Ellen and Mike kept vigil at Matt’s bedside. Being brought to a sterile environment and given the treatment he needed, went a long way to getting him better. His temperature was gone and the infection that had been ravishing his body was now under control. He had been sleeping very soundly over the last several hours, and early the next morning he began to stir from his slumber. Standing to their feet, Mike braced himself from the reaction he knew his friend would give upon finding he was brought to the hospital, while Ellen readied herself to hear what was so important that Matt was willing to kill himself to keep it a secret.

Upon opening his eyes, Matt tried to keep the wide range of emotions he was feeling in check when he realized he was in the hospital and both Ellen and Mike were in the room with him.

His throat felt like cotton, but he needed answers. "Why am I here?" Matt said as calmly as he could as his gaze bore onto Mike.

"Matt, you were so sick, I had to…" Mike attempted to explain.

"Mike you promised!" Matt railed. "How could you do this?! Do you realize what you’ve done?!"

"Yes he does," Ellen stated, jumping to Mike’s defense. "He saved your life." Turning her focus to Mike,
"Would you please leave us alone."

Mike looked to Matt for his approval to which Matt promptly turned away. He was still extremely angry with the older man, and couldn’t believe he had involved Ellen after everything he had told him.

"Mike, it’s fine," Ellen assured him. "You go on."

"I’ll be right outside," he told them. "Matt I’m sorry you’re angry, but if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing." That said, Mike left the two doctors alone.

"Why are you so angry with Mike?" Ellen asked, thinking Matt would be grateful to Mike for saving his life.

"Because I’m in the hospital. I like being a doctor more than being a patient. Besides, being brought here wasn’t necessary," he shared with her.

"The hell you say. You were about to die."

"I wouldn’t have died."

"Keep believing that. I had to beg Mike to bring you here. If I hadn’t he would kept that foolish promise he made to you and let you die. I was this close to calling an ambulance, I’m glad he finally saw things my way."

"You were at my apartment?"

"Yes, I was there…again. Mike was so worried about you that he called me."

"He shouldn’t have done that," Matt said looking away. He thought he was dreaming when he saw her, now it was confirmed, she was there.

"You said something when I was there," she told him.

He turned his gaze back to her. "What?" Oh god, what did I say.

"You were apologizing, to me. You kept repeating over and over you were sorry, that you didn’t mean it."

Shrugging the words off. "I don’t know why I would be apologizing. I didn’t do anything wrong. I was feverish right?"

"Very much so, which begs the question, why were you so adamant about not coming to the hospital?"

"It’s already assumed I’m helpless because I use a chair, I didn’t want people to see me bedridden or in need of medical attention that I can’t give myself. I care what people think."

"You have never cared what anyone thought of you so long as they didn’t ignore you, but I’m not going to argue with you about that. I’m just glad you’re getting better, that being the case, there are things we need to discuss."

Matt wasn’t sure what Ellen knew, Mike called her to the apartment and brought him here, who knows what he could have told her. He wasn’t about to chance anything, and he had to come up with something to explain away the apologizing, so he reverted to the ‘Cad Matt’ he presented to her during their last encounter, or at least the last one he remembered. "I think I know why I was apologizing to you. Have you changed your mind?"

"Changed my mind about what?" she asked.

"The last time we talked. Remember, there was a proposition. You and me, getting to know each other a lot better," he said, raising an eyebrow suggestively. "You do recall that conversation, it didn’t happen that long ago."

"It was two days ago," she informed him. "Why are you bringing it up?"

"You know why Ellen," he grinned lasciviously. "You said no, I’m really sorry about that. I have to tell you, I’m feeling much better now and my offer is still on table. We don’t have to wait until I’ve been named the winner of the Quartermaine award. We’re both here now, I’m pretty sure Mike won’t let anybody in. So, what do you say, you want to find out what you’ve been missing and what I’ve been dying to get a taste of?" If Ellen hating him kept her alive, he’d have to live with it.

If this was the game he wanted to play, she would play along with him. "You know Matt, you might be on to something. Seeing you in such dire straights has done something to me. It has made me realize that time is way too precious, and I would hate myself if I didn’t take this amazing opportunity you handed to me. You’re right, it has been a long time. I am ready to unleash all this pent up emotion, and I want to unleash it with you," she purred, unbuttoning the top two buttons of her blouse as she walked closer to the bed. "We’re alone, and you’re right, Mike won’t let anyone in here. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity, who knows when it will present itself again."

Matt couldn’t believe what he was hearing and what she was doing. Ellen had lost her mind; she couldn’t possibly go for what he said. He didn’t want that. Well he wanted that, but not like that…not like this. "Ellen…" his words ended abruptly, when her ample cleavage hovered above his hungry eyes. She was so beautiful, he was beginning to lose his ability to think clearly. This was not how his plan was supposed to work.

He was cracking, she only had to take it a bit further. Her lips were fractions of an inch away from his, "Shh, let’s not talk, we’ve done too much talking," she said moving in for a kiss.

Her breath was warm on his face. He really wanted to kiss her, so much so it hurt, but, before their lips could touch, Matt tilted his head away from hers and feeling only a dull ache from the wound he incurred in the blast, gently pushed her away. "Ellen stop!" he insisted.

"You first!" she hotly returned as she buttoned the two unloosened buttons on her blouse. "I can see through this charade of yours, now I want you to tell me what the hell is going on."

She had turned the tables on him. Why? What did Mike tell her?

Before anything more could be said, Grace came bounding into the room with Mike following close behind.

Matt groaned inwardly. "What did she want?"

"I couldn’t keep her away," Mike apologized. Picking up the tension that was so think between Matt and Ellen a chainsaw couldn’t cut through it.

Grace made haste over to the bed and placed her arm along the top of the bed while her fingers combed through his hair. "Matt, tell him you don’t want me to stay away, that you need me here with you. I was so worried. I wanted to come in sooner, but certain people," she said, glancing over at Ellen, "kept me away. I’m just glad you’re better now. You looked terrible last night. A can of turpentine did this?"

Matt was confused. "Turpentine?"

"Yes," Mike quickly spoke up. "You know, you were at your cousin’s house working on a car in his garage when a can of turpentine exploded."

Grace looked from Mike to Matt. It was clear something was amiss, and here was Ellen, smack dab in the middle of it.

"I guess I was a little more discombobulated from the blast than I thought," Matt explained, after Mike’s clarification. He was still angry with him, but thankful for the quick save.

"Well, I’m just glad you’re better now. I was so worried about you," Grace said, brushing Matt’s cheek with a kiss, before fixing a smug smile Ellen’s way.

Ellen rolled her eyes in disgust. Grace was her friend, but lately, she would get this uneasy feeling whenever this particular ‘friend’ was around. Was it jealousy of her ‘relationship’ with Matt? She didn’t think so, it felt like so much more than that.

Matt wondered why she was touching him. "Yeah, thanks for the concern, Grace. You know, you don’t have to stay. I’m fine now," he told her.

She took his hand into hers. "I know I don’t have to stay, but I want to. I’m want to help nurse you back to health."

Matt managed to subtly extract his hand from hers. "That won’t be necessary."

"You don’t want me here?"

That’s it exactly, Matt wanted to shout, but thought better of it. "It’s not that, it just that I’m kinda tired," he said, hoping she’d take the hint. He wasn’t happy with her right now. Did she forget that scene in the Recovery Room? He hadn’t.

"Well, you need your rest. I’ll come check on you later. Ellen, aren’t you coming?" she asked the doctor.

"I’ll be out once I finish dealing with the patient." Giving Matt a pointed look, "I need to check a few things out first," she said.

Matt exhaled a breath. She was going to come at him hard, and his roving playboy act wasn’t working anymore. He had to think of something to keep her at bay and he had to think of it quick.

Grace didn’t want to leave but decided to anyway. The kiss she attempted to give Matt on the lips landed on his cheek after he turned his head away. Shrugging off her disappointment in the less than sensual kiss, she said her good-byes and left the room in search of Chris. Maybe he could tell her what was going on because it was apparent no one in that room was going to.

"Is everything okay in here?" Mike asked, now choosing to mention the tension that was still extremely palpable.

"It’s fine Mike," Ellen answered, not once taking her eyes off Matt. "You can go now, we’re not finished talking."

Mike felt the need to protest. "Ellen I…"

He wasn’t going to save Matt like he did with Grace just now. Shooting him a hard stare, "That will be all, Mike," she said sternly.

"Okay, I’m leaving," Mike said walking to the door. Sensing Matt was still angry, Mike turned to his young friend. "Matt we need to talk. You’re angry and you can have your anger but we are going to talk, and we’re going to talk soon. There are ‘things’ we need to deal with."

The double meaning was not lost on Matt. He was angry with Mike, he was damn angry, but he couldn’t deny that he needed him. Maybe he should talk with him now, to find out just what Ellen knew.

"Mike wait," Matt said, halting him before he left the room.

"No Mike, don’t wait," Ellen firmly replied. "We’re going to talk first, Matt, and we’re going to do so alone."

Mike gave them their privacy, and hoped that Matt would finally tell Ellen the truth about what was going on, because as it seemed, she wouldn’t stop digging until she knew everything.

Ellen placed her hands on her hips. "You were about to explain yourself."

"I don’t know what you’re talking about," he replied, absently scratching his left temple.

"Okay, let me explain my take on the situation, and then maybe you’ll feel more chatty when I’m done," she said, pacing the floor like she was a lawyer presenting her closing argument to a waiting jury. "You pull a muscle in your back and you refuse to get an X-ray until I threatened to remove you from rotation. You ask me for a week off to tend to some family emergency, and when I don’t oblige you, you go over my head to Dr. Quartermaine. When you come back to town, I find you in your apartment in desperate need of medical attention and you refuse to go to the hospital and Mike refuses to take you, then, to make matters worse, you turn into some pseudo-modern day Don Juan." Coming to a stop at his bedside, she focused intently on him. "You know, most women would just walk away and never turn back after the treatment you gave me, but I couldn’t let it go. I was angry. I was incensed actually, and I was hurt. You really hurt me."

He knew that, and the pain he saw in her eyes when he said those words played in his head constantly. He didn’t want to hurt her, but he saw no other way. Her mentioning it to him only added salt to the open wound in his heart he felt would never heal. ‘Most women would have walked away’. That’s what he wanted her to do, that’s what he needed her to do. Why didn’t she do it?

"After a while, I calmed down, and I realized what you said was all wrong. You never told me much about your past, but you managed to say enough."

"What are you saying?" he asked, his voice hoarse and his heart rate quickening as he waited for her response.

"I’m saying, I’m your friend. I want to help you but you’ve got to tell me what’s going on."

Why wouldn’t she just walk away? What did he have to do to keep her away from him and safe? He didn’t know what she knew, but whatever it was, was too much. He had to try something. "There’s nothing going on, Ellen. Is your life so empty that you have to dig around in mine and create some…"

"Who shot you?!!" Ellen demanded to know, breaking into whatever new song and dance he was coming up with.

She couldn’t have said what he just heard. "What?" he barely whispered.

"Who shot you?" she repeated succinctly.

Matt was feeling nervous, "I wasn’t shot," he said. "There was a can of turpentine, I’m sure Mike…"

"I’m not talking about a few days ago. I took a look at your X-rays from when you pulled the muscle in your back and I saw bullet fragments. There was no ski accident, and there was definitely no exploding can of turpentine."

He was angry. Not because she had seen his files and found out how he had really become paralyzed, but because she way too close to the truth, and the closer she got the more danger she put herself in. "You had no right to look in my files!! Why are you involving yourself in my business? Why don’t you just stop asking your questions, let this go and leave me the hell alone?!"

"Because I can’t!" Ellen fiercely returned. "Now I want you to tell me, what is scaring you so much that you are pushing me away and almost getting yourself killed to keep it hidden. Someone hurt you, and you’ve been lying about it from the moment you got to Port Charles. I want some answers, and I’m not going anywhere until I get them."