So, somebody asked if Jordan is really Jackson's baby and the answer is yes. I think it would be out of character for April to sleep with someone else after she had an epic meltdown about giving up her v-card to Jackson and breaking her promise to Jesus, lol.
Anyway, here's chapter 8. It's a little shorter than some chapters, but I think the next couple of chapters will make up for it :)
Jackson felt awful about yelling at April the previous night. Even when she was her normal self he had never been angry at her like that. The last time he yelled at her was in the men's restroom during their boards exam break. That small fight only led to hot and dirty sex… and a baby. He knew his mother would have slapped him upside the head for some of the things he said to April. It was in the heat of the moment and apologizing was a must.
He decided he had to accept the possibility of her memory never fully returning. If they were ever going to be together in the future, she would have to get to know him all over again. He figured if she crushed on him in the past, then falling for him again wasn't out of the question. Baby steps. Shoving too much information down her throat would be overwhelming.
It was his day off, but he wanted to spend it at the hospital. Checking up on Jordan and April were his priorities. He woke up late – 9 AM was considered sleeping in for him – and only spent about half an hour in his apartment before he left. He made a couple of pit stops on his way to Seattle Grace Mercy West, then he went up to April's room on the fourth floor.
She wasn't in her bed, but he suspected she had just woken up and was in the bathroom. Jackson quietly took a seat by her bed, reaching into a plastic bag containing take out boxes and pulling out breakfast he bought from the café from around the corner. He set April's breakfast on the overbed table just as she emerged from the bathroom.
April gasped, placing a hand against her chest where part of her incision could be seen. "Oh my gosh, you can't just sneak in like that!" she scolded, slightly glaring at Jackson. "What are you doing here?"
Crap, she hasn't forgotten about our fight, he said in his mind. He should've known better than to assume she would brush it off. "I uhh… I want to apologize," Jackson said as he stood up from his seat. "I really do. I was way out of line last night. We rarely fight and when we do it's mostly playful banter. I umm, bought us breakfast to make up for it. Well, sort of. I know spoiling you with good food won't solve everything, but it's a start."
His charming smile and bluish-green eyes nearly hypnotized her, but she quickly deflected them by shielding her face with her hand. "Umm, apology accepted," she shyly said. April slowly walked back to her bed, avoiding eye contact with Jackson. "And I'm sorry too for what I said about plastic surgery."
"It's okay. I'm over that." Jackson waited for April to climb into her bed, then he pushed the overbed table close to her. "Bought you that breakfast sandwich you love with a fruit cup and mango lemonade." He picked up a blueberry muffin wrapped in plastic from the bag. "And they gave me this for free, but I'm not sure why. It could be stale, so stay away from this one."
April softly smiled at Jackson. She learned quickly how difficult it was to stay angry at him. "Thank you, Jackson. I appreciate it." She took note of the Harvard crest on his black zip-up hooded jacket. "You went to Harvard?"
"I did," he confirmed. "Undergrad and medical school. Played football there too."
"I wanted to go to Harvard, but it was too expensive for me," she recalled.
"You attended the University of Akron on an academic scholarship. They have an accelerated 6-year program there that allows you to get your bachelor's degree in two years and complete medical school in four," Jackson remembered her telling him when they first met at Mercy West. "I thought you looked a little young to be a surgical intern, but then again so did I. Took me three years to finish my undergrad before I went to medical school. I'm just a year older than you, but we started our residency at the same time."
April nodded while she ate her breakfast. "That's right… about Akron. Only about 35 people get in a year, so I got really lucky. It was a big deal in Moline." She watched Jackson eat his own breakfast feeling intrigued to know more about him. He spent more time telling stories about their residency that he neglected to talk about himself personally. "Tell me more about yourself, Jackson. I want to know more about you."
"I'm glad you asked because…" Jackson paused to reach for his laptop that was sitting on the floor. "…that's mainly the reason why I'm here. I know a lot about you and it was pretty ignorant of me not to share information about myself."
"Don't you want to eat first?"
"I can multitask." Jackson pulled another chair next to his and set his breakfast down beside him. He placed his laptop on his thighs, using his touch mouse pad to open a photo album. Turning his laptop around, he picked up his breakfast burrito and used his free hand to point at the picture of his family. "These are the Avery's."
He leaned forward to look at the picture. "The woman to my right is my sister, Samantha. She's the oldest and she's a cardiothoracic surgeon at Stanford," he continued. "The one to my left is my other sister, Joslyn. She's also a cardiothoracic surgeon, but at Yale. Sam's four years older and Jos is three years. We all went to Harvard. It helped that our grandfather had a lot of good friends who worked there and he was an alum himself."
April pointed out Harper Sr. in the picture. "That's him, right? Next to your mom?" He nodded, then she noticed somebody was missing. "Where's your dad?"
"Not around," he murmured. "This was taken the day I graduated from medical school. He wasn't in my life anymore. Uhh, he walked out on us when I was in high school. He couldn't hack it as a surgeon. Too much pressure from my grandfather. Became an alcoholic. Never really was a father, though."
"I'm sorry," she said with a frown on her face.
Jackson simply shrugged. "Not everyone's blessed with good parents. My mom made up for that, though. She's crazy, but she's always been a great mom." He took a bite out of his burrito before he spoke again. "Anyway, despite how crazy my mom is, my sisters are insane. They're ridiculously competitive with each other. Both did their residencies at Mass Gen. Married neurosurgeons. I'd say they're even right now with the jobs they have, but when one sister gets pregnant I have zero doubt in my mind that the other will want to get pregnant too."
"But you beat them to it," she grinned. "Or are you not a part of their competition?"
"I was just the pretty boy to them until I told my family I aced my MCAT," he said and chuckled. "They thought I'd flee to New York or L.A. to become a model, so they were shocked when they found out I was going down the medical road too. They kind of underestimated me because I was the jock of the family."
"How come you didn't go to Mass Gen?"
"I wanted to create my own path. Also, working under my grandfather isn't as exciting as it may sound. He reserved a place for me, but I wanted to branch out and become independent."
April smiled at Jackson. "Well, it's a good thing you chose to come to Seattle then. Otherwise, we wouldn't have met."
Jackson returned the smile as he closed his laptop. "Exactly."
The breakfast chat with April had gone better than Jackson expected. He felt relieved that she got to know him better on a personal level. He had actually opened up about his personal life more than he ever did. Pre-accident April didn't know the truth about Harper Avery Jr. Jackson rarely talked about him with his friends. She assumed he passed away when he said his father hadn't been around since he was 17.
She let him talk, while she listened. April appeared genuinely interested in what he had to say. He told her stories about his childhood. He talked about how hitting puberty was the most embarrassing phase of his life because his voice cracked and he had terrible acne. Of course Jackson was one of the popular kids in high school. Total jock playing football and basketball and competing in track and field. Prom King and Homecoming King his senior year. Valedictorian, though his speech didn't go according to plan. With numerous cameras recording him, nerves got the best of him and he vomited on stage in front of about 2,000 people.
It was easier to blend in at Harvard because it seemed every student there was special in their own way. There were celebrities, inventors, child prodigies who outranked his popularity. He loved being just another face in the crowd. However, when he started medical school his name stood out like a sore thumb. Everyone wanted to meet his famous grandfather, the downside of being an Avery.
April wanted to take a brief nap because she had a minor headache, so Jackson left her alone to visit Jordan in the NICU. He had a few presents for him after he made his second pit stop at the gift shop.
Jackson playfully waved around a small stuffed tiger in front of his son. "I got this for you, Jordan, because tigers are fierce and of course, awesome." His lame attempt at a growl made Arizona chuckle, who was standing nearby checking on another baby. The side of the isolette crib was open, allowing him to place the toy inside next to Jordan. He unfolded a sky blue baby blanket with animals embroidered on it. "And I also got this blanket, so you can snuggle against something when you sleep."
Arizona quietly watched Jackson interact with Jordan from a few feet away. It was soothing for her. She had been under a lot of stress since her leg was amputated. The physical therapy was torture for her. First, she needed to wait for her wounds to heal before relearning how to walk with a prosthetic leg. She took out her frustration on Callie, but most of all, Alex. It wasn't his fault the plane crashed, but him choosing Hopkins was the reason why she took his seat. She didn't wish it was her Peds fellow who lost his leg, though he was an easy target to blame.
She resented him in the early months of her recovery. He never stopped by the physical therapy clinic to see how she was doing. What she didn't realize was his guilt had become so huge that he wasn't sure how to cope with it, that watching her rehabilitate her leg only made him feel worse. The constant yelling matches between them didn't help. It wasn't until she reached the fifth stage of grief, acceptance, that her attitude changed. Her perky personality returned and she made an effort to be civil with Alex again.
Jackson held up a yellow beanie with the design of a duck's head on it. "This might be a little too big for you right now, but umm… maybe it'll fit your head in a couple of weeks." He set the beanie close to Jordan's head. "It's not exactly my taste, but your mom might appreciate it. She grew up on a farm with ducks… and pigs… and… corn…"
"You're good with him, Avery," Arizona chimed in and smiled. "It may not seem like he's listening to you, but he is. This is how the bond between baby and father start." She joined Jackson in front of Jordan's crib, setting her cane underneath her chair. "Who do you think he'll look like?"
"No idea. Mark's convinced he'll have my eyes. I hope he'll have some of April's features too." Jackson leaned forward to adjust the tiny pacifier in his mouth. "He doesn't really suck on it, does he?"
"He's trying to. In the womb, he was able to suck on his thumb, but this is an entirely different experience for him," she explained. "But when he starts getting the hang of it he can start eating with his mouth."
Jackson looked at Arizona. "Do you think April not being able to bond with Jordan is a bad thing? I mean, whatever bond she had with him during the pregnancy is gone, at least temporarily. Will it be hard for her to bond with a baby she can't remember having?"
"There might be some awkwardness. I know she already said she wants to keep him, but we'll see what happens when she's able to move around more freely. Her first meeting was overwhelming. There's that sense of knowing Jordan's hers, yet she also doesn't know how to accept him because she can't remember being pregnant with him."
"That makes sense."
Arizona stared at Jordan, then she sighed. "I want one." She slightly smiled as she thought about a tiny human growing inside of her one day. "I used to never want one until after the shooting happened. And it wasn't until I survived the plane crash that I actually wanted to go through the pregnancy thing myself. It's funny how a couple of near death experiences change the way you view life. It's so fragile. Tiny humans are fragile. And cute. I want Callie and I to have another tiny human."
"Have you talked to her about it?"
"Not yet. She thinks I should get my career back on track first before we take another huge step together." Arizona picked up her cane and stood up. "And I agree with her. It's not the right time yet. Anyway, enjoy your father-son time because they grow up fast."
Jackson slowly nodded in agreement as Arizona walked away. He touched Jordan's palm with the tip of his finger and smiled when his baby boy lightly grasped it in his little hand. "Show off."
She stood in horror as Gary Clark shot Derek right in front of her. The gunshot pushed him backwards and it felt like time was moving slowly before he landed on the floor. She was shaking and in shock as she rushed towards him, neglecting the fact that the shooter was only two feet away from her.
The click of the gun bought her attention and her eyes widened, realizing she was his next target. Alert and using quick thinking, she raised her hands and stared at Mr. Clark.
"M-my name is April Kepner. I'm 28 years old. I was born on April 23rd in Ohio. I'm from Columbus, Ohio. M-my mom is a teacher and my dad is a farmer. C-corn. Corn. He grows corn. Their names are Karen and Joe," she stammered. Trying not to panic too much, she held up three fingers as her hand shook. "I have three sisters. Libby's the oldest. I'm next, then there's Kimmie and Alice."
Mr. Clark just stared at her quietly and listened, his gun still aimed at her as a puddle of blood formed on the floor where Derek was lying.
"I haven't done anything yet. I haven't. I've barely lived. All I've done is win science fairs and go to medical school. I'm not finished yet. No one's loved me and… please. Please! I'm someone's child! I'm someone's sister," she pleaded as tears highlighted the fear in her eyes. "I'm a person. I'm a… person."
Mr. Clark inhaled sharply. "Run."
April did as she was told, turning around and running towards the doors she came from. Once she pushed past the doors, everything suddenly became a blur…
"April. April, wake up," Addison gently shook her sleeping patient, who was sweating bullets from her forehead. From her perspective, it appeared April was having a nightmare. She came in to check how far her C-section incision had healed and walked in to find her softly whimpering in her sleep.
A few seconds later, April opened her eyes. Addison hovered over her, staring at her concerned. "The… the shooter… a shooter wanted to shoot me…"
"What?" Addison rested the back of her hand against April's forehead and grimaced. "Geez, April. You're burning up. How long have you been feeling under the weather?"
"I umm… I don't know. I felt a little gross after I woke up, but I… didn't think anything of it," she murmured. "Then I got a headache. Do I have the flu? I feel… sick."
"Well, you definitely have a fever," Addison adjusted April's gown and removed the dressing from her C-section incision. It was red and beginning to swell. "Oh, crap. Your incision has an infection. Have you been having pain in your abdomen all this time?"
"Sort of. A little bit, but uhh… I just thought it was because I was healing and that's usually normal, right?"
Addison nodded. "Yes, but yours is infected. We need to get you on antibiotics immediately," she informed her while she paged a nurse at the same time. "It doesn't look severe, but we'll have to watch it closely. I'll check your other incisions to make sure those are fine."
April took a deep breath and exhaled. "But the shooter… in my dream. He… pointed the gun at me."
Addison furrowed her eyebrows as she removed the dressing from April's head. "It was just a dream, April. There's no shooter in the hospital, I guarantee you that." She was relieved to see a clean and healing cut on the side of her head. She replaced the dressing with a new one. "Fortunately, your head's fine."
A male nurse entered the room. "You paged?"
"Yes, I'm going to need some antibiotics, stat. Her incision from a caesarean section is infected and she's running a high fever," Addison ordered. The nurse left, then she checked the incision on April's chest. "This one's fine too. Don't worry, April. We caught this just in time. Now, I don't want you sitting up straight or moving around a lot until the infection's gone. If you need to use the bathroom, make sure you call for assistance. The more you rest, the faster this will disappear."
"Okay," she softly said. "Umm, can you let Jackson know? He stopped by earlier. And my parents. They're supposed to be exploring Seattle today with my sisters, but they'll probably want to know about this."
"Of course. Let's get your IV set up with antibiotics, then I'll call your parents."
The nurse returned with the antibiotics and connected it to April's IV line. Addison carefully cleaned the incision with antibiotic cream before she placed a new dressing over it. She wiped the sweat off of her face with a clean towel, wondering why her incision became infected. She was certain she required antibiotics to be administered daily since her wound was still fresh. Somebody was going to be bitched at later that day.
"I don't understand how one of the nurses forgot to provide her with more antibiotics," Addison angrily said as she stared inside April's room where her parents kept her company. She was joined by Owen, Derek and Jackson, who were just as annoyed with what happened. "Now the healing in her abdomen's pushed back by a week or two."
"She seemed fine when I visited her," Jackson replied disappointedly. "How did I miss that?"
"It's not your fault, Jackson. The fever didn't show up until after you left," Addison assured him. "The fever was making her talk gibberish. She started rambling about a shooter in a dream she had, said he wanted to shoot her."
Derek furrowed his eyebrows as he turned his head to look at Addison. "She said that?" After he got shot, his mind wasn't completely straight, but he remembered April standing behind him and blurting out random facts about herself. "She had a dream about the shooting?"
"I suppose so. Why?" She felt like an idiot for not making the connection faster after Derek and Owen exchanged surprised looks with each other. Was April's memory starting to return?
Owen entered April's room, followed by Derek and Addison. He cleared his throat and gestured his hand towards the door. "Uhh, Mr. and Mrs. Kepner, do you mind stepping out for a couple of minutes? We'd like to do a quick check up on your daughter."
The elder Kepners agreed without any hesitation. Jackson leaned against the wall as Joe and Karen walked out of April's room. He turned his head away when he felt Big Joe's eyes staring him down. He wrote a mental memo to himself to never be in a room alone with that man.
Derek stood by April's bed, feeling slightly encouraged. "April, Dr. Montgomery tells me you had a dream about a shooter?" He watched her nod. "Can you remember what happened in that dream?"
"You got shot by this guy…"
"And umm, he was going to shoot me, but I started telling him personal information about myself. Instead of shooting me, he told me to run and so I did." April slowly shrugged. "That's about it."
Derek slightly smiled. "April, that actually happened. It wasn't a dream."
"Huh? I'm pretty sure it was a dream," she insisted. "I just had a weird nightmare, that's all. I don't know what it meant, but it was morbid. Hopefully, it won't be a recurring thing because it was awful."
Derek's face dropped. Jackson stood by the doorway, shaking his head in disappointment. Even though the shooting was explained to April before, her short-term memory was a little sketchy in some areas. So close, yet so far. Back to square one.
Because we have to wait 2 weeks for our Japril fix (urgh!), I'll give you chapter 9 on Monday and chapter 10 on Thursday. These chapters have been finished for a while now, so I might as well post them a little early. Thank you to those who have stuck with the story and hello to new followers! I always appreciate the feedback :)