Chapter Fifteen

Baby, you can hold on to the ending
Hell, go on pretending as long as you can stand it
Maybe you got something to believe in
A superficial feeling
But deal me out, I’m going home


July 17, 2006

General Hospital: Cafeteria

Brenda sat a stack of CDs in on the small table and sat across from Patrick. “Okay, these are all the songs that I need your opinion on for your reception.” She slid a folder over to him with the now familiar red and blue pens clipped to the front. “Here’s the list. Draw a red line through those you’re vetoing and use the blue one to add any–”

“Brenda, I didn’t ask you here to talk about song choice.” Patrick slid the folder back to her.

Brenda gasped. “You lied to me!”

“Yes,” Patrick said without shame. “Look, we need to have a talk about…” he waved his hands toward the CDs and folder. “The wedding.”

Brenda narrowed her eyes. “If you think you’re backing out–”

“No–” Patrick glared at her. “If you would let anyone ever get a word in edgewise, you wouldn’t jump to nearly half the ridiculous conclusions you come up with.”

She sniffed and sat back. “Fine. I’m listening.”

“This wedding stuff…look, I appreciate what you’re doing but I didn’t agree to this big wedding because I wanted it, I agreed to it because Robin wants it.” He handed her a stack of folders. “So here is the catering menu, the decorations menu, the wedding vows folder and the honeymoon folder, okay?”

Brenda took them and leveled an irritated glare at her friend’s fiancé. “If you think you’re not taking Robin on a honeymoon–”

“I am,” Patrick interrupted. “But it’s going to be one that we pick out, not you. But anything else for the wedding that doesn’t involve tux fittings and showing up to the ceremony, you and Robin can handle it because frankly, I don’t have an opinion.”

“You don’t care about your own wedding?” Brenda demanded.

“No,” Patrick replied bluntly. “I care about Robin and what will make her happy so from now on, whatever she wants, she can have. But I don’t care about flowers and caterers and for God’s sakes, I don’t care about song choices, okay?”

“Fine,” Brenda huffed. “It’ll save time if I don’t have to run this stuff by you anyway.” She bit her lip. “I know I can be pushy and overbearing but Robin is the best person I know and she deserves to be happy. I just want to make that happen for her.”

“I know and I’m sure the wedding will be fine but you don’t need my input and you know it. I think you’ve just been torturing me to see how much I can stand,” Patrick said with a note of teasing in his tone.

Brenda considered that. “Probably.” She hesitated. “Okay, I’ll lay off with the choices but there is one thing I do think you should do. There’s a part of the reception that’s usually for the father daughter dance. I mean, there’s usually a mother son one too or so I’m told but I guess…” she shifted uncomfortably. “I mean, that’s not an option here.”

Patrick coughed. “Right. So…Robin can’t decide who to ask.”

Brenda nodded. “Exactly. She still hasn’t decided who to ask her to walk down the aisle and this isn’t helping and she thinks if she chooses one for the walk and the other for the dance; it won’t be fair to either of them. It’s really upsetting her and I can’t think of what to say because both my parents sucked. Maybe you can help her.”

“I’ll give it a shot,” Patrick agreed.

Robin’s Apartment: Living Room

Robin was listening to the first mix CD and absently drawing lines through Brenda’s list. Honestly, she wasn’t sure if Brenda picked some of these to be funny or if she were being absolutely serious.

She was choosing to go with the former.

“That is some cheesy music,” Patrick remarked as he pushed her front door open. Robin arched an eyebrow at him and gestured towards the door. He grinned. “It was open.”

“Hmm…” Robin turned her attention back to the song list. “Has Brenda given you the list yet?”

“I gave it back. Look, Robin, I’m…not into this stuff.” Patrick lowered himself onto the couch next to her. “I hope you’re not mad but I gave back the catering and flower folders too.”

Robin laughed and used her remote to switch off her CD player. “Brenda totally beat me. I bet her twenty bucks you’d last another week.”

“Ah, so this was a setup. I knew it.” Patrick reached for the song list folder. “You know, I didn’t even look at some of this. Should I be scared?”

“With Brenda involved, probably.” Robin bit her lip. “So if you gave her the folder back, I guess you didn’t see her list of suggested songs for our first dance.”

“Don’t need ’em,” Patrick remarked. “I was thinking I’m Too Sexy.”

Robin snorted. “Yeah, that’ll happen.” She took the list back from him. “Seriously…do you care?”

“Nope.” Patrick scratched his temple. “Listen, the dance stuff is partly why I’m over here. Brenda mentioned you don’t know who to ask for the father daughter dance.”

“I should pick my uncle Mac,” Robin said after a long moment. She bit her lip. “And I was thinking that I could ask my dad to walk me down the aisle but then I thought what if my uncle gets upset? I mean he’d never say it, but I think he’d be disappointed and my dad would think it meant I hadn’t forgiven him yet and I mostly have.” She exhaled slowly and shook her head.

She stood and crossed the room to stand in front of her windows. “It’s silly when you think about it. All the effort and the worry I’m worrying about and it’s not even real.”

Patrick tensed and stood. “What do you mean?”

Robin didn’t look back at him or she would have seen the way his fists clenched at his side, at the look of irritation on his face. “I mean…” she sighed impatiently. “Every time someone in my family wants to know some detail about the wedding or the reception, I feel like a fraud.”

“A fraud,” Patrick echoed.

“Well, yeah. I mean, there a lot of people in our lives that didn’t get the memo that this isn’t real. That we’re not getting married because we’re in love but because we’re having a baby.”

“Taking vows in a church feels pretty real to me,” Patrick said and Robin turned to him, finally catching on that he wasn’t entirely pleased with the direction of the conversation.

“Patrick–”

“Having a family feels pretty real to me,” Patrick continued. “And I’m sorry, but I didn’t realize you hated this so much–”

“I don’t hate this,” Robin interjected, surprised.

“The hell you don’t. You think I don’t see the brave little smile you have every time someone talks to you about the wedding, like you’re making some huge sacrifice for the baby?” Patrick demanded. “I don’t need that, Robin. I don’t deserve that–”

“You’re not making any sense–Patrick, your entire proposal was about the baby. Of course we’re getting married because I’m pregnant–” Robin shook her head. “I don’t understand where this is coming from.”

“Excuse me for assuming you had any feelings whatsoever for me. That must have been my mistake,” Patrick retorted. “You know what? Don’t even bother taking one for the team. There’s no need to make a huge sacrifice just for the sake of the baby–”

“Patrick–”

“I’ll have my lawyer call you about custody.” Patrick stalked towards the door and yanked it open.

Robin rushed after him but he had already taken the emergency stairs and was gone. She stood in the doorway, the diamond ring glinting on her finger.

July 18, 2006

General Hospital: Lounge

Patrick muttered an oath under his breath as he grabbed his coffee mug too quickly and the liquid sloshed over his fingers. “Damn it!”

“Bad night?” Noah asked, flipping through his surgery schedule for that day. “Get used to them. Once the baby is born, you and Robin won’t sleep through the night for about two years.”

“There is no me and Robin and there isn’t going to be,” Patrick muttered. He set his mug down and reached for his first patient’s chart.

Noah glanced at him oddly. “I just got poked and prodded at a tux fitting yesterday. There’s going to be a you and Robin if I have to beat you with a stick.”

“I called off the wedding last night,” Patrick said, bracing himself. He hadn’t said it out loud yet but now that he heard himself saying the words, he flinched. Remembering that he was not going to get married out obligation, he shook his head. “It’s better this way.”

“Right,” Noah said, clearly not buying what Patrick was trying to sell. “So what happened? Because you know, Robin’s going through some hormonal changes and she’s bound to get emotional and you don’t exactly have a good track record where emotional problems are concerned.”

“Gee, thanks for your concern,” Patrick said darkly. “Fine, if you want to hear the whole story. I went to Robin’s last night because Brenda–it doesn’t matter why I went. I was there and she started talking about how she felt guilty because everyone’s making this out to be a big deal and it’s not even real. So you know what? I’m tired of seeing her smile like she’s about to sacrificed in a den of lions and she’s playing brave little girl anyway, okay?”

Noah nodded. “Okay.” He didn’t say anything else and made some notations on a chart.

Patrick slammed his chart shut. “It made me feel like a fool,” he burst out. “I gave her Mom’s ring and I’m doing this stupid big wedding because it’s what she wanted and I was going to open the house on Vineyard for the weekend after the wedding but she’s spent all this time worrying about how everyone in her family is taking this too seriously!”

“Uh huh. So you ask her to marry you because she’s pregnant and then you get mad because she acts like that’s the reason you asked her.” Noah sipped his coffee.

“That’s not–that’s–you’re completely missing the point,” Patrick muttered.

“No, you’ve been missing the point since day one.” Noah set his cup down, pushed the charts aside and leaned towards his son. “You and Robin decided that marriage was the best idea for the baby because it was convenient. The truth of the matter is you were going crazy without her and she missed you and this baby–while a wonderful surprise–gave you the reason you needed to be back in her life. But you didn’t think she’d go for that so you sold her the spiel on getting married for the sake of the baby. She loves you, Patrick, though only God and Robin know why at this point, so she said yes. But she thinks you asked because she’s pregnant so the last thing she’s going to do is tell you that she loves you.”

“Oh, so this is my fault now,” Patrick said disgusted by the fact his father was completely right and unwilling to admit that. “Look, maybe this marriage thing started out as a convenience but Robin knows it’s different now. Or it should be different.”

“How?” Noah challenged. “Have you told her? Or have you done everything to demonstrate it except tell her? Because yeah, giving her your mother’s ring and going along with a huge wedding tells the male population of this world that you’re going down for the third time but females are not the same way. They need words, Patrick. And you’re not ready to give her those words.”

Patrick glared at him. “You’re supposed to be on my side here.”

“I am on your side. I want you happy and I know that Robin is the person who makes you happy. When you let her. So if you had a working brain cell, you’d go see her before your first patient, tell her you’re an idiot and fix this before she thinks you’re serious about calling off the wedding.”

Before Patrick could answer, he was paged over the loudspeaker. “I have to go, but…this isn’t finished, okay?”

He stormed out of the lounge and took the elevator to the nurse’s station. When the doors slid open, he stepped out and stopped still at the sight of Robin staring back at him. Her eyes were red and there were circles under them–she hadn’t looked that way the night before. He was such a bastard.

Robin licked her lips and stepped towards him. “Ah…I had Liz page you. I wanted…” she looked away. “You were right last night. And this is all–it was all a huge mistake.”

Patrick couldn’t speak, couldn’t formulate a coherent thought. So she continued. “It would have been a disaster and–you were right so I thought…” she held up her hand and started to tug the engagement ring off her finger.

She held it in her hand and stared at it for another moment before holding it out to him. “You should…you should have this back.”

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