LEGACIES AND LOLLIPOPS - 20

by MAGDALA

Part Twenty - FIRST DRAFT

I waited and waited for Greg to answer. I lifted my head and looked at him. He was staring into space there was desolation in his extraordinary blue eyes as he moistened his lips with his tongue. Although our bodies touched skin to skin for their entire length his mind was elsewhere. He might as well have been in another country. I felt as though I was drowning.

Then he was back. His eyes grayed and locked onto mine his face was lined with sadness. "Can I be what you want me to be? You said you were lonely with me. That there wasn't room for you."

"I was lying. I was trying to hold my marriage together." My hand swept across his heaving chest holding him tighter. "I love you. I can't love anyone else. I made a terrible mistake."

"Stacy. I hurt you. I might not have waved a gun in your face but I hurt you just as badly." He said. " I love you too but I know I am capable of hurting you."

"Greg it was your leg and everything that happened to you. I let them do that to you." Tears were starting to roll down my cheeks again. "You had to blame me. You couldn't forgive me for that."

"Yeah blame the one person without a medical qualification. That makes sense?" He had turned his sarcasm on himself. "It wasn't your fault. None of it was your fault. And I have been so damn cruel to you. Can you forgive me for that?"

"Can we be together?" I asked.

"I'm not sure I can be enough for you," he said clinging on to me. "There isn't much more even Tink can do to help the pain and won't be as fit as I was before these surgeries. I am not even sure if I am able to make love to you."

"I want you however you are. I just want you and no one else." There was no doubt in my voice. No doubt in any part of me.

"I can't stand the thought of you having to be my nurse." He said sadly. I realized he was really frightened about the future and could easily talk himself out of our relationship. I knew I had to turn him around, and fast.

"Like you'd let that happen? I'll be exactly what I want to be and what I need to be. I love you, you idiot."

"Idiot. I thought I was more of a jerk."

"That's what you said five years ago. You really haven't changed much have you?" I found his lips and kissed him into a forced silence.

As I lay back against his shoulder I notice he had calmed down and the lines on his face were smoothed and lessened. He gently caressed my naked body. I could feel his hand tiring. I ran my hand down his cheek and whispered my permission to stop and go to sleep while I just caressed him. I stroked and held onto the parts of him that Tink had told me could not hurt him and could only help him. Very soon he was sleeping peacefully with me in his arms. We were becoming a couple again and that was just the beginning.

Twice in the night he woke needing to pee and did not complain when I helped as the nurse had done. When I emptied the hospital container and rinsed it clean for the next time I realized how much Tink had done for him. She had helped him to open up and let others in without feeling a humiliating loss of dignity. I remembered how she had touched him and taught him to relax. Julian was right there too. I recalled how he had lifted Greg clear of his hospital bed. Julian at well over 6 feet 2 inches was as tall as Greg and while Julian was a strong man is was possible to see how much weight Greg had lost and frail he had become.

It was my entire fault he had been so ill and would need a lot of therapy before he was even close to recovery. I hadn't insisted he treat Mark he would not have been injured. But it was no good thinking of what might have been. I could change none of the past. I was starting over and I had missed him so much. I crawled back into bed beside him snuggling against him automatically his arms encircled me without him stirring. I dared to believe we were a couple and then I too fell asleep.

When Greg shook me awake it was morning. The phone was ringing.

"You'll have to get that," said Greg. The phone was right beside him on the bedside table. I reached for it. "No it's your phone ringing in your room" laughed Greg.

I had left the adjoining door open so I got out of bed and grabbing the discarded toweling robe rushed to my room and my phone. It was Tink. She apologized for calling so early but said she needed to see me. I asked her to give me a moment to get on some clothes. I looked at my watch. It was seven am.

I rushed back to Greg and hastily straightened the bed so that it looked as though I had not slept there. "You really think you can fool Tink" said Greg.

"Our cop might want to talk to me too. And what about the nurse she will be arriving soon?"

I closed the connecting door on his laughter and then quickly threw on some underwear, jeans and a knit top. I hardly had time to put a brush through my hair when there was a knock at the door. I quickly pulled open the bed and jumped on it trying to make it look as though it had been used.

It was Tink and Cliff the big cop I brought them into the room. And finished the charade by covering the bed roughly then we sat down together on the easy chairs around the coffee table.

"I'll call room service ... do you two want coffee?" I asked.

"Should be arriving any moment I asked them to send some up." Said Tink.

The reason they were both there was that somehow the word had got out to the press about Mark and there was a story in the morning press. The only thing I was glad about was that Greg had not been mentioned. There was a knock at the door it was the coffee Tink would not allow me to sign for it. There was an extra cup for Greg.

I filled it went to the door which connect to his room. I knocked then hearing his voice opened the door and went through carrying the cup.

"Tink thought you might like coffee." I said putting it on the bedside table.

"Tell them to come in here. No more secrets okay?" He pulled me towards him. I leant forward and my lips touched his.

"Okay." I said. "Greg, the press know about Mark and the gun."

"Had to happen."

Cliff and Greg got on well Greg remembered Cliff's wife was called Ally and he was pleased that she had totally recovered from the illness he had diagnosed. Although Greg made light of his contribution to her survival Cliff knew better.

I was concerned that the story of Mark's attack being in the paper might somehow sabotage the announcement of the pain management clinic. Tink said she had spoken to Cuddy and Wilson and they decided the best plan was go ahead as though nothing had happened that it would be a joint announcement from Cuddy, Tink and Cameron.

"Cameron?" I asked.

"Tink and Julian gave me no choice." He smiled. "They hold the purse strings and they seem to think the pain clinic needs to be headed by someone with compassion. Cuddy had to go with it."

"Cameron accepted?"

"I gave her no choice. I had a fuzzy memory of her taking charge before my back surgery. Providing she isn't with people who are actually dying, Cameron's fairly understanding about pain." He smiled "She's pretty too. Probably be front page tomorrow."

"Cameron's a great choice." It made so much sense to me. "But what about diagnostics."

"She doesn't know it yet but she'll get called in for consults all the time. She'll grow to hate diagnostics like I hate the clinic."

Cliff turned to me "So you are going to stay at the hotel this morning and I will make sure you stay safe."

"I suppose you have to go back to the hospital then." I said to Greg.

"No, darling." He answered. "I am being a pain-management lab-rat."

"In England find people suffering pain cascades are often better treated outside of a hospital though not necessarily in their own home. Particularly if they live alone. The service in a hotel sometimes augmented by a special nurse is usually better for the patient."

"So I'll be looking after the pair of you then." Said Cliff as he stood to leave. " Time I checked in with hotel securing to make sure they do their stuff too."

As soon as he was gone Greg grimaced. "Where's that bloody nurse?"

"Take two vicodin. I'll get you some milk."

"Tink. I need to take a dump."

"Oh that's different." She smiled, "I'll get Julian. He's the one who does the heavy lifting."

She left instantly aware it was a matter of urgency. Greg was starting to perspire. I opened the bar fridge and got out the small carton of milk.

I opened it and took it over to Greg.

"You need vicodin too?"

He nodded grabbing his pill jar from the bedside table and shaking two into his hand and putting them in his mouth. I handed him the milk and he drank it straight from the carton.

Tink returned with Julian. Julian looked at Greg "How do you want to do this, wheelchair and move, carry or support and steady?"

"Support and steady."

" Where are the gowns?" Asked Julian. I picked up the folded gown from the chair by the writing table and handed it to him. Julian helped Greg sit up and thread his arms through the gown.

"Right can you get your feet onto the floor?"

Seeing the effort Greg was having Tink suggested she wanted more coffee. I realized what she meant was that Greg needed as much privacy as possible. So together we went into my room and closed the door.

I was silent as she poured more coffee for both of us.

"Is he really alright here?" I asked Tink.

"I want him as far from that hospital as possible." She said in a voice bordering on anger.

"The main problem for Greg is that his doctors and any access to pain management is literally 'in house' at PPTH." She said. "He hasn't been able to fully depend on the doctor/patient confidentiality most patients would be able to take for granted. He cannot have an Xray, an MRI or even a blood test without it getting round the hospital."

"Stacy, I am not saying that Cuddy or Wilson would intentionally breach his confidentiality but I know it has happened. To have his healthcare controlled by his workplace him particularly vulnerable as a patient and an employee. Cuddy seems to consider the chronic pain he suffers is psychological and that he is addicted to the pain pills. She is entirely wrong on both counts but she has added to his anxiety as this threatens his professional standing and questions the reliability of his intellectual processes."

"This is the value of starting the Pain Management Clinic. Cuddy can announce it and that will feed her ego. Then Cameron becomes his primary physician and Cuddy is off his case." That was a clever move.

"Won't the job need to be advertised?"

"Don't see why. I read her letter about Greg at our lecture. Best application I've ever read." Said Tink.

"You know she loves Greg?"

"And she knows he loves you and you love him. You have no need to worry, Stacy. She is one person who really knows the most important rule regarding the doctor patient relationship."

"And what rule is that?"

"You must never ever bonk your patient."

"Bonk?"

"Copulate with, fornicate with, make love to, have intercourse with, screw, shag, or bang." She said "You two slept together last night didn't you?"

"Yes but we did not bonk" I said.

Tink looked the question.

"He doesn't know if he will be able to make love again."