Chapter 15

~Walking Blindfolded~

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 remembered.

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."

Her bottom lip trembled slightly. "I-I can do this alone."

Ellen gave 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.

"I'm…" 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 of resuscitation…"


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."

The 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 make sense."

"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.

She took a deep breath before she looked at him again. "Dr. Jensen lost her first patient tonight."

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 boy-"

"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…"

"I'm sure 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."

Comfort 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 amazing doctor."

"Yeah," he agreed, "and so are you."

A moment of silence passed between; then Ellen asked, "Are you busy?"

"Your wish is my command, Dr. Burgess," he responded with a gleam in his eye.

The 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."

Golden 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.

Knock, knock.

Dismay 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 a smile.

"It is now," he told her. "You're visiting me."

"I'm 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."

"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."

"I-I can't," she stammered.

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?"

"I'm 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."

She stepped backwards and he followed her. "Don't go."

"I'm tired, Stone," she explained, continuing to back away from him. "I didn't sleep last night-"

"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?"

"Because 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."

"Jason?" 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.

Keesha 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."

"Jason." 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 face.

"Keesha?" Robin asked with a quizzical expression on her face. "What are you doing here? It's not Stone. He's okay, right?!"

"Robin!" the other woman gasped. "No, no… Stone is fine."

"Whew!" Robin expelled a loud breath. "I was scared there for a minute."

"I'm 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."

Robin 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 graveyard?"

Keesha nodded, grateful to answer her friend with honesty. "Yeah. There was an awful car accident last night."

"I'm sorry 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."

Robin 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 get home."

"Of course," Robin agreed. "I'll see later. Maybe if you're awake when I come home, we can talk. Thanks again."

"You're 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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