“At least I know you, Mr. Crane. Some people never know their parents.”
“Julian, I would love it if you called me Julian.” He smiled at her tenderly.
“Julian…” she said, nodding.
“I want you to know that if there is anything you need, anything at all, all you have to do is ask. I will be here for you from this moment on,” Julian promised.
“Thank you, Mr…uh, Julian,” she stammered nervously. “There is one thing that I want.”
“Anything, and it’s yours,” Julian promised.
Whitney smiled. “I am not sure you will be so willing to give me this, Julian,” she replied.
“You have my word!” he assured her.
“Well, OK then,” Whitney said, taking a deep breath. “I want you to leave my mother alone.” She waited for him to respond.
Julian sucked in his breath. “Whitney…”
“It is what I want! My parents promised me that they would do their best to keep our family together, and I want you to leave mom alone so that they can do that.” She watched him closely, realizing the enormous sacrifice he would have to make for her. “I know this is far beyond anything that you expected, but please, Julian, it is not helping my mother having you around.”
Julian swallowed hard and nodded numbly that he understood.
“I know how much you love her. And I know that deep down she loves you too. But she also loves my father and her family. Even though you are my biological father, TC will always be my daddy. He raised me, and I love him. I want my family to stay together. Do you understand why I am asking this of you?” She touched his hand gently.
Julian squeezed her hand, and nodded. “Yes, you are right of course. My presence in your mother’s life is not helping any. You are my daughter, I have grown to care for you very much, and if this is what you want, then I will do it,” he promised, his heart aching as he made his vow to Whitney.
“Thank you, Julian. Thank you so much. It means a lot to me. I will never forget this as long as I live,” Whitney smiled through her tears.
Julian got up and pulled Whitney into his arms and hugged her. “I would do anything for you, even if it means giving up the woman I love with all my heart.” Tears ran down his cheeks as he sucked his breath in to control his emotions, as Whitney returned his hug.
Sadness, complete sadness rocked his being as he willed himself to fulfill his daughter’s wishes and abandon his own. After a moment, he sat back down and patted Whitney’s hand. “There is something I want you to do for me when you get out of here,” Julian said.
“Yes, what is it?” she asked.
“Take care of yourself, and never give up the love you have with that young man, and this,” he handed her a card. “This is my attorney; he will help you with anything you need. Just give him this card; he will know what to do with it,” Julian explained.
“Thank you, Julian, I will,” Whitney promised.
Getting up to leave, Julian squeezed her hand one more time. “Get well soon, Whitney.”
“I will,” she said quietly, sorry for the sadness that she saw in his eyes.
“I have some things to do, so I will leave you to these capable nurses,” he said as a couple nurses came into the room. Turning to leave, he looked back at her and said, “Don’t lose that card. It is the one thing that will get you anything you need.”
Clutching it close, she smiled. “I won’t. Thank you for everything, Julian.”
He smiled gently and then turned and left the room. Outside the room, Julian leaned against the door. He closed his eyes, wishing he could somehow make the pain all go away. He brushed his hand across his brow wearily. Finally he pushed off the door and headed down the hall. One thing was certain - he had to honor his daughter’s wishes - not just for Whitney, but Eve as well. Eve needed space, space to figure out what she wanted. He walked, his shoulders sagging with sorrow, as he headed for the exit.
Eve knocked lightly on Room 120. “Anyone home?” she joked.
“Hey, baby!” TC exclaimed with a happy grin.
“Hey!” Eve returned, trying to look happier than she felt.
“Come and give your man a kiss,” TC motioned.
Eve smiled and leaned over him, kissing his cheek.
“What kind of greeting is that?” he laughed, and then winced.
“Be careful, TC, your ribs need time to heal,” Eve said, grateful for the escape as she sat on the stool next to his bed.
“Forget my ribs.” He smiled tightly, trying to hide his pain.
“TC, I can see that you are in a lot of pain. Do you want me to call your doctor?” Eve asked in concern.
“No! No, what I need is my beautiful wife,” TC insisted. “I need to hold and kiss my lovely, talented wife.” He continued to charm her.
Eve smiled. “Well, I am here. Try not to exert yourself, it could set you back.”
“All right, doctor,” he grinned. “I missed you!” He changed the subject. “I waited up for you last night. I thought you would come see me after you talked to Whitney. But I guess she didn’t take the news too well, did she?”
Eve turned away guiltily. “She…she was…well, she took it better than I thought. She was upset at first. But when I explained what really happened, she accepted it.”
“Good, I was hoping it wouldn’t have any long term effects on her. I mean finding out Julian Crane is your father - that is enough of a shock to send anyone into cardiac arrest, even one as young as Whitney.”
“Well, we can’t ignore the fact that he is her father,” Eve said in an attempt to defend Julian.
“Well, that doesn’t mean he has to be part of her life,” TC said, getting irritated.
“I think that is up to Whitney,” Eve said.
“Well, I know my little girl, and she would never want to have anything to do with that pig. I mean it, Eve. He better stay away from her, and from you, if he knows what is good for him. I forgive your past with him, but he better steer clear from here on out,” TC threatened.
Eve sighed. Some things, it seemed, would never change. “Well, I am not here to fight about Julian Crane.”
“You’re right, sweetheart, we shouldn’t waste our time talking about that pig. We should be concentrating on us, and our marriage, getting that back on track.” TC smiled as he took her hand.
Eve smiled reluctantly. “Yes, I suppose we should try to work out our relationship.”
“Well, I’ll start. First, I want to say how sorry I am for all that has happened between us, how our family has gotten out of control, how I let you down.”
“TC…” Eve started.
“No, let me finish. I am most sorry that I have not been there for you as a husband, as a man.” He smiled tenderly.
“It’s OK, TC. Really!” Eve insisted uneasily.
“No, its not. I should have been there for you. How long has it been since we last…?”
“TC…” Eve cried desperately, not wanting to discuss this with him now.
“You have needs, Eve, and I failed you,” TC persisted.
“I am fine, really, TC. The last time was…wow!” Eve said, without realizing what she had just said as she remembered her night with Julian.
TC beamed happily. “It was good, wasn’t it?”
“What?” Eve asked, startled.
“The last time we made love - it was great, wasn’t it?” he asked, priding himself on his skill. “But still, you shouldn’t have to go so long without…”
“I’m good!” Eve said quickly. “Really, I could go without for…quite a while anyway,” she added, when she failed to come up with a suitable time.
“I was that good eh?” TC grinned.
“You were a real stud, TC,” Eve said dryly.
TC looked at her in confusion, not sure of what to make of her tone.
Eve sighed in relief when a nurse came in to check on him. A few minutes later, she said, “Mr. Russell, your doctor will be in to check on you in a little while. But I think it is safe to say you can go home today.” She smiled
“Great!” TC whooped, and then gasped when a sharp pain shot through his ribs.
“You will have to remain calm though. The more you irritate your ribs, the more painful it will be.”
“Thank you,” Eve smiled as the nurse smiled at her and turned to leave.
“Dr. Russell, may I speak with you outside please?” she asked.
“Sure,” Eve said, getting up. Turning to TC she said, “I’ll be right back.”
Once outside the room, the nurse turned to Eve. “We are planning a fundraiser for the hospital, and we were wondering if you would like to participate?”
“What kind of fundraiser?” Eve asked, interested.
“Well, we need doctors and nurses to sign up to be auctioned off as dates to exclusive guests, to eligible gentlemen or ladies. Are you game?” she challenged with a grin.
Eve laughed. “Sure, I am always game for the good of the hospital.” She accepted the challenge.
“Terrific, I’ll put you down on the list then.” With that she turned and headed to the nurse’s station to tell the rest the good news.
When Eve returned to TC, he asked, “What was that all about?”
“A hospital fundraiser,” Eve explained. “I sighed up to be one of the doctors to be auctioned off as the highest bidder’s date…Don’t worry, it’s nothing serious, all in good fun.” She added the last part when she saw that TC’s face had clouded.
He brightened a bit. “Well in that case, I’ll be sure to outbid everyone there,” he promised.
Eve smiled. “I am going to see how Whitney is doing. I will be back later.”
“You better!” TC grinned. “No going home like you did last night.”
Eve almost stumbled when he said that.
“Careful, honey, we don’t want you in here too,” TC said in concern.
“I…I’m OK. Just stepped funny, I guess,” Eve lied as she turned and headed for Whitney’s room.