Never Carved In Stone – Chapter 5

Chapter 5

~ Breaking Down Barriers ~

"Keesha."

Why did his voice have to sound so soft, so needy?

A sob lodged in Keesha's throat and all she wanted to do was run. She had never been a coward before, but the thought of facing Stone scared her. A chill swept through her and goosebumps rose on the back of her neck and arms.

"Keesha."

He called her again! Even though the urge to run was strong, Keesha fought it. She released the door handle and swallowed the lump in her throat. Taking a deep breath that did little to calm her, she slowly turned around.

With slow, measured footsteps, she crept back to Stone's bedside. "Stone…" she began. "H-how are you?"

Stone stared back at her. His dark brown eyes were filled with mistrust. Startled, Keesha recoiled from the look in his eyes. Words tumbled out of her mouth without any thought to coherence. "I'm so sorry, Stone. I-I should have been watching where I was going. I should have at least seen the car. "

Her voice shook. Her body trembled. Stone wanted to make her stop…to make the water that ran from her eyes to stop. He held out his hand to her.

The room became surrounded in silence. She looked at his hand and back at him again. Stone wiggled his fingers at her. He pointed to himself and said, "Stone." He pointed to her and held his hand out to her again.

"Keesha," she murmured, sliding her hand into his. With the back of her other hand, she wiped her tears away. His eyes drew her to him. She moved closer to his bedside. With her hand still in his, she didn't utter another word.

~*~

"I don't understand it," Robin said, shaking her head. Behind her and all around her, the hospital's cafeteria hummed with conversation. None of it registered with Robin. Her eyes stared sightlessly into her cup of black coffee as she tried to make sense of the latest developments. "How can he ask for Keesha and not me?"

"I don't know," Jagger replied. He looked at his wife, Karen, who sat beside him. "Can you explain to us how or why he would call out for her? Dr. Jones said that he would have no memories, and that he didn't even remember his own name. But, he remembered Keesha…"

Karen took Jagger's hand. Her eyes moved from him to Robin. She spoke softly and with compassion. "I don't know the answer to your questions. I haven't worked with Stone because he's family and now… Well, I'll have to peak at his charts, but I doubt if I'll find the answers there."

"Where are the answers?" Robin asked, her voice filled with pain. "Who can explain this to me?"

"Dr. Jones is the best in his field-"

"He doesn't have much hope for Stone's recovery. He may be the best, but I plan to look into a second opinion. Besides, how can my not seeing Stone on the day he wakes up be good for him?"

"What are you talking about?" Karen asked. "He said you couldn't see him? I don't understand that."

"Neither do I," Jagger said. "But that's what he said. He doesn't want either of us to see him unless he's present and because he's in surgery, we have to wait. Maybe even until tomorrow."

"No, you don't," Karen said. "I can get you in, but you'll have to promise me something first."

"I promise," Jagger said.

"Anything," Robin added. "Just get us in there."

"I will let you both in to see him on one condition. " Karen paused for effect, taking her time to look her husband and her close friend in the eyes. "You can't get him upset."

"We won't," Robin promised. Jagger nodded in agreement.

"Okay, then. Let's do it."

~*~

Dawn smiled as Nikolas placed her hand in the crook of his arm. He walked carefully on the sidewalk that led from the parking lot back to the hospital. His manners were so gentleman-like and so very romantic to Dawn. A few minutes into dinner, she wondered why she had ever been so reluctant to spend time with him. Despite their difference in age, he knew how to treat a woman. And, Dawn liked it.

"I do apologize," Nikolas said warmly. "Dawn?"

His fingers had closed over hers and had given her a slight squeeze. She then realized that during her thoughts of him, she had missed a part of the conversation. "I'm sorry. What were you saying?" she asked, looking up at him.

"I was asking you if you had any plans for tomorrow night. I know that it's very impolite to ask you at such short notice, but I wasn't sure… Well, I can understand if you've made plans…" Nikolas' voice drifted off to silence as he noticed a small glimmer in her eyes.

"What are you asking me?" she asked. They reached the doors of the hospital, but she was ready to go inside. Instead, she indicated that she'd rather they continued their conversation outside against the brick wall. "What would you like to do tomorrow night?"

"Dinner!" Nikolas blurted out. He smiled sheepishly as his outburst had caused her to laugh. "Um…my uncle is having a dinner party. I would ask that you attend as my guest. Would you?"

"I would like to," she answered him. "Will it be a formal affair?"

Nikolas nodded. "Oh, of course."

"Oh," Dawn mumbled. She bit her lower lip as a vision of her closet came to mind. She didn't own any formal clothes. She was more of a casual type of woman. She considered any dress as formal, but she knew that the dresses she owned wouldn't be nearly nice enough for a Wyndemere dinner. She'd just have to ask her sister, Dara, she realized with a deep sigh. Oh, great.

"Is something wrong?" Nikolas asked.

"Nothing," she said brightly. She gave Nikolas a winning smile. Her breath caught in her throat as his eyes seemed to darken and he took a step closer to her.

Nikolas would scold himself later, but he found that he couldn't resist. He lowered his head to hers and he gently brushed her cheeks with a gentle kiss. Inside, he ached to move his head over and claim her lips, but he did not. He raised his head and smiled. "I'll come for you at 7:30."

"Okay," she murmured. Her hand went to her cheek and her body became hot all over. She didn't realize that he was no longer in front of her until he called out from his car. "But you don't know where I live!" she called out after she had come down to earth.

"But, I do!" he said, waving at her again. "7:30!"

He opened his door and slid inside. Dawn watched him until he drove away and then she went inside. Thoughts of her sister's many dresses and accessories flooded her mind. She didn't notice that someone was blocking her path until she walked into him.

"Watch your step, Dr. Jensen," a warm voice cautioned her.

"Frank!" she muttered when his hands closed around her upper arms.

"You know," he said, releasing her arms to place his arm casually around her shoulder. "I think it's time we had that talk."

"I told you before-"

"Let me rephrase that. It's time that you listen while I talk," he said in a firm voice, "and I'm not taking no for an answer."

Go to Chapter 6.

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