If I Loved You
Authors Note: Episodes of Chicago Hope starring Mandy Patinkin haven't been shown in Britain since the episode where Jeffrey Geiger and Kate Austin's husband (Alan Silver?) had a stand up row over Kate's custody battle. This means (because I only watched it for Mandy Patinkin) that I am completely unaware of events after that. This story imagines he never left, and deals with Jeffrey struggling to have a relationship while Laurie still maintains a strong grip on his emotions. The early story is my theory of what happened with Jeffrey and Laurie's child. If I leave any favourite characters out, it is because I only use those that I am familiar with. It could be said that this story is inspired by Chicago Hope and the character Jeffrey Geiger rather than based on it. I have no medical knowledge so this story will concentrate on the human relations.
It would have been easier if he'd stopped visiting her. She wasn't his wife anymore, so why bother? Sometimes he clung on to the hope that the Laurie he'd fallen in love with was still there. She had been brilliant then, a genius many said. Genius often went hand in hand with madness. They married amidst a sea of good wishes. Laurie kept Jeffrey's more obvious personality disorders in check, so that people said that he'd changed. He was less brash, more sensitive and caring. Then their baby boy was born. Laurie changed immediately. It had been a difficult birth, leaving her scarred and in pain. She hated the child on sight Jeffrey didn't. He adored his son. She saw that as the ultimate betrayal and hated the child even more. In public she played the devoted mother, but in private she occasionally pinched the baby a little too hard, or left him a little too long between feeds.
Then she realised she didn't even want to be a devoted mother anymore. It had been so easy. Jeffrey was always working anyway, leaving her alone to cope with the baby. All she had to do was hold his head under the water. By the time love flooded through her, Joey was dead. She sat on the floor of the bathroom, cradling him in her arms, whispering how sorry she was.
It had been an accident, Jeffrey was sure of it. Laurie loved Joey. He listened in horror as she told the police calmly that she had got bored with Joey. She made the baby sound like a car or a piece of furniture, not a small human being in need of love and care. It was Joey's fault, she said, because Jeffrey loved Joey more than he loved her. It left Jeffrey feeling that he had to prove that Laurie was the only love in his life. The rest, as they say, was history. Laurie was taken to a secure institution, madness gradually taking her over completely. It had been in the family, Jeffrey was told later, but kept from him. Laurie had tried to commit suicide three times by the age of sixteen, they told him. The fact that she had obviously been on the edge for years didn't assuage Jeffrey's guilt. He began his own descent into madness, occasionally interrupted by periods of brilliance and lucidity that made him the top cardio-thoracic surgeon in the States. The only thing that kept Jeffrey out of the secure institution is that he saved lives rather than taking them.
She was sitting near the window with her new husband, Gilbert. Jeffrey suppressed a pang of anguish and strode up to them in his usual brusque manner. They were deep in conversation.
"What did Elvis say?" Laurie was asking.
"He sends his love…" Gilbert replied happily.
"Hey Gilbert!" Jeffrey slapped his rival on the shoulder. "Jack Kennedy said will you meet him in the cafeteria?"
"Oh hi Jeffrey." Gilbert replied, oblivious to Jeffrey's hatred for him. "I'll go find him now."
"Jeffrey that was cruel." Laurie chided as Jeffrey quickly took Gilbert's seat. "You know Kennedy isn't in the cafeteria?"
Jeffrey looked at her hopefully. Maybe there was a spark there somewhere….
"No?" he ventured. "Where is Kennedy, Laurie?"
"They moved him out to a mental facility in Reno yesterday." Laurie replied earnestly. "I didn't tell Gilbert because they're such good friends. I was trying to think of a way to break it to him gently."
Jeffrey's heart sank. No, there was no spark. She was as wacko as ever.
Camille banged her hand against the side of the computer. Nothing happened. She banged again, harder this time.
"Damn this thing?" she muttered. "Colette, do you know how to get the database back? I seem to have..er…" she turned to a junior nurse who was sorting through the drug trolley, ready for rounds.
"I think if you bang it a few more times it might come back." A soft English voice said over Camille's shoulder. "Or perhaps a sharp kick." The voice added dryly. "Though I find that clicking the icon on the taskbar is much better."
Camille turned to see a woman of about thirty five smiling at her. She was petite, only a little over five feet, with dark red hair and vivid grey eyes. Phillip Watters, who stood next to her, wasn't smiling. The IT bill for the hospital was nearly a quarter of a million dollars a year. Kicking the machines was not a financially sound way of dealing with technical problems. He was beginning to wonder if taking Sarah Jakobs on was a good idea. Still he owed some favours to friends in the government.
"It's a joke." The British woman said quickly, seeing his alarmed expression. She reached over and with a quick click restored the database that Camille had lost.
"Thanks…er…?" Camille said quizzically.
"Camille, this is Sarah Jakobs. She is our new Information Technology Training Co-ordinator. She's also responsible for the AIMS project that you're having so much trouble with. Ms Jakobs this is Camille, our Senior Nursing Officer."
"AIMS?" Camille said as though Phillip was speaking a foreign language. She and Sarah held their hands out in greeting.
"Administrative, Information and Medical Services." Sarah told her. "It's the name of the programme you're using. I designed it after struggling for years with the complicated databases hospitals usually use. It may not seem like it at the moment, but this is much easier. I'll be happy to go over it with you. I've just been telling Phillip that I've designed a training programme for all the staff."
"I'll look forward to it." Camille lied. She felt that she was too old to learn new things. Still, she liked Sarah. The British woman had a calming manner about her. Camille hoped that Geiger wouldn't frighten her off.
End of Part One