Chapter 17

~Not Built to Last~

Stone rose from the bed and quietly opened the bedroom door. The penthouse was dark, quiet and still. He breathed a sigh of relief. Sonny and Robin were gone, and he wouldn't have to bare their staring eyes or quiet whispers. It was safe for him to leave. He went to the closet, grabbed a sweater and a pair of boots. After pulling them on, he slipped quietly down the staircase. He shrugged into the coat he wore when he was discharged from the hospital and then he left the penthouse.

The sense of freedom soared through him. He had no particular destination in mind and it didn't matter. Cold air breezed around him. The dark night sky hovered above him. And he was free to enjoy it. The moment felt good and only one thing could make it better...sharing it with Keesha.

His footsteps took him further away from the penthouse and through the streets of Port Charles while his mind took him back to his earlier conversation with the beautiful, warm woman. Just like she promised at the hospital, she visited him. She didn't stay long enough to please Stone, but seeing her face and hearing her voice made his heart race. Being with her again made him happy.

He came to a clearing and stopped. The open meadow took his breath away. The light from the full moon cast a bright glow on the endless stretch of grass and bushes. Looking around him at nature and all its beauty, Stone continued to walk. When he came to the bridge, he paused at the edge and looked over the railing. Waves of water rolled underneath. Peaceful and calming. He walked onto the bridge and sat down. His legs hung over the side, and his head pressed against the cold railing. Closing his eyes, he thought of Keesha again and wondered when he would see her again.


What was he doing?!

Common sense broke through and brought a quick end to the kiss. Frank pulled away from Dawn and stood. Confused, he wandered restlessly back and forth across the roof. Behind him, he heard her stir and his senses froze. How would she react? Would she be as confused as he is, or would she hate him for making a pass? The muscles in his abdomen clenched in anticipation as he waited for her response.

"Frank?" She called softly in a broken whisper. "Would you look at me?"

His heart lodged in his throat her plaintive request. What reaction would he find in those large brown eyes? Swallowing hard, he turned to face her. Her bottom lip trembled and she looked disoriented. The urge to hold her raced through him, but he held himself still. Holding her led to that sweet, delicious kiss. He couldn't allow himself to make that mistake again. His hands clenched at his sides in frustration. He shoved them into the front pockets of his jeans and waited.

She stared back at him in wonder. "Don't you have anything to say?"

He averted his eyes from her questioning gaze and studied the ground at his feet. Shrugging, he said, "What's there to say? I hope you feel better now and remember that you're a good doctor-"

"I wasn't talking about that," she interrupted. She went to him. The palm of her slender hand stroked the stubble along his jaw, tilting his head until he looked at her again. "You kissed me. Why did you kiss me, Frank?"

"I-I... Well, I guess I thought it would help," he stammered, using the first excuse that came to mind.

Her hand left his cheek, as her voice hardened with accusation. "You thought it would help? Help how?"

She misunderstood him, or maybe the words didn't come out right. At this point, it didn't matter. It was better this way, Frank decided. Discussing the reasons for the kiss was pointless. She was like a baby sister to him, for goodness' sakes! He needed to remember that. Using the condescending voice he knew she hated, he said, "You were upset. You needed something to shake you out of it, so..."

"So, you kissed me?" Her face closed and she stepped back. "I get it, Frank. Neat trick. I must use it sometime."

With that said, she spun on her heel and stormed away from him. The exit door slammed shut. The sound rocked Frank and made it wonder if she had just slammed him out of her life forever.


"Jason, no!" Keesha pushed and moved from underneath him. She snatched her bra from the bed and turned away. As she pulled on her underwear and sweater, tension filled the bedroom.

"Keesha!" he yelped. "What's going on here? Why are you running away from me?"

"I don't know. It just doesn't feel right anymore." She slowly moved to face him. He stood a few feet away from her, but the real distance between them stretched for miles. She chewed nervously on her bottom lip as she tried to find the words. "I'm sorry, Jason. I don't know what else to say."

He held up his hand. "First, don't apologize. Just tell me why it doesn't feel right. It felt right to me! And it felt right to you, too. You were responding to me, Keesha. How can that not be right? Don't you love me anymore?"

Pain squeezed her heart as she looked at him. Tears glistened in his bright, blue eyes. Anguish and confusion were etched across his face. The pain intensified as she realized that he hurt because of her. She never, ever wanted to hurt him. Jason had a good soul and loved so deeply. Why couldn't she return his love anymore? Where did it go?

"Keesha?" he choked. "Will you answer me? Please?"

"Oh, Jason," she whispered hoarsely. "I never wanted this to happen. I don't know why it happened. I just know that I can't go on pretending anymore. It's just not you...or to me." She pulled the engagement ring from her finger and handed it to him. He refused to take it at first, but she gave him no choice. "I can't wear this. I can't be your wife."

His voice shook as he looked down at the small ring in the palm of his hand. "Maybe you just need some time. Maybe I pushed you too much. I can back off. I can wait-"

"I don't think it will matter," she cut in. "Time... It won't change how I feel now. I'm not in love with you anymore."

Keesha didn't wait for his response. She couldn't bear watching his heart break for another moment, knowing that she was the cause. She grabbed her shoes, coat and purse and left his apartment without looking back.


Stone had no concept of time and wasn't sure how long he'd been on the bridge when the tap of footsteps broke the quiet of the night. Half expecting to find Robin or Sonny behind him, he bristled. Angry words were on the tip of his tongue when he stood and faced the unwelcome intrusion on his solitude.

The fight left him as soon as his gaze locked onto Keesha's surprised face. Even beneath the glow of the moonlight, her brown eyes appeared dim. The sadness that surrounded her drifted to him and he wanted nothing more than to see her smile again. Extending his hand to her, he said, "Keesha. Come."

Her hand shook as it grabbed his. He guided her, pulling her close to him until they stood only inches from each other. With his other hand, he brushed the wetness from her cheeks. A quizzical frown came to his face as he dried her face. Keesha noticed and said in a husky whisper, "Those are tears. It happens when a person cr-cries."

A tingling sensation coursed through him as he cupped her lovely face between the palm of his hands. His thumbs stroked her cheek. "Why do you cry?"

She hiccuped once and said, "Because I'm sad and confused."

Smiling sadly, he shook his head. "Don't be sad and confused, Keesha."

"I don't want to be," she admitted. "I just don't know what I'm doing anymore and it scares me."

"You don't have to be scared," he told her. His arms closed around her and he rested his chin against her forehead. "I can help you like you helped me. I can be here for you, so don't cry, Keesha. I'm here."

She shivered against him, but no words came. Her arms circled his waist and she held him to her. When she relaxed within his embrace, Stone's heart swelled with emotion. Their warm bodies pressed close together was right and he never wanted the moment to end. Never.

General Hospital ©ABC
Never Carved in Stone (and all original characters) © 1999-2001 niklovr
All Rights Reserved.

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