part 7 by Vicki


Luka answered the knock at his door, almost immediately. He stood there relaxed in jeans and a sweater. His feet bare. Jude could feel the warmth from inside his apartment blow over her at the door. His hair was ruffled and he looked surprised to have someone knocking at his door at this time of the night. Jude suddenly realized it was late and maybe this was not a good idea.

“Jude!” His voice soft and sexy like she remembered it took her into sweet thoughts. He hated the sadness he saw shadow over her face when the turmoil of her life haunted her. He wrestled with why it cut him so deep and enriched his soul so raw. It could mean only one thing. It did mean only one thing. Instantly he longed to feel her, have her, and love her, if only for the briefest of moments.

“I'm sorry, it's late. I never realized you'd probably be in bed, or going to bed, I'm sorry.” apologized Jude. She was a basket case, a bundle full of nerves, but now there was no turning back. Seeing him standing there as beautiful as he had always been. Rugged, sexy, and charming pulled at her. Gentle and gorgeous stood waiting for her. Man and beast linger to her. She took the deep breath she desperately needed for the moments ahead and knew it was definitely Luka Kovac who had brought her here.

He didn't say anything. She couldn't tell if he was as nervous as she was or if she had interrupted something. He was not going to make this easy for her. He didn't want to cause her any more grief but he needed her to say it. He forgot. She was interrupting. Jude prayed she got through it, through it so she could at least remember how it was to breathe. Luka suddenly remembered, and knew the outcome of the following few minutes of their lives wouldn't be good.

They were suddenly the only two people left in the world, and deep down they, both rejoiced in it. The prospect of suffering the way they both had in their pasts, her father, his family, was not something they looked forward to again. Concerned they would never recover from it.

He couldn't help but wonder why it was she shivered when he got close? Why she pulled away when he reached out to her? Why she looked away when he looked deep in her eyes searching out the truth? She was afraid he would see the hurt there. She was afraid he would see what her father had done to her. She was terrified he would see what she felt for him.

“I don't really know what I'm doing here....” Jude begun.

“Luka, who's at the door?” asked a soft voice. She stepped out from behind him, and saw Jude at the door. Jenny Adams got what she wanted and she thought she had Luka when he invited her in after she turned up on his doorstep. A decision he already regretted. “Hello Dr. Baker.”

Jenny was in her glory. If there was one thing she knew, it was men. Sex was her weapon and she used it to get what she wanted and right now Luka was the only man she believed could give her what she wanted.

“Hey.” Jude would make a hasty retreat. “It's late, I shouldn't have bothered you, sorry. Good bye.” Luka left her life as quick as she thought he would step into it. Briskly walking out of his apartment building she wiped away her tears, and tried desperately to stop her heart from breaking. She ran almost all the way to the hospital and fell into the chair next to Thomas’s bed. She knew it had been a mistake. One she would never make again. How could she have feelings like she had for a man she didn't know anything about? She found herself thinking about him with Jenny Adams as she sit trying to sleep, but her thoughts and the day she had had plagued her already filled mind. She had stood at his door for what seemed a lifetime and he spoke only her name, but still she longed to hear his voice. Her eyes softly closed. She wanted to find herself with him, in a quiet place where they were the only two who existed, so she could get to know him, but every time she closed eyes, she saw Jenny Adams.

The small passage in her diary written only a few hours ago, told of her secrets and feelings for a man who just devastated her.

**I sometimes feel he is the only one who has shown me all of life's honest things. He often inspires me to new feelings and thoughts. I look out hoping to see him, knowing I would follow him to the ends of the earth if he asked me to, and even if he didn't. How can something so beautiful cause so much heartbreak? One has to wonder and I often do, can I be the same after being embraced by a simple smile, a glance, one spoken word, an entire being? Why do I allow him to crush me when he means nothing to me? Why do I give him the opportunity to afflict the scars upon my heart that he has, when we have only ever been together in my dreams? Why and how do I care for him so deep in my heart of hearts when I don't really know him?**

She had to get this man out of her thoughts and feelings. Tonight she knew that wouldn't be a problem, as for tomorrow; she knew not what fate held for her. She hoped she would stand tall and her pride intact, and not crumble. As she drifted into sleep holding Thomas's small hand, and the night moved on, Jude Baker swore Luka Kovac meant absolutely nothing to her.


The young child laid the posy of flowers she had tightly held through her mother's service upon her name stone, and found peace in the gentle whistle of the breeze and comfort in knowing her mother was resting in a gentle place with the angels nurturing her for all eternity.

Five-year-old Jude truly didn't know what death and the loss of her mother meant. She would miss her, long for her, perhaps even cry out her name in bad dreams and as her father lead her away she didn't understand what had happened and that she would never see her mother again, speak to her, hold her, or find comfort and security where she always found it, in her mother's love.

In her mother's death, her father had stopped living; in her mother's dying, she felt the wrath of her father's hand. The pages of her diary were worn and the ink fading, she treasured it.

**I was scared. My mother had only been gone about five months. Things that had been so vivid in my mind began to fade. The sound of her gentle voice. The way she smelt. The smile that always beseeched her face. I cried. I didn't want to forget my mother. In his own grief, I had already lost my father. My tears and heartache went unnoticed. My pleas for moments they had spent together went ignored. Determined and strong of will I set out to find my mother again. In the top draw of her dresser, I discovered the answers. A tiny blue bottle, carved in the shape of an angel. A gift from my father from their first wedding anniversary. Only one spray of the familiar vanilla scent and I began to remember. How her gentle embrace held me through the storms. How her soft hair felt on my flustered cheeks when she hugged me. The warmth of her voice when she told me she loved me. I was happy. I sat at the kitchen table waiting for my Dad to get home from work to tell him the news. I was excited, and he was not. He had had a bad day at work, much like all the others. I tried to explain, I tried to tell him that the flavor of my mother's perfume helped me find her again, but he didn't hear me or chose not to, I'm still not sure which. His words cold. His eyes mean. His heart black. “This is not yours to touch,” he yelled, “ It does not belong to you. It is mine and you have no right to touch it. Don't ever touch it again.” I pleaded with him, almost on my knees begging. My tears fell and my heart broke but my father didn't care. “I said no Jude, and I mean no.” He yelled his final words. In my stubbornness and temper, I stood defiant against my father. “She was my mother and I will touch it if I want.” I screamed through my tears. No more words were spoken. My father slapped me across the face so hard I fell to the floor. He didn't comfort me. He didn't plead for my forgiveness for what he had done. He took the bottle of my mothers perfume, stepped over my crying, aching body, whispering the words, “Do not touch it again.”

I lay on the floor for what seemed an eternity, and all I can remember about the pain was I tasted blood in my mouth. I had bitten down on my tongue. I could taste blood in my mouth and I thought I was dying. I was five years old. What did I know?


I had spent a good day at friends house, and had to be home by six that night. I made it in plenty of time. I walked into the gate that lead into the backyard with two minutes to spare. I fed the cat, and was not expecting what I found inside. I tried to explain that I had not been late, but like always I was wrong, my father right. I was so tired of never knowing. I made too much noise or I made not enough. My grades never good enough and my extra curricular activities were a waste of time. Too much, ice in his scotch, not another sugar in his tea. I was never able to please him and when I pleased him, I made him mad, and when he was not mad, he was angry. Determined and strong of will I would win this battle. In defending my honor, in standing up in pride, I pulled the proverbial trigger. In his twisted sick little mind, my father lost control. In anger, he picked me up with force by my arms, and threw me on top of the glass-top dining room table. I lay hearing his voice, panic stricken. He called the paramedics and stand over me, terror in his pleas for forgiveness, regret in his failing comfort. I lay on the broken glass, aching, bleeding, dying and all I could remember was I tasted blood in my mouth. It could have only ended badly and it did. I wanted to be dead. I wanted God to take me to my mother. I wanted this torture of my life and the past eleven years I had lived to be over. I woke up in the hospital, bruised, battered, and torn. My prays were not answered. Jude Baker – 16 years old.**


Luka took one last look at himself in the mirror of the men's room at Cook County, on the outside, he looked okay, and on the inside, he was a complete mess. He had had a speech prepared for her for the past 5 weeks, but they had not the time to talk about what had happened at his apartment. Luka knew what had to be said should come straight from the heart, and so he would go with the flow and ache through it when the time came. He dreaded the thought of Jude thinking Jenny stayed, and in Jenny staying, she didn't want anything to do him. He knew he couldn't bear it. He knew in his heart of hearts he wouldn't survive. Death surely knocking on his door.

Jude gathered her strength and courage and fighting spirit, locked them tightly in her heart and soul, and set out to make sure Luka didn't find his way back in. She no longer cared for the man who hurt her. She could stand and face him now and she was not hurt or afraid, angry or grieving.

“Kerry said you wanted to see me about a patient.” suggested Jude, as she stood in the doorway of the doctors’ lounge. Luka turned from making himself a cup of coffee; he looked over, and instantly found home, in the gentle eyes looking at him. Suddenly her strength wavered, she looked at him and felt as though no one wanted to do anything to her but make her hurt.

Her rose-red covered diary, its trimmings gold, sat in her bag in her locker. She went nowhere without it.

**I barely live and breathe with my infliction of torment and anguish caused by my father, knowing in this single moment of my life, I truly believe and feel I could never trust anyone with my feelings. I know I should get on with my life, find the courage to be proud of who it is I am, but I just can't seem to get past this, what I feel, what I want. Simply, plainly and all so completely the freedom to live, to laugh, to love.**

He hoped he didn't say the wrong thing and damage the barricade she had long set around herself hoping no one hurt her again. He saw it there every time he looked into her eyes. He often wondered who it was that caused so much pain. He wondered whom it was that caused her to set the shield around her heart that he couldn't break down. When he thought he had, she built up another one.

“I got a call from a doctor over at Mercy. They brought a D.O.A in two days ago.” replied Luka. Jude didn't understand what this meant.

“Okay. What does that have to do with me?”

“His name was Scott Crawley.”

Jude instantly shocked at a name she remembered from only 5 weeks earlier. Scott Crawley had dropped the lawsuit against the hospital and Dr. Baker under legal council advice. They figured his poor treatment of his son didn't help him, in the custody battle he was up against with the State. Only 2 weeks ago, Kerry had received news from Adele of Social Services that Thomas Crawley was awarded back to his father. Social Services’ investigation and the ruling Judge couldn't determine if Thomas’s injuries were sustained through him falling down the stairs, or by his father, and there had been no previous case brought against Scott of child abuse. Thomas loved his father and wanted to protect him and in protecting him he kept his silence, when questioned by the authorities, and in Thomas's silence, they returned the boy home.

“What happened?” Jude was curious.

“Thomas found him in bath, electrocuted.”

“Really?” Jude didn't really care. Her thoughts were of Thomas. “ What about Thomas, is he okay?”

“He's fine, Social Services found a Foster home for him with nice people.”


Scott Crawley fell asleep in the bathtub, while his 8-year-old son Thomas slept in the other room. Mr. Crawley didn't have time to react; the electric shaver fell into the bath of water as he lay sleeping, and didn't wake. Electrocuted at 10.35pm, Thomas Crawley called emergency services and waited for the paramedics to arrive. In his shock and dismay, Thomas could only report that he had been asleep through the whole thing and didn't hear his father. The best he could recollect in his own mind, but something he didn't share to anyone was that his father usually used disposal razors, and only realized Scott owned an electric shave two days prior to his death. The death of Scott Crawley of 23 White Avenue was stated as accidental, and it couldn't be disputed, two people were involved, one was dead and the other had supposedly slept through the whole thing.

“If that's it, I've got patients.” Jude had no time to stand around and talk, especially about what happened 5 weeks ago. She was not about to sacrifice herself again, to anyone, especially Luka. She let the black sorrow suffocate her soul, and the misery strangle her heart. Nothing and no one would break within her again.

“Yeah, that's it. I just thought you'd like to know.”

“Thanks.” Jude briskly walked out of the room. She was not going to spend any unnecessary time with him if she didn't have to. Luka saddened by her lack of interest. Not spending time with her like he use to surprisingly weaved his soul with sadness. He couldn't explain and was not even sure he wanted to. His heart and mind battled with each other every day. His heart didn't want to give up fighting, to be with her, to have her in his life. His mind was too confused to know what it wanted. He feared the answers to all his questions; afraid they were not the answers he would be looking for. For some unexplainable reason this woman suddenly kept his insanity sane. He felt he had become a burden to her. Instantly his heartache crushed his spirit and he felt he had to let it. How did he expect to be spared from the pain he had caused to another? The world passes by, life's living the only way they know how, and he stood alone, knowing his heart died. Jude had captured the entirety of his heart and he knew until he escaped from what he felt for her, he would never be the same, and as the frustration well up in his eyes, he realized he no longer wanted to be the same. Luka Kovac no longer wanted to escape from his feelings for her.

Luka wanted to be the one who waited for her to get home safe and well, untouched by her days and all of life's hardships. He wanted to be the one to lie upon her welcoming chest, her soft heartbeat drifting him into sweet dreams. He wanted Jude to be the one who embraced the solitude he set upon her, and glide her into peace and serenity. Luka wanted to be the one who she wanted, and now he felt he would never have anything he wanted, and he knew he had no one else to blame.

He regretted ever letting Jenny into his apartment. He hated himself for letting Jenny come between him and the woman he cared so deeply for. He encompassed his courage and set out to find her and tell her everything his heart and soul wanted.


Kerry needed a coffee; she went into the doctors’ lounge to get one and woke Jude up. Jude lay curled up on the couch, and slept through Dr. Green doing his charts, and Abby putting her bag and coat into her locker to start her shift, but she knew Kerry anywhere, even in her sleep. Jude yawned and stretched her tired body as she sat up, and Kerry noticed her.

“I didn't wake you, did I?”

“No. I was just laying here with my eyes closed.” smirked Jude. Kerry had woken her up but it was time for her to get back to work anyway. Kerry poured herself a coffee and held the pot out to Jude.

“No thanks.” Jude looked at her watch, realizing the time; she had been asleep for about a half an hour. “Didn't your shift finish a couple of hours ago?”

“Yeah, I had some things to catch up on,” described Kerry. She sat down next to Jude on the couch, making herself comfortable. Jude could instantly tell they were going to have one of their deep and meaningful conversations. The ones that got them both through the hard times. The look on Kerry's face gave it away.


“How are you?” wondered Kerry.

“Tired.” sighed Jude. “I just got back from upstairs. Oncology called, Albert Edwards passed away.” Finally, Albert Edwards had succumbed to his cancer. His wife by his side. Photographs of his family surrounding his room. Love captured within his memories of his good life. “I went up and sat with Mary, until her granddaughter came to pick her up. She's going to take care of her for a little while.” The angels took him in their gentle light, and Mary wondered where she would find the strength to go on? Right now, she felt she couldn't. Not without her lover and beloved.

“I'm sorry.”

“Me too. He was a good man apparently.” Kerry listened closely, ready to jump in and console if she had to. Hold a hand. Give out a hug.

“She was telling me that above everything else he was a good friend. A wonderful, gentle lover, which is probably more than I needed to know.” Jude smiled, Kerry appreciated her sweetness, “But what she loved most about Albert was that he was the most gentle and loving father she could ever had hoped for. I could hear such pride in her voice when she spoke about him.” Jude remembered all of Mary's words. They made her think and feel and wonder how one person could be such a noble and gentle man, a person man enough to be a genteel father, and then there was Scott Crawley, and then there was Allen Baker.

“Are you sure your okay?”

“Yeah, I'm fine.

Friends and friendship pledge within the walls of Cook County and within their pledge an oath existed. They would protect each other. Stand up and be heard, in defending one another. They watched the backs of their neighbors. They steadied the hands of admired fellowmen. They listened and consoled when times were harsh on their tired minds and limbs. They counted on each other when they could no longer count on themselves. They trusted each other, respected one another, and often looked at kinfolk for guidance, and they always, found it there.

“You know I have watched you grow into a beautiful caring young woman.”

“Kerry!” Jude couldn't help but blush. She hated hearing stuff like this about herself. She didn't believe it. She had never thought so. She only ever saw the scars.

“And you made Mary's journey through this a lot easier to bear. Your mother would be so proud and I am so proud, and so blessed to have you in my life, as I'm sure Mary has been.”

“Please.” Jude was uncomfortable. She had known Kerry for what seemed an eternity, but feelings and emotions just were not subjects she liked to talk about with anyone, even her closest friend.

“I know you don't like to hear this stuff, but you should be proud of yourself too.”

“I am.” said Jude. “I just don't want to talk about it.” Two friends shared a silent moment, remembering. Jude Baker had been raised in a home of grief, and only ever found peace and serenity in her mother's memories. Her life had been a time of hope lost. A time of courage spent, but she had found a will and a way to survive.

“I whispered in his ear, Albert's I mean, to say hello to my mom for me, think he heard me?” whispered Jude. Her sanity often suffered from the sorrow of others and from the moments, she spent thinking of her mother.

“Of course he did.”

Kerry was concerned for Jude's state of mind and heart. She trusted her wholeheartedly with patients and her work but when it came to private and personal, Jude often pushed things to where the insanity touched the sane. Talking about her mother was usually one of the signs, and Kerry could remember so vividly the episode in their lives when in her devastation Jude stepped so far into oblivion it took her 11 months to recover. Her world had fallen down around her. Her ocean and shore had collided. The hands of fate had dealt her a deathly blow.


Jude was 16 years old when she had arrived in Kerry's care, broken and battered. Her father, in vicious temper had shoved her so hard she had fallen on top of their glass-top dining table. Paramedics didn't believe she had much of a chance of survival. She had lost so much blood by the time they had arrived; they thought she was already dead. They couldn't believe that within all that blood, and torn flesh, a tiny broken body still lived. She arrived at the hospital with two fights to battle. Kerry, who in her caring brought the young girl back from the brink of death, twice, looked after her physical struggle. Kerry sutured her with precision, so that the obvious scars she would live with for the rest of her life were smaller, and supported her through physical therapy to get her limbs and ligaments back to being strong.

Jude's emotional struggle had been tougher. She often lay sleeping under medication, praying to God to take her to her mother. She had given up all hope of ever living. She allowed the depression and despair to wither her body to a skeleton of what it once was. Words of encouragement and solace were ignored. The demons that had been her life for 16 years surfaced to her heart, and soul and she battled with them in her nightmares, and in the reality, that was her life. They continued well into the months, and over the years, and it was probable she would struggle with it always, but in her heartfelt angst Kerry felt she needed to push the young girl whose life began to drift away into death, to get her to survive through it.

“You can lay here and waste away, but you still will not get what you want. She's not coming for you.” Kerry preserved with Jude through her temper tantrum, and in keeping the hospital up to all hours of the night. The door locked, the room trashed. Two women, doctor, and patient fought it out and wondered if they would get through it.

“I need her to give me,” yelled Jude. She couldn't say the words. She was so confused, and so messed up. She loved her mother so deep within her heart of hearts and she was dead, she hated her father vigorously and he was still alive. Nothing made sense. She wanted her life to be over and it was not. She wanted her mother to come and get her and take her home, but she didn't. She wanted to know what she had done to deserve her father's brutal hand. No one had the answers.

“Give you what, Jude? All the things you need to find are in your own heart,” screamed Kerry.

“No. There is nothing there. It's broken.” Kerry wanted to mend it for her, but knew Jude had to do it for herself if she had ever a chance of surviving. “I want my mother. I want her back,” begged Jude after 6 hours.

“She's not coming back,” said Kerry, distress echo in her words. She hated doing this to her, and desperately hoped in time she would forgive her for it.

“Then let me go to her,” cried Jude. She would allow death to be her sacrifice if it meant she was back with her mother. Jude Baker fell to the floor shaking and crying for the first time in years. The moment had come, her test. If she got through this night with her own strength and will and courage, Kerry knew she would get through life, remembering her mother, still needing her, but aware that even though her physical presence was desired, she could get through without her near. Her mothers love and encouragement lived in her heart and soul, and got her through what would become the rest of life. It had been almost a calling. Jude's tears brought her mothers spirit to her and she sat alongside her on the floor, holding her baby, loving her child, being the mother she had always been to the young woman who in time, survived.


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