"At the Heart of Discovery"
Tracy Quartermaine snuck down the stairs quietly, wrapping robe around her. This is getting ridiculous she thought, a fifty-three year old woman sneaking around her own house. Well, her sister-in-law's house.
But the secret was too big and well, her sons would be shocked. Not to mention her father…
The door was unlock, candles lit and a woman waiting for her.
"Hey. You looked horrible."
"Not the greeting to get me into bed, Al." Tracy locked the door, laid her robe on the chair and crossed the room.
"How do I get the infamous Tracy Quartermaine into my bed tonight?" Alice grinned, loving the slight of Tracy in a black nightie.
"Perhaps a back rub. My back has been killing me." Tracy slipped into bed and rolled on her stomach.
"Ah, to do that properly you need to lose the nightgown."
"Really? But that would put me at a disadvantage." Tracy tiled her head questioningly.
"No, not really. Just more for me to kiss, Tiger."
"Ah." The nightgown was off.
After the massage, Tracy rolled over and smiled. "Much better. "
Alice laughed, "Better for you maybe but now I'm worked up."
Tracy kissed her and said, "Well, let's take care of that."
They started to make love when Tracy shifted uncomfortably.
"What? Your back?" Alice asked worriedly.
"No, my chest. It just hurts." Tracy said.
Alice frowned. "Tiger, do you know the warnings signs of a heart attack for woman?"
"Um, no, but I'm sure it's nothing. I've just been working too hard Lion."
"Tiredness, back pain…."Alice trailed off. "I'm getting Monica."
"Alice, it's one in the morning. I'm fine. "
"Good. You can tell Monica that." Alice pulled on a robe.
"Alice!" It was too late Tracy rolled over and winced.Alice raced upstairs and pounded the door. Alan answered sleepily,
"Alice? What's wrong?"
"I need Monica now! I think Tracy's having a heart attack! "
Monica came to the door, sighing, "I knew something was off. I was going to drag her in to the office tomorrow. "She grabbed her robe and her bag, heading towards the door.
"Where is she?" Alan asked, seeing Monica's hesitation.
Alice blushed and pulled her robe tighter. "My room. Um, she's…we were…"
"Alan why don't I l check out Tracy, while Alice gets dress? You can run up and grab clothes for her ok?"
Alan nodded. Alice looked puzzled as they walked downstairs. "Monica, you know Tracy keeps clothes in my room."
"Tracy's big brother doesn't. And from the way you're dressed I can guess Tracy is in a similar state. And Alan doesn't need to see his sister naked." Monica knocked on the door. "Hey Tracy, what's wrong?" She flipped on the lights.
"It hurts." Tracy sighed.
"I know, sweetie. You had a sore back, too and didn't tell me either, I bet." Monica opened her bag. "Let me listen. Definitely, it's a heart attack. "
"Mon? I got clothes." Alan handed the clothes to Alice.
"O.k. Alice why don't you get dress while I help Tracy? And blow out the candles. We don't need a fire tonight. Great, Alan, forget underwear." Monica rolled her eyes.
"Top drawer." Tracy whispered.
Getting underwear out, Monica slipped the t-shirt and knitted shorts on sister-in-law.
Alice let Alan in.
"You decent? Tracy, only you can have a heart attack during sex."
"Alan shut up and carries your sister to the car. I'll dress and meet you in two minutes."
Monica joined them quickly. Alan glanced at her, and whispered
"Happy we push the equality policy through last meeting?"
"Mmm-mmm" Monica climbed in back with Alice and Tracy. "Let's go and for God's sake Alan drives like a normal person."
At the hospital, Alice could only watch helplessly as Monica worked to stabilized Tracy. Alan simply held her shoulders and explained what Monica was doing.
"Alice, it's going to be o.k. Really. The numbers look good."
Monica finally had Tracy stabilized. Tracy grinned weakly,
"Lion, you must've really got my heart racing.'"
"Alice, remember she's in hospital and doesn't know what she's saying. Tracy, remember for someone who is married and having an affair, you are in a public place." Monica said quickly.
Alice tensed at the mention of Tracy's marriage. Tracy noticed this and reached for Alice's hand.
"Alice, relax. He's in Boca Boca or who knows where this week. Lulu is with her grandmother. We are safe. "
"I know. It's just…." Alice ran hand through her hair.
"You want to actually not to commit adultery with your girlfriend of a year?" Monica guessed.
"Would be nice." Alice sighed. "I hate sneaking around."
"Lion…"Tracy moaned. "I will divorce him as soon as he returns this time. Screw the money."
"And the rape charges?" Monica asked, noticing Alan's face darken.
"I'm miserable. Alice's miserable. Getting him on a shaky case of attempted rape, which would involve Dillon, isn't worth it. "Tracy winced. "You do know what you are doing right?"
"I'll send a nurse in to start an IV, o.k." Monica said. "Then I want to run some tests to see how much damage you did to your heart."
Tracy bit her lip. "Are we looking at surgery?" Alice's hand tightens around Tracy's.
Monica paused. "I'll know more after the tests but probably."
Tracy nodded. "Alan, could you inform the family? I want to see the boys and Brook before I go under. And…."
Alice glanced at Tracy.
"I guess our hand's force here, now. Alice has power of attorney and I want her to make any decisions. Not father, not Ned, not Dillon. Alice. I…as soon as the divorce comes through we will be marrying." Tracy said.
"I'll call the boys." Alan said.
"I want a better proposal." Alice said lightly, kissing Tracy's forehead.
"Your turn, now." Tracy smirked. "I did the legal paperwork. You can do the wedding stuff."
"O.k." Alice stroked Tracy's face. "But right now, just rest."
"Mmmm. "Tracy closed her eyes. "Al, you're staying?
"I want to talk to Nica for a sec, o.k." Alice kissed Tracy. "I'll be right back."
Monica raised an eyebrow as Alice walked into the hall. Alice let out a sob.
"I would love to redo the past year. How about you?"
"No kidding. Look, I suspect Tracy has some blockage but we caught it in time. She needs to relax. I hate to say this but the house is not the most relaxing place. Tracy will easily get riled up. "
"Kicking us out? I was thinking a suite at P.C. Hotel. At least two rooms so if Brook or Dillon want to sleep over." Alice said thoughtfully.
Monica nodded. "The family, especially Dillon will not be happy."
"Dillon can deal, especially after what he did a year ago." Alice sighed. "When I got that call from you…"
"I know." Monica found herself remembering another hospital, another town.
"I will be always grateful to you that you did that. I couldn't…." Alice paled.
"Hey she has been my sister on and off for thirty-two years. I wanted to be there. Alan would've been there but I thought he didn't need to see that again."
Alice nodded. The Quartermaines presented a loving if not dysfunctional family picture. The idea of Tracy being so tough on the outside was to hide the twisted relationship she and Edward had. When she was sixteen, an old friend of Edward's raped her. Alan found her the day after. When she told her father he didn't believe her.
"How do I do this?" Alice wondered, referring to telling family.
A glint flashed in Monica's eyes.
"Well, the way Brooklyn found out worked." Monica snickered. "Although Tracy will be paying for therapy for years."
"She should've knocked louder. But at least now they have a better relationship. " Alice allowed herself a small grin.
"Forcing a grandparent to have coffee with you every Tuesday afternoon by blackmail is not a good basis for a relationship." Monica observed.
"By Quartermaine standards? It's a great one! With Ned out of town so much it's been fun having Brookie around. Almost like having a daughter. In fact…" Alice trailed off as the girl in question rushed in.
"Al! How's Granny? Where's everyone?" Brooklyn asked frantically.
"Speak of the devil. Brooklyn calm down, for a sec, sweetie. I'll let your Auntie Monica explain about the medical stuff. Your dad and Dillon are on their way, as well as Edward. Brooks, we decided to tell them. " Alice said softly.
"About you and Granny? Are you sure? What about Luke?"
Alice tensed. "Luke has no proper place in your grandmother's life. Tracy is playing a game and she'll just have to forfeit this time. I won't lose her to Luke Spencer!"
"Why would you lose Mother to Luke?" Ned asked as he, Edward, and Dillon walked in.
Alice took a deep breath and started to formula an answer when Elizabeth pokes her head in the room.
"I need someone to sign this for authorization. "
"I will." Edward immediately stepped forward.
"The patient has a power of attorney with Alice. Alice will sign the paperwork." Monica said firmly.
Alice signed the paperwork with a shaky hand. Elizabeth left the room quickly. Alan and Monica exchanged looks.
"O.k. here's the plan. Monica will fill you in medical stuff and then we'll move on." Alan said.
"Tracy has some blockage and we'll clear it out." Monica started to say.
"Will you be doing the operation, Monica?" Ned asked.
"It's against policy…"
"I want you to do it. My girl deserves the best. Please…" Alice begged.
"I'll be in the room." Monica relented, leaving the room.
"Your girl?" Ned questioned. " Mother is your girl?"
It clicked in Ned's brain.
"How long has this, um, thing been going on? "
Alice sighed. "Two months after Lila's death."
Dillon shifted uncomfortably.
"Two months after Lila's death…year and half? You and my daughter have been sneaking around; doing God knows what in my house for year and half! " Edward bellowed.
Alan sharply said. "Father, that's enough. They're both adults. Alice has been good for Trace. Frankly they didn't hide it all the time. And it's Monica's house. "
"How did it start?" Ned asked
Alice shook her head. "It's irrelevant."
Alan had to grin at that. Tracy in a gay bar was an image most people wouldn't forget. The fact she kept going there, only to coming home with Alice was just funny.
"Really, we should be thanking Alice. Tracy could be in a lot of potential dangerous situations, considering the creeps out there. Right, Dillon? " Alan asked his nephew pointedly.
"Yes, sir." Dillon mumbled.
Alan glanced at Brooklyn, who shrugged. Brooklyn knew what her uncle wanted to do but she felt it was Alice's choice.
"Al?" She wondered.
"I can't. Excuse me, I need to get some air." Alice walked out of the room.
"Where is she going?
"Probably to the chapel. Alice is semi-religious." Alan answered softly.
"Oh. I didn't know that." Edward replied.
"When Monica had to go and rescue Tracy, Alice went and spoke to her minister and prayed for the rest of the day."
"When Dillon and Georgie rushed off to get married, Tracy went after them." Alan began when Edward interrupted.
"We know all this."
"Tracy didn't come home with the rest of group because she was in the hotel unconscious!" Alan snapped. "He drugged her. When she finally came to she called Monica. Monica rushed out and went through the rape exam with her."
Edward fell silent. Ned held Brooklyn tighter.
. "Did he….."Edward asked after a moment.
"I don't know. Monica wouldn't say and Tracy becomes defensive when I approach her about it."
"If she was, we would know, right?" Ned asked
"Would you? She was having an affair with Alice for months and you never found out about it. She keeps secrets." Alan pointed out.
Brooklyn sighed. " Granny wanted to propose to Alice but it just hasn't happen."
Alice returned and sighed. Brooklyn held her hand. Monica popped her head in the waiting room. "Tracy is awake. She wants to see Alice and Brook now."
They walked out of the room.
Tracy lay on the bed staring at the ceiling. She didn't look up when the door open.
"Damnit Monica, I want Alice now! Not another test or to sleep!" She whined.
"Damnit, Tracy, I bought you Alice and your granddaughter!" Monica whined back.
"Lion…."Tracy reached to hug her girlfriend.
"Tiger, I was so scared! Don't ever do that to me again." Alice gently kissed Tracy. Tracy tried to deepen the kiss but Alice broke it.
"Alice?" Tracy asked.
"I want hear what Monica has to say."
"The operation went fine and as long as recovery goes as expected, you will be release from the hospital in a couple days. Now you need to relax. I'm ordering an force vacation from work…"
"Nica…" Tracy started to protest but Alice gave her look. "For how long?"
"At least two weeks." Monica smiled "But maybe more. Brooklyn, do you want to give your grandmother a hug? Just be gentle."
Brooklyn hesitated and then approached the bed.
"Hey, how's my little borrough?" Tracy asked, opening her arms.
"Scared." Brook whispered as she burrowed in.
"Your Auntie Monica fixed me up right. But honey, I want to talk to Alice and Monica alone, ok?" Tracy asked, stroking Brooklyn's hair.
"No? " Tracy asked, looking at her granddaughter.
"Don't want to leave you." Brooklyn whispered, returning her head to Tracy's neck.
"O.k. but we're going to talk about your grandmother's sex life. There will be no comments from the peanut gallery." Monica warned her, ignoring looks of horror from the other women. "Tracy, you need to relax and my house isn't the most relaxing. I was thinking, and Alice agrees, maybe a hotel suite is the best choice."
"So, am I being banished? " Tracy asked, not knowing how to take it.
"For now." Monica answered. "No strenuous physical activities, including sex."
"Um…." Alice struggled to ask the question "what can we do to be close?"
Tracy smirked as Brooklyn moaned and got out of bed, walking out of the room.
"Lion you don't have to scare her more."
Monica laughed. "Massages, shared baths and cuddling for now. I want a check up in two weeks. "
Alice glanced at Tracy.
"Not now, Lion. " Tracy muttered.
"Tiger, if she has an idea how this affect your life expectary I want to know. I want to know when we plan to have a child together. This might changes things."
Monica blinked. "A baby?"
Tracysighed. "Maybe." Alice looked hurt. "Alice, don't give me that look now. I just had a heart attack. I'm sorry, dear, I don't want leave you a widow with child."
"You aren't going to leave me a widow! Look, at your mother, she lived until ninety. Don't even say stuff like that." Alice whispered furiously. "Nica is going to spring you in a couple days and we'll deal with this. We'll have the next thirty-five years together! "
Monica chose wisely to not comment.
"Lion, I don't know that…"
"Look, let's just get some rest, I'll check with Cass Winthrop on Monday about the divorce. I'll forgive anything if you just live…Tiger…"Alice pled.
"Love you. I just don't want to hurt you…"
"Shh…. I know. Love you. Sleep."
Monica walked out and saw her family waiting. Alan stood up.
"How is she?"
"Um, physically Tracy is going to be fine. She's being released in a couple of days."
Dillon spoke up. "What can we do to get the house ready?"
Alan saw a look crossed Monica's face. "She's not coming back to the house, is she?"
"Alice asked me to arrange a hotel suite. I agreed as a doctor it might not be bad if Tracy recover more before jumping back with the sharks." Monica explained.
"So, Mom isn't coming home?" Dillon asked.
"Not right away. She and Alice…"
"What does Alice have to do with anything?" Edward grumbled.
"As Tracy's wife, I expect she would have a lot to do with Tracy's recovery and life." Monica snapped. " But I could be wrong. They have a suite with three bedrooms. I know they plan on a bedroom for Brooklyn but I suspect the guest room is open for visitors. But I suspect it would awhile before Tracy lives with the family again."
"But she's our mother." Ned said. "Why wouldn't she want to be with us?"
Monica groaned. Alan chuckled. "It's your house, dear. They are all of age. Just throw them out whenever you want."
"It's not normal for extended family to live together. I would love to kick you out but I can't justify inflicting you on anyone else. Besides breakfast would be boring."
Alice walked into the room. "She's sleeping."
Alan smiled lightly. "I think that's way I prefer it myself. "
Noticing the family, Alice said "I don't want take Tracy away from you. But she's not going to get the rest at the house she needs. You are the only family I know eat each other along with breakfast. She needs rest and we need to focus on us."
Dillon asked, "What does that mean?"
Alice sighed. "It means in the past year of being a couple, we haven't sleep in the same bed all night for more then three consecutive days. We don't eat meals together. We try to talk on the phone during the days but someone beeps in. I have to serve her breakfast. I don't want that now in my life. I can deal with the family but not now. Monica, I'm resigning. "
"Look, young lady, I don't know where…" Edward started to say when Monica interrupted.
"Al, if you want to take time off and then come to work at hospital for my office is fine. If not Alan and I will write you a recommendation."
"Thanks. I'm still figuring things out and Tracy hasn't weighed in on any of this. But things have got to change. I won't lose another person I love like Lila." With that Alice returned to Tracy's room.
Edward scowled. "Alan can I access the Internet from your office? I want to call this Cass Winthrop and see what the hold up is on the divorce. Then we should take care of Spencer our own way. Alice is going to make quite the Quartermaine. It took you three years before you showed teeth like that, Monica." He cackled.
"Excuse me?!" Monica didn't know whether to be compliment or insulted,.
"Brooklyn, you should start to plan the wedding. Ned, get me the company's lawyers. This is excellent…" Edward was up and running.
"Should we warn them?" Alan whispered to Monica.
"Maybe just a little warning."
As they opened the door and peek in, the couple was curled together oblivious to the world.
"Then again what they don't know can't hurt them, right?" Alan mused.