There were few moments he regretted in life, Joe reflected as he drowned his depressing thoughts with expensive Italian wine, and he'd be the first to say the night he killed a man because he was too high to do his job properly was and was not one of them.
If he hadn't done it, then he'd never be owned by the mob…
If he hadn't done it, then he'd never work for Mercy Hospital….he'd never meet Chloe Payne…
If he hadn't done it, then he'd never be owned by the mob and never marry Jules Fattore…and he'd never break Chloe Payne's heart.
The din of his new in-laws and guests became a white noise, letting him know he was conscious even though he wasn't there…as Jules was dancing the night away with her bridesmaids, her white (it took all he could to not dye it with his red wine) dress alone cost more than his father made in a year when he had been alive…he was standing alone amongst the crowd, looking like the happy newlywed groom
If his new father and brother in-law at the slightest inclination that his mind was full of images of another woman, of a young nurse ….well he'd only hope they could find his body to bury it…
It didn't stop the memories of Chloe though, of her large blue eyes staring off, looking everywhere but his own eyes… she hadn't looked him in the eye since she saw the ring on Jules's finger….
Since she kissed him.
And it was killing him, a far worse death than anything the Fattores's would do to him.
There was nothing he could do about it.
Their kiss – it was spontaneous and wonderful and burned through his soul ….
Now he was a rotting carcass … ash dusting off in the wind, licking away his very last hope he would be able to turn this around.
But it was too late – she was gone.
'By God she had loved her apartment', Chloe thought to herself as she packed the final box in her now empty home, 'it was gorgeous with large windows and the rent was fantastic since her landlady had a soft heart for single women.'
She loved working at Mercy too – it was her first hospital – the first place that felt like it was her hospital, someplace she worked and she had made friends – lots of friends – she even fell in love…
With the worse possible person – Dr. Joe Briggs.
It hadn't happened right away; in fact at first she detested him, as a man. She respected him as a doctor though, and it was months after knowing him, working with him, seeing him…
She was even dating someone else and then she had a revelation.
"I want more depth."
Chloe remembered telling Sonya and Veronica that night she ran from Andy's Frat House, fully realizing just how young he was. How he wasn't exactly what she was looking for…how he wasn't…
Have some fun.
That was the advice they gave her…but Chloe didn't just want fun….not fun fun…She did but she didn't…
He proved to be more of a great guy when he helped her save her patient but
There's always a but.
She tried to give into the idea of fun – fun with soft hands Andy but Briggs needed her help with a surgery.
Oh be honest with yourself Payne….what's the core of that statement.
But Briggs needed her help with a surgery
Briggs needed her
Oh dear God above.
When the dickens did that happen? Hunh Payne – Chloe Payne are you listening to your brain?'
She tried to fight the truth of it, and then life became a blur of trying to save Andy from himself, trying to save him and failing.
Thankfully his family wasn't suing her – they just wished she was successful in keeping him alive.
She did too especially since it wasn't Andy's early death that broke her heart.
It was Briggs. Briggs and his rich, stunning Italian fiancé. Briggs who she had kissed with all she had the night Andy died. Briggs who drove her over the edge time and time again.
The man she loved.
She couldn't look at him after that, it was cowardly but she couldn't. She didn't know what she would do or say if he looked her in the eye…he had a way of making her want to just tell him the truth all the time.
And now she wouldn't have to. Now she was moving to go to medical and work her way through school at Princeton-Plainsboro.
She thought she wanted to be a nurse to help people, but then she got a taste of being right when the doctor was wrong, something most doctors detested.
As she closed and locked the door behind her, sweeping her long brown hair back, leaving Mercy, leaving behind Nurse Chloe Payne to become Doctor Chloe Payne.
Authors Note: Mercy was cancelled, sad but true. This is the last chapter of this story – its far shorter than I ever imagined, but the plot continues. I plan on writing a Mercy/House crossover to take Chloe through med school – where her story with Briggs ends….well y'all just have to wait and see.
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