Cause everybody knows, that nobody really knows
How to make it work, or how to ease the hurt
We’ve heard it all before, that everybody knows just how to make it right
I wish we gave it one more try
– Everybody Knows, John Legend
December 27, 2005
General Hospital: Cafeteria
Elizabeth hummed as she selected a container of peaches to go with her peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
“Somebody’s in a good mood,” Emily laughed as she moved her tray up. She studied the peaches but opted for an apple.
Robin poked her head in between them, her already paid for lunch in her hands. “Somebody got some last night,” she sang in a soft voice.
“Shut up,” Elizabeth replied good-naturedly. “That’s not for public discussion.”
“Then we can wait until we get to our table,” Emily said. She handed the cashier her money and then followed the girls out of the cafeteria. “I don’t want too many details because hey, he’s my brother. Still, I didn’t even know you were dating!”
“That makes two of us,” Robin said suspiciously. She looked at Emily. “How do we know it was Jason?” she asked in mock suspicion. She spotted a group of empty couches in the corner of the waiting room and gestured there. “Let’s sit there.”
“Oh please, the girl has been panting after him for ages,” Emily rolled her ages. “Like the identity was ever in doubt.” She set her tray on the table and tucked her leg underneath her body on the sofa before uncapping her iced tea.
“You two are a riot, really.” Elizabeth perched on the edge of the sofa and stuck her straw in her cut of apple juice. “I did spend the night with Jason, we’ve only been…I don’t know the right word because dating just sounds so much less than what it is, but it’s only been a day or two. And I know we spent the night together a little quickly but—”
“You’ve been doing the foreplay thing for like two years. An hour would have been too long to wait,” Emily waved it away. “How did it happen? With as few details as possible.”
“Well…” Elizabeth quickly and concisely summed up their argument Christmas Eve and his apology the next day. “I don’t know, it just felt right.” She pushed her plastic fork around her peach container. “But Patrick is just…he’s just lost it over all this.”
“He’s having a rough time,” Robin said, before telling them about his visit to the lab the day before. “I don’t think he’s over everything that happened before. Your mom, my leaving, Jay’s accident, Noah’s drinking; I think he’s still dealing with it all.” She hesitated. “I think that me coming back stirred everything up again and probably not for the better. Maybe I should have just stayed in Paris.”
“No,” Emily said quickly. She put her hand over Robin’s. “No, absolutely not. You came home to clear the air and you have a right to be with your family.”
Robin bit her lip and glanced at her watch before deciding to speak again. “That’s not entirely the reason I came home,” she said quietly.
Elizabeth and Patrick’s Apartment: Kitchen
Will was doing his best to battle the dishwasher when the doorbell rang. It didn’t seem to want to close and no amount of rearranging the dishes within was working so he was relieved to give up that chore.
He pulled open the door and his eyebrows shot up when he saw Lulu standing there. “Hey, ah…I wasn’t expecting to see you.”
“Yeah, Emily said you were staying with Ellie and Patrick.” Lulu gestured towards the living room. “Can I come in?”
“Oh, yeah, yeah.” Will stepped back and closed the door when Lulu was clear. “Listen, I was gonna call you, but then I figured you wouldn’t answer. I mean, I wouldn’t blame you, I’ve been acting like an ass.”
“Yeah,” Lulu admitted. She clutched the strap of her purse. “But I gave you reasons to.”
“I don’t know,” Will shrugged. He hesitated. “Are you staying long enough to take off your coat?”
“Oh, yeah, sure.” Lulu set her purse down on the coffee and unbuttoned her coat, placing it over the arm of the couch. “Will, I know you’re having issues with your family and stuff and the reason I broke up with you—”
“It doesn’t matter, Lu, you get to do what you need to do for you, I know that,” Will interrupted.
“Right, but I just wanted you to know that I’m worried about you,” Lulu said. “I know you’re drinking a lot—”
“I haven’t had a drop since Christmas Eve,” Will assured her. “Patrick and Ellie don’t keep liquor in here and made me promise not to touch the stuff. It’s part of the reason I agreed not to go home for a while.” He shuffled his feet. “I know my mom will have the vodka lying around.”
“Good, I’m glad,” Lulu nodded. “Because you know, you don’t have to let your family problems screw up your life. You could,” she swallowed, “there’s a lot you can do with your grades. You could go to college and stuff.”
“Yeah, Ellie’s been on me about my school stuff.” Will frowned at her. “Did you come over for a pep talk or whatever? Because really, it’s not that much fun coming from the girl that broke my heart.”
“Right,” Lulu sighed. “I wanted to tell you that things have changed a lot since we broke up and I’ve done a lot of thinking—”
“If this is going where I think it is…” Will held up a hand. “I don’t think it’s a good idea if we got back together. I still care about you, but I have to be on my own right now. I can’t deal with anyone else’s baggage and no offense, Lu, but you have a lot of baggage.”
Lulu exhaled slowly and reached for her coat. “Right, I’ll just…let you be alone. I’ll do this by myself.”
Will narrowed his eyes. “Do what by yourself?”
She shrugged into her coat and grabbed her purse. “Anything. Everything. Whatever.” Lulu brushed past him and left.
“Girls,” Will sighed and returned to the dishwasher.
Quartermaine Mansion: Foyer
Edward was descending the stairs when Emily burst through the front door and disappeared into the family room, slamming the door behind her.
Probably that no good Cassadine boy, Edward fumed. He knew that she’d rue the day she started with that reprobate and clearly Edward was being proved right!
He went to the family room and found Emily standing by the terrace, tears sliding down her cheeks. “What’s he done?” Edward demanded. “I’ll have his head!”
“What?” Emily looked back and wiped her cheeks. “What are you talking about?”
“That boy! What’s he done to make you cry?” He crossed to join her at the windows. “I told you all along that he would do this to you—”
“Grandfather,” Emily tilted her head back and let out a frustrated cry. “This has nothing to do with Nikolas!”
Edward faltered. “What? Then what’s going on?”
“Robin just told me why she came home,” Emily sniffled. “And I was just standing here, thinking about how small my problems seem. So what if you guys disown me after I get married? I’m not dead; no one in the family is dead—”
“Who’s dead?” Edward asked, alarmed. “Emily, I demand you tell me what’s going? And what’s this about disowning you? Who’s disowning you?”
“Robin’s sick,” Emily whispered. “She’s really sick and I guess she’s healthy right now, but that could change at any time, and she’s been going through this for over a year and all this time I’ve been selfish and thinking about myself—”
“What kind of sick is she?” Edward asked, confused. “Is it cancer?”
“No…” Emily closed her eyes. “It’s so much worse. It’s HIV, Grandfather. Robin has HIV and you know, I’m a doctor, so I know all the treatments and I know the odds, and I know all the important stuff, but I also know that tomorrow her cocktail could stop working and she could get really sick.”
“HIV?” he repeated. “People like Robin don’t get that.”
“Grandfather…” Emily shook her head. “I just…when she told us that she came home because she was sick, I never expected to hear…” She hesitated. “I’m upset because she’s sick, yes, but I’m also furious with her for putting herself through this and never once picking up the damn phone to tell us! And Patrick, he’s going to be devastated. He’s loved Robin since we were fourteen.” She scrubbed her fingers through her hair. “I just don’t understand the world sometimes.”
Edward hesitantly reached out to touch her shoulder. “Sweetheart, I’m sure it’s all going to be okay.”
“If only I could believe that.”
General Hospital: Lab
“Hey, Robin,” Patrick pushed through the door. “I got a message that you needed to talk to me.”
Robin swirled around on her stool and stood. “Yeah…there’s something I have to tell you.”
Patrick perched on his usual stool and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Is this going to be another lecture about Ellie and Morgan? Because I gotta tell you, I’m not particularly up to it.”
“No, it’s not.” Robin set her pen down and started to carefully pack up her station and put away her slides. “I like to think we’ve cleared a lot of the bad air between us. I mean, things aren’t quite as bad as when I got home…” she trailed off. “Has it really only been a few weeks?”
“I guess so.” Patrick shrugged a shoulder. “Yeah, I guess things are better. Are you sure this isn’t about Ellie?”
“No, it’s not,” Robin repeated. She put her microscope in the cabinet beneath the station and rounded the counter to perch on the stool adjacent to Patrick. She’d thought it would be easier to work while she told him, that she would be able to concentrate more and handle the situation. But it wouldn’t be fair to Patrick and wasn’t that really who this conversation should be about?
Telling Emily and Elizabeth had been difficult, but they were her friends and had each been through painful breakups. They knew what it was like to move on and find someone new. They weren’t her first boyfriend, the boy she’d grown up with and had had so many of life’s firsts with. She wasn’t sure how she was going to tell him about Stone without hurting him, much less the disease.
“Patrick, I went to Paris because I needed a fresh start,” she said softly. “And I needed to be away from Port Charles. I didn’t write very much, I never called and I never came home. For three years.”
“Yeah, I know all this,” Patrick tapped his fingers on the counter. “And you’ve apologized. Everyone’s over it—”
“You’ve forgiven me for doing it, yes,” Robin broke in slowly. “But you don’t know why.”
“Because you didn’t want to deal with our bullshit,” Patrick muttered. “And I know that it’s fair. I’ve told you I was an asshole to everyone the whole time anyway—”
“Patrick, for six months, that was true,” Robin told him. “I needed a break and I needed to find out if what I had done was the right decision. I woke up so many times thinking about you and Ellie back here, how you guys were handling things and wishing I had done a better job of saying goodbye.”
“What happened after the first six months?” Patrick asked suspiciously.
She bit her lip. “I might be getting the wrong impression, so forgive me if that’s true, but I get the feeling that you wouldn’t really mind…” she waved her hand. “Picking up where we left off. Being together again.”
“Well, no,” Patrick admitted. “I’ve been thinking about it and it makes sense. I still love you, Robin and I know you still love me—”
“And I need to tell you why that can never happen,” Robin said gently. “I do care for you, Patrick, a great deal. But the life you’re mapping out in your head, that future—I can’t be a part of it.”
Patrick closed his mouth and stared at her in confusion. “I don’t understand.”
“After six months, Lucky came to see me. He was doing some things in Europe and dropped by Paris to see some old friends. He and I went out to dinner and he introduced me to someone.”
Patrick stood abruptly and took a few steps back. “Someone,” he repeated.
“His name was Stone,” Robin said, her stomach twisting. “I wasn’t interested in romance, not then. I had been with you since we were kids and part of me figured that when I went back home, we would just pick up where we left off. So, initially, Stone and I were just friends—”
“I don’t think I want to hear about this anymore—”
“I’m asking you to please let me finish,” Robin said. “I’m asking you to let me clear the air between us once and for all if we’re ever going to be friends again.”
“We’re friends now,” Patrick replied. “I don’t need to know any of this—”
“Yes, you do,” Robin interrupted. “I wasn’t looking for romance,” she repeated, “but the more I was alone, the more I missed being in a relationship. I wasn’t used to being on my own, to living by myself, and not having someone to be with. So yes, because I was lonely and I missed the way things were between us before your mom died, Stone and I started dating.” She chewed her lip. “There were no complications, everything was easy and we…” she stared down at her hands. “We fell in love,” she said softly.
“Why do I need to know any of this?” Patrick demanded harshly. “Why the hell is any of this necessary? So you moved on, that’s abundantly clear. I was just some stupid kid you dated because there was no one else. So where’s this guy now? Did he dump you? Is he waiting for you back in Paris?” He pressed his lips together in a thin angry line. “Is he coming here? Is that why you’re doing this? To make sure I know I mean nothing to you?”
“No,” Robin stood and shook her head. “No, that’s not it at all. Patrick, please, you have to let me finish—”
“What’s to finish?” he kicked the stool, sending it flying across the room. Their little scenes in the lab were run of mill by now and most of the other researchers ignored them for the most part. She’d chosen this place to tell him hoping to control his reaction, but clearly the presence of others wasn’t enough of a deterrent. “You made it all very clear for me, Robin. I’m not the guy anymore. That’s just fine.”
He slammed through the lab doors, leaving them swinging angrily in his wake. Robin sank onto her stool and put her head in her hands.
Oh dear, there is no right way to tell anyone how you got HIV, but Robin should have led with that and then filled in the gaps for Patrick. Boy already has a tendency to jump the gun. Now she’s going to have to do it twice. Probably after Patrick finds out the rest from someone else.
I like how you cover all the bases and have everyone even slightly involved getting their moment to work through whatever. Makes for compelling reading and leaves no doubt where everyone stands.
Patrick should have stayed. there is no easy way to tell someone that they have HIV. now pat is probably going to find out from someone else.