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FNF Prompt #83: For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Elizabeth slowly opened the door to her patient's room, carefully peaking in before entering and inwardly sighing when she saw he was alone. The newly revealed police detective had been inundated with visitors since being shot recently, and none of those individuals were people that the nurse desired to come in contact with at the moment. She shuddered to think what might have occurred if any had been present during her rounds, especially Lulu. With everything that had been going on with Lucky and Nicolas, that was the last thing the brunette or even Detective Falconeri needed right now. Thankfully, though, neither she, nor Sonny, nor Carly, nor Jason were present.

Approaching the bed, the detective appeared to be asleep, but, as she came closer, Elizabeth noticed her patient's eyes slowly begin to open. Putting on her most cheerful, fake smile, because being happy was the last thing the brunette felt at the moment, the single mother asked, "how are we feeling this morning, Detective Falconeri?"

Looking directly at his nurse, the patient replied,"Dante."

"Excuse me," Elizabeth asked as she began to check the monitors by his bedside and scribble pertinent information onto his chart.

"My name is Dante," the young detective repeated, humor in his voice as he smiled at Elizabeth. "And you are Nurse Webber, correct?"

The brunette ceased her writing while the edge of her mouth rose into a slight smirk as she raised her eyes to meet his own. "And I'm sure you have heard all about me," Elizabeth said as she rolled her eyes.

"I've heard a thing or two," Dante replied as he winked at the single mother.

Elizabeth now smiled outright, the humor she felt reaching all the way to her eyes as she sarcastically replied, "oh, I bet you have."

Attempting to put her at ease, he said, "well, I've always personally been under the mindset that everyone is innocent until proven guilty." Elizabeth just lifted a finely plucked eyebrow in response, knowing the detective was just trying to be nice. Seeing the doubt in the pretty nurse's gaze, Dante continued, "seriously.” He laughed. "I love Lulu, but even I can tell she is slightly biased in her opinions about what might have happened between you and her two brothers." Then, holding both his hands up, he said, "no judgment here, I promise."

The nurse laughed along with her patient, seeing the sincerity and kindness in his big brown eyes. "Okay, well, I appreciate it, and you can call me Elizabeth," she replied.

He nodded in response. "Elizabeth it is."

Then she turned away, continuing with her work as silence filled the room. Once done, the nurse placed her clipboard against her chest, turned back to Dante, and said, "well, your vitals look good. Hopefully, if you continue to progress this well, you'll be able to go home soon. Dr. Webber should be in soon to see you."

"Dr Webber? Any relation to you by chance?"

"He's my brother."

"Well, it appears I am in very capable hands then."

Elizabeth just smiled at her patient as she turned to go, but, before she could make it to the door, the nurse turned back around to look at Dante. She just stood there for several seconds, not saying a word but just stared.

Dante watched the petite brunette, waiting for her to say something and, when she didn't, he finally asked, "can I help you with something?"

Gnawing on her bottom lip, indecision sketched all over her face, Elizabeth stayed planted in her spot, trying to decide what to do.

"I promise I don't bite," her patient teased.

Smiling once again at the detective, Elizabeth gestured with her empty hand to a spot next to him on the bed. Dante just nodded in response, signaling that it was fine for her to sit down.

Once seated, Elizabeth looked at her patient, staring directly into his eyes for a few moments before gaining the courage to start. “Do you mind if I ask you a question?"

"Depends on the question," Dante replied honestly, his gaze never wavering from Elizabeth's.

Releasing a deep breath, the brunette forged on. “It's about you finding out Sonny was your father."

"Can I ask why?"

Another small smirk formed on Elizabeth's lips as she lowered her head, breaking the stare between the two of them. "No."

Laughing, Dante said, "fair enough, but I reserve the right not to answer your question, okay?"

Elizabeth nodded in acquiesce, then asked, "how did you feel when you found out that Sonny was your father, that your mother kept this big secret from you your entire life? Were you angry?" Looking at Dante, she realized the absurdity of her question. "I mean, were you angry at her or at the fact that Sonny was your father and that she kept a secret from you for so long?"

Dante looked at the pretty nurse, trying to decipher why she wanted to know. "Okay, so I'm going to ask you again - why do you want to know?"

Raising her eyes to once more meet the detective's gaze, Elizabeth said, "let's just say it's for personal reasons and leave it at that, alright?"

Eying the female closely, Dante gathered their conversation was something very important to the pretty nurse. "You have children, right?"

"Yes," Elizabeth nodded. "Two boys."

"Are they the reason for these questions?"

Realizing she would have to divulge too much to get the answers she sought, Elizabeth rose from her spot on the bed. "I'm sorry to have bothered you. I'll make sure to send the doctor in as soon as possible."

Immediately, Dante reached out and grabbed her wrist, preventing Elizabeth from leaving. "Hey, hey, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to run you off. Let's start over," he suggested. Letting out a deep breath, he offered, "okay, Sonny as my father, huh? You sure don't ask the easy questions, do you?"

Elizabeth smiled. "You don't have to answer. It really is none of my business. I'm sorry that I asked."

Dante's expression softened at the sincerity in Elizabeth's voice. "It's okay. It's not like you're the first one to ask me that." The detective smirked. "I can see this is important to you. What exactly do you want to know?"

Seating herself back down next to the detective, Elizabeth licked her lips and answered, "I guess... I guess what I want to know is... do you... do you wish your mother had handled it differently, that she had told you a long time ago that Sonny was your father, and, now that you know, are you angry with her because she didn't tell you?"

Looking her in the eye, Dante replied, "okay, let me get this straight? You want to know if I am angry at my mother for keeping the secret, and if I am angry that Sonny, a mobster, is my father. Is that correct?"

Elizabeth nodded. "Basically, yeah."

"Whew, okay," the young detective said while letting out a breath. "Am I angry at my mother? I'd be lying if I said I wasn't. I am furious with her for so many reasons but probably not all the reasons you think. I hate that she didn't tell me the truth. I understand why she did it, and I am thankful for the life she gave me, but, as I got older, I wish she had given me the opportunity to know who my father was so I could make my own decisions about what to do with that information. Do I think it would have changed anything? Probably not. Sonny would still be a mobster, and I would still hate what he does, but at least I would have known. I think what I hate most out of all of this is that I can tell my mother loved Sonny when I was conceived, and a big part of her still loves Sonny... which is probably why she never really had any other man in her life. She used to tell me it was because of me, but I really think it's because she always held onto that torch for him. I guess I'm now just starting to realize that everything I thought growing up really isn't true; it was all a lie – a good intentioned lie but a lie nonetheless."

Confused, the nurse asked, "what do you mean?"

"I mean, I used to think the thing missing from my life was a father figure, but what was really missing was that my mother was never completely happy with the choices she made. Oh, she was happy where I was concerned, but she was truly never happy."

The two than sat there in comfortable silence before Dante spoke again, "I'm not sure I answered your questions....”

Elizabeth reached out and lightly grasped his forearm, interrupting his words. "No, you answered them just fine."

As soon as she got the words out, Dante's hospital door opened and both occupants turned to see Jason Morgan enter the room. Immediately, Jason and Elizabeth's eyes found each other's. Dante watched as the two shared a very distinctive glance that lasted for several seconds and didn't appear to be ending anytime soon. Clearing his throat, the detective flirtatiously said, "uh, can't you see I'm busy right now Mr. Morgan? Could you come back another time?"

Elizabeth, hearing Dante speak, tore her gaze away from Jason's and returned it to the precocious detective lying in the hospital bed. Smiling, she said, "it's okay, Dante. We were finished. I'll be back later to check on you."

Then the brunette gently squeezed the detective's forearm before rising and exiting the room. All the while, Jason kept his gaze on Elizabeth, unable to look anywhere else. When she left the room, Jason followed her out without saying a word to Dante. The patient just watched as Sonny's enforcer scurried after Elizabeth Webber, putting to use all his detective observation skills to figure out just what might be going on there.

As Elizabeth turned to head down the hallway, Jason reached out to grab her wrist and asked, "are you okay?"

Rotating to face him, meeting his gaze head on, the brunette nodded and said, "I'm fine, Jason. I just have a lot to think about."

And, with that statement, the petite brunette turned and headed down the hallway, leaving Jason (and an eavesdropping Dante) to wonder what exactly she had meant by her statement.
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