SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, PART TWO

Rae has been discharged from the hospital. Between surgeries, Nick stopped by for the fetal DNA test that Rae had had have in order to press charges.

Despite holding her hand during the procedure, Rae sensed that Nick's feelings towards her have cooled...and she knows his feelings are her fault. Totally, one hundred percent her fault.

Right now, Rae is sitting on a bench in the cemetery that Grace was buried in. She is looking at the mound of dirt marking Grace's grave; still there is no marker yet but the grave is covered with flowers...perhaps, Rae thinks, in violation of Judiac burial rites. She will have to brush up on burial rites.

Rae's cell phone rings. Pulling it out of her purse, she answers...

R: "Nick!"

N: "Just calling to see how you're feeling. You getting enough rest?"

R: "Uhm. Yeah. I slept in this morning. No patients until this afternoon."

N: "That's good. Sorry I had to run off like that before the test was over...surgery is endless you know."

R: "Heard surgery keeps you on your toes."

N: (laughing) "Keeps me running from one OR to another so yeah, you could say surgery keeps me on my toes."

R: "Ha ha. One of Tangie's sayings."

N: "I just stopped by to see Tangie and her social worker was there. Seems she found Tangie a new foster home."

R: "That's great!"

N: "Depends on your definition of great. Tangie's new foster father is Roy."

R: "Schumaker?"

N: "Yes."

R: "Oh, great. That will throw a kink into her treatment."

N: "I would say. I'd love to chat for longer but I've got to be off."

R: "Another surgery?"

N: "Lunch with Matt."

R: "You two seem to be getting on quite well."

N: "Guy things."

R: "Yeah."

N: "I'll see you tomorrow....good bye..."

R: "Bye."

She clicks off her cellphone, puts the phone in her purse. The sun is shining, although it's a bit chilly outside. Rae's expression is pensive.

A tall man in a work uniform is walking up to Rae. He is obviously an employee of the cemetery for he carries a shovel over one shoulder.

Caretaker: "Ma'am?"

R: "Yes?"

Caretaker: "You here for that little girl?" (he indicates Grace's grave)

R: "Yes. Yes, I am. I was just sitting here. Is there a problem?"

Caretaker: "No. It's just that we, I mean, the cemetery, was trying to track down all the people who were at her funeral."

R: "Why?"

Caretaker: "Someone left a silver bracelet on the coffin. We don't bury jewelry. Would you know anything about that bracelet?"

Rae looks away guiltily.

R: "Yeah. That's my bracelet."

Caretaker: "To claim it, just go to the cemetery office. You've have to provide proof of ownership. Insurance or something like that."

R: "Yeah. Thanks."

Caretaker: "Not a problem."

R: "Um, do you know who left those flowers on her grave?"

Caretaker: "Her classmates left the flowers. We decided to leave them there."

R: "Ah. Well, thanks again."

Tipping his hat at Rae, the caretaker walks away humming a tune. Rae is left to sit on the bench.

...Just before leaving for lunch with Nick, Matt is seeing one last patient of the morning. Matt is on his way to one of his exam rooms with the man's medical records in his hands. He is reading the file, and frowning at something written in the record.

Stopping for a moment, Matt takes an x-ray out of the file and holds it up to the light.

There is an index card size, bright pink sticky note on the x-ray. Large handwriting on the x-ray says:

I think you need to investigate this shadow more intensively.

Still frowning, he looks around for a viewer. Spotting one, Matt walks over, places the x-ray onto the viewer and flips the light on. He peers closely at the shadow the Xray tech has indicated, then frowns some more.

Looking towards the exam room with the patient, he scratches his head, then mutters,

"Memo to self: don't scratch my head and get some Head and Shoulders."

Flicking off the viewer's light, Matt takes the x-ray off the viewer and places it into the folder. Going over to the newly-installed sink on the opposite side of the hallway, Matt places the patient's folder on a ledge, then washes his hands at the foot-operated sink.

Using his toe to activate the foot-operated hand dryer (the oversize button is installed close to the floor), Matt dries his hands under the warm air.

He frowns deeply and his forehead is furrowed.

Taking up the medical folder, he goes to the exam room. Knocking on the door, he says:

M: "Doctor."

Matt opens the door and goes in. Charles is seated in the chair. He's a tall, muscular type with sandy blonde shoulder length hair.

M: "Charles Grayning, I presume?"

C: "Yes."

M: "I'm Doctor Slingerland."

C: "And I'm a reassignment. Doc Carmichel was sent to the frontlines in Iraq."

M: "Doctor Carmichael was a battlefield surgeon?"

C: "Yeah. Army paid for his medical school. He was asked to go three days ago."

M: "I will have to commend the HMO on correctly redirecting your medical records to me so quickly."

C: "That's a first."

Matt opens Charles' medical file, and removes the bright pink sticky note from the x-ray.

M: (smiling) "Well. Says here you saw Doctor Carmichael last week for chest pain and he ordered an x-ray?"

Taking out Charles' x-ray, Matt walks over to the x-ray viewer and places the x-ray into the viewer. He flicks on the light.

C: "Yeah. Told him it was just the usual heartburn. Too many reuben sandwiches and five alarm chili downed with Coors. I go easy on the Coors."

M: "The reubens don't show on you. Care to share your secret?"

C: "Triathlete. That my x-ray Doc Carmichael ordered?"

M: "Yes. What I'm concerned about is this shadow here. Are you taking heartburn medication by any chance?"

Charles gets up from the chair and moves closer to the viewer in order to look closer at the x-ray.

C: "Yeah. Zantac.

M: "How many times a day?"

C: "As often as I need it."

M: "Would you say three times a day?"

C: "More like five. Hey, this looks like a mis-shapen dime. Maybe the film was bad."

M: "Mmm hmm. Well, that 'dime' is what has me concerned." (he looks at Charles) " I'd like to order a mammogram for you."

C: (surprised) "A mammogram?" (he smiles) "Uh, doc, I hate to tell you this, but...I'm a man."

M: "That's just the name of the procedure used to x-ray the breast tissue. Male or female breasts don't make a bit of difference to the machine."

C: "So you're telling me I need to have a mammogram?"

M: "I need a clearer picture of what this shadow is. Have you felt any lumps under the nipple area while you're showering?"

C: "Come to think of it, yeah, I have. But I've been working out on the bowflex a lot lately, getting into top form for the triathalon."

M: "Yes. Well, that could explain the lack of enlarged breasts. Personally, I'm thinking gynecomastia."

C: "Uh, you do remember I'm a man? That sounds like a woman's disease."

M: "Men can develop breast lumps too. Gynecomastia is a button or disk like growth under the nipple and aerola area, usually in association with enlarged breasts. It's also the most common of male breast disorders."

C: (concerned)"Is it serious? You know, like in cancerous? "

M: "Rarely. It's most likely your heartburn medication caused it. Ranitidine is known to cause gynecomastia. Especially in large amounts."

C: "Ranitidine?"

M: "Zantac to you."

C: "Ah. So when I see big boobed men, that means they have gynecomastia?"

M: "Most likely. Unless they are extremely overweight. Let's take a look, shall we? Back up on the exam table and remove your shirt....Lay back and let's have a look."

Charles complies. Gently, Matt performs a breast exam on Charles.

C: "Is it going to hurt?

M: "No. Hurt here?"

C: "No. I just thought that was hard lump of muscle."

Matt finishes the exam.

M: "You can sit up and put your shirt on."

C: "Do you think it's serious? You can be honest with me."

M: "I'll know more when the mammogram comes back."

C: "Doc speak for: I don't want to make any statements at this point."

M: "Perhaps. But I am thinking gynecomastia. However, I am going to schedule you for a mammogram, and I'm also going to schedule a biopsy of that lump."

C: "A man-ogram, then. I'll go for a man-ogram."

M: "A man-ogram it is then. And a biopsy. Can you come back tomorrow, say 9 am for the x-ray? I'll schedule the biopsy for 10 am."

Matt makes a note in the medical records.

C: "Uh, yeah, sure. Will it get me out of work?"

M: "For a few hours."

C: "Should I take the whole day off?"

M: "It's up to you."

Taking Charle's medical records in his hand, Matt shows Charles out of the exam room.

C: "I do want to go sailing out on the bay tomorrow."

M: "Just make sure you present yourself to x-ray at 9 am tomorrow then back here in my office at 10."

C: "Gotcha."

Charles takes his leave of Matt. A nurse walks up to Matt. He hands her the medical records.

M: "Mammogram at 9 am tomorrow for this patient."

The nurse nods and goes off. Stopping off to wash his hands again, Matt goes down to the front desk where Norman is seated.

M: "Norman?"

Norman looks up.

N: "Yes?"

M: "Schedule Charles Grayning with me at 10 am tomorrow.'

N: (grinning) "Weren't you supposed to be at that medical lecture Doctor Howland is giving tomorrow at 10?"

M: "Yes. Well, something suddenly came up. Nick can go in my place."

N: (chuckling) "There's your morning's entertainment for you. I'd bet that Nick would show Doctor Howland a thing or two about the subject material."

M: (smiling) "He's a surgeon, she's an ER doc. It would be interesting to see how Nick is going to handle Doctor Howland giving a lecture on Emergency Surgical Techniques in the ER."

N: "Might be a good idea to have an actual surgeon in attendance at that lecture."

M: "To give her lecture a bit of...credibility?"

N: "I'm not a doctor, but as a potential patient, I'd sure want someone well skilled in emergency surgical techniquess attending me if I ever needed emergency surgery in the ER."

M: "I see your point. I'll have a chat with Nick about attending."

N: "Right. Charles is entered as your 10 am patient. Anything else?"

M: "Yes. I'll need a biopsy kit as well. And, have Rae stop around to see me when she gets a moment."

N: "Okay. You off to lunch now?"

M: (nodding) "Yep. That new Thai restaurant over near the PFA is supposed to be good."

N: "It is. Went there last night."

M: "Excellent. See you after lunch."

N: "Good eating!"

Matt nods and walks out of Presidio's offices. He stands there a moment, in the bright sunshine, squints, then turns around and goes back into Presidio's offices. Norman has deserted the front desk momentarily and Matt takes a quick look around.

Seeing the coast is clear, Matt goes to the left hand upper desk drawer, opens it, reaches in and pulls out a pair of aviator sunglasses. Putting the sunglasses on and smoothing back his hair, Matt smiles then strides again out the doors of Presidio.

Jules and Rae are in the kitchen. Reading an issue of "O" magazine, Jules is sitting at a table by the window and Rae is getting coffee.

R: "What's in this month's issue?"

Jules: "The "O" list."

R: "She has good taste. I like her lists."

Jules: "I like this month's Polaroid Joycam. It's affordable. Wish I could afford some of her more expensive picks. One time she listed a shearling wrap to die for. Cost 2,500. If I didn't have these medical school bills to pay off, I'd have bought it."

R: "I just love shearling."

Rae goes over to the table and sits down as Jackie walks in and heads towards the coffee pot.

Jules: "Isn't this kitchen busy?"

Jackie: "Ha. Ha. Rae! Good to see you back! How you feeling?"

R: "Much better. Thanks."

Jackie: "No need of my services?"

R: "Sorry. Not this time around. Just bruises."

Jackie pours herself a cup of coffee.

Jackie: "If I never see another underarm, I'll be the happiest woman on the planet."

Jules: (glancing up) "You were the one who started that program. Remember, one hundred smackeroos and you will be rid of your underam hair forever!"

Jackie: (groaning) "Don't remind me. There's so much money coming in, I have to schedule my breaks on my appointment calender."

R: "David should be pleased about your next quarterly income report."

Jackie: "Pleased? He should be ecstatic. Thrilled. Overjoyed."

Jules: "Doing the dance of joy?"

Jackie comes to sit at the table with Rae and Jules.

R: "If you can imagine David dancing. Does he even know how to have sex?"

Jules and Jackie laugh.

Jules: "With David, he'd probably give out a performance review immediately afterwards."

Jackie: "Then tell you in what areas your performance could improve...Say, now that you and Nick are so over, was he, you know va-voom?"

R (angrily interrupting) "Don't start on me about Nick."

Jules: "Jackie, have you been living in a cave?"

Jackie: (mumbling) "I was just wondering. No need to jump on my back."

R: (cooly)"The answer should be quite obvious."

Jules: "And you kept us all in the dark all these years."

Rae merely shrugs her shoulders.

Jackie: "Give us a small hint, please?"

Jules: "Now that he's free..." (she trails off, a pensive look on her face)

Jackie: "You thinking of trying to bed him?"

Jules: "Not for myself."

R: "Oh? You've someone else in mind for him?"

Jules: "Sure do. Friend of mine."

Jackie: "Trying to play matchmaker?"

Jules: "I've said it before..."

R and Jackie: "We know. He's a good catch."

Jackie: "Nick's not a fish, you know."

Jules looks sharply at Jackie, then changes the subject.

Jules: "Yeah. Here's something you might like from this month's O list."

Jules turns the magazine around so Jackie can see it. Rae gets interested and scoots her chair closer to Jackie.

Jules: (standing up) "I need to be off! Young kids await!"

R: "See you later."

Jackie: "Don't forget to wash your hands!"

Jules: "I see Matt's lectures are sinking in."

Jackie: "Yes. Know what else?"

Jules: "What?"

Jackie: (grinning) "Got a lunch date with him on Monday."

Jules: "With Matt?"

R: (smiling) "You two getting something on?"

Jackie: "It's just lunch!"

Jules starts to leave the table.

Jules: "Mmm, hmmm. Tell us about it on Tuesday."

With that statement, Jules leaves the kichen.

Jackie: "Hope she's not jealous."

R: "Why? She didn't show any interest in Matt."

Rae and Jackie turn their attention back to "O" magazine, flipping through the pages slowly.

...As the WHO SARS representative for UMC (a title change for him), Doctor Slingerland, posing again as Medical Detective, has had a hectic few months. There have been conflicting reports: CBS claims that there are no cases of SARS in San Francisco; Bay Area newspapers report one case in the City, and that there have been a total of 22 cases in the Bay Area suburbs.

Eleven of those cases have been in Santa Clara, forty four miles away. Nearby Contra Costa has seen 5 cases. Many relatives of the patients families have been a bit upset over the hospital's decision to restrict patient visitor flow.

The decision was the hospital's, not Matt's decision, but he has to bear the brunt of the overall displeasure. Frequently, he hears comments like:

"If there are no cases in the City, why the restricted hours?"

and

"There is no reason why I can't see her newborn son."

The last type of comment is most difficult for Matt. He and David have discussed the situation about the maternity visiting hours. Both doctors are well aware of the trend towards more 'homelike' setting with extended maternity visiting hours, family rooms adjacent to the labor and delivery rooms, and allowing non-medical personnel into the delivery room.

Matt knows that different cultures have different childbirth practices, and with the City being such an ecletic mix of cultures, difficulties often arise in maternity and newborn care. UMC Hospital has done its best to accomodate the varying expectations of the mothers-to-be.

This policy is a far cry from the decades past, when women were subjected to strict control in the labor and delivery rooms--and fathers were relegated to waiting rooms, pacing back and forth, perhaps accepting a smoke from fellow dads-to-be. Nowadays, smoking is banned, and at times it seems like everyone and their uncle Joe must 'support' the woman in labor.

The SARS crisis has hit hardest in China, even appearing in the remotest provinces, along the Russian border. Hong Kong is the worst hit in the crisis. WHO has criticized China for under reporting both the cases and the severity of the infections.

Matt has read that an elderly Chinese woman travelled back to China for a visit. Upon her return in early February, she came down with a respiratory illness and she was the first suspected SARS case in the states (she survived).

The woman's family has been ostracized by some of their neighbors, and some of the kids' friends are no longer allowed to play with them. Upon reading about the family's situation in the Sunday edition of the Washington Post, Matt was shocked.

Recently in the City, Chinese stores along Noriega street have seen a plummet in business, by some estimates, stores have seen a fifty percent drop in business as a result of rumors, and one woman shopkeeper has had to endure false rumors that she has SARS. About the only business to boom is the sale of facemasks.

Amongst other subjects, Matt and David are in the middle of a discussion about the maternity visiting hours. They are in Matt's office.

D: "I, for one, have to agree with Jules."

M: "Why?"

D: "The reduced visiting hours and the restriction on non-medical personnel in the delivery room have reduced hospital acquired infections in newborns by eleven percent."

M: "That is a considerable reduction in HAI's. But can't we lighten up a bit?"

D: "That would be a board decision. It was the board who decided on the new restrictions, not me. I'm only the enforcer."

M: "And you delegated that role to me."

D: "Someone has to work the front lines. You seemed like a logical choice."

M: "My WHO experience?"

D: "Not as much as your organizational skills. But yes, the Kenya vax program did play into our decision."

M: "Our decision? I thought the board decided on the appointment."

D: "They did. After I pointed out you'd worked with WHO in the past. You were a natural choice."

M: "I see. We've gotten off the subject of allowing more maternity visitors. Was that deliberate on your part?"

D: (looking away; his action tells Matt the answer) "Yes." (he looks back at Matt) "I am well aware of the many cultures the hospital serves. And I am also aware of different childbirth practices. But I have a hospital to run, and part of the hospital's duty is to try and prevent infections."

M: "You sound like Nick."

D: "It's an excellent explanation."

M: "What about when SARS abates? WHO has already discovered SARS is a relative of the common cold and several labs worldwide are working on a faster test. And a cure."

D: "When the crisis abates, we'll re-evaluate our position."

M: "Re-evaluate?"

D: "You do know that in Toronto five hundred church parishoners were quarantined by the government last week."

M: "I'd heard that on the news."

D: "And with the rumors going around that the Chinese shops are spreading SARS..."

Matt interrupts hotly.

M: "That rumor is not true!"

D: "I know the rumor isn't true. The Bay area news media, of course, are hyping the rumor up."

M: "Are they making it clear that the rumor going around about Noriega street is just that--a rumor?"

D: "They reported that there was a rumor going around."

M: "And that is exactly what it is: a rumor."

D: "I know. What I don't want is a negligence lawsuit on our hands. New parents can be quite litigious. Should someone's newborn contract SARS, or even be suspected of having SARS, the lawsuits will fly fast and heavy. Harriet's patients are quite educated."

M: "I understand. But you do know that it's difficult being on the front lines. Straining, even."

D: "I know you tend to get patients like Mrs Winters."

M: "Ah. Yes. Well, there's some things with her that could be causing her behavior."

D: "When you discharged her this morning, she left a comment card about you."

M: "She did?"

D: "Quite complimentary."

M: "Her idea of a compliment is a vituperative verbal sniper attack."

David reaches into his pocket and pulls out an oversize card. He hands it to Matt who reads it aloud.

M: "As for the professionalism and competence of your Doctor Slingerland, I commend you. Although I did not approve of his phoning those shrink people on me, I understand his reason for doing so. When my father was in the hospital with NHL and behaved the same way, I begged the doctors to phone for a therapist. Doctor Slingerland provided the best of care. You would do well to hire more physicians like him. Sincerely, Mrs Gloria Winters."

Matt leans back in his chair, holding the comment card in his hand. He puts the comment card down on his desk.

D: "That is perhaps the most loquacious comment we've ever received."

M: "I'm touched."

D: "Mrs Winters aside, can you see my point that the maternity visitor restrictions need to remain in place until the SARS crisis is over?"

M: (resigned) "I can understand. I was hoping that you'd be able to take some of the strain off of me by easing up on the visiting restrictions."

D: "Sorry. Not a chance. Not at this moment." (David stands up). "If there's anything else I can do, feel free to stop by. You know where I'm at."

M: (drily) "I'll be sure to do that. Thanks anyways, David."

D: "Wish it wasn't like this."

M: "I wish that as well."

David leaves Matt's office. Matt drums his fingers on his desk for a moment, then picks up the comment card again. Looking at the card again, he purses his lips a moment and his brow creases before he comments to himself:

M: "Maybe there is something that I can do. This is a job for Jackie."

Putting Mrs Winters comment card in his pocket, Matt stands up and leaves his office . A few minutes later, he comes across Harriet in the hallway.

M: "Harriet! Good afternoon!"

H: "You're a bit cheery this afternoon."

M: "Sun and lunch and all. It's good for me. I've been in the states since I was eighteen and I still haven't gotten used to all the sun here in California."

H: "You should live in the southern part of the state. More sun there."

M: "I'd never come in to work from sailing the Pacific."

Harriet chuckles.

H: "I'd have to agree I'd probably never come in to work either."

M: "Have you seen Jackie around?"

H: "If it's a weekday, she's doing underarms."

M: "I take it her program's been a runaway success?"

H: "That's an understatement."

M: "I'll catch her in her office, then."

H: "Good luck with that! She's so busy, she barely has time between patients."

M: (raising his eyebrows) "Then I'll make it an official visit regarding SARS control and handwashing."

H: "Hope she doesn't take it the wrong way."

M: "She'd better not. Have a good afternoon!"

H: "You, too!"

Matt wanders down the sparsely populated hallway as Harriet watches him.

H: "Without the visitors, UMC seems a bit...deserted."

Harriet turns and goes into the bathroom--her destination.

...Meanwhile, Rae is sitting in her office. On his way to finding Jackie, Matt decided to stop off in Rae's office. Matt is sitting in the chair opposite her. On her desk, Rae has a medical file open in front of her; it's not Charles Grayning's.

R: "You're thinking gynecomastia?"

M: "Yes. Zantac five times a day. I scheduled a man-ogram for tomorrow morning at 9."

R: (chuckling) "Man-ogram?"

Matt smiles.

M: "That's his name for it. He didn't want to go in for a mammogram but he'd go and get a man-ogram performed."

R: "Did you tell him your other suspicions?"

M: "Hid them in doc-speak."

R: "In other words, you wouldn't say yes and you wouldn't say no."

M: "That's about it. I did tell him about gynecomastia but I want to be on the safe side."

R: "How did he take that word?."

M: "He reminded me that he was a man."

R: (smiling) "Did you schedule a biopsy?"

M: "Ten am."

R: "I'll be there."

M: "Thanks."

Norman knocks in the door.

R: "Entre-vous!"

Norman opens the door.

N: "Mrs Winters is here to see you."

M: "That's my cue to leave."

R: "Would you show her in, please?"

Matt stands up.

M: "I am going to skedaddle. Mrs Winters is someone I do not wish to run into today. Even if she did give me a complimentary comment card."

R: "Don't you hate those cards? It's like open season on doctors."

Matt goes towards Rae's office door. He reaches the door and pauses a moment, looking back at Rae.

M: "I think the comment cards are a wonderful system for feedback. Sometimes doctors can be insensitive. Especially with pelvic exams and bare legs."

R: "Ah. Didn't think about that. I don't remember too much about that except that it felt like she was sliding an ice cube in there. And my legs were cold."

M: "Each leg should be covered from the feet to the mid-thigh area with a third sheet forming a drape from the hips to over the knees. You should use the comment card system to tell both Doctor Howland and the adminstration about your unacceptable experience."

R: "Is that how you perform pelvics?"

M: "When I absolutely have to, yes. I don't need to see any more skin than is necessary and my draping system is much less embarassing to my female patients."

R: "But I've been discharged already!"

M: "Claim the comment card got lost by one of the nurses. Again, I'm running off before I run into Mrs Winters."

R: "Interesting choice of words."

M: "She's an interesting type of woman. Just not my type. See you tomorrow at 10 am!"

R: "I'll be there."

Glancing both ways before he leaves Rae's office, Matt sees that Mrs Winters is following Norman. He quickly leaves the office in the opposite direction. He's off to find Jackie--hopefully between patients so he doesn't have to wait for her.

A few moments later, Norman shows up at Rae's door with Mrs Winters in tow.

N: "Doctor Rae Brennan."

Gloria: "Good to see you again, Doctor Brennan."

N: "You two know each other?"

Gloria: "She treated my father."

N: "Ah. Well, then. I'll let you two ladies get re-acquainted."

Norman takes his leave of the two women.

R: "Please, Mrs Winters, sit down."

Gloria: "Don't mind if I do. I'm a bit tired."

Gloria comes into the office and takes a seat.

R: "That's expected. How's your grandson?"

Gloria smiles.

G: "He went home today. And the strangest thing happened."

R: "What?"

G: "When he got home with Debbie and her friends started dropping by like they were growing out of the woodwork, I did the strangest thing."

R: "And that was?"

G: "I asked each of them to stay only a few minutes. To help prevent infection, I said. And I made Debbie's visitors wash their hands before seeing my grandson."

R: "He is a newborn. Not much immune system. Did Debbie name him?"

G: "Abraham."

R: "Nice choice."

G: "I think the name is wonderful. Now, as far as my being able to see Abraham in kindergarten, what are my chances?"

R: "They look pretty good."

G: "Truly?"

R: "Yep. Your NHL is stage two and that's always a good sign. Plus, there are some new drugs I want to try this time around that I didn't get to try with your father."

G: "Did you know we buried him at sea?"

R: "No."

G: "We took the ashes to Hawaii and had a memorial service at sea."

R: "What a nice thought. Perhaps that's what I should do."

G: "Not me. I want a memorial marker. Large white marble marker."

R: "To remember you by?"

Gloria chuckles.

G: "I suppose my therapist would call me egotistical. But I think I should have some mark of my being in this world, aside from my kids."

R: "Truthfully, although I work in tandem with death on a daily basis, I really haven't thought about my own funeral."

G: "I rather admire the ancient Egyptian burial techniques. I am planning on having a bit of jewerly buried with me."

R: "Wedding ring?"

G: "No. My most special jewelry: the diamond necklace I bought myself after my husband left me."

R: (brightly) "Ah. Now that is an idea."

G: "To be buried in a diamond necklace is quite the way to exit the world."

R: "I meant buying a diamond necklace after your husband left. I'm on the way to divorce court."

G: "Purchase a diamond necklace, dear. You'll feel much better."

R: "I take it you're feeling much better?"

G: "Yes. I suppose it's not the medication I've been given by the therapist. That hasn't had enough time to work."

R: "It could be that. But it's more likely you got a lot off your chest when you admitted to your family about your cancer."

G: "I suppose you're right. Now, when do I start this regimen?"

R: "Right away."

Rae goes into a discussion of treatments with Gloria.

...Meanwhile, Letty walks into Tom's office with a colored manila folder in her hand...

L: (waving the folder at Tom) "You know what this is?"

T: "Let me guess. Pregnancy results."

L: (startled) "Not mine."

T: "Rae's. Seems like a soon to be former ER nurse spread the word quite handily. Doctor Howland's up in arms about the leak."

L: "Rae's up in arms about the leak. Anyways, do you know what's in this folder?"

In response, Tom stands up, goes to Letty, puts his arms around her and kisses her. As he kisses her, he bends her back towards the floor.

Tom finishes the kiss and stands Letty on her two feet.

L: "Well. That's one part of what's in this folder!"

T: "What's the rest?"

L: (slyly) "Nighttime."

T: "Honeymoon information?"

L: "Second honeymoon information to you!"

T: "All right? Where are the potential places?"

Disentangling herself from Tom, Letty goes to sit on the small leather couch in Tom's office.

L: "This couch is new." (she sits down) "Ohhh, this is a nice couch. How much it run you?"

T: "Got it cheap off a film production company. Movie folded. Six hundred."

L: "Damn economy. Anyways, this is where I have planned: A GAP tour of Peru and Chile."

T: "Gap? Like the blue jeans?"

L: "It's an adventure program. Really it means that you get a small guided tour group roughing it around South America. "

T: "An adventure tour. What else?"

L: "A freighter cruise."

T: "Like Nick's parents?"

L: "Yep. Sun and sea and lots of rest and absolutely no cell phones."

T: "That one is high on the list, then. What else?"

L: "Antarctica."

T: "You're kidding me."

L: "Nope. I've also got a train trip across Russia on the list."

T: "Remember, we get two weeks vacation."

L: "One day to fly to Beijing. Then six days on the Orient Express to Moscow. Two days in Moscow. A quick stop in London, then back here to the City by the Bay."

T: "A trip on the Orient Express? I think I'd like that. But not now."

L: "Why not?"

T: (looking at Letty with surprise) "SARS. In the Guangdong province. Even along the Russian border."

L: "If I have my geography correct, Beijing is in the northern part of the country. And Hong Kong reports the largest number of SARS cases."

T: "There are voluntary travel restrictions in effect to China and other parts of Asia."

L: (frowning then sighing) "Perhaps next year."

T: "So that leaves Antarctica, a South American adventure trip and a freighter cruise."

Tom's pagers bleeps. He takes it off his belt and looks at the pager.

T: "Time to go."

L: "Almost time for me to do my rounds. I've got a bypass patient in psych for severe depression."

Letty stands up.

T: "Isn't depression common after bypass surgery?"

Letty nods.

L: "Sure is. Bypass surgery often messes up the serotonin levels in the brain."

T: "I hope I don't have to use your services."

L: "You won't. Not while I'm around."

Tom hugs Letty and she reaches up and kisses him.

L: "Make sure you scrub well."

T: "Aye, aye, captain!"

Tom begins to walk away.

L: "Tom?"

Tom turns around.

T: "Yeah?"

L: "Might want to stop off at Doctor Howland's lecture tomorow morning at 10 am."

T: "Oh?"

L: "She's giving a lecture on Emergency Surgical Techniques in the ER. Matt was supposed to attend but Nick's going in his place."

T: (surprised) "I can see Nick going but Matt's an internist. He works in an office not in surgery."

L: "Matt's keeping his skills sharp. Should be interesting seeing Nick and Terry lock horns on surgical techniques."

Tom laughs her remark.

T: "Should be a real interesting morning. Thanks for the info. With that kind of advertising, I might attend."

L: "Just doing my duty as your wife."

T: "Appreciate it."

L: "You get going now!"

T: "Aye, captain!"

Saluting, Tom turns and walks away to respond to his page.

L: (watching Tom's retreating back) "Sounds like he's in for the freighter cruise. The one that passes by Tahiti looks good!"

Chuckling, Letty walks in the opposite direction of Tom.

...Thirty minutes later and back at Rae's office, a detective is sitting opposite Rae (Lina Rodriguez) and Rae is obviously frustrated at the line of questioning as her expression is one of exasperation.

On a small table near Lina lies an older issue of "O" magazine. A teaser on the cover advertises, "Dating after Divorce."

L: "You said you invited Robert into your house. For a drink."

R: "Yes. He was upset."

L: "And you knew him?"

R: "Most everyone who works here knows who Robert Winningham is."

L "I don't. Just who is Robert Winningham?"

R: "He's Dean Whittier's husband."

L: "And Dean Whittier is...?"

R: "The Dean of the Business School."

L "And you know Dean Whittier?"

R: "Yes."

L: "So you invited a married man into your home for a drink because he was upset."

R: "I know the man! And I did not intend to have sex with Robert Winningham."

L: "You do know he's claiming the sex was consensual?"

R: "Only after the DNA results showed the baby is his."

L: "Correction. He never made a statement until the DNA results came in. And the statement indicates Robert said he'd already heard the baby was his."

Rae is shocked.

R: "What?"

L: "Robert was...unavailable for questioning until yesterday."

R: (sputtering) "Was he even questioned until yesterday?"

L: (looks at her notes) "An attempt was made to question him. After you were interviewed in your hospital room, the officers left to interview Robert. They tried eleven more times to interview him up until yesterday."

R: "Don't tell me he was unavailable when the officers arrived at his office that day?"

L: (looking at her notes) "Correct."

R: "And he knew about the dna results when he finally was questioned?

L: "Good recap. You should have my job."

R: (drily) "Seems like we've got an efficient grapevine here."

L: (smiling) "Or a mole."

R: "Mole?"

L: "Inside snitch."

R: "At the police station?"

L: "At UMC."

R: (sneering) "Bet it's Brenda."

L: "Who's Brenda?"

R: "Some chatty ER--a soon to be former--nurse. Doctor Howland is having her removed for violation of the HIPAA."

L: "The Hippa?"

R: "Oh. Forgot. Medical lingo. I forgot what the acronym means, but it pertains to patient privacy. As of April, the new patient privacy laws came into effect."

L: "And what does HIPAA do?"

R: "Hospitals can no longer give out information on a patient's condition to people other than the patient's immediate household. That also means media won't be able to phone the hospital to get information on a patient's condition if that person's been in an accident."

L: "So no more media updates like: the accident victim is listed in serious condition at UMC?"

R: "Right. And in case you are in an HMO, employers will not be able to gain access to medical information because insurers are prevented from telling employers about their employees medical history."

L: "Long winded explanation."

R: "All government regulations are long winded."

L: "Back to Brenda. Are you saying she told the media or your employer what happened?"

R: "No. Brenda told everyone in the ER about what happened to me. That's somewhat like telling my employer."

L: "And she was Doctor Howland's employee?"

R: "Right. Doctor Terry Howland."

Lina takes down the notes of the last several minutes. Rae observes her.

R: "Do you always wait to take notes until after something has been discussed?"

L: "Interrupts the flow of questions. I like chunky questioning. Let's see, the new hippa laws came into effect in April. Hospitals can't give out information on a patient's condition..."

R: "Yeah. All right. Gotcha. Any more questions?"

L: "Just one."

R: "Shoot."

L: "Why did you allow Robert to add something to a drink which turned it bright blue?"

R: "Well...it was a pretty drink."

L: "Pretty? Do you always have drinks that are pretty?"

R: "Thought it was just one question."

L: "It was until you answered."

R: (sighing) "Robert said electric blue starlights were a new drink popular down at the wharf."

L: "Did you watch him mix the drink?"

R: "He was standing at our wet bar. There is a raised counter so while I was watching him, I didn't see how he mixed the drinks."

Lina glances at "O" magazine.

L: "And you are a middle aged, about to be divorced woman who wanted something new? Like dating after divorce?"

R: (glancing at "O" magazine) "Not like that. I mean, not like in the magazine. It's difficult being newly single. Sean and I were a couple so long, I forgot I had an identity outside of the marriage."

L: "You were playing a role in your marriage?"

R: "Well, I suppose. Sean and I each had our roles: he the traveling journalist and I was the oncologist saving lives."

L: "Hmmm. Rumor has it you were having an affair with one of the physicians here."

R: "I see the grapevine is truly efficient."

L: "That affair is not going to look good at the trial."

R: "I know. Is there any way we can avoid going to trial? I don't want Nick and I and Robert splashed all over the papers. That could hurt my already painful divorce proceedings."

L: "Only if Robert pleads guilty or no contest. But we've got some other charges we may be able to get him on."

R: "What are they?"

L: "Trafficking in an illegal substance. That is an if, mind you. Rohypnol is found outside the country and there's no evidence he was out of the country."

R: "He probably got the rohypnol in Mexico."

L: (raising her eyebrows) "And how would you know that?"

R: "Two ways. One, I'm an oncologist. Two, any internet search on rohypnol will give you the information you need."

L: "I'll check that out. The second part."

R: "What else?"

L: "The old standby: possession of an illegal substance."

R: "But I can't prove there was rohypnol in my drink. Or even that I ingested the drug. It's been two months."

L: "Right. So we're down to a few things: your word against his. And the other case."

R: "Is that case stronger?"

L: "Somewhat."

R: "The paper reported she was underage."

L: "She's not. That's all my questions for now. But I'll need you to be available in case I have more."

R: "How many questions can you have?"

L: "In these types of cases, a lot of questions. Sometimes the questions need to be asked more than once. Have you retained an attorney?"

R: "Why would I need one?"

L: "If you're going to trial, you'll need one. The state won't assign a lawyer for you."

R: "So I need a lawyer." She sighs again and brushes a wisp of hair from her face.

Lina shuts her notebook and stands up.

L: "Yep. I'll be back in touch. I see you're rather popular today."

Lina indicates the window of Rae's office. Nick is standing there.

L: "That him? Nick?"

R: "Yeah."

L: "Excellent taste."

R: "Yeah. How did you know his name?"

L: "You told me. I chose not to emphasize your slip."

R: "Oh. A slip of the tongue?"

L: "Yep. Might want to watch that in the trial."

R: "I'll keep that thought in mind."

Lina leaves Rae's office, nodding to Nick on her way out. Nick comes into Rae's office and shuts the door.

N: "So? How'd it go?"

He goes over to the couch and sits down.

R: "Usual. Lots of questions. It's like they don't believe me."

N: "What's not to believe?"

R: "It seems to be a pervasive belief in American society: the woman invited the rape."

N: "You invited him in for a drink. He adulterated that drink."

R: "No need to remind me. Know what she asked me?"

N: "What?"

R: "She asked me if I always have 'pretty' drinks. How was I supposed to know he adulterated the vodka?"

N: "You're not. But there is something you can do in the future."

R: "What is that?"

N: "You could purchase drink safe coasters."

R: "Coasters? How could they protect me?"

N: "By telling you if your drink has been adulterated with a date rape drug. Read about them in an inventors magazine."

R: "Thinking of inventing something?"

N: "I was waiting for Doctor Howland to finish with you so I could see you that day."

R: "Ah. Sorry. What about these coasters?"

N: "You can smear a bit of your drink on them and if the coaster changes color you know the drink has been adulterated."

R: "And that would work with rohypnol?"

N: "Yep. They were invented to detect date rape drugs in drinks. "

R: (scratching an itch on her arm) "Where can I get the coasters?"

N: "I'll find out for you."

R: "I'd like that."

A pager goes off. Rae glances at the pager on her desk. Nick has started to reach for his pager when Rae says:

R: "Mine. Tangie again. Want to come with me? She sure likes you."

Nick stands up.

N: "Sure. She likes to play poker and I need to win back some vanilla cokes."

R: "No. She likes you. Meaning: she has a crush on you."

N: "I'm too old for her."

The two docs leave Rae's office and begin walking down the hallway.

R: "It's a schoolgirl crush. You're her hero."

N: "Hero? She turned me into an Enrique song?"

R: (chuckling) "No. Along with her physique, she's developed crushes on certain doctors."

N: "You used the plural."

R: "Tangie's other crush is Matt." Rae imitates a British accent. "Dashing accent, Tangie says. And quite the handsome fellow. When can I meet him?"

N: "Seems I'm not the only popular doc around here."

R: "Would appear so....(calling down the hallway)...Hey! Hold that elevator!"

Nick and Rae run to catch the elevator.

...Meanwhile, Matt has cornered Jackie. She has just finished up with a patient and the next patient is waiting. The two docs are standing near a sink.

M: "Don't forget to wash your hands."

J: "Yes, daddy."

M: "Seriously, underarm bacteria can spread germs."

J: "I am gloved, you know."

M: "Anyways. I came by to ask you if you remembered the name of that reporter you worked with some time ago. The arthritis case?"

J: "You need some publicity?"

M: "Something like that."

J: "I think I can dredge up the information. Can you stop by later on?"

M: "Sure. Now make sure you scrub your hands well."

J: "You just reminded me of that a bit earlier. You stressed?"

M: (running a hand through his hair) "A bit. Earlier I was feeling pretty good."

J: "You ate lunch outside the offices?"

M: "Yes."

J: "That always makes me feel good as well.

Jackie strips off her gloves and scrubs her hands in front of Matt.

J: "Satisfied?"

M: "Infinitely. Mind you, lunch on Monday. The new Thai restaurant down by the PFA all right?"

J: "Sure!"

M: "Thanks."

J: "No problem. Hey, what's your big idea?"

M: "You'll see."

J: "A secret?"

M: "I need David's approval. And no playing girl detective to find out."

J: (smiling) "But that was so fun!"

M: "You identified the wrong person."

J: "He was cleared."

M: "Not in the court of public opinion around here. There's still some suspicion about him."

J: "Why?"

M: "Because once you tag someone for doing a crime, you tend to think a bit less of that person. And when things go missing again, that someone's name crops up first thing."

J: (excitedly) "Something's gone missing?"

M: "Yes. Tom's wallet."

J: "And the maintenance man is the suspect?"

M: "His was the first name that cropped up. Fortunately for him, he had an alibi: he was in Spanish class at the time of the wallet's disappearance."

J: "Tom knows what time his wallet disappeared?"

M: "He knows the approximate time his wallet went MIA. He and Letty were discussing their upcoming vacation plans and he knows he had his wallet at that time. But when he came out of surgery a few hours later, his wallet was gone."

J: "It would appear..."

M: (sternly) "Now no girl detective stuff!"

J: (shrugging her shoulders) "Why not? It's a perfect case. Someone in the surgical suite lifted Tom's wallet."

M: (folding his arms on his chest) "That's not it at all."

J: "How do you know?"

M: "Tom left his wallet in the bathroom stall."

J: "But you said his wallet was stolen."

M: "I never said Tom's wallet was stolen. You asked if something was missing. I merely confirmed a wallet was missing. Tom's wallet. I never said his wallet was stolen."

J: "But you said that there was a suspect!"

M: "You asked if the maintenance man was--and I quote you--the suspect. I told you his name cropped up in connection with the wallet's disappearance. Jackie, this is the problem with you playing girl detective. You interpret the facts wrong and you can implicate an innocent person."

J: (pouting) "So you're telling me to stick with laser hair removal?"

M: "Yes."

J: "Then why did you tell me about the missing wallet?"

M: "Because you were going to hear about the rumor via our hyper-efficient grapevine. Misinformation flies like the speed of sound and the truth is often spread slower than molasses."

J: "Oh."

M: "Now, you've got a patient, and I've got a meeting."

J: "Right then. I'll not play girl detective."

M: "Good. Have a good afternoon and I'll stop by later for the reporter's information."

Matt goes off to his meeting while Jackie stares after him.

...Rae has finished her appointment with Tangie--she needed her lab results read to her. Nick and Rae are walking outside in the sunshine. Rae is heading towards her car--she's off early this afternoon. Nick is escorting her to her car.

R: "See what I mean? Tangie has the biggest crush on you."

N: "You said she also has the biggest crush on Matt."

R: "She can't decide. After all, she's only twelve."

N: "So she's told me."

R: "She's told everyone."

N: "I noticed. Tangie's like another Jules."

R: "Now that's something we don't need duplicated. I enjoy Jules, but one of each personality is enough for me."

N: "Jules can be quite charming. Matt had a crush on her, you know."

R: "I know. Say, I heard Jules set you up on a date with one of her friends."

Rae fumbles in her purse for her car keys.

N: (surprised) "She did? First I've heard of it."

R: "Jules didn't tell you she wants to set you up on a date?"

N: "Nope."

R: (smiling) "Oops. Spilled the beans."

The two docs have reached Rae's car. Rae shuts off the car's alarm, unlocks the door and gets in. Rolling the window down, Rae sticks her head out the window.

R: "You going to accept the date?"

N: "Depends."

R: "On what?"

N: "Dunno."

R: "Mister Mysterious these days, aren't you?"

N: "Maybe. You going to tell Sean about Robert?"

R: "No!"

N: "Don't you think he might want to know?"

R: "Sean's lawyer has petitioned me for more than fifty percent of the marital assets because of our affair. If word gets back to him that I invited another male friend into my home, it could hurt the settlement even more."

N: "How so? You were living in the home alone after you signed separation papers."

R: "The media will drag my name, Robert's name...and your name through the mud."

N: "My name?"

R: "In a rape trial, a woman's sexual history is publicly examined in exquisite detail."

N: "Now that fact I didn't know."

R: "Yeah, well, welcome to America. Sorry it's such a crappy welcome."

N: "I suppose I should retain a lawyer."

R: "Why?"

N: "In case I have to testify."

R: "You don't need to retain a lawyer. Although the defense may call you to the stand as a hostile witness."

N: "I think I'll retain one in any event."

R: "Whatever...I need to be off. See you tomorrow."

Nick steps back as Rae starts her car.

N: "See you tomorrow."

R: "Oh! Could you tell Matt that Mrs Winters is quite improved in her attitude over her last visit with him?"

N: "Sure!"

Nick waves at Rae as she pulls out of her parking space. Nick stands there a moment, then turns back towards Presidio's offices.

...some minutes later, Nick is sitting in David's office. David is on the phone and is turned towards the window. Like the majority of decent offices at UMC, David's office looks over an expanse of green.

Ending his phone conversation, David turns his swivel chair around to find Nick sitting in the chair placed in front of David's desk. David is startled.

D: "Doctor Kokoris! What brings you by?"

David replaces the phone in its cradle.

N: "Rae."

D: "And?"

N: "Should I retain a lawyer?"

D: "What for?"

N: "I may be called to testify."

D: "You wouldn't need a lawyer if you're going to testify. Her lawyer will tell you what you need to know."

N: "And If I'm called for the defense?"

D: "Still, her lawyer will go over that with you. You could hire your own attorney to look after you, but that's really unncessary."

N: "That I might do."

D: "Are you worried the INS will deport you?"

N: "Yes."

D: "You have not committed a crime."

N: "I know."

D: "You worried about the media blitz as well?"

N: "Kind of."

D: "On that I can tell you the less you say, the better it will be for you. The media will examine Rae's, uh, history."

N: "Which includes me." (he pauses a moment) "Will they go into Doctors without Borders?"

D: "Possibly. If they can get a hold of it. Highly unlikely, though. 'They' being the defense. You won't lose your job with DWB over this."

N: "Now that I already know."

D: "It would be up to you if you want to retain a lawyer to look after your own interests with regards to Rae's case."

N: "I think I will retain a lawyer."

D: "Your choice...Matt! Please come in and have a seat."

Nick looks over his shoulder at the doorway. Matt comes into the office.

N: "Hello again."

M: "Thanks for the lunch, Nick. Superb choice."

Matt sits down in the other chair.

N: "You're welcome."

Nick starts to stand up.

N: "I was just leaving."

M: "No, Nick. Stay. I came to ask you, David, if I could set up a press conference."

Interested in Matt's press conference, Nick sits back down.

D: "Press conference?"

M: "About the rumor that SARS is rampant on Noriega Street. I want to emphasize that the rumors are just rumors."

N: "I heard those rumors on the news this weekend. I think it was CBS that ran them on the overnight feed."

D: (stroking his chin) "And that would help?"

M: "I am the WHO SARS Representative and work directly with WHO on this matter."

N: "I thought you were the SARS Control Manager."

M: "They changed my title. That's administration for you."

Nick smiles.

D: "You think a press conference would lessen the rumors about Noriega Street?"

M: "Yes. And the more physicians there, the better."

N: "There?"

M: "On Noriega Street. I want to do a press conference from Noriega Street, with as many physicians as I can get down there, snacking on Chinese food while strolling around in the background."

D: (he holds his hand up) "Whoa! Hold on there! We don't want to give the impression that every physician is taking an extended afternoon snack break."

N: "I think Matt's right. It would do a lot of good for the public to see that if physicians consider the Noriega Street eateries safe, then the public should consider it safe to shop and eat there as well."

D: (glancing at Nick) "Trying to help the shopkeepers?"

M: "I'm trying to stem the tide of rumors gone wild. Contrary to some news reports, there are no SARS cases reported in the City. I've already got Letty and Tom rounded up, along with my med student class."

D: "Well, it couldn't hurt to get a few docs rounded up. All right. Go ahead with the press conference. When do you plan on having the conference?"

M: "As soon as I can get it arranged. Nick, you in?"

N: "You bet!"

Matt smiles. He and Nick stand up to leave.

M: "Thanks, David. I owe you one."

Nick and Matt take their leave of David. Once in the hallway, they run into Harriet.

H: "Nick! Good to see you! I need your help."

N: (raising his eyebrows) "Emergency C?"

H: "No. One of my patients has sliced her palm on a bagel slicer."

M: "Why didn't she go to the suture clinic?"

H: "She already had an appointment with me for an ultrasound but her palm looks worse. And the suture tech's "gone to lunch".

N: "I'll take a look."

The three docs head back towards the working offices of Presidio.

N: "Oh! Before I forget, Matt, Rae said that Mrs Winters is a changed woman."

M: "Hmpf! That's a long shot. That woman was born to shoot verbal bb guns."

N: "Not according to Rae."

H: "Debbie told me about her mother. If she was worried about her diagnosis, then her behavior most likely was a self-defense system."

M: "Not the way she uses vituperative verbal sniper attacks."

N: "Anyways, she's much better."

M: "She's also Rae's patient now."

H: "Only until she needs something else from you, Matt. You are her internist now."

M: (his face falls) "Damn. Forgot I head patients into the various departments."

The three docs have reached the diversion point.

N: "See you tomorrow. Oh, would Harriet be of use?"

H: "Me? For what?"

M: "I'm scheduling a press conference down on Noriega Street to help dispel the rumors going around. I need a bunch of physicians milling around in the background."

H: "I saw the news reports. Let me know when the press conference is. But be careful and don't have too many physicians around. That would make us doctors appear like we eat all afternoon instead of doctoring."

N: "You must be David's clone."

M: "That was almost exactly what he said."

H: "See you around." Matt nods, then leaves. "Nick, this way. I left her in the ultrasound room."

N: "Send her down to my suture room."

H: "All right."

Harriet and Nick go their ways, Nick's way is after the retreating Matt.

...Rae is driving across the Golden Gate Bridge. Her car windows are open, and the soft spring breeze is blowing her hair around. She's put on sunglasses and the cd player is playing a Josh Grobin song: Canto Alla Vita.

Rae isn't sure what to do about her life and her life is going to get a bit more difficult with not only with a divorce but a a date rape trial--the police investigation has just begun. She's glad the media hounds haven't come sniffing yet. She is especially pleased that the university has done a lot to quash the information.

Truthfully, she was shocked and stunned to discover how slickly Robert Winningham managed to avoid being interviewed by the police until the DNA test results were in. Even more shocking was the fact Robert knew the dna results showed the baby is his.

Had the results showed Nick or Sean to be the father, then Rae's claim of date rape could be debunked.

But Robert stayed unavailable to the police and kept his mouth shut until the dna results came in. Had he been interviewed prior to the dna test results, he could have said that he never had sex with Rae or that he was never at Rae's house at any time in the past two months. By waiting until the test results were in, Robert can stick to one story: the sex was consensual.

She thinks the police were lax about getting the interview--couldn't they have tried interviewing him at 2 am? Surely he was home then, sleeping perhaps.

Or maybe someone spilled the beans.

Rae winces at that last thought--for she spilled the information that Jules was trying to set Nick up wtih a date. There's also the possibility that Brenda, the former ER nurse under Doctor Howland, knew Robert--Rae will have to check around about Brenda.

Rae knows the media will flame her for having an affair with Nick during her marriage to Sean and Rae knows that Sean will get even with her by going back to court for more marital assets.

She's not sure how the media will treat Nick, but she thinks Nick might get off quite lightly.

Of course, with Nick's looks, the whole thing might turn to his advantage.

Biting her lower lip, Rae brushes a hank of hair out of her eyes. It's quite useless to brush her hair out of her eyes, as she has all the car windows open and for once, the traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge is moving along at a nice clip.

Then again, she left Presidio's offices before rush hour, so that might explain the light traffic.

Rae's car phone rings. Turning the cd player off, she pushes the button on the hands free speaker phone.

N: "It's Nick. You all right?"

R: "Yeah. Just going for dinner in Sausalito this evening."

N: "Seafood?"

R: "Thinking of it."

N: "You didn't tell me what else happened in the interview. In fact, you didn't introduce me to the nice detective before she left."

R: "Don't get all sarcastic on me, else I won't tell you what else happened."

N: "You will tell me anyways."

R: (sighing) "You're right. Wanna know what Robert did?"

N: "What?"

R: "He managed to avoid being interviewed by the police until the results of the fetal DNA test were in."

N: "Neat trick."

R: "I'd say."

N: "He could have claimed the baby was either Sean's or mine. Or that he was never at your house."

R: "I know that. He also knew the dna test results."

N: "That sounds like an inside job."

R: "Looks like it. Also by the looks of it, Robert can stick to one story by being unavailable for a police interview until the test results were in."

N: "Terry said that Brenda wasn't terminated until yesterday."

R: "I told Detective Rodriguez about Brenda."

N: "Good."

R: "I am not happy about this development."

N: "Neither am I. I can't talk long. Harriet sent me a woman who sliced her palm open. I just wanted to see how you're doing."

R: "Oh you know me. I'll muddle through. Just another war I have to fight. Thanks for phoning."

N: "Welcome. Have a good night."

Before Rae can answer, Nick hangs up. She reaches over and clicks off the speakerphone then turns the cd back on.