Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
— Bless the Broken Road, Rascal Flatts
Robin poured herself a cup of steaming coffee and carried the mug to the break room table. She had a stack of charts that need notations and some paperwork on some patients that needed to be filled out and she thought the mindless work would put the evening out of her mind.
It wasn’t working yet, but she had high hopes.
She was in the middle of Sarah Winter’s release forms when the break room door swung open and Tony Jones entered. “Tony,” Robin smiled. She sat up and capped her pen. “Have you examined Noah Drake yet?”
Tony sighed and sat across from her. “In addition to the blacking out, he mentioned he’s been unusually tired lately. With his history of drinking…and his hands…” Tony held out his own palm, “His palms are red.”
Robin blinked and sat back. “Red palms. You think it’s…”
“It’s one of the common symptoms,” Tony agreed. “But the only way to be sure is to schedule a biopsy. Noah okayed it, but he’s a doctor–he knows what the possibilities are.”
Robin exhaled slowly. “Have you told his son yet?”
“No,” Tony slid the chart over to her. “I thought you might be able to break the news better–you two are friends and it might come better from someone he knows.”
It was on the tip of her tongue to refuse but Robin was a better person–a better doctor than that. She sighed. “If it is what we think it is, what do you think his chances are?”
Tony shook his head. “Until we do the biopsy, I can’t be sure but it wouldn’t surprise me if we were looking at end-stage. And then his best option is a transplant. Patrick’s a doctor, Robin, he’ll be able to connect the dots so it’ll be better if you just tell him straight out that we don’t know for sure and won’t until we do the biopsy tomorrow.”
Robin set her charts and paperwork aside. “I’ll go track him down. Might as well get it over with.”
She found him in the hospital cafeteria, sipping a can of soda. He himself was going over paperwork and for a moment, she considered telling Tony that she’d changed her mind and foist this on him.
But she squared her shoulders and crossed to his table. “Do you have a minute?”
Patrick glanced up and tossed his pen aside. “Robin. I didn’t know you were still at the hospital.” He started to stand but she gestured for him stay seated and then took the seat across from him. “Listen, about Carly–”
“I don’t want to talk about that,” Robin said immediately. “Not tonight, not tomorrow or ever. This isn’t about her.” Her eyes softened. “It’s about Noah.”
Patrick tensed. “Did his tests come back? What’s wrong?”
Robin bit her lip. “Tony’s scheduled a liver biopsy tomorrow to confirm his diagnosis but he thinks it’s cirrhosis.” She clasped her hands in her lap. “And from Noah’s symptoms and the more extensive blood work results, it might be end-stage.”
Patrick’s eyes darkened. “End stage liver disease.” He shook his head. “It shouldn’t surprise me. He finally gets sober and he’ll probably die waiting for a transplant.” He bowed his head for a moment and Robin wished she could say something to comfort him but could neither find the words nor the courage.
“It’s not final–Tony could be wrong,” she found herself saying instead. “It could be a lot of things–”
“Don’t placate me, Robin.” Patrick raised his eyes to meet hers and the look in them had sharpened–had focused. “There’s been a lot of success with partial transplants–with a living donor.”
“Yes,” Robin said hesitantly. She set her hands on the table and leaned in slightly. “But you shouldn’t think about that until we know for sure. It could the beginning stages–you know that can be treated with medication, staying sober. It doesn’t ever have to progress– ”
“But that’s the best case scenario.” Patrick sat back. “How soon can I be tested, to know if I could be a match?”
“Any time, I guess but–”
“Then let’s do it.” Patrick stood and gathered his paperwork.
“Patrick–it’s more complicated than that. It’s complicated procedure and the evaluation to be considered is extensive.” Robin stood as well. “It would be better to wait. You’ll have the results tomorrow. There are also doctors that have be called in and Noah might not even be a candidate for living donor transplant–” Against her better judgment, she put her hand on his forearm. “It’s better to have all the answers first.”
“It’s so easy for you,” Patrick said, the words ripping out impatiently. “It’s not your father who might be dying is it?”
Her lips parted in surprise at the unexpected attack and she let her hand drop to her side. “No, it’s not.” She dropped her lashes quickly to hide the hurt. “Tony can put you in touch with the necessary doctors.”
“Wait…” Patrick caught her arm as she turned to leave. “I’m sorry–you didn’t deserve that.” He spread his hands regretfully and shrugged. “I’m sorry for a lot of things.”
Sensing the direction of the conversation, Robin bit her lip so hard, she drew blood. “I told you I didn’t want to talk about that–”
“I know that you and Carly have a history–”
“I said,” Robin spat contemptuously, “I don’t want to talk about that. Not with you, not with anyone. You made your decision and I don’t care anymore. We’re not dating, we’re not even friends so you don’t have to explain or apologize.” Without waiting for his reaction, she turned and headed towards the exit, consciously making herself slow down. She didn’t want him to think she was running from him.
She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of thinking she gave damn.
Bobbie knocked lightly on Noah’s hospital door before pushing it open to see her ex stretched out across a hospital bed staring blankly at the wall. “I hope you don’t mind some company,” she murmured.
Noah turned his head towards her and managed a faint, if bitter, smile. “Not if it’s a beautiful redhead.” He fumbled for the bed remote and raised the head a little. “I feel a little stupid being in here–it was just a fall.”
Bobbie took a seat at the side of his bed. “Elizabeth mentioned it might be a bit more serious than that.” She reached for his hand. “I still think you of as a friend, Noah, no matter how things ended all those years ago.”
“Well, considering our history, that’s kind of you.” Noah hesitated. “It’s cirrhosis, or so they think. They’re doing the biopsy tomorrow to be sure.”
“Oh, Noah,” Bobbie murmured. “I’m so sorry. If there’s anything I can do…”
“Unless you’ve got an extra liver lying around…” Noah trailed off and shrugged. “I don’t want to talk about that. Let’s talk about you. What have you been doing all these years?”
Bobbie laughed, covering her worry as well as she could. “That would take too long so I should sum up. Your doctor is my ex-husband–one of them anyway.” She smiled ruefully. “I was married about four times in the last twenty years, none of which were successful naturally.” She tucked her hair behind her ears. “And that’s not counting the times I’ve been engaged. But I have two wonderful children and that makes up for all the disappointments.”
“Never pictured you as the maternal type.” Noah sat up a little more. “Boy? Girl?”
“One of each. Lucas is eighteen and he just started and college and Carly…is a roller coaster.”
Noah frowned. “Carly? As in…Carly Corinthos? That’s your daughter?”
“You know her?” Bobbie asked, surprised. “Did you meet her when Jason was having his surgery?”
“Yeah and my son knows her too.” Noah grimaced. “Apparently, your daughter is throwing some kinks into his…current project.”
“Yeah,” Bobbie sighed, resigned. “That sounds like Carly.”
Elizabeth tugged on a sweater and folded her scrubs into a neat pile to put into her oversize bag so she could take them home and launder them. “You finally heading home?”
Robin nodded and pulled her jacket out of her locker. “I have to be back at seven for my shift so that gives me…” she glanced at her watch, “about eight hours of sleep for once.”
“I’m not due back in until noon so I’m going to get some quality time in with Cameron.” Elizabeth sighed and buttoned her black pea coat up. “Lucky has to work though, I feel like I never see him anymore.”
“Welcome to the wonderful world of medicine,” Robin muttered. “Liz…” she glanced at her friend. “You wouldn’t have had any words with Dr. Drake about Carly, would you?”
Elizabeth flushed, somewhat guilty. “Well–he asked for it. I only told him the truth–that she’s a natural disaster and has a long list of victims in her path and there might have been something about her being trash in nice clothing but I didn’t get into specifics–oh, except for the part about her driving AJ to his death and destroying a few lives, but really–no details.”
“Well, I’m glad you left out the play by play. You don’t have to trash Carly for me,” Robin reached for her purse.
“Oh, I know, but it’s so much fun,” Elizabeth smirked. “Did you tell him about Noah?”
“Yes, and it was spectacularly bad,” Robin muttered. “That’ll teach me to be the better person and try to be compassionate. He snapped at me and then he tried to apologize and explain the Carly thing–like I really need to be told that there’s no commitment and he’ll date all the trashy blondes he wants.” She huffed. “What is it about her?”
“What is it about blondes in general, I wonder?” Elizabeth leaned against her locker. “I’ve been tossed over by two different men for two different blondes in the span of six months. You begin to wonder–is it me or my taste in men?” She shrugged. “Look, he’s not worth the effort and she’ll be back to running Sonny’s life in a few weeks or so, there’s not much point in muttering over it.” Her eyes lit up. “Hey, Nikolas is just getting out of his relationship with Courtney–you guys used to be real close–”
“I do not have the energy for that right now,” Robin laughed. “And I think Nikolas has enough on his plate what with his ex-wife and his girlfriend. But I appreciate the thought. I am just…so over the whole men, dating and relationship phase of my life.”
“You know…when you decide you’re done with the whole idea of love and happily ever after,” Elizabeth remarked, “that’s usually when it bites you in the ass.”