Never Again

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    You woke up from a nightmare regarding Stephen and stare up at the ceiling in a cold sweat until the alarm goes off at 8 AM.

  A late start today means that you'll be getting home from the hospital even later. The nightmare makes you sluggish as you prepare a cup of coffee and head to shower.

  The shower alleviates the fear that your night horrors brought upon you and you get dressed in your scrubs but this time, in the ones for the babies.

  Since Rafael had moved downstairs to the inpatient rehabilitation facility last week, he was no longer in your care. This meant that you could get back to working in the NICU and your schedule would go back to normal.


  After arriving at the hospital, you start your patient rounds and finish charting up the last of Rafael's stay in the ICU to transfer the file downstairs.

  Lunch rolls around and you head to the cafeteria to grab something even though you don't want much to eat. You purchase a bottle of water and some chips before going to sit at a corner table.

  You are too busy looking down to notice that someone else has made them-self comfortable at your table.

  "Why the he-?" You're cut off when you see him.

  Sitting in front of you with a smirk on his face is Mr. Casa- Rafael. He brushes a hand through his hair slowly and winces a little.

  "Why're you here?" You ask him.

  "Keeping you company, doll. It's been a while since I've seen you because of rehab."

  "It's been a week and you're supposed to be in rehab in order rehabilitated, correct?"

  He nods. "We're allowed to take breaks. I'm just trying to hustle some smokes off you."

  You scoff. "I do not smoke."

  Rafael seems to find this funny as he chuckles to himself. "Oh, but you do. You have the look that you try to hide and the faintest smell of it all."

  You push your hair out of your face and shake your head. "Do you think you know me or something?"

  He shrugs now. "You aren't as nice and innocent as I had thought originally, no. But I've realized that you're better. You're like me."

  "And how exactly are you like?"

  "Hard to explain. Do some research and you'll see."

  "Maybe if I have time one day." You reply instantly with a smirk.

  "Very nice. So what're you actually supposed to do around here, doll?"

  "Don't call me that. I'm a NICU nurse."

  "For like...babies?"


  "So then why'd you end up taking care of me if you're actual job deals with babies?"

  "Short staffed."


  "Not a lie. They needed help and I stepped up."

  "You stepped up but only because no one else wanted to take care of me." He says simply, as if it was the easiest thing in the world. "Not complaining though. I lucked out with a hot one."

  "Yes." You reply and roughly run your hands over your face. "I am tired and I still don't know why you're front of me."

  "Because I find you intriguing."

  "And I find you to be an ass when not in a coma."

  "That's unfortunate for me then."

  "Please go back to your room." You sigh heavily, finding yourself on the brink of tears for no apparent reason

  He searches your face for any sign of a joke but finds none. His own face falls a bit and he wheels himself away from the table.

  You simply couldn't handle anymore grown-up interaction for the day and needed a break.


  You went to the diner once your shift had ended and slid into a booth alone. Stephen was meeting you here to discuss a few things.

  He arrives as you start to pick at your fingers, in need of a way out of the situation at hand.

  Stephen smiles and for the first time it seemed genuine, but you knew it wasn't.

  "Hey, baby."

  You slightly tense up at the pet name and give a small nod. "Hi. You know why we're here, right?"

  "I believe so but I'm here to convince you otherwise."

  "That won't be necessary. Believe me."

  "I love you more than anyone I've ever known, Y/N...please."

  "I would've believed that a year or two ago but not anymore. You are a sad, manipulative, and insufferable representation of a man."

  You now realize that for as long as you've played this conversation out in your head with the different outcomes, none of them involved tears threatening to spill from your eyes but now here you were.

  "Please don't cry, babydoll. I'm seriously trying to get better. For us."

  "It wouldn't be the first time I heard that and it wasn't true. I can't believe it again."

  He pushes hair out of his face and rapidly blinks away a few stinging tears before hitting his fist on the table. "Dammit, Y/N!"

  You don't tense up or flinch at his actions, even as others in the diner turn to stare at you both, already offering their help simply in the look their eyes held.

  Never again would you be scared of him.

  As quickly as he had gotten loud, his expression of anger breaks and is overtaken with a deep sadness. His blue eyes are red rimmed and threatening to spill tears as his bangs hang in front of his face once more.

  "I'm so sorry." Stephen brokenly apologizes.

  He had never gotten this way whenever you tried to leave him. It was always erring  more on the side of dangerous anger.

  You slide out of the booth now and delicately place the necklace onto the table, as it had served as a promise ring for so long.

  "Never again." You whisper to him before walking out of the diner and down to where you had parked your car.

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