Flare pt 3

Phyllis slammed her laptop shut. Tears stung her eyes as she quickly wiped them away. She could lie to herself and pretend it was about being frustrated over the phone call, she could claim she was angry he’d called and attempted to insinuate himself into her life again, but the truth was–it was none of those things…it was the pain of knowing he had a choice and chose to let her go…again.

“This is ridiculous,” she said, grabbing her laptop and shoving it into her bag. “I”m not going to sit here and mope over some man!” She picked up her bag and she’d the door open. She’d find some way to salvage this evening if it killed her.

~

Phyllis sat at the bar. Unlike most nights, the GCAC was scarcely populated tonight. The couples and groups had slowly trickled out shortly after her arrival and, in truth, she was grateful. She wasn’t looking for people to socialize with. She wanted to be alone. The martini glass sat in front of her as she ran her finger across the stem. The martini was her drink of choice when she wanted to forget…someone or something. Unfortunately, it didn’t work very well.

She could still remember the way it felt when he touched her, the way he’d nip at her lower lip before he pulled her close to him for a passionate kiss, the way his voice could make her knees weak, the feel of him, the scent of him…

“Ma’am, Ma’am, are you ok?”

Phyllis looked down, surprised to see the pool of liquid sitting on the bar top. “Oh,” she said, startled, “I’m sorry…so sorry.”

“Not a problem,” the bartender said with a polite smile as he wiped the spill with a cloth. “Can I get you another?”

Phyllis sighed. “You know..maybe just a club soda. I think I’ve had enough of this for tonight.”

She dropped her head as she watched him walk away. “Well that went well,” she muttered.

~
Ronan leaned back in the seat as he desperately tried to stretch his legs in front of him. He furiously punched the numbers on his cell phone again, closing his eyes in a mix of frustration and desperation as his call was, once again, sent straight to voicemail.

“Phyllis,” he said, hesitating slightly. This isn’t something he wanted to leave on a voicemail. “Phyllis listen…it’s me. Can you call me, please? As soon as you get this…just please, please call me. It’s important. And…”. He paused again, considering his words… “And be careful, please, be careful.” He ended the call with a sigh.

His mind was spinning on its own, completely without his permission or his consent. He pictured all the horrible things that could be happening, the nightmarish reasons she might not be answering the phone. His first assumption had been that she wasn’t answering, that she was ignoring it, but what if she couldn’t….

The pain in his chest gripped him suddenly and he felt as if a weight suddenly collapsed on his lungs. He struggled to take a deep breath as he brought his hand to his chest.

“Sir,” the flight attendant said quietly, having noticed his sudden motions from across the aisle, “Sir, are you alright?”

Ronan struggled to respond trying in vain to take a deep breath, “I’m” he stopped, “I’m ok. I’m fine. I just need a minute. Can you give me a minute?”

“Sir, if you’re having any discomfort, you need to tell me now. We need to land the plane so we can get you the proper medical attention.”

“No,” Ronan protested. He couldn’t get off this plane. He had to get to Genoa City. He had to get to Phyllis. “I’m fine, really. I’ll be fine.” Another pain ripped through his chest and he desperately tried not to let it show on his face.

“I’m afraid I’ll have to insist,” she said seriously, “It’s obvious you’re in serious pain.”

“It’s just acid reflux,” he said, forcing himself to straighten up and flash a smile. He reached into his jacket, pulling out his badge. “See, I’ve just been working long hours and eating on the road….it’s the fast food and the gas station coffee catching up with me.” He could see her face soften a bit. “You know not everyone has a beautiful woman like you to cook them home cooked meals at night.” He flashed another smile and silently prayed he still had enough charm to pull this kind of thing off.

She smiled, sighing slightly as she studied his face. “Well, alright…if you’re sure…and I’ll get you something that should help with that.”

“You’re a sweetheart,” Ronan whispered, keeping a smile plastered on his face until she walked away. Once she had, he leaned back, forcing a few deep breaths, grateful when the pain finally subsided.

~
She wasn’t sure how long she’d been sitting at the bar or when she’d decided to switch back to martinis. She vaguely remembered the bartender helping her to the cab. The cool night air had helped clear her head a bit and she felt a bit better as she shuffled into the elevator and headed up to her penthouse.

She rummaged through her purse for her key, feeling it and pulling it out of her purse. It immediately slipped from her fingers and fell to the floor.

“Damn,” she hissed, bending down to pick it up. For the first time she noticed the light filtering out from the crack in the door.

She stood still. “I didn’t,” she whispered, “Did I?”

Phyllis ran her hand over her face, trying to ground herself. She was drunk, for sure, but she hadn’t been this morning. There was no way she would have left her door unlocked, much less partially open. She reached into her purse and grabbed her phone, not even looking at the numerous missed calls flashing on the screen. She pressed the buttons for 9-1-1.

Slowly, she pushed open the door and stepped in with some hesitation. “You should know that I’m calling the cops,” she loudly exclaimed.

The deep voice seemed to come from nowhere as her eyes had not yet adjusted to the dark.

“Why would you want to call the cops?” The deep voice questioned before bathing the room in soft light.

Ronan smiled at her as he sat on the couch staring up at her. “You’ve already got the best one right here.”

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Flare chapter 2

“Ronan?” There was a part of her that still didn’t believe his voice would be on the other end of the call. Even though she saw his name, the thought of him had become a memory she no longer allowed herself to have. The time she’d spent with him, however brief, had been so simple, so easy, so unlike her life as it currently was.

Ronan treated her with respect and kindness. With her, he was different–not as gruff and distant as others saw him. She was able to see a gentleness in him, something that allowed her to feel safe in revealing her own vulnerabilities.

“I was surprised to hear from you,” she said quietly.

Ronan sat down on the bed. He hadn’t thought this through. What was he going to tell her? You don’t just call someone and tell them you need them to hang out with you while you die. “Damn..”

“What?” Phyllis furrowed her brow. This made no sense. Ronan left town without so much as a word. No goodbye, no nothing–and now to call her and sit in silence…

“I’m sorry–that wasn’t for you. I meant..ummm…I just needed to check in on you.” He ran his hand across his face, the dull headache from earlier now becoming a throbbing pain he couldn’t ignore.

“You just wanted to check on me? Ronan, what’s going on?”

“Nothing’s going on. I just-its been a while since we talked and I uh…I just wanted to touch base and make sure things were going ok.”

Phyllis sighed. “You obviously weren’t so worried about how I was doing when you left town–you remember…when you just dropped off the face of the earth without so much as a note.”

Ronan closed his eyes. He deserved that. She couldn’t understand why things had to be that way. She’d never understand why he couldn’t allow himself to get close to someone again. She couldn’t fathom how hard it was for him to walk away from a place he’d started to feel at home–no matter how hard he’d fought it–how hard it was to walk away from the family he’d wanted, no matter how much he’d denied it–how much it hurt him to walk away from her–a woman that made him feel things he swore he’d never let himself feel again.

“I’m sorry about that. I didn’t mean to hurt you. That was never my intention. I just..”

“Just what, Ronan? What?”

“I just called to check on you–make sure you’re doing alright…that’s all.”

What’s one more lie. In the end this was the least of the things he’d have to answer for.

“I’m fine. Everything is fine.” She didn’t have time for this. Her life was complicated enough without a man shoveling more bullshit her way. “I’ve got to go…it’s a busy day.” Her tone was sharper than she intended. She missed him–missed the way he made her feel. Her voice softened, “You take care, ok?”

She ended the call and went back to the computer, mentally forbidding herself to spend the day focusing on memories of Ronan.

~

Ronan sighed–another disaster. The phone rang again and he almost dropped it in his hurry to accept the call.

“I’m so glad you called–listen I know what I said but….”

“Detective Malloy?”

Ronan sat up straight. He’d taken leave from the department almost two weeks ago. They wouldn’t call him unless there had been a break in a case he had a special interest in. “Chief Wilkins, I didn’t expect to hear from you. I left my medical leave papers for you. Do you need anything else from me?”

“No..that’s not it at all and I’m sorry to disturb you–it’s just I know there was a case you had a personal interest in and there’s been a development.”

Ronan stood, his chest tightening. Not now–he silently commanded. “What’s going on?”

“We got an alert this afternoon. Daisy Carter was spotted at an airport. We’ve got our first decent surveillance footage. There’s no doubt it’s her.”

Ronan relaxed. “That’s great. That means the local guys can probably catch her and bring her in, right?”

“That’s the thing, Ronan. She was boarding a plane…to Genoa City.”

Ronan didn’t even bother with pleasantries. Respecting your superior wasn’t so important when you wouldn’t live long enough to need a reference. He ended the call, shoving the phone in his pocket and clutching his side as he bent down and grabbed his bag from under the bed. Shoving a few articles of clothing inside, he took a deep breath. He might not have much of a life left, but he’d spend it protecting the people he cared about most.

Flare

Based on:

Flares by The Script

Did you lose what won’t return?
Did you love but never learn?
The fire’s out but still it burns
And no one cares, there’s no one there
Did you find it hard to breathe?
Did you cry so much that you could barely see?
You’re in the darkness all alone
And no one cares, there’s no one there

But did you see the flares in the sky?
Were you blinded by the light?
Did you feel the smoke in your eyes?
Did you, did you?
Did you see the sparks filled with hope?
You are not alone
‘Cause someone’s out there, sending out flares

He pressed the bottle against his skin, it’s cool surface providing some momentary relief from the constant surge of heat in his face. Another side effect of the anti-rejection medications–the ones that were doing such a bang up job. He winced as he stood up. What a joke. More than anything, he wanted a drink–a real drink–something that would shake this afternoon from his mind. After all, what did it matter now?

~

“Ronan.”

The look on her face wasn’t scolding as it had been in past visits. It wasn’t frustration. This look was compassion. She was being gentle and kind. She slid the rolling stool closer to him and reached for his hand. He jerked away from him.

This was all too real.

He stood up quickly, too quickly–a wave of pain ripped through him and he retched. She was behind him quickly, her moves far too practiced. The pink, plastic bin was in his lap and was back on the exam table in seconds. This was certainly not her first time dealing with this particular issue.

“Ok?” She offered him a tissue and he nodded. He wanted to resent her kindness, but he wasn’t in a position to do so. He felt weak and needy and there were few things in life he hated more than that.

“So, what’s next?” he asked, his voice steady. “I’m assuming you didn’t come in here to tell me everything’s all good.”

That damn look returned.

Some patients were more difficult cases and Ronan Malloy had been a challenge for sure. There was something about him though–something just under the bravado–just under the attitude, and she’d secretly hoped he’d recover so she’d be able to see what that was.

“That’s just it, Ronan. There is no next. There’s nothing else we can do. The liver transplant was successful, and although it isn’t functioning as well as it should be, it’s not the cause for your symptoms. For any doctor to have touted this transplant as a cure for hereditary amyloidosis was irresponsible to say the least. The transplant slowed things down certainly, but it didn’t solve the problem. Your other organs are still being affected. Your gastrointestinal tract and digestion are being impacted.”

“So that’s why I’m having these pains and the nausea?” Ronan questioned. His liver wasn’t failing, but somehow the doctor didn’t seem the least bit optimistic. “But I mean, it’s not my liver, so that’s good, right? I mean..I won’t ever feel 100%, but I’m not gonna die.”

“Ronan-I…That’s what I’m trying to tell you, we did blood work. Your levels are off.”

“Which levels?”

She took a breath. “All of them.” The look on his face was the same she’d seen on the face of so many other patients. These were the moments, she questioned her decision to work in genetics. A family practice where she dealt with ear infections and sprained ankles would be a welcome change of pace. She forced herself to continue. “Your kidneys aren’t functioning as well as they should, your white count is high, your iron is far too low. Your blood pressure, cardiac enzymes,”

“Stop…just stop…” He couldn’t hear anything more. His vision blurred as he stood and he brought his hand to his face.

“Your eyes?” She questioned. “It’s all just going to get worse, Ronan. I’m so sorry. I wish there was something I could say.”

“So there’s nothing…I mean another liver transplant?”

“It could help,” she admitted. “It could slow the progression. Depending on how your body responds, it could fare better or worse than this transplant did. Of course you always have to consider the risks associated with another transplant–the procedure itself–the infection risk…”

“You don’t think it’s a good idea?”

She sighed. “I think the best idea would be to reconsider calling someone.”

Ronan shook his head. “No. My mom doesn’t need to worry about me–especially when there isn’t anything that can be done.”

“Not your Mom then. Someone that can be there for you. You’re going to need someone. Just think about it, please? Promise me.”

He nodded before walking out of the room

~
“Someone else,” he whispered. His options were limited. Keeping up with the goings on in Genoa City hadn’t been difficult since he had police connections, but knowing what was going on was very different from actually being involved in them.

Still, there was only one viable choice..only one person whose presence would bring him any semblance of happiness. He remembered how easy it had been, how strong she seemed and how vulnerable she truly was. He’d appreciated that–her ability to put on the mask for the world and he’d felt privileged that she trusted him enough to take it off for him. They could be honest with each other, no performances, no personas.

He dialed her number and waited, the ringing echoing in his ear. His heart sank as it clicked over to voicemail. He tossed the phone over on the bed. Of course she didn’t answer. Why would she? She’d moved on. She was far too alive to stand still and wait for him–she didn’t need his problems. No one did. His life was ending exactly as it should. He was better off alone.

It was only a few steps to the cabinet and the bottle of whiskey was right where he’d left it. He broke the seal, opened the top, and poured. He held the glass out in front of him, trying to ignore the tremor in his hand. “Here’s to the end,” he whispered, “Can’t come soon enough”

The sound of the phone echoed through the silent room and he sighed, sitting the glass down. For a moment he thought his eyes were failing him as he saw the name flashing on the screen.  Phyllis  His finger hit the green button.

“Hello?”

Warmth flooded his body–better than any rush he would have received from the whiskey in the glass. Her voice was a ray of hope, a flare of hope in the dark–and just like that it was different.

Ronan Malloy wanted to live.