Life After Dark
Chapter 56

Tommy walked with a spring in his step and his head held high. He had money in his pocket, quite a bit of money, and he had a job. The money made him happy, but the job made him feel secure. The job made him feel like a man...a man who would and could provide for his family. A huge smile crossed his face as he thought of the possibilities. His mother wouldn't have to worry about working. Instead, she could concentrated on getting better. She and he could have a place of their own and he could buy her nice things. And finally! Finally, maybe Gina would see him as a man and not the little boy he used to be.

The smile on his face changed as he thought of Gina seeing him as a man. The smile was a secret one, hiding feelings and thoughts which he wouldn't dare express or even acknowledge, even to himself. The only thing he could allow himself to admit to was he wanted her to see him differently. He didn't want her to feel like she had to take care of him. He wanted her to understand that despite that mishap in the alley, he could take care of himself. He wanted her to respect him.

A brief glance at his watch told him that Simone's appointment with her physical therapist should be coming to a close soon. He had a few minutes, so he decided to go into the gift shop and find a surprise for his mother...and quite possibly for someone else, too.


Gina frowned as she watched the young girl follow Keesha into her office. Gina had wanted to speak with Keesha and apologize to her again for the Janet Jackson concert she had the night before. Keesha had been a dear and they had spent a few hours laughing and talking, but still Gina felt a twinge of guilt. One look at Keesha on this fine morning told her that Keesha's night had been a rough one, and she hoped that Keesha's attempt at making her forget about her problems hadn't caused it.

Gina stood in the hallway for a few moments, trying to decide what she should do. Gail had a morning meeting so there wasn't much for Gina to do at the moment. She turned around and headed for the elevator. A quick visit with Simone would brighten her spirits. Besides, she wanted to see how the physical therapy session went.

The elevator doors opened and Gina stepped through the doors. She smiled at Amy as she moved past the nurses' station.


Gina turned at the sound of Amy's voice. With Amy's title of Queen of GH Gossip, Gina wondered what startling revelation Amy had in store for her that morning. Keeping a blank expression on her face so as not to egg Amy on, she said, ''Yes?''

''Simone's not in there,'' Amy said. Her eyes pleaded with Gina to ask her why not.

''Oh, really? Well, I guess her physical therapy session ran longer than anticipated,'' Gina said, in the processing of heading to Simone's room despite Amy's warning.

''No, it didn't. Her session ended a while ago. She's meeting with Dr. Quartermaine,'' Amy said, beaming a smile of satisfaction as Gina's eyes widened at her information.

''Dr. Quartermaine? Do you know why?'' Gina asked.

Amy's face fell as she said, ''No. Monica was very hush hush, so um...if you find out anything could you... Well, you know, I would love to hear about it.''

''I'm sure you would,'' Gina muttered as she smiled at Amy and left to go to Simone's room. She didn't understand why, but being in Simone's hospital room always comforted her . Even when Simone was in a coma and she and Tommy maintained a bedside vigil, she had always found peace there. Simone's presence soothed her and it soothed her now, even when she was somewhere else.

The friendship they formed beneath the earth's surface meant a great deal to Gina. When she was first brought to the catacombs, Gina was scared, angry, and didn't trust anyone. Simone took her under her wing and helped her as much as she could. Gina was grateful for Simone's presence then and now. She couldn't ask for a better friend.

Gina began to straighten the room. She rearranged the layout of the get-well cards which decorated the room and she watered the plants. She was refilling the pitcher with water when she heard the outer door open and close. Thinking it was Simone, she exited the bathroom with a smile on her face and asked, ''So, how did it go?''

''How did what go?'' Tommy asked as he closed the door behind him. He smiled as he looked at Gina. He thought she looked very pretty. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail. The brown sweater made her hazel eyes appear a rich chocolate color and the slim black skirt accentuated her hips. Tommy's eyes widened as he noticed so many things about Gina that he had never paid attention to before. He had always thought she was pretty, but he never realized how pretty until recently. How could he have not noticed, he wondered.

“I thought you were Simone,” Gina said, as she placed the pitcher on the table beside Simone’s bed. She smiled at Tommy as her eyes filled themselves up with the sight of him. He had matured so much since their time underground. Eating well and exercise had increased his muscle mass, Gina grudgingly decided. The black fitted shirt emphasized his chest and his biceps. The blue jeans weren’t the typical baggy ones which most of the teenagers favored. His jeans were snug and if he turned around… Gina shook her head at the thoughts which had crossed her mind. Instead of focusing on his body, she focused on the package he had in his hands. “What do you have there?”

Tommy’s eyes had narrowed as Gina’s eyes had raked across his body. She was looking at him a certain way. A way he had seen before. The same way Dawn looked at Nikolas. Cool, he thought as a grin crossed his face.

“Tommy, what’s in the bag?” Gina repeated. The grin on his face was endearing, but she knew that finding out what it meant wouldn’t be a good idea. She also had a strong suspicion that he wouldn’t tell her even if she did ask.

“A gift,” Tommy smiled as he carefully set the bag on the bed. He faced Gina and added, “Actually, two gifts.”

“Gifts?” Gina repeated. Her curiosity got the better of her and she moved to take a peak inside the bag.

“Not so fast,” Tommy said, as he moved the bag out of her reach. He sat beside it on the bed and held it in his hands. He looked inside the bag and he then turned his green eyes on Gina. Another huge grin covered his face as he looked her. She wanted to know so badly and the thought of it tickled him. Should he give her the gift he bought for her now, or should he wait?

Tommy’s good humor sent shivers down Gina’s spine. He was so happy and playful. She liked seeing this side of him and it reminded her that there was a time when things weren’t tense between them. She smiled back at him and said, “Do you plan to tell me or do you plan to sit there grinning all day?”

Tommy laughed and made his decision. He would show her Simone’s present and he would give her hers. Mentally, he crossed his fingers. He had a strong feeling that his mother would love what he bought for her, but Gina… He hoped Gina would feel the same.

He opened the bag and pulled out the box which had been carefully wrapped and tied with a bright red bow. “This one is for Mama,” he said as he handed it to Gina.

Gina shook the box a little bit, but was unable to determine what was inside. “What’s in it?”

“A music box. It plays a lullaby. Do you think she’ll like it?” he asked.

“I’m sure she will,” she replied with a smile.

Tommy smiled at her and dramatically sighed. Taking a deep breath, he reached inside the bag and pulled out another carefully wrapped gift. He swallowed hard and said, “This is for you.”

Gina paused before she accepted his offering. With a small frown, she asked, “For me? Why?”

Tommy shrugged. To mask the hurt he was beginning to feel, he quickly said, “If you don’t want it, I can take it back. It’s no big deal.”

Gina bit her lip as she realized that she had hurt him. She held out her hand and said, “I want it. I’m just surprised is all. Thanks, Tommy.”

The light returned and brightened his eyes. He held his breath as he watched her open it. The longer it took for her to peel the paper away, the more anxious he became. Hurry up already, he silently screamed.

“Oh, Tommy. I don’t know what to say,” Gina replied as she lifted the journal from the tissue paper. “A journal. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” he said, as he moved to stand beside her. They stood only inches apart and his breath tickled her cheek as he said, “There’s something else in there.”

Gina felt her heart begin to race at his proximity. He really shouldn’t stand so close, her mind chided him. She really shouldn’t like it, her mind chided her. She murmured, “Okay.”

She shook the box a little and a beautiful pen rolled from underneath the tissue which had hid it. The pen was quite expensive, she decided and she frowned as she wondered where he got the money to pay for a music box for Simone and a journal and pen for her. Audrey gave him money, but there was no way she gave him enough to pay for the things he had so carefully chosen. Her inquiry was on the tip of her tongue as he said…

“Gail said that it sometimes help to write things down. I thought it could help with your nightmares,” he said softly.

“Thank you,” she said, her voice a little above a whisper. She was so touched by his thoughtfulness. She almost didn’t want to ask him about the money, but she had to. She wanted to make sure that he hadn’t done something that would get him into trouble later. She didn’t want to hurt him, so she chose her words carefully. “Tommy?”

“Yeah?” he asked as he sat down on the bed again. His expressive eyes glowed with happiness as he looked at her. He was pleased that she liked the gift. He had been worried at first, but just looking at her face reassured him that he had chosen the right thing.

Gina saw the happiness and relief which shone from his eyes. She knew her next words would take the emotions away, but she didn’t let that deter her. She had to ask…for his sake. She sat down in the guest chair across from him and said, “This gifts are beautiful. The music box, the journal and the pen are all incredible, but I need to ask you something.”

“Sure,” Tommy said. He wasn’t sure what was on her mind as her eyes had become unreadable. He wondered if he should be worried.

“Did Audrey give you the money for this? For you to buy us gifts?” Gina asked, her eyes remaining steady on his.

“No,” he said with a huge smile. “I paid for them with my money.”

“Yours? These things are expensive. Where did you get enough money to pay for these things?”

“I got a job, and my boss gave me an advance.”

“Now, that’s a nice boss,” Gina said with a smile of relief. “So, what’s the job and who’s your boss?”



''Really, it's fine. We can just reschedule. Take care.'' Keesha breathed a sigh of relief as she hung up the telephone. Her mid-morning appointment had just cancelled. Normally, she would have been upset, but this morning, she thought of the cancellation as a gift from God.

Running her fingers through her hair, she pushed herself away from her desk. The beautiful sunlight which flowed into her office called to her and she moved to stand in front of her window. As she looked down onto the street below, she began to feel trapped. She wanted to run, but she didn't know where. Did she want to run to something or away from it, she wondered. She didn't have the answers. She didn't have the answers to anything, she sighed.

She covered her mouth as a yawn escaped her. The dreams that had controlled her sleep had caused her slumber to be a restless one. Apples and oranges, be damned, she thought vehemently. Why did she have to love and want both of them, she wondered. What did that say about her? Her morality? Who she had always believed she was? She never fancied herself as the type of woman to be torn between two men. She wasn’t like Brenda Barrett. The decisions of her heart had always come easy for her, so why was she having a problem now, she wondered. Dreaming about two men… Two sensual, sexy dreams which left her feeling spent, horny and just as confused as she had been before. She had to make a decision soon, she scolded herself. She couldn’t continue to go on that way. She just couldn’t.

A light tap sounded at the door. ''Come in,'' she called, turning to face her visitor.

Gina opened the door and walked in. With apologetic eyes, she began to speak. ''I'm sorry about last night. I guess I got carried away.''

Keesha smiled and motioned for her to come and take a seat. ''You don't have to apologize. I told you so last night. Besides, I happen to love that song.''

''I know, but I'm more considerate than that... And, if Ruby knew, she'd kick me out for sure,'' Gina replied as she took a seat.

''No, she wouldn't. Ruby is great,'' Keesha said. She too sat and took a long, hard look at her friend. She seemed even more depressed than she did when Keesha knocked on her door the night before. She couldn't bear to see Gina that way, so she decided to try to see if she could help. ''What's wrong? I thought you were feeling better when I left.''

''It shows?'' Gina asked with a tight smile. She shook her head and her eyes locked with Keesha's as she said, ''I don't know. I thought I was too, but this feeling won't go away.''

''Have you spoken with Gail? Maybe she can help,'' Keesha suggested.

''No, I haven't. My next session with her isn't until next week and I really don't want to bother her before then.''

''You'd hardly be a bother to her. I think you should talk to her, but if you don't want to, you know I'm here for you. I was before and I can be again. And like last time, I won't say a word. I promise.''

''Are you sure? You seem to have some troubles of your own. I'd hate to intrude...''

''You're not intruding! Tell me. What's wrong?'' Keesha asked. ''Is it Tommy again?''

“How did you guess?” Gina asked with a humorless laugh.

Keesha shrugged. Wasn’t it always Tommy, she asked herself. She had a strong feeling that Gina cared for Tommy more than Gina was willing or ready to admit to herself. Knowing that love could be a tricky game to play, Keesha decided to keep her observation to herself. Gina would have to face her feelings for Tommy when she was prepared to accept them.

“Well, what’s wrong now? Did you have another fight?” Keesha asked.

“Yeah, and it was bad. Very bad,” Gina replied, as she willed herself to remain composed.

“I’m sorry. What was the fight about? If you’d rather not say…”

“No, I need to talk to someone, and I know that I can trust you. He bought Simone and me some presents.”

“Well, that was nice of him, right?”

“Yeah, it was nice. Very nice. He bought a music box for Simone and a journal with a pen set for me. A very expensive pen set,” Gina said, with emphasis on ‘expensive.’

“Oh, I see,” Keesha said, resting her back against her chair.

“He had a wad of cash on him this thick,” Gina said, indicating the thickness with her thumb and index finger. “There must have been at least $300 there. At least!”

“Where did he get that kind of cash?”

“From Jason,” Gina said angrily.

“Jason?” Keesha repeated quietly, a small frown creasing her brow.

“Yeah. He gave him a job and an advance!” Gina replied, her eyes darkening at the thought of the kind of trouble Tommy could get into by working for the mob.

Keesha’s thoughts became muddled with worry and concern for Tommy, and anger for Jason. How could he take advantage of Tommy like that, she wondered. He knew the kind of life Tommy had. He wasn’t ready to deal with the lifestyle that working for organized crime would give him. She then became angry with herself. How could she have been so stupid to fall for him again, she wondered. She thought he wasn’t Morgan any more, but his actions proved differently. Only a heartless man could flash dollars in front of a young impressionable teen and use his desperation against him. Jason wasn’t the man she thought he was after all, she decided.

A sharp intake of breath reminded her that she wasn’t alone. Gina still sat across from her, struggling with her own fears and anxiety. Choosing to push thoughts of Jason away for a while, she gently asked, “You said it was bad. What happened?”

“We argued, of course. I told him that what he was doing was wrong and that he could get hurt or worse killed. I asked him how did he think Simone would react to that. He then told me to mind my own business. He said that Simone was his mother and it was his job to worry about her and not mine.,” Gina said, choking back the sob that begged to be released. She looked tearfully at Keesha and smiled in gratitude when Keesha handed her a box on Kleenex.

“I’m so sorry, Gina. I know that hurt. I’m sure he didn’t mean it. He’s upset right now. He knows how much you care about Simone and how much she cares about you,” Keesha said softly, hurting for her friend as the tears began to flow down Gina’s cheeks.

“That’s not all,” Gina said, sniffling. “I told him that I couldn’t accept gifts that came from mob money. I gave the journal and pen set back to him. His face… You should have seen his face, Keesha…”

As Gina’s body wracked with sobs, Keesha quickly moved around the desk and placed her around her. She gently patted Gina’s shoulder as she said, “He’s upset now, but he won’t be for long. You’ve been through too much together.”

Gina sadly shook her head as she said, “He’s not only upset, but also furious. He told me to stay out of his life and he then stormed out of the room. I think I’ve lost him, Keesha. I lost him…”

Jason Morgan/Quartermaine, you’ve got some explaining to do, Keesha thought as she comforted her friend. A lot of explaining.

Chapter 57

Home Page