Robin was giggling as Patrick carried her into his apartment. “I think April really enjoyed that cake.”
“Yes she did.” He slammed the door shut with his foot and carried her over to the couch. Sitting down, he reached over and began taking off her shoes. “Do you think she’ll be okay with leaving the hospital on Monday?”
“I do.” She nodded her head. Patrick and Robin had spent a lot of time with the accident victim and were shocked to find out that she had no place to live. It took a lot of persuasion but Robin was able to get the Quartermaines to secure a small, furnished apartment for April not far from the hospital. Patrick had discovered that April had an Associate’s degree from one of the local community colleges and they were able to get the young woman a job at the AIDS clinic working in the file room. “I feel better now that I know she has a home to go to.”
“Because you my dear,” he kissed her neck, “are an amazingly persuasive woman.”
Robin moaned at his kiss. “You know what that does to me.”
“Yes I do.” He pulled away from her and reached down to begin massaging her feet. “How are your feet feeling?”
“Oh they hurt. I can’t believe that Maxie chose those shoes for us to wear.” The six inch stilettos were not comfortable in the least. “I’m used to heels but they usually have a more stable heel. She’s lucky I didn’t break an ankle walking down the aisle.”
“Well you were still the most beautiful woman there, wobbly walk and all.” Robin had taken Patrick’s breath away when she appeared at the chapel doors. The dress was dark blue and cocktail length with a gathered waistband, spaghetti straps and a softly shirred skirt. Maxie had declared that the women would wear their hair down and Patrick loved the soft waves that flowed down to her shoulders and framed her beautiful face.
“Don’t tell the bride that.” Robin laughed and then moaned as his hands gently massaged her aching feet. “Oh Dr. Drake, you have the best hands.”
“I know and you have certainly enjoyed them quite a bit over the last few months.” It had been several weeks since he stuck himself with a contaminated needle and Patrick was doing well. Their love life had not suffered at all, even though the still hadn’t made love since that night. However, they were both creative people and found mutually satisfying ways to be together. Patrick had never been as satisfied as he was with Robin.
Work was going great too. His father’s hangover remedy had helped him with the nausea from his protocol and he was still operating on a daily basis although he had seen an upswing in the number of HIV positive patients who were requesting his services. A local news station had done a story on April and his role in not only saving her life but also stopping her from being transferred from GH. Sneed had been furious about the story but the board had been thrilled with the publicity. Patrick was one of the best surgeons in the states and the handsome doctor was the perfect doctor to bring in additional funding. Since April’s surgery, Patrick had been requested to help HIV positive patients with migraines, stitches, and even a broken arm in addition to his normal workload. Robin couldn’t say she was thrilled with this development but these patients deserved the best and Patrick was certainly that.
“Yes I have.” Robin leaned over and kissed him. “And I love every moment of it.”
“You do huh?” Patrick leaned over and kissed her on the neck again, letting his lips linger on that special spot a moment longer.
“Yes.” The word came out as a hiss of pleasure and her hands wrapped around his neck to pull him closer. She was just reaching for his belt when she heard a loud beeping sound coming from her purse. Seconds later Patrick’s pager went off as well. She pulled her pager out of her purse and looked at the page. “It’s Epiphany.”
Patrick looked at him pager. “Mine too.” He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and made the call, scared of what he was going to hear. “Epiphany, you paged me?”
Robin watched his face while he listened to what the nurse had to say. Her face fell as his head dropped. “I understand. We’ll be right there.”
He set down the phone and pulled Robin close. They would leave in a minute but first he just needed to hold her.
The couple walked in to see Alan standing by April’s bed, carefully covering the young woman up with a sheet. He heard their footsteps and turned around to address to them. “April died from complications caused by AIDS. Once the blood vessel ruptured, there was no way to control it because of the kaposi sarcoma. Unfortunately, when the disease progresses this far, there's very little we can do about it.”
Robin walked over and stared down at body in the bed for a minute before speaking. “Don't you ever get tired of that? I mean, you're always so kind and so level when you have to break the bad news and give all the awful details. I mean, how many times have you actually given that speech since the AIDS crisis started? We tried this medicine, we tried that one, but in the end, it doesn't matter. Because the truth is AIDS kills people.”
“Robin…” Patrick had never seen her like this. He reached for her but she turned around and fled the room. “Alan, I need to…”
“Go Patrick.” Alan patted the doctor on his shoulder. “She needs you.”
“Here you are.” Patrick walked up to her as she sat on the dock. He sat down next to her. “When you took off, I figured you went to one of two places. The hospital roof, I know you go there to let yourself hurt, or here. I went to the roof first but you weren't there. Then I remembered you brought me out here the day that I was exposed to AIDS and told me to look past the water at the horizon, try and see the bigger picture.”
Robin gave him a sad laugh. “That sure sounds like me - full of unsolicited advice and positive affirmations. You know, why didn't you just tell me to shut up, that no perspective is going to change the truth, AIDS kills - millions and millions of people every day and there is still no cure. I mean, maybe it's not even possible.”
Patrick hated seeing her like this, so hopeless. “You don't believe that.”
She shook her head. “You can throw more money at it, you can develop new drugs. The drugs are working, but no one knows how well really or for how long. The doctors tell me that if I stay on the cocktail, that I could live a long and healthy life, but nobody knows for sure. The only thing that's for sure is that, if and when the drugs stop working, AIDS is going to ravage my body and kill me just like it killed Stone and just like it killed April.”
He watched her for a moment and made a decision. “I don't know where this defeatist attitude came from, but it's unacceptable.”
Robin was shocked. “Gee, sorry I'm not cheerful enough for you.”
Patrick turned her around so she was facing him. “Look, I don't need you to dance the jig but you've conditioned me to expect a certain something from you: positive reinforcement and optimism in the face of adversity.” He took a deep breath and continued to try and get through to her. “Look, when I was exposed to HIV in the operating room, you were right there for me, pushing me to get immediate treatment, quoting statistics, endorsing the protocol, assuring me that I was going to be ok.”
Robin sighed. “Because your chances are excellent, my case is a little bit different. I have HIV and yes, thanks to the cocktail, my viral load is zero but this disease is still inside of me. It's like a time bomb waiting to go off.” She rubbed her forehead. “I have tried not to dwell on it. I've tried not to be fatalistic. But maybe I'm just in denial. Maybe I just can't face the truth.”
Patrick let his frustration take over. “You want truth? April died but that doesn't mean you will.”
Tears fell from her eyes as she turned away from him. “We can't assume that and it's arrogant to think that we can. Just like it was arrogant of us to paint all these pretty pictures for April of a life that she never had any chance of experiencing. I mean, her defenses were already up. She had accepted the fact that she was going to die and then you and I came along spinning all this nonsense about the future and her happiness.”
“We saved April's life. We gave her time that she would have never had. Now, that's got to count for something.” He ran his hands through his hair. “Look, time is the most precious commodity we have, and I learned that from you. You could live with HIV for the next 30 years, walk out of your house and get hit by a bus or, if you still live in Port Charles, stray bullets. None of us know how much time we have left. The only thing we can do is make the most of it and that's what I plan on doing with you. So you can be as mad and angry as you feel you need to be, but I am not going to let you give up. I'm not going away.”
Robin wiped her eyes and turned back around. “Ugh - you picked a lousy time to start being wonderful.”
Patrick held out his arms. “Come here.” He had to wait only a moment before she walked into his embrace. He wrapped his arms tightly around her and slowly began to rock her as they stared out over the water. Somehow, someway they would make it through this and they would do it together.