TITLE: The Exit... What If?

DATE: Aug. 6, 2000

BY: Heather Ferguson

Summary: Well I was not happy with the way Jensen left the show, and I am pretty sure a lot of other people aren't as well. In the last three weeks and even a few months before the writers changed the Eric we all knew and loved. I decided to write a different ending. This starts right after Eric found the porn video of Nicole, remember when he is really upset with her, and admits that Roman and Greta were right? Well from then on it's all going to change, well most of it.

Rating: Unlike my other What if story this should be able to be read by anyone, so I will give it a PG rating.

Disclaimer: All characters and everything belongs to NBC, Sony, and Corday productions. *sigh*

Feedback: Tell me what you think of how I ended it! Thanks! hferguso@niu.edu

Comments:(OLD STORY, just posting it here) I have just one question, in the crash Eric was driving a car... but... doesn't he have a JEEP???? Just thought I would ask that, guess NBC was to cheap to make it at least a little consistent.

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Eric walked into his apartment, and threw the video cassette on the counter, he still could not believe it. *Nicole was a porn star.* He shook his head, the thought made his skin crawl. Well he finally knew what she was holding back from her past. He collapsed onto the couch, "How could she?" he asked no one in particular. "How could she not tell me something like that? Something that important, especially to my health." He jumped up, he wanted to hit something, anger flowing through him. And the worst part was he knew she was sick, "Did she give me something too?" He asked himself, and decided not to wait around anymore and go find out for himself.

He grabbed his wallet and keys and ran out the door. Soon he was at the hospital, he found Lexi at the nurses station, and asked if he could talk to her for a minute. Lexi went out on the balcony with him and asked him what was wrong.

He wasn't exactly sure how to proceed with asking this. "Ummm, well I just came to learn that Nicole had had a lot of pervious... uhhh male friends." He didn't think it was his place to tell others about Nicole's past. He was mad at her, but he wasn't going to stoop to her level.

Lexi got the gist of his meaning, "So you want to know if you contracted anything from them or her."

"Yeah."

"Okay, well good news for you, I just got done with my last patient and it has been slow here all day. I can order a few tests, and perform some others myself. Let's go back in and fill out the necessary paper work, he followed her back in and stopped when he looked at the Nurses station. Lexi noticed he wasn't following her and turned to look at him, and then to were he was looking. She smiled, walked up to him, and then motioned for them to walk around the corner. She smiled as they walked, knowing that Sami didn't even see them.

"Eric don't worry, I'll keep this all confidential, just between you and me."

"Thanks Lexi," He told her relieved when they made it into an exam room.

"No problem," she responded, and started to fill out some forms for the tests.

After a few minutes, she was done and stood up. She drew the blood herself, and then gave him a cup for a urine sample. He came back a few minutes later, and asked her, "Is that all?"

Lexi shook her head, "It depends."

"On what?"

"On what all you want to check for. There are all other diseases that are sexually transmitted that are not found from just blood and urine."

"What do I have to do?"

"Well, for the tests, I would like to send you to another doctor, even though I could do them myself."

"Why would you do that?" He asked confused.

"Well I think you may want to see a Male doctor for those tests, and not someone you are friends with." She said with a cute smile.

He blushed slightly, "Uhh, yeah. When can I get that done?"

"Wait here, and I'll go check."

Eric waited on the exam table, and sighed, he couldn't believe that he had to do all this. You would think that if you loved someone, you would tell him something so important before you slept with them. *That is if she even did love me.* He rubbed his forehead, and looked up to see Lexi come back in.

"Good news, Dr. Rockwell will be able to see you in fifteen minutes."

"Thanks Lexi, you have been great."

"Just doing my job, I'll call you with the results when they come in, it could take a few days."

Eric nodded, and after Lexi told him where he could find Dr. Rockwell's office, he went there to wait for him. The whole time his mind swimming with what ifs.

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Eric walked slowly back to his apartment from the elevator, *Well that wasn't pleasant.* He thought to himself as he took out his keys, and started to unlock his door. He heard commotion from the hall and saw Greta walking to Austin's apartment. He opened his door and looked over at them, a ping of jealousy rushing through him.

He spoke up, "Greta?"

She spun around surprised to see him. "Eric? There you are, I knocked earlier and you weren't home." He walked over to them.

"So what?", he said pointing to the two of them, trying to seem playful.

Greta laughed, "Well you weren't home, and Austin just got home. So I showed him how to use his capachino machine."

He looked at her, "But you were just coming back from," he looked over Austin's shoulder to the door way upstairs, "The roof? You took her to the roof?" He asked Austin in disbelief.

"Well she got hot, and there is a nice breeze up there."

Eric nodded his head, not believing any of it.

He was about to speak again, when Austin spoke looking over him, "Sami?"

They all turned around to see Sami walking into Eric's apartment.

Austin walked over to her, with Eric and Greta behind him.

Sami turned around, covered in a lot of makeup, "What the...?" Austin said looking at her. After some bickering they went into Austin's apartment to continue their argument and Greta followed Eric into his.

He turned to her, "I'm so glad to see you, hopefully this means you aren't mad at me anymore.... for being a real jerk." He meant it, with everything that had happened in the last few days he realized how much he needed her in his life.

She smiled slightly, "Yeah. Austin and I talked and..." She stopped when she saw a weird look on his face at that. "What?" She asked him.

"Nothing."

"No it's not nothing, it's something, tell me."

"It's just that you and Austin are hanging around a lot lately."

She smiled slightly, she was actually happy that he was jealous, she walked over to him, grabbed his hand, and led him to the couch to sit down. She held on to his had, as she continued. "As I was saying, he made me realize, that I shouldn't be angry, we haven't done anything, or said anything that would make us mutually exclusive."

He looked at her shocked. "He told you that?" He wanted to get off the couch and go pound down Austin's door and then maybe him as well. *What was he trying to do? Have Sami and Greta?* "That's not true," she looked at him slightly confused and he went on. "You see I don't date people unless I want to be with just them." He paused and then continued, "I was mixed up for a while, but something happened, a lot happened to make me think things through, to get straightened out again. And all I know is that, I want you, just you."

She smiled at him, "That's good, cause I want you too." She said and leaned into him, and kissed him. He returned the kiss, but was surprised when she leaned in further pushing him back onto the couch.

"Greta..." he said between kisses, "I didn't mean..."

"I know, but I did." She said kissing him harder, her tongue entering his mouth, making him grown slightly. His arms wrapped around her, pulling her down to him, kissing her passionately and rolling her beneath him.

"Greta... are you sure?" he asked, hoping her answer would be yes.

She smiled up at him, "Stop asking and kiss me." She said pulling him back down to her. He started to let the sensations take over, when the phone rang. He ignored it, and was glad that she did too. But it kept ringing, after four rings, she told him to just get it and get rid of who ever it was.

He took a deep breath and stood up and went to the phone, he picked it up and sighed as he said hello looking at her still laying on the couch.

"Eric? It's Nicole, I really need to talk to you."

He shook his head, "What do you want?"

"Eric, it's important, I don't think I can wait till tomorrow at work to talk to you."

"To bad." He said and hung up. He then started to walk back to the couch, and the color drained from his face. *Oh God, what am I doing?* He asked himself.

Greta saw the look on his face, and sat up, she started to get a little angry. "Nicole?"

"Yeah," was all he said as he sat down next to her on the couch.

She shook her head, and laughed, "I was so stupid." She said as she stood up and grabbed her purse.

He stood quickly and grabbed her arm. "What are you talking about?" He asked her worried.

"One phone call from her and I'm the last thing on your mind."

He closed his eyes, "You have no idea how wrong you are." He said quietly.

"What?" She asked confused.

"Nicole's call reminded me of what I did today, and why..." He said pulling her close and kissed her forehead, "Why we can't do what we were going to a few minutes ago."

She looked up at him, more confused then before, "Explain." was all she said.

He bent his head, and knew he had to tell her. He had to tell her the truth. He led her back to the couch and sat her down. He went over to the counter and grabbed the video, he held it so she couldn't see it, and sat down next to her. "I have a lot to say, and explain, so please, Greta, please just listen to me, completely before you think or say anything."

She agreed seeing how desperate he seemed to make her understand.

"You know Nicole and I used to be together..." he said holding onto her hands, "You know that we had... sex." She nodded, and he hated to remind her of it. "I thought I was in love with her, I thought she loved me, or I never would have, I would never, Never have made love to her...." He tried to go on, but decided to go another direction. "Greta, I understand why you are so reluctant to have sex, to make love... because the person you are with is supposed to love you and you love them, it's supposed to be special." He stopped, "I just wish I would have waited and found out what she was like before I did."

Greta's eyes went wide, "You mean..."

"Nicole was my first, my only, my huge mistake for so many reasons." He looked at her, and touched her check softly, "And that is why I am telling you this, you deserve to know, you deserve to know everything, and everything that she never told me." She looked at him wondering what he was trying to get at. "Greta the reason I stopped like I did was that Nicole's call reminded me of all the tests I just went through today."

"Tests? What tests?"

He looked down, "Tests to see if I have any sexually transmitted diseases from her." The realization of the potential danger went through Greta, and fear for him ran through her, "What didn't she tell you?"

"She still doesn't even know that I know. I went to the move rental place," He smiled, "I was going to buy you Snow White." She smiled slightly, "But the guy must have understood me wrong, because he sent me back to the... adult section." He took the video out and showed her. "This is what I found."

Greta took the video and looked at it, her mouth feel open, she flipped it over to the back, looking at the date. She shook her head for a second, "She was a teenager when she made this, isn't that illegal?" She asked looking up at him.

"Yeah, but they don't care, and she didn't care enough to tell me that she did." He took the video back and set it on the coffee table. "Greta, I have to know the results before we... if you even want to again. Luckily I haven't been with her in over a year and a half so the tests should be pretty conclusive."

Greta stood up slowly, she couldn't believe it, and she was mad, angry, fuming, but not at him, no, at Nicole. "How could she do this?"

He stood up behind her and turned her towards him, "I'm sorry."

She reached up and touched the side of his face softly, then laid her head on his chest. "You don't have to be, it's not your fault, it's hers. I'm just glad you told me." She looked up at him, "But we will get through this, no matter what, together." She said and leaned up and kissed him. He wrapped his arms around her, and decided he would never do anything to let her go again.

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A few days had passed and Eric was very impatiently waiting for the results. He had told Nicole where she could go, but not that nicely. He basically told her if he ever saw her again it would be to soon, and that he really didn't care if she was sick, she deserved whatever she got. He really didn't mean all of that, he didn't wish harm on anyone, but it felt good to say it.

He was over at Greta's, he had been a lot lately. He was teaching her how to cook, and they were spending quality time together. They had also agreed, that if anything came back positive that she would go get tested as well. No, they hadn't had sex, but with everything that had been through together, they deffinetly had exchanged some bodily fluid, including blood.

They were in the middle of cutting up some vegetables when Eric' cell phone rang. They both jumped and looked at each other, they did every time it rang. He answered it, "Hello?" He looked over at Greta, "Hi Lexi, so their in?" Greta hugged him around his middle, waiting for the answer. "Uh huh, okay, okay, uh huh, okay, thanks, Lexi so much." He hung up the phone and looked down at her.

"Well?" She asked worried because he wasn't jumping up and down.

"She just gave me a clean bill of health." He smiled.

She smiled up at him and hugged him tight, "Thank God." She said and jumping up and down.

He screamed, "Yes!" And threw his hands up in the air. She laughed, and they danced around the apartment like a bunch of kids. Until she pushed him onto the couch, straddled his hips and kissed him. He broke away a little later, "Greta? Ummm..." She cut him off with another kiss, and he pulled away, "I know we are extremely happy about the news, but... don't you want it to be more special than this?" He asked her, but still wishing he hadn't said anything.

She smiled at him, "I do want to wait, at least a little longer. But..." She said smiling, "We haven't.... made out since you told me." She said with a slight blush.

He laughed, "Like two high school students in the back of a car?" She nodded yes with a silly smile, "I think that can be arranged," He said flipping her over, make her give out a little shriek.

He laid on top of her and started kissing her once again, she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back. They didn't get back to making dinner for awhile. But once they did they celebrated his good news with a nice bottle of wine with dinner, and they curled up on the couch, and watched... Snow White.

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A couple more days had passed, and Eric began to realize that he just couldn't stand working at Titan anymore, not with Nicole still there. Not because he had feelings for her, well not nice feelings anyway. He just thought you shouldn't always want to wring your bosses neck. He decided to talk to Greta about it, since as far as he was concerned anything either of them did was going to affect the other now. And he was pretty sure he wouldn't find another job he wanted in town.

Luckily Greta understood what he was feeling, she was hesitant about possibly leaving Salem, but agreed that as long as they were together and would visit regularly that it would be okay. And with here encouragement he sent out his résumé's out to large companies all over the US and some in France, which made Greta smile. After about a week of having sent out the résumé's he quit his job at Titan, he figured he had saved up enough money in the bank to live on and move with till he found something else.

One morning while eating breakfast with Greta in her apartment, his cell phone rang. He answered it, and Greta knew the news had to be good because of the smile on his face. He talked with the person for about twenty minutes, and then hung up the phone.

"Well?" She asked standing impatient to hear the good news.

"Well, it's not in Salem, that's the only bad news."

She nodded okay, and motioned for him to continue.

"It's in New York, remember the same job I was trying to get before?" Greta nodded yes. "Well it's that one, I guess Nicole didn't send in the good photo's she was supposed to the first time and that's the reason I didn't get it then." He shook his head, another thing that she did to try and ruin his life.

"That's fantastic." She said and hugged him.

He turned serious, "But it is New York and not Salem. Are you okay with that?" He asked holding her hands to his chest.

She nodded, "As long as I am with you, I'll be happy."

He smiled, and leaned in and kissed her. "We have a lot to do, they want me to start in two weeks."

"We need to find apartments and get packed."

He smiled at her, "Well... we could just find one apartment."

"Why Mr. Brady what are you suggesting?" She said with a teasing smile.

"We could find one with two bedrooms, at least until..." He said with a wink.

She smiled, "No..." He looked disappointed, "We only need a one bedroom." His eyes went wide, and she smiled.

"Are you sure?" He asked her. She nodded yes, and he kissed her deeply. He released her slowly, and then picked up the phone and called the airport. They agreed, that she would stay in Salem, and get her stuff packed, which would take longer, and tell everyone what was going on, while he went to New York and found an apartment for them. He scheduled a flight that would leave in about and hour and a half. He kissed her and ran out of the apartment to hurry and pack and get to the airport. In his hurry he forgot his cell phone. Greta saw it, and ran out to catch him, but he was already on the elevator. She sighed, grabbed her purse and keys, and waited for the next one.

She got in her car and started out onto the road, and saw his Jeep up ahead. She carefully tried to catch up to him, but she couldn't get around the cars in front of him. She watched him drive ahead of her, and noticed a strange smoke coming from his jeep. *He should get that checked out,* she thought for a minute. Then she watched as his Jeep stalled. She almost laughed, until she realized where he stalled. "Eric..." she said looking left then right. Then she screamed, "Eric get out of the Jeep!" She put her car in park and jumped out of her car screaming.

But Eric didn't hear her, he didn't hear anything until the whistle of the train was too close for him to move, and then there was blackness.

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Greta screamed as the train plowed into his Jeep, "Noooo," she yelled running towards the crash. The engineer and others tried to keep her back, but she ran up to Jeep, seeing him slumped over the wheel. "Eric.." she screamed tears running down her face. She barely heard someone say the paramedics and fire trucks were on their way. She tried to open the door, but neither side would budge. Soon, the fireman came and cut open the doors, and the paramedics pulled him carefully from the car.

"He's still breathing," one said as they began to work on him. Greta's face was tear covered, as she looked at him, his clothes ripped, his face covered in blood and other parts of his body. She moved to the side of him that no one was on, and tried talking to him as they worked.

"Eric.." she said her words shaking. "You can't do this, you can't leave me." She told him between shaky breaths, "You promised me back on that island that you would never leave me." She told him, she held onto his hand, gripping it tightly.

"He's stopped breathing," and they started to pump air in his lungs.

"Eric!" She yelled, "I love you, don't leave me. I love you!" She yelled at him. She hadn't said it before to him, but she knew she had for a long time. "I love you," she sobbed as they continued working, and then he took in a large breath himself and partially opened his eyes.

"He's stable," one of them yelled, "Let's get him to the hospital." They carefully moved him onto the cart, and Greta ran along beside them, and into the ambulance. She sat beside him, holding his hand.

He looked up at her, his eyes partially closed, and said softly, almost inaudibly, "I love you too." And then he closed his eyes again.

"Eric..." she said, worried.

"He's okay, just lost consciousness." The paramedic told her, trying to comfort her a little.

She nodded, and took a deep breath. *He heard me.* She thought, relieved.

The wheeled him into the emergency room, and Greta followed, they wheeled him away, and Craig told her she couldn't follow to wait there and maybe call family.

She nodded, and called Marlena, then Roman, Sami. Soon everyone was there. Marlena, John, and Belle showed up in no time, with Roman right behind them. Greta told them what happened. They were partially relieved to know that he had woken up and talked to her. Craig came out a little later to talk to them.

"He's in recovery. He sustained quite a few injuries and we are waiting on some x-rays and cat scans, but he will be okay." Everyone was visibly relieved. "He is asking for you." He told Greta, and she followed him back to see Eric. As soon as he opened the door, she ran to the side of his bed.

He opened his eyes and smiled slightly, she grabbed his hand, "You scared the hell out of me." she told him and he smiled.

"Not that I am complaining, but why were you following me?" He asked softly.

"You forgot your phone." She said showing to him from her purse.

He smiled slightly, and he gently pulled her closer, and she kissed him. She laid her head on his shoulder softly. She heard the door open up behind her and saw Marlena and Roman behind her. She smiled, "Well I suppose I should let your parents see you are okay too."

"Yeah," he said, "But don't stay away to long."

She smiled, "I won't."

She left leaving them to talk alone. She went back out and told them that he looked okay, and then headed down to the gift shop, stress leaving her, knowing that he was going to be okay.

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Roman and Marlena checked him over, making sure their son was okay. A slight knock on the door interrupted them, and Craig walked in. "Eric... we need to talk." He told him, and he didn't look to happy.

"Okay." Craig looked at Roman and Marlena, "They can stay." Eric told him, kinda wanting his parents there. Craig shut the door, and Eric just finally asked, knowing what the answer would be anyway. "So are you going to tell me why I can't feel my legs?"

Marlena and Roman looked at him in shock, he hadn't told them that, and they knew the way that Greta was when she left, he hadn't told her either.

Craig looked at him, "I'm not going to lie to you. It would be a miracle if you ever walk again." Marlena gasped and tears ran down her face.

Roman looked in shock, "Are you saying there is nothing you can do?"

"There are two good clinic's that might, MIGHT be able to help in this case. One is in Los Angles, the other is in New York."

Eric straightened his shoulders, "What are my chances?" He asked.

Craig closed his eyes, paused then opened them, "Maybe 5 percent, if that." Marlena, put her hand to her mouth, not able to believe what she was hearing. She looked at Eric and became even more concerned at how calm he was.

"Dr. Wesley, you are my doctor. Correct."

"Well yes."

"So you and anyone that knows about this, can't legally tell anyone."

"Well, true."

He then looked at his mom and dad, "Because I don't want anyone to know," he looked them in the eye. "ANYONE."

"Eric, they are going to find out."

"I was leaving for a job in New York anyway, they don't need to know."

"But Greta..." His dad said looking at him questioning.

"She was going to go with me, but she won't now."

"Why?" Marlena asked.

Craig looked at the discussion that was going on. "I'm going to let you guys discuss this, and your secret is safe with me." He said as he walked out.

"Eric, you have to tell her, she has a right to know." Roman said looking at his son in disbelief. "You love her and she loves you, even if you haven't admitted it yet."

"I know, and that is why I can't tell her."

"That doesn't make any sense," Marlena told him.

"If I tell her, then she will stay with me."

"She loves you."

"Yes, but what can I give her?"

"What?"

He shook his head, "Say I tell her, and we stay together. Then what?" He said looking at them. "Get married? I'd never be able to consummate it. Kids? Only if we went to a doctor and did it artificially. Greta's a virgin, should I make her be that way for the rest of her life? I can't ruin her life. She deserves so much more. She deserves someone who can give her what I can't anymore."

They looked at him in disbelief. Finally Marlena asked the question, "What are you going to tell her?"

He sighed, "I'm going to break up with her, and tell her I'm going to go to New York by myself." He paused, "Once I get out of the hospital, could you get my apartment packed up and send the stuff to me?"

"Sure, I'll take care of it." Roman told him.

"I'm doing all this for her good, because I love her." Eric told them, and himself. Marlena and Roman looked at each other, they knew that he had made up his mind, and there was no changing it.

"Now do I have your word, that you won't tell anyone?" He asked.

They nodded yes, and then left him to be alone.

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Greta came back awhile later, having taken the time to pick out the perfect balloons and flowers for him. She walked up to his door, and found him alone, and walked in, setting them on the table. She walked over to him, and sat beside him, watching him sleep.

She reached out and held his hand, and his eyes opened. He looked at her, love filling him, but then reality washed over him again, and he pulled away.

Greta looked at him confused, "Did I hurt you."

"No." He said simply, and then took a deep breath. "We have to talk."

"About what?" She asked worried by the tone of his voice.

He took another deep breath, "I lied to you."

"What?"

"I was delirious in the ambulance, I didn't mean it." He said closing his eyes, he hadn't realized how hard it would be to lie to her, especially about this.

She looked at him in shock, and simply said, "Okay."

He could tell she was about to cry and went on. "That's not all, you see an accident like this can really put things in perspective. And I realized something." He watched her, and could basically see her heart breaking right before him. It took all his determination not to give in and just hug her and tell her it wasn't true. "I realized that I was trying to hard. That this relationship isn't what I want. You were right. Nicole is the type of girl I need, and I am not the kind of guy you need." He knew his mentioning of Nicole went to far, and his heart broke as he saw a tear go down her face. But he kept telling himself it was for her own good. "I've decided, I'm going to go to New York, by myself."

"Eric..." she said not wanting to believe him, her voice shaking. "You don't mean this, I know you don't."

He knew she was going to fight it, he decided to just end it, "Greta I don't love you, and I never will. That is what I am saying. We don't belong together, we never did, and we never will. I want to break up, and I want to go to New York by myself."

Tears ran down her cheeks, and she stood up, she looked at him her lip quivering. "Fine." was all she said and then she ran from the room, slamming the door behind her.

Eric put his face in his hands, as tears also ran down his face.

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Marlena watched Greta run by where they were sitting, she knew what happened without even asking her. He had actually went through with it. She got up and went to her sons room, opened the door and walked in closing it behind her. "I hope you are happy."

"No Mom, that's the last thing I am right now." He said looking up at her, his eyes red. "But you can't tell anyone, especially her. Because if she finds out, she will know I said that just to do this, and she will come to New York to be with me. I can't let her ruin her life."

"So you are going to decide what is best for her."

"I'm going to make sure that she will be happy."

Marlena shook her head, but agreed not to tell, not even John or Sami. The only people that would know were her, Eric, Roman and Craig.

Eric was released from the hospital a few days later, and he wasn't surprised that Greta hadn't returned. Even though Marlena and Roman told him that she kept asking if he was doing okay. It hurt him to know, that after everything he had said to her, she was still worried about him. He took the luggage that his mom had packed from his apartment, and took a cab directly from the hospital to the airport. He had a plane to catch to New York. The job was still good for him, even though he was now in a wheel chair, probably permanently.

A while later he sat on the plane looking out the window. His life had changed drastically in the last week, and he knew he would never be as happy as he was when he was with her. He sighed, but reminded himself. *It's for her own good.* And with that he said good-bye to Salem and Greta as the plane took off.

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I Did a Sequel, called The Return, look for it, click on my name at the top to find it.