Chapter 136

Emily spent Wednesday night at Randy's house. The closer it got to Friday the more nervous she got.

“I really wish you would eat something.” Randy said with concern written all over his face.

“I'm sorry, I just can't. Every time I try I feel like throwing up.” Emily said, picking at her food.

“Have you been getting any sleep?”

“Some.” Emily shrugged.

Randy sighed. “Is there anything I can do?” he asked.

Emily shrugged again “Can you make time move faster?”

“Sorry sweetie, I can't help you with that one.”

“Well then what good are you?” Emily joked. “Why don't you tell me some more stories about when you were a med student.”

“Talking about med school is going to make you feel better?”

Emily grinned. “Actually, it's kind of like a living version of Grey's Anatomy.”

“Well, I hope I get to be Dr. McDreamy.” he said, getting up and clearing the table.

“You are way more sexy than he is!” Emily said.

“Hey what time is your test again on Friday?” he asked.

“It's at eleven.”

“I'd really like to be there, I'm supposed to cover for one of the other doctors that day but I'm going to try to work something out.” he said.

“You don't have to do that. Leighanne already said she'd go with me.”

“I know I don't have to. I want to.” he said.

Emily sighed. “Look, I really don't mean to sound bitchy but I really think I need to do this without you there.”

“Why?” Randy looked hurt.

“Because I'll be a nervous wreck and the only thing that will keep me together is acting normal. Having you there being all nice to me is not normal. It's just that, with you I can let my guard down. I'm afraid that if you're there I won't be able to be strong.”

“Well, how about if I go and act mean and distant instead of nice and understanding?”

Emily smiled. “Well, I might hurt you. I don't think crossing me will be a good idea that day either.”

“Alright. But if you change your mind all you need to do is say the word, ok? And promise you'll call as soon as it's over? Margie will put you right through.”

“I promise.”

“Did you say you're working at the hotel tomorrow night?” he asked as he loaded the dishwasher.

“Yeah, I traded with one of the other guys so that I wouldn't have to go Friday...you know, just in case....”

“In case we're out celebrating!” Randy said, drying his hands and wrapping his arms around her waist.

“You know, there is one thing that's always worked really well at distracting me....” Emily said as she stood on her tiptoes and kissed him.

“Oh yeah? What's that?”

“I could help you brush up on your anatomy....” she said seductively.

“Mmm...you know, come to think of it I could use a study session.” he said, nibbling on her ear.

Brian about fell over when Leighanne walked in the door with AJ that night.

“You said you were going out....” he said, very confused.

“I did. I went out to get AJ.”

“So...you're going to....talk to her?” Brian asked, still trying to figure out what was going on.

AJ nodded. “Tomorrow.”

“Well, what are you going to say?”

“I honestly have no fucking clue.” AJ said, setting his bag down.

“Well, I mean probably once you see her you'll know what to say.”

“I hope so otherwise I'm gong to look really stupid!” AJ laughed.

“I can't believe you actually went to get him.” Brian said, shaking his head at Leighanne.

“I'll tell you one thing Bri, your wife has one set of balls.”


Emily was already awake when Randy's alarm went off Thursday morning.

“Wake up, sleepyhead.” she said quietly.

Randy groaned and pulled the pillow over his head. “You're unusually chipper for the morning.” he mumbled.

“I've been awake for awhile, now get up!” she said, poking him. “There are sick children counting on you and their mothers who can't wait to hit on you!” Emily teased. Randy gave her the evil eye.

“I'll tell you what. I'm getting in the shower. If you get up now you'll be able to join me. Or you can sleep in a little longer and shower by yourself...” Emily said as she got out of bed and walked into his bathroom. Randy got out of bed immediately.


Emily went to work that day with the intention of finding as much busy work as possible to keep herself occupied. She had Val stay on the sales floor while she worked in the back organizing the stock room. Randy had already called to check on her and to let her know that he had to work really late and he'd probably just meet her at her place instead of the hotel.

AJ was a nervous wreck when he got up. So nervous that he made Leighanne come and pick out something for him to wear. She ended up choosing jeans and a black t-shirt and his belt with the large buckle. She also let him borrow her car and gave him directions to Emily's store. When he arrived, he stopped just outside the store and took a deep breath.

“Hi, is Emily working today?” he asked Val.

Val gave him a look of total recognition before answering, “Oh my God, yeah just a second!”

Emily was standing up on top of the step ladder trying to reach a box on the top shelf.

“Emily you totally have a visitor!” Val said through the door.

Emily smiled, assuming Randy must have stopped by on his lunch break. “Send him back here, would you?” she said.

Emily heard the door open but she was determined to get that box before she got down.

AJ walked over next to the ladder. “Hey.” he said.

Emily was so startled to hear his voice that she dropped the box and would have fallen off the ladder if it hadn't been for AJ grabbing her and steadying her.

“Are you ok?” he asked.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, climbing down

“I came to see you.” he said.

“But...why?”

“Leighanne told me everything.” he said. “And I wanted to be here for you. And....to talk to you.”

Emily was still so shocked to see him that she was speechless. “You really shouldn't be here...I mean be back here....I mean...oh Jesus....I'm not supposed to let people back here. That's what I mean. Talk about what?” Emily was totally flustered.

“Us. I think there are some things we need to discuss.” he said.

“Umm....yeah, definitely. I just...I mean I can't...I have to work....can you meet me at the Crown Plaza tonight at 9 in the bar?”

AJ thought that was a strange place to meet her but decided to go with it. “Yeah. Sure. That'd be good.”

“Ok. So, I guess I'll see you then!”

“Will you at least let me help you with that box so you don't kill yourself on the ladder?”

Emily smiled at him and handed him the box.

“Ok, well, I guess I'll see you tonight.” he said as he hopped off the ladder.

“Yeah. See you then.” she said. “Oh, and AJ?”

“Yeah?” he stopped at the door.

“It's good to see you.” she said.

“Yeah, you too.” he said, gazing at her with those eyes of his.

Emily sat down at her desk, completely dumbfounded. AJ was here. And he wanted to talk about 'us'. What did that even mean? What exactly did Leighanne tell him? She knew Leighanne would never give her an honest answer so she didn't even bother to call her and ask. After a few minutes she decided to go check on Val.

“Oh my God, Emily, what was AJ McLean doing here?” Val had been dying to know.

Emily sighed. “Well....he and I...kind of...used to go out....”

“WHAT? He's the guy you were with before Dr. McDreamy?” Val screeched.

“Uh...yeah...”

“You have got to be the luckiest girl in the world. AJ and McDreamy? Ugh. I hate you!”

Emily was a nervous wreck when she played her set at the bar that night. All day all she kept thinking about was what AJ could possibly want to say to her? That he still loved her? That he was moving on and wanted her to know? That Leighanne told him she still loved him and he came to tell her that he didn't? The anticipation and suspense was killing her!

AJ got there a little early. He was shocked when he saw her working. When she'd said meet him at the bar he thought she had just picked a random place to meet, he had no idea she was the pianist. He noticed she seemed to be playing a lot of love songs and wondered if it had anything to do with what was on her mind. He hadn't seen her since that day seven months ago when he walked out of Brian's house. She looked the same yet she looked so different. She had lost some weight and her hair was shorter but it was more than just physical looks that seemed different. She seemed more...sure of herself. He didn't know how he could tell that from the two minutes he'd seen her, it was just a feeling he got.

At nine on the dot she stood up and looked around until she spotted him. He stood up and kissed her on the cheek when she came over to him.

“I had no idea you worked here!” he said. “You sounded amazing!”

“Actually I sound like shit tonight.” Emily said, irritated with herself.

“A little distracted?” he asked.

Emily chuckled. “You have no idea!”

They were quiet for a moment as they each stared at each other like they almost couldn't believe they were actually sitting together.

“Why are you here?” she asked, finally.

AJ sighed. “To find out.” he said.

“Find out what?”

“To find out if you really do still love me.” he answered.

“Why?”

“Basically Emily, Leighanne blabbed everything you told her which I'm sure doesn't surprise you. And then she yelled at me and here's what it comes down to. I never stopped loving you Emily. I walked away because I was ready to jump and you weren't. And now all that's changed. And if you're ready to jump now I owe it to you to be honest about my feelings on the off chance that you still love me too but thought that it was too late. I don't want you to jump with the wrong guy.”

“And you're telling me that you're the one I'm supposed to jump with?”

“I can't make that decision for you. Only you can know that.” he said, as if it were a simple thing to decide.

“But...I....” Emily was speechless. “You left me!”

“I know. And maybe I shouldn't have but at the time I felt it was what I needed to do.”

Emily didn't know what to say. She was quiet for a few minutes while she tried to process all of this. “I thought you didn't love me.” she said, finally. “You said you were happy I moved on and that we made the right choice.”

“I know I did. I just wanted you to be happy. And to be honest, I was hurt.”

“Hurt that I moved on?”

“No. I was hurt that when I left, you didn't try to stop me. You didn't try to fight for me.”

Emily had never even thought of it that way. “I guess I just didn't think there was anything left to fight for. You seemed so sure. If I'd have known.....”

“I'm sure we both would have done things differently. But that's all said and done with. But we do have here and now.”

“Shit, AJ. You really couldn't have picked a worse time to do this.”

“I know. I'm sorry. I was afraid if I waited any longer I'd be too late.”

“So let me get something straight. You didn't want to be with me when I wasn't ready to marry you and promise you a family. And now that you hear that I am ready for those things, suddenly you want to be with me again? So basically you're saying your love is conditional. That's how I feel. So long as you're getting what you want.”

“No! Look, to be perfectly honest I thought that by walking away from you, you'd have a chance to see what you were giving up but it didn't work. I have not stopped loving you. I should never have done that but I knew that it would take something major to make you see what you were doing. I was wrong.”

Emily thought that over for a minute. “No, you weren't wrong.”

“I was wrong! You let me go!”

“I did. But it did take something major to wake me up. If I had never had this lump, we'd never be having this conversation. You were right, I just wasn't paying any damned attention.”

“So....what's going to happen?” he asked, hesitantly.

Emily sighed. “I don't know. I really don't think I can handle trying to sort this all out before tomorrow. Until I have the results of the biopsy I can't wrap my head around anything else.”

“I understand. I'll give you some space but Emily, I'm not going to walk away this time. I'm here to fight for you.”

Emily nodded. “Look, I really need to get going.” she said, looking at her watch.

“The doctor guy waiting on you?” AJ asked, trying not to sound bitter.

“Actually, yeah he is. And I don't think I'm going to tell him about any of this until after....”

“After you've made your decision?”

Emily nodded. “I don't want to hurt him.”

“I know you don't. I'm staying at Brian's if you want to talk more. Or I could go with you tomorrow if you want....”

Emily shook her head. “Leighanne's going. I'll be fine. I'll give you a call when it's over.” Emily said, standing up.

“Ok.” AJ said. “It's really good to see you. Really good.” he said, hugging her.

“Yeah, you too.” Emily said, hugging him back and feeling that familiar comfort of being in his arms.

The only thing Emily could think of the whole drive home was, “What the fuck am I going to do?”


Randy wasn't home yet when Emily got back to her apartment. She tidied up a bit and changed into her nightgown.

“Emily?” she heard him call as he walked in.

“I'm in my room!”

He set down his things and walked back to find her.

“How are you?” he asked.

“Fine I guess.” she said, picking up some dirty laundry and throwing it in a basket.

“You don't really look fine.”

Emily sighed and turned to face him. “Look, I really think it's sweet that you're so worried but honestly you're driving me a little crazy. I'm doing the best I can and I don't know what else to tell you.”

Randy looked a bit taken aback. “I know you are. Come here!” he said, pulling her into a hug. “I'm sorry. I'll try to back off a bit.”

“I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap at you. I really can't wait for this all to be over.”

“Me either.” he said, kissing the top of her head.

“Are you hungry? I could heat you up some leftovers.”

“No thanks, Margie dropped off some dinner for me before she went home.”

“That was sweet of her.”

“I brought you something.” he said, sounding a bit nervous. “You don't have to take it but it might do you some good.”

He handed her a sample of Ambien.

“It'll help you get some sleep tonight.” he said.

Emily smiled. “Actually, that sounds really nice. I've hardly slept since all this started.”

“I know. It takes a bit to kick in, if you want I could run you a nice bath and you could try and relax?”

“Thanks.” Emily smiled. “Would you mind sitting by the tub and talking to me for a bit?”

“Not at all.” he said.

Emily went to take her sleeping pill and came back to find Randy pouring in some of her Lavender Chamomile bubble bath. He helped her out of her nightgown and once she was in the tub he sat down beside her on the edge of the tub.

“So how was work today?” he asked.

“Oh, pretty uneventful.” Emily lied. “How was your day?”

“A bit busy. Apparently there's been an outbreak of strep throat at one of the elementary schools which kept me pretty busy. I had a lot of new babies in today too.”

“Awww....I love little tiny babies!” Emily said.

“I know. I really think it's my favorite part of the job.”

“So, tell me again about the time you delivered a baby in the elevator of the hospital.” Emily said, closing her eyes.

By the time Randy had finished the story he noticed that Emily had fallen asleep in the tub. He smiled, glad to see she was finally getting some rest. Grabbing a towel, he carefully picked her up out of the water and carried her into her bed where he gently tried to dry her off without waking her. She stirred a little as he pulled the covers over her.

“Don't go.” she mumbled, grabbing his hand.

“I won't.” he said, taking off his clothes and climbing in next to her. Emily immediately curled up against him and he wrapped his arms around her.


Chapter 137

Emily woke up to the alarm the next morning surprised that she'd slept the entire night. Randy was just getting out of the shower when she got out of bed.

“Good morning.” he said, giving her a quick kiss. “Did you manage to sleep ok?”

“Actually yes, I did. Thank you.”

“Are you absolutely positive you don't want me to go with you?” he asked.

Emily nodded, suddenly coming to the realization that today was Friday. “It's today, isn't it?” she asked, her face blanching.

“Yes. The big day is finally here.”

“Could you just give me a minute?” Emily asked politely as she high-tailed it into her bathroom with a sudden strong urge to throw up.

Randy followed her and held her hair out of the way and gently rubbed her back,

“That was totally unglamorous and you weren't supposed to see it!” she said, sitting back on the floor.

Randy laughed. “Trust me, that doesn't phase me in the least.” He helped her up and waited while she brushed her teeth. “Feel better?”

“Not really.” Emily answered.

“Are you going to be ok?”

“I certainly hope so.”

“Just a few more hours until all this is over.” he said, giving her a reassuring hug.

“Hey you'd better get going!” Emily said, noticing the time.

“I know. Please promise you'll call when it's over and if you hear anything? And if you need anything?”

Emily smiled. “I promise. I'm sure Margie will be on high alert for my calls.”

She shooed Randy out the door and took a long hot shower. Leighanne called to confirm that she'd be picking Emily up at 9:30. They needed to be at the hospital by ten to get registered and then they'd take her down for the test. Before she knew it, Leighanne was knocking on her door and it was time to go.

Emily was so anxious she barely heard anything Leighanne said in the car ride over. Her hands were shaky and she had massive butterflies in her stomach as they made their way to the registration department of the hospital. Thirty minutes later she was sitting in a wheelchair and they were being taken down to where the test would be performed by a surgeon.

“Emily Watkins?” the nurse asked. Emily nodded.

“Hi, I'm Jamie. I'm going to have to put on this gown and hop up on the bed and then we'll start an IV and get you something to help you relax.” she said.

“Oh thank God.” Emily said.

“A bit nervous?” Jamie smiled.

“You could say that.”

“It'll all be over very soon. Dr. Rogers is running a little behind but it shouldn't be too long.”

Leighanne waited outside while Emily got changed and held her hand while Jamie put in the IV.

“You know I'm not usually such a baby, I just really hate IV's.” Emily said as she squeezed Leighanne's hand.

“It's ok.” Leighanne reassured her.

Jamie taped the IV line down to Emily's arm and then injected a sedative into the tube. “You should start to feel this pretty quickly.” she said before leaving the cubical.

Emily took a few deep breaths and could already feel the drug taking hold.

Leighanne laughed. “It must be working, you've got this little half grin on your face.”

Emily just laughed in acknowledgment. About ten minutes later Jamie came back in with an orderly. “Ok Emily, we're ready.”

Suddenly someone else walked in the room.

“AJ! What are you doing here?” Leighanne asked.

“I came here to be with Emily.” he said, grabbing Emily's hand and squeezing it. Emily looked up at him.

“I'm sorry, only one of you can go back with her.” Jamie said.

AJ looked down at Emily. “I'm going with you.” he said.

Emily simply nodded in agreement as a small tear escaped from her eye.

Leighanne held back a grin. “I'll be waiting here for you Emily.”

AJ never let go of her hand as they wheeled her down the hall.

“We gave her a pretty strong sedative.” Jamie explained to AJ. “And they'll probably give her a bit more when they get started.”

“Hi Emily, I'm Dr. Rogers.” they were greeted by the surgeon. “I know you're probably pretty anxious to get this over with so let's get started.”

Emily nodded as they helped her onto the table.

“First we're going to inject a local anesthetic so you won't feel anything and then we'll use what looks like a really long needle and guide it by the ultrasound to reach the lump and we'll grab a sample and that'll be it.”

“Here's a little more relaxing juice.” Jamie said as she injected some more medicine into the IV.

Emily began breathing rapidly as the panic was starting to take hold.

AJ quickly took the seat beside her and began to softly stroke her hair while he softly spoke. “It's alright Em. Just relax.” he said as they injected the local. By the time they began the second sedative had taken hold and she felt like she was in a haze through the short procedure. The next thing she remembered was waking up back in her cubicle.

“Hey there Sleeping Beauty.” AJ said.

“Is it over?” Emily asked.

“It sure is. You've been asleep for about twenty minutes.” he said.

“I told you it'd be short and painless!” Jamie said, walking in the room. “I'm going to take out your IV but we're going to keep you here about another thirty minutes for the sedative to wear off and then you can go home. Dr. Rogers sent off your sample to the lab and you can probably expect us to call you with the results by about 3.” she said.

“You should probably go let Leighanne know it's done.” Emily said.

AJ nodded. “Can I get you anything?”

“I'd actually kill for a Cherry Coke.” she said.

“Cherry Coke it is.” he smiled.

“The cafeteria is up on the third floor.” Jamie told him as he left.

“Can I use my cell phone in here?” Emily asked.

“You sure can. Can I get it for you?” Jamie offered.

“It's in the outside pocket of my purse.” Emily said.

“Can I get you anything else?” Jamie asked before leaving.

“No thank you.”

“You did great.” Jamie said, squeezing her hand and closing the curtain behind her as she left.

Emily sighed. She needed to call Randy and let him know it was over but she wanted to do it before AJ got back.

“Glenview Pediatrics.” Margie answered.

“Hi Margie, it's Emily.” she said.

“Hi Emily. He's been expecting your call, hang on a minute, ok?”

“Sure.” Emily said, feeling a bit bad for Randy who was probably worried sick and trying to get through his day.

Margie waited for Randy to come out of the exam room but when it had been a few minutes she gave up waiting and knocked on the door.

“Excuse me, Dr. Brown there's a call for you.” she said, giving him a look.

Randy finished what he was writing in the chart. “Excuse me for just a minute, ok?” he told the parents of the new baby he was examining.

“What line is she on?” he asked as he picked up the nearest phone.

“Two.” Margie said.

“Emily?”

“Hey.” she said.

“Are you ok? Is it over?”

“Yeah, it's over. I'm sorry I didn't call sooner, I fell asleep right in the middle of it. They drugged me up pretty good.”

Randy smiled. “Yeah, you sound a bit groggy still. Are you going home?”

“I have to stay for another half hour.”

“And did you....find anything out yet?” he asked anxiously.

“No. The nurse said I could probably expect them to call sometime around 3.”

“Ok. Look, hang in there ok? You're almost done. Can I do anything for you?”

“No, I'm ok.”

“Alright. Call me as soon as you hear?”

“I promise.” she said.


AJ had returned with her drink just as she was talking to Randy. He waited outside the curtain knowing she didn't want him to overhear their conversation but just the thought of her talking to this doctor guy made his blood boil with jealousy. He pretended like he hadn't heard anything when he walked in.

“One Cherry Coke!” he said, helping her sit up.

“Thank you!” she said, taking a long sip.

“So how do you feel?” he asked.

“Strangely calm. Oh and my left boob is still numb so that's kind of an interesting feeling.”

AJ laughed. “Leighanne said to tell you she's glad it's over and sent me in with clear instructions to inform you that I was bringing you back to her house whether you liked it or not.”

Emily smiled. “Why bother arguing with her?” She finished her coke and lie back down.

“What time is it?” she asked.

“It's about noon.” he said.

“Three more hours.” she said. “Then, with any luck, this will all be over.”


AJ drove Emily back to Leighanne's in Brian's car. He insisted on helping her out when they got there.

“You're still kind of groggy looking, I don't want you to fall!” he said.

Brian and Leighanne had been waiting for her.

“Can I get you anything?” Brian asked, giving her a hug.

“No thanks.” she said. “Look, if you guys don't mind, I think I'm going to go wait out back for a bit.”

“Ok. We'll be here if you need anything.” Leighanne said.

“What are you doing?” Brian asked when AJ didn't follow her.

“She needs some space.” he said.

“This is the perfect time for you to swoop on in there!”

AJ shook his head. “No, believe it or not I actually feel pretty confident that things will work out but I don't want to push her.”

By two o'clock Emily started pacing back and forth across the deck. They all pretended like they weren't watching her and she insisted that she wanted to be left alone.

“She looks like a caged lion or something.” Brian said as she sat down for a few seconds and then got back up to start pacing some more.

“Guys stop watching her!” Leighanne said.

Brian and AJ sat down and tried to watch tv but after fifteen minutes AJ couldn't take it anymore.

“Where are you going?” Leighanne asked as he stood up.

“Outside.” he said, walking towards the back door.

Emily looked up at him as he stepped onto the deck.

“Just out here for a smoke.” he said. She went back to pacing. After a minute he put out his cigarette and sat down on the swing. “Emily, sit down.” he said. “You're driving me crazy with all the pacing.”

“Well what the hell else am I supposed to do?” she asked, sitting down next to him.

“Well for starters, we're going to sit in the swing.”

Emily channeled her energy into gently rocking the swing back and forth with her feet but she had to admit that she felt a bit calmer with him next to her.

At 2:30, her phone rang. The both jumped and Emily flipped it open on the first ring.

“Hello?”

“Hi, is this Emily?”

“Yes.” she said, squeezing AJ's hand as tightly as she could and holding the phone so that they could both hear.

“Hi Emily, this is Jamie, Dr. Roger's nurse. I have your biopsy results here. Dr. Rogers has reviewed them already and your tumor was benign. You are completely healthy.”

“What?” she asked, in disbelief.

“You're totally fine Emily. The biopsy was clean. Congratulations.” Jamie said.

“Oh my God...thank you....” she said, dropping the phone and collapsing into AJ's arms.

Brian and Leighanne heard the phone ring and had sprung up from their seats and stood in the doorway. AJ gave them the thumbs up and they breathed a sigh of relief and left Emily and AJ alone.

Emily looked up at AJ and saw that he too was crying tears of relief as he hugged her closer and kissed the top of her head. Seeing the look on his face set Emily on an emotional tailspin as she sobbed in his arms.

“Shhh....it's ok. It's all over.” he whispered as he rubbed her back and held her tightly.

Emily was feeling a multitude of emotions at once. She felt incredibly relieved and felt like a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders but at the same time, another one had been placed. Now that she knew she was completely healthy, she was faced with the task of sorting out her feelings between AJ and Randy. She loved them both and knew that both men would treat her wonderfully but at the bottom of her heart, she knew what she had to do.

When she managed to pull herself together she wiped her eyes and pulled herself away from him.

“I'm sorry.” she said, laughing at herself.

“Don't be.” he said, brushing the hair out of her eyes.

“Look, I know we need to talk about a lot of things but right now, I am just beat.”

“It's ok. I want you to take all the time you need to think things through.”

Emily nodded. “Can you drive me home?”

“Yeah, I can do that.” he said.

“I promise I'll call you tomorrow and we'll talk then, ok?”

“I'll be here.” he said.

They didn't talk much on the ride to her apartment but he did hold her hand the entire way there and out of the corner of his eye he could see her watching him.

“AJ, thank you for being there today.” she said.

“I wouldn't have had it any other way.” he said.

“I'll talk to you tomorrow.” she said, climbing out of the car.

“Ok. Hey Emily? I'm so glad you're ok.....”

Emily smiled. “Yeah, me too.”


Chapter 138

Emily waited until AJ had driven away before she walked back down to her car. She wanted to tell Randy and decided that she would rather do it in person. It was already 3:30, he was probably going out of his mind waiting to hear from her but as promised, he waited for her to contact him instead of calling her every five minutes like he wanted to.

“Emily!” Margie said when she walked in. “I wasn't expecting to see you here! He's in with a patient right now.”

Emily smiled. “I'll wait in his office. Could you tell him I'm here?”

“Of course.” Margie said.

Emily sat down in his office to wait while Margie tracked him down.

“Dr. Brown!” she caught him just as he was about to go see another patient.

“Did she call?” he asked, anxiously.

“Actually she's here.”

“What?”

“She's in your office.” Margie said.

“How does she look?” he asked.

“I honestly couldn't tell.” Margie said. “I'll get someone else to take this patient. Go see her!”

Randy had to restrain himself from running down the hall to his office.

“Emily?” he said when he got there. “Did you hear?” he asked, taking in her puffy eyes and fearing the worst.

Emily nodded. “It's benign. I'm totally healthy!” she said standing up.

“You are?” he asked.

Emily smiled as she nodded again.

“Oh my God!” he said as he wrapped his arms around her and picked her up, spinning her around. “I'm so happy to hear that!” he said as he set her back down.

Emily laughed and wiped the tears from her eyes. “They called a little early and after I got myself back together I decided to come tell you in person.”

Randy pulled her back into another tight hug.

Emily looked up at him. “Thank you.” she said.

“For what?”

“For being so supportive and understanding.”

“Of course.” he said.

They stood there for another few minutes.

“I really have to get back to work....”

“I know. I think I'll go talk to Margie before I go. I'm sure your staff is anxious for an update.” she grinned.

“I'm sure they are. Hey, let's go out tonight and celebrate!” he said. “How about that new fancy steak house?”

“Yeah, that sounds great!” Emily agreed. For tonight, she just wanted to forget all the confusion and feelings she had to sort through. She was entitled to celebrate a little that she didn't have cancer after all.

“I'll pick you up after work?”

“I'll be waiting!” Emily said giving him a quick kiss.

Emily walked back to the reception desk and found Margie.

“Emily! So....how are you?” she asked.

“I'm completely fine.” she smiled at Margie.

“Oh honey that's great news!” Margie said, giving her a hug.

“Thank you! I thought maybe everyone would be dying to know.”

“We've all been worried, especially Dr. Brown. He's been just beside himself today. Do you know that this is the first time I've ever heard him actually yell at a nurse?”

Emily laughed. “Well, I'm sure he'll be much more tolerable for the rest of the day.”

“I'll bet.” Margie agreed.


Emily couldn't help smiling as she drove home. She didn't have cancer. She wasn't dying. Her worst fears weren't coming true. Even though she'd never actually been sick to begin with, she couldn't help feeling like she had been given a second chance. This time, she wasn't going to blow it. She was going to embrace her life and start doing the things she wanted to. Tonight, she felt like going a little crazy. Tomorrow she could deal with the mess of her life and make some decisions.

Randy took her out for a fabulous dinner and ordered a bottle of champagne to celebrate. Afterwards they went back to his house and sat on the couch cuddling and talking. Emily kept dozing off and Randy finally made her go to bed.

“I'm sorry, I just can't stay awake.” she said.

“It's ok, you've hardly slept in a week.”

“Yeah, and then I drank all that champagne.” Emily laughed. “Thank you for dinner. I was starving and it tasted so good!”

“I was so glad to see you finally eat something I would have gladly ordered you five more steaks!” he teased.

It was Randy's turn to work that Saturday and Emily barely woke up when he said goodbye she was so exhausted. She finally woke up around eleven and went home to think. She was tempted to lay by his pool all day but didn't feel it would be as easy to be objective about the two men when she was in his house. She settled for her living room couch. She put her feet up on the coffee table and attempted to sort it all out. In the end, she knew what she had to do. The answer was so obvious to her she couldn't even believe she thought she needed to think about it.

She picked up the phone and called AJ. He didn't pick up so she left him a message.

“Hey, it's Emily. Look, I've been thinking about things and I've made a decision. Meet me in the hotel bar tonight at ten ok? We'll talk then.”

Then she called Randy and left him a message asking him to meet her after her set was over at nine.


“She didn't give you any indication what she was going to say?” Brian asked when AJ told him about the message.

“No, she just said she'd made a decision and we'd talk tonight.”

“Oh my God, this is it!” Leighanne said. “Are you nervous? I'm nervous!”

AJ rolled his eyes. “I'm going to go try and take a nap.” he said. The truth was, he was extremely nervous. He'd never been so anxious in his life. Up until now he'd been sure he'd be the one. All of a sudden, he wasn't feeling so confident. He sent her a text message that confirmed he'd be there at ten and tried to go to sleep.


Emily was incredibly anxious as she went to work. She wished there was a way to do this without anyone getting hurt but inevitably, someone would and she felt terrible about it. But there was no sense in dragging things out any longer. She had made a commitment to living her life and she wasn't going to screw up on day one.

She met Randy when she was done and they sat down at a booth together.

She looked down at her glass thinking of what to say to him.

“Randy...I....really want to thank you for being there for me. I know that I could not have made it through this without you.” she started.

“But?” he could sense there was more.

“You told me if I was so upset with the direction of my life to change it and that's what I've committed myself to doing. Look you are such a perfect guy and I'm sure there are many women out there who will think I'm crazy for doing this but...”

“You're breaking up with me.” he finished for her.

“Yeah.” Emily said, finally looking him in the eye.

Randy took a deep breath. “Does this have anything to do with AJ?” he asked.

“How do you know about AJ?” Emily was surprised.

“You were saying his name in your sleep last night.”

“Oh God. I'm sorry.....”

“Look, I understand. In the end, I think I've always known I wasn't the one for you. I wish like hell you were because you're sure the one for me. But I've always known this wouldn't last. I was just happy to take you for as long as I could have you.”

Emily felt tears spring to her eyes. “I'm so sorry that I have to do this. You really are great. It's just....you're right. You aren't the one. And I can't pretend anymore.”

Randy squeezed her hand. “I know. It's ok.”

“I'm sorry.” she said again.

“Hey, don't worry about me. I'll be ok. I want you to be happy. I'm so glad that you're ok and that you're going to go out and live your life the way you want it. I'll miss you like hell though, but I'll be ok.”

Emily wiped the tears from her face. “You've helped me more than you'll ever know. I want you to know that.” she said. “And you know, I hope that maybe someday we could be friends?” she asked, hopeful.

“Maybe someday.” he said. “Look I should go. There's no sense in dragging this out.” Emily got up with him.

“Will you be ok?” she asked.

Randy smiled. “I'll be fine.” He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her one last time, soft and slow. “Goodbye Emily.”


AJ couldn't wait any longer. He got to the hotel around 9:15 and spotted Emily talking to some guy. Then he saw him kiss her. From AJ's perspective, it looked like an incredibly passionate kiss. As the man walked away, Emily looked happy and AJ realized what her decision had been. She had decided to stay with the doctor guy.

“AJ!” Emily spotted him and started walking towards him.

“Hey.” he said. “Look, you don't have to do this.” he said. “You can spare me the speech, ok?”

“What are you talking about?” she asked.

“It's ok Emily. I get it. You don't want to be with me. It's fine.”

“But that's not what I.....”

“I saw the way you kissed him, I saw your face when he walked away. What, did you make plans to meet up with him after you dump me?” AJ said, hotly.

“No! I...”

“Just stop ok? I don't want to hear it.” he cut her off. “I should have never come here.” and with that, he walked out of the bar.

“AJ wait!” Emily ran after him but he wouldn't stop. “Stop! Please don't leave!”

She chased him all the way out to his car but he wouldn't stop. He jumped in, slammed the door and took off.

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"Never Gone" is a work of fiction.
The characters and events portrayed are fictitious.
Any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.

Copyright 2006
All Rights Reserved
No part of this text may be copied or reprinted
without the author's permission.

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