Sabrina had known that they were spending a lot of time together lately, but never would she have guessed that something romantic was actually percolating between them. She also hadn’t expected to see what she did – Patrick and Sam draped all over each other in the stairwell at the hospital Christmas party.
Sabrina quickly backed up and disappeared the way she had come, shutting the door quietly so that they would never know she had been there at all.
Heaven forbid, I interrupt a private moment, she thought darkly and then told herself she was being silly – no, just stupid. Patrick had clearly moved on and she was trying to do the same. Whatever they had once shared was ancient history now.
Still, a frown tugged at the corners of her lips as she swiped a sugar cookie off a passing plate and went to watch the snow falling just beyond a fogged up window pane. She chewed the cookie absent-mindedly as she tried to wipe the image of seeing Sam’s hands on Patrick’s shoulders from her mind’s eye.
“What’s that look for?” She heard Felix ask as he stepped up beside her. “You look like you just found out your best friend died, but that can’t be, because here I am! Hey, that was a joke. What gives?”
Sabrina squeezed back tears and rested her forehead against the cold glass. “The snow seems endless. Someone could just walk out of here and get lost in all of that – forever.”
Felix stared at her, wide-eyed. “Yeah they could and then come spring when the ice thawed, they’d be found - dead. What a morose thought, Sabrina Santiago. It’s Christmastime, girl; how can you have such a melancholy attitude?”
Sabrina finally looked at him. “Oh I don’t know, Felix. My son is dead; I did a whole mess of things I’m far from proud of, and my ex-fiancée –“ She broke off. “Never mind.”
“No, back up. Not never mind. I know you’re aching for your baby boy – and I don’t blame you at all – but it’s more than that, isn’t it? This is about Patrick.”
“It’s not about Patrick!” Sabrina snapped. “I mean, I can’t exactly begrudge him happiness, can I?”
Felix crossed his muscular arms. “And just who do you think he’s getting ‘happy’ with?”
Sabrina’s eyes travelled to the stairwell door which had just opened. Patrick came out with Sam, laughing quietly at some private joke. Felix pulled a face. “Oh no. Nother of all people.”
“What’s wrong with her?” Sabrina asked. “She’s beautiful and –“
“And she looks trashy. She’s also probably just looking for someone to play daddy to her fatherless son.”
“Felix, that’s not nice. She’s Lucas’s sister.”
“Well in this case, the apple does fall far from the tree. Look at her breasts practically falling out of that hideous top of hers.” He shivered. “Yikes.”
“Well, it doesn’t matter because obviously Patrick likes that.”
“He does not. I mean, yeah, he’s a straight man, so when a woman throws her tatas up in his face-“
“Sorry but, Sabrina, even if they were having some kind of nasty relationship –and I don’t think they are – we all know it can’t last.”
“Because she’s not you! And we all know that you and Patrick are peas in a pod, fated, meant to be, soulmates…Shall I go on?”
“Please. All we shared was –“
“Something magical and I’m not going to let you forget it,” Felix said. He shook his finger in her face. “Hell no. You’re going to march right up to Patrick right now and tell him the truth.”
“Your truth, Sabrina. That you still love him, want him, long for him, ache for him… Take your pick.”
“Come on, Felix. You don’t actually think I’d do something so desperate.”
Felix shrugged. “I guess not. But there has to be some way to get you two crazy, stubborn kids back together.”
Sabrina’s eyes stung. “There’s not. That ship has sailed. Dr. Rivers, in pediatrics, has asked me out a few times and I think I’ll take him up on his offer.”
“Dr. Rivers – the guy with the unibrow and overbite? You can’t be serious! Oh no, baby girl. There’s no way I am letting you go near that hot mess. Besides, there’s only one man for you and we all know who that is.”
“That ship has sailed,” Sabrina repeated.
“No, it hasn’t. I still believe in you and Patrick.”
Sabrina sighed. “Well you’re the only one so let it go. I am trying to - maybe you should do the same.” She took a big bite of her cookie, swallowed it, and started to walk away.
“Oh no, honey, I’m not letting you and Dr. Drake end this way,” Felix said determinedly. “You need each other.” He looked around desperately and finally spotted a sprig of mistletoe hanging in the doorway not ten feet away. Patrick was passing by and Sabrina was only a few feet away from her true love now.
“Bingo!” Felix said and quickly grabbed Sabrina’s arm, yanking her to a stop underneath the mistletoe.
“Felix, what are you doing?” she demanded. She broke off as she saw Felix approach Patrick and bump his hip so hard that Patrick went skidding to a stop right in front of Sabrina.
Patrick looked at Sabrina and seemed to see her for the first time in such a long time - see her like he used to before Robin’s return; before Robin’s exit; before baby Gabriel’s death…
“Sabrina,” he said. “What is Felix up to?”
Sabrina shook her head. “I don’t know and I don’t want to know.” She forced her gaze away from his and started to move away.
“Oh no you don’t, Sabrina,” Felix said in a chiding voice. “You two are standing right under some mistletoe and you know what that means.” He fluttered his eyelashes provocatively.
“Felix-“ Sabrina warned.
“Uh-uh. Don’t ‘Felix’ me. Its house rules,” Felix said. “Now stop talking and put your lips to good use.”
Patrick stared at Sabrina. She started to turn away once again when suddenly he locked his long, tapered fingers around her wrist. “Don’t – don’t go. You heard Felix – house rules.”
Felix grinned as Patrick pulled a stiff-as-a-board Sabrina back under the mistletoe and right up against his hard chest. He then slipped his hand behind her head and tugged her into a kiss. Sabrina struggled for about point-five seconds before giving into the power of the kiss. There was something hypnotic about Patrick’s lips, she mused, and then got lost in the kiss.
They could have kissed for a minute or hell, less than ten seconds – Sabrina wasn’t sure. She heard a crescendo of applause and cat calls all around them. “Woot, woot!” Felix hooted, the loudest cheerleader of them all.
Patrick grinned at her like he used to and it hurt her heart because she knew he wasn’t hers to love. Not anymore. She wouldn’t let herself get pulled back in. She couldn’t. She had to protect her heart.
She quickly turned on her heel and ran from the room.
She heard Patrick calling after – in fact, lots of people were calling after her, pleading with her not to go. They obviously knew a freak show when they see one,Sabrina thought. There’s no other explanation.
She refused to conjecture as to why Patrick was calling after her though. Or why he was charging after her suddenly. She heard his footfalls close behind her and she just wanted to run and run and never stop running, but he grabbed her arm and pulled her through the nearest door which happened to be the stairwell. The dreaded stairwell where she had been seen him with Sam Morgan not ten minutes before.
“Sabrina,” Patrick said. He had his hand on her arm and she shrugged away, crossing her arms stubbornly.
“What do you want?” Sabrina asked.
“Can we please talk?”
“No! You shouldn’t have – you shouldn’t have done that!” Sabrina cried, biting her bottom lip which was raw and rough from Patrick’s ravaging kiss.
“What – kiss you?”
“We used to kiss all the time,” Patrick said. “You used to like kissing me.”
“I do – I mean, I did,” Sabrina said. She threw up her hands and began to pace around the tier like a caged animal. "It doesn’t matter. You shouldn’t have kissed me!” she reiterated.
“Really? Because it kind of felt like you were kissing me back. In fact, I know you were.”
“Stop it. It doesn’t matter. It didn’t mean anything.”
“What if it meant something to me?”
“Liar,” Sabrina whispered hoarsely.
“I’m not lying.” He looked genuinely injured and Sabrina quickly turned away again so as not to see the hurt in his beautiful eyes.
“Okay maybe it meant something. It meant you’ll kiss anyone in a skirt and –“
“Come on. Don’t say that. I’ve changed. I’m not like that anymore.”
“Oh really, Dr. Casanova? Really?” Sabrina spat . “Just how disgusting are you to be kissing me when Sam is not two feet away? Who does something like that?”
“Wait, what does Sam have to do with this?”
Sabrina wished that she had never said a thing. She shouldn’t have opened that can of worms. She didn’t want to know about him and Sam and how good they apparently were together. Not at all.
“Sabrina, answer me. You don’t really think Sam and I are involved, do you?”
“Well aren’t you?” Sabrina bit out.
“No!” Patrick said. “Not at all. She has been helping me investigate our son’s death. That’s all.”
Sabrina’s eyes moistened anew at hearing him mention Gabriel. It seemed so long since they had said so much as a word to each other about their sweet baby boy.
“That’s all it is. I swear.”
Sabrina turned her back to him. “It’s not. I saw you and Sam together in this very stairwell a few minutes ago.”
“I know what I saw,” she said stubbornly. “She was in your arms.”
“Yeah, okay, she was, but it’s not because of what you think. If you had stuck around, you would have seen that she was leaning heavily on me because the heel of her shoe broke off. What should I have done – let her tumble down the staircase head first?”
“That’s all it was about.”
“Then you have no romantic feelings for her?”
“Absolutely not. She’s a friend but that’s it... The honest truth is that … I miss you.”
Sabrina blanched and immediately whirled around and glared at him. She was so tempted to smack the sexy right off his face. She settled for doing something else. She pounded him on the chest – hard. “Liar! Liar! LIAR!” she cried and kept wailing on him until he gathered her into his arms and held her so tightly that she couldn’t struggle anymore. She still tried, but he held fast.
“Sabrina,” he said. “Listen to me.”
“No, never,” she said. She knew that she sounded petulant but she didn’t care. All she wanted was to stop hurting so damn much and here was Patrick opening a fresh set of wounds, pouring salt all over them.
“Listen to me,” he said, a little forcefully. “Come on. Don’t I deserve that much?”
“No!” Sabrina cried. “No, you absolutely don’t. You haven’t looked at me so much as cross-eyed in months and months, and you don’t get to tell me you missed me because of one stupid kiss.”
Patrick kept hold of her with one arm while tilting her face up to his with his free hand. “Sabrina, look at me. I’ve lied about a lot of things, okay, but never about loving you.”
“Patrick, don’t. Please.”
“Never, do you hear me?”
“You need to hear this because the minute I kissed you again I knew it for sure – I can’t walk away from you again; I don’t want to. I walked away when Robin returned because as much as I loved you, I thought I owed it to Robin to try to carry on with her after what she went through. I did it for Emma too. I know she needed her mother and me to be together so her world made sense again. But walking away from you went against every damn instinct I have ever had.”
“Fine, I get that. It hurt, but I get it. I will just never understand why you pushed me away after Gabriel’s –“ she gasped –“death. We should have leaned on each other but we didn’t, because you pretty much walked away from me all over again. And a few nice words tonight won’t make up for the way you hurt me.”
“You’re right,” he said, tears glistening in his eyes. “About all of it. But the truth is that, I pushed you away because I felt so guilty. Guilty that you spent the bulk of your pregnancy alone and guilty that in the end, I couldn’t save our son. I knew that I hurt you. I believed that I didn’t deserve you. I still believe that, but dammit, I’m selfish because I want you back… Felix knows the truth. Everyone does. That you and me, we belong together.” A tear slipped down his cheek. “I never stopped loving you or wanting you. Not for a second. Please believe that.”
“It hurts too much to believe that. Why did you have to wait until Felix forced us into a kiss before you could say all those things?”
“I was scared, okay? Actually terrified that you could never forgive me for all the crap I pulled. It wasn’t until you actually kissed me back that I felt as if I had a chance in hell of winning you back. For a moment, if felt like you still wanted me as much as I want you.”
“Patrick,” Sabrina cried, “please don’t say anything you don’t mean.”
“But I do mean it. All of it.”
“If you walked away again… I just couldn’t take it.”
Patrick nodded as he touched her cheek, causing her to shiver involuntarily. “I know and I don’t blame you but I am coming to you – broken and fucked up as I am – asking you; no pleading with you, for another chance; another chance to prove that I can be the man you need. I want to be the man you need.”
“I’m scared, Patrick. You’re saying all the right things here but-“
“You doubt it – you doubt me. I don’t blame you after what I’ve done. But I want to prove to you how much you mean to me… You mean everything. You and Emma are my whole world. I’ll spend the next fifty years at least trying to make up for how I hurt you. Just give me the chance to make things right.”
Sabrina swallowed hard. She then reached up and locked her arms around his lean neck, hugging him tightly. “Will you give me a chance, Sabrina?” He murmured into her soft hair.
She pulled back and looked up at him. “Yes… I mean, I want to be mad; I want to walk away forever to protect my heart, but I can’t. God help me, Patrick, I can’t.”
She then pulled him into a kiss right there in the stairwell. It was a kiss full of hope and promise. While things were not yet near resolved between them, this was a good start. A very good start indeed.