Dave buried his head in his hands, trying not to aggravate the bruise on his forehead. He took a sip of his drink; the blues music in the background seemed to fit his mood. The rest of the doctors, except Romano of course, dragged him to the club in an attempt to cheer him up. He sat at the bar alone as the rest of them were at a table not too far behind.
"Man, what happened to you? You look worse than I did the night I killed disco," Dave looked up, confused, at the gray-haired man serving up drinks, wearing a black t-shirt with "Luke’s" printed in white letters.
"Huh?" he asked, as Jing-Mei came up from behind, putting an arm around him.
"You okay?" she asked Dave, hopping up on one of the stools. Dave didn’t answer.
"What can I get you little lady?" the gray-haired bartender smiled at her.
"Maybe you could tell us a little bit about the Quartermaines?" she asked. Dave shot her a glance. "I’m Jing-Mei Chen by the way. This is Dave Malucci," she added
"You must be new in town. I’m Luke Spencer, owner of this dive. What do you want to know about the Q’s?" he asked.
"Do you know Skye Chandler?" Jing-Mei skipped immediately to the point.
"Oh…the new Quartermaine kid. I know of her."
"Well, she claims Dave got her pregnant," she informed him.
"Deb!" Dave yelled, not wanting Luke to know his business.
"I’m just trying to help you," Jing-Mei assured him calmly. Luke began to laugh.
"Is this funny to you?" Dave became annoyed.
"Usually it’s the other way around," Luke answered, still laughing.
"What do you mean?" Jing-Mei asked.
"Are you kidding me? The Q’s have enough illegitimate offspring to start a soccer team!"
"She’s not really pregnant," Dave muttered.
"That doesn’t really matter in this town," Luke added.
"So I’ve heard," Dave buried his head in his hands again.
"Here kid, this one’s on me," Luke poured him a drink. Jing-Mei whispered something to Dave and headed off to the bathroom, just as Luka approached the bar.
"Ohhh…Vlad Jr. Are you another one of the Cassadine spawn or just another one of Helena’s boy-toys?" Luke asked sarcastically.
"Excuse me?" Luka’s accent added more fuel to Luke’s comments.
"Does she let you off the yacht often or do you just hang from the rafters over at Wyndemere?" he continued, enjoying every insult he could think of. Luka stared back at the man, not knowing how to respond. Alexis broke away from her conversation with Carter when she noticed Luke badgering Luka.
"That happens to be Luka Kovac, he’s a doctor from Chicago not a Cassadine," Alexis informed him, annoyed.
"Oh, sorry man, but black get-ups and accents don’t go over well with me," Luke semi-apologized. He then turned his attention to Alexis.
"So, you’re through with Nedly-Eddie, whatever his name is?" he grinned, gesturing to Carter.
"Luke…shut up. This man actually stood up to Helena today," Alexis told him. Luke raised his eyebrows at Carter.
"Maybe you deserve the drink," he said, sliding Dave’s drink down the bar to Carter. Dave looked up sadly, like a child whose toy had been taken away. Carter handed Dave the drink as he and Alexis headed back to join the others.
"Ohhh…hello gorgeous," Luke smiled as a blonde woman approached the bar.
"I just dropped the girls off at Betty’s, so I thought I’d stop by," the female voice screeched through Dave’s head. He looked at Luke, who had continued talking normally, and then at the women. She was seemingly attractive, but her nose scrunched as she began to talk. That voice!
"I must be hallucinating. I’ve had way too much to drink," Dave told himself as the woman’s next words ripped through his ears. As he stood up, she turned and smiled at him.
"I’m Felicia Scorpio-Jones," Dave thought she said. He desperately cupped a hand over his ear and fled across the room, breathing hard as he reached the outside of Luke’s.
"Maybe someone should go see what’s wrong," Carter suggested as he noticed Dave flee from the club.
"Ok, I was all for bringing him here, but this is ridiculous. We can’t keep babying him. After all, he slept with her. He got himself into this mess," Cleo voiced her opinion.
"Oh, come on. So he made a mistake and had a little fun. That doesn’t justify her pinning a fake pregnancy and engagement on him," Peter disagreed, shaking his head. Everyone looked at him in surprise. It was definitely unlike him to stand up for Dave, or anyone in a situation like this. Cleo turned to face him.
"You just love to disagree with me don’t you? So have you been having ‘a little fun’ in Port Charles, too?" she demanded angrily.
"Cleo, come on," Peter shook his head in annoyance. Cleo wouldn’t back down and continued to argue.
"Uh-oh," Abby muttered under her breath. She pointed at the doorway. Robert Romano entered, looking less-than-happy.
"Sorry to interrupt this little love fest," he broke in. "Dr. Carter, I want to talk to you…now," Romano tried to contain his voice. Carter stood slowly, glancing at everyone. He followed Romano to the far side of the room. The group watched as Romano began talking a mile-a-minute. Occasionally a word like "stupidity" or "irresponsible" would float over. They could see Carter obviously trying to defend himself.
"Maybe he found out about Carter being arrested," Mark finally said, looking at Kerry.
"He didn’t mention anything and you know Robert, he doesn’t stay quiet," Kerry motioned across the room at Romano, who was angrily storming away from Carter. Carter stressfully rubbed the back of his neck as he joined them again. He sighed deeply as he sat down, obviously glad that was over.
"What happened? What did he say?" Abby asked, grabbing a cheese fry from the enormous plate they all shared. Carter turned to Alexis.
"So, that was Helena…..Cassadine the other day?" he said in more of a statement than a question. Everyone gasped, now understanding. Alexis nodded.
"Well, apparently she mentioned something about our little meeting, probably making me out to look a lot worse," Carter explained.
"I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize you were going to be involved with the hospital when I met you. And with Helena pulling strings…." Alexis apologized in a nervous, rapid manner.
"No, no you couldn’t have known. Anyway, I think Romano took care of it," Carter shook off the apology, but still seemed drained from being reamed out by Romano unexpectedly. He screeched his chair back noisily. "I need some air…may as well see how Dave is doing anyway," he said as he stood up, gesturing for Alexis to follow. The rest of the group picked at the plate of cheese fries with disinterest. Abby watched as Carter and Alexis headed out of the club, which didn’t go un-noticed by Luka.
"Carter’s a big-boy. He can take care of himself," he broke Abby’s concentration, but the look of annoyance remained on her face.
"You’d think he’d be a little more careful after what happened with Dave. He doesn’t even know this woman!" Abby tried to justify her slight jealousy.
"Maybe Abby’s right," Jing-Mei piped in as Peter and Cleo were still arguing and Mark, Elizabeth, and Kerry sat quietly. Luka’s face twisted in annoyance this time.
"I can understand the worry over Dave, but why is it everyone has to baby Carter?" his voice rose. Abby caught on, used to this argument by now.
"He’s just my friend and I’m worried about him, ok? I’m sorry if you can’t take that!" She angrily threw back her chair and stormed away from the table. The rest of the doctors eyed Luka, but quickly looked away as he met their gaze.
Dave sat with his back against the wall outside Luke’s, trying not to draw attention to himself as Romano angrily burst out of the club. He heard the soft rhythm of blues music drift outside. The night was warm and breezy. He only wished he could enjoy it more. Instead, he couldn’t take his mind off of Skye and her visit to him in the hospital after he collapsed in the Quartermaine living room. The memory lingered so vividly:
Kerry pressed gently on Dave’s forehead. He winced and pushed her arm away.
"Chief…" he whined.
"You’ll be fine," Kerry told him in a kinder tone than he was used to hearing. He had expected that she would be furious after what Skye had said. Before exiting the exam room, Kerry turned around.
"You should be able to leave in a half-hour or so," she said and left Dave alone in the room. He leaned back on the uncomfortable bed and groaned, his head still pounding like a jack-hammer. He tried squeezing his eyes shut, thinking the absence of the brightly lit room might dull the pain. When he opened his eyes, he couldn’t stop himself from shouting out in surprise.
"I’m sorry if I startled you," Skye apologized sweetly, pulling a nearby stool next to the bed. Her face seemed to show mock concern as she gingerly reached her hand towards his forehead. Dave jerked back quickly to avoid her touch.
"What are you doing here?" he asked dully.
"I was concerned. After all, you did collapse."
"Well, under the circumstances, can you blame me?" Dave practically shouted. Skye put her hand to her chest in shock.
"What circumstances?" she batted her eyes innocently.
"What circumstances…" Dave repeated in disbelief, briefly covering his face with his hands. "You’re pinning this…this fake pregnancy on me…and expect me to marry you!" he continued, once again losing his cool.
"and you have a problem with that?" Skye asked, keeping the saccharine smile pasted on her face.
"You’re not really pregnant!" Dave became more annoyed, wondering why this woman didn’t understand, or at least didn’t seem to understand.
"Well, I can remedy that…" she shot a seductive glance toward him. Dave practically leaped out of the hospital bed.
"Look, I don’t want to cause you any trouble, really, but somebody is bound to find out, and you’re not going to drag me down with you," Dave tried to calmly explain. Skye’s expression darkened as she rose slowly.
"I see…well whether you like it or not, you will play along until I figure out what to do next. I’ll be damned if I’ll be thrown out of that family. Do you know how powerful the Quartermaine name is in this town?" a flicker of anger gleamed in her eyes.
"Skye…" Dave began, but was cut off.
"You obviously don’t have any idea who you’re dealing with, so just ask around, or better yet call Llanview or Pine Valley and see what happens when you even mention my name. Don’t even try double crossing me," Skye whispered and swept out of the room, leaving Dave alone and stunned.
"Dave? Dave!" Carter shouted, snapping him back to reality. He shook his head, trying to wipe away the vivid memory.
"Uh, sorry….I was having a flashback," Dave apologized, looking up at Carter and Alexis. Alexis nodded in understanding.
"Uh, anyway, did Romano say anything to you yet about what’s been going on?" Carter asked.
"He thinks it’s great, that if I have a tie to the Quartermaine family, it could help him get more money for the hospital," Dave said miserably.
"Well, at least you have him on your side," Carter tried to add a bright side to the situation.
"Are you kidding me? I’d rather treat nothing but hemorrhoids and yeast infections for a month than be in this mess," Dave complained
"Careful what you wish for. Weaver would like to hear that," Carter laughed.
"Haha, what are you doing out here anyway?" Dave asked, for once not in the mood to joke.
"Alexis thinks she might have an idea about getting you out of this mess," Carter explained, sitting against the building next to Dave. Dave shook his head.
"No, no. Skye came to me in the hospital and warned me about double crossing her. At first I thought she was bluffing, but I asked around. Do you know some of the stuff she’s done?"
"She hasn’t done anything that about 90% of the people in this town already have," Alexis assured him.
"At least listen to her idea," Carter persuaded.
"Look, I almost married into the Quartermaine family, I know how they operate," Alexis added. Dave sighed and nodded, giving in.
"It’s quite simple really. All you have to do is "leave" Skye. She cries that when a second pregnancy test came back negative, you, "the love of her life" left her," Alexis explained rather quickly.
"But she’s afraid of being thrown out of the family. How will it be any different than before I got into this?" Dave groaned, already rejecting the idea.
"Trust me, Alan will forget about anything else and trip all over himself trying to comfort Skye," she looked at Dave for a response.
"I guess it could work," he sighed and flashed a small smile. "Thanks, Alexis," he added, pulling himself to his feet.
"Thanks, man" he pointed at Carter. The volume of blues music increased as he swung open the door to Luke’s and quickly faded to a soft rhythm. Carter looked back at Alexis.
"Hey, thanks for helping him. It looks like this will work,"
"I’m a lawyer, that’s what I do," Alexis told him with a smile, and Carter smiled back in response.
Dave had just left Abby at the bar after excitedly telling her about the plan. Now, he sat over with everyone else, finally able to relax and have a good time. Abby took a sip of her club soda. She glanced over at Luka and felt a twinge of anger again. She began to feel that a bar wasn’t exactly a good place for her to be sitting. It only reminded her of how she used to drown her sorrows. She got up slowly and headed towards the door. Carter stood alone outside, leaning on the railing and staring at the stars.
"Hey," he greeted Abby as she approached him.
"Dave told me about the big plan," Abby said, as she rested her elbows on the rail. She was about to reach for a cigarette out of her purse, but she didn’t feel up to answering Carter’s questions as to why she was stressed enough to smoke.
"Yeah well, it was Alexis’ idea, really," Carter told her. Abby was silent.
"Oh, come on," Carter sensed what she was thinking.
"I just think you should be careful," she tried to say nonchalantly.
"She’s just a friend," Carter smiled.
"Uh-huh," a small laugh escaped from Abby. "You have lipstick on your face," she told him.
"Oh," Carter rubbed at his face quickly. Abby couldn’t help but start laughing almost uncontrollably, and Carter joined in.
Luka started feeling guilty as he watched Abby quietly leave the club. After a couple minutes, he finally forced himself to head outside to apologize to her, when he saw her next to Carter, still laughing. They both glanced back at him. He stared for a moment, and angrily stormed back inside.
The doctors arrived at General Hospital early the next morning for the conference, still weary from their long night and the events of the week. Luka and Abby still remained on unspeaking terms, as did Mark and Elizabeth, and Peter and Cleo. Romano glanced impatiently at his watch, waiting for Alan Quartermaine. Once again, the hospital seemed uneventful until the harsh, bald-headed Lieutenant Taggert, who had arrested Carter, entered. Carter hid his face, half-expecting to be arrested again. But, the detective headed over to Bobbie Spencer, who was trying to avoid the gossiping Nurse Amy Vining at the desk.
"Hey Bobbie, do you know where Roy is?" Taggert asked rather urgently. Bobbie’s expression turned dull.
"I wouldn’t know where he is…he and Melissa are together now," she said nonchalantly, her lips moving drastically with every word.
"Really, when did that happen?"
Bobbie thought for a moment. "You know, I really don’t know," she said and her eyes darted to the elevator where Roy and Melissa were stepping off, along with Commissioner Mac Scorpio. Taggert immediately ran over and a heated discussion began.
Mark stared over at Melissa as Mac and Taggert seemed to be interrogating her and Roy. Elizabeth took notice and smacked her husband in the stomach.
"I’m just curious to see what’s going on," he gestured.
"I’ll bet," Elizabeth spoke her first words to Mark all day. Drs Weaver and Romano broke away from the group as Alan finally arrived, speaking a few aggravated words to Mac and Taggert. They watched as he greeted Kerry and Romano. The doctors from Chicago almost seemed like children left unsupervised by their parents. A few heated words were exchanged between the couples as Carter, Jing-Mei, and Dave remained quiet, not wanting to get involved.
Alan shook Kerry and Romano’s hands and headed off in the opposite direction. Romano looked to be in one of his moods as they walked back.
"Well, let’s go. Everything’s called off," he said angrily.
"You mean we went through all this for nothing?" Dave demanded.
"Oh, boo-hoo, imagine how I feel," Romano shot back.
"It seems there’s been a murder in the hospital…some criminal/mob boss. They’re conducting an investigation, so Dr. Quartermaine cancelled the conference," Kerry explained.
"A murder? Aren’t they trying to keep in under wraps? That should be bad press for the hospital," Mark said. Romano shrugged with disinterest.
"Well, you’d think they’d hold interrogations at the police station, too," he said, gesturing to Mac, Taggert, Melissa, and Roy.
"Oh, they do," Carter added.
"What?" Romano looked at him suspiciously. Carter realized what he’d said.
"Uh, nothing," he tried to cover it up. Mark, Jing-Mei, and Abby gave him a disapproving look.
"Well, let’s get out of here then," Mark changed the subject, and everyone headed for the elevator.
As they entered the elevator, a thought hit Kerry.
"Has anyone seen Randi?" she asked. Everyone shrugged as the doors closed.
"Malucci!" Kerry yelled from the admit desk at County General. "Here, hemorrhoids in curtain three," she handed him a chart. Dave groaned, and then shot a dirty look to Carter, who was laughing.
"I told you, man," Carter laughed, then he spotted Abby.
"Hey, are you and Luka ok now?" he asked, always half-hoping the answer was no.
"Yeah, I guess," she shrugged.
"How about the other lovebirds?" he asked.
"Mark and Elizabeth are home with the baby, and Peter and Cleo…well, they always seem to be fighting anyway," she laughed. "I think that town had a strange effect on all of us, though," she added. Carter was about to answer, when a paramedic burst in with a man strapped to a gurney.
"We got a 40 year old male with multiple gunshot wounds to the chest!" he yelled.
"Yeah, home-sweet-home, huh?" Carter said sarcastically as he and Abby wheeled the patient into trauma 1.
"Don’t you think it’s about time for you to go home, dear?" Edward asked Randi, who was sitting in his favorite chair scarfing down a bran muffin. Randi rolled her eyes, but Edward persisted "I’m sure you’re friends are missing you," he tried again.
"Of course they do, I have their luggage," she laughed, making her large hoop earrings shake.
"Grandfather, leave her alone, she can stay as long as she likes," AJ grinned at her, and she winked back. Edward left the room in a huff. Skye sat at the opposite side of the room, ready to take a bite of her bagel, but she pushed her plate away instead. AJ took notice.
"Hey, are you feeling okay?" AJ asked. Skye smiled. He was just about the only person in the family she could trust.
"I’m fine, I think I might be coming down with a little something, though," she told him, rubbing her stomach. Alan just caught her comment as he entered the room.
"Well, no wonder what with all you’ve been through. I’m really sorry about Dave, honey," Alan embraced her.
"I’m glad I have your support," Skye whipped up some tears, and Randi rolled her eyes at the scene from her chair. Suddenly, the mention of Dave created a realization in Skye’s mind. "No, it can’t really be…" she thought to herself.
An hour later, she stood in her bathroom, pacing nervously in front of the sink.
"We did sleep together once," she said out loud. "and once is all it takes, that’s how I got here," she laughed at herself. She glanced at her watch. Time’s up. She picked up the white stick.
"Blue is….positive. Oh my God," she re-read the directions on the box. "I’m pregnant," she whispered and a hint of a smile formed on her lips. She exited the bathroom, headed through her bedroom and called out into the hallway.
"Reginald! Book me on a flight to Chicago!" She closed her door and leaned against it. "Ready or not, Dave, here I come," she smiled.