Life After Dark
Chapter 41

Dawn’s mind was a million miles away as her feet guided her inside General Hospital. Slowly, she made her way to the first floor waiting room where Nikolas had said he’d meet her. Her first appointment with her OB/GYN was in a few minutes and she always liked to arrive a few minutes early for her appointments ‘just in case.’

Her mind was on the startling information Liz had told her the afternoon before. She found it hard to believe that her Nikky had been shot and that he had neglected to tell her. She wondered why he didn’t tell her. Didn’t he trust her enough, or maybe he didn’t love her enough? Maybe he still harbored a few feelings for Robin and if he had opened up to her about the shooting, the stroke and her help, all of his old feelings for her would come back. Was that it, she wondered. Was he in love with Robin and only married Dawn because of the pregnancy?

Nah, that can’t be it, she thought as she shook her head. He loved her. She was certain of it. She had no reason to doubt it, but what were his reasons, she continued to ask herself. The night before, she had every intention of asking him, but every time she tried, someone or something interrupted them. Her mother stopped by to visit and she was later followed by Dara and Alex. Liz and Emily came over to discuss with her the fun she would have redecorating the wing she and Nikolas shared. After the magazines were put away, they settled down to discuss their school schedule, giving Nikolas the opportunity to be spirited away by his uncle for an impromptu conference call. Later when everyone had gone home and Stefan had left them alone, the timing felt wrong. Nikolas wanted to make love and the more he caressed and kissed her, the more she wanted it to. When she woke up the next morning, he was already gone. Mrs. Landsbury told her that Sheba had been rushed to an animal hospital and Nikolas had gone with her. He had asked Mrs. Landsbury to assure her that he would not miss their first appointment, but he had to see about Sheba, too.

Her hand covered her face for a second as she tried to hide from the questions that insisted on dogging her. She never saw the face of the person who bumped into her and knocked her to the ground.

She sat stunned for a second as she looked at the culprit’s back as he, or was that a she, quickly moved down the hallway. Gentle hands and a soft voice brought her attention back to herself. “Are you okay?”

Dawn looked up. Her eyes were distant until she realized that she knew the person. Taking the outstretched hand, she said, “Yeah. I just had the wind knocked out of me.”

“Hey. I remember you. You’re Dawn, right?” Eve asked, guiding Dawn to a nearby seat.

“Yeah,” Dawn replied with a smile. “I’m Dawn. You’re Eve, right? I wanted to thank you for having the lab get back to me so quickly.”

“No problem. I took a peek at your chart. How do you feel about it? Have you made a decision?” Eve asked as she sat on the table in front of Dawn.

“I feel okay about it. The baby wasn’t planned, but that won’t stop us from loving him or her,” she answered.

“So, I take it you’re having the child and keeping the little tyke?”

Dawn smiled and nodded. “Definitely. In fact, my first appointment with Dr. Newman is today. Do you know her? Is she any good? My mom asked Bobbie…Bobbie Spencer…and she said that she was one of the best. Is that true?”

“Bobbie’s right. Dr. Newman is great. You’ll do just fine,” Eve said, patting Dawn’s hand to give her the reassurance she obviously needed. Eve frowned as she asked her next question. “You’re not alone, are you? Your mother didn’t come with you? Not that anything bad will happen, but it’s usually nice to have someone with you the first time.”

“I’m alone for the time being, but Nikolas is on his way.”

“That’s good. I wouldn’t want you to be alone,” Eve said. After a quick glance at her watch told her that she was late, Eve stood and said, “I’m supposed to meet a friend for lunch, but if you want I can wait for Nikolas with you.”

“No, that’s okay. Go meet your friend. Maybe we’ll see you after the appointment,” Dawn said.

“I hope so. Now, watch yourself. Try not to let anymore people bump into you.”

“I’ll try not to,” Dawn said with a smile.


“What were you doing with Jason?” Gina asked, her arms folded and her eyebrow arched.

“Aw, Gina…” Tommy said, rolling his eyes and releasing an exaggerated sigh.

“Don’t ‘aw, Gina’ me!” Gina said, moving to rest herself against the front her desk. Her eyes bored into Tommy’s as he began to move restlessly in the guest chair. “What were you doing? Didn’t you hear a word I said the other day?”

“I was talking to him, okay?!” Tommy said, his eyes beginning to flash with irritation. “I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone. Now, that I know I need your permission, I won’t make the mistake again.”

“You watch your tone, Thomas Hardy!” Gina said, her eyes flashing right back at him.

“Oh, Gina, give me a break! You’re not my mother!” Tommy answered, moving from his slouching position to sit up straight in the chair.

“I know that! I’m trying to look out for you. I don’t want you to involve yourself in something that’s way over your head. You’re not a child. If you were caught doing something illegal-“

“You’re right, Gina!” Tommy fired back at her as he abruptly stood up in front of her. His face was only inches from hers as he added, “I’m not a child. I’m a man. I’m not that little boy you knew before, Gina. Why can’t you see that and stop treating me like one?”

Gina wanted to come back with a quick retort, but nothing came to her. His green eyes locked angrily on hers and as they began to soften, so did she. She should back away, she thought. Her legs tried to, but the desk stopped them. As she stumbled, Tommy caught her. His hands went to her arms and stayed there as she steadied herself.

Tommy’s eyes drifted to where his hands rested on Gina’s bare arms. She had goosebumps. The thought came to him at a distance and not knowing the significance of it, he brushed it aside. Instead, he let his thumbs move slowly back and forth across her flesh. He felt a tingling sensation begin in his thumbs and his hands. The sensation continued to flow through him as his eyes moved to hers. He saw that she was watching him carefully and as her eyes held his, he found that he couldn’t breathe. His lips parted and he subconsciously licked his lips.

Gina felt paralyzed as she watched Tommy’s tongue moisten his lips. What would it feel like, she asked herself. She mentally shook herself as soon as her mind posed the question. With a startled cry, she pushed him away and moved across the room from him. She wrapped her arms around herself and took a deep breath. She couldn’t look at him. She wouldn’t. He didn’t know what he was doing, she told herself, and how dare she even entertain the thought of taking advantage of him in that way.

She stood with her back to him for several endless seconds. She didn’t move until she heard his muffled, “I’m sorry.”

When she turned around to tell him that it wasn’t his fault, she saw that she was alone. Maybe it was for the best, she thought, as she closed the office door and then leaned against it, her face buried in her hands. This can’t keep happening, she told herself, as the tears began to flow.

Chapter 42