"I'm surprised you came so soon," Winston said as he moved aside to allow Ellen into the apartment.
"I'm not heartless Winston," Ellen replied as she entered the dwelling and removed the jacket she was wearing as the temperature in Port Charles was much cooler than that in Manhattan and was dropping with every passing hour. "I was on my way over here when I got called to the hospital."
"I thought you had a few days off."
"I do, but a doctor’s job is never done. Especially when the doctor is Chief Resident. Anyway I was leaving the hospital when I got your phone call. So, what's this about Mother?" she asked sitting her purse in the corner chair beside her jacket.
"She won't admit it, but I can tell she's not feeling well."
"How has she been behaving? Have you noticed any visible signs of discomfort?" Ellen asked as she held on to her medical bag.
Releasing a frustrated sigh as he walked toward Ellen stopping only when he stood before her. "Can you lose the doctor attitude for just a minute and show some concern for our mother?" Winston remarked with unabashed hostility.
"I'm here aren't I?" she returned pointedly.
"So is that chip on your shoulder. When are you going to lose that too?" he sneered.
"Is this why you called me? To get me over here, grill me about Mother and somehow manage to persuade me to be nice to her? If that's it I'll tell you again I'm not discussing this with you."
"You mentioned you were on your way over, why?" he asked folding his arms against his chest.
Giving her brother a hard stare, "If you must know I came over to talk with Alice. There are some things I need to say to her," she explained.
Returning an equally hard stare to Ellen, "I won't have you upsetting Mother," Winston warned.
"Would you stop playing the role of protector. Alice does not need you to watch over her, I don't need you to tell me how I should be reacting toward her and I’m damn tired of you trying. It wasn't you she tossed aside for doing something she didn't like, that was me!" she shouted her eyes ablaze with anger. "Until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes don’t you dare try to dictate my actions."
"Maybe you should leave," Winston suggested hotly.
"Maybe I should," Ellen shot back, "but I'm here now and I'm not leaving until I talk to Alice."
"Sweet Pea, is that you?" Alice said making her way into the room.
"Yes Mother," Ellen answered as she continued to stare at her brother.
"I thought that was your voice I heard." Taking a seat on the couch, "What brings you here?" she asked.
"Winston told me you weren't feeling well?" Ellen said brushing past him and joining her mother on the couch.
"Your brother tends to over-react. I felt a little faint hours ago. I guess I was just overtired or something. I feel much better now. Is that why you came over, because you were worried about me?" she inquired with a hopeful smile.
"I was concerned," Ellen conceded, "but I also wanted to talk to you. Since I’m here now, why don’t I take a look at you and see if all you were feeling was just tired." Helping Alice to her feet, "Come on let’s go into your bedroom."
Winston followed closely behind them.
Ellen turns to her younger sibling. "I think I can handle it from here Winston."
Looking to Alice for her approval, "Mother?" he said.
"It’s fine Winston. I have a grocery list on the table by the door, why don’t you go pick those items up for me."
"Mother are you sure?" he asked before training his eyes on Ellen.
Tightening the matching robe to her dark blue pajama set, "Yes I’m sure, go on now," Alice told him.
"Fine, I won’t be gone long," he said giving Ellen a look that was equal to an unspoken warning before departing for the grocery store.
"So how am I?" Alice asked as she watched Ellen remove the blood pressure cuff from around her arm.
"Aside from a slightly elevated heart rate you’re okay," Ellen answered placing the stethoscope and the cuff back into her medical bag. "Have you been taking your pills?"
"Religiously," Alice answered. "I guess I can attribute my increased heartbeat to the excitement I feel at seeing you here. I’m really glad you came over Ellen. Maybe you can stay for dinner," she suggested.
"I don’t know about dinner, you shouldn’t be cooking anyway, besides I’m not here on a social call…not really," Ellen answered snapping her medical bag closed. "I wanted us to talk, but I don’t want to aggravate your condition. Maybe you should just relax and we can do this some other time."
"No don’t go Sweet Pea. We really need to talk. I’m fine, cooking relaxes me and I want to hear what you have to say. I need to hear what you have to say."
"Okay," Ellen said taking a seat next to Alice on the bed. "I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what you have been saying, about how you want me to give us a chance to work on our relationship. I honestly don’t know what kind of relationship we can have, but I do know we can’t even begin to try to form one until we…until I get some things cleared up between us."
"Say what’s on your mind."
"What’s on my mind?" Ellen repeated gazing up at the ceiling for a moment and taking a deep breath. "I have a lot on my mind," she said as she stood and began to pace the room. "I guess the biggest thing where you and I are concerned is the phone call I made to you after Sam died. Try as I might I’m having a hard time getting past your reaction to that call and to me."
"Ellen that call surprised me and I know my response could have been better but I was…"
"Angry with me," Ellen finished for her. "Yeah I know. I just wonder if you for one instant thought of what could have propelled me to call after almost three years. The fact that I did call should have prompted you to at least hear what I had to say. I was a widow at 24. I was afraid and alone so I called my mother…I called my mother, and in my darkest hour she hung up on me." With tears shining in her eyes Ellen turned to Alice. "You hung up on me."
Alice dropped her head in shame before she attempted to explain her side. Turning her attention to her daughter, "That call and my reaction to it was hard for me too Ellen," she said. "You are my daughter my firstborn and you had thrown your life away. I couldn’t…I didn’t want to deal with that being thrown back into my face. Whatever it was I didn’t want to know about it. You had made your choice and I--"
Ellen cut her mother off. "I didn’t make any choice, you made the choice when you told me it was Sam or the family. Was there a choice for me somewhere in that?" she asked blindly grasping for some kind of understanding. "I didn’t think so," Ellen remarked, her voice hoarse with emotion. "Parents are supposed to give their children unconditional love. Up until the moment I fell in love with Sam I thought I had that from you…until the ultimatum came."
Alice brushed away the tears that were streaming down her face. "I did the best that I could honey. I know now that I made some big mistakes but I want to make that up to you, if you let me."
"I don’t know how you can do that," Ellen told her mother. "There’s nothing you can do to bring Sam back or change all the years I had to go without a family…without a mother. You can’t change the hurt and heartache I had to endure all alone, and my trust in you is pretty much shattered. How are you gonna make all that up?"
"By starting over. I let my own expectations for what I thought you deserved cloud my judgment. I couldn’t see beyond my own upset at you choosing to forego medical school to support a man I thought was beneath you, especially after all I’d done to see you have the best education money could buy. I couldn’t see how much you loved Sam or how much he loved you, all I could see was you throwing your life away for some dock worker; that’s all I could see."
Alice absently fiddles with the lace on one of the throw pillows as she went on. "When you left with him I was hurt and disappointed and I lived off those emotions for all the years you were gone. I hate admitting I’m wrong, you know that but I’m admitting it now, I was very wrong. I may be asking the impossible but I want a chance to try to make things right again. We can get our relationship back now." After pausing for a few moments, "Tell me about Samuel," Alice said.
"Are you serious?" Ellen asked, her expression blank as she walked toward the bed.
"If you had said those four words before Sam died it would have made all the difference in the world, but right now they seem a little hollow."
Folding her arms across her chest Ellen continued. "What good can come from my telling you about him now, aside from somehow easing your conscience?"
"Why do you keep saying that?" Alice asked, the underlying truth in Ellen’s words cutting her like blades.
"Because that’s exactly what it feels like," Ellen sharply returned as she began to pace the room again in an attempt to calm herself down. "You never even gave Sam half a chance when he was alive. Would you be reaching out to me now if you didn’t know he was dead? I’d say no you wouldn’t. Up until the moment you found out he died you were the same as you’d always been, cruel and snide. When you found out Sam was gone it was finally okay for you to reach out to me, and that is what hurts me the most."
Bringing her pacing to an end Ellen faced her mother. "I called you after you banished me from the family. I made the first step when I did nothing wrong to begin with. I had just lost my husband and all you had to do was say hello when I called, just say hello, but you didn’t do that, instead you hung up on me."
"Ellen I didn’t know," Alice said her voice barely above a whisper.
"No, you didn’t care," Ellen returned as a continual stream of tears went unchecked down her cheeks as she remembered that painful memory from years before. "You obviously don’t get how hard it was for me to make that call or how profoundly what you did hurt me. I’m listening to what you’re saying and I believe you’re feeling some remorse now, but I just can’t forget. The truth is as much as I would like to forgive you Mother I just don’t know if that can happen."
Mike was preparing the dinner special in the kitchen of the Recovery Room when he noticed a leak coming from the dishwasher. Since the attachments to the dishwasher were connected to the sink in Matt’s kitchen he wanted to make sure the leak hadn’t somehow caused water damage in his apartment. Using his key Mike let himself in to check out the apartment and was surprised to find Matt sprawled out on the couch sweating profusely, fresh cuts and scratches covering his face and a coverlet draped loosely around him. He immediately rushed over to him.
"Matt, buddy what happened," Mike asked, his eyes full of concern as he brushed the back of his hand against Matt’s forehead. "Man you’re burning up," he said pulling the coffee table forward and taking a seat on it.
"I’m fine," Matt managed weakly. "It’s just a cold or something. I’ll be okay," he said shivering.
"Don’t give me that!" Mike thundered. "How long have you been back, more importantly where the hell have you been?! You disappear without a trace and you come back like this," his hand motioning at the shabby condition his friend was in. "Ellen has been so worried about you. Ellen. I’m going to call her over here," Mike said reaching for the nearby phone.
Matt grabbed the phone from Mike’s hand. "No! OWWWW!" he groaned dropping the phone to the floor as his right hand instinctively covered the wound that throbbed with pain on the upper left side of his chest.
"What is wrong with you?!" Mike asked, attempting to push back the perspiration covered shirt Matt was wearing to check out what was causing his obvious pain.
"Nothing okay," Matt returned shortly, shrinking away from Mike’s inquisitive hands. "Why don’t you leave Mike I can take care of myself."
Shaking his head in total disagreement, "Yeah right, that is so obvious. You need medical attention."
"I’m a doctor, so there you go. I’ll get medical attention."
"I’m going to call Ellen," Mike told him as he took possession of the phone.
"No you’re not!" Matt insisted reaching out to stop him from making the call. "Damn!" he winced, as the pain he felt seemed to increase tenfold with every movement he made.
"That’s it, you had better tell me something quick or I’m going to throw you over my shoulder and take you to General Hospital myself," Mike vowed.