Episode 18: "Bittersweet"
Part One

Perkins Memorial Hospital

Lana stood near the back of Jake's hospital room, her arms folded and her eyes never wavering from their stare at Kendra sitting next to Jake. While she was extremely happy that Jake was going to be okay, she hated to see him sharing his happiness with Kendra, who had not left his side since he awoke. She was upset that Kendra was the reason Jake nearly died that night and the fact that Jake put his life on the line for Kendra irked her beyond belief.

"I got you some coffee, Lana," Oliver came to stand beside her and handed her a small Styrofoam cup. "How are you doing, cuz?"

"Better, now that Jake's awake," Lana replied. "Thanks for the coffee," She remembered to say before taking a sip. Her stare drifted back toward Jake and Kendra and her face contradicted any verbal indication of relief.

"You don't seem like you're better," Oliver noted. "I know that you're holding something back."

"Oliver, I never underestimate your power of observation," Lana shook her head. She lowered her voice. "You're right, I'm not really better. Just look at him with Kendra. As much as it's great he's receiving all of her attention, it bothers me that he went through hell and back to get it."

"I know you're peeved by the fact he's not attached to your waist right now," Oliver sympathized with her. "But I know he's grateful to you, for your helping him pull through the night."

"You see, that's the thing," Lana said. "He doesn't know that I helped him. He doesn't know that just hours ago, I was lying weak in the bed beside him. He doesn't know that I donated all that blood. He obviously doesn't know that I poured my heart out to him just before he woke up." She glanced at Jake, cringing with jealousy when she saw him put his arm around Kendra. She looked back at Oliver. "But after seeing him happier than he's been in weeks, I don't want to ruin this moment for him."

"That's the kind of statement that makes you seem like you're being selfless, but something tells me that you're actually being selfish."

"Oliver, you have to understand. I do have his best interests in mind. And I did it because I truly care for him. But I don't want him to feel obligation towards me."

"Lana, you're not being completely honest with him though. You guys tell each other everything. This is a major thing, and you want to keep it from him?"

"I think it's for the best. Besides, that information is irrelevant now. What matters is that he's alive and well."

Oliver sighed with frustration. He knew that he couldn't change Lana's mind. "Do you remember when you were twelve years old, and I was nine, and we were playing near the creek? The day that I slipped on the rocks and cracked my ankle? You literally carried me home on your back. That was a good three miles, Lana."

Lana smiled at the memory. "It was the only time I'd ever seen you cry, Oliver."

"Well, I found out later on about what happened after you took me home. I know that you went back to the creek to retrieve my bike. I'm grateful that you did, it was my grandmother's birthday present to me. It meant a lot."

"I couldn't have just left the bikes there, Oliver."

"Yeah, we were kids, we don't think about that kind of stuff, and certainly we don't remember to be responsible. You were always doing that for me, and others. Thanks for bringing my bike back, by the way."

Lana laughed. "That was ages ago, but I don't think there are statutes of limitations on thank-you's." She gave him a hug.

Oliver laughed before he broke away. Before turning to leave the room, he said to her, "Jake doesn't realize how much he needs you, Lana. He takes you for granted. He'll realize, some day, that you're the best thing that's ever happened to him."

Part Two

Perkins Memorial Hospital

Kendra's cell phone rang, startling her from the constant watch she had been keeping of Jake since he awoke. She looked at the caller's phone number and recognized it as her administrative assistant. "I have to call her back real quick, this shouldn't take long." She patted Jake's shoulder and excused herself from the room.

Nina followed Kendra into the hallway and stood around the corner from the pay phone terminal. She listened as Kendra spoke to her assistant.

"Sandra, hi, I'm calling you from Perkins Memorial. No, I'm not hurt or anything. A friend of mine had a severe accident and I came to see him. I'm calling from a pay phone since cell phones are not allowed to be used in the building. What is it that you wanted to tell me? Five major stockholders? When did they sell? The stock has closed at a loss every day this week, but I didn't think it was that major. How many shares? WHAT?! There has to be something wrong, those stockholders have been with the company for twenty-five years. I don't understand. Okay, I'll be in tomorrow to personally call each one of them. There has to be some sort of mistake. Yes, I'm sorry that I didn't call you sooner. Thanks for calling me. Make sure you can schedule a calling time. All right, thank you. See you tomorrow."

Nina stood back and breathed a sigh of relief. "Those favors sure came in handy," Nina thought guiltily as she remembered the difficulty in which she convinced those stockholders to sell. Nina knew that Penelope would be pleased with her accomplishment, but having to stab her best friend in the back left a nauseous feeling in her stomach, not to mention the heaviest burden on her heart.

Part Three

Perkins Memorial Hospital

Bryce opened the door to room E118 and found the room filled with familiar faces. Stacia, Adam, and Oliver stood the the left of Jake's bed while Kendra sat on Jake's right. Near the window sat Lana, who was staring out of the window with her back turned to the crowd. Just beside the door leaned Simon, who turned his back to Bryce as soon as he walked inside the door. Bryce took a deep breath and stood beside him.

"How's Jake doing?" Bryce asked Simon as he shoved his hands into his pocket.

At first, Simon only kept his focus on Jake. Bryce shifted his weight uncomfortably from one foot to the other and folded his arms in front of him. Finally, Simon said, "Considering all the hell he's been through, I'd say he's never looked better."

They exchanged uncertain glances. Then Bryce said "Simon, can we talk?"

Simon nodded and followed Bryce out into the hallway. "Look, Bryce, I might just be saying this because of Jake's accident and nearly dying, but still it needs to be said. It was really stupid of me to get ticked about your being Kendra for yourself-"

"-But it wasn't like I wanted to go out with Kendra," Bryce interrupted him.

"-Okay, well, hanging out with Kendra then. Still, I mean, you're my cousin. I shouldn't let some woman come between us like that. So hey, you two are interested in each other. I should be happy for you."

"I'm just working for her, that's all," Bryce corrected him. "But it was wrong of me to have included all those unnecessary extra-curricular activities like going to the Pub. I know you're interested in her and all and I hope that we can just forget I was ever associated with her."

"You're not saying you're quitting the job, are you?"

"Well, it's not like I'm desperate for the account, but if it means that much to you..."

"No, Bryce. Kendra's account can be huge for your firm's reputation here. Don't let it go on account of me. Go forth and conquer, cuz."

"Thanks, Simon. Your encouragement means a lot. Besides," He glanced over his shoulder into Jake's room at Lana standing near the window. "I'm interested in someone else."

Simon peaked over Bryce's shoulder and caught sight of Lana. "She's also one helluva woman, Bryce. In fact, she helped save Jake's life by donating a couple pints of blood."

Bryce raised an eyebrow, impressed. "Did she? Wow, that was pretty selfless of her."

Simon nodded. "Lana's always doing that kind of stuff, helping other people. I sometimes wonder how she finds the time." He laughed. "I hope things work out between you two. Lana deserves a great guy who'll care for her. I know you will." Simon went back into the room to talk with Jake.

Bryce stood in the doorway and watched Lana, who continued to stare out the window. "I hope things work out as well."

* * * * *

>> Go To Episode 19
>> Back To Episode List