Chapter 1

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the North Star

I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road

— Bless the Broken Road, Rascal Flatts

Robin pushed open the door to the Metro Court restaurant and scanned the dining patrons. Patrick’s answering service had directed her here and she wanted to be the one to tell him that Noah had been brought in General Hospital after taking a bad fall. She didn’t think he would want to hear it on the hospital grapevine that his father may have been drinking.

“Have you seen Dr. Patrick Drake?” she asked a passing waiter.

“He’s on the terrace with Mrs. Corinthos.” The waiter gestured to the French doors a few feet away. He then proceeded on with his tray to a table but Robin had already forgotten about him. She had a clear view of the two through the clear glass and could see them standing close. Too close.

It shouldn’t have surprised her–she had told him that their date was it and the next day, he would move on to his next conquest. But that had been before. And she’d never dreamed he’d move on to Carly.

But that shouldn’t have surprised her either.

Robin squared her shoulders and stepped over the bar. “Do you have paper I can use to write a note?” she asked the bartender.

The bartender reached under the counter and pulled out a Metro Court Hotel pad. “Here you go.”

“Thanks.” Robin took a pen from her purse and jotted down a few words. “When Mrs. Corinthos comes back in from the terrace, can you give this to the man with her? He’s a doctor and it’s important that he gets this message.”

“Sure thing.”

“Thanks.” Robin put the pen back in her purse and walked back to the lobby–without looking to the terrace again.

“I should get back to the hospital,” Patrick remarked as he led Carly back into the restaurant. “My shift starts soon.”

“Well….” Carly tossed back her hair and smiled brightly at him. “We’ll have to do this again sometime.”

“Dr. Drake?” the bartender called. “Someone left a message for you.” She held up the folded note.

“I hope it’s nothing bad,” Carly called as Patrick crossed the room and took the paper from the bartender.

He slid it open and frowned over the words. “I have to go.” He grabbed his coat from the table and left the room without another word to Carly.

“Dr. Drake’s blood tests came back,” Elizabeth said, handing the results to Robin. “Good news–he’s clear.”

Robin exhaled slowly. “Good, good. So we’ll just stitch him up and send him home.” She shuffled some charts and tried to look busy.

“Are you okay?” Elizabeth asked. “You’ve been acting oddly since you got back from your break. Did something happen?”

“Nothing that should shock or upset me if I were thinking clearly,” Robin muttered. She closed a chart and looked at Elizabeth. “Do I have gullible stamped on my forehead?”

“Not the last time I checked–what happened?” Elizabeth touched her arm. Her face sobered. “Is this about, ah…you know who?”

“I should have known better, that’s all. I knew it about the challenge, about the fact that I kept refusing him–I should have known, that’s all.” She slammed a chart down with a loud thud. “I went to the Metro Court to tell him about Noah, I thought–” she huffed. “I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“Yeah, I’ve been there before. Seeing things you don’t want to see and thinking the worst about them.” Elizabeth leaned against the counter. “So, Patrick was on a date?”

“I don’t know about a date but–” Robin shook her head. “It’s stupid and it’s been years and I shouldn’t let it get to me but he was with Carly and I just remembered when Jason…” She dragged her hands through her hair. “I’m not going to do this anymore, I’m just not.”

“Hey, hey–look, if it’s any consolation, Carly’s never gonna concentrate on anyone other than Sonny or Jason for more than five minutes at a time. If she is looking at Patrick, she’s got an angle, okay?”

“Yeah, I know that–it’s just…” Robin looked at her. “It’s Carly. That’s all. Jason slept with her and he let her destroy our relationship because he loved her son. She’s like a hurricane–she destroys anything and everyone in her path and I’m not going to give her that power again. I refuse. With Jason, it was different. I loved him, we’d had a history. But this time–” She squared her shoulders. “As far as I’m concerned, Patrick Drake is persona non grata.”

As if on cue, the elevators slid open and Patrick ambled out of them. “You left a message, Dr. Scorpio?” he asked, leaning against the counter.

“Your father fell down a flight of stairs and bumped his head. He’s being stitched up and needs a ride home,” Robin said flatly. “You’re his next of kin.”

Patrick grimaced and looked away. “I knew he wouldn’t make it–how much alcohol did he have?” he asked, almost resigned.

“None. His blood work was clear. He’s in curtain three. Liz, can you take him there?” Robin grabbed some folders and stalked away.

“Well, she’s in a mood,” Patrick remarked as a stony Elizabeth led the way to the examination area.

“Why, because she’s not falling all over herself because of your charm and good looks?” Elizabeth asked dryly. She drew open the curtain to reveal an intern putting sutures in Noah Drake’s forehead. “Next time, remember that no means no and not everyone is just dying to get to know you.”

She walked away and muttered something under her breath that sounded suspiciously like jerk.

Patrick frowned after her before turning his attention to his father who had a weak smile. “What’re you smiling about?” he asked darkly.

“Women. Sooner or later, the charm backfires,” Noah remarked.


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