A DIFFERENT KIND OF HERO
She had been doing some research on human possession at a small medical library down town, and she had lost track of time. It was a genetic trait, apparently.
Through the tangle of thoughts Eden heard a heard a screeching sound from behind her. Always on her guard she spun around in time to see a dog leap out from the corner in pursuit of a rat, the cause of the screeching. She shuddered at the thought of witnessing the rats last moments alive and continued down the poorly lit street.
Within a moment she reached the street corner but had yet to see a car of any kind drive by, let alone a taxi. After ten minutes Eden finally got tired of waiting and headed in the direction of the nearest subway terminal. "This is ridiculous; I wish my cell phone had service." As she neared the beginning of the next block a new sound made her jump; she turned around and didn't see anything. "Get a grip Eden, it's probably just that dog following you down the street-- I hope he isn't rabid." She cleared the worry from her mind and tried to focus on something else. There's a bust in the morning at nine, I might tell John I want to go. I haven't-- Another noise interrupted her thoughts, this sound, unlike the others, was made by something much bigger than that dog she had seen.
She started to walk faster, both fear and her rationale telling her she needed to get somewhere safe. One out of four women will fall prey to a rapist in their lifetime...Boy what a thing to think of at a time like this. She mentally slapped herself, but hastened her steps. The subway terminal was still three blocks away. She passed a street lamp and looked down. There she saw a human shadow coming from a man directly behind her. She knew she was in trouble and tired to think of what to do next.
Everything after this moment for Eden was a blur, she turned around in time to see a large and menacing man reach out to grab her, she took off running and he followed, she screamed out for help, yelling out the word "Rape!" as loud as she could, but in the next minute the man grabbed her. Even through the rush of adrenaline she heard a noise coming from somewhere else, it was heavy breathing similar to that of the man now holding Eden, panic finally engulfed her and she closed her eyes not wanting to witness the attack, but knowing it wasn't about to matter. The next thing she knew she was falling and she couldn't catch herself because her arms were still being held by one of her predators, he was falling with her and then her world went dark.
Eden eye's finally adjusted to the darkness and she caught her first glance at the person who had probably saved her life. He was young, most likely the same age as her; he had dark brown hair, deep drown eyes, and a kind expression; he was wearing a suit and a lab coat. "I'm sorry this happened to you, I only meant to hit him, but I think he was drunk; when he fell he took you with him. He came to first and I told him to get lost."
Eden was a little stunned by the recent events, and couldn't think of anything to say. Apparently she needn't have worried. "I'm sorry. I'm just talking up a storm and you don't know who I am, I'm Edward Sanders, but everyone calls me Eddy. I'm a resident in Pediatric Oncology at Mercy Hospital and I live about five blocks that way."
As Eden was listening to Eddy introduce himself she was suddenly all too aware that she was laying on the ground with him nearly on top of her. She struggled to a sitting position and returned the pleasantries, "Eden Marie Spengler, thank you for coming to my assistance, I certainly appreciate it, and I think my head's okay." She tried to make distance between them and he backed away when she said she was okay. Eden smiled, although weakly, at him and he returned the smile and extended his hand. As she returned the hand shake, she made a mental note of a noticeable burn scar that pretty much engulfed his hand and wrist. "Do you want to try and stand? I couldn't think of letting you sit on the ground any longer, so if you're okay, I'd like to escort you to a safer place," He smiled at her again, she noticed he still had hold of her hand, "if not I'm carrying you to the emergency room."
He was still looking at her like she was a stray kitten and she decided that she had better let him walk her to the subway terminal, if only to keep him from worrying. "No, I'm okay, but if you wouldn't mind assisting me to the subway, I would appreciate it. You must think I'm rather ignorant to be walking in this sort of area alone at night, but I was at the library and I lost track of time I--" He interrupted her as he bent to pick up her book bag, "Library? Are you a medical student?" He handed her the bag and she slung it on her back and they began to walk back toward the subway terminal.
Eden could see, now that they were both standing, that not only was the man handsome, in a Cary Grant, Harrison Ford kind of way, he was also quite tall, not as tall as her brother, Johnathan, but probably about six one. "No, I was actually doing some paranormal research on the physical affects of human possession and that library has some good research documents on the topic—I work for the Ghostbusters."
His eyes lit up as she spoke to him, he certainly felt as though he was in the right place at the right time. "Ghostbusters, no kidding! I've always thought the Ghostbusters were great. As a matter of fact I just saw you guys on the news the other day…but I'm sorry, I don't recognize you." She glanced in his direction just long enough to catch the sheepishly embarrassed look that he had on his face. "Well, I don't really go out on calls; I mostly do paranormal and technological research."
"Now you see, I've always held research in the highest regard, but I'm not very good at it myself," He paused and glanced at his hand, she guessed he was wondering whether or not she had noticed the scares. "How's your headache?"
"My head seems to be alright Edward, but thank you for asking, it's really just a dull headache now."
"That's good. You must be one hard headed girl." He paused to see if she'd laugh, and when he got no reaction continued, "Anyway, if I ask you too many medical questions just tell me to be quiet, as a resident it's kind of hard to separate my job from the world."
"It's not a problem Edward, I would be worried as to your abilities as a doctor if you didn't ask." As she said this she and Eddy reached the top of the stairs to the subway terminal. She was relieved to finally be on her way to a safer location, but something in the back of her mind wanted her to stay, she thought that it was because she would be leaving the person who had just rescued her with little more than an introduction, but before her logical side could protest she opened her mouth to do something she had never done before, "Edward, I really can't thank you enough for saving me back there, but if you're really that big of a Ghostbusters fan then I think the least I could do is introduce you to them. Do you have some time to go by there?"
"No, I've never been to Maryland, passed through it maybe once or twice, but never long enough to really visit."
Eden wasn't really one for warming up to people, but for some reason Eddy didn't seem to make her uncomfortable, there was something about him that made her want to trust him. But after all, he had just protected her from a drunk in a darkened ally. She tried to put the irony of the situation behind her. From what she could tell, he was a genuinely nice guy, something she hadn't seen much of outside of her 'ghostbusters family'. She paused as they turned the corner for headquarters, she was resolved to give the guy a fair chance, even though what had just happened seemed like a scene from one of the romance novels her mother used to make her read.
"Maryland, huh? Well, this is where I'm from, Ghostbusters' Headquarters, I was practically born here, my parents are two of the founding members. Feel free to look around, and don't mind Slimer." With the quick introduction Eden opened the door and led the way for Edward into the garage. "Good no one's down here." She turned to Edward and did a grand sweep of the area with her arms. "This, Dr. Sanders, is the main office area of Ghostbusters' headquarters. As you can see there isn't much here but equipment and office supplies, and that is how it's been as long as I can remember. So if you'd like to step onto the elevator we will go and try to locate the team, and a couple of aspirins."
"Eden is that you?" It was Eden's brother who had called up to her; he had apparently been in the basement and saw her and her guest step onto the landing of the second floor when he came up. She answered in the affirmative, and he quickly made his way up the two flights of stairs to welcome her. "Hey Edie, how did the research trip go--I hope he's not an undercover cop." John was obviously teasing his sister, and he stuck out a hand to the newcomer and introduced himself, "Hi. I'm Eden's little brother Johnathan, though I think I've actually been bigger than her for several years." Eden glared at her brother through her glasses and stood perfectly still as Edward returned the introduction in kind.
"Hi, Edward Sanders, I rescued your sister earlier and she's rewarding me by letting me meet everyone, I've been a Ghostbusters fan since I was little." John, still gripping Edward's hand, looked at his sister with a concerned and serious expression, "What do you mean rescued? Eden, what happened?" Edward pulled his hand from John's grasp and stood perfectly still in a way that imitated Eden while she explained what had happened, "…and then Edward here knocked him unconscious and he fell and took me with him, I hit my head and blacked out for a minute, but he's an MD so he made sure that I was alright and then escorted me home." John was somewhere between grateful to the doctor, and angry with his sister for absentmindedly getting herself into trouble. He considered things for a moment before speaking. "Well, I'm glad you were there to help. And how come you didn't answer your phone, I called twenty minutes ago to see if you were alright and got no answer." Eden shrugged and guessed out loud that the phone had had no signal in the subway.
She then motioned for Edward to follow her into the recreation room, "Okay, so you've met my overprotective brother, aka, the ghostbuster, so let's go see who else is around. They ran into Eric, TJ, and Marie and Edward was introduced to them as well as the ever- present Slimer. After he had a few minutes conversation with the team, Eden took him back to the garage where she gave him a brief introduction of how the proton pack and trap belts worked. By that time they had toured the facility, excluding the third floor where Egon and Janine were sleeping, it was past midnight and Edward thanked Eden for the tour and dismissed himself. He thought that it wouldn't be polite to overstay his welcome, no matter if he had saved the lady's life or not.
"Well Eden, I certainly hope that we can continue to stay in contact, my schedule is pretty crazy with the residency program, but I trust I can contact you here, right?" He didn't want to sound too eager to meet with Eden again, but he had to admit that there was something about her he found too interesting to walk away from, it was a connection he couldn't really place, even though he had tried to find out if they had met before. In any event, he had to confess that she was the most attractive woman he had ever saved from a drunkard.
Eden glanced at Edward and gave him the friendliest smile she could manage in front of her brother. "I'll be here, Edward, and if not, someone here is bound to know where I am. Good luck to you in your residency, and thank you again."
As Edward made his way out the door, John couldn't help but look at his sister and then back at the door, he knew that there was more than gratitude in Eden's actions and he was interested to see how it would all play out.
Eden went back to her apartment that night replaying her encounter with Edward. She had to admit that she seemed to be unexplainably drawn to him. After all, she never had been the type of woman to actively pursue relationships, but for some reason she had invited the man to walk right into her world like he belonged there. It was certainly a reaction worth considering, and even though she had never been the type to fanaticize about what a relationship would be like, she now found herself intrigued by the young doctor who had saved her life and she felt like it wouldn't be in her best interest to just dismiss him without another thought.
Janine was usually the type of mother that would let her children find their own way of doing things, while being ready to give advice when they asked for it, but sometimes she still had to talk some sense into them, particularly when they started acting as absent minded as their father. Today was obviously one of those days.
"Mother, I know that this scares you and that you worry about me, and I really appreciate it," There was a brief pause as Eden spoke as she noticed her mother's expression, "No, really I do appreciate it, but it isn't as if I wanted to walk through a bad neighborhood at night, I simply lost track of time and--" Eden was interrupted again by the intercom. "Excuse me Eden, but there's a package down here for you." Glad to have a way out of another, 'Eden your too absent minded' lecture, she excused herself and went down stairs to pick up the package, she hadn't been expecting anything to be delivered.
Charlene Zeddemore happened to be temporarily manning the phones and handed her the package off of the desk. Eden glanced at the return address; it was from Mercy Hospital. "Mercy Hospital, I don't know why I would be getting anything from there." Charlene just shrugged and Eden opened the package as her mother stepped off the elevator. Janine had apparently decided to drop the conversation from the kitchen, or at least save it for later, letting curiosity get the better of her.
Eden pulled opened the bubble wrap padded manila shipping envelope and dumped its contents on the table; there was nothing in it but a post card. It read:
Thinking of You,
Edward Sanders, M.D.
"Who is Edward Sanders, sweetheart?" Janine had been casually reading the postcard from beside Eden, it wasn't as if Eden had never gotten notes, or flowers, or candy-grams, or even marriage proposals before. On the contrary, Eden had gotten more marriage proposal, indecent proposals, and every other type of proposal a man could think of; more than Peter Venkman himself could dish out in a life time, even though half the men had never even met her. As a matter of fact, it was just a week back that some man she met at a conference had tried to court Eden, to no avail.
No, the reason Janine was so interested in her daughter's letter on this occasion was not because of the letter itself, but because of the look on her daughter's face as she read the words.
Eden had smiled, subtly, unconsciously, but she had smiled. Usually when someone made advances toward Eden, she had the tendency to disregard them; she had only been on a handful of dates in her lifetime and hardly ever more than twice with the same man. She just wasn't the type to live her life from date to date, and it was hard for her to find a man who wanted to get to know her for some reason other than her looks or her scientific theories. After all, the last thing she needed was to end up like Albert Einstein's wife. But when she read the letter, her mind automatically went back to the night before, to his kind face and his tendency to share unnecessary details of his life with someone he just met; not to mention his feeble attempts at humor. She smiled and put the letter back in the package and turned to leave. She never did answer her mother's question.
Her thoughts halted when she noticed it was getting dark. Eden ducked into a coffee shop to check the time, she was four blocks from the firehouse and it was getting late, so she decided to head back to central.
When she walked through the double doors, she could hear laughter coming from the recreation room, and Ecto was there so she went upstairs to greet the team. "So I was looking at this guy, and all I could think is, how does someone get a fishing hook stuck up his nose at two o'clock in the morning--"
As Eden reached the top of the stairs to the second floor landing and paused she heard the voice of the man telling the fishing story, it was a deep baritone, both unquestionably warm and friendly: she recognized it instantly. "Edward?"
Edward turned his head to see Eden standing in the doorway, "Edie. Hey. Your friend, Eddie, over here came back. I guess all that ghostbuster talk didn't scare him off after all." Eric Stantz was sitting on the couch next to Edward and had been the one to speak first at noticing her return. From the tone of his voice it was unclear whether or not Eric was being sarcastic in his enthusiasm.
Eden took in the scene around her, her mother, father, brother, and Eric Stantz were sitting around listening to her new acquaintance like they had known him for years…and for some reason that made her uncomfortable. Even though it wasn't unusual to see visitors in the firehouse, something about Edward's being there had worked to temporarily unnerve Eden. She didn't know what it was that was actually making her uncomfortable, it wasn't exactly jealously, as she really had no reason to be jealous and though she felt pangs akin to it she also felt…relief?
None of these feelings made sense to Eden at the moment, she was standing there wondering why she had any feelings about Edward's visit at all, she had met the guy once, he helped her through an ordeal, and she had left him an open invitation to stop by the firehouse, so why should it bother her that he came back?
She glanced around the room and realized that everyone was looking at her, probably waiting on her to say something. She thought quickly to the last thing she heard and hoped she wasn't about to get caught off topic. "Yes, Edward, I'm glad you didn't let my brother and our crazy friends and family scare you off. I really didn't think you'd stop back by, especially since you sent that nice letter earlier."
He was looking at her as she spoke, his smile warmed her heart. "That old thing! I had almost forgotten about it, I just wanted to take the opportunity to mail a letter to the famous Ghostbusters' Headquarters." Edward could sense that Eden was probably uncomfortable talking about the letter and decided to change subjects. He somehow knew that she hadn't let anyone else read the postcard. He winked at her almost imperceptibly and turned his attention back toward the crowd, "So anyway, I was just telling everyone about some of the stranger cases I've seen during my residency in exchange for some really good ghostbusting stories."
Edward began talking about his fisherman again and the conversation didn't focus back to Eden for the rest of the evening. She relaxed slightly after a while and by eight o'clock Edward was on his way home.
"Well, Edward it was nice to make your acquaintance, good luck with your residency." Egon said this as he shook Edward's hand, grabbed his cane, stood and left the room. Edward glanced back at Eden and stepped out to the landing of the stairs, everyone following in the same general direction.
Janine, like any caring mother, had casually observed her daughter all night, and if anyone could recognize an overflow of emotion behind the eyes of a stoic personality, it was her. Before Eden had appeared, Edward had given his tale of the events of the other night, Eden had previously left out the detail of inviting him over, and she knew that Eden was probably eager to hear why Edward had 'really' shown up tonight. "Hey, Egon, didn't you want to show the boys that new proto-what's-it you and Eden were working on, you know, the one in the lab." Egon paused on the stairs, not quite catching on to his wife's hint; thankfully John was able to put two and two together. "Yeah, Dad you promised me a test run; come on Eric let's go." Eric sent a look out to the pair and Janine as he followed up the stairs, thankfully no one else saw it, as it read nothing but betrayal. Janine, glad to have them leave, excused herself upstairs as well, and Edward and Eden found themselves alone.
"Well, I'm glad you came by, and I appreciated the postcard." Eden, not really knowing what else to do made her way down the stairs to the garage and Edward followed. "Yes, well, I don't really have a life in New York, and I was bored." His joke fell flat and he paused and changed his tone as they walked toward the door, "No, that's not true. The truth is I just wanted to see you again, besides," He changed demeanor once again as he smiled now, "I always like to check up on my patients." His joke yet again fell flat, but he soldiered on anyway, "Well, I should really be getting back. My second shift at the hospital starts at eleven."
She had turned and looked at him when he said this and she saw him try to mask his fear of rejection. She certainly didn't want to let him walk off stung, "Well, I appreciate the house call; most doctors don't bother with that these days, especially in between double shifts." He caught on to her banter and smiled. "What can I say; I just couldn't wait to see you." He paused and took out a business card from his jacket pocket as well as a pen. "I hope you don't think I'm being too forward, but I'd like to give you my cell phone number, and maybe we could get a cup of coffee sometime; that is if you can stand to tear yourself away from this fascinating place." He smiled and she accepted the card he had hastily scratched his cell phone number on. "Thank you Edward, coffee sounds…nice." She hoped that he didn't catch the stutter in her voice, she changed her sentence mid way in hopes of making herself sound less excited by the prospect. He grinned as though he'd won the lottery as he turned to leave. Eden just stood there with the card in her hand, not quite sure what to make of her feelings.
Janine entered the lab just as Eden and her guest started down the stairs, seems Edward was the topic of some debate amongst the men in there.
"What's wrong with you? That guy was so lame. He doesn't even have a good sense of humor." Eric was sitting on a stool with his arms folded across his chest, as he said this, Egon was working on his device and Johnathan was standing in the middle of the room rolling his eyes at his long time friend. "He was maybe trying too hard to make a good impression, but then again I don't think that he was here to see us anyway."
"Indeed, I think it's clear that he was here to see Eden."
"Especially considering that he is down stairs talking to her now." Egon turned to see his wife enter the door as she spoke.
Egon cleared his throat and continued, "Don't you think someone should be down there watching them?" It was Janine's turn to stand in the middle of the room and roll her eyes, "No, Egon, I don't. She's twenty-five years old, she doesn't need a chaperone."
Eric stood and walked toward the door, "She may be twenty-five, but that doesn't mean she isn't a target, I mean she was almost attacked last week, I think we should watch this guy, I don't like him."
Eric left the lab and Eden's family was left there staring at the place he had just been standing. Egon, noticing that Eric was a tad irate at having Eden fraternizing with the med student couldn't help but wonder what his motives for not liking Edward were. He asked the only question he could think of, "Johnathan, am I missing something here?"
John shook his head and stood to leave, "I don't know, but I think we should keep an eye on Eden AND Eric for the time being. Sounds like things might be getting interesting." The way Johnathan spoke as he said this would have confused anyone as to his real feelings about this situation, it was part amused, part worried and part agitated.
Downstairs, Eden was just approaching the second floor landing as Eric stormed down. He nearly plowed into her before he realized what he was doing. "Eric, did you guys get a call? What's the hurry?"
He paused and looked at her, trying to hide the look that had been in his eyes earlier, "No, no bust I was just on my way to the basement. So, Edward left already?"
No matter what look Eric gave, Eden didn't notice, "Well, slow down would you, you nearly ran all over me."
"Sure thing Eden, sorry." Eric, now convinced that Edward was gone, and Eden was safe, went down the staircase at a more natural pace; John had only caught half of the incident and sighed as he walked toward his room.
That night, Eden found it hard to get to sleep in her apartment. She thought about going to spend the night at her parents', which happened to be the apartment two floors up, but she decided instead to have a cup of cocoa, and try again.
When sleep finally found her, all she could do was play victim to her dreams.
"Eden and Matthew sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G"
"Johnathan, if you don't shut up I'm going to turn your room into a black hole."
Fourteen year old twins, Johnathan and Eden Spengler had just come into Ghostbusters Headquarters, after having finished their two hour accelerated learning program at the local high school. Their mother, Janine, was at her desk and her attention immediately focused onto the bickering children as they approached her.
"Hey mom, guess what! Today in class Matthew Camus asked Eden…mmmmpphhhwweweww…Hey!"
"I told you to shut up, Johnathan. Good evening Mother, Johnathan once again fell asleep propped up against the microwave oven, pay no attention to anything he says for another 48 hours."
Eden popped Johnathan upside the head and ran up the stairs to her bedroom. Johnathan propped up on the side of his mother's desk and waited for an enquiry. Several minutes passed and his temper got the better of him.
"Well, aren't you gonna ask me?"
Janine looked up from her paperwork, with a smirk. "No."
"What do you mean no, don't you want to know what Eden got mad about?"
"If she wants me to know, she'll tell me. I managed to save you and Eden a piece of cake from dinner last night, I hid them in the third cabinet on the top, and Egon wants you both in the lab to review those test results from the class four you were researching."
"Aww, Okay, I'll go and get sourpuss and we'll lock ourselves in the lab, again. It's not as much fun since Dad won't let us burn stuff on purpose, he said that he wasn't raising a couple of pyromaniacs. Can you believe that? I can't wait until I'm old enough to go on calls."
Janine grinned, she had actually been the one to tell Egon not to let them burn things anymore, but John didn't need to know that. "Yeah well, be careful what you wish for. Love you."
"Yeah, I love you too."
Johnathan started up the stairs and Janine was left with little time to ponder the events of the last few minutes when a battered and beaten Ecto-1 came trudging into the garage.
"Man, I never want to do that again, three poltergeists at the fish market, yuck."
"I'm going to have to agree with you this time, Eduardo, definitely not my idea of a good time."
"Well, you guys go get cleaned up 'cause I have three more jobs on the worksheet for today."
The now thirty-something year old ghostbusters simply shrugged at the news, Janine remembered a time when the team would have let out a resounding "awww" in protest, but the now well seasoned busters simply swapped out equipment and delved out shower assignments in preparation for the next bust.
"Janine, I hate to ask this again but do you mind if Conchita and Rose hang out here until we get back, Conchita has a soccer game at six and we're gonna just try to leave from here."
"I already told you Kylie, they are more than welcome to stay, you don't even have to ask, we're all family. I'll make sure the girls get dinner and do their homework, you make sure you all get back in one piece."
"I'm closing the office so the phone's free if you need it." Janine said this as a general announcement as she shut her computer off and went up stairs.
"No I'm not busy, did you want to talk sweetheart?"
"Well we were at the school today and they announced that we were going to have a dance, a prom of sorts, and this boy in the program, Matthew, asked me if I'd accompany him to the dance. I was just wondering how to approach this situation, I mean I am flattered to have been asked, but I'm not sure I would even like to go to such an event, and I particularly don't know if I would like to go with this specific boy. Any thoughts?"
Eden looked at her mother expectantly, she was a very smart and mature fourteen year old and there were often questions that Janine couldn't help her answer, like the rationale behind abstract algebraic concepts, but fortunately, Eden had known which parent to ask this particular question to.
"Well, Eden, I can't very well tell you whether or not you should go on a date with this boy, especially if you don't think that you like him--" Janine interrupted herself upon seeing the contorted look on her little girl's face, it wasn't entirely unfamiliar, Egon used to give her that look when she'd manage to steal a kiss from him.
"Mother, even if I do go…it will not be a date."
Janine just smirked at that comment; she was so very much like her father. "Eden, no matter what you may think, that boy has asked you out on a date, you have to look at this from all angles, sweetie, you can't forget half of the facts just because they aren't convenient."
"Yes, I guess you're right, and I know that it is inevitable that I should be asked on a date, after all, it is tradition in this culture for a boy to do the asking, I just…well, I don't know, really, I guess I'm just afraid. I mean, why did he ask me? There are other girls."
"Well, that would be a question to ask him I suppose, though he may not be quite sure himself."
Eden woke up with a start from the dream. Actually it was more of a vivid memory than a dream, because the dream had actually taken place. That conversation with her mother had been one of her very first ventures into exploring her emotions, and she had found out that she wasn't very good at it.
Eden had gone on the date with Matthew Camus, and it had been a rather embarrassing experience. To begin with there was no end of teasing from her brother, lectures from her mother, and worrying from her father. Peter had suggested to Egon that he sit the boy down and find out what his intentions were, but that had dramatically backfired. All she knew was that as she was coming down the stairs to headquarters, she had seen her father displaying his proton pack to Matthew telling him that he was not afraid to go BACK to prison and then waving the proton wand warningly at Matthew's older brother who was to drive them to the school.
The second wave of embarrassment came from the fact that Janine had driven Johnathan to the dance to keep an eye on her, for her own safety. He, as expected, had taken every opportunity to tease her, though he did have the decency to wait until her date had left for one reason or another, but Eden was able to put him in his place to remind him that he had not bothered to ask anyone, because, as their grandmother had said, he was 'all knees and elbows' that particular year. It also didn't help him that his voice cracked constantly.
And then of course there came the most awkward of all moments when, at the front door, Matthew had tried to kiss her and Eden turned away and ran through the door without letting him. It was then that she had thought she would never be in a serious romantic relationship with anyone, that she was simply not cut out for it.
The assumption had held true so far—or at least until now. Eden had been on several dates in the twelve years since the incident, none of them had sparked any feelings in her, and they were more or less just trips to places with men who would try too hard to impress her. Dates had annoyed her for the most part and, especially in the last few years, she felt that she only went on them in order to prove to herself that she was capable of the same romantic sentiments that her brother has for T.J., even though he had yet to vocalize them.
She had briefly mentioned this to her mother once and she had said that she had just not met the right person and that when she did, she would know. Her father had also confirmed this, adding that it wouldn't really prove anything to block out those feelings as he had done, but that she should still be wary of the man's intentions because she was a girl.
She then thought of Edward. In any other person the all too obvious comments, not to mention his unnatural attempt at comedy, would have driven her in the other direction, but just the other night she had felt herself drawn towards playing off of the comments he made. She had made up her mind to keep him from feeling disappointed. Recently she found herself thinking of him a lot and had actually ventured into wondering what it would be like to kiss him.
Well, I guess that ends my ideas of getting any sleep tonight. Eden thought as she flipped on her overhead lamp and picked up her book and glasses from the nightstand.
"Hey, Edie what's up?" Eric Stantz had been diligently hoping to himself that Eden had forgotten about her would-be boyfriend, Edward. He had found out about Eden's conversation with Marie, not that it was hard information to come by, Marie liked to gossip when the dirt was good. He knew that Marie had encouraged Eden to get in touch with her feelings and to Eric this only meant that he had been hurt by two people that were close to him. Johnathan had yet to say anything about his sister's inquiry but Eric knew he was keeping an eye on her, which was a comfort. "Oh, nothing much Eric. I was just about to run these figures by Egon and then I am leaving for the afternoon. I'm meeting Edward for coffee. Do you remember Edward?"
Eric tried to hide his grimace when she said this, seems his hopes had been dashed. "Yeah. Edward, the doctor, sure I remember, he was the one with all of the lame jokes, right."
Eden shrugged her shoulders, "I guess they might be a little lame, but they could just as well be considered charming, not everyone can be Johnny Carson reincarnated now can they?"
"No, I guess not." Eric watched Eden pass him and head up the stairs, and he couldn't resist asking Eden to be careful on her trip down town, she said she would and walked out the door.
"I must be going crazy. Now I'm letting this man I barely now summon me to his presence, this is completely and utterly barbaric." She stepped off the elevator to the fourth floor and was surprised to be face to face with a clown.
It was Edward.
"Eden! I'm so glad you made it up here! Have a balloon and welcome to the fourth floor Children's ICU and Oncology, or as I and others like to call it, my home away from home." He stopped speaking briefly to undo a balloon from the bunch tied to the IV pole he carried, when he handed her the balloon he noted the odd expression on her face. "Eden, was this too much of a surprise?" When she didn't say anything he continued, snickering slightly, "Please say something to me Eden. I'm starting to get embarrassed."
Flabbergasted, Eden had no idea what to say. "I'm sorry Edward. I'm just a little surprised, but not in a bad way, I mean I just wasn't expecting to see you in a clown suit—you may as well have shown up nak—" Eden quickly closed her mouth before she finished that word. Why did that thought pop into my head, she thought. She blushed furiously and stared down at the floor.
She couldn't believe that she'd just said that, but she just couldn't help it. He obviously couldn't look bad if he tried. Granted, he was in a clown suit, but he was still an impressive looking figure. His multi-colored suit and bright blue wig couldn't hide his broad shoulders and the strands of dark hair that he hadn't quite managed to conceal. His face was only rouged on the cheeks, and some very bright lipstick had been used around his mouth in a clown like manner. He smiled at her now, and his white teeth and wide grin made him the perfectly handsome clown that he was. She could hardly imagine a more handsome creature.
"Well, as shocking as that may have been, I'm sure the kids enjoy this much more. I completely forgot that I had this scheduled for the day, we only do this once a month for the birthdays, so by the time I remembered the cake was here… there just wasn't any postponing for it. Though I did try to make it for later in the day. I hope you don't mind." He paused to see if she was still embarrassed about her slip of the tongue. She didn't seem to be, she was just standing there looking around the lobby. "Well, now that you're up here, why don't I show you around and introduce you to some people."
They went to the nursing station first and he introduced Eden to the nurses there, then they proceeded to the patients where Eden helped Edward distribute balloons to the children. They soon came across a completely hairless little girl sitting in a wheelchair in the hallway. "Eden, I'd like you to meet my girlfriend, Sarah. Sarah, this is my new friend Eden, She is helping me with the birthday party.
Sarah looked up at Eden with a wide grin on her face and accepted the balloon she was handed, "Hi Eden, your hair's real pretty." Eden smiled at the child. She had been around a lot of children in her life and she knew that they didn't say things they didn't think were true. She wondered briefly if the little girl thought all hair was pretty, just because she didn't have any of her own.
"Well, thank you, sweetie, is this your birthday party?"
Sarah smiled and looked at Eden, "No, MY birthday is next month, and Dr. Sanders said that he would bring me strawberry ice cream." The little girl was obviously thrilled about the concept, thought Eden.
"I sure will sweetheart, and I'll bring some cake to, would you like that?" The little girl smiled even wider, a feat that seemed impossible, and nodded her head. Eddie winked at Eden when he glanced at her and turned his attention back to Sarah. "You know Eden, you'll have to make sure to be at Sarah and mine's wedding next year so that you can see Sarah's hair, it is a beautiful color, reminds me of a bar of chocolate. You're still going to marry me when you turn 12, right Sarah?" Sarah nodded, "Oh yes! Eden, you will like our wedding. We are going to go to Disney World!"
Just then Sarah's mother appeared with a younger, very healthy looking little boy. Sarah introduced them to Eden. "Eden, this is my mommy and my little brother, Hayden." Eden turned and knelt down towards the little boy, "Hi there Hayden." She shook his hand as though he was an adult and that made him laugh, Eden turned to speak to Sarah, "You know I have a little brother too, but he's only five minutes younger than me."
The little girl grinned in amazement, "Really? That means you are his twin, that's cool!" Eden agreed with the little girl that it was indeed cool, and stood to say something to their mother. Edward gave Hayden a balloon and moved on to the next group of children down the hall.
Eden watched him in thoughtful consideration, he definitely had charisma where children were concerned, they all loved being near him and Eden was beginning to feel as happy as they were to have the same opportunity. Once the party was over Edward quickly left to change into his suit and lab coat and escorted Eden to the cafeteria for the coffee they were meant to have an hour ago.
Eden was suspiciously silent until they sat down; Edward noticed that she had a slight twinkle in her eye. He loved the sight and was eager to find out what it meant. He didn't have to wait much longer when Eden finally spoke. "So Edward, tell me, just how many fiancés do you have?" She was obviously teasing him about Sarah. He decided to play along, the playful side of Eden was something he was very interested in exploring. "Well, I have a lot of them; I'm a very popular guy around the fourth floor. But I don't worry about them to much; nothing is forever with children, so I don't think they'll hold me to it."
"Yes, well, I have to admit that I was a little jealous up there. I can certainly say that no man has ever dressed in a clown suit for ME." She laughed lightly and Edward felt the hair stand up on his arm, her laugh was truly electrifying. "Well, on your next birthday, I'll be sure to drop by the firehouse in my suit, I'm sure your family would love that." Eden laughed again, "I'm sure they would! I'm glad you invited me up there Edward, I loved meeting the children, and you're obviously very good at what you do."
"Well, it isn't hard to be good at being nice to children. I personally have always loved children, I really can't explain it, but like I said before, I have two sisters that are eight and nine years younger than me so I feel like I've always been caring for children, my youngest sister had cancer when she was six and that's when I decided to become a pediatric oncologist. Forgive me, Eden, I'm rambling again." He blushed and smiled at Eden, who didn't seem to mind his story, "Anyway, I'm glad that you had fun…" Edward would have continued, but his beeper went off, he checked it and grimaced, "Eden, this is a page from my boss, I really have to get upstairs, I'm sorry we have to cut this short—is it alright if I call you later?"
Eden felt a chill crawl up her spine as he asked this, "Of course you can Edward, and thank you for the coffee." He smiled at her and turned to get on the elevator. Eden gathered her purse and made her way down the corridor to the bus stop, she thought about how comfortable she felt around Edward. It was really a quite pleasant feeling to be comfortable around someone she was attracted to. On other dates she had been on she could never be comfortable because she was never sure of the man's motives, most of them were only interested in her physically, which put her on her guard, and those that weren't were interested in using her mind to help them gain prominence in scientific circles, which only made her angry. Edward made her feel as though she could be herself without worrying, and like she could finally let her guard down long enough to explore those pesky emotions everyone was always lecturing her about. It was a scary feeling.
The thought of wanting to start a relationship made her nervous and she decided that when she got back to headquarters Marie was the first person she was going to look for, she needed someone to talk to.
Eden didn't feel as though Marie was taking her misgivings very seriously and she was beginning to wish she hadn't dragged her out of the kitchen for their 'talk'. "Be serious Marie, this man is more involved in his job than I am in mine, do you really think it could work?"
"Yes, I think it would work. He only has to finish his residency, then things won't be so crazy, and he's done this all before remember? This is his specialty, he had to be a general doctor first, or so I'm told. Dad-gum Edie, this your chance to take a bite out of life, see what you can do outside of here, without your whole family watching your every move, your twenty-five for heaven's sake. Besides, it sounds like that man might have feelings for you and if you play your cards right you could get a new last name out of this. But for right now, just wait to see if he calls you, and think real hard about how involved you are willing to get in his job, and how much it's gonna bother you if he has to break his next date to go to work. In all honesty though, you should know what that's like, you've lived in it your entire life."
Marie stood up and grabbed her plate she had taken with her when Eden had dragged her up onto the roof. "But Marie, I don't know anything about love!"
Marie turned and looked at her incredulously, "Yes, you do. Your parents wrote the book." With that, she went down the stairs without another word to her friend. Eden went down a little later and found Eric and Johnathan in the rec room. "Hi guys, what's going on? "They turned and Johnathan gave her a wicked grin, "Hey sis. You just missed a phone call, it was lover boy. He said that he had tickets to something-or-other and asked me to get you to call him back. So, I thought I'd pass the message along."
Eden tried to conceal her interest from her brother, "You mean Edward called? I might call him back, later. Why didn't you simply come and get me, I've been in the building all afternoon." She sat on the arm of the couch and glared down at him with a 'just try to lie to me' look she inherited from her mother. Eric answered her question before John could, "Well, we didn't know where you were, why didn't you just get the phone yourself?"
Eric wasn't trying to sound rude when he said this, but Eden had known him long enough to detect the edginess, she chalked it up to the job, "I was on the roof, I didn't hear the phone ring, Eric. Johnathan, do you remember where he said the tickets are for?"
"The symphony." Eric said this as he stood. He brushed past Eden on his way out the door. John and Eden both watched him walk away, wondering why he was acting so strangely.
"He said it wasn't until Saturday night, so you don't have to go out of your way to call him back right this second. Aren't you supposed to wait 24 hours after a date before calling to make another one? This guy sounds kind of needy. He hasn't tried to put any moves on you has he?"
"No, Johnathan, he hasn't. And when you see our father you can pass that message along to him as well. If you knew anything about him, you would realize that he is not that sort of individual. As a matter of fact, our plans for the day were changed and I spent my time with him in the children's oncology ward meeting his patients. He asked if he could call me about another date and I said that he could." She purposely omitted the clown costume detail.
John was obviously taken aback by his sister's bluntness regarding Edward. She was usually looking for a way out of a relationship by now, not defending her date. "Eden, I honestly didn't mean anything by that, I wasn't expecting you to have feelings for the guy." Johnathan stood and patted his sister apologetically on the shoulder and went out the door, she didn't say anything to him because she couldn't. He had always been able to read her like a book.
The symphony was clearly a dressy affair though Eden dreaded making a clothing decision, not sure of what message she wanted to send and aware that Edward had little money and that he would probably be wearing either a rented tux, or a well worn suit, like the ones he worked in at the hospital. She had actually wondered how he had gotten the tickets, though she knew that she was not going to ask him.
She was now in her third friendly debate about which of her dresses she would wear. Earlier, Janine had lain out a very simply cut gown of violet colored satin, it had a simple v-neck and elegant straps to hold it up at the shoulders, but otherwise the dress was just a few pieces of fabric that had no other shape besides that of Eden's. Apparently Eden had a very flattering figure, and so her mother had not thought embellishments on a dress were necessary. Marie had also stopped in to make her sentiments known, and chose a bright red two piece number that more closely resembled a mid-drift, low-cut corset and a low rise skirt that Eden couldn't swear to be able to sit down in, if it weren't for the slit in it that went clear up to the panty line. The dress, for the moment, was on loan from one of Marie's more outlandish friends. Eden looked at with contempt and had immediately ruled it out as a choice, though she kept it on the bed to keep from hurting Marie's feelings.
This third area of criticism regarding fashion was coming from one of Eden's most trusted friends, T. J. Anderson. Eden had been eager for T.J. to show up today, knowing that she would have a taste in clothing that was more refined than most, certainly Marie's, and that it would be more closely akin to Eden's own taste. She also knew that, with T.J.'s upperclass British upbringing, she would probably know more about evening wear than anyone else she knew, save maybe Dana Venkman. Yes, thought Eden, T.J. was a good friend to have around during a crisis, whether it be fashion or paranormal. In the world of feelings, rationale, and men, she and T.J. often came eye to eye, though T.J. tended to look for problems in men as a first impression, and that was just something Eden, who had a naturally trusting nature, had never been able to learn to do. Eden liked to see the good in people and work her way around to the bad, something that she inherited from her father.
Not to say T.J.'s approach didn't have a downside, Eden remarked to herself. Miss Anderson was keeping at arms length a man that everyone else--Eden most assuredly included--thought more than suitable as a match for her. But that was a topic Eden didn't wish to venture into with her friend today.
"I would say this one is more appropriate for the situation." T.J. said, in her distinguishable clipped British accent, while laying out one of Eden's favorite, and well worn dresses onto Eden's bed. It was a maroon colored gown that she had worn many times in the four years that she had owned it. It was cut very similar to the gown Janine had chosen for her to wear, with a higher up square neck, but it was unique in the fact that it had a gold colored lace overlay that covered her from nape to toe. The lace provided cover of her arms, something that her mother had felt completely old fashioned and worthy of retirement. It didn't help that there was a worn place on the rear were Eden had scuffed the lace on a cement ledge she had sat on the last time she wore it.
"I know, I do love this dress T. J., but I scuffed it last time I wore it and my mother says I should consider throwing it out." Eden turned the dress over to show her the offending area.
"I still say you should wear it, just think, even if he does notice he could never say anything or else he would have to admit to staring at your backside. And then you'd know he was scum and would be obliged to dump him." T.J. smirked at the thought of having such an easy way to test a man at her disposal and continued, "Not that I think he would. When I googled him the other day and I couldn't find anything naughty to report to you on, unless you consider spending time under the radar suspicious. He was mentioned in the online version of Who's Who Among America's Pre-Med Students, and then there was the newspaper write up about his saving that little girl from the fire and burning his hand and arm, other than that…"
T.J. paused as she said this, by the look on Eden's face it was apparent that she knew nothing of how his hand had been burnt, and T.J. was aware that she may have just told Eden something that Edward had intended to discuss with her in his own time. She tried to cover her mistake by continuing to talk, "Yes, well, it was a big event in the town he lived in. I presume it was one of those situations where everyone there knew him as 'the boy that pulled the little girl from the fire', the newspaper said that he kept giving her CPR even though he was injured. I'm sure he figured that you had googled him yourself by now and already knew all about it."
Eden looked at T.J. as she said all of this, not quite sure of what to do about that information, they were both becoming aware of the awkwardness surrounding them and T.J. decided that she had better dismiss herself before either of them could admit it, "Well, perhaps you should go with the dress your mother picked, Eden. I hate to run, but John asked me to stop at the store to pick up the box of parts he forgot to get yesterday. You know how bloody forgetful that man can be when he's on his little projects...."
Eden followed T.J. to the door and locked it behind her. She couldn't help but think of what kind of boy would run into a burning building to save a child he didn't know. Well, what kind other than the ghostbuster kind that is. She picked up the violet dress her mother had picked out and held it up to herself in the mirror. Maybe I will wear this one.
She put the dresses back in the closet and was headed for the bath; she was determined not to let her feelings get ahead of her rationale in the matter of Edward Sanders. Even if he does make it his life's work to save the lives of little children.
Eden's consciousness had awakened to find herself standing on the fourth floor of Mercy Hospital talking to Edward. She had no recollection of getting there and she didn't even know why she would be there, they had planned to meet at Ghostbusters Headquarters for the symphony. She looked down at her attire and noticed that she was in her seldom worn ghostbusters uniform, equipment included, and that Edward was in the clown outfit from the day before, only now he was donning a lab coat over it. He had just said something to her that she couldn't quite make out when Johnathan and Eric came out of nowhere, also dressed in their uniforms.
Suddenly the room went dark and everything got too loud to hear over and she had to scream just to be heard. Eric, John and Edward all looked at her in astonishment and suddenly Eric waved his arms and the roof came crashing down.
She barely had time to react as John knocked her out of the way and Eric pulled his thrower and pointed it at Edward.
All of a sudden there was a ghost in the vicinity where Edward was standing. Seeing it, he ducked and weaved and covered a little girl from the shower of debris as Eric began shooting at the ghost. To Eden's horror, Edward had somehow managed to get himself hit with the proton beam and his cells simultaneously imploded and dispersed.
She shivered and grabbed her cup of cocoa with both hands and sighed, she certainly hoped that Edward's death was not as imminent as it seemed in her dream. Perhaps the dream only meant that she was somewhat concerned about how Edward would fit into her world of ghostbusting, perhaps it was because Eric's recent hostility towards her mentioning Edward had her feelings slightly hurt, and perhaps she was just supposed to view the entire things as a precautionary tale to try to keep her mind off of Edward when she was working.
Or perhaps she should run this entire thing by her mother in the morning.
She gave up on analyzing her dream and flipped on her seldom watched television as she left the kitchen, and was surprised to find that 'Ghostbusters' was playing on television. It rarely came on anymore, what with franchises like Garfield and Indiana Jones spitting out sequels every year, but there the film was playing on TV at four am some forty years after its début. She decided that this was certainly worthy of taking her mind off of her problems and was soon immersed in the familiar story. She sometimes took for granted that her parents, and their friends, had ever been the same age as she now was and she found herself looking at things from a new perspective the older she got.
It turned out that the statement was truer than ever tonight.
She had been watching to the point where Janine and Egon had just taken charge of the possessed Lois Tully, and was remembering how they had called poor Louis 'pooh pooh head' for the better part of their childhood when the next scene, the embarrassing scene involving an awkward hug between her future parents, caught her attention.
Janine stood behind the couch in the recreation room of the firehouse, and used her finger to signal Egon over to her. He jumped up and went over to her, excusing himself from Louis.
"Egon. I'm usually very psychic and I have a terrible feeling that something awful is going to happen to you. I'm afraid you're going to die."
She almost dropped the remote when she heard it. Why hadn't she ever asked about that before? Now she KNEW that she should run this by her mother in the morning.
"You know something honey, no one has ever asked me about that before. I guess they all just thought I was trying to find something to say that would grab Egon's attention, even though it turned out that he did almost die. I've always been wary of people I cared about, though I don't really think that I would call it psychic anymore. I really didn't know any better then. Can you imagine?" Janine paused and smirked at the thought of not understanding a concept as common place in ghostbusting as psychic ability. "Anyway, I think I just get really in tune with some people and that my female intuition, if you will, is really sort of honed in on them. I just had this urge to try to do something to protect him before things got out of my control. Make any sense?"
Eden sat listening to her mother's explanation and a knot in her gut that she hadn't even been aware of unwound. "Yes, I suppose that that makes sense, female intuition is a long held idea, thank you for the clarification."
Janine stood and went back to the kitchen for a second cup of coffee, "Well, I'm always glad to clarify things for you Eden, now you want to tell me what you really want to know? Or do you just want me to guess?"
Eden glanced up at Janine as she said this wondering how everyone seemed to be able to read her so clearly, but then again those people were her family. She sighed and sipped coffee from her own cup, trying to decide how much of the story she wanted to tell her mom.
"…And that's it I guess; he just dissipated. I know it's not likely to happen, especially since the streams have to be crossed to even have a chance of that occurring, not to mention the fact that that has never happened in all of the time the company has been open. I just—I don't know… the entire scenario has me completely and illogically unnerved. I shouldn't be worried that something like this would happen. Maybe you are right though, perhaps it is a form of intuitiveness that provoked the dream."
Janine knew that it was unusual for her daughter to be so concerned about a dream, or a man that she had just met. And not being one to miss these sorts of opportunities, Janine decided to see how much talking she could get her daughter to do about Edward, being that Eden seemed to be ready to talk about it.
"Well, like I said, it didn't happen often, but I usually ended up right about things, so don't blow it off entirely. So, you and Edward go to the symphony tomorrow?"
"It's interesting really, turns out that it's an ensemble of the symphony that will be playing outdoors, a seasonal performance, or something along those lines."
"Oh. Well, I'm sure that you will both enjoy that, do you talk to him often?"
"No, not really, as a matter of fact the other day was our first phone conversation. The only other times that we've spoken have been in person. But he is rather talkative when I see him."
Eden looked to her mother when she said this, even to someone who didn't know Eden the look screamed, 'Tell me what this means'. Janine tried to hide a smile, her little girl was finally interested enough in a man to want to learn what her feelings meant. "Some men tend to ramble when they get nervous. But from everything you've said about him I dare say that he would call you more often if you would just give him some kind of permission. You have to let a man know what the boundaries are, Eden.
Janine sighed and looked at her daughter, Eden looked confused. "So, what do I do to let him know what the boundaries are?"
"Eden, that is one of the things in life that there are no instructions for, you just have to go with your gut, so to speak. And too, it really depends on how inept the guy is, or isn't. But if you want to let him know that you would like for him to call you regularly, tell him he can call you, but keep in mind that that doesn't mean he will call, it just lets him know he can if he wants, you have to remember that everyone has their own ideas about these things. But communication is key, which is why I want to suggest that you try and think of what you want to say ahead of time. He'll get tired of carrying the conversation after a while."
Eden nodded her head in vague understanding and was about to say something as the phone rang. "Just a second sweetie, let me answer that."
Janine got up and answered the phone, after a moment Eden realized that the conversation had something to do with her father speaking at an upcoming conference, so Eden silently motioned that she was just going to dismiss herself and then left to ponder what it was she wanted out of her upcoming date with Edward.
Eden was sitting around the table in the kitchen at lunch, quietly contemplating her upcoming date when she heard the phone ring. She didn't try to answer it; she knew Jeremy Cranston, the current office manager, was manning the phones downstairs. Eden supposed that the call was a bust, but she didn't hear the alarm sound and a moment later she heard Eric on the other end of the intercom calling for her to come downstairs.
As she approached the ground floor, she saw her brother and Eric gearing up for a bust. John saw her first. "Hey, Eden. We just got a call from Mercy Hospital. The others are on an investigation and we thought we might need your help."
"Besides, that was lover boy on the phone to call in the incident. The problem is on his floor and John here thought you might have a personal interest in going." Eric had turned toward her briefly as he was saying this then turned to walk toward the basement. By the time he got to the end of the sentence he was practically yelling. Both Eden and John noticed and looked at each other; both shared similar expressions of frustration concerning their friend's resent attitude change. Everyone knew that you did not need to yell from that particular distance to be heard.
John shrugged, and made a mental note to discuss it with Eric later, "So, are you coming?"
Eden was still staring in the direction that Eric had gone and nodded her head in answer to her brother's question as she finally turned toward her locker to put on her jumpsuit. A creepy feeling of déjà vu tingled all the way down her spine when she moved to put her pack in the back of Ecto. She felt like she was on an out of control train, where she could see the accident coming and had no idea how to stop it.
I'll just have to keep my eye on everything. Was the only solution she could come to as she climbed into the vehicle and John started the engine.
As they approached the information desk to get clearance to take their gear upstairs, Eden couldn't help but worry about the dream from the night before. She was somewhat comforted by the fact that the bust strategy did not include using the throwers, though they still carried them inside to provide backup.
As the team approached the main elevator of the hospital, Eric made one final skim of his spell book, closed the cover and tucked it under his arm.
"So, do we know if they have cleared the floor?" Johnathan asked, wanting to find something to discuss to remove the tension he felt in the elevator. He knew both of his team members had things on their minds other than this bust and he was trying to get them to focus.
"No. Part of the floor is an ICU and they didn't want to move them unless they had to, so they decided to leave the less movable patients where they were."
"I suppose it won't matter since we're using the spell anyway. Eden, do you have anything to add?" John looked at her as he said this, something was bothering her and he wanted her to prove that she had been listening.
"Yes. Let's just try to be careful. If there's no need to use the throwers I'd rather we keep it that way, I'm a little worried about doing this bust so close to the patients."
"I get your concern, Eden, but I think it will be okay. I'll cast the spell and then you two can activate the traps, then it should be over. Agreed?"
Eden nodded her head in agreement and conversation ceased as the group stepped into the elevator. When they stepped onto the fourth floor Eden tried anxiously to peer around her brother to locate Edward.
She didn't see him, but a nurse stepped in front of her brother and began to praise their arrival.
"Yes Miss, we are aware that you have patients remaining on this floor and we do not foresee having to use the accelerators in the building. If you will just make sure that everyone steers clear of that window we will get started." John pointed over toward the window at the end of the hall and the nurse stepped out of his way to allow the ghostbusters to go in that direction.
"Alright Eric, it's your show."
Eric nodded and used the PKE reading to locate the ghost and moved toward it. After a moment he took a deep breath and began using the carefully studied spell to displace the ghost to just outside the window where Eden and John stood near.
Before anyone else could get past him, Edward took off toward the boy calling for him as he went.
"Hayden, come back." Edward wasn't yelling, the small child was only three and he didn't want to scare him, he also had no desire to break Eric's concentration. He scooped up the little boy only a few yards away from the ghost, which was currently writhing in the clutches of the energy the spell had produced, and was still trying to break free.
Eric had caught a glimpse of Edward as he stood and the suddenness of his appearance made Eric momentarily move his arm toward the man. The result made the ghost break free from the bond and it went straight toward Edward.
Edward saw the ghost eyeing the child in his arms and turned to take cover as he heard a distinctive, "Get down!" coming from behind. He hit the floor, careful not to land in a way that would hurt the child. A moment later he felt a weight land next to him and a red ponytail slapped him in the face. "Edward, keep the boy covered, and stay down, we're going to have to blast it."
A few seconds later, Edward heard the whine of the proton pack firing and sparks landed on his head. He whispered anything he could think of to comfort the little boy, and he seemed calm enough. The sparks stopped falling on his head and John tapped him on the shoulder and told him he was free to go back toward the crowd. He hurriedly got to his feet and made his way back over to where he had been standing earlier, depositing the boy into his mother's arms.
He was then free to watch as Eden and Eric forced the entity out of the window with their streams, just in time for John to trap it. The crowd cheered and made there way back to their usual places, save Edward who stood in awe as Eden placed her thrower back on her pack. He was making his way over to her when Eric stepped into his path.
"You know it's one thing to step all into our personal lives like you have a right to be there, it's something completely different to interfere with MY job!" Eric shoved past him and made his way toward the stairs, "Let's go guys! We have work to do that DOESN'T involve lover boy here."
Edward stood in dumbfounded silence just long enough for John to run past him and grab his friend by the shoulder to stop his exit. Edward whirled around and followed John, Eden not far behind.
"What the HELL is your problem Eric. Edward wasn't trying to sabotage this bust, he moved forward to grab that kid, YOU are the one that's so threatened by the guy that YOU screwed up! If you really feel that you need to say something then I think you should do it somewhere other than in a pediatric ICU."
John had said all that he had intended and pushed his way through the stairwell and down. Eric was still standing there fuming and so was Edward. Edward, trying to save face, said simply, "I understand that you are upset that your bust didn't go as planned, but I also hope that you understand that I was trying to keep Hayden out of danger. As for your personal life, I never had any indication that I wasn't welcome, and that isn't my fault. I will try to be less imposing of a presence in the future."
Eric didn't get angry very much but he was angry now. He opened his mouth to say something to Edward in response, but just then Eden grabbed his arm and started to push him towards the stairs, "Eric I think that you should continue this after some meditation of what Edward just said." She got him part way through the door, looked back at Edward and mouthed 'Sorry', as she went through the door herself.
Edward just stood there feeling like he had been kicked in the gut for no reason.
Outside of the hospital in a small grassy area meant, no doubt, for quiet contemplation John tried, rather loudly, to try and get to the bottom of the issue that was brought up upstairs. Eden had gone back to Ecto to guard the packs; she also had a phone call to make to let Edward know that she was still available to go out with him later that night.
"No, Eric." John lowered his voice as he stepped closer to his friend, "No, Eric, I do not buy that you are madly in love with my sister. I don't even think you know what it means to be in love."
Eric smirked as John said this, "Oh, and you're an expert?"
John shot Eric a look of resentment, he did not like what Eric was implying, "This is not about me Eric, I didn't turn into a jerk two seconds ago, you did, and you might love Eden as a friend, but I don't think you are in love with her."
"Oh you don't do ya'? Well, what would it take to convince you of it?"
John shrugged his shoulders, "Proof."
Eric stared at him incredulously, "What do you mean proof?"
"Anything you can tell me that would indicate that you loved her. Believe me, I'll know if you're lying. Tell me that your heart beats faster every time she walks into the room, tell me that you lie awake at night wishing you could tell her how you feel and worrying about what she would say if you did. Tell me that you can look into her eyes and feel like it's all you would ever need for the rest of your life if you could just know that the look she reflected back held the same sentiment."
John looked at his friend, several degrees of frustration causing perspiration to bead up on his forehead. When Eric didn't say anything to confirm or deny any of these feelings, he glanced back at him. Eric looked like he had just been hit. "Well?"
Eric looked at him and shrugged, then he marched off toward Ecto with determination John didn't understand. He thought his friend was angry with him and he made one last plea, "Even if you are, you should be man enough to let her be happy with whoever she chooses." Eric ignored him and continued on his way to the vehicle.
When they reached Ecto, John could see that Eden was trying to reorganize the back. Without warning, Eric walked up to her, turned her around to face him, and kissed her for all that he was worth.
John just stood there in stunned silence. When Eric came up for air, he glanced at Eden's shocked expression and let her go, walked past John and sat himself in the backseat. He only looked at John and said, "I hate it when you're right, let's go." He slammed the door and John looked up at his sister, who was moving quickly from stunned and confused to furious. "What in the world did he DO that for?"
John nodded his head, "I think he just realized the difference in loving someone as a friend and…well…being in love with someone."
It was a long silent ride back to headquarters. Eric, now calm, was trying desperately to hide his disappointment. He wondered how he could have confused things so badly as to believe that he was in love with Eden. But John was right, when he had kissed Eden it was as feeling-less as kissing his own hand. He decided that he was simply aggravated by the realization that Eden's romantic involvement with someone outside of the team would mean loosing her, at least part time, to someone that he didn't know.
Even if he wasn't IN love with her, he still cared about her very much and he didn't want to have to miss spending time with her.
When they got back to headquarters, John took off up the stairs, avoiding the eyes of T.J. and Marie, while Eden and Eric unloaded the packs. When they were done Eric pulled her aside and uttered an apology that she readily accepted. She knew what it was like to be confused by your feelings. And besides, she had a date to get ready for anyway.
The first few times he had met Eric, the man had seemed rather cordial, but things had obviously changed in the last few days if this afternoon's outburst was any indication.
He flinched at the memory as he started to knot his tie. Was Eric harboring some unrequited love for Eden? If so, did he, an outsider, have any right to try to step in the way? Edward shrugged to himself. He really wasn't good with this sort of thing. He had done extremely well in his opinion just to ask Eden out in the first place.
He sighed and pulled his wallet out of the pants he had been wearing earlier. He thought about his own family then and wondered why everyone in Eden's family was so protective of her. Was he really that threatening? He didn't know the answer to that question either, but he did know that his family wasn't even that protective with his teenage sisters, and he never thought of his family as being extremely liberal. True, they were not from New York, and Crisfield, Maryland was much less dangerous for a young woman, but crime was everywhere.
And besides, Edward thought, studies show that there are more kind people in the world than not. He glanced in the mirror again and straightened his tie. He wished he had a better suit, one he didn't wear to work, but then again this one was his favorite, even though he did scuff up the elbow. Maybe she won't notice.
Edward turned and made his way over to his desk, a mere four feet from where he had been standing and started rummaging through the drawers for his old PDA. He wanted to make sure he had a spectrum analyzer with him, not only did he consider it a way to enhance a musical experience, but it gave him somewhere to put his hands.
I don't think I've been this tense since I was taking my boards. Edward contemplated the thought. After all he didn't date much. As a matter of fact he hadn't dated at all since he left Maryland, and that was three years ago. He winced at the thought. His mother often told him that he shouldn't have trouble getting dates, but the truth was, he wasn't the type of person to date just for dating's sake. He didn't know why, but for some reason he never thought there was much point in dating a person he couldn't see himself getting serious with. He tried to clear his mind from that thought as he put his jacket on and headed for the door, You're just putting unnecessary pressure on yourself, Edward, and besides it looks like Eden's family is going to be the biggest barrier this evening.
"Eden, you'll have to let me borrow those earrings next time I go out somewhere. They are beautiful." Charlene was leaning forward in her seat, trying to get a better look at them, "Where did you get them?"
Eden shrugged, "They were a gift from my Aunt when I received my first doctorate degree. She said they matched my eyes."
"They really do. So, you like this guy? I mean the word is out that you actually WANT to go on this date. Quite a change of pace for you, right?" Charlene, sat back into her seat when she said this, Marie was the one to answer her.
"Wants to go! I'll say she does. She's ready to fly down the pole as soon as he gets here. She even got ready twenty minutes early."
Marie got up and made her way back to the fridge for another beer as she said this. Charlene and Eden just looked at each other. Not all of Marie's comments could be taken to heart and they both knew it.
"Actually, I'm not ready to go, if you really want to know. I'm waiting on my PDA to finish charging. I just uploaded the newest version of the MAC spectrum analyzer, and I want to try it out tonight."
"Oh, good grief Eden! You can't take something like that on a date. You are supposed to stare lovingly into your date's eyes—or some crap like that, you don't bring distractions. No wonder you never like anyone you go out with, you never get a chance to know them, you just go out and play with your little do-dads. You should stick with me girl. I'll get you where you need to be!"
"Drunk and alone on a Friday night? I think Eden could handle that without your expertise." Charlene rolled her eyes at her friend.
"Do you really think I should leave it here? I thought he might appreciate seeing it too. He is an educated man after all."
Charlene shrugged. "Do whatever you want Eden, it's your date."
John appeared in the doorway as Charlene said this, "Hey Eden, Edward's here. I told him you were still getting ready."
Eden didn't even look in his direction; Charlene caught the brief flash of shock that ran through Eden's face. "He's here early," was all Eden said as she got up and went over to the plug where she was charging her PDA. She threw the tiny device into her purse and looked back at everyone else in the room.
Eden paused to take a deep breathe and exhale, she really was nervous. "Well, I will see you all later then."
Marie waved at her and Charlene said bye to Eden as she and John walked out of the room.
"I was surprised that he was early myself, especially after what happened earlier today." Eden didn't say anything in response. There really wasn't anything to say. John took hold of her arm as they stepped onto the first stair going down and gently pulled her toward him. "Look Eden. I know that you are grown and that you think you like this guy, but I still want you to remember to be on your guard. You don't really know this guy, and neither do we."
Eden discreetly regained possession of her arm, and looked at her brother. "I'll keep that in mind, but you've been spending too much time with T. J. -- or maybe not enough."
She smiled at getting in the last word. "Hello, Edward. Thank you for meeting me here."
Edward looked up the stairs and saw Eden approach the garage floor. She was stunning.
"Hi." Was all he could manage to say, but his feet promptly moved in her direction until he was standing next to her. In her heels her forehead reached the height of his nose and he took the opportunity to get a good smell of her hair. "You look very nice."
Eden blushed from head to toe. It embarrassed her because she was usually able to ignore complements. "Thank you. I would have to say that you look very--" Eden paused to clear her throat softly, "—handsome yourself."
Edward had noticed her blushing and was surprised to find that the reaction worked both ways. He settled his nerves the only way he knew how. "Better than the clown suit?"
Eden stifled what certainly sounded like a smirk to Edward. "Yes, much."
"Well, now, I guess that is all good and well then. Shall we?"
"Of course." Eden gave Edward her arm and he escorted her out of the building and to a waiting taxi.
John just nodded his head in disbelief, Who knew? I'm glad Eric wasn't here, he would have broken something.
As much as John would like to believe that Eric could simply dissolve all notions of love regarding Eden like a bad habit, he knew that Eric's acting out this afternoon was only a way to regain his composure. He knew Eric was probably brooding in his apartment right now, wondering what to do about the whole situation. He shook his head again. Eden may have won the first battle but the war was far from over.
"Hello, T.J., It's Eden. I just thought you'd like to know that your plan works both ways. Remind me to give you the details tomorrow." Eden smiled and plugged her phone up to charge; contemplating the events of the evening. She stifled another laugh and moved toward the bedroom. She really needed to calm herself, she was almost giddy.
No, Edward had been different from the beginning. He had a way of hiding his nervousness through getting Eden to smile. He was working with her to keep from being nervous instead of against her and his efforts had not gone unnoticed by his date. She was surprised to find that they had more in common than it would seem; a point punctuated when they both pulled out their spectrum analyzers at the beginning of the concert, both had found the incident amusing and once Edward had discovered that she had a much newer version, Eden had been more than happy to share her PDA with him, so much so that they had spent the entire performance with their heads together and their hands entwined as they shared the mini computer.
After the performance was over both Eden and Edward had found themselves not wanting to go home and so Edward had offered to take Eden to a late dinner. He had told her to choose where she wanted to go eat, and she had happily pointed to the hot dog stand on the next corner.
"Really, a hot dog stand? You know I do have cash with me, we can go anywhere you want. "
She smiled mischievously at him, "Good, because what I really want is a pretzel and an ice cream cone. Most people wouldn't think it, but I really am a junk food junkie at heart, is that okay with you?"
He looked at her with unconcealed happiness at her hidden simplistic nature and followed her to the stand.
Eden blinked, but hid the disappointment she felt, they were about to talk about what Eden had been dreading all day. "I would be happy to answer any reasonable question. Go ahead."
Edward gave a half smile at the way Eden instantly put his guard up and became stoic. "I was just wondering if you would mind telling me why your friend Eric was so defensive towards me earlier today."
Eden turned her visual attention toward the distance and began walking that way as she spoke. "I thought you would bring that up, but I honestly don't know what happened."
Edward was only one step behind her as she followed the path around the fountain. "Is he an ex boyfriend?"
Eden turned abruptly at this, but held the emotion just below the surface. "No, he was never my boyfriend. Honestly, I thought the entire incident to be completely uncalled for. Apparently, Eric has some feelings for me that he can't quite place. I really am sorry that he decided to take things out on you."
Edward studied her face, and could see that she was hoping that would end the conversation. He had already decided that she wasn't as open with her feelings as most women. Maybe this is a little to deep for a first date.
"Okay, I'm glad that you told me, I have to admit I was a little worried about stepping into the middle of something. How was the ice cream?"
Eden held back a sigh of relief as Edward ingeniously changed the topic of conversation. "Good, you can almost never go wrong with ice cream, unless my brother is involved."
"Huh. Do I want to know?"
Eden mimed an expression that she was considering it and sat back down on the fountain edge. "I really don't know, we have pulled a lot of pranks in our time, might be here all night if I start now."
Edward laughed lightly, "Eden Spengler pulling pranks, this is something I certainly want to know more about."
With that, and without taking his eyes off Eden, Edward sat down on the ledge beside her. His facial expression immediately changed, as a soft "crunch" was heard.
It was all that Eden could do not to laugh. Edward stood up to reveal that he had sat in his plate of nachos and cheese. He turned to try and look at the damage and then looked back at Eden, "Was this one of the pranks? Did you do this?" He was also trying very hard not to laugh and the words were broken up as he asked the question. Eden just shook her head as she tried to hide her grin behind her hand.
"Umm. This might have just cut our evening a little short. You know, this sort of thing doesn't happen usually." He turned around with his back to her, "So how bad is it?"
Eden immediately stopped smiling as the shock of the situation hit her full force, she felt like she had just swallowed gum. "Oh, umm…uh, I think that it could be cleaned by a dry-cleaner, but you might, umm, you might want to try to get some of that off before you get in a cab.--"
Eden stopped talking when she realized Edward was now the one laughing. "Eden, does looking at my butt make you nervous? " "Cause you can stop any time you want. You'd never last a day in Pediatrics."
Edward stopped laughing when Eden stood, Crap, I've said the wrong thing. She averted his eyes as she walked past, mumbling something about napkins. He reached out and grabbed her elbow as she did.
She swung around and looked at him, "Eden, I hope you didn't take offense at that, I was only kidding, I know my sense of humor's terrible and I apologize." She looked up at him and smiled. He could tell by the look on her face that she was embarrassed at having been caught, but that she wasn't angry. She blushed slightly, "I'm just going to the hot dog cart and ask for some paper towels."
He let go of her arm and watched her go, he sighed, it was obvious to him that he was probably the worst date she had ever had.
When she came back a few minutes later she had a pleasant smile on her face, she was no doubt recalling the humor of the situation. She had a bottle of water and a roll of paper towels. "Here you go. I'd offer to help, but since I'm not a pediatrician I don't have any experience in this sort of thing." He caught that playful twinkle in her eye that he had first seen in the hospital cafeteria a few days ago, and the hair on his arms stood up again, this is more like it, he thought as he accepted the items. "Touché, my lady. You know, I bet you're a lot of fun inside your comfort zone. Hold these would you."
Eden just waited on him to say something else, not knowing what to say herself. Edward started to try and get the cheese off his pants as he spoke. Despite the awkwardness of the situation Edward had a serious tone to his voice. "I think that you and I are a lot alike. Your family is your comfort zone, just like the hospital is mine. You can be yourself when you're there, and I understand that. I even appreciate it."
Edward paused briefly trying to decide if any of this was meaning anything to Eden. He couldn't tell, but he wasn't really sure he knew what he meant either, he only wanted her to know that he understood what her family meant to her. "I guess what I mean is that I have really enjoyed getting to know you the last few weeks and though I hope that you would like to continue spending time with me, I would never want to be a barrier between you and your family, having a soft place to fall back on is important, but it's okay to take chances too, I just thought I'd share."
"Edward." Eden paused, only half way sure of what she was about to say. Indeed, if there was anything he could have said to reassure her that they should continue to see each other it was that. "You are right that I am much more comfortable around my family, and I'm glad that you are willing to respect that because my family's important to me."
Edward had decided that his pants were clean enough as he listened to what she was saying, he let out a breath he didn't know he was holding, maybe she wasn't about to dump him.
"And I think that I could work on getting to know you, maybe one day you can be in my comfort zone too, and maybe…" Eden paused as she stepped closer to him and took his hand in hers, "Maybe, I can be in yours."
Eden was still smiling when she climbed in bed that night, but she frowned a little when she thought of the moment, it really would have been a good opportunity to kiss him. She smiled again, sure that she would get another chance, Definitely an interesting night, and maybe the beginning of something truly fascinating. The thought made her tired and she wondered why contemplating such matters tended to be so physically draining. Mother was right, relationships are hard work.
Extreme Ghostbusters Created by Fil Barlow
Ghostbusters 2024 Created by Fritz Baugh and OgreBBQ
Edward Sanders is my own creation.
Thanks for reading!