked down. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be please, it’s not your fault. I don’t know what mom was thinking. I don’t want to know what she was thinking. I don’t hate her and I don’t hate you. Really I just,” She paused for a minute. She wasn’t sure what to say.
“We have a lot of time to make up for.” Was all he could say?
“Doug, you don’t owe me anything. All I have wanted is the chance to get to know you.” She smiled at him. “I wanted to see where I got my brains from, cause it sure wasn’t from mom. She also said that I have your spit-fire attitude.”
Doug looked at the young lady sitting across from him. She looked like her mother did at that age. Fiery red hair, she was tall and slender. “You look just like your mom did when she was your age.”
“Hey I had to get the good looks from somewhere.”
“Charity, how old are you?” Doug asked.
“20.” She replied.
“So you know I’m a doctor but I don’t know anything about you.”
“I’m a surgical tech.” She said.
“Wow.” He said.
“Does that surprise you? With your love of medicine it’s no wonder that I am in the medical field. Must run in the genes.” She said.
Doug didn’t know if he could believe all of this. If Elaine had lied to Charity about him running off there was no telling what else Elaine could have lied about all these years.
“Charity, are you sure I’m your dad.” He asked.
She looked down at the table. What if her mom had lied to her all this time? Crap was she making a fool of herself assuming that this man really was her father and he wasn’t.
“Honestly all I have to go on is what mom told me. I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t believe her. Sometimes I have to wonder about what she tells me to.” She said.
“It’s not that I don’t believe you. I know that you came here only because that is what she had told you. I don’t want to be cynical of your mother, but if she lied to you about me leaving. I have to wonder what else she might have lied about.”
“Dr. Ross, it’s okay. I mean if that’s the way that you feel, then that’s the way that you feel. I didn’t come here to force myself upon you. That wasn’t my intent at all. Like I said I don’t want anything other than the chance to be friends with my father. And if that’s not you then it’s not you.” She looked down at the table. She’d give it to her mother when she got back to Denver. If and when she decided that she was going to talk to her mother again. She couldn’t believe what was happening.
“No, if I’m your dad. I am. Come on we’ll go find out. I am not letting you leave Chicago with out knowing for sure.” He said.
Doug drug Charity over to the hospital. He was going to find out if he did have a daughter. And he’d enlist Mark and Carol to help him find out. Charity needed an answer. And if Elaine couldn’t be straight with her, he sure as hell was going to be. Doug wasn’t going to leave her in the lurch.
“Mark I need a hand.” He said to Dr. Greene.
“What do you need now Doug?” He said, “hi Charity.”
“I want to find out if Charity really is my daughter. I don’t trust Elaine not to have lied to the poor child all this time. And then it wouldn’t surprise me if Elaine hated me enough to do this. She was kind of eccentric."
"Sure come on." Mark said.
Doug and Charity followed Mark. They had blood drawn and sent it down to the lab. It was going to take awhile before they would know for sure.
"Charity, give me your mom's phone number I really want to talk to her now." Doug said.
"Sure," Charity said rattling off her mom's number to Doug. She wasn't sure how happy her mother would be getting a phone call from Doug now. But what else could she do. He needed some answers and she was the only one who could give them to her. She watched as Doug disappeared into the doctor's lounge. She was sure that her mother would give her an earful when she got of the phone with him.
Doug sat down at the phone and dialed Elaine's phone number. She'd better have some answers for him. Doug wasn't mad at Charity but he sure was at Elaine. How could she do this to him? Now he had an adult daughter to contend with. Charity had the right to get to know him, but he would have preferred to be there for her growing up.
“Hello,” Elaine said answering the phone.
“Hello Elaine.” Doug said into the phone. At least he couldn’t strangle her over the phone.
“Who is this?” She asked.
“Doug Ross.” He said.
“Oh I take it then Charity found you.” She said smugly.
“Yeah she did. You have a little bit of explaining to do.” He said harshly.
“I don’t have to explain anything to you. Do the child a favor and just tell her you want nothing to do with her and send her on her way. She doesn’t need you.” Elaine said coldly.
“Kind of hard to do. She came all the way her just to get to know me and I have no intention of turning her away.” Doug stated.
“How noble of you Doug, but face it, your not father material. She’s better off with out you and your influences.” She said. “That’s why I left and never looked back. I didn’t need you and neither does she? No matter how hard I try to tell her that you’re nothing but a pathetic womanizer she just doesn’t want to accept it.”
“How kind of you Elaine to be so self-centered and cruel to her. I didn’t understand you then and I’m not going to take the time to understand you now.”
“Do me a favor and send her back to Denver where she belongs. She doesn’t need to be in Chicago. That place isn’t good for her and neither are you.” She spat.
“Hell Elaine, I might just get her a job here and let her stay. I have 20 years of fathering to make up for thanks to you and I think I’m going to start now.” He said to her, “Besides she’s an adult and can make her own decisions as to where she wants to be. Something inside her made her decide to come to Chicago and I’m going to find out what.”
“Put Charity on the phone Doug.” She demanded.
“Not going to happen.” He said, “goodnight”
He hung up the phone. He couldn’t believe her. The nerve of that woman lying to that poor child just so she wouldn’t have to deal with him all these years. That was a crock of crap. He walked out of the doctor’s lounge and headed back to the lobby where he had left Charity. She was on her cell phone. Obviously Elaine hadn’t liked what he said.
“No mom,” Doug heard Charity say.
“I’m not coming home.” She said continuing on with the conversation. “No, don’t send me a plane ticket. I don’t want to. What do you honestly think you can make me? It’s not that easy mom. No I don’t hate you.” Charity shrugged her shoulders when she saw Doug standing there. “Mom, I’m not a little girl anymore. Whatever. Mom no I’m an adult I can stay wherever I please. Go ahead mom. I don’t need your money. I have a job. Yeah I know I don’t have a job in Chicago. Yes I know I am only on vacation for a little while. You don’t have to remind me. Really mom, how would you know? Yeah I know that part. Come on mom. Yeah I know I showed up out of the blue. Can I make that decision myself please? Get off your high horse mom. I don't need this from you mother.”
Charity hung up her cell phone and looked at Doug, “seems a bug crawled up her ass and died again.”
“I gathered that when I was on the phone with her. She doesn’t seem to happy that you are here.”
“No she’s not and she wanted me on the next plane back to Denver.” Charity said, “but unless you don’t want me here. And after that I wouldn’t blame you if you don’t, I don’t plan on getting on that plane.”
“Don’t get on it then. I have no intention of sending you back with out getting to know you first Charity. For whatever reason you mom decided that it was best for you not to know me, that isn’t the way that I feel. I know what it’s like to grow up with a flake for a dad. I’m sorry that you had to grow up the same way. If I had known I would have been there for you the best that I could have.”
Charity looked at him. “Doug, you don’t have to feel bad. Mom did this not you. I’m just happy that you will let me have the chance to know the real you. Not the picture that she’s painted of you over the years.”
“Of course it’s going to take some adjustment to get used to have a daughter. And an adult one at that.” He said.
Charity smiled and hugged him. “Don’t worry it’s an adjustment on my part too. For 20 years, I’ve had to live without a father. Just promise me you won’t be as controlling as she is. I am an adult.”
Doug laughed, “of course you are.”
Doug led his daughter out of the ER and towards his home. He had a lot of time to make up for and wanted to get to know the new spitfire gem in his life. He just hoped that Carol would understand.