Mason Ch. 13bykalamazoo707©
Toni pulled back first; she looked up at Mason and backed away. What had she been thinking kissing him like that? She wondered embarrassed. Mason looked at her but didn't say anything at first; he waited for a minute or two before he spoke.
"Thanks again for tonight." Toni said and shut the door.
Mason stood on the other side of the door for a few seconds, Toni's response wasn't unexpected and he suspected that she would spend the morning sorting through her conflicting emotions. He was the first man that she had kissed since James and he had no doubt that she would feel some guilt because she had enjoyed the kiss as much as he did. What she needed now was time to process what was happening between them. He told himself that he wouldn't call her until later in the evening in order to give her as much time and space as he could.
Mason drove home replaying the kiss in his mind, it was far better than anything that he could have imagined. Toni's returning the kiss told him that she had been thinking of him in a very non-platonic way even if she hadn't admitted it. The time he realized, was coming when he would have to tell her the truth about himself and he felt a flutter in the pit of his stomach. He thought about leaving his car at home and then returning to the condo to rest but decided against it, he didn't want to take the chance that she would hear something and come knocking on the door.
Tonight was going to be a long night Mason realized with a sigh.
Toni stood staring at the door for several minutes. "What now?" she asked herself when she finally headed toward her bedroom. She took off the dress, hung it up, stripped and got into the shower. By the time she got out she was able to admit to herself that she liked the kiss and that it had felt good to be held. "Why did I stop the kiss?" she asked her reflection in the mirror.
"Because you felt guilty and you're scared." she said looking at her reflection in the mirror.
She tried to tell herself that the kiss meant nothing, that it was just a goodnight kiss and that it was just a part of the whole good night ritual but even as she tried to convince herself, she knew that it wasn't true. She liked Mason, "no," she told herself, "You more than like him, just admit it."
It was almost seven before she drifted off into an uneasy sleep, in her dreams, she was talking to James. He looked healthy and happy to see her. They talked about many things including the last disc.
"James, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to..."
"Sweetness, it's alright. I like him and he'll take good care of you and Jamie."
"Toni, I released you so go and be happy."
Toni woke up with tears running down her face, James had given his approval of Mason or had he? Maybe she dreamt of James because.... Because, "I needed to hear you say it." she murmured.
She looked at the clock, it was already four and Jamie would be coming home soon. She hopped into the shower and was out in less than ten minutes. Jamie and her parents were walking into the condo just as she put her tee shirt on. Toni braced herself for the inquisition that she would receive from Barbara; Ben wouldn't say anything but his ears would be perked up.
Jamie ran into her arms as soon as she was in the kitchen.
"Were you a good boy?" she asked.
"Yep and guess what? Gramma wrote down how to make her pancakes. Can we have pancakes for supper?"
"Sure, why not?" Toni replied.
Barbara was already going through the cabinets checking for the ingredients.
"Ben, why don't you and Jamie run to the store? We're missing a few things."
"I can go." Toni said knowing that it was useless to offer. She knew exactly what her mother was doing and knew that she probably put Jamie up to asking about pancakes for supper knowing that she hadn't been shopping yet.
"No, your dad and Jamie can go." Barbara said as she pulled out a piece of paper and a pen from her purse and began writing down what she needed from the store.
As soon as Jamie and Ben were gone, Barbara pounced.
"Show me what you wore! Did he like it? Where did he take you?"
"Mom, please I just got up, can I have a cup of coffee first?" Toni asked.
"Sure you can, you talk and I'll make the coffee." Barbara said.
When all was said and done, Toni managed to keep the kiss out of the conversation or so she thought.
"Are you going out again? And did he kiss you?" Barbara asked.
"Yes." Toni said and elaborated no further and didn't specify which question the yes was for.
Thankfully, Ben and Jamie walked in with sacks of groceries. As Barbara made the pancakes with Jamie's help, Ben had his say.
"We like him."
"Daddy not you too." Toni protested.
"What? I'm just stating a fact." Ben said smiling at her.
Toni didn't reply because her parents had already made up their minds. Mason Donahue could do no wrong and he had their ringing endorsement.
While they were eating dinner, Jamie hopped on the Mason Donahue bandwagon.
"When is Dr. Mason coming again?" he asked as he stole a piece of pancake from Toni's plate.
"Tomorrow night, he wants to take us miniature golfing and then out for ice cream" Toni replied.
"I like him, is he going to be my dad?" Jamie asked innocently.
Both Barbara and Ben stopped eating to look at her. Toni's face felt hot as she tried to think of the best answer.
"It's too soon to talk about that and don't you dare ask him that, do you understand?" Toni said a little more firmly than she meant.
"Ok mom." Jamie said not understanding Toni's reaction.
Toni sighed and apologized, "I'm sorry baby but its way to soon to be thinking like that."
"Ok." Jamie replied although he still didn't see what the problem was.
Mason fought the temptation to call Toni all day and finally gave up around six. He called her cell phone and was surprised when it went to voice mail. He tried the house phone next and was pleasantly surprised when Jamie answered the phone.
"Dr. Mason!" he shouted.
"Hi Jamie, how are you?" Mason asked.
"Fine, are you coming over tonight?"
"No, I have to work tonight but I'll see you and your mom tomorrow night." Mason assured him.
They talked for a few more minutes before Mason asked to speak to Toni. As he waited for her to come to the phone he wondered what kind of reception he would receive.
"Hi" Toni said softly as she looked around to see if her mother was listening.
"Hi, is it still alright for me to call you?" Mason asked testing the waters.
"I... sure. Jamie is looking forward to seeing you tomorrow night."
"I'm looking forward to seeing the both of you, is six o'clock alright?" Mason asked.
"That's fine." Toni said.
"Good, I have to go but I'll call you when I have a break." Mason said and then hung up.
Toni hung up with mixed emotions, she needed to have a heart to heart with herself before this thing whatever it was went any further and Jamie got any more attached to Mason.
As soon as her parents were gone, and Jamie was in his room watching videos, Toni made herself a cup of tea and sat out on the patio to think. The first question that she asked herself was if she liked Mason, yes she answered, was she attracted to him? Oh yes. Did she want to see him again? Yes.
Toni took a sip of the tea, she didn't want to ask herself the next question, if she did and she answered it the way that she thought she would, it would mean that she had really moved on and let James go. For several minutes she looked at the water pushing the question back each time it surged forward in her brain.
"Am I falling in love with Mason Donahue?" she whispered into the evening air.
There, the question had been asked she thought but she didn't answer it right away. Instead, she asked herself some other questions the main one being, why had Mason lied to her on at least three occasions? And how did she know that he had lied to her?
"Toni, you're procrastinating." she chided herself.
An hour later and the question was still unanswered. She went inside to check on Jamie only to find him sound asleep still fully clothed. Toni covered him up, turned off the light and shut his door before going to the living room and turning on the television. She channel surfed until she came to the history channel and then kept going; she had no interest in Stonehenge. Finally she came to 'nick at night' and left it on not really paying attention to what mischief 'Will Smith' and his TV cousin 'Carlton' had gotten themselves into.
She still hadn't answered that question.
The night was passing slowly for Mason, he was relieved that Toni talked to him and gave permission to call her again but he didn't want to push it by calling her again too soon. He made his rounds and tried to avoid Joyce, he simply had nothing to say to her. By ten, the whole hospital seemed to have settled and it gave him some time to think.
How do you tell someone that you are over 600 years old? He wondered and how in the fuck do you tell them that you're a vampire and that you drink blood as well as eat food? The list of things that he needed to find a way to explain grew with each passing minute. He glanced at his watch, it was just after ten and Jamie should be in bed. Just as he reached for the phone, Joyce bounced in without knocking.
"Some friend you are!" she snapped as she sat down uninvited.
Mason didn't reply as he sat the phone down in its cradle.
"I would have worked for you if you needed me to." Joyce said. "Aren't you going to say anything?" she asked when Mason didn't respond.
"What would you have me say?" Mason asked dryly, "That I'm sorry that I didn't work for you? That I'm sorry that you missed your concert?" he asked.
"You really are a bastard." Joyce said.
"I've been called much worse but since you're here, we need to discuss our working relationship." Mason said.
"What in the hell does that mean?" Joyce asked.
"It means that I will no longer schedule myself to work the same shifts as you. Would you like to know why? It is because you continue to spread rumors, as I was coming in tonight, I heard some nurses talking about Toni and I sleeping together which isn't true by the way but if it were it would be no one's business but ours. I also heard mention how you missed your concert because, let me see if I can recall the exact words... oh yes, because Toni and I were knocking boots.
Now, we have discussed this privacy issue many times and I'm done discussing it. And while I'm at it, let me clarify the status of our relationship, you and I are not friends. We are colleagues and nothing more; my new schedule starts next week."
Joyce was flabbergasted; working with Mason was going to be a feather in her cap when she decided to join a private practice. She really hadn't known how bothered he really was by what she considered to be harmless talk.
"Mason, look, I am really sorry. I really didn't realize how much the harmless talk bothered you. If I swear to keep my big mouth shut, will you reconsider?" Joyce asked.
"Tell me why I should reconsider." Mason replied.
"Because I'm good to work with even if I can't keep my mouth shut and working with you is going to be a feather in my cap when I look for a private practice to join. Mason, I really didn't think that anything that I said was that big of a deal but apparently it is...."
"How many times do I have to tell you to stay out of my business?" Mason asked. "Isn't the fact that I keep bringing it up an indication that it's as you say a big deal?"
Joyce didn't reply, Mason was wavering but she also knew that if he gave in, this would be her last chance. He had saved her job once, he wouldn't do it again and he meant what he said about changing nights so that he wouldn't have to work with her.
"Alright Joyce, this is your last chance, if I hear one word and I find out that it came from you; I change my hours and you get to work with whatever resident happens to be on. Am I being clear?" Mason asked.
"I got it but can I ask a question? Why are you so defensive when it comes to Toni Jacobson?" Joyce asked.
"I need to make some phone calls, I'll see you later." Mason said dismissing Joyce.
A few minutes later, he was on the phone with Toni.
"Were you asleep?" he asked.
"No, just watching some old sitcom reruns. How's your night going?"
"Quiet, I just had another talk with Joyce." Mason said.
"Ah, the rumor mill continues." Toni said as she sat up.
"Yes well, I threatened to change my hours if she insisted on being concerned with our business." Mason said.
Toni frowned, "Our business?" she asked.
"Yes, you know whether we have lunch or not or if we see each other socially, things like that."
She got it, Mason Donahue was a very private person which brought up the question why he was working in an institutional setting but it was more than that, he thought that she needed to be protected .
"You know," Toni said, "The rumor mill doesn't really bother me so don't feel like you have to defend or protect me. People are going to talk and after awhile they'll move on to something or someone else."
"So you don't mind if people know that we are seeing each other socially?" Mason asked.
"I don't mind if you don't" Toni replied almost surprised by her response. "For awhile the hot rumor was that there was a love triangle between me, James and one of the nurses who was after James. The story got so blown up that after a week or so it wasn't even believable and people found other things to talk about." Toni added.
"This nurse, did you ever confront her?" Mason asked.
"I did but it was after James died and I hadn't been back to work for very long and it was about another matter. Like you I had forgotten about the rumor mill." she said not about to tell him that he was part of the discussion.
Mason's pager went off and he had to end the conversation.
"I'll see you and Jamie tonight, sleep well." he said before hanging up.
Toni hung up and realized that she had never answered the last question that she asked herself.
"Am I falling in love with Mason Donahue?" she asked herself yet again as she set the phone down. This time she answered herself. "I guess I am." It wasn't a resounding yes but it was as far as she was prepared to go for now.
An hour later, the question popped into her head again, and this time, she answered with a resounding yes. Toni fell asleep on the couch and woke up to the sound of Jamie crying. It took her a minute to register that the cries were of pain and fear. She ran to his bedroom and found him curled into a ball crying.
"Jamie? Baby what's wrong?" she asked as she sat on his bed and pulled him into her lap.
"My stomach hurts." he cried.
"Ok baby, show me where." Toni said as calmly as she could.
Jamie pointed to the lower right side of his stomach. Appendicitis was the first thing that popped into Toni's head.
"Alright, why don't we go to the hospital and have you checked out?" Toni said as she carried Jamie to the living room to grab her phone, car keys and to slip on her shoes.
They were at the hospital in less than fifteen minutes and being seen by an obnoxious resident who acted as if they were infringing on his time.
"What's the problem?" he asked apparently not knowing who Toni was or that she was a doctor, he didn't even look at them much less introduce himself.
"This is my son Jamie and I think that he has appendicitis." Toni said.
"What makes you think that?" The resident asked in a very condescending way.
Toni forced herself to take a deep breath and then described the pain and the location of the pain.
"We'll keep him for observation" the resident said and walked away without really examining Jamie.
"Just a damned minute!" Toni snapped "Who is your senior?"
The resident froze, only another doctor or nurse would use that term. "Dr. Ellis, why do you ask?"
"Where the fuck is he?" Toni demanded.
"In the break room." The resident replied now very nervous.
"Get him now!" Toni demanded literally shaking. The last time she had been in this ER was with James, it felt like it was just yesterday when she called the ambulance to bring him in. Jamie was crying partly because of pain and partly because he had never seen Toni so angry and scared. Toni hugged Jamie as she glared at the resident until he hurried off to find his senior
A few minutes later, Dr. Ellis appeared. "What's the.... Toni? What's going on?" he asked.
An hour later Jamie was in surgery. Barbara and Ben had come as soon as Toni called and Gina and Robert were on their way. The whole thing had a surreal feeling to it, it was too much like the night that James had died and Toni was petrified. She jumped every time the overhead speaker came on and almost had a heart attack when a code was called elsewhere in the hospital.
She sat huddled in a corner by herself praying for Jamie and that he wouldn't be taken from her too.
Mason was doing some dictation when his cell phone rang; he looked at the caller ID and answered as soon as he saw it was Barbara.
"Mason? Hi, I don't know if Toni wanted you called or not but Jamie is in surgery."
Mason didn't let her finish, he was already out of his office and headed to the surgery waiting area. He saw Barbara first.
"What happened?" he asked as he looked around the room for Toni and saw her huddled in a corner.
"Appendicitis, they took him in a little while ago."
"Alright, I'm going to go sit with Toni." he said patting her arm.
Mason sat down next to Toni and pulled her into his arms and held her as she cried. He knew better than to make empty promises that Jamie would be alright even if he believed it to be true. He knew where Toni's head was and didn't speak as she frantically whispered prayers for Jamie
After what seemed to be hours, the surgeon came out.
"Toni? He's going to be fine. You can see him in a few minutes."
"Thank you so much, is he really alright?" Toni asked.
"He sure is." The surgeon assured her.
Toni however didn't relax until she saw Jamie and could actually touch him. Mason touched Jamie's head and then left them alone to finish out his shift. He stopped by Jamie's room on the way out to check on him and Toni one more time before leaving.
"I'll be back tonight, call me if you need anything." he told her as he kissed her on the cheek.
"Mason? Thank you." Toni called as Mason left Jamie's room.
Toni had just dozed off when there was a tap on the door. Dr. Ellis and a very nervous resident stood in the doorway waiting for Toni to acknowledge them.
"Come in." Toni said wondering what was going on.
The resident stepped forward red faced, "I'm Dr. Hanover and I would like to apologize for the way that I treated you and your son, I didn't know who..."
"It shouldn't have mattered who I was." Toni said softly. "No patient or family member should be treated the way that you treated us no matter who or what they are."
"You're right and once again, I apologize." the resident said his face still red. He had heard about Toni Jacobson although he had never met her before tonight and from what he heard, this "chat" was downright tame.
"Alright." Toni said, "Just watch your tone when you're dealing with patients and their families and stop acting like we're an inconvenience." she added.
Dr. Ellis stood behind the resident trying hard not to laugh, Toni hated being called ma'am.
"Don't call me that!" she snapped at the contrite resident. "It's either Dr. Jacobson or Toni but never ma'am."
A minute later, the resident was gone leaving Toni alone with Dr. Ellis.
"I hear that he's going to be fine." Dr. Ellis said.
"Yeah he is." Toni said looking down at Jamie.
"This had to be difficult for you." Dr. Ellis said as he moved behind Toni and put a hand on her shoulder.