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T H E . D O C T O R S
Althea, Nick & the gang at Hope Memorial Hospital - PART 2
Posted by chrissy n 7.9.00

The insane Dr. John Morrison was married to Althea Davis. Deep down, he knew that Althea still carried a torch for her ex husband, Nick Bellini.

Nick had saved the life of Penny, Althea's daughter, making Althea feel less hostile towards Dr. Bellini. Sometimes, they consulted on cases over cups of coffee, effectuating John's jealousy.

He told Althea he was bothered by her working with Nick.

"Well, that's unavoidable," Althea said. "Sometimes we have to compare notes on cases."

"There are other staff members he could work with," John argued.

"John, you're my husband. Nick is my past. You have to trust me."

"I do trust you, but I don't trust Nick."

Cathy Ryker, a pretty, blonde, unbalanced nurse had an affair with Nick. Nick kindly ended it. Kathy cooked for him, baked him cookies.

He appreciated her attention, but he loved another woman (Althea). When he rejected Cathy, she became depressed.

Carolee suggested she talk to Dr. Morrison.

She did so. "You really love Dr. Bellini?" John said.

"With all my heart," Cathy answered.

"If you become pregnant by him, I'm sure he'd marry you," John said.

"You think so, Dr. Morrison."

"There's no doubt in my mind. Nick has often talked about wanting a wife and family. And you could give him that," John suggested.

John wanted Nick out of the way. He reasoned if Nick married Cathy, he wouldn't be a threat to John's marriage to Althea.

"Dr. Morrison...Nick ended it with me. It's over between us," Cathy said. She shrugged. "So how can I become pregnant? He wants nothing to do with me."

"Cathy, you're an enchanting, beguiling young woman. If you gave it just a bit of thought, I'm sure you could come up with some way to renew your involvement with Dr. Bellini," John said.

Cathy seduced Nick and conveniently became pregnant. She happily told Nick the news. "Cathy, what happened between us shouldn't have happened," he said.

"What are you saying, Nick?"

"What took place that night was a mistake...I take full responsibility for it. I shouldn't have given in."

"But I'm pregnant. We're going to be parents."

Nick took a deep breath.

"You have to marry me," Cathy said.

"Cathy, I'll help you support the child. During your pregnancy, I'll be there for you... but I can't marry you."

"Why not? Why can't you marry me?"

"I don't love you." His tone was charitable. "I hate hurting you this way...but I have to be honest with you."

"I can't believe you're saying this."

Cathy told Dr. Morrison about her conversation with Nick. "Nick has to get used to the idea of being a husband and father," John said. "Keep at him. Eventually, he'll put a ring on your finger."

"You think so, Dr. Morrison?" Cathy said.

"I have no doubt."

John knew the hospital was a hotbed of gossip. "You should tell people of your condition," he suggested to Cathy. "Maybe the doctors and nurses will talk to Nick about the joys of being a parent."

One day over cups of coffee, John asked Karen--"Have you heard the news?"

"What news?" she asked.

"About Nick Bellini and the pretty young nurse, Cathy Ryker."

"That she's carrying his child."

"So you are privvy to what the staff of this institution of healing is whispering about?"

Karen sipped her coffee. "And why do I get the impression you wanted to make certain that I heard the rumors?"

"It isn't a rumor. It's a fact," John said.

"Okay. Nurse Ryker is pregnant by Dr. Bellini," Karen said. She shrugged.

"And they'll be married," John said. "And Nick Bellini will no longer be a threat to my marriage to Althea."

"From what I understand, he has no interest in marrying Nurse Ryker," Karen said.

"Well, his feelings may change when their affair is in the rumor mill, getting crushed and pulverized."

Karen squinted her eyes reflectively. "John, what is going on in that Machiavellian mind of yours?"

"Cathy wants to marry Nick, and I'd like for that to happen. I'll give her away at the wedding...But Nick isn't agreeable...Now a little gossip may nudge him in the direction of the justice of the peace."

"How?" Karen asked.

"Think about it," John said, conspiratorially. "Cathy Ryker--a young, impressionable girl becomes pregnant by a slightly older doctor, who refuses to do the honorable thing and marry her." He paused. "If the story becomes common knowledge, how will people look at Nick?"

"Disapprovingly," Karen said.

John nodded. "They'll see him as a heel. A neer-do-well. And maybe guilt and shame will propel him to marry the mother of his child."

"We're talking about Nick Bellini," Karen said. "He doesn't care about appearances, or what people think of him."

"Nick is ambitious," John said. "Like all ambitious doctors, he wants research grants, and speaking engagements. And if he gets a reputation for trifling with the affections of innocent, besotted girls, that won't happen... So to protect his career, he'll marry Miss Ryker."

"Making you more secure about Althea?"

He nodded and held up his styrofoam cup.

Karen tapped her cup against his. "And I thought chicanery was the domain of the weaker sex," Karen said.

Cathy saw her obstetrician. He looked solemn. "I have some bad news," he said.

"Bad news?" Cathy's voice was urgent. "Dr. Thayer, what is it? Is it my baby?"

Dr. Thayer explained the fetus was dead.

"No," Cathy yelled. "You're wrong. My baby is fine. Healthy."

He tapped her shoulders. "Cathy, I'm terribly sorry."

She wrenched away. "Don't touch me. Get away from me."

She dashed out of the office, and tearfully ran through the corridors of Hope Memorial.

Maggie, Matt, Carolee, and candy stripers looked on, in confusion.

"What in heaven's name is going on?" Maggie asked Matt.

"Your guess is as good as mine," Matt replied.

Later, Nick was in his office, examining an X-ray. There was a knock on the door. "Come in," he said.

Carolee entered the office.

"Carolee, hi. What can I do for you?" Nick said.

"I don't know, but I think you can help. I know about you and Cathy Ryker." She held up a hand. "And I'm not here to butt in. It's none of my business, but I just saw the strangest thing."

Nick frowned. "What?"

"Cathy just rushed out of Dr. Thayer's office. She was in tears, screaming hysterically."

Nick demonstrated concern. "You don't know what it was about?"

"Not a clue. But Thayer is an obstetrician. And since ...Cathy is having a baby," Carolee said.

"Carolee...Cathy is pregnant by me. I'm sure you've heard the rumors," Nick said.

She nodded.

"Well, for a change, they're true."

"I thought you'd want to know what I saw," Carolee said. "It seems important."

Nick thanked her, and went to Thayer's office. "The fetus isn't alive?" Nick said.

Dr. Thayer shook his head.

Nick went to Cathy's apartment, and told her that he knew about the baby.

"It isn't true," Cathy yelled, shaking her head. "I'm pregnant." She put her hand on her stomach. "There is a baby inside of me. Our baby. Dr. Thayer is wrong. Wrong."

Nick's heart went out to Cathy. "No, Cathy. The baby is gone."

"Oh, God," she screamed. "Noooo."

Nick held her. And when she was a bit composed, he said, "Cathy, you have to have an operation to remove the fetus."

Cathy didn't want to hear that. "You'd like that wouldn't you?" she hurled. "You'd like for me to get rid of our baby?"

"If you don't, you could develop an infection," Nick said. "You could become gravely ill."

"You never loved me; you never wanted me. Dr. Morrison was wrong."

Nick frowned. "Dr. Morrison was wrong about what?"

"It doesn't matter. Just get out."

Nick tried to talk Cathy into checking into the hospital, but she refused to listen.

Later, Nick stormed into John Morrison's office.

John looked up from papers he was working on. "Dr. Bellini," he said. Calm.

Nick pointed at John. "Morrison, I want to talk to you about something."

"Well, I'm very busy. It'll have to wait."

"This isn't going to wait. I want to talk to you about Cathy Ryker."

"She had some problems and she came to me for counseling," John said, playing it cagey.

"What did the two of you talk about?" Nick demanded.

"I can't discuss that with you," John said. "We're in the same profession; you know about doctor/patient confidentiality."

"Don't hand me that doctor/patient confidentiality bit. Cathy talked about me in her sessions with you."

"True. But that doesn't give you the right to know what we discussed."

"Morrison, I want to know what you said to that girl. Did you lead her to think that I loved her, that we had a future."

"What makes you think I'd do that?" John asked.

"Something Cathy said."

John shrugged. "Nick you broke the young woman's heart," John said.

"I gently told her the truth, that I didn't love her."

"She said that to me," John said. "I told her that she was attractive, and smart, and there would be other men."

"Are you sure that's all you said?" Nick demanded.

"What else would I have said? She had problems, and my job is to help HER find solutions to those problems. You told her it was over between you two, and we discussed how she would resolve getting over a man who didn't love her. And move on." He paused. "Why would I tell her that she had a future with you when you told her it was over. That would have been counter-productive."

"Everyone knows how insecure you are about Althea; how you see me as a threat. Maybe you thought if a marriage took place between me and Cathy Ryker, you would feel more secure with Althea."

John was calm. "That's preposterous. And I assure you I have no insecurities about you. And if I did, I wouldn't jeopardize my career by taking advantage of a troubled young girl."

"If there's a grain of truth to my suspicions, what you've done is unethical. You could lose your license."

"Your suspicious are balderdash. Now if you've finished your blustering, I have an appointment shortly."

Nick vacated the office. John released a frustrated sigh. "What if Cathy Ryker tells every one that I said she should get pregnant by Nick?" John muttered.

John recalled Nick's words. "What you've done is unethical; you could lose your license...Unethical. You could lose your license. Unethical."

John swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat.

"No," John mumbled. "The girl is demented. No one would listen to her."







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