A One Shot
FNF#6: "The time between meeting and finally leaving is sometimes called falling in love." – Falling In Love, Lisa Loeb
Friday Night, 4:50 PM
Elizabeth Webber was a closet romantic.
Despite the fact that her heart had just been broken six months prior, resulting in her relocation to Port Charles in the first place, she still firmly believed that love existed and that it was waiting for her… somewhere. All she had to do was persist long enough to find it, and, if that meant putting her recently mended heart back out there on the market, then so be it. After all, she knew that stumbling upon her soul mate would not be an easy task. Some people looked their whole lives and never found true love, but she was tenacious and, perhaps, more importantly, she was hopeful. So, with stars in her eyes and optimism filling her chest, she was going on her first date since her failed engagement, and she looked damn good, too.
Leo had been vague about their plans for the evening, telling her that she'd like it, maybe even adore it, but not telling her where 'it' was. However, it was their first date, so the brunette nurse felt she was safe in assuming it was either dinner at some out of the way, delicious restaurant or some kind of show, probably music knowing the cardiologist. In fact, it was his love for the arts that had attracted her to the doctor in the first place. While she, herself, preferred painting, sculpture, and photography, she could appreciate her coworker's passion for all things rock n' roll. After all, she enjoyed a good song just as much as the next person did, and it was Leo's penchant for music that started their friendship originally.
Working a swing shift her first week at General Hospital, Elizabeth had been unprepared for the boredom she would face during the layover period. After already having eaten her lunch but not tired enough to take a nap in the on-call room or bored enough to try reading a medical journal, the gifted surgeon had stumbled across her wearily blowing her long, side swept bangs out of her eyes over and over and over again. He had laughed at her before simply handing over the very iPod he himself was listening to, telling her to give it back to him whenever she had a chance. From that moment on, he was her go-to guy for all things music related, and they had struck up an immediate friendship.
And, now, six months later, they were on the verge of becoming more than friends. She had actually been the one to take the initiative to ask him out, but Leo had readily, eagerly accepted. So, here she was – five minutes until five, their designated pickup time, and she was standing in her front hallway, doing some final primping in front of the large mirror placed over the little catch-all table she kept in the entranceway of her apartment. Hair down and tamed into a wild mane of loose, rich curls, makeup soft and minimal, even Elizabeth had to admit that she looked damn good – soft yet approachable, and her clothes were simple but meant to impress. With her tightest pair of dark denim jeans on and a
flirtatious, sleeveless handkerchief shirt that tied and left most of her back bare and revealed, she finished the ensemble off with a pair of ridiculously high stiletto heels, ones that gave off the vibe that she was definitely on the market.
Well, that was if the cardiologist didn't seal the deal that evening.
As he rang her doorbell, alerting her to the fact that he was early, she turned one last time to the mirror, pinched the apples of her cheeks to give them a natural, rosy blush, and then moved to let her friend – and date – in. He greeted her with a smile and flowers, but, oddly enough, the sweet gesture made the petite brunette frown slightly, for it just seemed too cliché. However, she was determined to have a good time, and she was not going to allow one bad idea on the doctor's behalf to ruin their evening. So, with a positive mindset, they left together, hand in hand, their destination still unknown to Elizabeth.
Friday Night, 5:45 PM
Her feet hurt.
Apparently, her date really liked to walk. When she had asked why he didn't actually drive to pick her up, Leo had explained that he didn't even own a car, that he either walked or biked anywhere that he needed to go, and, since his bike wasn't one built for two, they would be traveling by foot that evening, and, while Elizabeth could appreciate his devotion to the environment, she was slightly irritated with the doctor for not preparing her for such an event. After all, if she had known they would be hiking it through the wilds of downtown Port Charles all evening, she wouldn't have worn heels, but, trying to push aside her frustration, she turned back to her date, a charming if not counterfeit smile plastered to her slightly perspiring face.
"So, I was out for a jog one night when I discovered this little hidden treasure of a record store," the cardiologist shared, ushering the nurse into the lower level, basement shop. Unfortunately, it was even hotter inside, thanks to the brick building that housed it, than it was outside on the sidewalks. "If I'm at the gym working out, I take one of my iPods with me." That was something else Elizabeth had learned about her date so far that evening – the reason he had not minded handing over to her his listening device all those months ago was because he had more than one, several, in fact, one for each genre… or sub-genre as the case may be… in music existence. "But, when I run around the block, I like to just listen to the sounds of my setting, take in the elements, you know, be one with my surroundings. It really helps to ground me as a musician.
"Anyway," Leo explained as they picked their way through the store's narrow aisles. "As I was running down this street, I heard a song that I'd never heard before coming from inside these very walls. So, do you know what I did?"
"You tuned it out and kept running," Elizabeth suggested, finding herself mocking the doctor simply because, to be blunt, he was annoying her.
But, unfortunately, Leo was too wrapped up in his story to even recognize her derision, and,
instead, he laughed, believing her comment to be a joke. "You're a funny girl, Webber, but, no, of course not. I stopped what I was doing and went to explore, and, since that night, not a week goes by when I don't stop in here to check out if Banjo's gotten any new stock in."
"Oh, he's awesome, Liz, the coolest guy you'll ever meet. Come on," he insisted, dragging her towards the back of the store where, apparently, Banjo could be found. "You'll love him."
"No, really, that's not necessary," she tried to beg off, exceedingly not interested in meeting some middle aged, record shop loser who had nothing better to do with his time than befriend a wanna-be rock star cardiologist. Plus, she was starting to get really hungry, and she hoped that their next stop would be a restaurant, so, if she could speed up Leo's trip down memory lane by avoiding the backroom of some grungy, dirty little store, then so be it. "Come on," she insisted, digging in her heels as she tried to dissuade her date. "I'm sure he's busy, and I'm very curious as to where you're going to take me next."
"Well, if you're sure," the music lover questioned, obviously doubting her words. But, when Elizabeth nodded, he could no longer argue. "Alright, he finally agreed, smiling, once again. "If you thought this place was great, you're going to love the next one. I promise."
All of a sudden, she had a feeling they would not be eating anytime soon.
Friday Night, 7:00 PM
She was a frizzy, sweaty mess… and it was all his fault.
After taking, perhaps, the longest possible route around Port Charles, the cardiologist had finally deposited them in front of, yet again, another record store. However, instead of specializing in vintage bands like the previous one, their second stop, he told her, sold only the works of local and undiscovered musicians, and, as they stepped inside, the scent of what else the proprietors sold informed Elizabeth that, fortunately for the rest of the world, there weren't many Leo Julian's out there to appreciate the hole in the wall shop. The place smelled like both her old high school dark room, for all the stoners had used it to get high during the school day, and cat urine, but, at least, with its stench, her appetite temporarily disappeared.
"I know you're probably not going to believe this," the doctor gushed, fairly pushing her by the shoulders towards the darkest, dirtiest, most odorous corner of the store, and Elizabeth realized that the first thing she was going to do when she got home later that evening was disinfect herself with an entire bottle of bleach, no matter how rough it was on her soft skin, "but I actually have a CD here for sale myself."
With a dry tone, she complimented, "wow."
"I know! It's amazing," Leo agreed, plucking it quickly off the shelf. His distinct knowledge of where it was told her that he probably stood in front of the display box at least once a day staring at the EP that not only had his name but also his countenance on it. "And the best part is that I actually sold one once."
"You're kidding." And she really hoped, for some poor sucker's sake, that he was.
"Oh, it was such a rush," the cardiologist confessed, dazing off with the memories of the moment he was recalling. "I came in here about four weeks ago and saw that a copy was missing, and it felt like I had finally made it as a musician, you know. I mean, I produced the whole thing in my basement just using my guitar and my computer, so it's rough, but someone liked it enough to pay three bucks for it."
Or, the brunette mused to herself, smirking at the very idea, someone had thought it was ridiculous enough to steal and then take home to show their friends so they could all make fun of it. After all, that's what she would do.
"Come with me," Leo insisted, taking her hand and leading her towards the counter. "I want to buy you a copy."
"No, please," she begged off, attempting – and failing – to pull her fingers out of the taller, older man's grasp. "That's not necessary. Really, I wouldn't feel comfortable with you buying me something on the first date."
"Alright," he conceded, and she sighed a breath of relief only to feel the thin case shoved into her own grasp. "If you insist, then you can pay for it."
And she did, because, no matter what, she did work with the guy, and she really didn't want to alienate him for life. Cardiology surgeries were too cool to do that. However, the only thing she would be doing with Leo Julian's self titled, debut CD was playing Frisbee or frying her microwave simply for the satisfaction of watching the disk burn to a crisp.
Friday Night, 9:45 PM
If she would ever be able to walk again, it would be an impressive feat; if she was ever able to show her face in Port Charles again, it would be a modern miracle.
After another stop at another record store, her date had finally whisked her off to the park for a concert. Believing she would finally get a chance to sit down, Elizabeth had been fairly giddy, her toes almost hopeful that they wouldn't permanently get gangrene and fall off. But, quickly, she learned just how mistaken she was, because the concert wasn't classical music or folk rock or even a hillbilly country band, but, rather, it was heavy metal with full on moshing, and she had been forced to stand on her feet for the past fifty minutes.
She was going to kill the man beside her - not because he had taken her on what was probably the worst date in the history of mankind, and not because she was so hungry her stomach was preparing to revolt, but because he was screaming along with the band, word
for word, and jumping up and down and spinning around on his knees playing the air guitar throughout the entire performance. Never in her life had the registered nurse been so embarrassed.
"I'm… um… going to go see if anyone's selling bottled water, okay?"
Instead of replying with words, the doctor she had, just hours before, actually respected and liked, gave her the 'rock on' signal with his left hand, complete with a Gene Simmons worthy tongue roll, and Elizabeth set out to distance herself from the ludicrously overgrown man-child, even if it meant abandoning him there by himself in the park. Her steps were slow, though, because her feet were so sore, and it took her several minutes to make her way across the public commons. Finally, however, she reached a quiet, rather sedate corner of the recreational area and started to relax, untensing her shoulders and searching for a spot to sit and recoup.
Spotting a nearby bench, she went to move towards it, only to have one of her ridiculously high, meant to seduce stilettos get caught in a crack of the sidewalk, tripping her. There was no fighting gravity either. After the night she had, she just went with it, hoping to twist her body around enough to avoid serious injury. The results, though, proved less than fruitful, and she struck her head against the concrete, pain immediately ricocheting through her neck. Sadly enough, it was the best part of her date thus far.
With her eyes closed, she didn't see the man approach her, so, when she heard his rough yet still soothing, engaging yet still husky voice call out to her, she was startled. "You okay?"
And then his hands were upon her - hard, calloused, and perfectly masculine hands whispering over the back of her skull, down her neck, and then around to caress her jaw. Lifting her gaze to reassure him, her own deep, sapphire orbs locked with the clearest, brightest pair of cobalt blue eyes she had ever seen, and instant attraction sliced through Elizabeth, reinvigorating her previously exhausted and aching body.
"Yeah," she murmured, offering the stranger a reassuring, crooked grin.
But the quiet, still moment of temptation was ruined by Leo happening upon the scene and hastily reaching out to pull her up to her feet. "Hey, there you are," he addressed her before turning to the other man. "Thanks, buddy," he rudely dismissed the handsome blonde, "but I've got it from here."
Leading her away, he rambled on and on about their date and how wonderful it had been, insisting upon another one, but Elizabeth didn't hear a word he uttered. Instead, her focus was solely on the man they were leaving behind, her eyes remaining on him for as long as they possible could, and, as soon as he disappeared from her line of sight, realization dawned.
She had just fallen in love.