"Why is that quote 'fools rush in where angels fear to
tread' always in my mind these days?" Ellen hesitated
for a moment and then took in a deep breath and
knocked on the office door. After hearing a murmur of
voices, Kevin opened the door and welcomed her into
the office. He was just finishing a session with a
patient, who was on his way out of the office.
Motioning for her to sit on the office couch, Ellen
accepted the seat and Kevin sat on the couch also.
Today had been a difficult day for Kevin - starting
with Lucy's unexpected visit and afterwards he had two
very intense sessions with patients. His mood
brightened considerably with Ellen's visit and he
wanted to do his best to set her at ease. "I'm really
glad to see you. How are you doing?" he asked.
"I've been better," Ellen replied with a wry smile
that slowly faded. "Kevin, I just saw Lucy and she
told me about her plans for Valentine's Day. Why in
the world did you agree for Matt, Lucy, you, and me to
spend that evening together at Luke's?"
Shaking his head, Kevin attempted to explain. "Ellen,
it wasn't my idea; it was all Lucy's idea. I've been
putting her off for weeks now and even though I
initially resisted, yes, I did eventually agree to go
if she could work it out with you and Matt."
"But why did you do that Kevin?" Ellen stared at
Kevin in disbelief. Couldn't Kevin see that all four
of them being together on Valentine's Day, of all
evenings, was not a good idea?
"Why? I suppose I felt she was going to persist in us
doing something together for Valentine's Day unless I
had other plans, which I didn't. So when she
suggested spending the evening with you and Matt I
thought that it would be an acceptable plan if you
agreed." Kevin was puzzled and wasn't sure why Ellen
was upset. When he agreed to Lucy's proposal it was
with the caveat that Ellen and Matt had to agree also.
Surely Ellen could have told Lucy that she and Matt
had other plans for the evening, he thought.
Unfortunately he hadn't considered that Lucy would ask
Matt first, before asking Ellen.
Ellen squeezed her eyes shut and used her fingertips
to pinch the bridge of her nose in an attempt to
reduce her frustration. Opening her eyes again she
said with a tinge of anger in her voice, "Kevin, don't
you think that it's somewhat foolhardy for you and me
to have dinner with Lucy and Matt?"
Kevin looked at Ellen and hoped that she could see in
his eyes the feelings he wouldn't express with words.
"Ellen, I'm being honest. I want to spend as much
time with you as possible. I would assume that you
would prefer for us to meet when other people are with
us and that was one of the main reasons I agreed to
the dinner. Why do you consider getting together on
Friday night foolhardy?"
Nervousness quickly replaced the anger Ellen had felt
a moment earlier, and with hesitation she said,
"Because Matt or Lucy might notice that ... they might
see something..." Ellen could not say the words, so
Kevin finished the sentence for her.
"They might pick up on the fact that there is
something more than friendship between us?" It was
obvious that Ellen was distressed and Kevin placed his
hand on Ellen's cheek to comfort her. The touch of
her soft skin against his palm ignited passionate
feelings, which Kevin tried to suppress. "Is that what
you want to say?"
Ellen closed her eyes again and slowly took a deep
breath. How is it that she loved the feel of Kevin's
hand softly caressing her face and was terrified her
reaction to it at the same time she asked herself?
Finally, she nodded as an answer to Kevin's question
and began to pull her face from Kevin's hand when she
felt Kevin's arm start to circle her waist. Keeping
her eyes closed she placed both of her hands firmly on
Kevin's chest to stop him from pulling her closer.
Her mind told her that this situation was becoming far
too dangerous. Opening her eyes, she whispered in a
ragged voice. "Please don't, don't." Kevin released
her and Ellen tried to compose her thoughts. "I
haven't told Matt yet what has happened between us,
but one day I probably will. And when I do I want to
be able to say all that happened was a single kiss in
an unguarded moment. If I can say that then I think
that he will be able to forgive me and continue
trusting me. But if we kiss again..." Ellen's voice
broke as her lips quivered. She felt both excited and
ashamed as she remember the kiss she and Kevin shared
in her apartment. "If we kiss again and I have to
tell him that, I'm not sure that he would ever forgive
me. And I almost wouldn't expect him to."
Ellen rose quickly from the couch and Kevin mirrored
her movements. They walked without speaking to the
office door and just when he was ready to open it for
her they looked at each other again. Ellen said
solemnly, "If you remember that you don't want to hurt
Lucy and I remember that I don't want to hurt Matt,
we'll make it through Valentine's Day and all of the
days to follow, O.K.?"
If only it was that simple, Kevin thought. But he
wanted to ease Ellen's burden so he smiled and said,
O.K." Kevin opened the door and Ellen flashed him a
grateful smile. Her hand covered Kevin's, which was
on the door handle and she gave his hand a gentle
"Bye," she said. Ellen was momentarily startled
seeing Mac Scorpio just outside Kevin's office in the
hallway. Ellen told him hi and once again thanked him
for the enjoyable evening they recently had at Dara's
apartment. Sensing Mac had something important to
discuss with Kevin she excused herself and headed back
"Hi Mac, are you ready to head to the health club
already?" Since Kevin had finished with his last
patient for the day, he was more than ready to leave
early and have a racquetball game with Mac.
"Not yet," Mac said sitting down in the office chair
in front of Kevin's desk. "Can we talk for a few
minutes first?" Thinking that Mac wanted to talk
about Felicia or possibly Robin, Kevin sat on the edge
of his desk facing Mac and waited for his friend to
"Kevin, last Friday at Dara's apartment, I came back
into the living room while Dara was making coffee. I
saw you and Ellen." Mac didn't have to say anything
more. Kevin's face blushed crimson red as he realized
Mac knew of his feelings for Ellen.
Kevin swallowed hard and continued looking at Mac for
a few seconds. Placing his hand in his pants pockets,
he stood up and walked around the desk and sat in his
chair. After a few more seconds of silence he looked
at Mac again and said quietly, "We haven't done
Mac was not able to completely eliminate the sarcastic
tone from his voice when he asked, "Is that because
you haven't tried anything or because she has said
"A little of both I guess," was Kevin's reply. "Are
you going to ask me 'Do you know what you are doing?"
"You know very well what you're doing, Kevin. My
question is do you care what havoc will occur if Matt
Harmon and Ellen Burgess break their engagement if she
succumbs to any of your advances? Do you really think
that it is worth it?"
"You know me well enough to know I'm not looking to
just sleep with Ellen. I love her because of the
person she is, which includes her moral code and how
she doesn't want to hurt anyone. When I told her that
I cared for her beyond just being her friend, she
rebuffed my advances, and I'm doing the best I can to
abide by her wishes. But she cares for me also; I can
feel it, Mac. And it is difficult sometimes when
we're together to maintain," Kevin paused to choose
the appropriate words, "our agreement. But I can't
not see her at all; I'm not even going to try to do
that," Kevin stated emphatically. Rr
Mac listened to everything Kevin said but his mind
focused on only a few of Kevin's words. "Kevin," a
stunned Mac noted, "just now you said that you loved
Blinking his eyes, Kevin realized that he said the
words that he had never consciously thought, but that
he'd felt in his heart for some time now. During
shared meals and over coffee breaks, Ellen would
listen patiently to Kevin as he discussed his failed
relationships with Eve and Lucy, and those talks and
her compassion got him through some very difficult
times. More than once he had asked himself
half-jokingly why he couldn't find a woman like Ellen.
Now, he realized that he did not want a woman like
Ellen; he wanted Ellen herself. A somewhat sad smile
slowly appeared on Kevin's face. "Yes. I guess I did
say that, didn't I?"
Rising out of the chair, Mac suggested that they go
should go now for their game. He made one final
comment about Ellen to Kevin. "If you really feel that
way, there is nothing I can really say to you. I hope
that you two can work everything out, or else there
will be hell to pay."
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