Nina's Lullaby

Picks up after the 9/7/18 episode of GH!


Chapter 1

Nina's hand shook as she fingered the jagged edge of the severed heart necklace. Her thumb traced the roughly cut silver as her thoughts jettied in crazy spirals about her. Her child - her son or daughter - was alive? No, let's try that again. My son or daughter is alive. The "Annie" necklace was Madeline's way of telling me so.

She had never quite been able to believe it; to accept it in her heart of hearts that she wasn't meant to be a mother. Some part of her had been holding out for a miracle and this - THIS! - had to be the miracle she had been quietly longing for.

She yelped in surprise as the delicate skin of her thumb scraped against the serrated edge of the half-mutilated metal necklace. She looked down at her hand. A rivulet of crimson dripped down her finger, staining her alabaster skin and seeping onto the fabric of the sleeve of her white nightgown. It was jarring, like suddenly being jolted out of the cocoon of a very pleasant dream.

It was that precise moment, that reality crept in anew...

Tears filled her eyes. It was just a dumb necklace after all. Just a silly necklace from her childhood, crudely broken in half. No doubt it was another one of Madeline's mind games; an attempt to warp Nina's consciousness even from the grave. There was no way Nina's child could be alive; not after all of this time. It wasn't possible. It simply wasn't.

Nina ran for the bathroom and turned on the faucet as hot as the water would go. Pouring a mound of hand cleanser into her palms, she started to scrub the cut. It stung. It stung like a bitch. Just like the reality of her situation pierced her core. She was alone; she was really alone, and so miserable. She had lost her child; she had lost her brother J; she had lost Valentin… She didn't know how much more loss she could take.

She furiously scrubbed her hands, a strain of pinkish fluid staining the cream washing bowl. Her blood. Had she bled a lot when she lost her baby? Sick. Sick. Where did those thoughts come from?

She kept scrubbing, scrubbing, scrubbing. Her hands shook still more. They had become red, and raw, and angry, and yet she couldn't stop. She needed control and she didn't have it. Not at all.

Xoxoxo

She may have washed her hands for twenty minutes. Maybe longer. She only stopped when her legs finally gave out beneath her. She slipped to the bathroom floor, a heap of pathetic brokenness. Her spirit had collapsed along with her body. She screamed. Sobbed and screamed as she lay there with her head pressed against the claw-footed bathtub.

At some point, she heard the door thrown back; heard someone calling her name although it sounded so very far away. She felt impossibly strong arms lifting her up; cradling her to a proud chest. She was carried down a short hallway, deposited on a plush mattress. At least, she thought it was a mattress. Her eyes were so blurry; her mind so cloudy, she was no longer sure what was real and what was not.

"Nina, Nina, honey, talk to me, alright. What's going on here?"

This time the voice sounded closer and the feel of two gentle, calloused hands resting on either side of her tear-streaked face drew her attention, pulled her a ways out of the darkness that was consuming her whole. "Curtis?" She whispered.

"Yes, kid, it's me. What happened?" He asked. "Why are you so upset and why is there blood on your nightgown?"

Nina stared up at him, blinking rapidly. "I hurt," she said. "I hurt a lot, Curtis. I try not to notice it … not to feel it… But I'm this … aching wound. I am this seeping sore that never heals. You can stick a Band-aid on me for awhile, but it always falls off... I am so fucking damaged I can never be right again."

"Hey, don't say that. You're not broken; you're not damaged. Who put that thought into your pretty head?"

"It's always been there; for as long as I can remember," Nina said. "The only time I ever felt right, the only time I ever felt safe and normal and loved, was with Nathan, and he's gone… God, he's gone. And there's nothing left, Curtis. It's all been stripped away and I - I can't breathe. This - this pain... God, it's swallowing me whole." She clawed at her throat. She really couldn't breathe. The room seemed so small and her airways so impossibly constricted. She pushed up on the bed, jumped away from him, and ran for the window, desperately clawing at the latch on the glass.

"Nina, wait, Nina. What are you doing?" Curtis asked. She wasn't so far gone that she couldn't hear the inherent concern in his voice.

"I need air. I can't breathe," she gasped. She wrenched open the window, leaning out. She once again felt Curtis's strong arms around her. This time they were wrapped around her lean waist, pulling her back from the window.

"Hey, hey. We're not on the ground floor here, Nina. You can easily fall out that window and it's a long drop."

"I know. And maybe it would be better if I did fall."

"Better for whom exactly?"

Nina struggled against him but he held her tightly. "Everyone! Maxie and the baby… They don't need me dragging them down. And you… You don't need me calling you every time I break a nail…"

"Oh, baby girl, you're hurting. You're hurting so bad that you're not even making a lick of sense. Maxie and your nephew do need you. You've helped Maxie through the hardest time of her life, losing Nathan the way she did. She might not have survived that without you guiding her through it."

"No…"

"And Charlotte… She adores you. Who's going to buy her dolls, and play with her, and braid her hair? And me, I like you, Nina. If I come runnin' every time you're in crisis, it's because I want to. Because I care; because you're a damn good person; and a damn good friend. So stop this crazy talk about making everyone feel better if you're gone. Far as I'm concerned, the world would be a helluva lot sadder of a place if Nina Reeves checked out of it."

Tears slipped down her face and she sagged against him. He held her still tighter. "But I feel so weak."

"But you're not weak. Think of all you have survived. A weak person wouldn't have been able to withstand the heartbreaks and disappoints you have and still be alive and kicking right now."

"But I'm tired… I'm tired of fighting. I need something… I need hope. Something to hold onto. Today for one, insane moment I thought I had found something to hold on to… something amidst all the pain and misery of my mother's funeral… Hell, for a moment I thought I could even stop hating her."

"What happened, Nina?" Curtis whispered against her hair. "What made you so hopeful and what stole it all away?"

Nina tugged free of his grasp. She moved to the bed, sinking down onto it. She pulled her legs beneath her. "You'll check me into Ferncliff right away if I tell you. It's that crazy."

"Tell me anyway."

"Well… I thought I found a sign from Madeline … In a box of things she left me in her will… A sign that my baby really hadn't died all those years ago." Nina looked at her hands. "Crazy, right? Totally insane."

She waited for Curtis to speak, to say something, anything. Instead, he just coughed. She looked up at him through blurry eyes. "Curtis?" She said. "Did you hear me? Are you going to ship me off to the mental ward now?"

Curtis looked everywhere but at her. "Curtis, say something." She felt a new, expectant urgency gathering in her chest. "Isn't it crazy - how I thought my child could be alive?" She prompted.

Curtis met her eyes this time. He slowly shook his head. "Actually, Nina, it's not… The idea isn't that crazy at all. The truth is… Your child with Silas did survive and there's a damn good chance they are still out there somewhere."

TO BE CONTINUED.