Disclaimer: I do not own Three Rivers.
This is my first story for this show. I watched every episode when I found out Alex O'Loughlin was in it!
I realize Lisa Reed may be a little out of character. That helps the plot of the story.
Please let me know what you think and I hope you enjoy this chapter!
Courtney pulls her new car into a space in front of Three Rivers. The car was a gift from her father when she got her license three months ago. They were still talking then.
Courtney is wearing her usual ensemble which consists of anything dark. Right now it's black jeans with a long sleeve purple t-shirt. And, of course, her Converse sneakers add the finishing touch. She realizes that although she tried to tone her dark appearance down, she probably looks scary to little kids, so this whole thing she's doing right now is pretty ironic. But she has to do this because when else does she have the opportunity to see her dad?
She walks into the lobby of the pediatric unit at Three Rivers, reminding herself that it isn't too late to back out of this. But she's in front of the desk now, and as the receptionist looks up from her computer, Courtney realizes there's no chance to back out of this now.
"Courtney!" the receptionist greets warmly. Of course everyone already knows who she is. Even though it's her first day volunteering at Three Rivers, she's familiar with the staff. After all, she spent a lot of time growing up here since this is where her father works.
Courtney doesn't have the same enthusiasm as the receptionist. In fact, she rarely has any enthusiasm for anything these days. She simply nods to return the greeting, along with replying, "Hey, Ruby."
She's pretty sure Ruby goes into one of those "look-how-much-you've-grown- since-the last-time-you've-been-here!" speeches, but she's not really listening. Courtney just wants to get this over with.
When Ruby finally finishes talking, Courtney turns around. The room is filled with little kids, all patients of Three Rivers. This is the moment when Courtney sees him.
His name is Tyler. He goes to the same school as Courtney, a grade older. They share the same music class.
Although she doesn't know Tyler, Courtney doesn't like him, doesn't like his type. He's a jock, friends with kids who are mean to Courtney. Not that Courtney minds if anyone's mean to her, she's more than capable of keeping her head held high no matter what jokes about her being emo and rumors of cutting herself in the bathroom between classes are spread around the school.
But Tyler's never said anything to her, so Courtney decides she has no right to judge him.
Of course he ends up seeing her as well.
"Courtney!" He's all smiles, as if he's catching up with an old friend he hasn't seen in years. Courtney finds this amusing seeing as they've never spoken to each other with the exception of one project for their music class they were paired together to work on.
"I didn't know you volunteered here."
"It's my first day."
Tyler nods, but his attention is pulled away as a little boy comes running over. "Tyler, guess what?"
"I think Phoebe likes me!"
Courtney and Tyler both follow Aiden's gaze to where a group of young girls are sitting together, giggling.
"Should I go talk to her?"
"If that's what you think you should do, yes, go talk to her."
Aiden nods, taking this very seriously. "Okay." He heads off to go talk to Phoebe.
Tyler smiles, looking back at Courtney. "The love of six-year-olds."
Courtney doesn't respond. Tyler's behavior is puzzling her. "You know, you're really confusing me."
"We never talk at school."
Tyler shrugs. "You don't want to talk to me. Remember that project? The only things you said to me were the instructions on what I had to do for the poster. The only thing I told you was I was confused on how to write my part of the report."
Serecetly Courtney wonders how he remembers this, but she changes the subject and says, "So do you volunteer often?"
Tyler nods. "Yeah, I come here a lot."
"I thought you said this your first time volunteering?"
"My dad works here."
"Really? What's he do?"
"He's a surgeon, does transplants and stuff, I don't know. It's too confusing to explain."
A girl who can't be older than five walks over to them. Her eyes are sad. "Tyler? I got hurt."
Courtney takes a mental note that the kids seem to really like Tyler.
After a few comforting reassurances and a bandage is placed over the cut the girl receieved from banging into the wall, Jessica goes back to play with the other kids.
"This is how it goes?" Courtney asks, looking around.
"Pretty much," Tyler confirms. "But it's worth it, you know? No one should have to go what these kids are going through, yet they're forced to do it so young. It's good to help, try to make them happier and less nervous."
Courtney is surprised at Tyler's words. She's always considered him to be just like the rest of his friends, so this Mr. Nice stuff comes as a surprise.
"Yeah, that's good." What a lame respone. Too bad Courtney realizes this after she says it.
Whoa, hold it right there, Courtney thinks. Why do I care if he thinks it's lame? He's just a stupid jock.
Tyler nods. "Until you have to calm a kid down when they see a needle coming their way."
Courtney actually smiles. She never considered that Tyler was...well, that his personality was like this.
"You don't seem thrilled to be here," Tyler points out.
Courtney shrugs and her smile fades, a darker look taking over her face. "Kids tend to be afraid of me. It's my appearance. Really, though, I only signed up so I could see my dad."
"Things not good between you and him?"
"You could say that. We used to be so close." Courtney's smile comes back, albeit slightly, as she thinks back to when she was a little kid, how she used to run into her dad's arms when he came home from work. The smile is gone again when she begins to speak again. "My parents are seperated. My dad stays in the hotel right next to this place."
"So you don't seem him a lot?"
Courtney sighs. "He's called me, texted me, even called my mom at work to ask why I wasn't responding to him. I've been so mad at him recently. I thought he was the reason he and my mom seperated. He's turned into a workaholic. I hated seeing my mother wiping her tears and trying to be strong every night he didn't come home and worked into the next day."
Tyler is silent for a moment, but Courtney can tell he's trying to think of what he should say. He settles on, "Look, I'm not going to lie and say I know how you feel because this has never happened to me and I'm sure you don't want to be lied to."
"You'd be correct."
"I thought so. But maybe you could talk to him. Tell him how you feel. He'll know what to do."
"He's a surgeon, not a psychiatrist."
"True, but as a doctor, wouldn't he be the first person to send you to one?"
Courtney gives Tyler a look that's traced with outrage. "To send me to one? You think that's what I need to do, go to a psychiatrist? That's not what I want! I don't want to talk to some shrink about all my problems and how much my life sucks. I just want my dad to come home every night and ask me how my day was and do things that most fathers do."
"You should still tell him how you feel."
Courtney doesn't say anything because she knows Tyler is right, she just doesn't want to admit it.
The hour seems to go by quickly and Courtney and Tyler are both ready to leave. This is when Tyler surprises Courtney the most.
"I'm going to go talk to my dad," Courtney announces as they head for the elevator.
"Okay. I'll walk you there."
Courtney can't stop her eyes from going wide with shock. The cutest (whoa, where did that come from?), most popular boy in school just offered the goth girl to walk her where she needed to go.
"O-okay. That sounds good." Courtney stumbles to accept the offer, barely managing to form the word "okay."
They exit the elevator at the proper floor and walk to the reception area of the transplant wing. She looks for her dad but can't find him, so she tries to find Miranda, David, or Pam. She can't find them, either, so she and Tyler walk over to the desk. Courtney doesn't recognize who's sitting there.
"Are you new here?" Courtney asks.
Ryan looks up from the computer. "Yeah. I was the assistant transplant coordinator but now I'm the transplant coordinator-"
"Alright," Courtney says, stopping him from rambling. "I'm just looking for Dr. Yablonski."
"Are you here for an appointment?"
Courtney and Tyler both shake their heads.
"So you..." Ryan doesn't really know what to say. "You just know him or something?"
Courtney smiles and gives a short laugh. "Yeah, you could say that."
Ryan is relieved to see the doctor in question walking over to them. "Here he is now."
Courtney turns around to find her father approaching. He's grinning stupidly, but his daughter has refused to see him for a month now, so he has an excuse.
Courtney decides to make amends. "Hi, Daddy. I'm sorry I haven't talked to you."
"It's okay, Courtney. I understand."
He may say that, but it's clear he was disappointed every time Courtney hung up on him. Courtney feels guilty.
A blonde woman in scrubs walks over to the group, sending a smile to Andy. Courtney decides it lasted too long to be a friendly smile. There's something going on.
"Courtney, this is Dr. Lisa Reed. Lisa, this is Courtney, my daughter," Andy introduces.
Lisa appears a bit surprised but is still smiling when she says, "Nice to meet you, Courtney."
"Yeah. You, too." Courtney considers making a sarcastic remark but the look of warning her on her father's face stops her. She wants to get out of here. "Oh, look. There's Miranda. Tyler, you should meet her." She leads the way to where she spotted the woman who has become an older sister to her.
"Hey, Courtney. You haven't been here in a while."
They continue to talk and Courtney introduces Tyler to Miranda, but her mind is focused on Lisa Reed.
"You've never told me you have a daughter," Lisa says when she and Andy are alone.
"Actually, I have two."
Lisa raises her eyebrows. "And it never occurred to you to tell me that?"
"So I assumre you want to know I have a son also?"
"Okay, let me get this straight. You have three kids and you've never told me about any of them?"
"Courtney is sixteen. Rena and I married right out of high school and we didn't plan on having kids for a few years. You can see that didn't go as planned. But we don't reget it. We're so thankful for Courtney. We were nineteen when she was born. We waited a few more years until having more kids. My son Will is ten and my other daughter Brooke is four."
"You never thought to tell me that?"
"Do you have something against me having kids?"
Lisa shrugs. "I don't know. I didn't think of you as...the type."
"Yeah, you know, the type to have kids. I never pictured you as a father."
"Is that supposed to mean you think I'm a bad father?"
"No, it means I just don't see you as a dad, never mind a dad to three kids!"
"You say three kids like that's a bad thing."
Lisa sighs. "I never planned on this. I never expected kids."
Andy doesn't like the way Lisa is talking about his children. They are the reason he has been able to remain sane during the seperation with Rena. He's only seen Will and Brooke in the past month, and now that Courtney is here, he realizes how important family is to have. He feels like an idiot for getting too caught up in work.
He wants to get his family back together. He just doesn't know where to begin.
Meanwhile, Courtney is grinning as she watches Lisa storm away angrily.
"What are we smiling at?" Pam asks, joining the group.
"She's mad," Courtney says, her gaze following Lisa's steps in the direction of the elevator.
"She's a bitch, really," Miranda comments. "Your dad deserves better."
Courtney's voice is quiet when she says, "He deserves my mom."