Chapter 5. Check ups

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Chapter 5. Check ups Empty Chapter 5. Check ups

Post  Rowanna on Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:30 pm

Chapter 5. Check ups

Dr. Ryan Kelly arrived without fanfare to the great manor house gate and waited to be admitted. He pulled up in front of the house and exited the van, surprised to find help hurrying out to help him carry in his gear.

“Just put it over there, boys,” he instructed them, gesturing toward the wide open space of the main entry room. “We’ll use that divan over there and that stool over there. Okay. Make it work.”

He half expected someone to remind him that they didn’t work for him, as most people complained about his brisk authoritarian manner.  The staff at Prince Manor seemed perfectly comfortable simply following his commands.

“Great,” Kelly smiled as his equipment was all set up and ready by the young blond man who seemed determined to ensure that everything was placed very precisely. “Now if someone could just let the family know I’m here we can get this show on the road.”

“They have been alerted, sir,” the fine featured blond informed him with the slightest bow of his head. “They shall be down momentarily.”

The doctor was taken aback somewhat by the courtly manners of the boy and wondered where he was originally from. The accent didn’t sound like any he was familiar with. “Thank you… um… I’m sorry, what was your name?”

“I am Kristov Xandrescu, sir,” the boy replied quietly. “I have been instructed to assist you in any manner you require.”

“No kidding,” the doctor smiled. Consulting the list of names he’d been sent of family members he would be asked from time to time to treat, his smile broadened. “I thought so. Okay. Well, the first thing I require is for you to sit right there, remove your jacket, and roll up your sleeves for me.”

“Sir?”  The boy’s expressive face looked so surprised that Kelly almost laughed.

“You did say your name was Kristov, right?” he asked, holding out the clipboard for the boy to see.

When the boy actually looked at the clipboard and saw his name listed there among the family’s own, his brow furrowed and he cocked his head to the side, as if considering the information carefully. Nodding hesitantly, Kristov seated himself upon the divan, removed his ever present uniform jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his white shirt as directed.

Something about the boy’s gestures reminded Doctor Kelly of nothing so much as the birds his uncle used to raise, a comparison only made more distinct by the boy’s fine boned features. “Good. Now, I’m going to take your blood pressure, then I’m going to listen to your heart and lungs, and get a few lab samples,” he said as he put the cuff around the boy’s thin arm. Pumping it up, then slowly releasing the air, he frowned at the result. Deciding that they couldn’t possibly be right he repeated the procedure again. After the third time, he removed the cuff and sat in front of the blond, his features drawn. “Okay. I think you’re going to have to fill me in.”

Kristov colored brightly, as the sound of laughter floated in from the hall. “Ah, you’ve caught us. We keep such exotic pets, do we not?” Jina entered, her satin dress gently clinging to every perfect curve. “Tell me, doctor. What do you think of him? Remarkable, is he not?”

“Pet?” Kelly asked, rising along with his temper.

Jina laughed again. “I jest, of course. Kristov’s family has been in the employ of ours for centuries. He is as much family as my dear brother, Min, and perhaps better loved by a fair few of us, as he tends to be far less troublesome.”

Kelly shook his head and turned back to his patient just in time to catch the boy buttoning his sleeve and reaching for his jacket as he made to rise.

“Just what do you think you’re doing?” Kelly asked him, placing a hand on his shoulder.

Kristov looked confused. “I thought perhaps if you were done with the squeezing thing and I could return to my post, sir?” he asked

“My… my squeezing thing? It’s a squeezing thing? I see. Have you ever been to a doctor before, young man?” Doctor Kelly asked.

“Not exactly, sir,” Kristov admitted, looking toward Jina for some sort of help and finding none as the beautiful young woman was far too amused to do anything but watch.

“Okay, kid,” Kelly sighed, realizing he’d probably better start at the beginning with each ‘type’ of family member. “You’re not of the same… let’s say ‘breed’ as my employer. Right?”

Kristov shifted nervously, looking to Jina for help again, which only made her giggle. Lisa, who’d entered with Matty as Kelly asked his question, laughed brightly at the thought. “Oh no, I’m afraid the Xandrescu’s are something else entirely. A wonderful sort of something else but definitely not like us for all they are most definitely family.”

Her last words caused Kristov’s brows to shoot up sharply in surprise, which only amused the girl all the more. “Come now, how many times does Soraya have to say it before you accept it, silly goose.  The relationship between the Princes and the Xandrescus go back as far as Kristov’s line itself. Xandr, the patriarch of his line, was truly the very first of his kind.”

Sashaying up to the doctor, Lisa placed a hand delicately upon his shoulder, circling behind him to whisper in his ear, “He could transform into the most amazing creatures.”

“Ah but so can our lovely twins, can’t they, Kris,” Jina asked, causing the boy to color even more brightly.

“You two stop teasing him, and Lisa, get off the doctor,” Soraya sighed as she entered the room with Brianna in her arms. “Doctor Kelly, I presume?” she addressed the amused looking man.

“I am and if you’d all sit over there and you,” he turned to Kris, “sit back down, this’ll only take a minute.”  

Kristov shot Soraya a pleading look, causing his sister to rush to his side. “Doctor, if you please. Our baselines are virtually identical. You may perform your tests, only do let Kristov return to his post now,” petite yet powerful Katarina requested.

“You’ll get your turn,” Kelly replied, then pointed at the young man, repeating, “Sit.”

Seeing that they were going to have to establish some ground rules with this crowd, Kelly addressed the room. “This is how this is going to happen. Every last one of you on my list is going to take a seat right in there. When I call you, you’ll come in. You’ll cooperate. I’ll run the tests and then you’ll be allowed to get on with your night and, presumably, I’ll go home and go to bed. If anyone’s on the list who isn’t sitting over there with you, send for them now.” Turning back to Kristov, he said, “Now, take the jacket off, and roll up your sleeves. Again.”

By the time he’d finished with the Xandrescu twins everyone else except Radu, who was waiting in the rooms beneath the main house with Mircea, was seated and some were chatting among themselves about the various attributes of the family's new doctor, not the least impressive being his commanding presence.

“He should be on stage,” Lisa sighed, watching him work.

“All the world’s a stage,” Jina reminded her twin.

“Well, then,” Lisa giggled. “The show must go on, right?’

Rather than waiting for the doctor to call the next name on his list, Lisa rose the moment that and swept over to the divan, pulling the fabric low on the left side of her chest almost but not quite revealing her own impressive attributes. “Our heart beats tend to be quite slow and faint. You might have to listen awfully close,” she told the doctor with an innocent expression upon her face. When the doctor leaned down to listen to her heart, she reached up and too his shoulder, drawing him closer to her, her lips almost touching his as she whispered, “Much... much closer.”

“Got it,” Kelly said, drawing back and removing the stethoscope from her chest and moving it to her back. “Cough.”

“Wait,” Lisa protested. “You don’t want to hear my heartbeat?”

“I said I got it, now cough,” Kelly replied, all business.

Pouting, Lisa said defiantly, “Vampire princesses don’t cough."

Undaunted, Kelly answered, “They do when their house physician tells them to, now cough.”

Jina’s laughter pressed Lisa to comply, if only to end the show of her rejection. Finishing her physical with no further antics, she rose and walked quickly to her sister’s side, daring her silently, <Let’s see you do better.>

Jina smiled sweetly and headed for the divan, addressing the doctor in her most reserved tones, “I noticed you didn’t do a full physical on her.”

“Excuse me?” he asked as he placed the blood pressure cuff around her arm.

“Well, we are women, are we not?” Her smile turned positively wicked. “You didn’t check for certain types of… you know… women issues?”

“Are you experiencing any discomfort to suggest you were experiencing… women issues?” the doctor sighed, already seeing where this one was going to go.

Repressing a giggle, Jina replied, “I might be. You should probably check.”

“What sort of women issues are we referring to?” Kelly locked eyes with her, his expression stern.

“You tell me,” she laughed, laying back and stretching languidly upon the divan.

“I’ll do you one better. I know a very good old woman who specializes in women issues. Once you get past her bony fingers, cold instruments and absolute lack of bedside manner I’m sure you’ll love her. I’ll make the referral and she can tell you.”

Jina rolled her eyes as her twin laughed heartily at her equally unsuccessful attempt. “He can’t possibly be straight,” she muttered to Lisa once her physical was completed.

“Let’s see you next,” Doctor Kelly pointed toward Brianna, causing the child to squirm in her mother’s arms for a moment before turning bright eyes to fix him with a grave expression.

“We can’t do that,” the child replied solemnly.

Kelly smirked. “And why can’t we?”

“It would be rude to go before my elders,” she replied.

Soraya huffed lightly. “Would it really?” she asked her.

“Of course, Mommy, you have to go first. You could have women issues!” the little one declared with authority.

The room erupted in helpless laughter as the child was passed to her brother Tommen and Soraya moved to the divan in an attempt to serve as a good example, however much she’d have preferred to avoid this particular task.

“What do you need me to do?” she asked resignedly.

The doctor drew her blood, took her blood pressure and checked her heart rate and breathing. Then he took her temperature and looked at her in surprise. “We’re gonna run that one again,” he informed her, shaking the thermometer and putting it back in her mouth. Seeing the results were much the same, he sighed. “Okay. Fill me in.”

Soraya blushed, answering, “I run a little hot.”

“Gee, no kidding,” the doctor deadpanned. “Do continue.”

Even Soraya couldn’t help but laugh at the doctor’s expression.

“You know what. Let’s do this,” Doctor Kelly addressed the assembly again. “When you’re answering the questions on the paperwork I handed you all, feel free to mention things like, ‘runs at least ten degrees hotter than anyone else on the planet’, ‘has the heart rate of an overworked hummingbird’, or, say, ‘virtually never breathes’. Maybe save me the time of repeating tests to confirm what you already know. Deal?”

“Manhood… more… impressive… than… average… mortal,” Min said aloud as he wrote.

“Provided that mortal is female,” Michael snickered, reaching over with his pencil as if to write his addendum on Min’s clipboard, earning himself a playful shove from his uncle.

“I’m sorry.” Doctor Kelly sighed. “Let me rephrase that. Feel free to mention USEFUL things on the paperwork.”

“I’ve often found that information to be quite useful.” Min snorted as he nudged Michael again. When Michael nudged him back again, he sputtered, “What, it’s at least as good as your mom being hot.”

“Eww… you seriously just called my mom hot?” Michael pulled an exaggerated face and pushed Min harder.

“Are you saying she’s not?” Min pushed back, laughing.  Noting the look Vlad shot him, he demanded, “What? He said it!”

Tommen rolled his eyes and stepped between the two, hoping that would be enough to get them to behave. Instead, they continued to smack and shove one another’s arms around the reticent one in their midst.

“Boys, please,” Soraya scolded. Michael and Tommen had the good grace to look chastised. Min, however, only laughed, then whined, “But mom!” in response.

“Oh no,” Vlad protested, laughing, when the doctor looked at them both. “We are not responsible for that one.”

“You mean you’re not your brother’s keeper?” Jina asked, batting her eyes dramatically.

“Nope.” Vlad replied, “That’s Uncle’s job.”

“No wonder he gets headaches,” the doctor rolled his eyes, prompting more laughter as Naitachel approached. After the seraph settled sideways upon the divan he glanced nervously at the doctor and dropped his overcoat, prompting the cry of, “HOLY HELL!”

“Half right?” Nait cringed. He’d hoped perhaps the doctor had been better prepared for his secret after being faced with all the others.

Kelly blinked, frowning, then nodded. “Alright,” he said, blowing out a steadying breath. “Why not, right? It lends the whole balance argument some credence, doesn’t it?”

“I suppose so,” Nait agreed, offering his arm with a smile. He flinched slightly as the needle entered his arm.

Min groaned and held out a 100 dollar bill to Michael.

“What was the bet this time,” Soraya sighed at them this time, shaking her head in disapproval.

“We bet whether or not the sight of an angel with silver blood in a houseful of devils would be enough to make him quit.” Michael answered, admiring the crisp new bill in his hands clear up until the moment it disappeared into the doctor’s hand.

“Keep betting against me, boys,” Kelly laughed, pocketing the cash, “and you’ll both be the first ones in line for prostate checks with cold hands and spiked gloves.”

“Wanna bet whether or not he’ll do it?” Min grinned.

Michael quickly demurred, seeing the doctor’s eyes narrow. Somehow, it just wasn’t worth the risk.

“You are… interesting.” The doctor looked at Nait and shook his head. “Let’s hope you don’t get sick often.”

“I am rarely ill,” Naitachel assured him, smiling softly when he nodded, seemingly pleased by the news.

Checking his list, he noticed that two were still missing, not including the little one he still needed to check out. “You’re next,” he addressed the tiny girl with bright blue eyes.

“Oh no,” Brianna replied. “I can’t be.”

Kelly narrowed his eyes. “And why not?”

“Well, because my elders haven’t finished getting their check ups and I couldn’t possibly go before them,” she replied seriously. “Uncle Matty and Daddy and Uncle Radu and Uncle Mircea and chef Eloise and Barber, our other chauffeur, and Miles, the gardener, and…”

“I’m sure they’ll forgive us,” Kelly assured her, “Now sit right over here please.”

“I can’t,” the child repeated again.

“I told you it was fine. Now, please…” Kelly noted that Min and Michael were both paying far too much attention to the details of the argument.

“Oh no, I really can’t.” The child shook her head. “I’m allergic to check ups.” Brianna smiled sweetly then pretended to sneeze. “Ah CHOO.”

Kelly counted to ten slowly then tried again. “I’ll be sure to note that on your chart. Lucky for you, I’m a doctor. I treat…”

“I’m allergic to doctors, too.” Brianna sighed sadly, then sneezed again dramatically. “Ahh ahhh CHOO!”

“Brianna!” Soraya scolded. Hearing soft snickering behind her, Soraya turned to find Vlad trying hard not to laugh. “You know, that really isn’t helping.”

“Mmhmm...” he replied, shaking his head as he reached for their child and carried her toward the divan. “Come on.”

“Please, Daddy,” Brianna pleaded. “He’s taking all our blood. I’m little! I won’t have any left.”

“Brianna...” Vlad sighed.

“You’ll have plenty left and if you don’t I’ll give you some of mine. Deal?” Kelly asked.

Brianna seemed to consider it a moment, then asked, “What kind do you have?”

“The red kind,” Kelly rolled his eyes. “Can we just do this, please? I still have to go see your uncles.”

Reluctantly the child relented and held out her arm, though she made an impressive show of just how difficult and painful every procedure from drawing her blood to taking her temperature was. By the time it was over, however, Michael owed Min a hundred dollars and nobody in the room could stop laughing. The rest of the group seemed easy by comparison and Doctor Kelly had them done in very short order. That just left the last two on his list.

Descending the stairs to the rooms he’d been shown the day before, he nodded a greeting to both of his charges as he approached.

“He came back.” Mircea sounded vaguely amused. At his brother’s nod, he growled, “You have hired a fool.”

“All the better to treat one,” Kelly growled back. “Now which of you will I see first.”

“You will see to Radu first,” Mircea said quickly, drowning out his brother’s soft voice and ignoring the look he shot in his direction.

“Very well,” Kelly agreed. “Let’s start by discussing the headache. Still there?”

“It is,” Mircea answered for him over Radu’s soft dissent.

“Thank you, now if you’d allow him to answer so I won’t have to repeat every question.” Kelly rolled his eyes.

“Or you, if you prefer, you could accept the honest answer and forgo trying to hear him at all,” Mircea countered.

“If the two of you have this, I’ll resume my other duties, then,” Radu rose only to be pressed back into his seat by both the doctor and his brother. “You do recall I hired you to see to my brother, primarily.”

“You do recall I took the job with the understanding I’d be seeing all of you, which implies I talk and you listen, now roll up your sleeve,” Doctor Kelly answered back.  

Seeing no point in arguing, Radu quietly complied, supposing that would encourage his brother to do the same. Kelly concluded their physical examinations and compared their results to the rest.

“Well, your baseline seems similar to the others, so let’s discuss those headaches. Stress, then?” Kelly asked as he began putting his equipment away.

“You could say that,” Radu replied, turning a frustrated glare in his brother’s direction when he chose to speak up for him once again.

“My brother is both a powerful telepath and an unusually gifted empath, which means weak, unshielded, overly invasive minds like you and your kind can only be tolerated in small amounts, making such things as prolonged contact during interviews and such where so many batter his shields unrelentingly difficult and ultimately quite painful. Once the damage is done it can take days, even with the assistance of others such as myself and his spouse, or even weeks. Thus, I recommend you take the time to learn to shield that tiny squalling little brain of yours for all our sakes, most especially his, if you are to remain on here.”

“I see. Anything else?” Kelly asked, taking notes and finding the elder vampire’s ranting somewhat amusing and quite informative.

“One more thing.” Mircea smiled slowly, rising from his chair. Radu tensed, ready in case his ever unpredictable brother chose to attack. Rather than attacking, however, Mircea offered the good doctor a brightly wrapped package topped with a colorful bow.  “Something for your mantle, perhaps.  A token to consider in the wee hours when contemplating your future here.”

Doctor Kelly accepted the gift, wondering what the catch was when Mircea insisted he open it there in front of him. The answer was apparent soon enough as, reaching within his hand came into contact with something cold and stiff and, peering in, he was appalled by what he saw.

There, within the box, sat the other applicant’s missing head.

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