~ Turn, Turn, Turn ~


Today was just her second day back on the job. Kevin Collins had gone to bat on her behalf, not only demanding from the board her reinstatement but insisting that Lainey was ready to resume her duties in the psych department. Lainey was less confident of that fact than her mentor, but Kevin had proven to be right. Returning to her duties gave Lainey a sense of purpose. She was delighted to begin the process of reconnecting with her patients and all their issues.

The majority of patients were pleased about the young doctor's return. A couple of them awkwardly informed Lainey that while they were happy she had not been found guilty of the charges against her, they would prefer to remain with the new psychiatrists they had been assigned during her forced inaction. Their decisions stung a little bit, but Lainey reminded herself that ultimately it was all about the patients.

There was one patient she knew would not be returning to her care, no matter what his feelings on the matter. Kevin had told Lainey in no uncertain terms that Cody Paul would no longer be her concern. In fact, her mentor continued, it would be best for everyone involved if the former soldier no longer had contact of any kind with Lainey. Lainey quietly agreed. After all Kevin had done for her, she was hardly in a position to protest.

The thought of Cody reminded Lainey of one last matter she needed to attend to. She picked up her phone, dialed a number and rattled off a string of digits. "Yes, thank you," she said in response to the information provided. She hung up the phone and counted off days on a small desk calendar. "Six days," she murmured. Six days that her former patient Cody Paul had gone without filling the prescription Lainey had written for him. That number might have seemed insignificant to others, but Lainey knew that Cody was addicted to prescription painkillers. For someone in that condition, six days of resisting an almost overwhelming desire must have felt like a lifetime.

Lainey told herself that her continued interest in Cody was strictly professional. Just because she was no longer his therapist did not mean she wasn't interested in his recovery. And yes, there was a touch of the personal involved in her concern for Cody. They had both gone through the life-changing experience that was the death of her father. Such a thing, Lainey reasoned, could not help but forge a common bond between them.

The one possibility that Lainey did not allow herself to seriously entertain was that she was personally attracted to Cody Paul. For so many reasons an attraction to the troubled ex-soldier was problematic for her. The psychiatrist within Lainey could not analyze whether her feelings were genuine or just a consequence of the major shifts currently taking place in her life.

Major shifts. That was a very clinical description of recent events starting with the death of her father. With Roger Winters' passing, Lainey felt as though the single strand that tethered her to some sense of belonging was gone. Yes, there were distant Winters cousins scattered across the United States, but Lainey had never met the majority of them. She certainly didn't feel any bond with them. Maybe this summer she would make the effort to reach out to her cousins. But exactly how would that first encounter go? "Hello, I'm your cousin Lainey and I looked you up because I feel alone at the death of my father. I'm hoping you will make me feel less like an orphan."

Family awkwardness aside, maybe a bit of cross-country travel would do her good, Lainey reasoned. She had been informed by her father's lawyer that Roger Winters had prepared for every eventuality, including dying unexpectedly. He'd left her a modest sum of money from long-term investments with his only stipulation being that she use the money to do something that made her happy. Buy a safe but stylish car. Or a diamond necklace. Or take a cruise around the world.

When she was a little girl her family had taken a planned vacation every two or three years - always to western parts of the country like California and Seattle. The only place they hadn't visited was Las Vegas. Too many of Roger Winters' patients from his early practice had sought help from him about gambling addictions, he explained curtly. He refused to introduce his young daughter to the lure of the fast pace and bright lights there. Still,that her father would encourage her to travel outside the United States surprised Lainey. She could remember, as a child, her Uncle Russell's visits. He always brought some exotic gift that had been gotten in the course of his travels on behalf of the United Nations. After dinner Lainey would sit on the couch beside her uncle and listen with wide-eyed wonder to the exciting tales of his travels all around the globe. Once, Russell had stopped in the middle of one of his stories and made Lainey promise someday to see Africa and Greece when she got older. He assured her that she would feel a connection to the two places, a sense of home. Lainey's father stepped into the room and exchanged some silent signal with his younger twin. Russell immediately claimed weariness and promised Lainey he would tell her more about his travels another time.

Traveling to the kind of places Uncle Russell recommended would have to wait awhile, though. Lainey had taken her father's endowment and used it to pay off all his medical bills. His attorney had balked when Lainey informed him of her intentions for the money, but he grudgingly conceded after she explained that her happiness would come in knowing that no one at General Hospital could claim that her father had departed this world indebted to the hospital. By no one, she meant Dr. Ford, General Hospital's Chief Administrator. Lainey didn't fight the satisfied smile that curved her lips at the recollection of the doctor's stunned expression when she presented him the certified bank draft that would clear her father's debt completely. No new sports car could have possibly felt as good.

Lainey carefully placed the mountain of discharge papers into her leather briefcase. For the first time in weeks she felt...happy. She retrieved her smartphone from her desk drawer and tapped out a brief message to her friends. Burgers tonight. Jakes. Hope you can come. It was a simple message but Lainey trusted that her friends would understand its significance.