Private Practice | Prologue



Claire is a doctor in New Jersey who is called back to her hometown in Georgia when her aunt, the only practicing doctor in town, passes away of cancer. Claire flies down for a family visit, unaware she's in for a job interview to take her aunts place.

   Claire couldn't process what she was seeing. She'd only just opened her two-year-old MacBook when she saw it, the battered screen glaring the news. Her heart had stopped for a second, her mind circling with disbelief. She kept rereading the email, trying to find the joke. The joke that would make her laugh. But she never did. A single tear flowed down her cheek as the realization set in. Her aunt had passed away.

   Aunt Alice had taught Claire everything as a teenager. How to be confident, how to make friends. She'd even taught her how to react when a boy would kiss her unexpectedly. "He doesn't carry a disease, but if he does, you can take care of that."

   Aunt Alice was the one that taught her how to give CPR and was the reason Claire wanted to learn medicine in the first place.

  Claire smiled at the memory. Most people would be crying right now, and true, Claire felt sadness within her. She knew that if her aunt were here, she would be saying in her strong, loving voice, "Don't spend time mourning me, Claire. I've lived my life. Now go live yours." Claire closed the laptop, drawing a breath. She could cry later. Looking at her tear-stained face in the mirror, she ran her fingers under her eyes, smoothing away the tears, and adjusted the hospital ID on her chest. For a brief moment, she considered staying home, taking time to mourn the loss of her aunt, but at the same time she knew that she couldn't. She'd worked too hard to get where she was. She was finally the prime candidate for the Chief of Medicine position, a position hard fought for. Claire had worked herself to the core for years and she wasn't willing to sacrifice that.

   As she moved toward the kitchen, she spotted her phone sitting on the island, vibrating. Her co-worker's name, James, was lit up across the screen, along with a picture of a coffee and a bagel.

   "Saved you the last one," it read. A smile spread across Claire's lips and her thumbs tapped the screen as she typed out a response.

   "On my way!"

   Shoving the phone in her pocket, she grabbed her purse and keys and was out of the door in minutes. All too soon, her head was buzzing with ideas and plans, thoughts for the day ahead. She was so engrossed in her thoughts, she almost managed to forget the email. Almost.


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