~ Partner in Crime ~
Lainey made it into the hospital and to her office without encountering any close colleagues. She'd taken 'the long way', the route most often used by non-medical hospital personnel. Delivery men, janitorial staff and cafeteria workers traveled the well-known route of hallways and stairwells to their respective destinations every day.
Lainey unlocked the door and slipped inside, grateful for the sense of refuge she felt within the familiar walls. It was amazing how just being back in her office helped quiet some of the uncertainty she felt. In her recent world of upheaval, her job was a steady rock helping to anchor her while all around her the ground collapsed.
It had been some weeks since the young psychiatrist had last set foot at the hospital. She expected her desk to be stacked with paperwork. What she found instead was a solitary piece of paper weighted down by a brain-shaped paperweight atop her desk's smooth surface. The note was from Kevin, telling Lainey that he had taken care of things for her until she returned. He had treated those patients that could be treated simply, and made referrals to other psychiatrists to hold them over just until Lainey returned.
The message was couched in that careful way her mentor had about him. Lainey had come to know Kevin during the time he'd generously taken her under his wing. Though the words of the note were firm and decisive, she could sense the faint undercurrent of apology for making such weighty decisions where her patients were concerned. But far from being upset, Lainey was glad that her patients had not suffered during her time away from the hospital.
A quiet tap on the door startled her from her thoughts. Lainey glanced at her watch. Kevin was not due to finish his current patient counseling session for another 20 minutes or so. Curious, Lainey pulled open the door just a crack. Cody Paul stood just outside her office. Paul was the former soldier who had, at her father's plea to die with dignity, released Roger Winters from his failing body. He was also a Vicodin-addicted patient who constantly sought Lainey out to obtain a prescription for more.
The pair stared in silence at one another.
"Cody..." Lainey hadn't seen the ex-soldier since her father's death. Like her, Cody showed the effect of Roger Winter's death. His face was thinner, his eyes tired and just a bit dull. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah," he answered softly. "How are you?"
Lainey gave him a faint smile. "Getting better. Are you here for a session?" Long before the incident with Roger Winters, Lainey had begun to professionally distance herself from Cody Paul. There seemed to be some kind of attraction growing between them that would compromise her ability to treat him.
"No. I've been passing by here everyday, waiting for you to come back to work. I needed-"
The slightly boisterous laughter of a pair of maintenance men interrupted whatever Cody was about to say. Lainey could see the two men's curious gazes as they passed. Hospital gossip spread like wildfire; Lainey was sure that the details surrounding her father's death was common knowledge among hospital personnel by now. "Why don't you come in?" she offered quietly. Lainey stepped back and waved the ex-soldier into her office.
"That's probably not a good idea," Cody protested, even as he accepted her invitation. "The lawyer you sent got me out on bail, but she told me to keep my distance from you."
Diane Miller. The high-powered attorney had taken on Cody's case at the request of Jason Morgan, Emily's mobbed-up hit man brother. Lainey was more acquainted with Jason's employer, Mob boss Sonny Corinthos. She'd actually counseled Mr. Corinthos a time or two - at his request. She and Jason hadn't had much contact. Just the occasional instance where he showed up at the apartment in search of Emily.
When Lainey mentioned to her roommates that she was determined to secure an attorney for Cody's case, she had no idea that Emily would go to Jason on Cody's behalf. Rather, on Lainey's behalf.
After a closed head injury, Jason did not recognize or acknowledge most members of his biological family. But whether he remembered some vestige of a sibling bond with Emily or simply grew to love her, there was nothing Jason would refuse his sister.
Emily's caring gesture strengthened the affection Lainey already felt for the young doctor. Emily did not care very much for Cody in Lainey's life. She had gone so far as to gently inform Lainey that she'd reached out to Jason for her, not Cody. But as far as Lainey was concerned, the whys of Diane's assistance didn't matter. Her friends would never understand the scope of Lainey's debt to the ex-soldier. She was just relieved that Cody would have such an accomplished advocate in his corner.
"Diane Miller is very good," Lainey acknowledged.
"Yeah," Cody grunted. "She keeps telling me that." He scowled. The expression made him seem frightening and dangerous. Lainey wasn't afraid even though early in their association he'd accosted her while brandishing a knife in the hospital's parking garage. "I'm gonna pay you back whatever she costs," Cody said.
Lainey shook her head. "No. You don't have to. That's the least I can do for you after..." Her voice trailed off.
"After what I did to your father."
"After what you did for my father," Lainey corrected. "I selfishly didn't want to hear what he was asking. But you did. And you let my father die on his own terms. Thank you."
Cody just nodded. His gaze roamed over Lainey's face. "I'm gonna go," he said. "I don't want you to be in trouble, too." He spun on his heels and strode toward the door. His words felt like a goodbye.
"Cody, wait!" Lainey circled behind her desk and pulled a small square pad from the desk drawer. After a moment's hesitation, she began to scribble indecipherably. She tore the sheet off and walked it to the door where Cody stood watching warily. "Here."
"What is this?" The ex-soldier took a cautious step back out into the hallway.
Lainey followed and thrust the small square at Cody once more. "It's a prescription for Vicodin. Get it filled if you need it."
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