Stone returned to the penthouse with his mind made up and his goal clear. He was to pack his clothes and leave. Keesha asked him to be civil to Sonny or Robin if he encountered either of them there. He knew that being nice to Sonny and especially Robin meant a lot to Keesha so for her sake, he wanted to do what she asked. But he would rather if neither of them were there. Their stares and their expectations made him angry and he doubted if he'd be able to contain that anger if provoked.
The guard at the door waved him in and Stone moved briskly across the first floor to the staircase. Taking the steps two at a time, he was inside his room without seeing anyone else. Maybe he'd be able to do as Keesha asked.
He grabbed underwear and socks from the drawers and stuffed them into a bag. He was attacking the closet when a knock sounded at his door and then it opened. He didn't stop to see who was there. Whoever was there would make their presence known.
"What are you doing?" Sonny asked, his voice tight. "And where were you? You were gone all night."
"I was out with a friend," Stone replied, silently reminding himself to be civil. "I'm leaving."
"You can't leave."
Stone grabbed the last of his shirts and dumped them on top of the jeans he'd already tossed into the bag. He gave Sonny a hard look. "I am leaving."
"You were just released from the hospital. Where will you go? I don't understand this, Stone."
Metal buzzed as Stone roughly zipped the bag close. "It doesn't matter where I go. I'm fine. Otherwise the doctors wouldn't have released me."
Stone brushed past Sonny. The other man was close behind him as he descended the staircase. "If you're mad about something, we can work it out," Sonny said. "I promised to look out for you."
"It's a promise you don't have to keep," Stone told him. "I can take care of myself."
Just then, Reynaldo opened the door. "Officer Cates is here. He wants to see his brother."
Sonny pinched the bridge of his nose. His face flushed hotly. "Let him in."
Jagger greeted Sonny with a brief nod before turning to his brother with a smile. "Are you ready?"
"What is this, Cates?" Sonny growled. "You're forcing him to move out?"
"I'm not forcing him to do anything," Jagger replied, eyes flashing. "I got a call and here I am."
Stone's eyes narrowed. "Keesha?"
Jagger nodded. "Yeah. You don't have to come with me if you don't want to. It's up to you. She just told me you might need a place to stay."
"What does Keesha have to do with this?" Sonny asked.
Stone ignored him. "I'll come."
He moved to join Jagger at the door, but Sonny grabbed his arm. Keesha's request came to mind once again. Instead of surrendering to the impulse to strike out, Stone shrugged his arm free and followed Jagger out of the penthouse.
"You can stay with Karen and me for as long as you want," Jagger said as the elevator doors closed. "We have an extra room and it wouldn’t be a problem."
"Okay," Stone said.
"Keesha didn't go into detail about what's going on," Jagger continued. "You can tell me or not." He paused as if he was waiting for Stone's response. When none came, he added, "She cares about you."
Stone nodded. "She's my friend."
Keesha entered the condo and found Dawn curled up on the sofa. "Is Robin here?" she asked, moving aside a stack of textbooks to sit on the edge of the recliner.
"Nope," Dawn said in a husky voice. "I don't know where she is or when she'll be coming back either."
Keesha noticed the box of Kleenex on Dawn's lap and a few balled up tissues on the floor. The younger woman sniffled and Keesha's suspicions were confirmed. She moved from the recliner to sit beside her roommate. "What's going on?"
"I'm taking a week off from the hospital…and I may not go back."
Tears flowed down Dawn's cheeks and Keesha patted her shoulder. "Why? You're the Intern voted most likely to win the Quartermaine Fellowship. If you leave now, Ramsey will think he has a chance. Come on, don't go."
Dawn sniffled. "You don't know what happened, Keesha. A little boy died yesterday. I should have been able to save him."
"Oh, hon." Keesha wrapped her arm around Dawn's shoulder. "We can't save everyone. We want to, but it's not always possible. Some things are supposed to happen and maybe it was this boy's time to go."
"And what if it wasn't?" Dawn asked tearfully. "And then there's Frank…"
Keesha's head was spinning. In just a short twenty-four hours, she'd missed out on so much and hadn't been around when a friend needed her. Twinges of guilt shot through her. But she couldn't pause to wallow in it. Dawn needed her shoulder. "What happened with him? Is he still giving you grief about Nikolas?"
"Not exactly," Dawn told her. "Last night while we were talking…he kissed me."
"Wow. What happened after that?"
"I kissed him back and when it was over, he reminded me that I was a little kid and told me the kiss was a token of comfort. It didn't mean anything." Dawn choked, "I hate men!"
Remembering the night spent with Stone, Keesha couldn't help but smile. "They're not all so bad."
"Not all men are as wonderful as Jason," Dawn reminded her.
Keesha's smile faded. "No, Jason may be in a class all to himself."
"He's a great guy," Dawn agreed. "Nikolas isn't so bad either. He's been sweet. He wants to go out tonight. I told him I'd think about it."
"You should go," Keesha said, "and enjoy yourself."
"Maybe I will," Dawn said. She pressed her hands to her face. "I must look a mess. I think the shower is calling me. " She quickly embraced Keesha. "Thank you for listening to me."
Dawn shuffled down the hall to her bedroom, leaving Keesha alone with her thoughts. The mention of Jason and how wonderful he was reminded Keesha of their break up. Even though it was inevitable, her heart still ached for him. He was hurting and she was the cause of it. Stone was probably correct in that she and Jason weren't right for each other, but that didn't make the pain any less severe.
She rose from the sofa and started cleaning the living room. Moving around would get the blood flowing and help her see things clearly. She hoped.
Jason sat in the University library with books spread across the table. He read the first page about stem cells for the fifth time and the words still refused to stick. Disgusted, he slammed the book close and ran a weary hand over his face.
"You look like how I feel."
He gave his surprise visitor what he hoped was a smile. "Robin. Nobody should feel like this. Pull up a chair and talk to me."
She sat in the chair closest to him. "How are you?"
"I asked you first," he said. "What's up? Has something happened with Stone's recovery?"
"I wouldn't know," she said quietly. "He's pushing me away and today, he moved out of the penthouse."
"What?" Jason gasped. "Where did he go?"
"He moved in with Jagger according to Sonny. I wasn't there," she answered. "I'm surprised Keesha didn't tell you. Sonny said that Keesha called Jagger to pick up Stone."
"She did that?" Jason asked. "I didn't know she and Stone were so close."
"Neither did I," Robin commented. "I ran into her at Sonny's once. I didn't think anything about it. I can't believe she didn't tell you, though. That's not like her."
Jason's heart felt like a clump of lead in his chest as he said, "She wouldn't tell me much of anything now. We're not together anymore."
Robin's jaw dropped. "What happened? Aren't you engaged?"
Jason shrugged and blinked away the salty tears that burned the backs of his eyes. "Not anymore. I'm not even sure if we're friends."
She reached out and covered his hand with hers. "I'm so sorry. Is there anything I can do?"
He squeezed her hand and then released it. "There's nothing to be done and I'd rather not talk about it anymore. Tell me what's happening with Stone. Maybe he just needs a longer adjustment period before things can be the way they were."
She shook her head. "Things will never be that good between Stone and me. His moving out was an eye-opener. He's not the same man I fell in love with. My Stone is dead-"
"Robin," Jason began, "don't talk like that."
"But it's true. Dr. Jones tried to warn me, but I didn't want to listen," she said. "Well, I have to listen now and face it. Stone is gone and I have to move on."