Theresa poked her head into Eric's bedroom early one morning. It appeared empty except for the patient still unconscious from his injuries. She did seeaw Jennifer's purse on the seat, so she knew the blonde couldn't be far.
She'd just put her own purse down when she heard the distinctive sound of someone retching in the bathroom. She turned towards the partially closed door.
There was a pause in the noise. Theresa could only imagine that Jennifer was recovering from absolute mortification.
"Look, it's just me," Theresa gave the woman as much privacy as a half opened door would allow. "Don't worry, I'm not gonna be spreading any kind of rumors. It's happened to me. You get on a funky sleep schedule. You get a migraine. The next thing you know, you're hunched over the toilet throwing up whatever you just ate. Just be glad you did eat, because seriously? Throwing up on an empty stomach hurts."
Jennifer opened the door and to Theresa's surprise the older woman was laughing and crying at the same time, "I needed that ramble, thank you."
"No problem. Do you want me to find you some crackers and ginger ale? Some aspirin?"
"Yes, to the crackers and ginger ale," Jennifer nodded. "No, to the aspirin."
"You sure? If you keep it down, it might help more than the crackers and ginger ale."
"I can't take aspirin right now," Jennifer sat in her chair at Eric's bedside.
"You can't? What does that mean? The only time I've ever abstained from taking any kind of pain killer is when I was-" Theresa stopped talking and looked at Jennifer, who took a minute before looking up. "Oh, you're-"
"Yes, I am. Trust me, this was nowhere in my wheel house. I wasn't even thinking about it," Jennifer shook her head.
"Does he know?" Theresa motioned towards the sleeping man.
"No. I found out a day before this he was assaultedhappened. When I got the call, I was still processing. I didn't know what he'd say."
"He's gonna be over the moon about it," Theresa assured her.
"It's just that I'm so-"
"You're not that old."
"I'm a grandmother," Jennifer reminded her.
"Wasn't Addie about your age when she had Hope? Didn't Julie have a kid at that point? This is nothing anyone in your family hasn't seen before."
"How do you know about any of that?" Jennifer asked. "That was way before your time."
"Grandma," Theresa nodded.
"How is Caroline?" Jennifer asked. She knew the older woman hadn't been well for quite a long time.
"She calls me Mama when I go to see her. Steph visited her the other day and had Sonny with her. Grandma called him Victor a few times. She thought Steph was Uncle Steve's mom."
"Jo," Jennifer nodded.
"Yeah," Theresa nodded. "She kept asking how Vern was."
"I'm so sorry. That must be hard. When Gran went, it was too fast, but she always knew who we were," Jennifer said. "I'm assuming she doesn't know about Eric?"
"No," Theresa shook her head. "What are the doctors saying?"
"He's threatening to wake up," Jennifer smiled.
"Thank God," Theresa smiled. "Has anyone but family been by?"
"If you mean Brady, no, he hasn't dropped in to visit. I'm not sure what I'd do if he did."
"I slammed the door in his face. It didn't deter him," Theresa admitted.
"Do you think he did it?"
"Part of me wants to believe he's not capable of this, but a larger part of me knows he has a temper," Theresa said quietly.
Jennifer frowned, knowing Theresa was right.
"How far along are you?" Theresa asked.
Jennifer smiled a little, "Six weeks."
"You haven't told anyone? JJ? Abby?"
"No, not yet. The only one who knows besides you is Aunt Maggie. I needed someone to hold my hand at the doctor's office, and Hope was busy with a case."
"You must miss having Laura close by," Theresa nodded.
"It'd be nice to have her around more, especially now," Jennifer nodded.
"Speaking of moms, I should see mine. I haven't spent a lot of time with her since I got to town. Will you cCall me when he wakes up?"
"Of course," Jennifer smiled.
"I'll see if Aunt Kayla's around to have breakfast with you before I go," Theresa stood up.
"Thank you, Theresa," Jennifer nodded as the younger woman left.
Theresa went to the nurses' station and smiled at Maxine, "Maxine? Is Dr. Johnson available?"
"I think she's in her office," the older woman said.
"Is she with a patient?"
"Not that I know of," Maxine shook her head. "Is everything okay?"
"Yeah. I wanted to see if she was free to have breakfast with Jennifer Horton," Theresa explained. "I'd do it, but I'm going to see my mother."
"Alright. If you'd like, I can call her."
"No, I'll go hunt her down. Thanks, Maxine."
Theresa walked down through the halls of the hospital towards the offices and found her aunt's office. The door was ajar, telling her that if Kayla was in there, she wasn't with a patient. There was a bit of a rustling noise as Theresa got closer.
She gave a light knock and poked her head in, "Aunt Kayla- What the hell are you doing in there, Gabi?"
The younger woman's head jerked up, and she looked like a deer in the headlights.
"Theresa," Gabi stammered out a response. "What are you doing here?"
"Looking for my aunt," Theresa told her. "This is her office after all. What are you doing in her files?"
"Looking for my test results," Gabi said as Theresa came closer.
Theresa nodded and looked at the drawer that Gabi still had open, "Did you change your name recently, Gabi?"
"Your last name is still Hernandez, right?"
"Yes," Gabi noddedgave a apprehensive response, not sure where Theresa was going with her question.
"Then why are you looking in a drawer labeled 'A-F'?"
Gabi looked down at the files in front of her and then back at Theresa.
"Care to try again?" Theresa asked. "You know what? Don't bother. I don't need to know why you're here."
"No," Theresa backed up without taking her eyes off of Gabi and picked up the phone on Kayla's desk. She pressed a button and waited. "I need hospital security in Doctor Kayla Johnson's office. This is her niece, Theresa Donovan. I caught an intruder, and she's still here…Yes, I'll be glad to wait for you."
Theresa hung up the phone and folded her arms, "The reason I don't need to know why you're here is because I was always going to call security, no matter what you said. I realize we haven't seen each other in a while, Gabi, but I didn't suffer any brain damage recently. My aunt would not leave you alone with her files."
"I can explain," Gabi reiterated.
"I'm sure hospital security, my aunt, and the police, including your brother, will love hearing the story."
"Theresa, wait a second."
"Look, if my aunt tells us she left you alone in here to look for your test results, I will apologize. Otherwise, I'd start looking for a lawyer because I'm pretty sure going through a doctor's files without permission is some kind of crime."
The office door swung open wide and two security guards walked in, "Miss Donovan?"
"Yeah," Theresa nodded and pointed, "That's the intruder."
"I am not an intruder," Gabi protested.
"You might want to find Dr. Johnson. Miss Hernandez claims she had my aunt's permission to look for her test results in the files."
"Maxine's already looking for her. Until we find her, I'm afraid you'll both have to come with us."
"Of course," Theresa nodded.
"I have to go to work," Gabi protested and struggled against the guards attempting to take her into custody.
"Call them. I'm sure they'll understand you being detained on suspicion of going through a doctor's files," Theresa said before she followed one of the security guards out the door, leaving Gabi with the other one.
"Miss Hernandez," the other guard motioned.
Gabi reluctantly followed Theresa.
"Maxine," Kayla approached the nurses' desk. "I just got your page. What's going on?"
"Your niece found someone in your office going through your filing cabinet."
"What?" Kayla was shocked. "Who?"
"Gabi Hernandez," Maxine pointed to a conference room, "They're in there waiting for you."
Kayla marched over to the room Maxine indicated, gave a perfunctory knock, and walked inside.
Theresa was at one end of the conference table and Gabi at the other. The guards sat in the middle.
"Dr. Johnson," one of the guards greeted, standing up.
"Hi, Lou," Kayla nodded. "What's going on?"
"Miss Donovan claims that she found Gabi going through your files," Lou said.
"Theresa?" Kayla looked at her niece.
"I was visiting Eric this morning and before I left I thought maybe you'd be able to have breakfast with Jennifer. I think she's a little lonely and could use someone to talk to. Anyway, I went to the desk and asked Maxine if she knew where you were. She said you were probably in your office, so I went there. As I walked down the hall, I noticed your door was partially open so I figured you weren't with a patient. When I got closer I heard rustling. I thought you were doing paperwork, so I knocked and poked my head in. That's when I saw Gabi in your filing cabinet. I asked her what she was doing and she told me she was looking for her test results. The thing of it is, she was in the 'A-F' drawer. That's when I called security."
"Dr. Johnson, did Miss Hernandez have permission to be in your office?" Lou asked.
"No, she certainly did not," Kayla said before she looked at Gabi. "Can you hold her until I check my files to see if anything is missing?"
"Of course," Lou nodded.
"Can I go?" Theresa asked.
"Yes," Lou said. "We just need your contact information in case we have any further questions."
"That's okay, Lou. I know how to get in touch with her, and I'm sure we still have her information on record," Kayla said.
"Bye, Aunt Kayla," Theresa hugged her aunt and whispered, "If you get a chance, go see Jennifer."
"Okay," Kayla whispered back.
Theresa walked out of the room and over to the elevators. She pressed a button and waited. The elevator dinged, and she went over to the doors as they slid open and out walked Stefan DiMera.
"Oh perfect," Theresa sighed.
"You again," Stefan recognized Theresa.
"Don't worry, I'm not staying," Theresa tried to slip into the elevator but Stefan blocked her path. "Problem?"
"I hear you're a forensics technician," Stefan said.
"You've been talking to Abby," Theresa nodded, "Chad, maybe?"
"This morning I was informed this morning that there was no reason for me to ever approach either of them ever again."
"And I suppose they also explained why," Theresa smiled.
"They did," Stefan nodded. "I want another test done. One that isn't done by a pseudo family member."
"That's fine with me, but you should be talking to your lawyer about that."
"I need a copy of the test you did."
"Abby has it," Theresa smiled. "Talk to her."
"You didn't keep a copy?"
"Why would I? It's not like she's a case I was working," Theresa pointed out. "Though maybe I should have. That way, I could hand a copy to the commissioner as evidence of medical record tampering. I think that's some kind of crime. You could be making nice with Rosco the weight lifter right now."
"You think I did this?" Stefan asked.
"Oh, please. This is vintage DiMera. Of course, if it'd been your old man, he wouldn't have gotten caught. No, he would've made sure that everything pointed at some pre-chosen, well paid, patsy. I guess talent really does skip a generation."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"Isn't it obvious? You're the inept DiMera," Theresa smiled. "Your father, bastard that he was, was referred to as the Phoenix. He rose from the ashes time and again. But you? You can't even find a lighter."
"Is that right?" Stefan asked.
"That's right," Theresa pressed the button for the elevator and walked around Stefan to get on the lift when it arrived. "You also differ from your siblings in a lot of ways."
"Do tell," Stefan turned to face her.
"People actually cared about them. Even if in the end, they were despised like your sister Kristen, there was a time when they were cared about. People have good memories of them," Theresa told him as a chime sounded, announcing the arrival of her elevator.
"Is there a point to this information?" Stefan asked.
"Simply put, if you were found floating face down by the harbor master tomorrow, nobody would care. Consider that the next time you miss your sister-in-law's alter," Theresa stepped onto the elevator and smirked at Stefan as he disappeared from view.
Sorry I took so long. Hope everyone had a great holiday season.