And you took me to hell and back
My mind’s like a one way track
And you tell me just one more time
And you’re lying like you always do
Yeah I know it well
– Hell and Back, Airborne Toxic Event
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Alexis’s Apartment: Living Room
Alexis nearly ignored the ringing of the landline on her desk as she rushed around the apartment, gathering Kristina’s belongings for daycare, looking for the medical reports for Carly’s file—
She really should have hired a personal assistant to organize her everyday life.
The phone rang for the fifth time just as she passed her desk again. She snagged the receiver, shoved it against her ear, and continued to flip through folders on her desk. “Yeah?”
“Have you seen the papers yet?”
Jax’s voice was clipped, tense, and caught her attention. “No, why? I usually grab them from the front desk on my way out of the building—”
“Don’t leave the building.”
Alexis wrapped her fingers around the plastic receiver and straightened. “What’s going on?”
“I’m coming over. Don’t come into the office. Don’t pick up the phone — screen your calls—”
“Damn it, Jax—”
“The Port Charles Sun just lobbed a grenade — they know.”
Her chest tightened, and Alexis turned to look at Kristina in her playpen. Sensing her mother’s eyes on her, the little girl looked up and smiled. She didn’t even need to ask what he was talking about.
“That’s not the only headline. Don’t leave, Alexis. Wait for me.”
Lois’s Apartment: Living Room
A few floors above Alexis, Lois stared at her inbox on the laptop in her lap and contemplated canceling all her meetings.
After that terrible scene with Ned, she’d gone home, hoping a few glasses of wine would help her sleep. Instead, she’d tossed and turned and only slept in fits and starts. Now, just when she should be dressing for the office, she felt gritty-eyed and exhausted.
The last place she should be was the communications department in the mayor’s office. She could barely grunt her own name, much less provide any sort of support for Ned right now.
She reached for her coffee. Maybe it would be a good day just to curl up on the sofa and watch old movies. Shut out the entire world.
Or would it be better to get a shower and fight through the day? She’d been doing better these last few weeks—she didn’t think about Brooke every waking minute, and she’d loved working in politics more than she thought she would.
She’d wanted to be part of something, to help Ned rebuild the broken pieces of this city that had stolen her baby from her — and most of the time, Lois could point to something she’d done as proof that progress was being made. That she was going to be okay.
Then days like yesterday would come along, and she’d lose the thread. She’d go back to the beginning and feel it all like it was happening now.
Brooke had been gone for more than six months, but right now, it felt like yesterday.
The landline in her kitchen began to ring, and Lois ignored it, hoping the machine would pick it up. Then the cell phone plugged in next to her on the desk started to vibrate. She narrowed her eyes, then reached for it. That couldn’t be a coincidence—
She barely had time to see Ned’s name scroll across the identification screen before she heard a pounding on her door.
She ignored both phones and headed for the door, for the panicked knocking and hysterical cries of her best friend. “Liv, what’s—” She jerked open the door to find Olivia, her cheeks tear-stained and her eyes bloodshot. Clutched against her chest was the Port Charles Sun, Olivia’s fingers digging into the thin newsprint.
Lois could barely make out the headline over Olivia’s hands—but two words stood out in stark, tall, print —
“Olivia,” Lois said, a sinking, swirling feeling in her stomach. “What’s going on? Why—”
“They know, oh, God, they know, they know, and I don’t—” Olivia shoved the paper at her, and Lois straightened it out.
GODFATHER’S SECRET SON AND DAUGHTER! TIES TO THE MAYOR’S OFFICE & PCPD!
“How could they know?” Olivia cried. “You didn’t even know! How could they know about my boy and Kristina?”
She pressed her hands to her face, her breath ragged from the sobs. “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, how did this happen?”
Lois folded Olivia into her arms, waves of guilt and shame sliding over her like a wave.
This was her fault. It had to be. Oh, God. She’d ruined everything.
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Elizabeth sipped her tea, flipping through a magazine. Jason emerged from the kitchen, a cup of coffee in his hands. “After your appointment, we’ll go to Kelly’s,” he reminded her, “since you have to fast—”
“For the glucose test I couldn’t take because we were away.” She forced herself to keep her tone even. “I know.”
He winced. “I’m sorry. I know you remember all that—”
“It’s okay,” she murmured, setting her tea aside. “I’ll be in the mood for a huge bowl of chili, and Cam will just have to deal.” She started to stand, grateful when Jason pulled her the last bit. “If I were taller,” she began—but then she heard something outside their door.
Sonny was shouting.
“I thought you said he was doing better,” Elizabeth said. Jason was already heading for the door when his phone rang. He pulled it out and grimaced.
“It’s Carly. That can’t be good—” He answered the phone, but then their door flew open, and Sonny strode in—slapping papers in Jason’s face. Cody and Max followed, both of them red-faced and irritated.
“What the hell—” Jason began. “Carly, I’ll call you back—yeah, it’s too late. Whatever it is, he knows,” he said. He hung up the phone. “Sonny—”
“That bitch knew!” Sonny roared. “She had to—”
Elizabeth reached for the papers in Jason’s hands—wrinkling her nose when she recognized the Sun‘s familiar square shape. “We should have sued them,” she muttered—then gaped at the headline. “Oh my God—”
Jason was scanning the Herald‘s more sedate cover story before swallowing hard. “Sonny—”
“You’re going to tell me that Alexis is Carly’s fucking divorce lawyer, and she didn’t know about this?” Sonny demanded. “She stole my kid! Everyone is stealing my kids—”
Elizabeth opened the tabloid and skimmed the story, processing the stunning claims. Not only were the papers claiming that Kristina Davis-Ashton was actually Sonny’s biological child—but so was the PCPD rookie, Dante Falconieri. “How could they know—”
“You get Justus over here now, and you tell him I want custody—I want visitation—” Sonny yanked the paper away from Elizabeth, then shoved it in Jason’s face. “Alexis thinks she’s going to steal my daughter and then help Carly steal the boys? Not a chance in hell!”
Elizabeth glanced at her watch, then bit her lip. “I should get going,” she said to him softly. “I’ll call you—”
Jason looked at her. “No—I should go—”
“What the hell do you need him for now?” Sonny demanded, switching his attention to Elizabeth, who silently counted to five. She couldn’t even be that angry with Sonny — he’d just had his world rocked, and Elizabeth had to agree — Carly must have known or suspected, and she hadn’t warned Jason.
“We were getting ready for a doctor’s appointment, but it’s okay,” she told Sonny. “I’ve got Cody, and I’ll go alone—”
“Sonny needs you more than I do,” Elizabeth said to Jason, and Sonny seemed mollified by that.
“Call me if—”
“I will.” She kissed his cheek. “Sonny, uh, good luck.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Sonny waved her away, and Elizabeth went for her purse. Jason still looked unconvinced even as she and Cody closed the door behind them.
Quartermaine Mansion: Family Room
Ned skimmed his planner, wincing at the list of meetings. It wasn’t much different than running ELQ, he reminded himself, even if most of these meetings could be an email or a memo.
He heard shouting from the foyer and sighed. Maybe he could just sneak out the terrace door. He’d only come to the mansion to grab breakfast—
“Father, are you—” Tracy paused at the doorway, a newspaper clutched in her hand, and her eyes narrowed. “You,” she spat.
Ned eyed his mother warily, spied his brother over her shoulder. “What’s going on?”
“Have you seen the papers today?” Dillon wanted to know, carefully sliding past the irate Tracy, another newspaper in his hand. Ned scowled as he recognized the shape of the tabloid.
“Why the hell are we still subscribed to this trash—” Ned broke off as he read the headline, his throat closing.
“How could you do this to the family?” Tracy demanded. “How could you lie to everyone—”
Ned couldn’t hear his mother, was only dimly aware that others had begun to fill the room. Dillon was defending him to Tracy—Edward was blustering—and Alan was starting to raise his voice.
But Ned could only see the words that revealed the lie. Everyone would know.
He blinked at the soft, gentle voice of his grandmother and looked at Lila, her kind and worried eyes. “Grandmother.”
“Are you all right, my darling?”
“I—” He shook his head. “N-No. I’m not.”
The world knew that Kristina was Sonny’s child, and Ned had lost another daughter.
“He’s not returning any calls?” Maxie demanded as she paced the small area. “What the hell? How are we supposed to fix this if he doesn’t let us!”
“I can’t make him—” Lulu’s fingers slipped as she tried to redial Dante’s number. “I can’t make him pick up—” A sob bubbled up in her throat. How had the papers known? Was she bugged? Was she the reason—
“Lu—” Maxie reached for her hand. “Hey. It’s okay—”
“No, no, it’s not! He just got over me being stupid and nearly torching everything, and now this—”
“But it’s not like you knew—” Maxie blinked at her. “Oh, bitch, you did know? How long? When? Why—”
“J-just since yesterday, but—” She took a deep breath. “I didn’t tell anyone. I’m not even telling you—”
“There’s no telling me. I read the paper—” Maxie reached for the Herald on the counter. “And if they’re printing it, you know it must be true. Poor Dante!”
“Hey, Lu, you thinking of taking your shift at any point?” Penny asked, peeking over the counter. “Or are you having another crisis?”
“Hey, Penny, do you want to wear that plate of eggs you’re carrying?” Maxie asked sweetly. “Go away and remember that Lu covered for you last week when you wanted to follow David to the club. That’s what I thought,” she said as Penny glared at her, then flounced off. “Bitch.”
“I should get to work,” Lulu said with a sigh. “He’s not going to return my calls—”
“Hey, Lu.” Cruz poked his head in the doorway. “You got a minute?”
“Cruz!” Maxie grabbed his arm and dragged him into the kitchen. “Where’s Dante? Is he okay? Who do we have to set on fire? I’m ready. I’ve got the matches, Lu’s got the gasoline, and Lucas is ready for the getaway—”
“Still a cop, Maxie,” Cruz said, then turned to Lu. “In the alley,” he told her. “He needs a place. Can you get him upstairs without anyone knowing?”
Lulu widened her eyes. “Of course! Is he okay? How did this happen?”
“He doesn’t know. The press was waiting outside of our place, and they’re mobbing his mother’s building—which is probably because Alexis and Lois live there, too.” Cruz grimaced. “It’s been hell. Taggert didn’t want him coming in—”
Maxie’s eyes were bulging. “Oh, God, I didn’t even think about the PCPD—how are they gonna handle Dante being Sonny’s kid—”
Lulu ignored them both and headed for the door to the back alley, jerking it open and rushing into the cold.
He melted out from behind the dumpster, weary and stumbling a bit. “Hey, Lu. I thought—I don’t know. Maybe the press wouldn’t look for me here.”
“Come in, come in—” She reached for his hand. “There’s a back staircase. Maxie is in the kitchen, so we should go in the other way—” Lulu headed down to another door and reached into her pocket. “She wants to help.”
“Her help could get me arrested,” Dante said with a thin smile. “Yours, too, probably.”
“She’s got a plan that involves gasoline and a getaway car. Cruz will talk her down, or I’ll call in Lucas.”
She stopped at the bottom of the staircase, swallowing hard. “I promise I didn’t say anything.”
He frowned at her, one foot on the bottom step. “What are you talking about?”
“You told me about Sonny, and now the whole world knows. I swear I didn’t—”
“Hey.” He put a hand on her shoulder. “I know you didn’t, Lu. You wouldn’t.”
“Yeah, but—” She bit her lip. “How did they know? I thought you said no one knew—”
“Whoever it was—they knew about Kristina, too. I don’t know anyone who knew about both of us. I didn’t even know about Kristina, how could you?”
“No, I guess so. I just—I’m sorry. You just wanted this to go away, and it’s not—” She shook her head. “Let me get you upstairs. I don’t want anyone seeing you go upstairs and calling the press. We’ll find out who did this to you, Dante, and we’ll make them pay—”
“There’s no point.” With a heavy sigh, he started up the stairs. “It’s too late.”
General Hospital: Kelly’s Office
Elizabeth closed her eyes. “I don’t understand. I’m feeling better—” She opened her eyes to see that Kelly and Monica were wearing identical expressions of worry. “I really am. I’ve been able to take more deep breaths—well, deep for me, and I don’t get as tired as much—”
“Because the oxygen therapy is keeping you stable,” Monica told her. She sat next to Elizabeth and took her hands in her own. “But your levels have dropped another point. Your blood isn’t doing the job of keeping your heart and lungs fully oxygenated.”
Elizabeth’s throat tightened as she opened her mouth, then closed it. She turned to Kelly. “Cameron. The baby—”
“So far, so good. Your body is diverting its resources to him, compensating where it can. But I’m afraid we’re running out of time.” Kelly paused. “I could get into the technical explanation, and I’m sure Monica has more information about what’s going on in your lungs and your heart—”
“Elizabeth, your body is going to prioritize your heart and lungs by shutting down other organs. It might start with your kidneys or your liver. Or even your digestive system—”
“Oh, God—” Elizabeth bowed her head, her chest tightening and her lungs starting to burn. “Stop. Please stop—”
“Let me call Jason. I know that things hit the fan this morning with Sonny and the papers,” Monica said. “I saw them, too—”
“It won’t change—” Her voice broke. “Having him here won’t make it better. It won’t change—” She couldn’t think. She couldn’t take it in. Her body was failing her, refusing to do the only thing she’d ever asked of it— “Is—this is happening now? You can tell now—”
“Yes,” Monica said gently. “You’re in the early stages of pulmonary hypertension. Your blood pressure has been high for months, and today’s readings tell me that you’re going to tip over. You’re just barely in the normal range, but combined with the oxygen levels, the results of your lung tests—”
“If we don’t make some decisions now, Elizabeth,” Kelly said softly, “Cameron will be affected within a week. Maybe less. Every day matters in fetal development.”
“We also run the risk of the damage not being reversible,” Monica continued.
“Just—” Elizabeth forced herself to her feet, ignoring the burning in her lungs, the squeeze of her chest. “No. Just—I need a minute.”
“Give us some time,” Monica murmured to Kelly, who left the office and went into the adjoining suite. She put a hand on Elizabeth’s shoulder. “Let me call Jason. Not because it’ll change anything—”
“I feel okay today,” Elizabeth managed. “I took the stairs, and I could breathe. You said—” She stopped. “I’m thirty weeks. It’s still—it’s too early—”
“You made it another week,” Monica said. “You’ve given him all the time you can, sweetheart. At thirty weeks, babies born at this stage have a greater than ninety-five percent chance of survival. Yes, he will likely need help breathing. He’ll need medications to help the rest of his organs finish developing—”
“Ninety-five is high. I know that. I know all of that—” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “But I should be able to do this. I should be able to keep my son safe until he’s ready to be born.”
“Every day you give him is time you steal from yourself.”
“And I know you’re going to tell me that you’re at peace with that,” Monica cut in. “Maybe you are. But I’m not. I’ve watched you fight too hard to give up now—”
“I can’t make it to thirty-five weeks,” Elizabeth said softly. “I can accept that.”
“I can do more oxygen therapy.” Feeling better now, stronger, Elizabeth focused on Monica. “We’re only doing it at night. I can do it more often. In the mornings, too. Can’t I try that?”
“Elizabeth. Have you heard a single thing we’ve told you? Your heart and your lungs are weaker than they were a week ago. Increased oxygen might help, but it is not the solution—”
“No, but it’ll give me time,” Elizabeth repeated. “Two more weeks. Please. Give him two more weeks.” She took Monica’s hand and pressed it against her belly, and her mother-in-law sighed as Cameron kicked in response. “I can feel him getting stronger every day. Will two more weeks really cause irreversible damage to my organs?”
Monica hesitated, then took her hand back. “I could not love you more if you were my own daughter,” she told Elizabeth. “I love that baby. I want him to have his best chance, but I do not want my son raising him alone. Cameron deserves both of you.”
“You didn’t answer my question—”
“With increased therapy,” Monica said, her jaw slightly clenched, “morning and afternoon in addition to the evening, we might be able to get your level back to 95. Might,” she stressed. “We’ll give it two days. I’ll be over daily to check on you. If you’re not at 95 by then, you’ll check into the hospital, and we’ll induce.”
“I—” Elizabeth wanted to argue, but she just rubbed her throat. “I know I must seem insane to you. I’ve read all the brochures you gave me, and I’ve listened, I promise. I know that the extra time I’ve given Cam since you told us what was going on—I know he’ll probably be okay. I just—” She paused. “I can’t make myself accept there’s nothing else I can do.”
“You don’t seem insane,” Monica said. “You’re a mother, trying to do her best with the bad luck you’ve been given. Will you let me call Jason now—”
“No. Um, you can write the script, and I’ll get it picked up. Jason’s dealing with a crisis. I know you’re going to tell me I’m more important—but the thing is—” Elizabeth smiled wryly. “If Jason doesn’t get Sonny dealt with before I get home, I’ll be in the middle of it. I’d rather he get things sorted at home than be here.”
“All right. I’ll go write the prescription, and I’ll check in tonight.”
PCPD: Commissioner’s Office
Ned stared out the window, over the skyline of Port Charles, then turned back to Anna. “I’m sorry. I never meant for any of this to come out and hurt the city. Or the department—”
“Of course not,” Anna said briskly. “You may hate the PCPD, but this damages you as well, Ned. And so many others…have you been able to speak to Dante?” she asked him.
“Not yet. Taggert—”
The lieutenant put up his hands. “No. I got Cruz on the line this morning and Dante to take the day. We’d cover.” He paused. “We need to talk about what this means for him here—”
Anna bristled. “Why would it mean anything? I was married to Duke while working as the commissioner. Dante is an accomplished officer—”
“You and I both know the kid probably had no idea, but—” Pained, Taggert hesitated. “He’s the son of Sonny Corinthos and the cousin to Vinnie Esposito—”
“They’re going to think he’s corrupt,” Ned said roughly. “Christ.”
“Or that he can’t be trusted. He snitched on a cop—” When Ned’s nostrils flared, Taggert held up his hands in protest. “Hey. You know that’s not what I think, but there are plenty who think you never cross the blue line, even for scum like Vinnie. It’s been hard for Dante since he testified, and this isn’t going to make it easier.”
“What about Kristina?” Anna asked Ned. “I can see someone wanting to sabotage Dante or take another shot at you. Maybe Floyd or one of his allies, looking to back someone else in two years when the next election is up, but Kristina is just a child—”
“I think—” Ned paused. “Lois found out,” he said softly. “About Kristina. And it—she didn’t handle it well. I should have told her—” He stopped. “I don’t know for sure how the papers found out, but Lois broke down, and we had an argument outside her office last night after everyone else had left. Someone could have overheard it.”
“You spoke about Dante and Kristina in this argument?” Anna demanded.
“I wanted to blame anyone else,” Ned murmured. “Carly knows about Kristina. And I’m sure Dante’s told someone. Olivia knows. It can’t be a coincidence—If I had told her earlier—” He shook his head. “I’m sorry. I wish I could say someone wanted to hurt me, but it was just an opportunity to sell papers, and I handed it to them. We were—we were arguing about Brooke—”
He sat down, unable to continue speaking.
Anna exhaled slowly. “I’m sorry, Ned. I’ve lost a child. Leora wasn’t—” Her voice faltered. “I signed the papers, you see, for the surgery, and she died. I blamed myself. David and I lost—we couldn’t help each other. We argued, and we pushed each other away.” Ned looked at her, his eyes red. “I know how grieving can push and pull at you. And I’m sure when this calms down, Dante won’t blame you either.”
“Maybe.” Ned cleared his throat. “I’ll probably end up in court with Sonny over this, but Dante—” He looked at Taggert, who had remained quiet while Anna spoke. “Can you help him? Can we find—is there a way to minimize the damage?”
“We can try,” Taggert said. “But I can’t promise anything.”
“That’s all I ask.” Ned pushed himself to his feet. “I need to head over and see Alexis. Be with Kristina.”
He paused at the doorway and looked back at Anna. “Thank you,” he told her. “For sharing what happened to your daughter. It just—it just hits you when you least expect it. You’re having a good day, and then bam, it’s right in your face. Your little girl is gone, and there’s nothing you can do to bring her back. I don’t know why I have to keep learning that.”
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Jason pinched the bridge of his nose, the other hand clutching the phone tightly, almost wishing he could wrap it around Carly’s neck. She’d known. “You didn’t think to warn me?” he said. “Do you have any idea what’s been going on here today?”
“I’m sorry, Jason. I honestly—no one saw this coming. Alexis was as blindsided as I was—” Carly paused. “And no, I couldn’t warn you. No one was supposed to know—”
“A lot of good that’s doing me today,” Jason muttered. “Sonny’s meeting with Justus right now, and he’s going to find a way to use this against you—” And that was just the first thing on Sonny’s list. There wasn’t much to do about Dante Falconieri—the kid was an adult with a mother who couldn’t be intimidated.
Kristina was still an infant that Sonny could go to court over—
For the second time that day, Jason’s door flew open, and he made a mental note to put a goddamn deadbolt on the thing.
“You need to get me another lawyer!” Sonny charged. He saw Jason on the phone. “Is that the bitch? Give me that—”
Jason held the phone away from the furious man, but Sonny managed to rip it out of Jason’s hand as Justus came in, weary.
“Listen to me, you fucking bitch—I will destroy you, I will ruin—” Sonny hissed, then threw Jason’s phone across the room.
Jason swung his head back around to face his partner and one-time best friend, stunned. “What if Elizabeth tries to call me?”
“You’ve got a landline—”
“I’m sorry,” Justus interrupted. “He’s firing me. Again. I told him I’m not filing for custody of Kristina—”
“That’s my daughter—”
“And it was all I could do to keep him off the elevator to go after Alexis—and Ned.” Justus grimaced. “The last thing we need is you go after the mayor and city attorney—”
“And that’s why you’re fired—”
Jason scrubbed his hands over his face. Justus was absolutely correct, but he needed Sonny under control and out of his penthouse before—
“Um, should I go upstairs?”
His eyes flew open as he saw Elizabeth stepping over the threshold, a wary expression etched into her features. Behind her, Cody swept his eyes over the penthouse, looking irritated to find Sonny still there.
“Yes—” Sonny began.
“No,” Jason retorted. “You can go—”
“Not until you find me another lawyer! How the hell am I supposed to protect my kids if their mothers won’t let me—”
“If you didn’t impregnate every goddamn woman you looked at twice—” Justus began, all patience lost now.
“What the hell did you say to me?” Sonny demanded as Jason groaned.
“You heard me. I am done listening to this crap from you—”
“You can’t talk to me that way! You do what I say! You’re my lawyer! Mine! No one tells me no!” Sonny charged towards him, and Justus—alarmed now—put his hands up to ward him off.
Cody grabbed Elizabeth’s arm and tugged her back, pulling her out of the way as Sonny shoved Justus into the wall. Jason didn’t even have time to move— “I’m Sonny fucking Corinthos!”
“You’ve lost it, Sonny,” Justus grunted. His eyes hardened. “I don’t belong to anyone. I quit.” He shoved Sonny back, hard enough that the other man flew into Jason, who nearly lost his balance. “Sorry, Jase.” He stormed out, and a minute later, they heard the service door slam.
“Get me another lawyer,” Sonny ordered Jason. “I will have my daughter.”
Then he stalked across the hall and slammed his own door.
“You okay, Mrs. Morgan?” Cody asked.
Jason came forward to take her arm. “Thank you,” he told Cody. “Elizabeth—”
“I’m fine. Are you okay? Should you go after him—” She craned her neck around to look where Justus had disappeared.
“I’ll deal with it later,” Jason said, weary. He nodded to Cody, then closed the door and reached for her jacket. “I’m sorry. I thought I’d have this under control by the time—” He stopped, took a deep breath. “I’m sorry,” he repeated.
“It’s okay,” she assured him. She finished removing her coat, then dumped it over the desk chair. “You’re not a miracle worker, Jason, and Sonny got punched hard today. Did Carly really know?” she asked.
“It’s how she got Alexis to be her attorney,” Jason muttered. “She doesn’t know how it leaked, but it wasn’t her—” He rubbed his hands up and down his face as if he could scrub away the irritations and insanity of it all. “It’s not great. I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do without Justus—and I can’t ask him to come back. Not after that—” Not after Sonny had physically assaulted him—God damn it—
He shoved it to the back of his head. “I’ll deal with it later,” he repeated. “How was the appointment? You didn’t call—” He looked around the room, found the pieces of his phone, and went over to pick them up. “What about your oxygen levels? Are they better?”
Elizabeth frowned. “What happened to your phone—”
“Elizabeth,” Jason nearly snapped. “What did they say?”
She blinked at him, likely taken aback by the harsh tone he hadn’t used with her in months, if ever. “Things are fine,” she said softly, “but Monica’s coming over in a few days to check again.” She absently ran a hand over her belly. “Everything—it looks good.”
The first piece of good news he’d had all day. He visibly relaxed, his shoulders slumping. “I’m sorry. It’s just—it’s been a long morning.”
“I know.” She leaned up to kiss him. “I’ll let you get back to it, but can you take me upstairs? I’m feeling a bit tired.”
He nodded. “Absolutely. Did you get to Kelly’s—”
“Oh, no. I forgot—” Her stomach rumbled, and she winced. “Sorry. I knew I was hungry, but I was worried about you here—”
“I’ll get you settled in and call in for some lunch.” He kissed her forehead. “I’m glad the oxygen therapy is working. We needed a break.”
“Yeah.” She touched his jaw, sliding her fingers along his chin. “We did.”