Julianna hadn't slept at all over the night, for she had spent the entire time watching Lydia carefully and making sure there was enough firewood in the hearth to keep the little shack warm. The baby had already nursed a few times, and she seemed healthy and content. She was a very calm baby, and she was looking more and more like her mother and less and less like Albert. She hadn't looked anything like him from the start, but Julianna still saw no resemblance.
She stood at dawn, and she saw that there had only been a few inches of snow accumulated on top of the previous snow. She breathed a sight of relief, and Lydia made a noise from the bed.
"Oh, I was just thinking," Lydia replied softly, caressing the baby's cheek with her finger.
"Are you feeling all right?"
"Yes," Lydia replied. "Tired and sore, but I'm happy."
"Good," Julianna replied quietly. She sighed softly. "We need to get into town."
"How do you propose to do that?" Lydia asked softly, putting the baby down beside her on the bed.
"I could build something to carry you back on. That might take a while though."
"You can build?" Lydia asked skeptically.
"There's a first time for everything," Julianna said with a slight laugh. She pulled on her coat and hurried outside, shutting the door firmly behind herself. She moved around in the snow, observing her options. She was surprised, however, when she heard two horses coming up the path.
"Hello!" she called.
"Lydia?" She recognized the voice right away.
"Albert? No! It's Julianna!" The horses came around a bend, and Julianna breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of them. "Thank God you're here." Albert's face brightened when he saw her. Maybe she could help him find Lydia.
"Have you seen Lydia?" Albert asked. His heart leapt for joy, when he saw a smile creep over her face. She nodded shortly.
"She's inside." Albert moved to go to the door, but Julianna touched his shoulder. "A word of warning…be very quiet. We're all very tired." Her eyes gleamed. "All three of us." Albert cocked his head to the side for a minute, but Sully understood. He patted Albert on the back, and Albert stared at Julianna, stunned.
"She…the baby's here?" He sounded as if he didn't believe his own words.
"Go have a look." Albert rushed into the shack, and a flood of emotions came over him, when he saw his wife and child lying in a bed at the side. Her eyes widened at the sight of him, too, and she tried to sit up.
"Albert!" she exclaimed. He rushed to her side, brushing the hair out of her face and kissing her softly upon the lips and forehead. "You're here…"
"I'm here," he breathed. "Are you okay?"
"I'm wonderful," she whispered with a smile. "So is she."
"She has my eyes, Albert," Lydia whispered, tears in her eyes. Albert slowly took the baby girl into his arms, and she opened her eyes for only a moment. "My eyes…"
"You're right. She does," he whispered gratefully. He looked at his wife and kissed her again. "I was so worried about you."
"We took care of ourselves. Julianna was wonderful, Albert. She was here the entire time. She didn't leave, and she…she helped with the baby." Julianna and Sully stepped into the small shack, and Albert looked up at his ex-wife.
"Thank you," he said quietly.
"She did all of the work," Julianna assured him.
"Congratulations," Sully said to the happy parents. Julianna gathered up their things and walked out to the horses. Sully helped her carry some of the items, and Albert turned back to Lydia.
"You feel all right?"
"Yes," she replied. She was silent, reminiscing silently until she began to tremble, remembering everything that had happened prior to giving birth.
"Lydia? What is it? What happened?" he asked quietly, studying the features on his new daughter's face, counting her little fingers for the longest time, until Lydia finally spoke up.
"The wagon got stuck in the snow, and I let the horses go. I was walking," she whispered. Her eyes brimmed with tears. "Oh my God."
"What? What is it?"
"He was here! He fell. There was so much blood…"
"Who? Who was here?" She shook her head, covering her face with her hands for a moment, gathering her composure. The anger boiled inside of her, but she was too exhausted to let it out. The baby's birth had taken a lot of strength out of her. "Lydia, tell me. Who?"
"David," she whispered, brushing her tears away. "He…he grabbed me, and I tried to get away. He said he wanted to explain. He fell and hit his head so hard. Oh God…" She sat up slowly, placing her hands on Albert's. "Don't let him take her away. Don't let him take her. He's here for her, Albert! He wants our baby." Albert shook his head, trying to take it all in. David?
"David…" Albert placed the baby back in Lydia's arms and moved across the room, pacing for a few moments. Lydia watched him, tears slowly trickling down her cheeks. "You're sure…?"
"I'm sure. I know it was him. Albert, he's out there. What if…what if he wants to hurt Michaela again?"
"That won't happen," Albert said softly. "He's not going to hurt anybody. He's not going to take anybody away. I promise you that." He kissed her hand softly. "I'm going to go talk to Sully. I'll be right back." Lydia nodded, and she brushed away her tears. Albert rushed out of the shack and found Julianna placing things back in her saddlebags. Sully was fixing up a litter to carry Lydia and the baby back to town on.
"Almost done with this," he said quietly. "She ready to go home?"
"He's back, Sully." Sully tightened a rope around a few pieces of wood, and Julianna raised an eyebrow, looking at them curiously. He threaded the ropes together, holding a part of it in his teeth as he tightened it. Finally, he looked up at Albert.
"He's back? Who's back?" Sully asked, his mind not even thinking about the man who had tortured the woman he loved. David was locked up, and he wasn't a threat to anyone anymore. Why worry about him?
"Sully," Albert said gently. "It's David." Julianna let the journal in her hand plop down into the snow. Neither man noticed, and she stood still, watching as Sully stood quickly, his fists clenching at his side.
"What? What are ya talkin' about? He's in that asylum. He was arrested after…"
"I know, but he's out. Lydia said she saw him right before she went into labor," Albert replied. Sully ran his hand over his face.
"Maybe she was hallucinatin'."
"She's not feverish, Sully. She's so scared. She said he's hurt." Julianna's guilty heart leapt into her chest. Hurt?
"I'm goin' after him. Can you and Julianna handle takin' Lydia back into town on your own?"
"Yes, but I want to go with you. I say we take her back to town, and we both go after him."
"Who's up there!" came a rough voice.
"Over here, Hank!" Sully called. The search parties had joined up and re-grouped before splitting off again an hour ago, after having searched all over, and they were finally gathered in the same place. Hank, Jake, Loren, Martin, Horace, Robert E. and Timothy rode up, bundled in their coats and hats. Hank noticed Julianna right away.
"Where the hell ya been? Ya had the whole town worried."
"We found 'em both," Sully said quietly. "I'm buildin' a litter to take Lydia and the baby home in."
"Baby?" Timothy wondered, holding his bible close to his chest.
"She had her this morning," Julianna spoke up. "I found her in labor and brought her here."
"Found her all by yourself, did ya?" Jake asked.
"That's what I told you," Julianna snapped. Sully cleared his throat.
"Me and Albert need your help."
"What's goin' on?" Loren asked.
"Ya remember David? Dr. Lewis," Sully said quietly.
"From Boston. Yeah. The fella who hurt you folks…" Julianna's eyes widened. "What about him?"
"Lydia saw him. He's out here somewhere. Ya know what he looks like. Ya'd know him if ya saw him. I need ya out there with 'em lookin' for him. He needs to be caught. He can't hurt nobody else. He's done too much as it is. Me and Albert are gonna take Lydia back into town, but we need ya out here lookin'. We'll join ya as soon as we can."
"Why does he need to be caught," Julianna asked, her heart almost not wanting to hear it. Sully cleared his throat, the memory of his wife's attack during his absence breaking his heart. He turned toward her quickly, and his tongue was just as sharp.
"He's hurt a lot of people, Julianna. He's done terrible things that…some people can't even conceive of. He's a sick man, and he deserves to rot." She had never seen him like this. She knew Sully wasn't a cruel man, but what could spark such a nasty outburst of opinions? What had David done?
"C'mon, boys. We'll have ourselves a lynchin'," Hank sneered, biting off the tip of his cigar and lighting it.
"No!" Sully barked. "I want him alive and breathin'. I got a few words of my own to say to 'im." Julianna quickly mounted Royal.
"What do ya think you're doin'?" Jake asked.
"I'm going too."
"Ain't no place for a woman," Hank grumbled.
"I've seen him." Everyone was silent, and Albert looked up at her.
"I've seen him. I…I might know where he is." She held back the tears that were threatening to form.
"Ya know David Lewis?" Sully asked, his fists tightening around the ropes he was holding onto.
"I…I do. I've known him for a while. I know he's ill. He said…he said things that didn't make sense. Now he's waiting. I don't know what he's waiting for, but he says he wants to make up for things…" Sully and Albert exchanged glances before turning back toward Julianna.
"Don't listen to that," Sully replied. "David Lewis does nothin' but hurt people." There was venom in his voice, and it frightened Julianna to think that a man like Sully could hate somebody so much. What frightened her even more was what David could have possibly done to deserve this man's hatred.
"Maybe ya ought 'ta go back to town with Albert and Sully," Horace spoke up.
"Yeah. Ya should tend to Lydia and the baby like a woman's s'posed to," Jake offered. Julianna raised an eyebrow and buttoned up her coat.
"If you don't know by now, gentlemen, I'm not like most women." She tugged on Royal's reins. "Sully, tell Michaela I'll be late for dinner." She brought Royal into a quick trot, leaving all of the men on horseback drop-jawed and bug-eyed.
"We best go after her," Loren said. "Looks like she knows what she's doin'."
"She don't know nothin'," Jake grumbled. Albert shook his head and hurried inside to let Lydia know what was happening.
Up ahead, Julianna could hear the men following slowly. She didn't know what to do. Her heart told her not to break her promise to David, but she already had. She'd told them she knew him. But, he was hurt, and her heart cared for him too much to let him lie out here freezing and hurting. What if he died? She could never forgive herself for that. Besides, her conscience told her that whatever his man had done had obviously been enough to warrant his imprisonment. Perhaps this was what was best for him.
He opened his eyes, feeling the pain throbbing in his head, and he found himself wrapped in a fur blanket. When he touched the back of his head, he felt some sort of damp cloth there. The fire beside him was dying down, but it was still giving off enough heat.
"You are lost?" He sat up at the voice and peered across the flames at the figure before him. He was dressed in odd clothing, and his shiny, long black hair was adorned with a feather in the back.
"An Indian…in Boston?"
"You're not in Boston. You are lost." Cloud Dancing would have been amused if the Spirits hadn't warned him that this was not the kind of man to be friends with. However, he couldn't haven denied the man's need for healing and warmth.
"Of course I'm in Boston. I'm…my book. Where is it?"
"You were alone with nothing with you when I came across you. You will need medicine that I do not have."
"You want to kill me, don't you?" Cloud Dancing's eyes searched those of the stranger. The clouded white eye stared blankly ahead, though his good one flashed with fear, confusion and almost innocence.
"Why would I kill you?" Cloud Dancing pondered.
"You're an Indian."
"Because I am who I am, I should want to kill you?"
"You're all the same." He threw the fur blanket off of himself. "The books I've read…"
"Books. The men who wrote those books have never met people like myself. They know nothing. You know nothing."
"Leave me!" David screamed. "Leave me alone."
"If I leave…"
"I'd rather die alone than by the hands of an Indian." Cloud Dancing shook his head.
"Your eyes tell the story of your loneliness. I cannot help you any longer." Cloud Dancing stood and walked out of the cave, being summoned back to the reservation by the Spirits. David pulled himself closer to the flames. He couldn't remember anything. He wracked his memory, trying to think of how he could have gotten into this God forsaken place. He had been working on a novel. Yes! He had been working on it with someone named Julianna. Julianna Garavaldi. They were partners? He couldn't think straight, and he tried to stand, but his legs gave out, and his body slumped back onto the floor of the cave.
"Horses!" Brian exclaimed, rushing into the clinic. Michaela sighed, as she placed Katie down in her bassinet.
"Brian, how many times have I told you to keep your coat buttoned up?
"But, Dr. Mike! Horses! Sully and Albert are back!" Michaela's eyes filled with hope, and she pulled her coat on, heading outside with Brian. Several townsfolk came rushing over, seeing the young woman on the litter behind Albert's horse. Sully's horse was guiding Lydia's two horses.
"We found 'em," Sully said breathlessly, climbing off of his horse and rushing over to greet his wife with a warm hug and a kiss. Brian jumped up, and Sully picked him up. They were beginning to feel more and more like family, and Sully couldn't describe how wonderful it was to have somebody eager to see him come home.
"Did ya see any bears? Did ya?" Brian asked, his eyes wide with curiosity. Sully couldn't help but smile at Brian's innocence.
"No bears, but we saw a few deer," Sully replied. Michaela rushed over to the litter, and Lydia smiled up at her from under the thick piles of blankets and furs. The baby began to fuss in her arms, and Lydia pulled her close.
"It's a girl," Lydia said softly. Michaela felt tears of joy in her eyes when she saw her friend's firstborn child.
"How are you feeling?"
"Cold," Lydia replied with a grin. Michaela looked up at Sully and Albert.
"Let's get them inside." She looked around. "Where's Julianna?"
"I'll explain when we get inside."
"She's resting," Michaela said with a smile as she walked into the hall. "She and the baby are both perfectly healthy. Congratulations, Albert."
"Thank you, Michaela." Albert pulled her into a hug, and he quickly pulled away. "Sorry…I'm just…"
"No! You're perfectly fine. You have two very tired girls waiting for you in there." Albert grinned from ear to ear and hurried in to spend time with his family. She turned toward Sully, and she shook her head. "Lydia was going on and on about how the baby has her eyes. She so desperately hoped the baby wouldn't look like David."
"About that…" Sully said quietly. Michaela cocked her head to the side.
"Let's go downstairs," he said quietly. He took her hand, and they walked passed Colleen and Brian's room, and they closed off the downstairs examination room so they could talk.
"What's this about, Sully?"
"It's about David." Michaela folded her hands in her lap when she sat down.
"What about him?" She couldn't help but feel a shiver of dread run down her spine. After all, the man had tried to do unspeakable things to her, and he had tried to kill her, hitting the mother of his unborn child instead. Sully took her hands, feeling them tremble in his. He didn't know how to tell her. He didn't know how to break her heart. He didn't know how to face the fear that he knew would shine in her eyes once again. "Sully? Just tell me. Whatever it is…you can tell me anything."
"He ain't in Boston, Michaela. He's…he's here." Michaela drew her hands away.
"What?" Her eyes were big, bright and glassy. They were fixed on his, and she was trying to comprehend what he'd just said to her. She stood slowly.
"Lydia saw him. He's hurt, Michaela. Julianna knows him, and they're lookin'…"
"She didn't know who he was, and she didn't know what he'd done. She still doesn't, but she might know where he is. She's with the search party, and they're lookin' for him now." Michaela shook her head.
"David's here," she breathed, trying to make it settle in. "David…"
"Michaela? Sit back down. Ya don't look so good."
"I'm fine," she said, feeling the blood draining from her face. "You're sure?"
"Lydia's sure. He's the last person she saw before she went into labor." Michaela sighed heavily and moved to check on Katie at the bassinet. The baby was sleeping soundly under her blanket. Sully moved toward his wife, and he saw her shoulders trembling, and he moved to touch her. Thankfully, she didn't pull away.
"What if he wants to hurt her?" Michaela asked. "What if he wants Katie? What if he wants Lydia's baby? He knows, Sully. She told me he knows."
"He ain't gonna do nothin', all right? I won't let him. Soon as he gets here, I'm wirin' Boston." Michaela nodded.
"I don't trust that he won't try to hurt anyone. He's a dangerous man. We have Katie…this baby now. We have the children to protect." She picked Katie up into her arms, and Sully turned her toward him.
"Michaela, nothin' is goin' to happen to our family. I won't let it. I'll kill him first."
Somehow, she had gotten ahead of them. Somehow, she couldn't hear them anymore. She could only see the place she was going, and she was almost there. Almost.
"David?" she asked, looking toward the cave entrance as she approached it. She saw firelight gleaming off of the side of the walls, and it made her stomach do somersaults. What would he say? How could she tell him he was going to have to go back to the place he'd escaped; to the place they had practically chained him to the wall?
She dismounted Royal and trudged through the snow to the mouth of the cave.
"Who's there?" His voice was weak and pitiful, and it broke her heart. "Go away!"
"David. It's me. It's Julianna."
"Julianna?" he asked softly, as she walked into sight. "Are you here to work on the book? We have a deadline, I know." She shook her head.
"No, David. I'm not here about the book. Not today." She saw him shivering by the fire.
"Can you tell me where we are?"
"We're in Colorado Springs, David."
"Colorado Springs? But, Mother and Father want me home for Thanksgiving. I can't possibly make it back. How did I get here?" Her heart broke. Was he slipping away from her again?
"David, don't you realize…"
"You do know me? We're partners?"
"David, what's the matter?"
"I have a headache," he muttered quietly. "I'm bleeding."
"You're a doctor," she said quietly, moving around to kneel beside the fire. "You know more than I do."
"A doctor? No, that's what Uncle Henry wanted me to be. I'm a novelist like you. We're partners, aren't we? I remember us working together. I don't…I don't remember much else." She moved around to take a look at the bandaged gash on the back of his head.
"David, don't you remember the asylum?"
"We were talking about it for the book," he replied.
"Yes, but don't you remember being a patient? You did some things that…"
"Are you serious?" he laughed. "What would I be in an asylum for?"
"David, something…" She moved back around to face him. She pulled up his sleeves, and he looked down at his wrists. "Don't you see?"
"What…I don't understand…"
"Julianna!" came Hank's rough voice from outside. "Where ya at?" Julianna looked at David, tears ebbing in her eyes.
"I'm sorry, David. You need help. I don't want to see you suffering, but you'll die if you stay out here like this."
"Where are you taking me?"
"To the doctor?"
"Dr. Quinn is there."
"Dr. Quinn? Josef Quinn from Boston?"
"No, but I believe…well, let's just go on." She couldn't tell him that Dr. Quinn would fix him up. Obviously, something bad had happened, and she wasn't sure Michaela would even want to see him. Sully obviously hated him. Would Michaela hate him too? She wondered what terrible thing he had done. Who had he hurt? Why did people want to put him away?
"Julianna!" came Jake's voice now.
"In here!" Hank and Jake came in with shotguns in hand, and they were surprised to see the man wrapped in a fur blanket.
"Get away from him, Miss," Jake said.
"Don't hurt him. He doesn't know what he's done."
"What you talkin' bout?" Hank replied.
"I believe he has amnesia. He…he doesn't remember." Julianna stood, and the rest of the men came into the cave.
"We got 'im, boys," Hank replied, taking a rope and roughly tying David's hands behind his back.
"Not so rough!" Julianna demanded.
"What's this about?" David demanded. "What have I done?"
"Don't know, but you're goin' back to town, and you're gonna have to answer to Sully."
"He knows more 'bout what ya did. I'm sure we all will by the end of the day." Hank pulled him up roughly, and David turned toward Julianna.
"I don't understand…"
"Neither do I," she whispered. "But, we'll have it figured out soon. Just come back to town with us, and we'll sort it all out." She swallowed hard, choking on her next two words. "Trust me."
"Okay," he said quietly, walking out of the cave. Julianna's heart broke a little more. He had trusted her before. But, this was for the best. They had to get to the bottom of this.
Katie was sleeping soundly upstairs in Brian and Colleen's room, while they did their homework. School had been cancelled for the day, but Julianna would soon be back, and they would have school again in the morning. Albert, Lydia and baby Lucille Michaela, lovingly called Lucy, were sleeping as well, grateful to be safe and well.
However, Sully and Michaela were not sleeping. They were discussing what was going to happen once David arrived in town with the search party and Julianna. He had explained how Lydia had described David as hitting his head, and Michaela was concerned that she might have to treat him. Sully, however, could care less if David injured himself or not. According to him, David Lewis deserved much, much worse for what he had done.
"Michaela," Sully said quietly, "I ain't havin' that man in here."
"I don't want him in here either, Sully, but I'm a doctor, and I can't turn away a patient." She watched him pace across the room.
"Him ya can." Michaela sighed heavily and moved toward the window. She gently put her hands on her belly.
"I'm frightened, Sully, just as much as you are. We have Katie and the baby…the children. I don't want him here, but I'm the only doctor around, and if a man dies, even if it's David, because I refused to treat him, I could never live with myself."
"Michaela, this is David…" Sully took her hands in his and brought her into his arms. "I can't stand the thought of that man, let alone seein' him again. I can't do it."
"You think I want to?"
"'Course not. I'm just sayin' that I don't see how ya can see him again after…" Michaela quickly shook her head. She didn't want to bring the past back right now. It was over and done with, and that's how she wanted it to remain.
"That's the past, Sully. He won't try that again."
"How can anybody be sure of that?"
"We can't be, but we have to believe that the past is behind us. We have to believe that everything bad…is behind us." She took a deep breath and brushed a stray tear from her cheek. "I don't ever want to look at him again, Sully." She placed her hands on her belly, cradling her womb. "But, I need to do this. I feel like if I can face him, if I can look into his eyes and see the past and not turn in fear, I'll know it's over. I'll know he can't hurt me anymore." Sully sighed softly.
"I'll be here for ya."
"I know. We'll be here for each other." They pulled each other in, holding one another. The baby gave a tremendous kick, and they both felt it.
"He's so strong," Sully said with a chuckle, placing his hands on the sides of Michaela's stomach. "Like his ma." They embraced again, kissing softly, but when the door flew open, they pulled apart in surprise. Hank and Jake came rushing in with an unconscious David between them. Michaela froze as they plopped him down onto the table. Her hand gripped Sully's. Julianna rushed in with Horace. Sully immediately remembered what he needed Horace to do. "Horace. Get over to the telegraph office. Wire the asylum I told ya 'bout earlier."
"I'll get right on it." Horace rushed away, and Michaela stared at David's cold, unconscious body.
"Michaela?" Julianna asked. "Is he going to live?" Michaela continued to stare, seeing that night flash before her eyes over and over again. No matter how hard she tried to push it away, it was all there. Here he was, an inch from freezing to death, and not just a few months ago, she had wanted to see him die.
"Michaela, ya don't gotta do this," Sully said quietly, trying not to look at the man he despised more than anyone on the earth.
"Yes," she whispered, her muscles tensing and her voice straining. "I do." David was lying on his side, and Julianna moved to take his hand. Michaela noticed this, and she couldn't ignore it, as she began to tear away the soft cloth that was crusted with dried blood and sopping with fresh. Touching him made her skin crawl. "You care for him?" Julianna didn't look up just yet. Her eyes stayed fixed on David's, wanting and willing them to open.
"I don't know him," Julianna whispered. "I feel like I do, but I don't. And…I suppose I do care for him."
"I cared for him too, once," Michaela whispered, feeling Sully tense behind her.
"What happened, Michaela?" Julianna asked, her eyes searching Michaela's. Michaela trembled again, but Julianna touched her hand. "Please. I need to understand. Please, tell me why you hate him so much." She looked back at Sully, but he turned toward the window, his hands gripping the black, red and white beads that hung around his neck. He was trying to fight away the urge to strangle what life was left inside of that…that monster.
"I'll tell you everything soon," Michaela said softly. Julianna nodded slowly, tears in her own eyes. Soon. Michaela's hands trembled as she worked, and Sully watched her carefully, afraid that it would become too much. But, she handled it, and she bandaged him up almost without flinching. "There. He needs to rest now."
"We can take him to the jail." Michaela looked up at Sully, and she shook her head.
"He'll need monitoring. He can stay here," she replied.
"Michaela, I don't want him stayin' here, when Lydia and Albert are here, and…"
"We can lock his room from the outside too, Sully. He's too weak to be getting up and about anyway."
"No. You don't have to lock him up. I'll stay with him," Julianna offered. Michaela and Sully shared a glance, and Sully shook his head.
"I don't think that's a good idea."
"Sully? Will you bring in Hank and Jake, and have them help you take David upstairs?" Sully's gaze softened, and he nodded.
"I'll be right back." Michaela nodded, and she moved to the basin to wash her hands.
"Michaela?" Julianna asked. "Tell me. Why was it necessary for him to be in a sanitarium?" Michaela paused, trying to think of a way to break the news to another woman who was apparently falling into his clutches. She skirted around it for several minutes, trying to form her thoughts and words into sentences that wouldn't be too difficult to say. She didn't want to break down, though she knew she probably wouldn't be able to help herself. And, then she told her. She told her of their courtship, of his disappearance, of his change when he came back. She told her of his obsessive mannerisms, the way he watched her and how he had hurt someone else very much. She told her how David had tried to take advantage of her, and how he had shot Lydia while trying to get to her. Now, Julianna was having trouble soaking it all in. Attempted rape? Assault? Attempted murder? That didn't feel like David. It didn't feel like the David she knew, anyway.
"So that's why Albert hates him too? Because he shot Lydia?"
"Yes," Michaela replied, deciding not to embellish. But, Julianna knew right away.
"Michaela? Lydia…Lydia knows David. She was frightened."
"He shot her, Julianna. Any woman would be frightened of him after that." Julianna nodded. Somehow, it made sense. Lucy looked nothing like Albert, and that was why she was so familiar. The baby looked like Lydia but reminded her of David. She wouldn't say it aloud, but in her heart, she knew the truth.
"And you…how could you treat him after…"
"I put it in the back of my mind. I try to remember that he's ill. He needs help that we can't give him, Julianna. Something happened to him when he was young, and whatever it was formed him into what he is today. You should be careful." They were both silent, as Michaela began to clean up. Finally, Julianna spoke again, and the question made Michaela's stomach lurch.
"Did you ever love him?" Julianna asked. Michaela wiped her hands on a towel and shook her head.
"I thought I did once, but it wasn't love. I think it was admiration and respect, until he tried to force me to leave medical school to be with him. I realized that I couldn't have loved him, because if I had, I may not have gone. I was young and confused, but medical school was what I wanted. I cared for practicing medicine more than I cared for David."
"It's sad, in a way. He's obviously never been loved by anyone before."
"What about you?" Michaela turned toward her. "How do you feel about him? I know you said you care, but…"
"I don't know him," Julianna muttered. "I thought I was beginning too, but every time I think I'm starting to understand, something changes. He doesn't seem like the kind of man who would do such awful things." Michaela tensed again. "I believe you, Michaela, but I don't think he's going to. I don't think he remembers. I feel bad, because he seems to be the man he would have been had he not been through…whatever caused him to be this way."
"Sully thinks he's pretending," Michaela whispered.
"As much as I hate what David has done, and as much as I know how he'll do anything to get what he wants, I think a part of me wants him not to remember, so we can all move on."
"I'm sorry about this, Michaela. I'm so sorry for what he's done."
"It's the past, Julianna. He's a very disturbed man." She tried to hide the tears that threatened to fall, but it was too late. Julianna pulled her into a hug, and though they weren't the closest of friends, Michaela practically collapsed in her arms, exhaustion and shock from seeing David again had finally settled in. So, Julianna led her to her desk and helped her sit down. She felt like she was going to collapse herself, so she pulled up a chair.
"You shouldn't be treating him, Michaela. It's not good for you or for your baby. Is there anyone I can wire? Anyone at all?"
"I can do this," Michaela promised.
"But you shouldn't. You know you shouldn't." Michaela sighed heavily. Julianna was right.
"Denver?" Michaela nodded.
"I'll be right back." As soon as Julianna left, Sully came in with Hank and Jake. He noticed the tears in his wife's eyes, and he sent the two upstairs with David in tow.
"Michaela? What is it?"
"Nothing. I'm fine. I'm…"
"Tell me," he whispered, kneeling at her chair.
"I told Julianna about what David's done. She's wiring Dr. Bernard to take over David's case."
"That's good, right?" Sully asked, softly kissing her hand.
"Yes, but…Sully? What if he does have amnesia? What if he wonders why so many people hate him? How is he supposed to react when he finds out what he's done, and he can't remember?"
"It's David, Michaela…"
"What if it's not?"
"What are ya sayin'?"
"If he can't remember, maybe it's for the best. Maybe it's a second chance for him to start over. He can be the man he should have been, Sully. He can settle down and lead a good life. Maybe…" Sully sighed and stood, moving toward the window, frustration obvious in his tense neck muscles. She stood and moved toward him, wrapping her arms around him and resting her head against his back.
"I don't trust him."
"Neither do I."
"I don't want him near the children."
"We'll have the children stay somewhere else," Michaela whispered. "We'll see what happens." Sully turned, enfolding her into his arms.
"I don't want ya alone with him." She shook her head.
"Neither do I. Sully, I want to know for sure. I want to look into his eyes and see if he remembers."
"How will ya know?" She swallowed hard and kissed his cheek.
"Trust me. I'll know." At that moment, Albert came rushing down the stairs.
"Michaela!" Michaela turned quickly and moved toward him.
"What is it, Albert?" He was breathless, and he put his hand against the wall to steady himself. He took a heavy breath, and Sully hurried over in case he passed out.
"It's Lydia! She's shaking..." At that moment, a chill swept throughout the room, and a terrified scream rattled throughout the clinic, chilling everyone right to their bones.
Before you tar and feather me, make note that I ended "From a Distance" with a cliffhanger. I didn't resolve much in this last chapter, mainly because stopping here wasn't planned until the last minute. Look for a sequel to this soon! (HOPEFULLY!)