As my last chapter, I'd like to thank my reviewers and anyone who took the time to read my ramblings. I hope you've enjoyed reading this as much as I've enjoyed writing this. But before I start, I have a response:
Knottaclue: Thanks for reviewing, and being so courteous about it! ;-) I know, I kind of surprised myself, giving Nelson of all people the position of teacher. But then, I thought, who better? I figure he could be a P.E. teacher, but if you really want to stretch the limits, you could could say he teaches History. ;-P
Now, on to the show!
Chapter 6: The Aide
I never asked to be the human equivalent of the Grim Reaper. I also never asked to be the human equivalent of God. But people consider me to be anyway. Every day, from morning to well into the next morning, I watch the deaths, the injuries, and, yes, the births, and I can honestly say they all affect me. Each in their unique and different way.
I'll tell you the truth: I don't remember all of the people I've seen in these 8 years or so, in specifics or anything like that, but I do know their stories have in some ways affected me. Like when a 15-year-old had come in with her parents and sibling, announcing that not only was she pregnant but she was also keeping the baby. I remembered seeing that surge of defiance in her voice, as well as courage, with just a glint of fear mixed in.
It reminded me of my father's response to my defiance. He shipped me off to that… place. But I don't like talking about it anymore. Besides, as I was saying, I remember all of my past patients, whether little flashbacks or entire pieces of events.
Of course, there is one event I don't think I'll be able to so easily forget. Terry McGinnis. He was in my graduating class. He was handsome, had a great girlfriend (who happened to be a close friend of mine back then- I had heard through the grapevine that he and Dana are still together, even now), a super-smart best friend (Max- and damn, was that girl funny), and to top it all off, he was everybody's best friend. You know the type. The guy no one could ever really hate because he was just so nice to you. I mean, he did go to juvie, I think, but he was still liked by everybody.
Well, maybe, Nelson hated him, but that's just one person.
And, okay, maybe Willie Watt hates him. But that was after he went crazy and tried to kill us all. Before, when he was just geeky, nice, sweet, Willie, he and Terry were pretty close friends. Or at least, that's what Max also ways told me.
But I can't really say I thought much of him after graduating Hell High- pardon me, Hill High- until one 'fateful' day when his mother came in, sick.
It's hard telling patients bad news, and even worse when you already know them. This bad news… well, it doesn't get any worse. As you might know, a cure was found for the malignancy known as cancer less than a decade ago. A new alternative to the harmful radiation that was just as likely to cure the cancer as it was to cause it. The downside was this new alternative, while less deadly, it was extremely expensive, to both the hospital and the patient. In these nine or ten years, only a handful have been installed here in the U.S., and even less in Europe.
The Gotham City Hospital (the one I work in) is planning on installing one to benefit everyone in New Jersey, including most of the people in the tri-state area. But it won't be started on for another year, and at least five more before it's complete. The nearest clinic is in Illinois.
Mary McGinnis had cancer. Breast cancer, to be specific. By the time she came in, there was no chance she would last six years. I wasn't even sure if she would through this year. Of course, as a doctor, I was obligated to tell her next of kin about the diagnosis. She wouldn't allow me to. Ms. McGinnis was absolutely obstinate against telling either of her sons about her prognosis.
For the first time, I thought about something other than my patients or my boyfriend. I am- was engaged- at the time, it was the only thing on my mind, with the exception of my patients various stages of health.
But this… I stepped away from myself and my patients and my diagnoses. Here was this woman, a divorcé who lost her ex-husband years ago, still continued to put her two full-grown sons ahead of herself, and absolutely refused to let them know she was sick.
I explained to her the risks, and the damage this could cause to her family, and she patiently explained to me what those same risks did to her mother and what damaged it caused to her family when they knew ahead of time.
"Besides", she continued on in a way I could only describe as stubbornly determined, "Terry and Matt have enough on their plate. They don't need to worry about this old woman's health, too."
I was speechless. Never, in my years at GCH, had I ever met a patient who didn't want her family to know about something as earth-shattering as cancer. Maybe not wanting to tell their family they had contracted the latest HIV-strain, but never cancer.
Nonetheless, she made me swear to not say a word to anyone, especially her sons. She reminded me that she knew people, mainly because of Terry's continued work with Bruce Wayne, and she wouldn't be afraid to sue me if I broke doctor-patient confidentiality.
I assured her I wouldn't, and left her with one of the hospital's best radiologists.
I remember trying valiantly to forget what I heard, and continue making my rounds at the hospital. About two and a half hours later, I had almost gotten back into my normal regimen of finishing up my paperwork, when a gruff voice interrupted me.
"I need blood-work done," he ordered. Sadly, this had not been the first time someone had tried to order me around like that. I had learned not to take that bull and recalled snapping, "I have paperwork to do. Even then, I'm not a nurse. I don't take walk-ins."
My head snapped up. No one called me Chelsea. My boyfriend hardly ever called me that, usually opting for his nickname, Marilyn. Something about some blonde bombshell way back before there was even color TV.
As I stared at the man, memories flooded back. Terry had grown up a lot since we graduated. I think he grew at least half a foot taller. I don't think I would have recognized him, if it wasn't for the eyes. His blue eyes. Those same eyes that told me when my father sent me to that brain-washing psycho, that everything would be alright. That he'd save me from those freaks, no matter what.
"I need you to run these blood samples," he repeated, less commanding then before. But I wasn't really listening. The memories were flooding back of that night. That night, that horrible night. Terry was caught and we were punished. I still had occasional nightmares. If he and the local authorities hadn't stopped that man, I don't know where I'd be.
I owed him. It was the least I could do. I took the lumpy manila folder, asking, "What do you want me to run it against?" I owed him. It was only right to return the favor.
"There are two blood samples in that folder. See if they're related paternally."
He handed me his phone number, to tell him results, and I nodded. By this time, my body was going on autopilot, while my mind was running free. What about his mother? He needed to know, despite the warnings Mary McGinnis gave me.
I ran the blood-work, not paying any attention to what was going on around me. The results found, I called Terry. He picked up on the first ring.
"What is it?" he asked, impatient.
What could I say? What could I do?
He hung up.
A/N: A tad angsty-er than I'd intended, but, all around, a pretty good ending to this insane storyline. Sorry I took so freakin' long, I've been working on this chapter on and off for the past… Oh, 5 months or so. Freaky how time goes by so fast. But I was determined to finish this tonight, if only to move on to my other stories that are waiting. I have not deserted Good Girl Gone Bad, I swear! I'm working on it!
I liked where I took this. I think I managed to tie up what loose ends were left in Epilogue, including how Terry was so positive Bruce was his 'father'. Okay, granted, they mentioned something about Bruce needing a transfusion or whatever, and Terry being his exact match, and what were the chances of that? But still. Terry was a detective, and he'd need absolute proof to know. Enter Dr. Cunningham.
'Least, that's how I see it. ;)