Author's Note: My apologies to anyone who's read this before. Since I posted a story to this site last year, I thought I'd put the rest up as well, to keep it company. This was my first fanfic; I posted it on JDFF in September, 2004, having spent the summer wondering what was going to happen after "Memorial Day."
"That man is some dreamy."
"The photographer-guy, of course. He's gorgeous. And those flowers! He's got some style."
"Well, I don't know. I think I'd take the other one, myself. Your photographer's been in and out—and more out than in. The other's the one who's been sitting here the whole time, almost. Never takes his eyes off her."
"They're off her now; he's sound asleep over there."
"Well, you know why. They knocked him out pretty good, poor guy. Cathy and I brought him up here; we knew he'd want to be with her. He's quite nice-looking, really; nice bones. What do you think, Cathy?"
"What are you two on about?"
"The patient's two men. Which one would you pick, if they were yours to choose from?"
"Oh, no question. The camera guy is handsomer, but this one—the way he looks at her. Like she's his whole world. Al would never have looked at me like that, even if I had gone and got blown up by a bomb."
"He was bad news, that guy. Good thing you finally got rid of him. But I know what you mean; Kyle would worry about me if I got hurt, but he'd never take all this time off work to sit and look at me. Let alone flying a few thousand miles to do it. I'd rather have that than flowers, any day."
"The photographer looks at her pretty nice too, though. 'Smouldering eyes,' that's what he's got. Just like a romance book. I'll bet he'd be something hot in bed."
"Yeah, he looks like he gets plenty of practice. Come on, girl, he was making eyes at you out in the hall there. I saw him chatting you up. A real smoothie. The other one isn't thinking about anyone but her; he doesn't even know when anyone else is in the room."
"So she's got a devoted dweeb and a hottie who knows a good thing when he sees it. I know which one I'd want, thanks! And if my hottie's no good, how come he's wasting any of his precious ass's precious time in a hospital waiting room?"
"He hasn't wasted that much time here; not like the other one. Your photographer's got some other game in town, believe you me. And who are you calling a dweeb? I bet my guy'd look pretty good if he'd had some sleep in the last couple of days and he wasn't in a wrinkled suit. He's got some good muscles under there. I'd like to see him in jeans and a nice black sweater; I bet he'd look pretty hot."
"You mean you'd like to see him without the jeans and sweater. Girl! I'm sticking to my photographer. He's got nicer hair, and his forehead doesn't wrinkle up funny. Plus he buys flowers."
"My guy bought her flowers too. Roses, beautiful. Made me cry, when I saw them lying there all over the floor after he went tearing into the OR."
"I heard things got pretty crazy in there. What happened?"
"Cathy knows more than I do; she was there. You tell, Cathy—tell the whole thing."
"Well, you know, she'd come through the first surgery fine. The bad fracture, the collapsed lung, a lot of blood loss, but really, she was lucky, when you think what might have happened. Her guy—our guy, Kimmie's and mine—he arrived not long after she'd come out of surgery. I heard Col. Leahy say he'd never seen anybody so relieved as that man was when he heard she was o.k. He almost passed out."
"Relief, Angelina, relief. And exhaustion—the guy'dbeen travelling half the night; he came all the way from Washington. Which must have cost him a fortune, by the way; you know what Lufthansa is like if you don't book weeks in advance. I'll bet he paid thousands. Anyway, she was still out cold when Col. L. took him in to see her. He just sat and watched her all night. I was on duty, I saw him—just looking at her, with that look, like someone had told him he was dying, and she was the last thing he was going to see. It touched me, you know, because he knew she was going to be okay. He must have been thinking about how close he came to losing her. Everyone else in the car, you know . . ."
"Yeah, that was awful. But tell how he got past Pricky Vicky at the OR."
"I'm getting to it. I just want to remind you that this man didn't move from that room until long after she'd come round, the next day. He finally went to get something to eat—I'd brought him trays, and coffee, but he never touched any of it. He must have been starving. Anyway, she seemed to be doing fine—photographer guy had been there, acting like Don Juan with her—you could see how much our guy liked that, even though he didn't say anything—and then D.J. left—"
"Wouldn't that be D.W.?"
"You should pick up a real book once in a while, Angelina. It's Spanish, it's spelled with a J. Anyway, D.J.—his name is really Colin Something-had left, and there'd been a lot of phone calls, and our guy—his name is Joshua Lyman—our guy asked her if she minded if he went out for a meal. He was supposed to meet somebody, too; that's what all the calls had been about. Something for work; something official. And she said no, of course not, and so he went. He kept telling her he'd only be gone an hour; I don't think he liked going at all, even though she was doing so well. And then, of course, just before he got back, all the monitors went crazy. I was down the hall; Susie B. told me about it. She ran in and saw right away that there was an embolism—it was a pulmonary-and rang for help, and they ripped all her tubes out and got her down to the OR real fast. And then he came back, carrying his roses, and stood in the door to her room for half a minute, staring at the mess—I'd come out to see what all the fuss was about, and saw him. And then he went tearing down the hall, looking in all the rooms to see where she was. I tried to catch up with him to tell him, but he was moving too fast. I was just behind him when he came up short at Vicky's desk in front of the OR."
"Pricky Vicky. I'll bet she wouldn't let him in, she's such a pain."
"She didn't want to. Did her usual 'Are you family?' thing in that prickly voice. But he just leaned on the desk and put his face into hers and said, in this really hard way, 'I work for the President of the United States. I have the diplomatic rank of a three-star general. Tell me where Donna Moss is!" He didn't raise his voice, but I'll bet you could have heard him anywhere on the floor he said it with so much force. It gave me shivers. Her, too—I wish I'd had a camera to snap her face. So she told him where his Donna was, and he went tearing through the doors. I don't suppose he even saw the big red "No Entry" sign, or would have cared if he did."
"The poor guy. Was he very upset when he found out what was wrong?"
"I've never seen anyone in such a state, and I've been in nursing twenty-three years. Col. L. was just going into the OR, and took a moment to tell Jo—Mr. Lyman-what was happening, and when he said "pulmonary embolism" the guy turned absolutely white. I mean, like paper, and his eyes—he looked like he was seeing something nobody should see. Like someone had taken a torch to his whole family, and he was watching them burn alive, or something. And then the doctor ran into the OR, and Josh-Mr. Lyman-stood for a minute, watching through the OR doors, with that ghastly look on his face. I'd been watching through Vicky's doors, wondering if I should do anything or if it was better to leave him alone, when he gave a sort of sob and turned around and slugged the wall behind him. Really hard. His hand went right through, you know? There are holes on both sides; Karl couldn't believe it when he was sent to fix it. I pushed the door open and yelled at him to stop, but he pulled his hand out—it was cut and bleeding—and did it again."
"He was just wild. I tried to grab his arm, but he shook me off. He punched about five more holes in the wall before security got there."
"Jesus. Shit. Was there anything left of it? His hand, I mean."
"He made a mess of it, all right. Some broken bones, gashes half way up to his elbow. Lucky he didn't tear an artery. I think he hit a stud at one point, but he just kept on hitting. It must have hurt like hell, but he didn't stop."
"Is he okay? I mean, mentally, emotionally? He isn't going to go off the deep end like that again, is he?"
"I'm guessing that will depend on how she does. They gave him a sedative; that's why he's asleep over there. Kimmie and I brought him up so he'd be with her. When he comes around, if she's all right, he'll probably be okay. I don't think I want to be here if he comes around and she isn't."
"I'm so confused. Who is he, anyway? Not her husband, right? She doesn't have a ring, and anyway, if he'd been family, he'd have told Vicky, right, instead of doing the rank-of-a-three-star-general thing. And if he's her boyfriend, why is she doing all her smiling for the photographer? It's not like this Josh guy is objecting, either; he might have punched out the wall, but he hasn't punched out the photographer. Colin, you said? I saw them talking quite normally when she was awake. And he'd seen him kissing her, and everything."
"Oh, I was there when Don Juan—Colin-came in, and I heard some of what went on between them. They were like two dogs walking round each other in circles, sniffing and snarling. At least Jo—Mr. Lyman—was snarling. He was as jealous as hell, anybody could see that. The other guy saw it, all right. I heard him telling Josh—I mean Mr. Lyman!-that she hadn't mentioned anything to him about there being anyone else."
"What did he say to that?"
"It was strange. He backed off right away, said no, it was all right. And he'd been spitting like a tomcat just before. I don't know. Maybe he's her ex, but he's still in love with her? Or maybe they're just friends, and it's all on his side; he knows he doesn't have any rights."
"She must not know how he feels about her, then."
"She has to know. How could anybody miss it? He adores her. She means everything to him. If we can see it, she must be able to."
"Maybe not. Maybe he hides it better normally. When he's with her. When he doesn't think she's dying. Maybe he hides it from himself."
"Wow, that would take some doing, with feelings as strong as that. If he's been keeping all that bottled up—he must be some frustrated. I wouldn't want to be him. Hell, I wouldn't want to be around him, if he's trying to cover up all that. He'd have to take it out somehow. Maybe he punches walls out every day! Or people. Yeah, I'll take the photographer. He'd give you a good time without all the mess."
"Why would our guy hide it, anyway? Why not be her boyfriend? He's lovely; he wouldn't have to worry about being turned down."
"You know what men are like. They don't think about their feelings the way we do; if something's bothering them, they just bury it. Work too hard, drink too much, get angry—half the time they don't even know why. There's got to be some reason he isn't her boyfriend or her husband. Maybe her taste in men is as bad as Angelina's, and he knows it. He is lovely, but not everyone would see it. Just intelligent girls like you and me, sweetie. And she's gorgeous, she could have anyone; maybe he thinks he's out of her league. Or maybe—here's an idea—maybe she works with him, or for him. They're both from the White House, aren't they? He's something quite high up—Deputy Chief of Something or other. I'll bet he can't risk a sex harassment case, and unless he was sure she'd want him, he'd probably not want to show what he feels about her. Even if she didn't sue, he's probably scared stiff she'd transfer or quit and he'd lose her altogether. You know, half a loaf."
"Well, I hope she gets better and takes him. What am I saying? No, I don't. I hope she gets better and turns him down, and he turns to me for comfort! Lovely bones, lovely bod, lots of passion—what more could a girl want?"
"I'll still take the photographer."
"I just hope it all works out for him. He's been through hell the last few days. He's still there, for that matter; look how restless he is. I'll bet he hasn't forgotten, even asleep. And that hand is going to take a while to heal. I'd just like to see him smile again. He was smiling a lot after she woke up and before his rival appeared—he's got the nicest dimples."
"Look, girls, her eyes are open! I wonder how long she's been awake. Here, sweetie, have some water; you must be thirsty. Have you been listening? Don't pay any attention to us—we were just taking the weight off our feet and talking a lot of nonsense while we waited for you to come round. Don't cry, sweetie; that's just the drug talking. You're going to be just fine."