Never Carved In Stone – Chapter 3

Chapter 3

~ No Second Chances ~

December 1997…

"You're impossible!"

Gina brushed past her oldest brother with hardly a second glance. She and Jagger had argued this one before and she had no intentions of going through the motions again. Moving about he office as if she hadn't a care in the world, Gina went to her desk and sat down on the soft, black cushioned chair. Her hand closed over the mouse. As she double-clicked on it, she kept her eyes glued to the computer screen.

Jagger stared at her in disbelief. The urge to rip the computer off the desk was strong but with great force of will, he ignored it. Placing a hand against the door to make sure it was securely shut, he continued to gape at her. "So that's it?" he bit out.

Her jaw was set and her eyes stayed on the screen.

"This doesn't make any sense, Gina!" Jagger told her. He left his stance in front of the door to tower over her. "Don't you understand that he needs us?"

She stiffened and in a distant voice, she said, "He has Robin and Sonny and-"

"But, they're not his family! They're not Cates! We are!" He waited for a response to heartfelt words, but none came. He drew a long breath and began again. But this time, his tone was much softer. "You told me that the reason you came back is because you wanted to start over…that you wanted us to be a family, a real family. Isn't that what you said?"

Nodding her head, she sighed as she said, "Yes, that's what I said, but… It just doesn't feel right, Jagger. Maybe it never will."

"Maybe you have to try. Maybe we all do." He leaned across the desk to gently tug on lock of dark brown curly hair. With a coaxing smile, he said, "Come with me upstairs. Let's sit with him for a little while, okay?"

"But, I'm on the clock," she explained. "I can't just leave…"

"I know for a fact that Dr. Collins wouldn't mind if you took a few minutes to visit him. Please, Gina, come with me."

Her answer to his plea was a soft smile and a very decisive nod. "I'll come."

~*~

With restless, nervous fingers, Robin twirled her beloved cameo ring around her third finger. Touching the treasured token, which also served as her engagement ring, helped to keep her worried pacing to a slow, measured movement. It also had served to calm her nerves as she wondered what was happening on the other side of the solid, oak doors.

"The important thing is that he opened his eyes," Sonny said softly as he spoke into his cell phone to his wife, Brenda. "Sure, I'll make sure to tell her that, and stop worrying. She understands."

After a few tender endearments had been exchanged, Sonny ended the call. He placed the small telephone inside his jacket pocket as his eyes followed Robin, whose footsteps continued to move her back and forth across the floor. "How are you holding up?"

"I'm hanging in there," she said. Noticing that the phone had been tucked away, she said, "How's Brenda? Any chance she'll be back soon?"

"Yeah, but it could never be soon enough," he said with longing. "She sent more apologies for not being here."

Frowning, Robin shook her head. "She knows that I understand. Besides, she's missed the worst of it and I'm glad she did."

"Yeah," he replied, nodding, "me, too."

"What's taking them so long?" Robin asked, no longer able to hold the question inside any longer. "Tony and Dawn have been in there for far too long."

"They're making sure he's okay." Sonny moved to place his hands on her shoulders, but on her agitation, she shrugged them away.

"He opened his eyes!" she said, her voice rising. "That makes him okay!"

"Robin?"

With the ire still in her eyes, Robin whirled around. The ire faded as she saw her Uncle Mac's compassionate face. The understanding that radiated in his eyes was almost her undoing, and as his warm arms enveloped her in a tight embrace, she clung to him. Katherine Bell-Scorpio, Mac's very pregnant wife, and Sonny looked on in silence.

"I'm here now, sweetheart," Mac cooed. "You can lean on me. You don't have to be so tough."

"Is that what I'm being?" she laughed humorlessly.

Mac ended their hug, but the physical contact. His large hands gently cupped her face, and his eyes stared into hers. "Yeah, that's exactly what you're being. We came as soon as we got your message. I h ad hoped that by the time we got here you would have seen him, but I take it you haven't."

"No," she sadly shook her head. "Not yet."

"I'm sure he's fine," Katherine offered. Her hands automatically went to her rounded abdomen, and her eyes rested on Robin. "As soon as he's checked out, they'll let you in."

Mac smiled at his wife and then at his niece. "Katherine's right. He's been in a coma since the accident, but after they give him the okay, you'll be allowed inside."

"But it's taking so long," Robin moaned softly. She walked away from her friend and family to stand in front of Stone's closed door…hoping that it would open soon and that she would be allowed in.

~*~

The man in the bed stared back at the two people who kept poking and prodding at him. His eyes narrowed as the bigger one, Dr. Jones was what she called him, squinted at him and jotted furiously on his notepad. Dr. Jones spoke in a way that he found unappealing. He stiffened as the man turned towards him again.

"Stone? Do you understand what I'm saying?" Dr. Jones asked, pronouncing each word separately. The two men stared at each other until Dr. Jones turned away. "See," he said, looking at the young woman beside him. "My prognosis is proven correct."

The younger woman shook her head and moved closer to the man on the bed. She looked at him with soft brown eyes and he found himself softening towards her. He didn't trust her. At least, not yet. But she was much more appealing than Dr. Jones.

She smiled down at him. Her hand reached out as if she meant to touch, but she pulled it back right before her fingertips could graze his forehead. "Hi, Stone. You may not remember me, but I'm Dawn. Dawn Jensen. You're engaged to my room-mate, Robin Scorpio, who's waiting outside those doors." She indicated with a thumb pointing over her shoulder. "Don't be afraid, okay? We're here to help."

"H-help…" he slowly repeated. His throat felt scratchy and he began to cough. She quickly moved to pure a glass of water for him. His hand trembled slightly as he tried to take the glass from her. She shook her head and raised the glass to his lips. As the cool liquid eased down his throat, his eyes fixated on hers. She offered him a smile and his resolve softened a bit more.

"Yes, we're here to help, but take your time. Drink it slowly," she instructed.

"Dr. Jensen, while you're assisting Stone, I'll go outside and explain his diagnosis to Robin and the others," Dr. Jones said.

"But…Dr. Jones, I think the diagnosis may be a bit premature, don't you?" she asked. She looked at Stone to see if he had had enough water. He leaned away from the glass and she knew that he had. She set the glass on the table beside his bed and moved away from him. Her voice was soft, but her words still carried back to him. "He's barely awake. Maybe we should give him a little while before we tell his fiancée and family that h-he… Well, that he…"

Dr. Jones placed a hand on Dawn's shoulder and gave her a brief squeeze. "I know that he was close to you and accepting that he won't be the same will be hard, but as a physician, this is something that you will have to face. Will you join me outside?"

Dawn shook her head. "No, I think I'll talk to him some more. I'm not willing to accept that the Stone I knew is gone. Not until I've tried to reach him."

The door closed with a quiet swoosh as Dr. Jones made his exit. She moved back towards the bed and gave him another tentative smile. "Stone," she began, "do you know where you are?"

He stared back at her. Her voice was soft and patient. He felt himself begin to relax and he slowly opened his mouth to speak. "St-stone?"

"Yes," she said with a nod. "You're Stone…Stone Cates."

"Stone Cates," he repeated, his eyes watching her.

"Yes, that's your name." She pointed at him as she said the words. "My name is Dawn Jensen…Dr. Dawn Jensen, but you can call me, Dawn. Do you remember me?"

"Re-remember?" he repeated again. "K-Keesha."

"No, I'm Dawn," she said with a frown.

He shook his head. The name came to him and he found himself repeating it. "Keesha."

He became agitated and continued to say the name over and over. Dawn became concerned that he was becoming overly excited and administered a sedative. Within seconds, the agitation disappeared. He closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.

~*~

Keesha stared sightlessly at the volumes of medical books and journals that were scattered around her on the living room floor. The weight of the diamond ring felt heavy on her finger and in her heart. The guilt of Stone's prognosis weighed heavily on her mind. She felt bogged down and listless. She had thought that throwing herself into her studies would take her mind off of real life for a while. She was wrong. She kept seeing Jason's face as he placed the ring on her finger, and she kept hearing Tony's voice as he said that Stone would forever have the mind of a child. She tried to hold on and sort everything out logically, but the tears fell down her cheeks anyway.

She surrendered to her despair and frustration for a few moments. When the last tear had fallen, she sniffled and wiped it away. She then gathered her books and shoved them into her book bag. She would study later.

She went into the bathroom and washed her face. As she left the bathroom and entered the bedroom, she spotted her running shoes peeking out from underneath her bed. She made a quick decision. She would go for a run. Running rejuvenated her and she could definitely use some rejuvenation!

Keesha pulled on her running clothes and shoved her hair under a PCU baseball cap. She then grabbed her keys and headed for the door. The ringing of the telephone caused her to pause on the threshold. She had half a mind to ignore it, but she found that she couldn't. She jogged into the nearby kitchen and answered its extension.

"Hello?" she said.

"Hi, Keesha, it's me," Dawn said.

"What's up?" she asked, responding to the odd tone of her friend's voice.

"Stone woke up-"

"Oh, my God! That's wonderful!"

"But, that's not all," Dawn replied.

"Oh, no. Is he…?"

"He's not as bad as Dr. Jones said he would be. Well, I don't think he is, but I can't be sure. He didn't know his name and I don't think he recognized me. "

"Oh," Keesha replied, moving slowly as she rounded the kitchen corner and sat on a barstool. "Was he able to talk or anything?"

"He repeated some words that I said, and there's more. He asked for you," Dawn said softly.

"For me?" Keesha repeated. "Are you sure? What about Robin?"

"I'm positive. He didn't say anything about Robin, but he asked for you by name. I gave him a mild sedative and Dr. Jones is speaking with Robin and Jagger right now. Do you think you can come down here? I was thinking that it would be a good idea for you to be here when he wakes up."

"I'll be right there," Keesha said. In a daze, she hung up the telephone and left the townhouse apartment. As she drove across town to General Hospital, she thought about what Dawn had said…Stone had asked for her...but why?

Why would Stone Cates want her?

Go to Chapter 4

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