Chapter Sixteen

I grieve in my condition for
I cannot find the words to say I need you so
Oh and every time I’m close to you
There’s too much I can’t say
And you just walk away
And I forgot to tell you
I love you
– I Love You, Sarah McLachlan

Tuesday, October 7, 2003

General Hospital: Hallway

Nadine handed Elizabeth a water from the vending machines and sat next to her in the small waiting area outside the maternity ward. “I was surprised Jason didn’t come with you today.”

Elizabeth sighed and twisted the cap off. Despite all the strides forward, Jason had only been to that one doctor’s appointment in June, though she knew he hadn’t missed the last few out of choice. It seemed every time her appointment approached, there were a dozen things he needed to do, and even hinting to Sonny about the appointments in hopes that he could clear Jason’s schedule in time hadn’t worked.

“There’s a lot he’s dealing with,” she said after a long sip. “I don’t hold it against him. It’s not like he’s missing much. I told you about his accident, right?” When Nadine nodded, she continued. “He has trouble seeing images sometimes. I can explain it to him, and that helps. I can point out where the arms and legs are, but all he can really see is a blob and the heartbeat.”

“Oh.” Nadine wrinkled her nose. “Well, that sucks for you, though.”

“It’s okay.” And it really was. Elizabeth had decided not to stress about the things she could not accept. She might want Jason’s support at these appointments, but she wasn’t going to ask him anymore, not after making it clear early on that she hoped he’d join her. He’d been here when she learned she was having a girl, so she’d cling to that. “Things are mostly fine…but I’m thinking about after the baby’s born.” Absently, Elizabeth pressed her hand over her abdomen as Cady kicked. “I can’t live with Jason forever—”

“Sure you can. If you’re in love and a family, that’s kind of the thing to do,” Nadine said.

“I think I’m running out of time to that to be true.” Elizabeth twisted slightly in her chair to face her friend. “I’m not…I think I’m pinning too much on hoping things being different after I have the baby…that Jason will look into her face, and not think about…” She hesitated. “That he won’t see how she got here, but just love her for who she is.”

Nadine pursed her lips. “This is one of those situations where the details get glossed. Okay. So basically, you think Jason doesn’t love your daughter right now. I can understand why you might think that. I’ve only seen him here once, and you told me you didn’t bring the baby up much in conversation until he suggested picking out a room for the nursery…but has he ever really give you a solid reason to doubt him?”

“You mean, is there something he’s said that makes me think he doesn’t love her the way a father would?” Elizabeth hesitated and thought about the question, because it was a fair one. “I guess…it’s the little things. When I talk about how it’s going to be in the future, it’s like…there’s this part of him that doesn’t think we have one—”

“No, no.” Nadine waved a hand. “That’s you again. You’re projecting what you think he thinks onto his actions. I’m saying…has he done something solid to doubt him?”

“He told me that we had to be realistic,” Elizabeth said slowly. “That we might not work.”

“Well, that’s not cheerful, but it’s not really evidence.” Nadine leaned forward. “Elizabeth, do you love him?”

“Yes,” Elizabeth admitted, wrinkling her nose.

“Does he love you?”

“He’s never said it…” She tilted her head to the side, remembering all the other things he’d never said. “But…I think he does. Sometimes he looks at me…” She smiled now. “The first time…after the pool table—”

“Which I still hate you for.”

“—he looked at me…” Elizabeth looked at her hands. “And I just…thought…if I could hold on to that look, to the way it makes me feel—like I’m the most beautiful person he’s ever seen, and he doesn’t understand why I’m standing there with him…if I could always feel that way, I’d never be unhappy again.”

“Oh, for…” Nadine huffed. “I’ll be jealous later. Here’s the advice. My aunt Rayleen used to say that love is a lot like a back ache. It may not show up on the X-rays, but you know it’s there.” When Elizabeth just laughed, Nadine reached out for her hand. “It sounds like you guys have trust issues. Love is amazing, but it’s not enough if you don’t talk about it.”

Elizabeth smiled, and then got to her feet. “You’re right. You’re always right about this stuff, you know. You’ve been telling me all summer to talk to him, but—”

As they started down the hallway towards the main waiting area and elevator, Nadine said, “I get it. It’s scary. You want to believe that if you don’t talk about it, that your problems will work out on their own. I don’t know, maybe you’re right. Maybe Cady will be born, and he’ll hold her for the first time, and it’ll all come together. It’s totally possible.”

“It’s what I’m pinning my hopes on,” Elizabeth admitted. “But I’m also being practical about what comes next. Even if Jason and I do work things out for the better, I still need a job. My grandmother has been extolling the virtues of the nursing program, and I…” She smiled, thinking of that winter in the studio, “have some experience caring for a sick person.”

“You’d be good at it, and hey, we could hang out all the time.”

It wasn’t until a day or so later that Elizabeth realized she should have been paying more attention to her surroundings, but she was so comfortable at the hospital, and felt secure there that she didn’t realize Dominic wasn’t standing at the doorway to the stairwell as he usually did during her appointments.

As she and Nadine passed the doorway, it flew open and a man in dark clothes and a ski mask rushed out. Elizabeth and Nadine froze for a moment, allowing the man to shove a cloth in her face, with a sickly sweet smell. Before Elizabeth could think to fight, her vision blurred and tilted at the sides.

General Hospital: Nurse’s Station

“Help! Someone help!”

Emily heard the screams from the hallway and saw Elizabeth’s guard rushing from the elevator towards it. She, too, dropped the charts in her hands and followed Cody. At her heels, Patrick Drake, one of the new residents, passed by her with his longer legs.

They rounded the corner and Emily stumbled to a stop, gasping when she saw Elizabeth crumpled on the ground and Nadine Crowell on the back of a man dressed in black, holding on to him with one arm around his neck and whacking him with a clipboard with her free hand.

“Help!” Nadine screeched. The man threw her off, and she went flying backwards into the wall. He rushed down the stairs, and Cody went straight after him. Ignoring all of that, Emily and Patrick flew to Elizabeth’s side. Emily reached for her pulse as Patrick rolled her to so Elizabeth was lying on her back. Around them, more doctors were swarming.

“She’s got a pulse.” Emily closed her eyes, feeling relief spread in her veins.

“He shoved something in her face,” Nadine said, panting as she crawled towards them.

“Someone get me a stretcher and a free room!” Patrick barked. He looked at Emily. “Do you know her?”

“E-Elizabeth Webber. She must have…” Emily swallowed hard. “She must have had an appointment with Kelly.”

Patrick looked at one of the other nurses just staring at them and snapped his fingers. “Find me that damn room and page Kelly Lee.” He looked around and spied a white cloth. He reached for it and grimaced before it was even close to him. “Chloroform.”

Alan and Monica were there, then, and the stretcher appeared. With Patrick and another orderly’s help, Elizabeth was lifted on the stretcher, and Patrick started to roll her towards the room they’d freed up.

“Emily!” Monica grabbed her daughter’s arm. “What happened?”

“Someone attacked her.” Emily looked at Nadine, who was wincing. “Nadine, you should get looked at. He threw you pretty hard.”

“He threw…” Alan repeated, looking at the blonde nurse in confusion. “What the hell happened here?”

“He grabbed her,” Nadine said, rubbing the small of her back. “She passed out, but I guess he wasn’t thinking about how difficult it might be to drag a pregnant woman into a stairwell, so I smacked him with my clipboard. He was distracted enough to let go of her and then I…” She blinked and swayed a little. Emily reached out and held her steady. “Um…I guess I actually jumped on his back and kept hitting him.”

“My God.” Monica pressed a hand to her mouth, trembling. “Where were her guards?”

“Cody ran past me after the guy,” Emily told her parents, and then frowned. “But…the other one. I don’t know his name.” She looked at Nadine. “Where…?”

“I…” Nadine stepped towards the stairwell, and pushed the door open. It was empty. “I don’t know.”

“We’d better call Jason,” Alan said firmly. “He needs to be here with her.”

General Hospital: Elevator

For the second time in a span of mere months, Jason Morgan found himself cursing at an elevator slowing him down from getting to Elizabeth, who’d just been attacked.

At his side, Sonny was visibly shaken. They’d never seriously thought Elizabeth would be in danger at the hospital, but a panicked call first from Monica that Elizabeth had been attacked and was being admitted for observation followed by Cody who’d lost the assailant in the stairwell and found Dominic bleeding from a head wound one flight down had cured them of that.

“I’m not letting her out of my sight for the rest of my life,” Sonny muttered and jabbed at the buttons as if that would make this goddamn car move faster. “That’s it. We’re assigning guards to surround her from back and front, side to side. She’ll barely be able to move, but I’ll be satisfied.”

Jason ignored his friend’s mutterings, because he knew he was to blame for this. He’d wanted to go to her doctor’s appointment today, he really had, but there’d been another damn shipment problem and she’d just smiled at him, told him not to worry. It was just routine.

Never again.

Finally, the damn doors opened and Jason, for the first time that he could remember, was relieved to find his parents standing by the nurse’s station, his sister hovering nervously around them. He strode forward. “Where is she? Is she okay?”

“Her OB is with her, and one of our residents has been assigned to the case.” Monica hesitantly touched his arm. “But Kelly and Patrick think she’s fine.” She gestured to Emily. “Emily was there when it happened.”

“Em?” Jason turned his eyes on his sister, for the first time in months. “What happened?”

“I heard screaming,” Emily said, her face pale. He saw her hands shaking as she pushed her hair out of her face. “Her guard at the elevator was already running towards the hallway at that point, and Nadine was whacking the crap out of the guy. He must have figured he was out of options once he heard all the commotion, because he threw her…”

“The guy got out of the hospital,” Alan growled. “I’m so sorry, Jason. I thought…between the both of us, that I had covered all the bases, but there was a service stairwell that didn’t have any cameras working. He got out the door just before we called the lockdown.”

“I know.” Jason exhaled slowly and exchanged a glance with Sonny, because further dissection of this mess was going to have to wait. “Thank you…I know you’ve taken Elizabeth’s safety seriously.” He looked at Emily. “Thanks, Emily.”

“You should thank Nadine Crowell,” Emily told him. “She bruised her back when they threw her and we think she might have a concussion, but she was hitting him, keeping him from dragging Elizabeth away.”

“I just…” Jason forced himself to be calm even though he wanted to come out of his skin. “I need to see Elizabeth.”

“Of course.” Monica took his arm and started to lead him away.

Alan cleared his throat and looked at Sonny with annoyance, but concern for his grandchild outweighed his hatred. “Unfortunately, the cops are involved, Sonny. There was nothing I could do about that. Mac and Taggart are questioning the staff as we speak. Your guard with the head injury was admitted for stitches and observation. The other one isn’t speaking until his lawyer gets here.”

Sonny rubbed his forehead. Goddamn nightmare. “Thanks. I’ll…take care of it. Ah, if there are any damages, let me know. I really…” He shook his head. “I never wanted to bring this to the hospital. We thought…”

“”Well, you live a violent life, it touches everything,” Alan said with an edge, because he just couldn’t contain himself. “I pray to God you do a better job of protecting my grandchild than you have Elizabeth so far.”

General Hospital: Elizabeth’s Room

Monica pushed open the door and Jason entered to find Elizabeth’s doctor, Kelly, standing next to a tall, dark-haired man he’d never met before. “Kelly, Patrick, this is my son, Jason. He’s Elizabeth’s…” She hesitated and looked at her son with trepidation, not knowing how to explain this.

“I’ve met Jason,” Kelly said quickly. She nodded. “Elizabeth was given a dose of chloroform, which didn’t knock her out because you need at least five minutes for that to work. However, she was apparently woozy from it, so when he released her, she was dizzy, tripped and hit her head as she fell.”

Jason closed his eyes, and fisted his hands at his side. “How bad?” he asked. “Is…” He looked at her, lying unconscious in the bed in a hospital gown, her face pale and stark against the sheets. “Will she be all right? And…the baby?”

“I’m going to run a CT to be safe,” the other doctor said. “But we don’t think it’s going to be a problem, concussion wise. She’ll be sore when she wakes up, but otherwise…” He looked at Kelly, who nodded.

“And we did a quick ultrasound. Everything looks good.” She made a notation in her chart. “So don’t worry, Daddy. Baby Girl Morgan is as healthy now as she was an hour ago at the appointment. We’re keeping her overnight, just to be on the safe side.”

When Jason said nothing, but moved past them to sit in the chair by Elizabeth’s side, Monica smiled at them. “Thanks, Kelly. Patrick. We’ll take care of it from here. Let me know how Nadine is doing.”

Jason turned at that though. “Nadine? The nurse who was with her? Can I…can she have a visitor?”

“Ah….” Monica looked at Patrick. “How’s she feeling?”

“She’s resting now, but she wanted me to update her on Elizabeth as soon as possible.” Patrick looked at Jason. “You can see her for a minute or two, but she took a pretty good whack in the head when the guy threw her against the wall.”

“I’ll take you in a moment, after Patrick has a chance to check on her. Nadine’s just across the hall,” Monica told Jason. She smiled again as the two doctors exited the room. “Is there anything you need, Jason?”

“No.” But he looked at her. “Thank you. For everything.”

General Hospital: Nadine’s Room

After almost ten minutes, Patrick poked his head back in the room to let Monica know he was done examining Nadine, so she took Jason across the hall where the normally perky nurse was lying in her own hospital bed, looking annoyed.

“Dr. Quartermaine, can’t you make them let me out of this bed?” Nadine demanded. “My head only hurts a little…” She winced. “And my back is basically fine. Nothing a hot bath wouldn’t cure—”

“Suck it up, Nurse Crowell,” Monica said with a fond smile. She patted her hand. “Jason wanted to have a chance to talk to you and then Patrick said you’re staying overnight to be sure your concussion doesn’t worsen.”

“Bah.” Nadine let her head fall back against the pillows.

“Monica, can you sit with Elizabeth in case she wakes up?” Jason asked. Monica nodded and left the room. Jason hesitated and stood at the end of the nurse’s bed, his hands in his pockets. “I…wanted to tell you thank you.”

Nadine shrugged. “Not a problem. She’s my friend, too. The first one I’ve made here, so—”

“I know you did it for her,” Jason cut in. “But…” He swallowed hard. “If anything had happened to her, to the baby…” He shook his head, not knowing exactly what to say. “I’m glad you weren’t hurt more seriously.”

“Me, too.” Nadine sighed. “If I’d had time, I would have gone for the fire extinguisher. One good whack of that and he’d be knocked out, we’d have him and you guys would know what he was up to. But, no, I just had a stupid clipboard.” She closed her eyes. “My head is on fire, though.”

“I’ll leave you alone, then, but…” Jason paused. “If there’s anything you need, you just let me know.” He nodded at Elizabeth’s friend again and then made his way across the hall.

General Hospital: Nurse’s Station

Emily watched as Patrick stepped into the hub and slid a chart into the holder. “Hey…Elizabeth and Nadine are okay?”

“As okay as two assault victims can be,” Patrick muttered, reaching for another chart. “What kind of insane person comes into a hospital and tries to kidnap a pregnant woman? How many types of dumb do you have to be?” He hesitated. “I’ve only lived in Port Charles for five minutes, but even I’ve heard the rumors about Jason Morgan and his pregnant girlfriend. Who tries to kidnap his girlfriend?”

“Someone with a death wish,” Kelly mused. “He looked pretty torn up about it. Guess I was wrong about him not giving a damn.” When Patrick just frowned at her, Kelly shrugged. “He’s never at the appointments. Number one indicator of uninvolved daddy.”

“But doesn’t she have guards?” Patrick asked. “I saw that one guy by the elevator.”

“She has two, usually,” Emily murmured. “They cover the exits between Kelly’s office and the elevator so no one gets near her…” She hesitated.

So there’s no way I could get near her to apologize.

“Em?” Kelly tapped her on the arm. “You okay? I know you and Elizabeth used to be pretty close until you guys were fighting last spring.” She clucked her tongue. “Must have been difficult to see her going through that.”

“Yeah…” Emily cleared her throat. “You guys talked to the cops yet?”

“Yeah, some annoying bastard named Taggart grabbed me after I came out of Nadine’s room,” Patrick reached for a new chart. “Wanted me to tell him everything I know about Sonny Corinthos and Jason Morgan. I told him I met the babydaddy for about five seconds. Long enough to tell him the condition of the patient and then I left. I didn’t even really see the incident.”

Maybe I could get near her at the hospital…they don’t always follow her around.

“Quartermaine!”

Emily blinked and looked at the charge nurse for the floor, Epiphany Johnson, as the heavy set woman tapped her finger. “Yeah?”

“You got rounds or you gonna stand there all day?”

“Dude, aren’t you a nurse?” Patrick asked, irritated. “Do you even get to bother the med students?” When Epiphany turned a glare on him, he closed his mouth, grabbed a chart and disappeared.

“I’m going,” Emily promised.

I’m not going to sit around and wallow anymore. I’m going to start being true to myself again.

She left the hub, and shook the thoughts from her brain. It was just a coincidence, she was sure of it. Courtney was doing so well, had even started dating again. There was no way she’d had any involvement in this.

No way at all.

General Hospital: Elizabeth’s Room

Blearily, Elizabeth pushed her eyes open and blinked. Where…

When she realized she was in the hospital, she jerked fully awake, and stiffened, raising herself up partially on her elbow. “What’s going on?”

“Whoa…” Jason stood up from his chair and pushed her hair off her forehead. “Hey, hey. Take it easy.”

“Jason…” Elizabeth pressed a hand to her abdomen and breathed easier when she felt Cady pushing back against her. “Cady’s okay?  She’s okay, right? I woke up, and I thought…” She closed her eyes. “What…what happened?”

“Just…relax for a second.” He pushed her shoulders back gently and then reached for the control on her bed to bring the top part up. “Patrick and Kelly want you to take it easy. You’re staying here tonight.”

“Jason, Cady’s okay?” She reached out and wrapped her fingers around his wrist. “I can feel her kicking, but…I just…she’s okay?”

“She’s perfect,” he promised her, and she saw no tension in his shoulders as he said the words. Only concern. “Kelly did an ultrasound, they ran some tests. Cady is as healthy as she was before you left her office earlier.”

Everything else could wait a moment as Elizabeth closed her eyes and nodded. “Okay. Okay. I was going to the elevator with Nadine. We were talking. I—I don’t really remember anything else…” She paused. “Someone…came out of the stairwell…?”

“What we know is that Dominic should have been at the stairs,” Jason told her. “We found him a few flights down with a head wound. The cameras were off in that stairwell, but someone hacked into the feed and looped in an older tape, showing no movement. Cody chased the guy, but he got away before Alan could lock the place down.” He took her hand in his. “He tried to disorient you with chloroform, so that you’d be dizzy and wouldn’t fight him, but he didn’t…” And she was surprised to see a slight smile on Jason’s face. “They didn’t factor in your friend Nadine.”

“What did she do? Is she okay?” Elizabeth clenched his hand. “Where is she?”

“She’s across the hall. She hit him with her clipboard, and the guy let you go. You hit your head as you feel. When he went for you again, Nadine jumped on his back, tried to choke him with one hand and kept hitting him with the other. Emily told me she heard Nadine’s screams and the cavalry came running.”

“Emily…” Elizabeth blinked. “She was here?”

“She was worried for you,” Jason admitted. “She and another resident got you to a room. Nadine has a concussion and she bruised her back, from where the guy threw her and she hit the wall.”

“Oh, my God.” Elizabeth brought her free hand to her mouth. “But she’s okay?”

“She’s okay. She’s being kept overnight like you, and is chafing at the bit about it.” Jason sighed and looked down at their joined hands. “I…I’m so sorry. I don’t know how this happened. We should have had more guards, should have had people watching the security footage.” He closed his eyes. “I should have been here. I wanted to be, you might not believe that—”

“I do believe that,” Elizabeth murmured. “Jason, you told me that any attempt to get to me here would be desperate. I tried to vary my appointments so they couldn’t predict which day I’d be here. I had guards stationed on the exits. And you might think you failed today…”

“I did fail,” Jason said firmly. “You’re in a hospital bed—”

“I am fine.” Elizabeth sighed. “Jason, the security precautions aren’t just to keep danger from coming near me, they’re to keep danger from hurting me. We know that Ric and Faith are desperate, they’d have to be. And they found a loophole—that I was alone. But they didn’t count on Nadine, or that Cody was less than fifty feet away, or that we’re surrounded by people. You didn’t fail because they never came close to taking me.”

“I…” Jason paused and frowned at her. “Elizabeth—”

“Did you think they wouldn’t try again?” Elizabeth asked. “They did. They failed. Again. And it took them months to figure out how to get to me. If they’re desperate, they’re going to start making mistakes.”

“I know everything you’re saying is right,” Jason said after a long moment. “But I didn’t want this to touch you. To hurt you.”

“At the end of the day, no one can promise that.” Elizabeth sighed and closed her eyes. “You’re sure Kelly said everything was fine?”

“I promise.” He sighed. “Your grandmother is coming by later. She was here while you were out, too. And Mac or Taggart will be here tomorrow to question you. Alan had to report it to them.”

“What do you want me to say?” Elizabeth asked. “I don’t know that much.”

“Tell them the truth,” Jason told her. “They’re not likely to find the guy, and you can tell them you think Ric took the news badly, that he threatened you back then.”

“Okay.” She opened her eyes and looked at him. “Do…you have somewhere to be…or can you stay here? I—I don’t really want to be alone tonight.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” Jason told her.

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Comments

  • Go, Nadine! Love that Emily is just beginning to realize she’s the odd man out…

    I think Jason had a bit of a wake up call and Sonny… Wow.. A nice surprise!

    And I wonder if Nafine will use her ‘favor’ to give Jason a few things to think about…

    According to RayDean219 on April 23, 2014
  • Whew, what an exciting chapter…gotta love Nadine, not just her good advice, but great fighting skills!

    According to Jen on April 23, 2014
  • Jason’s getting better but nowhere near I want him to be. Go Nadine take the guy out. lol Yeah I think Courtney had something to do with this I’m not buying her innocent act.

    According to Lisa on April 23, 2014
  • great update. so loving Nadine and not just for her advice to Liz but her fighting skills. believe that Jason is starting to wake up and sonny wow.

    According to Nicole on April 23, 2014
  • oh dear lord, I can’t believe i fell for the Mary-sunshine routine, unlike Emily i can believe Courtney is involved. Emily better tell someone before things get worse and everybody will be blaming her for the entire fiasco. Very glad the attempt was botched and that mom and baby are fine. And again Sonny with the comic relief! a security detail tighter than the president, but hey, at least he’ll be happy. Nadine is the hero here, but has either lady mentioned the johnny connection to Jason yet? might have some bad mojo brewing there. Happy that Nadine gave the good advice and Liz something to think about. But is Liz going to be the conversation starter again? I don’t think it will improve her faith in Jason. The guilt trip he’s having isn’t helping much either. Here she is trying to help him out of it and taking care of him. It’s lonely being in the front all the time and makes you question the others commitment. (I’m annoyed with Jason, can you tell?) ah well, all will be revealed. This faithful reader is sticking close to her inbox.

    According to Aradia on April 23, 2014