Beep. Beep. Beep. Hum…
The heart monitor became quiet. A vibrant green
flatline accompanied the silence. Unwilling to let that deter her, Dawn worked harder.
She barked out orders and performed every life-saving technique that she had painstakingly
And none of them worked. The youngest victim of the three-car
crash remained unresponsive. Six-year-old, Jack Hanson had given up. Dawn was, however,
unwilling to accept it. Finally, a strong pair of arms wrapped around her and pulled
her from the body.
"Come on, Dr. Jensen," he murmured against her
ear. "He's gone. Let go."
The first inclination to struggle disappeared.
The gentleness of Frank's voice calmed her as it had often done during most of her
life. Taking a deep breath, she relaxed and remembered her role. She was the doctor.
She had to maintain control. Of her emotions and of the situation. She couldn't surrender
to feelings of failure.
"I'm okay, Frank," she said. Dawn stepped
away from his embrace. Glancing at the overhead clock, she called the time of death
so that it could be recorded. With trembling hands, she pulled the sheet over the
little boy's head. With her head bent and her eyes closed for a brief second, she
said a silent prayer for the youngster's soul. Her moments of reverie were broken
when Dr. Burgess spoke to her.
"Dr. Jensen, the boy's grandmother is
in the waiting room-"
"Okay," Dawn said quickly. A knot twisted
in the pit of her stomach. She ignored it as she headed towards the exit that was
hidden by the surgical green curtains.
"Not so fast," Ellen said,
stepping quickly to reach Dawn before she left the room. "I'll go with you."
bottom lip trembled slightly. "I-I can do this alone."
the young intern an encouraging nod. "I know that you can, but I'll be nearby.
Just in case."
After another intake of air, Dawn slipped through the
curtains. Immediately, her eyes were drawn to the middle-aged woman who upon first
glance looked much too young to be a grandmother. However, after a closer look, the
lines of worry and strain were clearly etched in the corner of her eyes. The woman's
hands clutched her purse in a tight grip and upon the silence of the medical staff
that stood before her, a low moan rose from deep in her throat.
Dawn began in a whisper. She swallowed hard and started again. "With much regret,
I must inform you that Jack's heart stopped beating at 1:31am. After several attempts
Two hours later, Ellen's thoughts were
still on the young intern. The stricken look on Dawn's face as the young woman called
the child's time of death would haunt Ellen for many nights to come. The feeling
of futility was one of the hardest a doctor must overcome and one that Ellen still
had problems with. As Dawn's mentor, she knew that she'd have to find answers for
the young woman. Ellen believed that the task would prove to be nearly impossible
when she could barely find answers for herself.
"Penny for your thoughts."
rich tender voice could only belong to one man. With relief etched over her face,
Ellen looked away from the mug of coffee she had been nursing into Matt's warm, compassionate
eyes. "Dr. Harmon," she acknowledged him with a faint smile. "Aren't
you a little early?"
He responded by wheeling his chair closer to hers.
He set his steaming cup of herbal tea on the square tabletop. After a sweeping glance
around the nearly empty cafeteria, he turned his gaze to her again. "I came
in to help. It looks like I came too late. What's wrong? I've never seen you look
so…lost before. How can I help?"
Ellen shrugged. "You can't. Nobody
can. There are only two remedies for this. Life and time. Eventually, it will all
"Nothing's making sense to me now," he said, frowning
as he looked at her. Without a moment's hesitation, he reached for her hand. "You're
not making much sense to me now. Was it the car accident? Or has someone found out
about us? Ellen, please talk to me."
"Oh, Matt," she sighed.
She pulled her eyes away from his intense stare. Looking at her hand, held so securely
and tenderly in his, she expelled a low breath. As he squeezed her hand, she thought
that perhaps it was time for her to learn how to share. Everything.
a deep breath before she looked at him again. "Dr. Jensen lost her first patient
Sympathy shone in his eyes. "Oh, no. She didn't take it
very well, did she?"
Ellen shook her head. "If Frank hadn't been
here, I think that we might have needed security to get her away from the little
"A child?" Matt interrupted. His voice was hoarse as
he asked, "How old was he?"
"Young. Just 6," she told
him. "I wish this wouldn't have happened so soon…"
that she'll be okay," Matt offered his reassurance. "This is something
we all face as doctors. We're not God. We don't control life and death. We're hear
to make the transition better and to help as much as we can."
settled around her like a warm cloak. Somehow, he always had that effect on her.
Lacing her fingers with his, she stroked the back of his hand. "You are one
"Yeah," he agreed, "and so are you."
moment of silence passed between; then Ellen asked, "Are you busy?"
wish is my command, Dr. Burgess," he responded with a gleam in his eye.
sound of her screeching chair as she pushed away from the table echoed in the cafeteria.
With a serious demeanor, which belied the twinkle in her brown eyes, she gave him
her command. "Follow me."
"To the ends of the earth,"
he murmured, as he rolled his wheelchair behind her. "To the ends of the earth."
rays of sunlight pierced through the long, dark curtains. Usually the dawning of
a new day brought eager anticipation for new things to learn and do into Stone's
heart. On this morning, as he rose from the bed to wander to the window, he was filled
with a sense of dread. Sonny had told him that Robin would spend the day with him.
This was something he definitely was not looking forward to.
consumed him. Robin couldn't be there so soon. He had just woken up. Groaning, Stone
turned his back on the view of the sunny morning and padded toward the door. Gripping
the doorknob, he roughly pulled the door open.
"Keesha!" he gasped,
surprise shining in his brown eyes.
"Good morning," she said with
"It is now," he told her. "You're visiting me."
sorry that I can by so early," she said in a breathless rush. "I worked
last night and I wanted to stop by before I went home. I hope that I didn't wake
"You didn't wake me," he assured her. Oblivious to his
state of undress, clinging t-shirt and short pajama bottoms, he motioned for her
to come inside his bedroom. "Come in and visit."
Stone frowned. She seemed different to him. Something wasn't
right with her. "Are you okay?" he asked, reaching out a hand to cup her
face. The softness of her cheek appealed to him. Tenderly, his thumb stroked her
chin. Warmth infused him as he felt her tremble beneath his touch. "Keesha?"
okay," she told him, tugging herself free from his hold. "I just wanted
to live up to my promise and visit you like I said I would. That's all."
stepped backwards and he followed her. "Don't go."
Stone," she explained, continuing to back away from him. "I didn't sleep
"I didn't sleep," he interrupted her. "I
missed you. Stay. Have breakfast with me."
Slowly, she shook her head.
"I can't. I have to go."
She moved to the staircase. Stone grabbed
her arm before she could make her descent. "Why?"
Jason is expecting me," she responded. With a smile, she added, "Besides
you'll have Sonny and maybe Robin to have breakfast with you. You won't be alone."
he asked, blatantly ignoring the others she had mentioned. He released her arm and
folded his arms across his chest as he waited for her to answer him.
lowered her eyes to stare at the floor. "You know Jason. He's a doctor, too.
He's come by to visit you. You and he are friends."
With derision he said the other man's name slowly. Tightness gripped his chest, and
an unspecified feeling swept over him. Instantly, the neutral feelings he had for
Jason disappeared as dislike for the man came into his heart.
A scowl darkened
the pleading look in his eyes. Stepping away from Keesha, he asked, "Will you
visit me again?"
"Sure," she said after swallowing hard. "Of
course, I'll come by again."
"Okay," he said before he turned
and walked away.
"Stupid, stupid!" Keesha harshly began
to berate herself as soon as Sonny's guard closed the door behind her. Normally,
apprehension would engulf her whenever she came within feet of the hired guns, but
this time, she paid the man no attention. She was too upset with herself to notice
anything. Not even her good friend as the other woman stood right in front of her
"Keesha?" Robin asked with a quizzical expression on her face.
"What are you doing here? It's not Stone. He's okay, right?!"
the other woman gasped. "No, no… Stone is fine."
Robin expelled a loud breath. "I was scared there for a minute."
sorry about that," Keesha said with a wan smile on her face. "He seems
to be adjusting well to his new environment. I don't think you'll have any worries."
smiled. "That's good to know. I am a little surprised that you'd come by so
soon to examine him. Thanks."
"Uh…" Keesha was at a lost. She
was not in the habit of lying to her friends, nor was she accustomed to being attracted
to her friends' men. The turmoil wracked her heart and conscious. She opened her
mouth to say something to Robin…anything that would be closer to the truth, but the
words wouldn't come. Dumbfounded, she closed her mouth.
"Are you okay?"
Robin placed her hand on Keesha's arm. "You look exhausted. Didn't you work
Keesha nodded, grateful to answer her friend with honesty.
"Yeah. There was an awful car accident last night."
to hear that," Robin said with compassion. "And to think that even after
that, you still found time to check on Stone… You're such a great friend."
threw her arms around Keesha and gave her a fierce hug. Tension seized her. When
the hug ended, she had never been so relieved in her entire life. "I'd better
"Of course," Robin agreed. "I'll see later.
Maybe if you're awake when I come home, we can talk. Thanks again."
welcome," Keesha mumbled. She watched as Robin greeted the guard and eagerly
went inside the penthouse. The elevator doors opened for Keesha and she went inside.
As the doors drew to a close, she sagged against the wall. The spontaneous decision
to visit Stone and then the surprise meeting with Robin had left her in a tailspin.
She needed to get her act together and fast!
Shivering from the cold of the
winter morning, she moved down the sidewalk to her car. A thought popped into her
head. Maybe Jason's invitation was what she needed. Time in his arms would get her
thoughts on him and not on her best friend's man. Well, it would have to! Because
if it didn't…she was fast becoming afraid of what would happen next.
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