Chapter 16

Thirty minutes after placing the call to Ellen, there was a persistent knock at Mattís door. "Mike itís Ellen," she called out from behind the wooden structure.


Mike quickly raced over and opened the door as untold relief flooded his body. "Thank you for coming so quickly," he said ushering her inside.


"Considering the way you sounded and the way he was last night, I couldnít stay away," she said shedding her coat and making her way to Mattís bedside. "Are you going to tell me what happened to him?" she asked taking a seat on the edge of the bed.


Not sure as to just what he should tell her, Mike gave Ellen a simple uncomplicated answer. "He got hurt."


Not at all pleased with Mikeís unenlightening response, Ellen shot him a hard look. "Tell me something I donít know!" she blasted having no patience for Mikeís less than forthcoming attitude. "Why did you call me? Why didnít you just take him to the hospital?"


"Because I promised not to and I couldnít break my promise."


"Why not?" Pushing away the sweaty pajama top that clung to Mattís body, Ellen exposed the blood-covered bandage. "He should be in the hospital."


"Ellen he canít go to the hospital. He had a prescription, but itís in pill form and heís not had a dose since last night because heís been like that," Mike explained looking at Matt, extreme concern visible in his eyes. "His condition was getting worse, which is why I called you. You specialize in emergency medicine; well Iím pretty sure this qualifies as an emergency. Please, just help him."


Ellen wanted to demand some answers, but Mattís condition tabled that desire for the moment. "I need to draw some blood. Iíll have to go to the hospital to get the items I need."


Holding up his hand to stop her, "No, you stay here," Mike said. "Tell me what you need and Iíll get it for you."


"Mike how canÖ"


He touched Ellen on the shoulder. "Iíll get it."


He seemed adamant so Ellen scribbled the items she would need on a piece of paper and handed it to him.


"Alright, Iíll get these and come right back. Take care of him," Mike urged looking at Matt.


Not looking away from Matt, "Iíll do the best I can," she assured him.


"And Ellen, promise me you wonít let anyone else in while Iím gone."


Turning from Matt to Mike, "Why? Is Matt expecting someone?" she asked, like maybe one of his Ďfriendsí.


He certainly hoped not. "I canít explain now, just donít let anyone in."

Before she could ask another question, Mike went out to get the needed supplies. Alone with Matt, Ellen set aside the memories from last night and tended to his superficial wounds. The cuts on his face werenít too bad, but the laceration along his upper chest and shoulder blade was extremely worrisome. There was no doubt infection had set in, what she needed to know was how far it had spread. "Oh god Matt, what happened to you?" she wondered somberly as she cleaned and redressed his injuries.


After Ellen finished changing the bandages, Matt began to stir as once again his apologetic mutterings started. "Iím sorry Ellen. DidnítÖI didnít mean it. So soÖsorry, Iím sorry."


"Matt," Ellen answered as she stroked his feverish brow.


"Have to protect Ellen. Canít letÖhurt Ellen," Matt grumbled weakly as his head swayed from side to side.


"Protect me from who? Matt, what are you talking about?"

Ellenís questions were futile, because although Matt was speaking, he was never actually awake. If she didnít have a million questions before, she certainly had that and more now. Why did he have to protect her? Does that explain his previous behavior with her? How did he get hurt, and who did he think was going to hurt her? Was it the person Mike thought was going to show up? Just what the hell was going on?


Several moments later, Matt opened his eyes. He was sure he was seeing things, but she looked so real. "Ellen?" he murmured, certain he had to be dreaming. He was so tired and Ellen couldnít have been there, not afterÖhe was so tired, his eyelids felt like lead.

"Matt, Matt," she replied taking his right hand in hers. "Itís me, itís Ellen. Matt?"


Just as suddenly as Matt had opened his eyes they closed again.

"Itís okay, you rest," she said placing his hand back on the bed. "Everything is going to be fine, I promise," she softly whispered to him as she took the washcloth from the nearby basin and dabbed his forehead with the cool fabric.


Twenty minutes later, Mike returned. "Howís he doing?" he asked handing Ellen the bag of supplies.


"The same Iím afraid," she answered as she removed the items and proceeded to draw a sample of Mattís blood for testing.


"Did he wake up at all?"


"Well, yes and no. He opened his eyes for about a second," she replied as she continued about her work. "He was totally out of it for the most part, but he did talk."


"He talked?" Mike said nervously. "What did he say?"


Ellen gave Mike a curious glance after his response before turning back to what she was doing. "Nothing that made sense, but ever since last night most of what he says doesnít make sense." After gathering her sample Ellen disposed of the used needle and placed the small filled vial in her medical bag. "Iíve done all I can do for him for now. Iím going to take this to the lab and rush it through. When I know what weíre facing Iíll be better equipped to help him. Iíll be back as soon as I can, and when I am Iím going to want answers Mike and not just half truths, but the whole story."

The intensity in her eyes told Mike she meant every word she said. "Ellen IÖ"


"Not now. I need to get this to the hospital," she said patting her medical bag. "When I get back I want to know everything, and I intend to find out exactly whatís going on here." After making it to the door, Ellen turned around to face Mike who had followed her. "If there is any change at all call me and Iíll be back here in a matter of minutes."

"Will do. I canít thank you enough for coming over."

"You donít have to thank me Mike. I care about him too."


Mike nods his head and smiles. "Yeah, I know."


Ellen glanced over at Matt as he rested. "Heís really sick," she told Mike, "but Iím going to make sure heíll be okay. That way I can kill him for putting me through this." Her gaze stayed fixed on the ailing man for several moments before she left for the hospital.


Closing the door behind Ellen, Mike took a deep breath before going over to Mattís bedside. Sweat still glistened on his forehead, but he seemed to be resting peacefully. "You hang in there buddy, everything is going to be fine. Itís going to be just fine."

**~~**~~**


When Ellen arrived at the hospital she immediately took Mattís blood sample to the lab to be examined. After explaining it was a rush job she went to the records department and had Mattís files pulled. There was a reason why she practically had to twist his arm for him to get an X-ray and why he and Mike steadfastly refused his coming to the hospital when he was so desperately ill, she intended to find out what that reason was.

As Ellen made her way to her office, Chris Ramsey stopped her.


"Dr. Burgess, for someone who has time off, youíve been around here a lot," Chris remarked with a sly smile.

Ramsey was the very last thing she needed at that moment. Releasing an exasperated sigh, "Is that a problem Dr. Ramsey?" she asked. "If it is, Iíll be sure to ask your permission the next time I decide to come in on my day off. Speaking of days off, if you ever want to have one of those again you would be wise to stop questioning me and see about your patients," she replied with not a hint of levity on her face on in her voice.


Feeling about two inches tall, "Yes maíam," Chris answered. "Is there a problem with one of your patients?" he questioned, noting the files she was carrying and suddenly spotting Mattís name on them. Something about Harmon, this could possibly help him. More than ready to offer his assistance, "Maybe I canÖ"


"Save the brown-nosing that Iím sure youíre working up to," she said cutting him off. "I donít need anything from you except attention to your patients, I can handle mine." Pointing in the direction away from her office, "Go, now," she instructed.


With a slight nod of his head Chris slowly walked in the other direction. Matt had been gone for days and now Dr. Burgess was spending her days off at the hospital and she was reviewing his files.

He didnít know what was going on, but his curiosity was seriously piqued and somehow he was going to get the satisfaction he needed. With any luck all, this Harmon intrigue will be just what he needs to make him the front runner and eventual winner of the Quartermaine award. He knew Matt had secrets, and he would stop at nothing to find out what they were.

Several hours later the results of Mattís blood test had finally come in. Ellen couldnít believe it had taken so long and if they had come in a minute later heads would have definitely rolled. She knew Mattís condition was bad, but according to his test results it was much worse than she even thought. Picking up the medication she would need to aid in his treatment and armed with a great deal more facts on his life, Ellen made her way back to Mattís. Travelling the short distance to his apartment, she hoped she would finally get some real answers and prayed that Mike would forget this pact of not taking Matt to the hospital and do the right thing before it was too late.