Nurse Jackie

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Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
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I Didn't Come Here Alone

"Hey, Lucille, you feeling crummy?" Cooper looks down at her lovingly, indulgently, and she draws a painful breath, moaning in embarrassment. Jackie watches, carefully. "Don't look at me, Dr. Cooper!" Lucille wheezes. "I didn't get a chance to put my eyebrows on..." He holds her hand, and smiles warmly down. "You're beautiful." He asks her to put the mask on, so she can get her treatment and go home, but that will mean he goes away.

The only good thing about Lucille Marinovich's illness, which is her whole life now, which is to say the only good thing about her life, is Fitch Cooper twice a week. (Which is twice what we get, at best, so shut it, Lucille.) She changes the subject, hoping her advanced age and inability to breathe will cover such an obvious maneuver: "We... had orange roughy for dinner last night." You can almost feel her toes curling: WTF's she even talking about, orange roughy, seriously, anything to keep him where she can see him, get his agreement or his indulgence or whatever, to communicate. He nods, making approving noises. "...It's a mild fish."

Coop agrees easily -- orange roughy is a mild fish -- fixing her wig without thinking, pushing locks beneath it, a face to meet the faces that you meet, and she moans again. "Now you know I wear a wig!" she whisper-shouts in horror, and he bucktooths a smile at her, stumbling: "But I... didn't know till just this minute?" He bops her nose for good measure. It wouldn't matter. It's not about getting close to them, that's not why Jackie watches this so intently, and prays Zoey's paying attention: it's not about getting close to them, it's about making sure they don't feel alone. It's about balancing your real life, your in-the-head life, your responsibilities, with this very simple need. The more distracted he feels and doesn't show her, that's what Jackie's looking for. He passes, and well. He promises to come back, and mock-orders her to put the mask on, and Jackie heads up to the cubes, asking if Zoey's good. "I'm good," she says, sounding both grateful and competent.

"Shit, Jacks, you go missing in action and I'm left dealing with some sticky little tot," Eleanor whines, working at her computer. "I needed your hugs and warm nursey eyes to deflect his hero worship." Jackie stands in a nearby cubical, doing paperwork. "You had to be nice? I can't believe I missed it!" Eleanor, as usual, doesn't hear the irony: indeed, it was a nightmare. "Yeah! And his mucky little fingers ruined a pair of 80-dollar tights." Jackie doesn't spare a laugh, because they're not looking at each other, but there's a smile in her voice: "Remind me why you don't have kids." Additionally, she's seen Eleanor throw better than 80-dollar tights in the trash, of course, but Eleanor waves it off. "I would have preferred those tights to have been ripped off of me in the heat of something remarkable, as opposed to being destroyed by... sullied midget digits." Jackie allows as how she'd see that band.

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Nurse Jackie

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