Chapter 28

"Can't you spare a few minutes for your mom Dr. Burgess?" For the second time in the last 12 hours Alice arrived unannounced at Ellen's apartment. On this occasion Ellen had on her 3/4 length blue winter woolen coat and leather boots and was on her way out of the apartment when Alice arrived.

Ellen stepped aside and allowed Alice to enter. Speaking with a tinge of impatience in her voice, Ellen explained, "I really need to go and take care on something now. Mother, I love spending time with you but really you should call before you come by."

"With Matt out of town I didn't think you needed advance warning before I dropped by. Obviously I was wrong last night," Alice said flashing an unmistakable look of disapproval at Ellen. Late the night before upon leaving a nearby movie theatre, Alice and Mary Scanlon decided to drop by Ellen's apartment and give her a surprise visit. Knowing Matt was out of town, they thought she could use the company. Needless to say they were the ones surprised and stood open-mouthed as they met Kevin Collins leaving Ellen's apartment just as they arrived. Alice sensed Ellen would die right there of shame when Alice offered Kevin a facial tissue and said, "You missed some," referring to the faint traces of burgundy lipstick that were still on his lips and face. Both Kevin and Ellen's reaction to her comment told Alice all she needed to know, but she came back this morning to hear the truth from her daughter's own lips. Alice removed her coat and made herself comfortable on the living room couch. Taking a deep sigh, Ellen resigned herself to the fact that she had to talk to Alice now. She removed her coat and sat down on the couch also.

Remembering Ellen's impromptu excuse for cutting their visit short last night, Alice's voice dripped with sarcasm when she inquired, "Are you feeling better this morning?"

"Somewhat, but I'll feel better if I can leave soon and take care of what I need to do Mother. Can't I come by your house later today to see you?"

"No, we're going to talk now Ellen. What happened last night between you and Dr. Collins?"

"I told you last night, Mother. We went to Dara's apartment for dinner and Kevin brought me home. He was here only a few minutes and was leaving just as you and Mary Scanlon arrived."

Refusing to let Ellen dodge the question Alice persisted, "You know what I'm asking Ellen. What's going on between you and Dr. Collins? Have you forgotten you're engaged to be married?"

"Mother, one area of conversation we need to stay away from is my relationship or assumed relationship with men. It caused us to be separated for several years and I don't want to go through that again. Just trust me, O.K.? For once, just trust me to lead my own life." Biting her bottom lip and feeling her face flush, Ellen reached for Alice's hand. "I know that it did not look good last night and maybe your questions are even justified, but I refuse to answer them. At least right now I do. Let me take care of things my way, O.K.?"

Alice's heart constricted as she listened to and watched her only daughter. It was obvious that Ellen was disturbed about whatever happened last night but she was right. She had to let Ellen handle it. Ellen was a smart girl and a caring person. Alice had to have faith in her that she would do the right thing. "Go on. We'll talk later." Ellen hugged and kissed her mother on the cheek, and quickly left the apartment.


"Come on in Dr. Burgess." The enthusiasm in Victor Collins' greeting somewhat surprised Ellen. As Victor helped Ellen out of her coat, she asked if Kevin was busy. Victor said no and told Ellen to make herself comfortable while he went to fetch Kevin.

Wrapping her arms around herself, Ellen walked around the living room of the lighthouse and stood for a moment in front of the fireplace that generated a warm, comfortable heat. The crackling sound of the fire and even the smell of the burning wood helped to relax Ellen. She lost track of time, standing there with her eyes closed. She didn't hear Kevin walk down the stairs. For a few seconds he just watched her and reflected on how beautiful she was. Not wanting to startle her he walked towards her and softly said, "Ellen."

Ellen turned to face Kevin and asked, "Can we talk now?"

Taking her hand, Kevin led Ellen to two chairs that weren't far from the fireplace and they sat down. He raised his hand to touch her face but in mid-air stopped and instead he placed his hand on his knee. "Did you get any sleep last night?" he asked observing Ellen's slightly puffy eyes.

"Not much," Ellen replied. "Kevin, last night you said that you never told me your feelings previously because 'it was never the right time'. Kevin, it still isn't the right time, at least not for me." Kevin started to interrupt Ellen but she halted his speech by clasping both of his hands in hers. "No, please let me finish. You're not involved with someone but I am. And I'm more than involved; I'm engaged to be married. I love Matt, Kevin. I really do love him. I know you want me to take time and explore these feelings we have for each other - see, I'm not denying it. I agree that something is there. But I don't want to explore them. I have very few rules, I mean moral rules, which I live by because the few I have are quite comprehensive. One of the main ones is not doing something that I wouldn't want done to me. It's kind of the reverse of the Golden Rule. I would be furious if Matt came to me now and said that he needed time to explore his feelings for another woman, and there is no way that I could put him through that Kevin. It wouldn't be right."

Ellen paused to take a deep breath before continuing. "You're one of my closest friends, Kevin. Maybe even my best friend. I don't want to lose your friendship. But last night, for a moment, we crossed a line that we shouldn't have crossed. And we can't do it again. You have to make a decision, whether you want us to continue our friendship. It is very special and important to me and I want to maintain it. But that is all I can offer and all I want Kevin, a friendship."

As much as he wanted to try and change her mind, Kevin knew that it would be useless. "I can't say that I'm surprised by your decision, Ellen. But I was hoping..." Kevin reached for Ellen and they embraced. Holding her Kevin knew that it would be hard to pretend that Ellen was only a friend to him but he was willing to try. Unless he left Port Charles he couldn't see not having her in his life and he was going to do whatever it would take to maintain a relationship with her. He could feel her relaxing her arms around him and reluctantly he released her from his grip. "I don't want to lose you Ellen. I'm willing to try." Kevin tried to be honest in his response and Ellen recognized that he didn't say he wanted to be just a friend.

"O.K." Ellen replied. As she prepared to leave Ellen thought of Victor's greeting to her. "Oh, was anything going on with your father this morning? He was looking at me a little...strangely."

A crooked grin appeared on Kevin's face. "It was probably due to Mary Scanlon's call to him early this morning."

"Oh no," Ellen groaned.

"Don't worry," Kevin assured her as he opened the front door for her. "I'll talk to him Ellen and maybe he can help put a stop to the rumour mill before it starts."

"Thanks." Ellen tip-toed up to kiss Kevin on the cheek. "I'll see you later. Bye."

"Goodbye Ellen." Kevin stood at the open door in the freezing cold and watched Ellen's car until it was no longer in sight."

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