Title: When the Stars Go Blue
Author: Steph aka LicksHisLips (ILUVNYYANK@aol.com)
Disclaimer: I do this out of a love for this couple. No infringement is intended.
Summary: Robin helps Patrick get through the anniversary of his mother’s death, during which he recalls the last moments they spent together and the special gift she gave him.
Note: This story takes place during the current storyline and is told from Patrick’s POV. I don’t know when Patrick’s mom died, but let’s pretend it’s around now. So, hope you enjoy it and please let me know what you thought. Thanks! -Steph
--- When the Stars Go Blue: Part 1/1 ---
I stand on the hospital roof, staring out at the dark sky, the stars twinkling above me. It’s hard to remember the last time I felt this alone. When I fell in love with Robin, I thought my days of being lonely were over.
It’s strange, really. Before Robin, I spent most of my nights in the company of some random woman whose name I couldn’t remember in the morning. But not a night past that I didn’t feel utterly alone.
Things shouldn’t have to be like this. Robin and I would be together right now if it weren’t for that bastard Craig. I miss her in ways I can’t even articulate, in ways I never even expected. Most of all, I miss being able to talk to her.
I’ve experienced three terrible days in my life. The first was when my mother died. The second was when I was exposed to HIV in the OR. And the third was standing outside the MetroCourt, wondering if I’d ever see the woman I love again.
I had no one to help me through the first or last day and that made them that much harder. What set the second day apart from the others was that I had Robin. She was there to listen to me and comfort me. Now, I look back on that day as the day I realized she was all I would ever need.
I need her right now. All I want to do is talk to her.
I feel the tears begin to sting my eyes and I blink them back. Just then, I hear the sound of the door opening behind me. I don’t need to turn around to know it’s her. She takes a few steps forward and then stops a yard away from me.
I swallow hard. “You shouldn’t be up here.”
“I saw you leave the locker room. I could tell you were upset.”
I turn around to look at her. “You know we can’t be seen together out in the open like this, Robin. Craig will get angry if he thinks we’re ruining his charade and endangering his plan.”
She comes to stand by my side, turning her eyes up to me. “Craig won’t find out and no one else will either. You need me. I belong right here with you.”
She reaches her hand out and covers mine with it. God, I miss her touch. I miss the feel of her skin against mine. I miss her warmth.
“You’re not fine, Patrick.”
“I will be tomorrow,” I reply.
“What about tonight?” she asks. “Let me help you make it through tonight.”
I drop my eyes to the ground, as I speak softly. “Sometimes I can’t believe it’s been so long. Twelve years today. I can’t believe she’s been gone for twelve years.”
“And you still miss her like it was yesterday,” she says.
I raise my eyes and meet her gaze. “Yeah, I do.” I shake my head. “I could tell her anything. That’s what I missed the most after she died. Being able to talk to her.” I pause and then purse my lips. “That’s what I miss most about you.”
She swallows hard and I can see she’s fighting tears. “I miss being able to talk to you, too. When I wake up in the morning, you’re the first person I want to talk to and the last one before I go to sleep. When something wonderful or terrible happens, you’re the one I want to tell. I didn’t have that for a long time and I had forgotten how comforting it is.”
I rub my hand across my mouth. “She was my best friend. Growing up, I thought my father was. We went to baseball games together and to the racetrack. But after she died, I realized she had always been my best friend. I could tell her anything without fearing her reaction. She knew when I needed her to just listen and she knew when I needed her to set me straight.”
I feel her thumb running circles across my skin. I turn to meet her eyes, as I go on. “I always blamed my father for how I shutdown afterwards, but the truth is it was never about him. It was about her. It was about the huge void she left in my life. I felt so alone and it wouldn’t have mattered if my father had been there for me. Without her, I was lost.” I pause and then whisper, “Then I found you.”
She squeezes my hand. “We found each other.”
I let a breath slowly pass through my lips. “Now I feel lost again. I feel so alone.”
She reaches up and touches my cheek. “You’re not alone, Patrick. Even though we can’t be together the way we want to, I am still with you every moment of every day. Please, don’t ever forget that.”
I rub at my eyes with my fingertips. “I had a patient die on the table today. That’s what really set me off. She was the same age as my mother and I thought I could save her. But I was wrong and I had to go out and tell her family that she was gone. She had a son that was the same age that I was when my mother died. I looked at his face as I said the words and I was back twelve years ago, hearing the same ones.” I drop my eyes to the ground. “I literally felt like I couldn’t breathe and all I wanted to do was find you. I needed to talk to you.”
She nods. “I know. I could tell the moment I saw you in the locker room. You didn’t have to say a word.”
I move my gaze to my hands. “Did I ever tell you about the last moments we spent together?”
Robin shakes her head. I raise my eyes to the stars and close them, thinking back to the final memory I have of my mother.
--- Flashback ---
I slowly enter the hospital room, stopping at the sight of her. She’s waiting while they finish prepping the OR, but she’s already been prepped. Her head is almost completely shaved. I feel myself suck in a breath of air, as I force myself forward.
She smiles self-consciously and runs her hand over her scalp. “Not a good look for me?”
I manage a small smile and sit down beside her. I take her hand in mine and then meet her eyes. I’m startled by the hoarse voice that emerges from my mouth. “You look beautiful, as always.”
A laugh flows from her mouth and I close my eyes, listening to the melodic sound. She has the most wonderful laugh and it makes the corners of her eyes crinkle. I want to remember that sound forever.
She shakes her head. “You sure know how to charm a woman. You get that from your father.”
I drop my head as tears fill my eyes. I feel her soft touch on my hand.
“Hey, it’s going to be all right. Your father’s the best. You know that. If anyone can do this, he can. I’ve always trusted him with my heart. Now I trust him with my life.”
I rub at my burning eyes with my fingertips and then meet her gaze. “Dad will take care of you.”
She nods and then pauses for a moment. “I have something for you.” She leans over to the nightstand and picks up her engagement ring. “They put all of my jewelry in a bag, but I told them I wanted you to hold this for me.”
I stare at the ring. My mother hasn’t taken it off since my father put it on her finger the day he asked her to marry him, almost 25 years ago. She has always refused to remove it. Not when she showers or gardens or washes dishes. My father was always waiting for her to tell him it fell off and she lost it. But she said she guarded it with her life.
Mom’s eyes begin to grow glassy with tears as she looks at the ring. “I didn’t want to take it off, but they forced me. They wanted me to put it in the bag with my other jewelry, but I just couldn’t. I was afraid something might happen to it. Your father’s holding my wedding ring for me and I would like you to hold this.”
She places it in front of me, waiting for me to take it from her. I swallow hard and meet her gaze, but don’t make a move.
“You’re going to be fine,” I say softly.
Her brow wrinkles. “Well, of course I am. I told you, I have the utmost confidence in your father. You’re just holding the ring for me until I get out of surgery.”
“That’s not what it feels like,” I whisper.
She lowers her eyes. “Patrick.”
I swallow roughly, suddenly aware of the thickening of my throat.
“It feels like you’re giving it to me,” I reply, meeting her eyes.
She slowly lets out a breath and I can see the mask she’s been wearing for my sake fade away. “Your father’s brilliant, but…but we both know my chances aren’t great. I guess we should stop pretending otherwise.”
I run a hand down my face, startled at finding my cheeks wet with tears. I thought I had successfully fought them off.
“This isn’t goodbye, Mom,” I say quietly.
She reaches out to me and takes my hands in hers. I feel the ring press against my skin. “I pray that I make it through this, but I guess now it’s time to be realistic and face the fact that I might not. If I don’t make it…”
“Mom,” I breathe.
“If I don’t make it, I want you to have the ring. And when you find the woman you love and want to spend the rest of your life with, I want you to give it to her and think of me.”
“Please don’t do this,” I say softly, as I lower my eyes and a tear splatters onto the blanket.
She pulls one hand from mine and lifts it to my chin, touching it gently, a silent request to meet her eyes. I slowly lift my head.
She takes a deep breath. “I hope I am there to see every important milestone in your life. The day you graduate from college and then medical school. I hope I get to hear your voice telling me about this girl you met who makes your heart race. I hope I get to see you look at her the way your father looks at me. And I hope I get to see her look at you with the love I always looked at your father with. I want to be there to watch you fall in love with the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with. I want to see the sparkle in your eyes when you tell me you’re going to ask her to be your wife. I want to be there on your wedding day when you promise yourself to her and dance with you at your reception. I want to see the smile on your face when you tell me I’m about to be a grandmother and the look in your eyes when you hold my grandchild for the first time.” She pauses, as I stare at her through a blur of tears. I feel like I can’t breathe and I have to resist the urge to flee the room. “I want to be there for all of it, Patrick. But it’s out of my control. It’s in God’s hands now. I may not be able to be with you physically, but I will be there. I will be watching you and in your heart for every wonderful moment you ever have.”
She slips her other hand from mine, leaving the ring cradled in my palm. Gently, she closes my fingers around it. “Keep it with you wherever life may take you. And when you know in your heart that you’ve found that woman, give it to her and remember me.”
I open my hand and stare at the ring. Then I drop my head onto her stomach and allow my tears to fall freely. She simply strokes my hair.
--- Present ---
I feel the wetness on my cheeks and I wipe at my face with the back of my hand, as I lower my eyes from the sky.
I find Robin staring at me, with her mouth hanging open and a lone tear strolling down her cheek.
“Why didn’t you ever tell me that before?” she asks softly.
I shrug my shoulders. “I try not to think about it. It hurts too much. For a long time, I didn’t think about it at all. Not any of it.”
“So why now?”
“Because of you,” I whisper.
“Me?” she asks, brow creasing.
I take a deep breath, as I meet her eyes. “From college to medical school to my apartment in Manhattan to my hotel room at the MetroCourt to my apartment, there are only three things that I have taken with me: my clothes, my racetrack, and that ring. I’ve always kept the ring in a box buried at the bottom of my sock drawer. I would take it with me when I moved, but I refused to think about it. After all, I had proclaimed myself a bachelor for life, so I would never need it. I would go years without ever thinking about it. I would forget it was even there.” I pause and then say softly, “Then I met you.”
A small smile curls her lips.
I go on, shaking my head. “That day after we made love for the first time, I went home and I found myself digging through my sock drawer in search of it. I couldn’t explain why to myself, I just needed to. I remember sitting down on my bed and opening the box. It was the first time I had even looked at it since my mother died. I remember taking it in my fingers and how cold the metal felt against my skin. I closed my eyes and there was this flash of me giving it to you. Since then, I’ve carried it with me everyday, no matter where I go. That day in the cabin was supposed to be just about sex, but, deep down, we both knew that was a lie. Robin, I knew that day when we were making love and I looked into your eyes that I was in trouble. And, if I had any doubt just how deeply in trouble I was, it was made clear to me the moment I took that ring out of the drawer.”
She shakes her head at me. “You mean, you’ve had it with you everyday since?”
I nod. “Yeah.”
“You have it with you now?”
I reach into the pocket of my pants and pull out the small velvet box. I hear her suck in a breath at the sight of it.
Her lips begin to twitch into a smile. “So you just plan on carrying that around with you for the rest of your life?”
I shake my head, meeting her eyes. “No, just until the right moment.”
She nods. “The right moment. And how will you know it’s the right moment?”
I rub my thumb over the velvet of the box. “My father proposed to my mother when they were lying in bed one Sunday morning. He said he looked over at her while she was reading the newspaper and she blew a piece of hair out of her eyes. And he knew he couldn’t wait one more moment to ask her to be his wife.”
She smiles at me. “That’s sweet.”
I nod. “When I asked him why he didn’t plan out something romantic, he said that love is not about the grand romantic gestures. It’s about wanting to go to the grocery store with that person just to spend time with her. Or staring at her over your bowl of cereal. It’s about giving up the remote control. It’s about wanting to share every moment of your life, the milestones and the mundane, with that person.”
“Your father’s a very smart man.”
I bob my head. “You’re right, he is. Right now, we can’t even share the mundane moments of life together. The things everyone takes for granted I miss more than anything now. But one day soon this will all be over and we’ll be together again. I’ll be able to stare at you over my cereal and gladly give up control of the remote. And then one day that moment will come and I’ll know.”
I can see the twinkle in her eyes at the promise for the future. I slip the box back into my pocket and then step forward, pulling her into my arms.
She places her head against my chest and I rest my chin on top of it, as I close my eyes.
“Thank you,” I whisper.
“For listening. For being here.”
She raises her head up and meets my eyes.
“I’ll always be here,” she whispers.
I smile, as I lower my lips to hers.
And I know somewhere my mother is looking down on us and smiling.
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed it and please let me know what you thought.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Title: When the Stars Go Blue