GENERAL HOSPITAL - THIRD FLOOR CORRIDOR
was just thinking about Leticia," Francis explained awkwardly, "and
how we've gotten to see so little of one another since you two married."
"Does it bother you that I got
married?" Fred kept his eyes locked on her as if he were waiting for
some sort of indication about her true feelings concerning his sudden
marriage. "I mean, so soon after you and I
"Bother me?" She furrowed her
brow as she considered his choice of words. "Well, no, I wouldn't
exactly put it like that, but...."
"I just have trouble...understanding
how...." She paused for a moment as she tried to choose her own words
carefully. "Well, you proposed marriage to me, but you eloped with
Leticia only days later."
"You're not jealous, are you?" Fred
laughed as he enjoyed the obvious fact that he'd been on Francis's mind.
"Oh, no. Not at all." she
replied quickly. "I just find it all rather...well, odd, I guess you
could say. You professed your love for me and proposed marriage, but
then you told me how much you loved your husband and turned down my marriage
proposal," he reminded. "Look, Francis, Leticia and I had gotten
to be rather close during the time you and I were seeing one another.
Especially after her husband's death. She seemed to need someone and my
heart went out to her."
"Needing someone isn't a reason to get
"No, you're right," he
agreed. "But it was more than that. I...didn't want to see that
at the time because of you, but...well...when you ended our relationship, it
made me realize some things and...."
"Well, well, well," Corinne
Campbell spoke up as she stepped out of the conference room. "What do we
"Hello, Corinne," Fred said coolly
as he tried to ignore his boss's wife and keep his focus only on Francis.
are you trying to practice your bedside manner?" Corinne's eyes
darted from Fred to Francis and their awkward, uncomfortable demeanors
immediately told her that she'd interrupted a very personal conversation.
"I thought that your marriage to Leticia Stokes might have put an end to
all of that." She looked at Francis and smiled smugly. "I
guess I was mistaken."
"Corinne, I don't know what you're
thinking, but I can assure you that you're mistaken!" Francis insisted
firmly as she took several steps away from Fred. "He's an
old friend whom I haven't seen much of lately and we're catching up."
"Old friend?" Corinne cocked
an eyebrow as she considered the choice of words. "Well, if that's
what they're calling it, these days...."
"Corinne, don't you have someplace to
be?" Fred asked pointedly. "Like a coven?"
"Well!" she snapped in
offense. "That was rather rude." She threw her shoulders
back defiantly and glared at both Fred and Francis. "It seems to me
like some people don't value the importance of marriage."
"I'm not going to stand here and listen
to this from you," Fred spoke up as his jaw tightened. "I don't
care who your husband is. Francis and I were having a private conversation
that we would like to continue. So, if you don't mind...."
"I see." Corinne's eyes moved
from Fred to Francis, yet again. "Well, let me let you get back to your
little...whatever you want to call it." She paused and smiled with
false warmth. "You know I've never been one to pry."
And with those words, Corinne turned and
quickly walked down the hallway, leaving Fred and Francis alone again.
Once Corinne was out of earshot, Fred glanced
down at his watch and noted the time. "Francis, dear, I'm due for a
break in a little bit. I could always take it early and we could grab a
bite of lunch in the cafeteria. Or, better yet, I could take you to The
Gardens and we could...."
really can't," she spoke up nervously. "I've got...a lot of
things to do today. I've got to go over to the old house and take care of
some things. There's a lot to do before Reginald and
Jillian get back from
"I understand," he smiled, not
moving his eyes from her for even a second. "Then we'll have to plan
on you and Charles getting together with me and Leticia for dinner some
"Yes," she agreed with a smile,
"let's do that."
And, after another smile, Francis turned and
walked away leaving Fred to follow her with his eyes until she'd turned the corner
and disappeared out of sight. Once she was gone, he smiled slyly to
himself. Was it just his imagination or was Francis more troubled by his
marriage to Leticia than she'd tried to let on. Perhaps the happily
married Mrs. Callison didn't have the roguish doctor quite as out of her system
as she tried to lead herself to believe. It was that thought that quickly
made the gears inside Fred's head begin to turn.