Chapter Twenty

And he said take my hand,
Live while you can
Don’t you see your dreams lie right in the palm of your hand
In the palm of your hand

August 1, 2006

Martha’s Vineyard: Vacation House

Robin looked up at the two-story Cape Cod home that stood before her. Situated just off the beach, it was an absolutely breathtaking view and she decided that there would be more weekends away in her future. They’d left the reception early to make the two hour drive to the Vineyard and would be staying until the following Sunday night. “You guys used to stay here?”

“Yeah…” Patrick set their bags on the porch and came back down the steps to join her on the walk. “Dad sold the house on Long Island where I grew up but Mom actually left this place to me.” He jingled the keys a little and looked at the house with a melancholy expression. “Her parents bought it for them as wedding gift.”

“And to think all my parents gave you was a copy of your official WSB background check,” Robin joked. She wrapped her arms around his forearm and leaned her head against his shoulder. “It’s beautiful, Patrick, I’m glad you decided to open it back up.”

“Well, I know it’s not Hawaii but I didn’t think you’d want to be too far from your doctors.” Patrick turned and surprised her by lifting her into his arms. “Might as well start this marriage off right.”

“Besides, in a few more months, you won’t be able to lift me at all,” Robin giggled, curling her arms around his neck. He carried her effortlessly up the stairs and through the open door.

Inside, the house looked much as it did the last time Patrick had been here on vacation with his parents shortly before his mother had been diagnosed with the tumor that had eventually taken her life.

Robin watched his eyes fill with sadness and she bit her lip. “We can go to a hotel,” she offered softly. “Maybe go to the city instead and see a show–”

“No…” Patrick shook his head and gently slid Robin down his body until her feet hit the floor. “No, I just haven’t been back since before my mom got sick. The last time we were here, we were still a family.”

“You’re a family now,” Robin reminded him. “You and Noah, you’re a family again and I’m sure that would have made her happy.”

“She would have hated how we spent the last decade,” Patrick admitted. “With my dad trashing his career and me…” He met her eyes. “What would have really made her happy is the fact that I’m married, that I found someone to spend my life with that she would have loved too.”

Robin blushed and looked away from his intense stare. The more he said things like that, the more he acted the way he had this afternoon with that board member, the more Robin began to believe that he might actually love her. That he wasn’t telling himself that he did so that he could believe it, but that it was true. She reached up and toyed with one of the buttons on his shirt. “So…this honeymoon…does it include food?” she asked, changing the subject.

“We stopped on the highway so you could eat, you can’t possibly be hungry again,” Patrick remarked. But he took her hand and led her towards the back of the house and the kitchen. “Actually….I had little late night snack planned before we…” he turned back and wrapped his arms around her waist, “began our vacation.”

“Mm-hmm…and when you say began,” Robin said with a grin, “just what did you have in mind, Dr. Drake?”

Patrick’s grin mirrored hers and his dimple winked at her in the moonlight that filtered through the windows. “Well, Mrs. Dr. Drake–”

“Scorpio-Drake,” Robin corrected good-naturedly.

“Mrs. Dr. Scorpio-Drake,” Patrick repeated with his face set in a serious expression, “I thought we could start here…” he pressed her mouth to the skin just underneath the curve of her jaw. “And see where we end up.”

Her eyes fluttered shut and her lips curved into a wicked smile. “Or we could just go upstairs.” She opened her eyes to see his somewhat surprised look. “Patrick, let me explain something to you about pregnancy.” She gripped the fabric of his shirt and pulled him closer. “There is a stage where all I’m going to want to do is tear off your clothes and have my way with you as often as possible.”

“I’ve heard of this stage,” he remarked soberly. “And let me just tell you that I will do whatever I can to support you in your time of need. When will this be occurring so I can circle it in red on my calendar?”

“Oh…” Robin undid the first few buttons on his shirt. “It started about a week ago.”

Vineyard House: Bedroom

Several hours later, Robin curled up into Patrick’s side. “I’m having the strongest craving,” she said conversationally as if seconds ago she hadn’t been panting and demanding that he move faster and harder.

Patrick blinked and looked at her oddly. “You have the capability for rational speech at a moment like this?”

“Mmm-hmmm…do we have peanut butter and chocolate downstairs?” Robin asked, her wide brown eyes looking up at him.

“I don’t think you’re asking out of academic curiosity.” Patrick leaned back against the pillow and closed his eyes. She couldn’t expect him to move right now could she? “I don’t remember if we do.”

“If you go check…” Robin’s fingertips traced a pattern on his bare stomach, “I’ll make it worth your while.”

“Well…” Patrick grinned into the darkness of the room. “The sacrifices a man makes for his kid.” He kissed her, and then untangled himself from her body before searching for his boxers.

“We might have left them on the steps,” Robin said with a grin. “Or I could have flung them over the banister. It’s a toss-up, really.”

“And I left our bags on the porch,” Patrick muttered. He finally settled for a towel that he wrapped around his waist and started downstairs.

He found his boxers underneath a plant in the hallway which was somewhat mystifying. Patrick didn’t even remember being in this area. Robin had some arm on her. He slipped them on and retrieved their forgotten luggage from the porch. He set it in the foyer and started to walk through the living to check on Robin’s peanut butter and chocolate.

A gift wrapped box on the coffee table distracted him and Patrick frowned, wondering where it had come from. The wedding presents were actually waiting for them back at Robin’s apartment.

He reached for the card and instead found a letter with his name scrawled across it in Noah’s familiar handwriting. Patrick shook the letter free.

Patrick,

When your mother found out that her tumor was inoperable, she was more devastated than she let on. Not because she was dying, but because she would leave you when you were just becoming a man and still finding your place in life. She was worried that you wouldn’t know what to do in certain situations and that you would suffer from the lack of a mother at certain points in your life.

She filmed all of these prior to the operation and it was my instruction to give these to you in the event she passed away. Just one more way that I failed her. I had forgotten them in the intervening years and came across them when I opened the house for you and Robin this week. I thought it would be a fitting wedding present for you.

I’m proud you, Patrick. A father couldn’t ask for a better son.

The letter was unsigned and Patrick set it aside. He withdrew the first video tape and smiled at the label. “For Patrick, on his graduation from college,” he murmured out loud. There were dozens of the tapes and Patrick wondered how she’d managed to keep the filming of them a secret.

They ranged from events like his graduation from medical school to inane moments such as his first day as an intern. His mother had thought of every occasion and every possibility. Which didn’t surprise him.

There were three videos grouped together with a rubber band and a post-it from Noah. I thought you’d want to watch these first since they’re the most relevant.

“For Patrick when he falls in love,” he murmured. “For Patrick on his wedding day.” His throat closed and he couldn’t even say the third out loud. For Patrick, when he finds out he’s going to be a father.

“Patrick?” Robin’s voice floated from the steps. “Did you…” she emerged from the shadows at the foot of the stairs, wearing Patrick’s shirt that she’d scrounged from the upstairs hallway. How she’d managed to get his boxers off before the shirt she wasn’t sure. She paused, seeing him seated on the couch a stack of tapes at his side. “What you’d find?”

He turned and held out a hand to her. She took it and curled up at his side, reaching for one of the discarded tapes. “For Patrick, when he takes the MCATS,” she read. Her dark eyes found his in the dark room, illuminated only by the soft lamp to Patrick’s right. “From your mother.”

“My father found them when he opened the house back up. All the stuff from our old house was stored here when he sold it and I guess these got lost in the shuffle.” He bit his lip. “He thought they’d be a good wedding gift.”

“Do you want to watch one?” she asked. He didn’t answer. Instead, he stood and crossed to the cabinet where the television and VCR were set up. He turned the TV on, slipped the tape in and retrieved the remote control. Patrick returned to the couch and put an arm around Robin before pressing play.

The screen flickered for a moment before a delicate blonde woman appeared on the screen, seated on a sofa in a sunny room. Her smile was bright and cheerful but her eyes were a little glossy, as though she’d been crying. She had a dimple in her right cheek and Robin could see Patrick in her face. “She’s beautiful,” she murmured. Patrick pressed pause and Mattie Drake’s image froze on the screen.

“I thought she was the prettiest girl I’d ever seen,” Patrick admitted. “I told her when I was six that I wanted to grow up and marry someone who looked just like her.”

“What’d she say to that?” Robin asked, thoroughly charmed.

He met her eyes. “She told me not to worry about the outside so much. It wasn’t really that important but she hoped someday I’d meet someone beautiful inside and out.” He looked away for a moment. “I didn’t really understand what that meant for a really long time but I get it now.”

Uncomfortable but pleased all at the same time, Robin reached across him and pressed play.

“Well, if you’re watching this, Patrick, then I assume you’re married,” Mattie Drake began. “And if your new wife is watching this with you…” she gave a little wave. “Hey, there, sweetheart. Welcome to the family. I wish…” Mattie seemed to struggle for a moment to find her composure. “I’m sorry that we’re not going to get a chance to meet, honey. I know my son, though and I know you must be wonderful. I wonder sometimes what kind of woman Patrick is going to marry. He tells me that there are too many girls to just be with one and if he ever settles down it won’t be until he’s too old to hit the singles bars.” Mattie laughed. “My boy thinks he’s charming.”

“Oh, I like her,” Robin smirked.

“But I know my Patrick and I know how much he’s like his father. And I want to tell you, my son’s wife, that when he gets that look on his face–and I’m sure you know which one I mean–that intractable, I’m right, you’re wrong, get over it smug look–” Mattie grinned. “The best way to distract him and make your point…” she paused. “Patrick, darling, leave the room for a moment so I can tell your wife all my secrets.”

“Yeah, she’s kidding,” Patrick remarked. He pressed pause for a moment. “Because there’s a bundle of tapes for you.”

“For…?” Robin hesitated. “Are you serious?”

He retrieved a few tapes he’d set aside. “For Patrick’s Wife, when she has her first child. For Patrick’s Wife, on her wedding day. And one you’re never going to watch…For Patrick’s Wife, all the embarrassing stories and highlights from your husband’s childhood.”

Robin giggled and took the trio of tapes. “I definitely like her now.” She tucked the tapes away. “Let’s watch the rest of yours.”

Patrick nodded and pressed play.

“I’m kidding,” Mattie said with a smile. “I’ve already made a new tape for my daughter to watch and I’d like to make more. She’s going to need a manual to handle you, my boy, and there’s no reason she should have to learn as she goes like I did.” She clasped her hands in her lap. “Marriage is wonderful, Patrick. It was the best decision I ever made and I just know that you’ve picked a wonderful girl. I expect no less from you, of course. She’s going to be strong enough to handle your innate arrogance and gentle enough to love you the way I hope she loves you.”

Mattie smiled again and there was a look of mischief in her eyes. “The first time I met your father, we were both on separate dates. We met at the bar and he hit on me seconds after spilling his drink on my new blouse.”

“I did not,” Noah’s voice came from behind the camera. “It was a full minute, Madelyn–”

“It was seconds–” Mattie corrected. “I was repulsed, naturally and went back to my date. Your father, never one for subtlety, sent a bottle of champagne to the table and when I gave it back, he told me that he always got what he wanted and he’d decided he wanted me.”

“Oh…it is so clear where you got your cheesy pick ups,” Robin laughed. She swatted Patrick’s shoulder. “Although I will say you were slightly better.”

“I refused him for two months straight,” Mattie continued.

“It was six weeks,” Noah said exasperated.

“But he won me over finally and I’ve never told him why I said yes. But I’ll tell him now because I want to tell you. Your father is one of the most gifted surgeons I’ve ever seen and I can say with some confidence because I was a nurse and I know my doctors. He was gifted but even the most gifted surgeons lose a patient and I saw your father’s face when he had to explain to a little girl that her father was never coming back.” Mattie hesitated and her eyes drifted higher, meeting Noah’s presumably. “It was that moment that I saw Noah Drake for who he was and I saw the man beneath the smug confidence. The next time he asked, I said yes and I’ve never regretted it for an instant.”

“I want you to live like that, Patrick and today is the first day of a wonderful journey but you have to be open to it. It takes two people to make a marriage work. So here is what I’ve learned in the years I’ve been married.” Mattie held up one finger. “One, never go to bed angry. Two, when your wife is pregnant, just smile and nod. She’s always right when she’s pregnant. Three, treat each other with love and respect and support each other even when you don’t agree. Four, don’t be afraid to say what you’re feeling. Express yourself and be honest with each other.”

“I wish you all the love and the joy in the world, Patrick and to you, too, my new daughter. I wish that I knew your name but…” Mattie shrugged. “Maybe I have a miracle and I’m sitting next to you and we’re laughing about my paranoia.” 

Robin felt Patrick’s muscles tense and she pressed her forehead into his shoulder but said nothing.

“But if not and you’re watching this after I’m gone…I love you, Patrick. There is nothing that could ever change that. I know that I will always be proud of you and all that you do. Be safe, be happy and above all else, love each other.” 

The tape flickered to static and Patrick pressed stop. He took a long, shaky breath. “So…out of curiosity…”

“Hmm?” Robin raised her eyes to meet his.

“When did you decide I wasn’t a useless idiot?” Patrick inquired.

“When you blackmailed me into our first date,” Robin replied. She laced their fingers together and stared at her new gold wedding band. “The way you spoke about your mother, and how your father handled it…it was the first time I thought I could understand you.” She bit her lip. “To tell you truth, when you spoke about her, I wanted to hug you. To do something to take away the pain I know you still feel.”

“I don’t think anything’s going to take away that pain,” Patrick said after a moment. “But I know more than ever that my mother would have liked you and it helps.” He brushed his lips over her forehead. “It helps that she would have been proud of me because I’m not sure that she would have been before I moved to Port Charles.”

Robin nodded and was silent for a moment. Finally…”I’ve been thinking about names for our daughter,” she said. “And I think the one that I like the most is Madelyn Devane Drake.”

“And what if we have a boy?” Patrick asked with a smile.

“In the unlikely event that I am wrong,” Robin remarked, “and if you remember what your mother said, that’s not a possibility, but if I am…I was thinking Malcolm. For my uncle.”

“Malcolm Scorpio Drake,” Patrick agreed. “I think it has a nice ring to it. We’ll have to keep it in mind in case Madelyn makes her appearance first.”

“Oh…you want to have more kids?” Robin teased.

“I’m undecided but I don’t think I want just one. It’s lonely being an only child, don’t you think?” Patrick asked pointedly.

“I suppose.” Robin leaned up and kissed him softly. “Do you want to watch another?”

“Actually…” Patrick slowly unbuttoned the top button on Robin’s shirt. “I think I’d like to get back to our previous activity.”

She grinned. “Well…if you insist…”

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